Mississippi State wins on last-second technical free throw after fan throws stuffed animal on court

Ben WeinribYahoo Sports Contributor
Yahoo Sports
Mississippi State edged Georgia by 1 point on a free throw with 0.5 seconds left. (Joshua L. Jones/Athens Banner-Herald via AP)
Mississippi State edged Georgia by 1 point on a free throw with 0.5 seconds left. (Joshua L. Jones/Athens Banner-Herald via AP)

The Mississippi State Bulldogs have had a tough run of it in SEC play, but they were quite literally gifted a win on Wednesday when a Georgia Bulldogs fan threw a bulldog stuffed animal onto the court.

Tied at 67 with 0.5 seconds left, senior guard Quinndary Weatherspoon missed a free throw that would’ve given his team the lead, but the referees and players looked puzzled when the stuffed animal appeared on the court.

First-year Georgia coach Tom Crean was so furious at his home crowd that he even grabbed the PA microphone and yelled at the crowd: “Stay with us. Don’t throw anything on the court.”

Mississippi State was awarded a technical free throw, and Weatherspoon, an 80.5 percent free throw shooter, hit it this time. After he purposely missed the final free throw, Georgia did not have enough time to get off a shot before the buzzer sounded.

Crean was miffed after the game that his team was slapped with the tech without a warning. He thought maybe with one fewer free throw, Weatherspoon might have missed, and the game could’ve went to overtime.

“I’ve never seen that, not without a warning, and certainly not without an explanation,” Crean said, via The Indianapolis Star. “The rule says you’ve got to be able to know who did it.”

The loss was tough for Georgia, which overcame a 22-1 run from Mississippi State in the middle of the game. Georgia fell to 1-12 in the SEC with their only conference win coming against Vanderbilt, which is winless in league play.

Mississippi State improved to 19-7, although their expectations were much higher coming into the season. After beginning the year ranked No. 18 and starting 12-1, the Bulldogs reached as high as No. 14 in the polls before going 7-6 in SEC play, although they still have a decent shot at making the NCAA tournament.

Is 2019 the year of fan disruptions?

The Mississippi State-Georgia game is not the only game recently to feature a fan disrupting the end of a close game. On Jan. 8, Denver Nuggets guard Jamal Murray made a free throw to put his team up by three over the Miami Heat with less than a second left when a Heat fan in a Dwyane Wade jersey ran on the court and stole the ball.

Despite all the confusion, security was able to grab the fan and escort him out of the game. The Florida man was arrested on misdemeanor charges of disorderly conduct and trespassing, although the charges have been dropped.

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