Kentucky basketball suffered its second loss of the season on Wednesday, as a wild college basketball season that has been less-than-kind to top programs rages on. The Wildcats fell to Utah in Las Vegas, 69-66.
In a game that finishes within one possession, controversial individual plays stand out. Last night’s game featured one particularly awful flop by the Utes.
Trailing the Utes 58-48, Kentucky’s Kahlil Whitney drove to the hoop. Utah’s Riley Battin attempted to get set to draw a charge, caught maybe glancing contact, and slopped pretty spectacularly to draw a call.
Kentucky fans were outraged, and rightfully so.
Flop of the Year. How is it possible that officials fall for this? Be better.
This is not defense. pic.twitter.com/bx4sLFuyj7
— Rob Dauster (@RobDauster) December 19, 2019
ESPN’s Jay Bilas, the network’s top college basketball analyst and a pretty vocal critic of things like this, had a pretty comical suggestion for changing the charge rule for referees:
The only way to stop flopping and the epidemic of officials calling charges is to change the signal for a charge. Instead of the aggressive “air punch,” officials should be mandated to get in “downward facing dog” to signal a charge. That’ll stop it. https://t.co/rfoiN4Q25m
— Jay Bilas (@JayBilas) December 19, 2019
There are definitely some refs that seem way into the “aggressive air punch.”
Kentucky, ranked No. 6 entering the game, finished the game on a run. UK finished on an 18-11 run and tied things up at 66 at one point, but Utah managed to shut them out for the last 1:43 and score enough to win the game.
Tyrese Maxey and Ashton Hagans led the way for the Wildcats, with 18 and 16 points a piece. Utah’s Timmy Allen led all scorers with 25, but it was a balanced effort, with four of the Utes’ five starters going for double digits.