Originally created 03/14/03

Verbal exchange bothers Arkansas



NEW ORLEANS - What's the Southeastern Conference without a controversy?

Thursday's controversy began on the court, where Louisiana State coach John Brady and Arkansas guard Eric Ferguson engaged in a verbal spat during the second half of the Tigers' 85-56 romp over the Razorbacks.

It continued in a corridor after the game, when Brady and Razorbacks coach Stan Heath had a brief argument that seemed to upset Heath.

"Something I heard is not something I'm real comfortable with right now," Heath said.

According to observers who witnessed the exchange between Brady and Ferguson, Brady told official John Clougherty to throw Ferguson out of the game. Ferguson responded by yelling an obscenity toward Brady. Brady turned around and asked Ferguson to repeat what he said, and Ferguson complied.

Ferguson was promptly ejected from the game.

"It speaks for itself what went on," Brady said. "The official was right there. He knew what went on. He made the right call."

Heath said Brady didn't make the right decision by arguing with his player.

"I'm not going to try to coach somebody else's team," he said. "I'm going to talk to some other people about it."

SAD ENDING: South Carolina swingman Chuck Eidson seldom reveals much emotion publicly, but that changed after the Gamecocks' season-ending 62-56 loss to Mississippi.

Eidson was asked in the postgame news conference how it felt for his senior season to end in the first round of the SEC Tournament.

"It's not real good," Eidson said before coach Dave Odom slapped the back of his head and said, "Tell them how you feel, boy."

With that, tears welled up in Eidson's eyes and he said, "It's hard," before lowering his head and sobbing.

RIVALRY REVELRY: Mississippi and Mississippi State have never faced each other in the SEC Tournament, but that will change when the bitter rivals meet at noon today.

Although Rebels coach Rod Barnes said he won't attach any significance to the moment, he seems confident his team will be able to give the Bulldogs a game.

Mississippi State, the top seed in the SEC West, nudged Mississippi by a combined five points in their two meetings this season - 68-64 in overtime Feb. 15 in Starkville, Miss., and 58-57 in Oxford on Jan. 29.

"We've played them really well and it's been a tight game," Barnes said. That is good, because we feel like we can match up pretty well with them."

Reach Larry Williams at (706) 823-3645 or larry.williams@augustachronicle.com