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Controversial Flagrant 1 foul helps No. 8 seed Arkansas past No. 9 seed Seton Hall

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Turnovers and a late Flagrant 1 foul played a huge factor in the end as No. 8 seed Arkansas outlasted No. 9 seed Seton Hall, 77-71, on Friday afternoon during a first-round game in the South Region.

In a back-and-forth game in the final minutes, the Pirates committed two timely turnovers among 15 for the game as the Razorbacks capitalized with baskets off of both of them.

But the story of the game is a controversial Flagrant 1 foul called on Seton Hall’s Desi Rodriguez with 18 seconds left. With Seton Hall trailing by a point with under 30 seconds left, Rodriguez was attempting to quickly foul Arkansas’ Jaylen Barford to extend the game and send him to the free-throw line. Barford tripped over the foot of Rodriguez and tumbled to the floor as a foul was whistled, but the trip appeared to be incidental contact and not an intentional act by Rodriguez.

Referees went to the monitors and ruled it a Flagrant 1 on Rodriguez as Barford canned both free throws to make it a three-point Arkansas lead with 18 seconds left. After another Seton Hall foul, the Razorbacks split a pair of free throws to score three points on the trip to make it a two-possession game.

Here’s the Flagrant 1 that changed the course of the game.

The call on Rodriguez was later clarified during the NCAA Tournament studio show by NCAA National Coordinator of Men’s Basketball Officiating J.D. Collins as he explained the reasons the officials would make the Flagrant 1 call.

While Seton Hall has plenty to complain about with regards to this controversial call, they also have themselves to blame for turnovers in untimely situations. Khadeen Carrington had back-to-back turnovers that ended up being costly for Seton Hall in the final minute and their offense also sputtered for a long period of time down the stretch.

Seton Hall had plenty of chances to put away Arkansas but they could never put it out of reach. But the Flagrant 1 call also didn’t even give the Pirates a chance to tie when they deserved at least that much of a chance. This was a one-possession game for over five minutes until that Flagrant 1 possession pushed it to a four-point Arkansas lead.

The Pirates did plenty to squander opportunities down the stretch but Arkansas also deserves credit for a strong game.

Moses Kingsley had a huge day inside for the Razorbacks (26-9) as the senior big man had 23 points and six rebounds while Barford (20 points) had a key steal on Carrington and his go-ahead bucket with under a minute left was a huge play.

Dusty Hannahs also added 14 points for Arkansas while Dustin Thomas finished with 13 points.

Seton Hall (21-12) had a lot of momentum in the second half with an 18-5 run over a four-minute span but they squandered an eight-point lead. Carrington finished with 22 points while big man Angel Delgado added another double-double with 12 points and 12 rebounds. Madison Jones scored 11 points for the Pirates while Myles Powell and Rodriguez each added 10 points for the Pirates.

Arkansas advances to face the winner of No. 1 seed North Carolina and No. 16 seed Texas Southern on Sunday in the second round.

Kentucky blows out Arkansas to claim SEC Tournament title

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Kentucky continued to look like one of the hottest teams in the country entering the NCAA tournament as the Wildcats rolled past Arkansas, 82-65, on Sunday afternoon to claim the SEC Tournament title.

Claiming the autobid from the SEC, the Wildcats (29-5) looked every bit like a national championship contender on Sunday as they extended their winning streak to 11 games by thoroughly outplaying Arkansas.

Continuing his strong recent play, freshman De’Aaron Fox paced Kentucky with 18 points while freshmen Bam Adebayo and Malik Monk had 17 points each. Senior Dominique Hawkins added 14 points as well in some solid bench minutes for Kentucky. A likely No. 2 seed in the 2017 NCAA tournament, Kentucky is going to be the type of team that no No. 1 seed wants to see on the other side of the bracket.

Playing as well as they have all season, Kentucky is getting great recent play from Fox and we know what Monk is capable of if he gets rolling. If Fox and Monk are playing this well then they have a chance to help carry Kentucky to a title as long as players like Adebayo and Derek Willis keep contributing in the front court.

Arkansas (25-9) was led by guard Daryl Macon with 18 points while Dusty Hannahs (14 points) and Jaylen Barford (13 points) also finished in double-figures. The Razorbacks tried to stay in this one but it was tough to mount any kind of momentum thanks to shooting only 22 percent (4-for-18) from three-point range.

Things got dicey in the final minutes for the Razorbacks in this one as senior Moses Kingsley was ejected with a flagrant 2 foul after aggressively fouling Fox with multiple hands to the face as he drove to the basket.

We’ll likely see the committee put Arkansas as an 8-through-11 seed as the Razorbacks have been playing pretty solid down the stretch but this was not a great effort against an elite team. While Arkansas could win their first game, it is difficult seeing them beating a top-tier team in the second round since they don’t have a top-25 win all season.

Arkansas lands 2018 forward to secure commitments from entire starting five of local AAU team

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Arkansas has protected its home territory well with younger players as the Razorbacks landed another quality pledge on Monday.

Four-star forward Ethan Henderson decided to commit to Arkansas as he announced his decision on Twitter.

Not only is Henderson a top-100 player in the Class of 2018, but he gives Arkansas four commitments in the Class of 2018 — and commitments from the entire starting five of the Arkansas Hawks 16U team.

Henderson is joined in the Class of 2018 by four-star forward Reggie Perry, three-star guard Desi Sills and three-star guard Isaiah Joe. Class of 2019 in-state guard Justice Hill, the other starter on that Arkansas Hawks team, is also pledged to the Razorbacks. Having commitments from five starters from the same AAU program is unprecedented in recruiting — especially when most college programs don’t have four commitments from the Class of 2017 yet.

Regarded as the No. 85 overall prospect in the Class of 2018, according to Rivals, Henderson is a nice fit for what head coach Mike Anderson wants to do as he moves well and rebounds at a high level.

With Anderson sitting on the hot seat due to a lack of NCAA tournament appearances, it’ll be interesting to see if this jump in recruiting helps with his job security. Obviously, winning and making postseason appearances is vital to Anderson retaining his job, but it will make the Arkansas athletic department think a little bit harder if they need to make a decision. Henderson and Perry are legitimate top-100 prospects and the Hawks have been one of the most successful AAU teams at that age group in the country the last few years so owning commitments from all of them certainly doesn’t hurt.

Arkansas gets commitment from four-star 2018 forward Reggie Perry

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Arkansas continued its recent recruiting momentum on Wednesday as four-star Class of 2018 forward Reggie Perry pledged to the Razorbacks with an announcement on Twitter.

The 6-foot-8 Perry is regarded as the No. 73 overall prospect in the country in the Rivals Class of 2018 national rankings. He becomes the second Arkansas commitment in the Class of 2018 after in-state, three-star guard Isaiah Joe.

Although head coach Mike Anderson has struggled for success that has led for some to put him on the hot seat, he’s recruiting at a high level right now.

Arkansas has three in-state commitments in the Class of 2017, headlined by a top-40 big man in Daniel Gafford. That class is considered top 10 in the country right now and the Razorbacks now have two commitments in the Class of 2018, including Perry.

Anderson has missed the NCAA tournament in four of five years at Arkansas, but if this year’s team showed progress with the kind of recruiting that he has coming in, would it be enough to keep his job? The Razorbacks are hoping to be successful enough to not answer that question, but Arkansas does have a decent future if all of these commitments ends up on campus.

Arkansas forward Kingsley withdraws name from NBA Draft

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Arkansas received some good news Monday afternoon, as junior power forward Moses Kingsley announced that he will withdraw his name from the NBA Draft and return to Fayetteville for his senior season. After playing sparingly in his first two seasons Kingsley took a major step forward in the Razorbacks’ first season without Bobby Portis, averaging 15.9 points, 9.3 rebounds and 2.4 blocks in 29.5 minutes per game.

Kingsley earned second team All-SEC and All-Defensive team honors as a result of his junior season, and in 2016-17 he’ll be the leader of a front court that should be better than it was this past season. Junior college all-american Arlando Cook joins the program, and Colorado transfer Dustin Thomas will be eligible to compete as well.

Rounding out the front court rotation will be redshirt sophomore Trey Thompson and incoming freshman Adrio Bailey, with the 6-foot-9 Thompson looking to improve upon the 3.1 points and 4.3 rebounds he averaged in 17 minutes per game last season.

LATE NIGHT SNACKS: Another ranked team, No. 5 Texas A&M, falls

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GAME OF THE NIGHT: Maine 105, Hartford 100 (OT)

The Black Bears surpassed their conference win total from a season ago Wednesday night, moving to 3-4 in America East play with a five-point overtime win at Hartford (they went 2-14 in league play last season). Aaron Calixte scored 23 points and Till Gloger 22 to lead the way for Bob Walsh’s team, with Hartford’s Pancake Thomas leading all scorers with 29 points. Trailing by seven with 2:10 remaining in overtime, Maine went on a 12-0 run to grab control of the game.

IMPORTANT OUTCOMES

Arkansas 74, No. 5 Texas A&M 71: The Razorbacks picked up a nice win at home, holding off the Aggies who suffered their first loss in SEC play. Anthlon Bell and Dusty Hannahs scored 17 apiece and Moses Kingsley posted a double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds on the night for the winners. As for the Aggies, despite Danuel House scoring 24 they were out of character for most of the game and that cost them in the end.

Clemson 73, Pittsburgh 60: The Tigers finished off what at first glance appeared to be an arduous five-game stretch with a 13-point win over the Panthers, going 4-1 with the lone defeat coming at Virginia. Jaron Blossomgame scored 22 points to lead four Clemson players in double figures, and defensively they limited Pitt to 38.2 percent shooting.

But here’s the question to be asked in the aftermath of this game: should there be concern over Pittsburgh’s résumé? Their best non-conference win came over Davidson, and their best ACC wins came against Syracuse (sans Jim Boeheim) and Notre Dame. That three-game stretch of Virginia (2/6), at Miami (2/9) and at North Carolina (2/14) looms large for Jamie Dixon’s team as a result.

No. 20 Kentucky 88, Missouri 54: Beating a bad Mizzou team like they stole something isn’t all that noteworthy. But the performances of Derek Willis and Skal Labissiere are noteworthy for Kentucky, especially when considering their chances of winning the SEC and playing deep into march. Labissiere didn’t grab a rebound, but in 18 minutes he accounted for 12 points and five blocks. As for Willis, he continued his run of good play by scoring 18 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. Over the last four games the junior’s averaging 12.3 points and 10.0 rebounds per game. If he can continue on that path, and Labissiere become a more consistent contributor, the Wildcats will be a far more dangerous team.

STARRED

Josh Adeyeye, Jacksonville: 35 points, shooting 13-for-21 from the field, and eight rebounds in the Dolphins’ 78-69 win at FGCU.

Keon Johnson, Winthrop: Johnson shot 10-for-13 from three, scoring 36 points, in the Eagles’ 97-72 win over Charleston Southern.

Patrick McCaw, UNLV: 25 points, shooting 8-for-11 from the field, four rebounds, four assists and five steals in the Runnin’ Rebels’ 87-77 win over Boise State.

STRUGGLED

Mike Crawford and Jermaine Bishop, Saint Louis: Crawford and Bishop combined to shoot 3-for-20 from the field in the Billikens’ blowout loss at Dayton. As a team SLU shot 3-for-24 from three and 27.3 percent from the field.

Kareem Canty, Auburn: Canty struggled in a loss at Ole Miss, scoring eight points on 3-for-14 shooting from the field.

Wes Clark, Missouri: Clark scored 11 points in the Tigers’ loss at No. 20 Kentucky, but he did so on 3-for-16 shooting.

THE REST OF THE TOP 25

  • Damion Lee (29) and Trey Lewis (22) combined to score 51 points as No. 16 Louisville won 91-83 at Virginia Tech. As a team the Cardinals shot 12-for-18 from three and 52.9 percent from the field. Jalen Hudson (27) and Seth Allen (26) combined to score 53 for the Hokies, but their efforts were not enough.
  • No. 17 Baylor trailed by as much as 12 in the first half before coming back to beat Oklahoma State 69-65 in Stillwater. Taurean Prince scored 17 points and Rico Gathers Sr. added 16 points and nine boards for the Bears, who racked up 13 steals thanks in large part to increased activity in their 1-1-3 zone defense.
  • No. 21 Purdue, playing without injured forward Caleb Swanigan (ankle), held off Minnesota to win 68-64 at The Barn. Vince Edwards scored 24 points and grabbed eight rebounds to lead the way, with A.J. Hammons adding 16 points and eight boards.
  • No. 22 Wichita State has now won ten straight games, as they beat Loyola (Chicago) 80-54. Six Shockers scored at least eight points, with Shaquille Morris’ 12 leading the way, and Gregg Marshall’s team shot 53.8 percent from the field. By comparison, the Ramblers made just 39.2 percent of their field goals.

OTHER NOTABLE RESULTS

  • Coastal Carolina beat UNC Asheville 68-66 in overtime, dropping the Bulldogs into a three-way tie atop the Big South. UNC Asheville is now tied with High Point and Winthrop at 7-3, with those two picking up wins Wednesday night.
  • Three days after handing No. 13 SMU its first defeat, Temple did some harm to its résumé with a 64-61 loss at East Carolina. Prince Williams led three Pirates in double figures with 18 points.
  • Keep an eye on Saint Joseph’s in the A-10. The Hawks have now won six straight and 13 of their last 14 after beating UMass 78-70 in Philadelphia. Isaiah Miles, one of the nation’s most improved players, went for 27 and 12 in the win.
  • Also a game behind 7-0 VCU in the loss column is Dayton, which moved to 7-1 in the A-10 with a 73-37 win over Saint Louis. Kendall Pollard and Dyshawn Pierre combined for 30 points and 16 boards.
  • Navy’s six-game win streak came to an end, as the Midshipmen fell 63-58 at American to fall to 6-2 in Patriot League play. Bucknell, which was off Wednesday night, remains in first with an 8-1 record.
  • Josh Adeyeye went off for 35 points to lead Jacksonville to a 78-69 win at FGCU. Those two teams are now tied for second in the A-Sun with 4-2 record, with reigning champion North Florida (6-0) now having a two-game lead.
  • Seton Hall took care of business against St. John’s beating the Red Storm 79-60. That result won’t make waves, but that’s better than suffering a loss that can do some serious damage to a team’s tournament credentials.
  • Also in that category in the Big East is Butler, which beat DePaul 67-53. All three of the Bulldogs’ conference wins have come against the Blue Demons (twice) and St. John’s.
  • Duncan Robinson led four in double figures with 18 points as Michigan beat Rutgers 68-57 in Ann Arbor.
  • Georgia Tech went on the road and beat NC State 90-83, despite Cat Barber scoring a game-high 36 points. Three Yellow Jackets scored at least 20 points, with Marcus Georges-Hunt tallying 26.
  • Colorado moved to 5-3 in the Pac-12 with a 91-75 win over Stanford in Boulder. George King scored 23 points off the bench and Josh Fortune added 21 for the Buffaloes.
  • UC Irvine remained undefeated in Big West play with a 73-63 win at CSUN. The Anteaters are now 17-5 overall, which represents their best start to a season since 2000-01.
  • Jakob Poeltl scored 21 points and grabbed nine boards and Brandon Taylor and Kyle Kuzma added 15 apiece as Utah beat California 73-64. The Golden Bears are now 1-7 away from Haas Pavilion this season.
  • When Patrick McCaw plays well, so does UNLV. The sophomore dropped 25 on Boise State as the Runnin’ Rebels won 87-77. Stephen Zimmerman Jr. added 18 and eight boards and Derrick Jones Jr. 17 for UNLV, which is now 4-1 under interim head coach Todd Simon.