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.