Seton Hall suffered what can only be described as a meltdown on Friday to lose to Arkansas in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.
With just under a minute remaining, Arkansas took a 72-71 lead over Seton Hall. Seton Hall missed a shot on the other end, but collected their own rebound with 40 seconds to play, setting up a chance to re-take the lead.
However, while running a pick-and-roll, junior guard Khadeen Carrington was called for a travel in a poorly executed play. Arkansas got the ball back with 24 seconds remaining, forcing Seton Hall to foul to stop the clock, then play the free throw game.
However, in going to foul Arkansas, junior forward Desi Rodriguez made hard contact with Arkansas’ Jaylen Bradford. Bradford tripped and hit the ground hard. After a review, the referees called it a flagrant foul.
The ruling was absolutely brutal for Seton Hall. Arkansas was awarded two free throws and the ball. Bradford hit both free throws to put Arkansas up three. Seton Hall then fouled again, and Arkansas junior guard Daryl Macon hit one of two free throws to put them up four. Seton Hall was unable to hit a shot on the other end and were forced to foul again, essentially ending the game.
Afterward, the sports world was in arms over the flagrant foul call.
Arkansas wins … after an absolutely brutal flagrant foul call late goes against Seton Hall.
— Nicole Auerbach (@NicoleAuerbach) March 17, 2017
If I’m Kevin Willard, I’m probably getting fined during my postgame press conference.
— Michael Beller (@MBeller) March 17, 2017
I admire college coaches for almost never getting ejected. The officiating is often so bad & margins so tight in single elimination.
— Brian Windhorst (@WindhorstESPN) March 17, 2017
Seton Hall lost this game all on their own but that was a rough flagrant call. Kid appeared to trip on his own feet after the contact
— Brian Geltzeiler (@hoopscritic) March 17, 2017
While Seton Hall did in fact blow an eight-point lead, and the travel by Carrington was a costly turnover, they were still very much in the game prior to the flagrant foul call.
Unfortunately, for Seton Hall, one of the more compelling early games of the tournament was decided by some questionable officiating.