ESPN.com’s Myron Medcalf, like all college basketball fans with eyeballs and a brain, did not agree with the officials’ decision to hand PJ Washington a Flagrant 1 foul in the closing minutes of Kentucky’s game at Auburn last week. He too saw that Washington was only making a play on the ball, and though it was unfortunate that Horace Spencer’s head was split open on the play, it wasn’t anything more than a hard foul followed by a bad fall.
Medcalf wrote about the play on Monday in his “What’s real, what’s fake, and who should really be No. 1?” column on ESPN’s college basketball page.
It was “one of those calls that they can’t miss,” he says:
Real: Kentucky-Auburn finish altered by questionable flagrant call
With 1:53 remaining in a five-point game, Kentucky’s PJ Washington tried to block a dunk attempt by Auburn’s Horace Spencer. Washington was going for the ball but he got still hit with a flagrant 1, largely because Spencer landed awkwardly, cut himself and got up with blood pouring from his face. It was a call that did not fit the NCAA rulebook’s description of a flagrant 1. “A flagrant 1 personal foul is a personal foul that is deemed excessive in nature and/or unnecessary, but is not based solely on the severity of the act.” Nothing about Washington’s play was excessive.
A minute after the call, Jared Harper hit a 3-pointer to give Auburn a one-point lead with 32 seconds to play. The flagrant 1 call had shifted the momentum. Kentucky held on to win, but plays like that shouldn’t affect outcomes.
Officials have difficult jobs. They won’t get every call right. But that’s one of those calls that they can’t miss. [ESPN.com]
At least it wasn’t as bad as the no-call in the NFC Championship. I can’t imagine the pain Saints fans feel today.