NORMAL — Redbird Nation was still seething Monday about a flagrant personal foul they deemed cost Illinois State’s basketball team a chance to beat Wichita State the night before.
Turns out they might be right … well, sort of.
ISU’s Jackie Carmichael was called for a Flagrant 1 personal foul with 40 seconds left that proved to be a turning point and helped the Shockers rally for a 68-67 victory. The Missouri Valley Conference office Monday didn’t dispute the call, but Commissioner Doug Elgin said officials David Hall, Gerry Pollard and Paul Janssen made a mistake in giving two free throws to Cleanthony Early instead of Tekele Cotton.
“The Missouri Valley Conference has disciplined the basketball game officials for their administration of awarded free throws in the final moments of the Wichita State-Illinois State game on Sunday night at Redbird Arena,” said Elgin in a statement.
“Following a monitor review with :40 remaining, the officiating crew assessed a Flagrant 1 (personal) to Illinois State’s Jackie Carmichael. The incorrect student-athlete from Wichita State shot the ensuing free throws.
“As with all officiating and personnel matters, discipline is being handled internally.”
Carmichael was called for kicking Cotton while coming down with a defensive rebound, although play was not stopped at the time. A Flagrant 1 is defined in the NCAA rulebook as “a personal foul that is deemed excessive in nature and/or unnecessary, but not based solely on the severity of the act.”
Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall requested the officials go to the replay monitor — which coaches are allowed to do — to see if a Flagrant 2 foul for illegal contact above an opponent’s shoulders occurred after the Shockers were called for a foul a couple seconds later.
The Shockers would have been charged a timeout if no call was determined after watching the replay. A Flagrant 1 personal was issued, but not a Flagrant 2 which could have resulted in Carmichael’s ejection.
Johnny Hill sank two free throws to give ISU a 67-60 lead. Early then stepped to the line and made both free throws resulting from Carmichael’s flagrant foul. However, Cotton should have been the shooter because he was the one fouled.
How big was that? Early came into the game shooting a team-high 80.9 percent at the line, while Cotton was at 58.6 percent.
Three-pointers by Demetric Williams and Early, sandwiched around a costly ISU turnover, gave the Shockers a stunning win and kept them in the Valley lead.
“I have not spoken to anyone in the Valley office. I exchanged some e-mails a little bit and may talk to someone today, but I did want to get some clarification on some of the rules of it,” said ISU’s Dan Muller during the Valley coaches’ teleconference Monday morning.
“It’s past us and we’re moving on to Evansville for the most part, but I want make sure I know exactly what’s going on going forward so I’m ready in those situations as much as anybody.”
ISU (16-11, 7-8) had its four-game winning streak snapped ahead of Wednesday’s game at Evansville. The Redbirds are tied with Evansville and Bradley for fifth place in the Valley with three games left. The top six teams avoid the play-in round at the Valley Tournament on March 7 in St. Louis.
The use of replays has soared this season in college basketball much to the chagrin of fans everywhere.
Valley coaches seemed split on officials going to the monitor when asked about it during Monday’s teleconference.
“If replay means getting the call accurate and right than I think we should have ability to use it,” said Creighton coach Greg McDermott.
However, McDermott said he doesn’t like the use of replay on flagrant fouls.
“The intent was to make sure there was not intentional flagrant swinging of the elbows where you clear someone intentionally and try to size someone up and let him have it,” he said. “I don’t think what has transpired and where this has gone is where us, as coaches, were hoping that it would go.”
Southern Illinois’ Barry Hinson said he also is a believer in using replay, as is Muller. Hinson watched the entire ISU-Wichita State game on television.
“I thought Jackie went up to get a rebound, kicked his legs out but not intentionally to hurt anybody,” he said. “The way it happened and the result then it becomes a judgment and a ruling. You have three officials and all three officials are good officials — as a matter of fact they’re not good, but great — they have a judgment call and they made it.
“It happened to be a very big call. It’s just part of the game.”
Ben Jacobson is in the coaching camp to do away with all replays.
“I’m not a fan of replay whether it’s college basketball or pro sports,” said the Northern Iowa coach. “I understand the day and age we live in and the availability of it and why we use it. I think you end up going to it so often it interrupts the flow of the game.”