8 vs. 9 seed games are among the most exciting matchups in the opening round of the NCAA Tournament. This fact held up Friday as the Seton Hall Pirates hit the court for their Round of 64 meeting with the Arkansas Razorbacks on the court in Greenville, South Carolina.
The Pirates, who were seeking their first win in the tournament since 2004, came up against a high-powered Hogs team that had the fury of 40 minutes of hell in their eyes and the play to match it.
That hope for Seton Hall will have to wait another season as Arkansas moves on to the next round by a score of 77-71 thank in part to an uptick in play in the final ten minutes of the game and some interesting circumstances in the final minutes of the game.
Those aforementioned circumstances in the final minutes of play involved the following: Khadeen Carrington getting called for a travel at a bad time for the Pirates as they were trying to tip momentum at a moment when the scoreline was 72-71 with the Razorbacks in the lead. And then Arkansas had possession of the ball, with Jaylen Barford moving towards the basket (Not before a travel could have arguably been called).
Desi Rodriguez was moving towards Barford at a fast pace that ended with him fouling Barford in a hard motion. The resulting foul was charged as a Flagrant 1 by the referees.
In looking at the play, it does appear that Rodriguez does not make an attempt at the ball on the foul, but the more focal factor in the foul is that it more or less sealed the deal for Arkansas.
It’s a shame in a way as the game as entertaining from beginning to end with fast break end to end action, and had the feeling of if you blinked you may have missed more than just one sequence of play.
Seton Hall played off the park for the much of the game as well going tit for tat with Arkansas over the duration of the game, or at least up until the final sequences of play. Carrington, aside from his foibles in the final minutes of play, had a stellar game today with 22 points on 8-of-17 shooting. Joining his efforts was a group of Angel Delgado, who once again had a double-double day of 12 points and 12 rebounds plying his trade underneath the basket.
Madison Jones posted 11 points, Myles Powell in the role of sole bench option posted 10 points, and rounding things out Desi Rodriguez had a 10-point day though his actions in the final minutes of the game and the resulting discussions most likely have clouded the discussion of his level of play for most of the duration of the game.
As a team, the Pirates shot the ball at a rate of 37.7 percent from the floor, 35.3 Percent from 3-point range, and 61.9 percent from the foul line. They outrebounded the Razorbacks 46-32. Delgado was the sole person to foul out this game.
As for Arkansas, Moses Kingsley was on point for much the game and had the feeling that every time he touched the ball he would score. Kingsley posted a game-high 23 points on 10-of-13 shooting and led the way in blocks as well with four.
Joining his efforts was the aforementioned Barford who posted 20 points, though much like Rodriguez, will most likely get clouded due the actions later on in the game. Dusty Hannahs had a 14-point effort and Dustin Thomas chipped in 13. This win by Arkansas was their first win the NCAA Tournament since 2008.