Conference Tournaments are always memorable because teams are fighting to make the NCAA Tournament. The competition is especially fierce in one-bid leagues, where the winner of the conference tournament heads to the Big Dance. Players will go the extra mile to get the win, including flopping for a call.
Liberty’s Scottie James had just put the Flames ahead, 65-64, with less than 2:20 left in the game when he tried to draw the flagrant foul. While he was trying to get up and go back on defense, James was elbowed in the face by Lipscomb’s Roy Marberry. The Liberty forward tried to sell the call by jumping back wildly from the elbow.
The referees reviewed the play because contact was made in the head or neck area. Marberry’s contact with James could be classified as incidental, but the Lipscomb forward ran straight toward the Liberty player when he was running up the court. The ball was not even in play yet, so contact between two players is completely unnecessary.
James overreacted by flinging himself backward after the play, but he should not have been hit in the first place. The referees decided to not give Marberry a flagrant foul because James embellished the contact, despite the foul having nothing to do with basketball. Marberry’s foul fit the description of a flagrant foul, but the referees deemed that James’ flop did not warrant a flagrant foul.
The non-flagrant foul call did not have a big impact on the game as Liberty pulled off the upset, winning 74-68. James was the Flames’ best player as he scored 17 points and grabbed eight rebounds. Marberry had a solid game too as he scored 18 points on 9-14 shooting. Liberty will relax until Selection Sunday with the automatic bid in hand, while Lipscomb will have to sweat it out as an at-large contender.