Duke fell on the road at Virginia Tech 78-75 on Monday night in controversial fashion after a lengthy review of a potential flagrant foul ultimately led to a no-call. The incident came with 13 seconds left in the game after Michael Collins Jr. made a go-ahead basket for the Hokies. As he turned around in excitement, Collins appeared to fist pump right into the throat of Duke big man Kyle Filipowski.
Collins’ punch triggered a lengthy booth review by the officiating crew, which ultimately decided not to call a Flagrant 1 or Flagrant 2 foul. Duke missed its would-be go-ahead basket moments later and surrendered another free throw in the eventual 3-point loss.
“Yeah, he just elbowed me right in my Adam’s apple,” Filipowski said postgame. “I couldn’t breathe for a minute, but I just needed to throw up and I was good.”
Flagrant 1 fouls are by definition “excessive in nature or unnecessary or avoidable, uncalled for or not required by the circumstances of the play,” according to the NCAA rulebook. A Flagrant 1, which seems to fit the very definition of the incident given that there is no language for intent, would have resulted in two free throws for Duke and possession.
Flagrant 2 fouls are “brutal, harsh or cruel or dangerous or punishing.” A Flagrant 2 foul would have sent Duke to the line for two foul shots and rewarded it with possession. Collins, who hit the basket and later hit the game-sealing free throw, also would have been ejected from the game.
Collins probably didn’t mean to strike Filipowski in celebration, but there doesn’t need to be intent to call a Flagrant 1. Given the situation, the review and the point differential, the Hokies may have gotten away with one.