N.C. State's Scott Wood reacts after he was called for a flagrant foul during the second half of N.C. State's 86-75 loss to Indiana on Wednesday, Nov. 30, 2011, at the RBC Center. Staff photo by Ethan Hyman.
RALEIGH — Indiana guard Victor Oladipo was a step ahead of N.C. State's Scott Wood, with a clear path to the basket.
With his team down three points with less than 3 minutes to play, Wood played the percentages and sent Oladipo to the foul line, instead of ceding an easy basket.
Referee Earl Walton called a flagrant foul on Wood, giving the Hoosiers two free throws plus possession of the ball.
Wood's good intentions ended up stretching Indiana's lead to 76-70. N.C. State coach Mark Gottfried got into an animated discussion with Walton on State's next possession, needing to be held back by assistants Bobby Lutz and Jeff Dunlap.
"You always have to be careful with what you say but I thought Scott clearly went after the basketball," Gottfried said. "That one is a little bit frustrating for me."
John Clougherty, the head of ACC officials, said he reviewed the call Thursday morning and, like every official, Walton's performance would be reviewed and evaluated.
There are set guidelines for flagrant fouls, Clougherty said, but ultimately it's the judgment of the referee.
"They have to use some judgment, not everything is clear cut," Clougherty said Thursday. "That has always been part of the game and always will be."
In a slight change to NCAA terminology, the word "intentional" has been replaced by flagrant. There are now two types of flagrant fouls — flagrant 1 and flagrant 2.
Wood was whistled for a flagrant 1 foul, which gave Oladipo the free throws and Indiana the ball. A flagrant 2 foul is accompanied by an ejection and reserved for physical fouls and altercations, like a thrown punch or, as Clougherty put it, an "egregious" act.
The ESPN replay of Wood's foul, showed he did use two hands, which Walton could have interpreted as a "wrap-up" foul, which falls under the umbrella of a flagrant foul in the rule book.
The play started when Indiana's Will Sheehey tipped a C.J. Leslie pass, intended for DeShawn Painter in front of the N.C. State basket, to Oladipo.
Oladipo dribbled down the court when Wood caught him near the top of the key. Wood swiped at the ball with his right hand and the reached behind Oladipo's back with his other hand.
Walton, two steps to Wood's left, immediately crossed his wrists to signal the flagrant foul. Oladipo made only one of two free throws, but Indiana got the ball and Jordan Hulls got fouled on the in-bounds play and made both of his free throws.
Down 76-70, State scored the next five points. A goaltending call on a C.J. Williams layup at 2:03 gave the Wolfpack new life, after the debatable call.
Hulls ended State's last push, though, when he buried a 3-pointer with 1:38 left.
"That call didn't lose us the game, we did enough things to hurt ourselves," Gottfried said.