When Conference USA-leading Memphis meets second place Southern Mississippi on Saturday for the first time this season, the Tigers may have to play without one of their most imposing big men.
Referees ejected freshman Shaq Goodwin and assessed him a Flagrant 2 foul Wednesday night after he sent guard Jalen Jones sprawling to the ground late in the second half of Memphis' 60-52 victory at SMU. Goodwin was trying to prevent Jones from scoring a fast-break layup, but he caught the SMU guard squarely in the face with his right arm, knocking him back-first to the ground.
Conference USA officials will review the play Thursday to determine if the call should be reduced to a Flagrant 1 foul or upheld as a Flagrant 2 foul, which would carry an automatic one-game suspension. The difference between the two would appear to center on whether Goodwin was making a legitimate play on the ball or not.
According to the current NCAA rule book, a Flagrant 1 foul is assessed to a player "causing excessive contact with an opponent while playing the ball." A Flagrant 2 foul is assessed to a player after "a personal foul that involves contact with an opponent that is not only excessive, but also severe or extreme."
Memphis coach Josh Pastner lobbied after the game for the call to be reduced, telling Fox 13 in Memphis that he believes Goodwin should be able to play at Southern Mississsippi.
"I believe it should be down to a Flagrant 1 because he made a play on the ball," Pastner said. "It wasn't a fight. He didn't throw a punch or an elbow. It was just a good, hard basketball play."
The absence of Goodwin on Saturday would be a blow to a Memphis team that cannot slip up often in Conference USA play if it wants to remain in contention for an at-large NCAA tournament bid.
Goodwin had scored in double figures six of his last eight games prior to Wednesday night, increasing his season averages to 8.6 points and 5.4 rebounds. If the 6-foot-9 freshman cannot play, it will mean an increased role for veteran forward Tarik Black, a starter at the beginning of the season who has been in Pastner's doghouse lately.
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