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Should Oscar Tshiebwe have been ejected for his hit on Makhel Mitchell?

Kentucky very nearly lost Oscar Tshiebwe in the first half vs. Arkansas.

NCAA Basketball: Kentucky at Arkansas Nelson Chenault-USA TODAY Sports

Somehow, someway, the Cason Wallace-less Kentucky Wildcats went into Fayetteville and scored an 88-79 win over the Arkansas Razorbacks.

This game was an absolute war for 40 minutes. Both teams were very physical and combined to shoot 67 free throws, Two Wildcats fouled out in Oscar Tshiebwe and Daimion Collins, the latter logging just six minutes on the day.

Tshiebwe, meanwhile, had a solid outing with 12 points on 5/11 shooting while grabbing a game-high 15 rebounds and finishing with a +/- of 10, tied with Chris Livingston for the second-best in the game. The senior forward played 26 minutes and fouled out with just under five minutes to play in regulation.

It’s safe to say Kentucky probably loses today without Tshiebwe. That nearly happened in the game’s opening minutes when the referees stopped play following a physical battle in the paint between Tshiebwe and Hogs senior forward Makhel Mitchell.

The refs then went to the video monitor, and the replay showed Tshiebwe clearly swung his elbow into Mitchell. After reviewing the play, the refs assessed Tshiebwe with a technical foul, so he was allowed to remain in the game.

Mitchell was hit with a personal foul, and Arkansas guard Anthony Black was assessed a technical foul.

That was important for two reasons:

  1. It was arguably a Flagrant 2 foul, which carries an automatic ejection.
  2. It wasn’t even ruled a Flagrant 1. Two F1s is an automatic ejection, and Tshiebwe picked up an F1 late in the first half in a scuffle with Kamani Johnson. So had the scuffle with Mitchell been an F1, that hit on Johnson would have led to Tshiebwe being ejected.

The best part was Mitchell attempting to sell the call by using an ice pack, except he put it on the wrong side of his face...

Whatever the case is, Kentucky got a badly-needed win following Wednesday’s Senior Night debacle vs. Vanderbilt. That gave the Cats the 3-seed in next week’s SEC Tournament, and they figure to be a top-eight seed in the NCAA Tournament.

So, what say you? Should Oscar Tshiebwe have been hit with an F2 vs. Makhel Mitchell? Maybe just an F1? Sound off in the comments section!

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