In this edition of Play-by-Play Theater, we investigate how long a team can possibly go without committing a foul. Let’s face it, committing fouls can be fun. Just ask Texas Tech! As with eating candy, it’s quite difficult to go long periods without just hammering an opposing player trying to advance the basketball towards the basket.

Last Thursday, New Mexico State did not commit a foul between the 2:25 mark of the first half to the 6:24 mark of the second half, a span of 16:01. Tweeter @wothism thought that might be some sort of record
Well, our tweeter mistakenly thought the foul-free stretch was longer than it was, but even had it been 18:48 it still would not have cracked the top ten in my play-by-play database.

There have been 16 cases of a team going at least 20 minutes without committing a foul in the 15,066 games for which I have data over the past three seasons. The record-setting occurrence took place on March 7, 2011. The site of this incredible feat of restraint was Webster Bank Arena in the title game of the Spark Energy MAAC Championship.

The combatants were the fourth-seeded Saint Peter’s Peacocks and the second-seeded Iona Gaels. Only, the Gaels spent a long time not engaging in combat. At 11:44 of the first half, Kyle Smith committed Iona’s third, and last, team foul of the first half. The Gaels kept it rolling after the break, not picking up their first foul of the second half until Rashon Dwight’s infraction with 8:02 left. In total, there was a whopping 23:42 of game time between whistles against Iona. Take a bow, Gaels. The bad part is that Iona was outscored 28-23 over that time and saw a four-point deficit grow to nine. They would ultimately get upset and fall 62-57. (PBP)

Coincidentally, Prairie View made a run at the record on Monday against Grambling, going from 9:04 in the first half to 6:16 in the second half between fouls. The Panthers committed just eight fouls in the entire contest enroute to the easy win over the nation’s worst offense. Definitely no need to send Grambling to the line.

Here are the five longest foul-free streaks over the past three seasons…

03/07/11 23:42 Iona vs. Saint Peter's
02/13/12 22:48 Prairie View vs. Grambling
12/17/10 22:09 Ohio State vs. Tennessee Martin 
03/10/11 21:49 Penn State vs. Indiana
02/05/11 21:47 San Diego State vs. TCU