Postgame brawl on court involves Utah Valley fans
(AP) — A wild brawl involving players and fans who came onto the court broke out when New Mexico State guard K.C. Ross-Miller hurled the ball at Utah Valley’s Holton Hunsaker seconds after the Wolverines’ 66-61 overtime victory against the Aggies on Thursday night.
Ross-Miller picked up the ball at midcourt and fired it at Hunsaker — the son of Utah Valley coach Dick Hunsaker — from close range, hitting him in the leg.
New Mexico State guard DK Eldridge was in the middle of the scrum before he was dragged away by Aggies coaches as order was restored.
“It was a very heated, emotional game and if any of my guys did anything that was out of line, they will be punished to the 10th degree,” New Mexico State coach Marvin Menzies said in an interview posted on the school’s website. “That may affect wins and losses, but they need to learn some life lessons after something like that. That is not going to happen in my program, and it’s just embarrassing.”
The fight immediately followed Utah Valley’s victory in the showdown of Western Athletic Conference co-leaders.
“I don’t know what exactly happened. I was kind of going over to shake hands,” Menzies said. “I want to apologize for K.C.’s actions. From what I understand, he threw the ball after the game was over and had expired. I don’t know what provoked it. I mean, Hunsaker’s a little chippy himself so he may have said something or done something, but you just can’t respond. I mean, we showed them plenty of clips where they do things that can get underneath your skin a little bit and you’ve got to be tougher than that mentally, and I’m just upset that he did that.”
Menzies initially indicated Ross-Miller wouldn’t play in the team’s next game Saturday at Bakersfield, but then said he needs to see video of the altercation before determining any discipline.
“I’ve got to look and see what happened,” Menzies said. “I don’t know what suspensions are going to come down. There’s going to be a lot of video to sort through on this. I think the game was over, so I don’t know (if) the coming-off-the-bench rule is applied. I think when their fans stormed the court I think it kind of ... convoluted things a little bit because some of the guys apparently said they felt threatened. Daniel (Mullings) said he actually got hit.”
Ben Aird scored 21 points and Keawe Enos made clutch free throws for Utah Valley.
Enos hit three free throws with 4 seconds left in regulation to force overtime and made four more in the last 11 seconds of the extra session. He finished with 11 points for the Wolverines (17-10, 11-3), and Zach Nelson added 10.
Mullings led the Aggies (21-9, 10-4) with 19 points and 10 rebounds. Sim Bhullar had 10 points, 14 rebounds and six blocks.
Utah Valley closed regulation with an 8-1 run over the last 2½ minutes.
Eldridge’s 3-pointer put New Mexico State up 56-55 with 3:26 left in overtime, but Utah Valley scored seven straight, four from Aird, who had six in overtime.