By ABC-7 Web Producer Leonard Martinez
The New Mexico State Aggies got into a massive brawl with Utah Valley and UV's fans on Thursday.
After losing the game 66-61 in Orem, Utah, NMSU guard K.C. Ross-Miller threw the ball at a Utah Valley player seconds after the game.
Fans had rushed the court to celebrate the victory and then the fight ensued.
The coaches tried to stop the fight but with no luck.
NMSU coach Marvin Menzies, in a post game interview posted on NMSU's website, said he didn't see Ross-Miller throw the ball at Utah Valley's Holton Hunsaker.
"I don’t know what provoked it," Menzies said in the post game interview. "Hunsaker's a little chippy himself, but you can't respond. We showed them plenty of clips where they do things that can get underneath your skin a little bit and you have to be tougher than that, mentally. I'm just upset that he did that."
The NMSU fight was one of the top trending stories on Facebook Friday morning, according to the site's trending tracker.
Menzies released the following statement Friday morning:
"After reviewing the tape of the game and the events that immediately followed, a decision has been made to immediately suspend KC Ross-Miller. No matter what provoked KC what he did was inexcusable and hence the suspension. It is an honor and a privilege to wear an Aggie uniform and a responsibility comes with that privilege. I will wait until I've had a chance to talk with our conference officials and university administration before any other disciplinary actions may or may not be taken. My initial assessment is that we're looking at two separate components, one being KC throwing the ball at Hunsaker and the other being the altercation between the players and the fans who rushed the floor. I would like to commend my staff for their immediate reaction to engage our players and remove them from the floor. We are currently reviewing several sources of video to accurately assess the situation. Obviously this was a very unfortunate incident and I'm hopeful that we can learn from it moving forward.”
Western Athletic Conference Commissioner Jeff Hurd on Friday afternoon announced that Ross-Miller was suspended two games and Renaldo Dixon suspended one game as a result of a violation of the WAC's sportsmanship policy in the Utah Valley game.
“There obviously is no place in the Western Athletic Conference or intercollegiate athletics as a whole for the unfortunate events that took place at the conclusion of Thursday night’s game,” said Hurd. “And I appreciate the excellent cooperation that I have received from both institutions in my review of what occurred.”
“While the suspensions handed down are appropriate for the actions of the involved student-athletes, there will be a continued review of other incidents that occurred as a result of fans rushing the court. There are obvious safety and security issues that need to be addressed, and I also have requested additional games management information from Utah Valley University.
“Finally, the situation could have been much worse if it had not been for outstanding effort of both the New Mexico State and Utah Valley coaching staffs. They were instrumental in separating their student-athletes from what could have been an even uglier situation.”
Ross-Miller's two-game suspension will include the March 1 game at Bakersfield and the March 6 contest against Grand Canyon. Dixon's suspension will include the March 1 game at Bakersfield.
NMSU falls to 21-9 overall and 10-4 in Western Athletic Conference play and the Utah Valley Wolverines move into first place in the league standings at 11-3, while moving to 17-10 on the season.
NMSU heads to Bakersfield, Calif. to take on the Bakersfield Roadrunners, Saturday, March 1 at 8 p.m. (MT). The game will be aired over the radio with Jack Nixon giving the play-by-play on KGRT 103.9 FM in Las Cruces.
The Aggies' last home game is at 7 p.m.Thursday, March 6 against Grand Canyon at the Pan American Center.