Print and Go Back ESPN.com: Men's College Basketball [Print without images]

Thursday, January 29, 2004
Vandy's Smith will sit vs. Kentucky

ESPN.com news services

NASHVILLE, Tenn. -- Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings apologized Thursday for comments he made about a fight that resulted in two players being ejected in a loss to South Carolina.

"While at no time will we accept cheap shots from the opponent, it was unsportsmanlike and unprofessional of me to condone or promote such tactics by our players," Stallings said in a statement.

"Fighting and unsportsmanlike behavior have no place in the great game of college basketball. I want our team to play the game as hard as possible but also expect they will play within the letter and spirit of the rules."

ESPN.com's Andy Katz reports that Vanderbilt junior guard Corey Smith will sit out the Kentucky game Saturday per NCAA rules after being thrown out of Wednesday's game against the Gamecocks for fighting, the SEC office said Thursday.

South Carolina freshman forward Renaldo Balkman also was ejected from the game, but for a flagrant foul, so he is eligible to play in Saturday's game against Ole Miss.

SEC spokesperson DeWayne Peevy told ESPN.com on Thursday that the league office is waiting for the game tape before looking at any other penalties. He said the game wasn't televised so the league can't make a judgment until it sees the game tape.

Stallings had to pull Smith off Balkman after the Gamecocks' forward hit Smith in the first half of South Carolina's 57-55 win.

Balkman was ejected for the flagrant foul, while Smith was ejected because he threw Balkman to the ground and started hitting him.

"If somebody's going to hit you in the mouth, you need to wait a little while until you get a chance to knock some of their teeth out," Stallings said immediately after the game.

"But you don't need to do it right then. But I'd be worried about his teeth in the next game if that's what happened."

The teams meet again in Columbia, S.C., on Feb. 14.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.