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Monday, December 12, 2011
Updated: December 13, 3:24 PM ET
A-10: Techs not warranted before melee

By Andy Katz
ESPN.com

Atlantic 10 coordinator of officials Reggie Greenwood endorsed the way the three game officials handled Saturday's brawl between Xavier and Cincinnati and saw no reason for any of the players to be given technical fouls for the trash-talking during the game that seemed to be a precursor to the fight.

"I was at the game, I was not aware of any activity that warranted any technical fouls except for the situation at the end of the game and the end of the first half,'' Greenwood said.

"From my perspective, I think they did an excellent job in preventing an escalation at the end of the game,'' said Greenwood of the crew of Tony Crisp, Michael Roberts and Jeff Anderson that was assigned for the game.

Both coaches -- Xavier's Chris Mack and Cincinnati's Mick Cronin -- said over the weekend that technical fouls could have prevented the situation escalating to a fight that forced the officials to call the game with 9.4 seconds remaining and Xavier ahead 76-53 at the Cintas Center.

Big East coordinator of officials Art Hyland said he didn't want to comment on any decisions made by the officiating crew. He said the crew was assigned by Greenwood since it was an A-10 home game. But Hyland did say that officials have options on issuing technical fouls for behavior.

"The rule is pretty clear, officials can call unsportsmanlike conduct for a broad range of things that include taunting and including gesturing or showing any displeasure for calls or unsportsmanlike behavior toward another player or the opposing bench,'' Hyland said. "The coaches, the players, the trainers, anyone sitting on the bench, falls under those rules.''

Greenwood said the officials were looking at the end of the first half to a monitor to see if an elbow was thrown, but since there was none determined then nothing was done. Mack was the only one given a technical foul during the course of the game and that was for arguing a call.

"Most refs try to diffuse a situation rather than carry a big stick,'' Greenwood said. "Based on what I could see, I didn't think it was necessary for technical fouls.''

Greenwood said that his main concern was for the officials' safety during the scrum.

"One of the officials pulled another one out of the melee,'' Greenwood said. "It was a scary situation for them.''

Xavier athletic director Mike Bobinski said Monday that the Cintas Center security crew did what they were supposed to by keeping any fans from running onto the court and joining the fight. The video of the fight shows the two staffs and officials trying to break up the multiple skirmishes going on on the court.

"They turned their backs to the fight and making sure no one was engaged,'' Bobinski said. "The whole thing took 60 seconds but it seemed like six hours. There were university police officers and plain clothes people in our building that were close to the floor. They were there to help restore order but the number one thing was to get the teams off the floor safely.

"Maybe they could have done more,'' Bobinski said.

Greenwood said he and the officials spent a lot of time after the game reviewing who should be ejected for fighting, which is an automatic one-game NCAA penalty. Any further fight means that player is done for the season. Greenwood said Cincinnati's Yancy Gates, Cheikh Mbodj and Xavier's Dez Wells were all ejected for throwing punches during the scrum.

Cincinnati had a game video that showed Xavier's Tu Holloway raising up his left arm toward Cincinnati's Ge'Lawn Guyn. Wells then pushed Guyn down on the court, which started the entire fight.

Cincinnati suspended Gates, Octavius Ellis and Mbodj for six games and Guyn for one game while Xavier suspended Holloway for one game, Mark Lyons for two, and Wells and walk-on Landen Amos for four.

"I've looked at seven different angles and watched it and (Holloway) didn't throw a punch of any kind,'' Bobinski said. "If he had then he would have missed significant time. It was determined by his role of speaking inappropriate (that he was suspended).''

Greenwood agreed with Bobinski that Holloway didn't throw a punch.

"It was clear he raised his hand,'' Greenwood said. "But we looked at who threw punches to see who would be suspended for the next game.''

Mack originally said Wells could go on the team's trip to Hawaii for the Diamond Head Classic so as not to alienate him. But a clarification came down Monday from the A-10.

"Under NCAA rules, an institution can only provide travel expenses to a student-athlete for participation in athletics competition if the student-athlete is eligible for that competition. For a multi-game trip, an ineligible student-athlete can travel with the team if he is going to regain his eligibility during that trip," according to A-10 associate commissioner Ed Pasque.

Bobinski said Wells and Amos would go home for the holidays and not attend the three games in Hawaii Dec. 22-25. The Musketeers play Oral Roberts on Sunday before going to Honolulu.

The Musketeers can bring Lyons since he will be eligible to come off his two-game suspension for the second game of the trip against either Auburn or Hawaii. Holloway is only suspended for the ORU game and will be eligible to play against Long Beach State in the Diamond Head Classic.

Greenwood was hoping that this would bring closure to the situation.

"The quicker the better,'' Greenwood said.

But there is still a lot to discuss going forward, especially with whether or not there will be an 80th meeting in 2012-13 between the two schools.

Bobinski said the perspective of the Crosstown Shootout has been lost. He said the game shouldn't be hyped up as a nasty rivalry but rather a celebration of two elite programs in the same city.

"These two teams know each other, I've seen Yancy Gates and Cashmere (Wright) playing in open gym here,'' Bobinski said. "There's no way we want to walk away from playing what should be a terrific and competitive game. But this nonsense has to stop.

"It's at every level from our local media, to our fans, to us, to everybody,'' Bobinski said. "It's just a basketball game. Let's keep some sense. It's one of 30 regular-season games, no more, no less.''

Andy Katz is a senior writer for ESPN.com.