K.C. Ross-Miller suspended 2 games
Time To Outlaw Storming The Court?
The Western Athletic Conference has suspended New Mexico State's K.C. Ross-Miller for two games and Renaldo Dixon for one game following their involvement in a postgame brawl between the Aggies and Utah Valley on Thursday night.
The WAC announced the suspensions for violating the conference's sportsmanship policy Friday evening. New Mexico State had suspended Ross-Miller on Friday morning, hours after he touched off the brawl by hurling the ball at Utah Valley's Holton Hunsaker as time expired in the Wolverines' 66-61 overtime victory in Orem, Utah.
Ross-Miller picked up the ball at midcourt and fired it at Hunsaker -- who is Utah Valley coach Dick Hunsaker's son -- from close range, hitting him in the leg.
"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," commissioner Jeff Hurd said.
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The win gave Utah Valley (17-10, 11-3) the inside track to the WAC regular-season title over New Mexico State (21-9, 10-3), and fans stormed the court at game's end.
In the ensuing chaos, at least one New Mexico State player threw a punch. The video stream on Utah Valley's website showed the player to be junior guard DK Eldridge. Staff also forcefully pulled the Aggies' Daniel Mullings away from the melee.
"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," Hurd said. "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."
Ross-Miller will miss Saturday's game at Cal State Bakersfield and Thursday's game against Grand Canyon. Dixon will miss the Bakersfield game.
Hurd was traveling to Cal State Bakersfield for Saturday's game.
"No matter what provoked K.C., what he did was inexcusable and hence the suspension," New Mexico State coach Marvin Menzies said Friday before the conference announced its suspensions. "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."
Menzies acknowledged that Ross-Miller throwing the ball and fans rushing the court were "two separate components."
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"We are currently reviewing several sources of video to accurately assess the situation," Menzies said. "Obviously this was a very unfortunate incident, and I'm hopeful that we can learn from it moving forward."
A Utah Valley spokesperson told ESPN on Friday that campus police and the school's administration are reviewing tape of the incident to see if further action would be taken against the students and fans who were involved in the fracas.
Menzies apologized for the actions of Ross-Miller, who is a junior, in an interview posted on the team's website Thursday night.
"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. 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.
"We showed [our players] plenty of clips where [Utah Valley players] 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 said his players felt threatened when fans rushed the court, and Mullings claimed he was hit during the fracas.
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"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," Menzies said. "Daniel said he actually got hit."
There were no reports of injuries among fans or security personnel.
"It's too bad it occurred," Dick Hunsaker told the Daily Herald. "It's sad to see players put themselves in that situation."
Staff members quickly tried to separate players from fans.
"I hated to see the game end that way," Utah Valley center Ben Aird told the newspaper. "When you are out there, at first you are like, 'What's happening?' The faculty got out there, and although you want to help break it up, they told us that we had to get out of that situation and let them handle it."
ESPN.com's Andy Katz contributed to this report.