UVU basketball: New Mexico State players suspended after brawl
Orem • The Western Athletic Conference has suspended New Mexico State players K.C. Ross-Miller and Renaldo Dixon for their roles in a brawl at Utah Valley on Thursday night.
Ross-Miller was suspended for two games and Dixon was suspended for one for violating the conference's sportsmanship policy.
As time expired in Utah Valley's 66-61 overtime victory, the players were walking to their benches when Ross-Miller threw the basketball at Holton Hunsaker.
Utah Valley fans were storming the court when Ross-Miller hit Hunsaker with the ball, which escalated the incident into a melee.
Dixon was suspended after punching a fan who had charged onto the court.
In a statement released Friday night, WAC commissioner Jeff Hurd said, "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 [the] game."
Hurd called the suspensions "appropriate" and praised both schools for their cooperation in the matter. He said the league will continue to monitor and improve game operations procedures regarding fans rushing the court.
"There are obvious safety and security issues that need to be addressed," Hurd said. "... I have requested additional games management information from Utah Valley University."
Ross-Miller will miss New Mexico State's final two regular-season games against Cal-Bakersfield and Grand Canyon.
Dixon will miss Saturday's game against Bakersfield.
Utah Valley issued a statement earlier Friday calling the incident "an unfortunate and sour end note to an otherwise brilliant performance by both teams."
The school referred all questions to the WAC office.
In his statement, Hurd noted the incident could have been 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."
On Friday morning, New Mexico State coach Marvin Menzies told ESPN the school had suspended Ross-Miller, independent of any future ruling by the conference.
"No matter what provoked K.C.," Menzies said, "what he did was inexcusable and hence the suspension. It is an honor and a privilege to wear an Aggie uniform and responsibility comes with that privilege."
Menzies had previously apologized for the incident in a story posted on the school's athletic website.
"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. â¦ 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 [video] clips where they do things that can get underneath your skin â¦ and you've got to be tougher than that mentally."
Menzies said some of his players felt threatened with so many fans on the court.
"I think it kind of â¦ convoluted things a little bit," he said.
After the game, Utah Valley coach Dick Hunsaker Holton's father briefly addressed the incident.
"It's too bad that occurs," he said. "It's sad to see."
Wolverine senior Ben Aird, who scored 21 points in the victory, agreed.
"It's very disappointing," he said. "You hate to have a game end that way."