Logan • While Utah State fans filled the floor Saturday night inside the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum in Logan, soaking in the program’s first win over a Top 25 team since 2007, tempers flared in the surrounding tunnels and hallways.
After Utah State (24-6, 14-3) topped No. 12-ranked Nevada 81-76 to take over first place in the Mountain West Conference, various media outlets captured videos of Wolf Pack players and coaches getting into verbal altercations with uniformed police officers and what appears to be USU staffers. Nevada star forward Jordan Caroline was seen punching a fire extinguisher case in the hallway and had to be restrained by teammates.
It still remains a bit unclear what set off these incidents, but ESPN’s Michael Eaves reported Saturday night that a source informed him that a Utah State assistant coach allegedly directed profanity at Caroline after the game, perhaps setting off the chain of events. Alongside Nevada coach Eric Musselman in the hallway, Nevada staffers were captured angrily telling uniformed police officers that fans were touching Wolf Pack players as they tried to make their way into the tunnel and toward the locker room once the game ended.
Prior to that point, the videos posted show an officer screaming at the Nevada staff and players to get into their locker room. Nevada staffers responded by wondering why the officers didn’t stop the fans from touching the players.
Below is a video of the fracas from KUTV. WARNING: GRAPHIC LANGUAGE
Nevada coaches or players were not made available for comment after the game.
USU athletic director John Hartwell released a statement saying the school and conference would get to the bottom of the incident.
“After being notified of an incident in the hallway of the locker rooms after the completion of the game, I have been consulting with Mountain West senior associate commissioner Dan Butterly, who was in attendance at the game, and Nevada deputy AD Rory Hickock, who was also in attendance at the game,” Hartwell said. “In addition, I have spoken by phone with Nevada AD Doug Knuth and we will continue to gather information, including surveillance videos of exactly what happened and work closely with the Mountain West Conference and the University of Nevada to determine what started the situation and how we are going to deal with those involved.”
Knuth took to Twitter Sunday morning to provide an update from the Nevada side of things. The school’s AD wrote: “We continue to work closely with Utah State and the Mountain West Conference office to determine the facts of the emotional post game events. I have also been in regular communication with Eric Musselman and our Deputy AD who was at the game with the team. The hallway video shows an emotional young man responding to a highly charged game environment and a difficult loss. Our staff stepped into support this young man.”
Knuth went on to praise Musselman’s calm demeanor throughout the situation, adding the schools are going to work with the MWC and are looking for a “full review” from the league office.
When asked about fans storming the court — continually a hot-button topic around college basketball — USU head coach Craig Smith said the No. 1 concern is always in regard to safety, but added it’s an added element that makes college athletics unique.
“You’ve been on both sides of that, where you lose a tough game and they’re storming the court and to me it’s always been like, you know what, you’re college students and doing all that stuff, obviously you never want anyone to get hurt,” he said. “Storming the court, I think that’s kind of part of the deal.”
If USU beats Colorado State on the road Tuesday, it guarantees a share of the Mountain West Conference regular-season title. Nevada needs to win its last two games to split the crown with the Aggies.