By Anne M. Peterson
The Associated Press
NORMAN — New Mexico State suspended guard K.C. Ross-Miller for actions that touched off a wild brawl between players and fans following a game between the Aggies and Utah Valley.
A league spokesman said the Western Athletic Conference was also looking into the incident.
Ross-Miller hurled the ball at Utah Valley’s Holton Hunsaker seconds after the Wolverines’ 66-61 victory over the Aggies on Thursday night in Orem, Utah. The ball hit Hunsaker — the son of Utah Valley coach Dick Hunsaker — in the leg. Some of the fans who rushed the court got caught up in the melee.
New Mexico State guard DK Eldridge was in the middle of the scrum before he was dragged away by Aggies coaches as order was restored. With the victory, the Wolverines claimed the top spot in the conference standings.
While the brawl appeared to have been touched off by Ross-Miller’s actions, it highlights the potential problems that can occur when players and fans collide.
Oklahoma State All-American guard Marcus Smart charged into the stands at Texas Tech on Feb. 8 and shoved a fan who called him a “piece of crap.” Smart was suspended for three games and the fan later apologized.
Also earlier this month, Oregon coach Dana Altman expressed concerns about safety after two of his staffers said an Arizona State student spit at them at halftime of the game in Tempe, Ariz. Ducks guard Jason Calliste had a verbal confrontation with at least one student late in the first half.
Aggies coach Marvin Menzies said he suspended Ross-Miller indefinitely pending review by the school and the conference. The junior starter averages 8.3 points, 2.2 rebounds and 3.5 assists.
“No matter what provoked K.C. what he did was inexcusable and hence the suspension. It is an honor and a privilege to wear an Aggie uniform and a responsibility comes with that privilege,” Menzies said in a statement Friday.
The Wolverines did issue a brief statement via Twitter: “The incident following Thursday’s game was an unfortunate and sour endnote to an otherwise brilliant performance by both teams. The Western Athletic Conference and both universities are reviewing the incident and gathering information. Any questions should be directed to the WAC office.”
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