LAWRENCE, Kan. — A massive brawl marred the end of Kansas‘ 81-60 win over rival Kansas State on Tuesday, with players from both teams throwing punches as the stunned crowd at Allen Fieldhouse looked on.
The melee, which spilled out into the disabled seating section behind Kansas State’s basket, began when Kansas forward Silvio De Sousa blocked DaJuan Gordon‘s shot, then stood over him in a taunting fashion.
With the Jayhawks dribbling out the clock up 22 late in the game, De Sousa was stripped by Gordon near midcourt and Gordon tried to go in for a layup. The Jayhawks’ big man recovered and blocked the shot, sending the Wildcats’ freshman to the floor and drawing a technical for taunting.
At one point during the brawl, De Sousa, who had thrown multiple punches, held a stool above his head before assistant coach Jerrance Howard grabbed it from him. The Jayhawks’ Marcus Garrett and David McCormack were also in the thick of the scrum along with the Wildcats’ James Love and David Sloan, who was the first player to come to Gordon’s defense.
It took several minutes for tensions to deescalate and the teams to exit the court.
Local police officers as well as coaches from both teams helped break up the fight. Former Kansas star Wayne Simien, an adviser to the team, also ran onto the floor to help break up the fracas. Multiple fans were caught in the fight and scrambled to safety.
Adding to the bizarre finish, both teams were summoned back from the locker rooms by the officials, and one-tenth of a second was put on the clock. Kansas State shot technical free throws to a chorus of boos from the few thousand fans who were still in the arena.
This view of the Kansas-Kansas State brawl is up close and personal, captured by a fan sitting courtside.
Only five players from each team returned to the court because the rest of the players — including those dressed in street clothes — were all ejected for leaving the bench while the game was in progress.
Kansas coach Bill Self called the incident an “embarrassment” and said there would be consequences once he was done fully reviewing what had happened.
“It’s not something to be proud of,” Self said. “What happened showed zero signs of toughness. It’s a sign of immaturity and selfishness more so than toughness.”
Kansas athletic director Jeff Long said in a statement after the game that he and Self would review the incident “along with the Big 12 Conference and Kansas State to determine appropriate consequences.”
“It should have been avoided,” Kansas State coach Bruce Weber said. “It’s my guys — it’s my fault. They came here wanting to have a game, compete, and we didn’t compete the way we needed to, and probably a little frustration, especially the young guys.”
Weber had instructed his players to back off in the closing seconds and let the game run out. And while Self said he didn’t agree with the steal and layup attempt, he did acknowledge that Kansas State was merely playing to the final whistle.
“Silvio knew he was being defended,” Self said. “He took his ball, and certainly the way Silvio reacted to getting his ball taken, going and blocking his shot, that’s fair game. What transpired after that is what set everything off.”
De Sousa has been at the center of the team’s current situation with the NCAA, which recently issued a notice of allegations following the forward’s ties to an ongoing FBI investigation.
It outlined major violations in men’s basketball, levied a head coach responsibility charge against Self and alleged a lack of institutional control. Those violations are being appealed and a decision is not expected until well after the season.
De Sousa was suspended last season for his role in the case, and he was supposed to sit out this season as well. But the school successfully appealed the decision, allowing the junior forward to return to the court.
Kansas and Kansas State meet again Feb. 29, in Manhattan.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.