Although college basketball fans are known to be dedicated spectators of their team, fans who witnessed New Mexico State battle with Utah Valley Thursday decided to enter the fray themselves.
NMSU junior guard K.C. Ross-Miller threw the ball at UVU senior guard Holton Hunsaker in the final seconds of an Aggie overtime defeat, 66-61, in Utah. The game meant more than a difficult overtime loss as both teams are fighting for the Western Athletic Conference regular-season title and came into the game with 10 conference wins apiece.
Little did Ross-Miller know Hunsaker is a coach’s son — Utah Valley coach Dick Hunsaker’s son to be specific — and a fan favorite in Orem, Utah.
The emotional fans took offense to Ross-Miller’s action and stormed the court. In the midst of the madness, it appears a few fans took swings on players. Some players also took swings as well.
It was an ugly scene, and one that fortunately didn’t end an injury or fatality.
Ross-Miller, who finished with four points on 1-of-4 shooting from the field, was suspended as a result of brawl and WAC commissioner Jeff Hurd will review the footage as well, according to ESPN.
In most instances, when fans storm the court, it is to mob the winning home team; not to gang up on the visitors who have a long ride home. There are coaches who have been arguing against crowds storming the court vehemently and this is a perfect example justifying their concerns.
Two injustices were committed Thursday: the boundary that exists between athletes and the fans was broken yet again and Ross-Miller hurt his team’s chance to win the conference. Also, fans should never touch players (or vice-versa) because it is just a game — nothing worth causing physical harm. As a player, Ross-Miller owes his teammates (and Hunsaker) an apology for doing something stupid and irrational.
New Mexico State entered the game tied for first and left possibly fighting for third in the WAC if it cannot replace Ross-Miller.