The worst brawl college basketball has seen in years broke out near the end of No. 3 Kansas' 81-60 victory vs. Kansas State at Phog Allen Fieldhouse on Tuesday night. It was a scary scene, one that led to dozens of players, coaches and support staff caught up in a brouhaha near the disabled seating section.
Here are two videos of the fight, one from ESPN and one from the court, right up against the developing donnybrook.
Benches emptied at the end of the Kansas State-Kansas game. pic.twitter.com/zWv46h3RJC— ESPN (@espn) January 22, 2020
An all-out brawl just happened. pic.twitter.com/73MBmr0RNf— Riley Gates (@Riley_Gates) January 22, 2020
The instigation started with Kansas' Silvio De Sousa swatting DaJuan Gordon on a breakaway as time expired. Immediately after that play, De Sousa stood over Gordon and then Kansas State's Cartier Diarra approached De Sousa. Physicality ensued. The situation escalated almost instantaneously, as players from both teams left their benches and crowded K-State's side of the court. The fight spilled into the stands as players from both benches fled and punches were thrown by multiple people.
It took multiple coaches, fans and security guards to separate the two teams and allow cooler heads to prevail.
At one point, De Sousa picked up a stool and lifted it over his head.
A suspension for De Sousa appears inevitable and other players could face that as well. De Sousa was given an unsporting technical foul. All players who left the bench were ejected.
"There was a role that was played by our players, I gotta watch the tape and see all the angles," Self said afterward. "But I know we were in the wrong -- I'm not saying both parties weren't in the wrong -- but I know we were in the wrong."
Self said he didn't realize it was a fight until a few seconds after it began, as he was beginning to shake hands with K-State coach Bruce Weber.
"That was an embarrassment on our part for the role that we played in it," Self said.
Kansas athletic director Jeff Long issued a statement apologizing for the incident.
"The conduct of a few of our student-athletes at the conclusion of tonight's game vs. Kansas State was simply unacceptable and not reflective of who we are," Long said. "Coach Self and I will review the incident, along with the Big 12 Conference and Kansas State to determine appropriate consequences. There is no place for this conduct in college athletics or here at KU. I would like to apologize to the Big 12 Conference, Kansas State University, Gene Taylor, Bruce Weber and all fans for the lack of sportsmanship from members of our team this evening."
Weber took some blame for not telling Gordon and his other players to lay back on defense on Kansas' final possession.
"I have no idea [what happened]," Weber said. "I didn't see anything. I'm disappointed it ended that way. Credit to them, they kicked our butt -- in so many ways.
"I was going to shake hands. It's probably my fault. I had told them not to press, I had told them not to foul. The kids are young guys, they want to play hard. They were disappointed, frustrated … but you've got to handle it right."
The event that prompted the fight was Gordon stealing the ball from De Sousa in the closing seconds of a blowout, which led to De Sousa getting back on defense, making the right play, and then tempers flaring immediately. But at his press conference, Self said he did not blame Gordon for making that play, adding that De Sousa should have had the maturity to handle himself in that moment.
"It happened in the handicap seating," Self said. "If you're gonna do something, at least take it on the court. It's ridiculous that they would go into the stands. I haven't heard of anybody injured, but you're asking the wrong person."
The Big 12 will review the video before taking its next steps toward discipline. Kansas and Kansas State also can institute discipline on their own timeline (which can be superseded in harshness by the league office) against their players. K-State's next game is Saturday at Alabama. Kansas' next game is Saturday vs. Tennessee.
These two schools will meet again Feb. 29 in Manhattan, Kansas.
This is the image that you should never see in a college basketball game, no matter what happened before it. Brutal. Serious punishments likely to follow. Photo by @nickkrug #KUbball pic.twitter.com/FC6FAwkwzZ— Matt Tait (@mctait) January 22, 2020