VIDEO: Xavier and St. John's get in handshake line scuffle in Big East tournament
Xavier coach Chris Mack said St. John's players were running their mouths at Xavier
NEW YORK -- An 88-60 blowout Xavier win over St. John's nearly turned ugly after the final horn when a brief fracas surfaced in the handshake line.
Players from St. John's and Xavier had an altercation, exacerbated when St. John's Bashir Ahmed shoved Xavier star Trevon Bluiett. Ahmed refused to shake hands with Xavier's players and coaches in after the game, which prompted an exchanging of words. No punches were thrown.
Big East senior associate commissioner Stu Jackson told CBS Sports that the Big East is reviewing internal security footage at Madison Square Garden to determine if St. John's players attempted to approach Xavier's players near or in their locker room immediately after both teams left the court.
Xavier coach Chris Mack was interviewed on television seconds after the scuffle.
"Kids kept on talking to our guys," Mack said. "You know, we pushed our guys away, man. It's not right. You know, I'm really proud of our group because everybody's been telling us, including some guys on FS1 last night, that with our attention to detail and not being ready to play, I thought our guys were ready."
Here's how it played out. Ahmed verbally gets into it with Tyrique Jones and Kaiser Gates of Xavier, too.
Little post-game dust-up between Xavier and St. John’s. pic.twitter.com/hEAFbdHuM6— Kyle Boone (@Kyle__Boone) March 8, 2018
Here’s a little more on that incident — looks like this is what started it all. pic.twitter.com/nr8iBEG1bl— Kyle Boone (@Kyle__Boone) March 8, 2018
"I'm not going to throw anybody under the bus," Mack said in his postgame news conference. "Couple of guys didn't want to shake hands. But it was quickly squelched. Let's concentrate and worry about the game."
The game featured Bluiett, an All-America candidate, going for 27 points and seven rebounds.
St. John's coach Chris Mullin was asked at his press conference what he saw develop in the scuffle and only replied, "I didn't see anything."
Top-seeded Xavier (28-4) will play the winner of No. 4 Creighton-No. 5 Providence in Friday's semifinal. St. John's finishes its season at 16-16.
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