Lawrence, Kan. — Third-ranked Kansas and Kansas State ended their bitter showdown Tuesday night with a wild melee in the disabled seating behind the Wildcats’ basket that included punches, shoving and at least one player threatening to swing a stool.
The Jayhawks were dribbling out the time on their 81-60 victory when Silvio De Sousa was stripped by DaJuan Gordon near mid-court. Gordon tried to go for a layup and De Sousa recovered to block his shot and send the freshman sprawling, then stood over the freshman and barked at him — triggering both benches to empty.
At one point, De Sousa picked up a stool and held it over his head before Kansas assistant Jerrance Howard grabbed it from him from behind. The Jayhawks’ Marcus Garrett and David McCormick 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 both coaching staffs, the officials and Allen Fieldhouse security to separate the teams.
“Without knowing exactly everything that went down, it was obvious to me that we played a role in what transpired and there will be penalties for that,” said Jayhawks coach Bill Self, who was already shaking hands with Kansas State counterpart Bruce Weber when the chaos erupted. “I need to see the film to comment or have any definitive thoughts on exactly why or how it got started, because to be honest with you I don’t have any idea about that.”
The fight came three days after St. Francis and Sacred Heart were involved in a wild fracas following their game in Pennsylvania. But while that incident in the Northeast Conference went largely unnoticed, the pedigree of Kansas and the fact that both schools play in the Big 12 instantly turned their brawl into a national event.
“Obviously it’s an embarrassment,” Self said. “It’s not something to be proud of. What happened showed zero signs of toughness. It’s a sign of immaturity and selfishness more so than toughness. If I was a fan watching, depending on your perspective, there would be nothing about that intriguing me to watch more.”
Then, adding to the bizarre finish, five players from each team were summoned back from the locker rooms by officials and one-tenth of a second was put on the clock. Kansas State shot technical free throws to booing from a few thousand fans, and the one make necessitated a change to the final box score.
The reason only those players returned? The rest of the players from each team — including those dressed in street clothes — were ejected because they had left the bench while the game was in progress.
“It should have been avoided,” 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.”
While he won’t be alone, De Sousa is likely to receive the stiffest punishment from the incident — the latest chapter in a career that has brought far more embarrassment and frustration to Kansas than pride and success.
It was De Sousa whose name surfaced in the FBI probe into college basketball in October 2018, and that in part led to an NCAA investigation of Kansas. The school received a notice of allegations last September that 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.
Asked what his message was in the locker room after the game, Self replied: “There was no discussion on what happened from their vantage point. We talked to them and relayed to them how selfish it was. We relayed how disappointed we are. We should be in here talking about Christian Braun and selfishness created a situation where that’s not going to be the story line whatsoever. There was no communication back and forth. It was one way.”
Indeed, Braun was the story of the game until the final seconds after hitting six 3-pointers and scoring a career-high 20 points in his first Sunflower Showdown. The freshman guard grew up in nearby Burlington, Kansas.
Devon Dotson added 18 points and Udoka Azubuike finished with 10 points and 14 rebounds for Kansas (15-3, 5-1 Big 12), which beat the Wildcats for the 14th straight time at Allen Fieldhouse. Xavier Sneed had 16 points and David Sloan had 14 for the Wildcats (8-10, 1-5), who played a part in ending the Jayhawks’ conference title run last season.
“Credit to them. They kicked our butt,” said Weber, whose chin was reddened by what he called a stress-induced reaction. “I’m just happy nothing major happened to either team where there was an escalated fight. It was a bad play at the end. It’s disappointing. Life lessons for our young guys and hopefully next time they’ll be a little smarter.”
More Top 25
(At) No. 8 Duke 89, Miami 59: Freshman Matthew Hurt scored 15 of his 22 points in a dominating first half to help Duke beat Miami.
Tre Jones added 16 points for the Blue Devils (16-3, 6-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), who entered the game coming off their first back-to-back losses since February 2018.
Rodney Miller had 13 points and 13 rebounds for the Hurricanes (10-8, 2-6), who missed 25 of their first 31 shots as this game got away quickly.
(At) No. 9 Villanova 76, No. 13 Butler 61: Saddiq Bey hit four 3-pointers and scored 14 points and Jermaine Samuels had 20 points to lead Villanova past Butler.
The Wildcats (15-3, 5-1 Big East) methodically pulled away in the second half in a game in which neither team shot particularly well.
The Wildcats have won five straight and 11 of 12. They improved to 27-1 in Big East games at the Pavilion since 2013.
Kamar Baldwin led the fading Bulldogs (15-4, 3-3) with 21 points. Butler missed 15 of 20 3-pointers.
(At) No. 15 Kentucky 89, Georgia 79: Ashton Hagans scored 14 of his 23 points in the second half and Kentucky used a 14-4 run to pull away and beat Georgia.
The Wildcats (14-4, 5-1 Southeastern Conference) had to work to put away the stubborn Bulldogs, who trailed 41-35 at halftime.
Nick Richards had 20 points and eight rebounds for the Wildcats, who shot 54% in the second half and 53% overall.
Rayshaun Hammonds and Anthony Edwards each scored 16 points for Georgia (11-7, 1-4), which lost for the fourth time in five games.
(At) TCU 65, No. 18 Texas Tech 54: Desmond Bane scored 27 points, Kevin Samuel had 11 points and 11 rebounds and TCU returned home after a miserable week on the road to upset Texas Tech.
The Horned Frogs (13-5, 4-2 Big 12) pushed ahead to stay with a 13-2 run to start the second half.
Jahmi’us Ramsey had 15 points for Texas Tech (12-6, 3-3), which lost for the first time in its seven meetings as a ranked team against TCU. Terrence Shannon and TJ Holyfield each had 10 points.
TCU, a 2½-point underdog, has won 14 of its last 19 conference home games, but was coming off losses of 32 points at No. 14 West Virginia and 20 at Oklahoma last week.
No. 17 Maryland 77, (at) Northwestern 66: Jalen Smith scored a career-high 25 points and Maryland rallied to beat Northwestern.
The Terrapins trailed by as much as 15 in the first half and were down 10 in the second when they went on a 15-2 run.
Back-to-back 3-pointers by Aaron Wiggins and Anthony Cowan Jr. gave Maryland (15-4, 5-3 Big Ten) its first lead of the game at 56-55 with 9:10 remaining. The Terps won their second straight after back-to-back losses.
Pat Spencer led Northwestern (6-12, 1-7) with 17 points. Miller Kopp scored 16.
No. 21 Illinois 79, (at) Purdue 62: Kofi Cockburn finished with 22 points and 15 rebounds, Trent Frazier added 21 points and Illinois pulled away in the second half to beat Purdue.
The Fighting Illini (14-5, 6-2 Big Ten) have won five straight league games for the first time in nearly seven years and are off to their best conference start since 2005-06. They also swept the Boilermakers for the first time since 2008-09.
Nojel Eastern had 14 points and Trevion Williams scored 12 to lead Purdue (10-9, 4-4). The Boilermakers have lost four of five and had a 15-game winning streak in conference home games end.
(At) Wisconsin 82, Nebraska 68: Brad Davison scored 14 points, D’Mitrik Trice added 11 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists and Wisconsin used a big second half to power past Nebraska.
After leading 39-38 at halftime, the Badgers (12-7, 5-3 Big Ten) opened the second half on a 20-4 run to hand the Cornhuskers (7-12, 2-6) their fourth straight loss.
Davison sparked the surge by knocking down back-to-back 3s out of the locker room. The junior guard scored 11 points in the second half to help the Badgers bounce back from a loss to then-No. 15 Michigan State (now No. 11) on Friday.
Dachon Burke Jr. had a game-high 20 points and Kevin Cross scored 17 off the bench for Nebraska, which countered with a 19-7 run of its own to pull within 66-61 with less than 8:00 to play. But that was as close as the Cornhuskers would come.
Thorir Thorbjarnarson, who was averaging 12.5 points on 55% shooting and 7.8 rebounds over the Cornhuskers’ last four games, finished with 12 points and three rebounds.
Nate Reuvers, who had 11 points and four blocks, moved into fourth place on Wisconsin’s all-time blocks list.
(At) Buffalo 90, Western Michigan 79: Jayvon Graves scored 23 points and Antwain Jordan scored 21 and Buffalo pulled away in the second half.
Jared Printy’s 3-pointer pulled Western Michigan (9-10, 2-4) into a 64-all tie with 9:03 remaining. Buffalo (13-6, 4-2) then used a 13-3 spurt over the next four-plus minutes to create safe distance down the stretch.
(At) Bowling Green 62, Eastern Michigan 59: The Eagles were even with the Falcons (14-5, 5-1) after the first half, 27-27, but ultimately fell short. Boubacar Toure led Eastern (10-9, 0-6) with 17 points and 13 rebounds, and Noah Morgan added 16 points.