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The UCSB men’s basketball team defeated Hawaii 86-77 Thursday night at the Thunderdome in an ESPNU televised game. Instead of the Gauchos’ victory garnering attention, UCSB is receiving national coverage for an incident of a UCSB student running onto the court and confronting Hawaii head coach Gib Arnold.
With UCSB leading 30-16 with 6:02 remaining in the first half, Hawaii senior guard Brandon Spearman was assessed a technical foul for complaining to officials. Arnold then rushed to half-court to argue with referees before being restrained by a Hawaii player, receiving a technical foul in the process.
That is when the student rushed onto the court, angrily confronting Arnold and yelling in the coach’s face. Hawaii players Christian Standhardinger and Garrett Nevels quickly pushed the fan away before anything else happened. The fan backpedaled to his seat, gesturing for Hawaii players to come after him.
“I apologized to Hawaii during the game, I apologized to Gib at halftime. He came over to me and we chatted,” UCSB head coach Bob Williams said. “I apologized to the officials, they should never have to deal with anything like that.”
The student returned to his midcourt seat in student section, high-fiving friends in the vicinity. Bob Brontsema, Assistant Athletics Director of Events, Facilities and Operations immediately followed the student into the stands, calmly escorting the student out of the Thunderdome without using force. The student complied, grabbing his jacket before receiving a few high-fives as he walked out of the arena.
Following his ejection, the student was arrested by campus police and spent the night in a local police holding cell before friends picked him up Friday morning. The student was wearing a navy UCSB Class of 2014 shirt, and was yelling and jumping up and down throughout the duration of the first half, obviously excited about the game.
“It’s embarrassing. That’s a bad foot to be putting forward that represents all of UCSB,” Williams said. “That’s just wrong. Flat out wrong and it should never happen.”
According to Bill Mahoney, Assistant Athletics Director of Communications, the student will face disciplinary action from the university following a hearing from Judicial Affairs, one of the possible actions being expulsion.
Many members of the UCSB Athletics Department expressed regret at the conclusion of the game regarding the embarrassment UCSB would receive from the actions of this one student.
This incident certainly placed a negative light on UCSB, with the story receiving national attention, including a headline on the front page of ESPN.
This article is an online exclusive and did not appear in the print edition of The Daily Nexus.
Photo by Peter Vandenbelt of The Daily Nexus.