The SWAC regular season finale for Texas Southern and Southern was called midway through the second half Saturday after a fight broke out between the two teams.
The game was called with Southern leading 51-49 with 12:36 left in regulation after a what was described as a bench-clearing brawl.
As a result, Texas Southern and Southern split the regular season championship. Texas Southern, however, will enter the SWAC Tournament as the No. 1 seed.
While there is no official word on what started the fight, witnesses at the game told HBCU Sports that a hard foul on a Southern player prompted the scuffle.
“A Southern player was fouled hard and tempers flared,” said Fred Batiste, a fan who watched the fight unfold. “Two TSU players ran off the bench and the donnybrook took place.”
Here is how Southern head coach Sandy Pugh described the fight to the Advocate.
I’ve been involved with basketball for 30+ years and I’ve never seen anything like it,” Southern coach Sandy Pugh said. “It’s an embarrassment.”
It all started when TSU’s Miracle Davis took a charge underneath the TSU basket, according to the newspaper.
“I just saw two kids standing up looking at each other and someone else push and yell,” Pugh said. “My first reaction is to tell everyone to stay on the bench. But I look up and TSU has two kids running in.
“One of their kids throws the first punch and one of our kids was on the ground and someone was just pounding her. Next thing I know, it was a melee.”
Texas Southern head coach Johnetta Hayes-Perry attempted to describe what she saw.
“It was very undisciplined by both teams and fans on the sideline,” Hayes-Perry said. “I thought after the charge both players were trying to get up, but another player pushed them and that is all I could see.”
Any penalties or suspensions resulting from the altercation will be announced by the SWAC prior to the start of the conference tournament.
“At Texas Southern University we hold our student-athletes to high standards in regards to sportsmanship and personal conduct,” said TSU athletic director Charles McClelland.
“I haven’t reviewed the film as much as I’d like, but my initial response is that there was a significant show of and attempt at restraint on the part of our bench as the melee unfolded, athletic director William Broussard said in a statement. “At a certain point it’s difficult to distinguish whether or not we interacted out of aggression or to defend teammates as Texas Southern’s gameday staff and security personnel attempted to respond.
“Regardless, it was an unfortunate end to what was shaping up to be a fantastic ending to the conference season and I know Coach [Sandy] Pugh feels the same.”