March 8 (UPI) — Arizona State and Colorado had a brief scuffle after ASU guard Tra Holder pushed Tyler Bey onto the court, following a dunk Wednesday in Las Vegas.
The action occurred just before the final whistle during the Buffaloes’ 97-85 win against the Sun Devils in the Pac-12 Tournament opener at T-Mobile Arena in Las Vegas.
Bey had just completed an alley-oop before the melee broke out. Buffaloes guard McKinley Wright ran into the paint before lobbing a pass toward the rim to start the play. Bey ran up the baseline and caught the ball in midair, before throwing it through the rim for a dunk.
When Bey was running back in transition, he turned around to meet Holder, who pushed him onto the floor, using both hands.
Buffaloes senior guard George King ran in and got in Holder’s face after the shove. Soon, players from both teams were jawing at each other and forming a scuffle.
Colorado coach Tad Boyle also joined in the skirmish, but injured himself during the sequence. Boyle, 54, slowed up while sprinting in and started limping. King and fellow senior Josh Repine assisted Boyle off of the court after the game.
“Let me first start by apologizing to Arizona State for what happened at the end there,” Boyle told reporters after the game. “I take full responsibility for that. It’s not something — we certainly weren’t trying to rub it in their face. We haven’t gone over that situation a lot, and that’s my fault as a head coach.”
“But we’d never want to take a turnover, but we don’t want to maybe throw an alley-oop lob and make somebody feel like we’re showboating.”
The team doctor said Boyle suffered a torn or strained calf muscle, according to ESPN.
“Yeah, I didn’t see — I mean, I’m going to have to look at the play,” Sun Devils coach Bobby Hurley said after the game. “Because I was watching bey dunk the ball. So I didn’t’ see exactly what prompted that. I was told that it was a shove. That there was not any punch thrown or anything. I don’t know if Bey had said anything or what exactly happened at that moment.”
McKinley Wright and Holder led all scorers with 20 points apiece. Bey and Holder each scored 14 points.
“Just, I don’t want anybody to jeopardize future problems in terms of being suspended or ejected or things like that,” Boyle said. “Now, Namon Wright left the bench. That is an automatic ejection. That is something we’ve talked about. But I don’t want the emotions to overtake the moment, because we had fought so hard and played so well up until that point. I just don’t want it to reflect badly certainly on our team, our program, our university. Because I know what these guys are about. We’ve got a very sportsmanlike team.”
“There’s been times in the past this year where guys have been knocked down. Our guys reach down and pick them up. But to me, that’s the way the game should be played. So I just, again, I take full responsibility. We shouldn’t have dunked a ball, and that’s on me. I’m not mad at our players. I’m mad at myself.”
The Buffaloes face Arizona at 1 p.m. Thursday in a quarterfinal matchup. The Wildcats were the Pac-12 regular season champions.