Tuesday, February 11, 2003

Teams finish 4-on-4 after brawl leaves 19 ejected

The Associated Press

RICHMOND, Ky. - Just seven players remained on the floor to finish a game between Tennessee State and Eastern Kentucky on Monday night because 19 players were ejected following a benches-clearing brawl.

"It was just complete chaos," Eastern Kentucky coach Travis Ford said. "Nobody really knows what happened."

Eastern won the game 89-72 and finished with four players, while Tennessee State was left with three after Jeremy Jackson fouled out. Before that, the teams went 4-on-4 because so many players had been tossed out, either for participating in the fight or leaving the bench area.

The fight began with 8:13 to play and Eastern ahead 72-58. Eastern's Shawn Fields had the ball when a hard foul was called on Tennessee State's Cedric Bryson, prompting players from both benches to run onto the court.

Bryson, Fields and Eastern's Kenyatta Dix and Champ Slaughter were ejected for fighting, while nine players from both teams were ejected for leaving the bench. The rest of those who were playing when the fight started also were ejected.

"It was an unfortunate incident for all of the parties involved," Tennessee State coach Hosea Lewis said. "Both teams just got excited (and came off the bench), and I am very unhappy with the way it was handled. I am disappointed in the outcome, because we have intelligent players and young men at TSU."

Ford wasn't happy with the decision to let the game resume with only four players on each side.

"I didn't think that was legal," he said.

Eastern sports information director Karl Park said videotape from the game was being sent to Ohio Valley Conference interim commissioner Ron English, who will review the footage and determine whether suspensions are warranted.

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