POSTED: 7:06 p.m. HST, Nov 17, 2013
LAST UPDATED: 9:31 p.m. HST, Nov 17, 2013
A scuffle lasting several minutes marred the end of the Hawaii women's basketball team's 59-56 loss against West Virginia. UH athletic director Ben Jay was hurt in the chaos and remained kneeling on the Stan Sheriff Center court for several minutes.
Moments after the game while Bank of Hawaii Rainbow Wahine Classic tournament awards were being prepared, a fight broke out behind the West Virginia bench among Mountaineers fans, the visiting team, and at least one UH fan.
Jay appeared to try to intervene and emerged from the fracas a few minutes later holding his face. He lay kneeling close to the center court "H" for more than 10 minutes while people attended to him.
Jay received treatment from EMTs on the court for his back. He walked off the court slowly under his own power after about 20 minutes, saying his back "spasmed up" on him.
"We were getting ready to do the awards ceremony and I saw the fight break out in the corner, so I just leaped over there to try and help break it up," Jay said. "We were just trying to peel people off and keep everybody from swinging and everything. And then I got hit with something in the back.
"I guess I got a big bruise back there. I can't tell you."
Rainbow Wahine coach Laura Beeman focused on keeping her team out of the chaos from across the court.
"He was either stomped, hit with a chair or punched," Beeman said of Jay. "He was in the middle of it, but he did a remarkable job of trying to break things up. People lost their minds. Talk about mob mentality. People were looking for a reason to fight and be ignorant. I hope Ben is OK but he got hit really good."
Questions about the level of security in the arena arose in the immediate aftermath.
"Obviously we needed some help in there, but it's the kind of thing we need to really break up fast," Jay said. "It's unfortunate and everything. It was a fan and I think a (WVU) assistant coach got into it, and that's where it got out of control."
Arena manager Rich Sheriff said there might have been a few security members short on the Sunday game, but he said a normal complement also would have been ill-prepared for such chaos.
"In 19 years, we haven't had anything like that," Sheriff said.
"We've never had an incident in women's basketball. It's just one of those things. Now we're going to have to look at our security plan and probably beef it up, and just make sure our people are doing everything they can so it doesn't happen again.
"There were so many people involved, that's something you would have to staff up pretty heavily for it. In that moment, you can only just react when it happens."
The wife of WVU coach Mike Carey fainted in the commotion, Carey said, but was said to have recovered.
"He was heckling the whole game," Carey said of the fan he claimed escalated a confrontation right after the final whistle. "And people can do that, that's no biggie. He came down from the stands trying to go after my assistant coach. That's what happened. And then somebody grabbed him, stopped him and he kept trying to go, and people fell. That's when all the commotion started."
Beeman and Carey wished each other well on the court afterward.
A UH spokesperson said no one was taken to a hospital. No arrests were immediately known. WVU officials told UH they would not press charges.
Hawaii forward Kamilah Jackson became the program's second player with 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds in the game. She was named the Bank of Hawaii Rainbow Wahine Classic tournament MVP.
The Mountaineers took a 10-point lead in the second half and held off a late Rainbow Wahine rally. UH (3-2) got to within three points with 40 seconds left, but fouled the Mountaineers (3-1) at the other end and the visitors from the Big 12 Conference held on.
The only previous player in UH history to notch 1,000 points and 1,000 rebounds was the late Judy Mosley.