The Georgetown Hoyas basketball team will continue on to Shanghai where they are scheduled to meet China's Baiyi Rocket again this weekend following an all-out on-court brawl between the two teams.
On the official Twitter feed set up to follow their trip to China the team tweeted: "After a tough night, we really look forward to the opportunity to continue our trip. Off to Shanghai. #HoyasInChina" on Friday. According to Georgetown coach John Thompson III, the team will continue with the remainder of its itinerary.
The two teams are scheduled to meet again Sunday night following after the massive brawl that erupted on court and forced the Hoyas to leave the court and end the game.
The coaches of both teams and several players met early Friday morning at the Beijing Airport before the Hoyas left for Shanghai. Both coaches talked about their teams and leagues as well as their families, and discussed possible future exchanges and Chinese players coming to Washington, D.C.
Chinese Vice Foreign Minister confirmed Friday at a press conference that the two teams have made up, saying "the sun has come out again."
Thursday's scuffle at Beijing's Olympic Sports Center Stadium began over a loose ball on court with nine minutes left in the game and the score tied at 62. Soon both benches emptied as members of the Bayi Rockets threw chairs at the Hoyas and full water bottles were tossed at the Hoyas' heads from the stands, while one Georgetown team member was kicked on the ground.
Coaches and fans joined the tussle. One Chinese player wielded a chair over his head while another was seen repeatedly punching an American.
"The benches emptied, the next thing I knew I saw people with chairs in their hands … it was complete bedlam," said the Washington Post's Gene Wang, who was inside the arena during the brawl. "People were not fearing for their lives, but fearing for their bodily health.
"I have been covering sports for 20-plus years, I have never seen officials do a worse job than they did," he said.
Wang pointed out that the match was heated throughout, with referees calling 28 fouls on Georgetown and 11 on Bayi by halftime.
Wang estimated that there were half a dozen individual altercations on the court Thursday.
Coach Thompson eventually had to pull his team off the court. He and the team then huddled in the locker room before asking for -- but not receiving -- a police escort back to their hotel.
The Hoyas are on a 10-day goodwill trip to China meant to "highlight the global context in which basketball is played today," according to university President John J. DeGioia.
Thompson expressed his regret that the game ended "after heated exchanges" in a statement issued Thursday on the Georgetown University website.
"Tonight, two great teams played a very competitive game that unfortunately ended after heated exchanges with both teams. We sincerely regret that this situation occurred," Thompson said in the statement.
"We remain grateful for the opportunity our student-athletes are having to engage in a sport they love here in China, while strengthening their understanding of a nation we respect and admire at Georgetown University," he added.