Fan angrily confronts Hawaii coach


A fan at Thursday night's  UC Santa Barbara- Hawaii game ran onto the court during a stoppage in play and confronted the Warriors' coaching staff and players, the third time in a month that a college basketball spectator has come into violent contact with a player or coach.

The man, who wore a royal blue UCSB Class of 2014 T-shirt, was arrested after being quickly ushered off the court during the Gauchos' 86-77 Big West Conference win, which aired on ESPNU.

Hawaii's Gib Arnold said the incident was unlike anything he'd ever seen in his 22 years as a coach "and a lot of years of playing."

"It was a little crazy to have a fan pushing your players around," he said in a TV interview. "I've never seen it. You don't expect it."

Play was halted with UCSB ahead 30-16 with 6:02 left in the first half when Hawaii guard Brandon Spearman was called for an intentional foul and Arnold was arguing with referees.

As Arnold and an assistant came onto the court in the aftermath of the technical foul, the fan ran up and took an aggressive stance in Arnold's face.

Hawaii forward Christian Standhardinger then pushed the man away before teammate Garrett Nevels also shoved the fan, who gestured for the players to come after him as he backpedaled off the court.

"I was shocked," UCSB coach Bob Williams told ESPN on Friday. "Then I was mad. I immediately went to the officials and apologized to them. Gib was rather angry. He had to refocus on the game. I was appreciative that our guys tracked him down. Everybody was shocked. Nobody reacted. Kudos goes out to the Hawaii players that stepped out. I thought they handled it really well."

Williams also apologized to Arnold for the incident, and the school's athletic department said it apologized to Hawaii athletic director Ben Jay and Big West Conference commissioner Dennis Farrell.

UCSB spokesman Bill Mahoney said the man, who the school believed was a student, was arrested by campus police. Mahoney, who did not identify the fan, said the man could face discipline, including being expelled if he is a student.

"Historically when things like this happen, the student, who was arrested, would go in front of Judicial Affairs, which is part of Student Affairs," Mahoney said in an email to ESPN. "The extent of his punishment would be speculation, but I would doubt it will be mild."

It was unclear how long the fan remained in the arena after the incident, but he was shown in replays continuing to gesture toward the court as he walked back through the stands.

"I'm so embarrassed by that kid," Williams said.

The incident came just a week after on-court violence involving fans and players resulted in the suspensions of two New Mexico State players. But Williams said Thursday's incident was different from that clash at Utah Valley, which occurred after fans rushed the court at the end of the game.

"This wasn't worse than the fight at New Mexico State and Utah Valley," he said. "Those kids were rushing the floor. This kid had no right to be on the floor. He was an idiot."

Williams said for a normal Gauchos game there are three security guards who walk the arena and there should be one at each of the aisles on the corners of the arena. He said there are normally eight security staffers at home games.

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