posted 2012-02-01 11:18:20

BasketBrawl

Homecoming turns ugly as melee breaks out after game 

Arthur Kapetanakis

Sports Editor

This year’s homecoming is one that will not soon be forgotten by anyone in purple and gold. Unfortunately, it will be remembered for the wrong reasons.

In the seconds after the men’s basketball team’s last-second loss to Lehman College, an all-out brawl ensued, culminating with Hunter’s head coach being taken to a local hospital for x-rays on head injuries.

It all started with the game’s controversial final play. With 2.1 seconds remaining in a 60-60 game, Hunter’s Joseph Salerno inbounded the ball from under his own basket. Salerno heaved the ball towards a teammate at midcourt, but Lehman’s George Nimmons intercepted the pass. Catching the ball in stride, Nimmons took two quick dribbles and went up for a contested layup, which he banked in before the clock expired.

The only problem was that the clock was never started. As Lehman celebrated, some of the Hunter coaches spoke with the referees and argued that the basket should not have counted. Their protests were in vain, though, and Lehman was awarded the basket and the victory. In hindsight, video replays appear to show that Nimmons’ shot just beat the clock.

Still celebrating their victory, the Lehman players stormed off the court towards their locker room, passing the Hunter bench. As they passed the bench, some of the Lehman players ran into Hunter Head Coach, Shay Berry, knocking him to the floor, sources say.

Hunter center Terry Carpenter then went to help his coach up. As he did so, a Lehman player punched him in the face, according to sources.

Things soon escalated into a full-scale brawl. Punches were thrown by players from both teams as several clashes broke out across the gym floor. Fans from both sides jumped down onto the court as well, although it is not clear how much involvement any had in the fighting.

The melee lasted for about a minute before the referees, coaches and Hunter staff were able to break it up.

Berry, Hunter’s head coach, appeared to come out the worst. He was taken to a local hospital after allegedly being run over and tackled by Lehman players. Fortunately, all X-rays were negative, and he has resumed his normal duties with the team.

In the days following the fight, Hunter’s Athletic Director Terry Wansart handed three Hawks in-house suspensions for their roles in the events. Senior guard Jeffrey Daza, senior center Pete Koutsoloukis, and freshman guard Joseph Salerno were all suspended for at least one game. Further suspensions from CUNY are likely, but have not yet been announced.

Members of the team were not available for comment, as they have been instructed not to discuss the brawl with any media members.

The Hawks face Lehman one more time this season, when they travel to the Bronx on February 6. You can bet that several Hunter players have this date circled in their minds, as they will look to have the final word over Lehman with a win on the Lightning’s home court.