LAFAYETTE — Things got a little hairy between the Louisiana-Lafayette and South Alabama men’s basketball teams Thursday night at the Cajundome during an emotional game that had to be stopped multiple times to sort out a bevy of technical fouls.
The behavior was addressed Friday by both coaches as well as Sun Belt Conference Commissioner Karl Benson.
“The Sun Belt Conference and its member universities have a high standard for conduct,” Benson said in a statement. “We cannot and will not ignore when these standards are not met. I thank (UL Lafayette athletic director) Scott Farmer and (South Alabama athletic director) Joel Erdmann for recognizing the type of behavior that is expected and that this behavior was not suitable for their universities.”
Both Cajuns coach Bob Marlin and Jaguars counterpart Matthew Graves apologized for the actions of their teams in statements released by the SBC.
“Last night was a highly emotional game for both teams, and we are certainly disappointed with the actions of everyone involved,” Graves said. “We have addressed the issues within our team and will continue to be diligent on educating our student-athletes on how to appropriately conduct themselves in such an environment moving forward.”
There were 54 fouls called, and the teams combined to shoot 69 free-throw attempts. There were eight technical fouls and a flagrant foul.
The most visible confrontation came when the teams had to be separated at the end of the first half following a buzzer-beating layup by South Alabama’s Ken Williams. The fray resulted in a pair of technical fouls and a flagrant foul. Before the second-half clock started, South Alabama shot two free throws and the Cajuns shot four.
“The technical fouls and resulting behavior that occurred last night took away from what was a competitive game between our two institutions,” Marlin said. “The lack of sportsmanship that was displayed is not conducive to our sport, and was not a good representation of our athletic program and our university.”