A physical confrontation that erupted between Brown University Coach Mike Cingiser and a Cal State Fullerton heckler turned into a brawl that cleared the Brown bench and halted the game for more than 10 minutes Wednesday night at Titan Gym.
Cingiser, upset by the actions of Bill Harvey, a longtime Fullerton fan whose courtside antics have more than once caused him to be ejected from a game in the past, walked around the court to Harvey on the far side. A moment later, the two were in a tussle, and Brown players and other fans had joined in.
Harvey and two other fans were taken out of the gym by Cal State Fullerton police. Sgt. Jess A. Lopez said afterward no arrests had been made but said the incident was under investigation.
Lopez identified the other two fans as Harvey’s brother, Roger, and Michael Bader.
Official Al Hackney, who said at the scorer’s table he might suspend the game eventually assessed Cingiser with one technical foul.
A coach may be assessed with one technical for leaving the coaches’ box on the sidelines.
Neither Hackney nor the other two officials would comment after the game.
Cingiser was escorted by police off the court at halftime, and again with 28 seconds remaining.
Asked if he regretted his action, Cingiser said “Um-hmh,” apparently meaning yes.
“I went over to try to get him off (to stop verbally taunting) the kids,” Cingiser said. “I don’t know whether he pushed me or I pushed him. I’m not sure.”
Fullerton, which led, 44-29, when the incident occured with 4:45 remaining in the first half, won the game easily, 106-60.
The confrontation apparently had been building. Cingiser and Harvey already had gestured to each other, and Brown Athletic Director John Parry said he had requested that security personnel do something about the situation 15 minutes before the fracas.
Parry would not comment on whether he expected to take any disciplinary action against Cingiser.
“What (Cingiser) did was wrong,” Parry said.
Ed Carroll, Cal State Fullerton athletic director, said he did not know whether any further action would be taken.
“Generally speaking, when a fan is not interfering with the game--they buy a ticket and are allowed to be here. But it’s a fine line,” Carroll said.
“It’s an unfortunate incident, very embarrassing to Brown and to us.”
Cal State Fullerton Coach George McQuarn said Hackney gave him the option of seeing Cingiser ejected and awarding the Titans 28 technical shots--two for every Brown player or coach in the brawl.
“I wanted to play basketball,” McQuarn said. “The last thing I wanted was . . . 28 foul shots. We needed to play.”
Cingiser said he was trying to defuse the situation.
“He was nose-to-nose with the kids,” Cingiser said. “I thought he was going to get the kids crazy. What this is supposed to be about is those 10 guys. It’s not supposed to be about me or about that guy in the stands.”