A UC Santa Barbara student ran on the court and confronted Hawaii coach Gib Arnold during the Gauchos’ 86-77 basketball victory over the Rainbow Warriors on Thursday night.
The man rushed onto the court while Arnold was arguing with the referees after Hawaii’s Brandon Spearman was called for an intentional foul.
Hawaii forward Christian Standhardinger pushed the fan away from Arnold. Teammate Garrett Nevels also shoved the fan, who gestured for the players to come after him as he backpedaled off the court and returned to the stands on the far sideline.
"It was a little crazy to have a fan pushing your players around," Arnold said in a TV interview. "I’ve never seen it. You don’t expect it."
UC Santa Barbara spokesman Bill Mahoney said the unidentified man was arrested by campus police. Mahoney told ESPN the fan could face discipline and could be 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.
Said Arnold: "It’s rare. I hope security would be better. The guy was wasted and in a different world. It is what it is. You can’t control crazies."
UC Santa Barbara coach Bob Williams apologized to Arnold and the school’s athletic department said Friday it has apologized to Hawaii athletic director Ben Jay and Big West Conference Commissioner Dennis Farrell.
The department says the safety of student-athletes, staff and fans is important and it is reviewing the incident and ”solidifying event protocol” in hopes of preventing a repeat in the future.
The incident came a week after New Mexico State’s K.C. Ross-Miller hurled the ball at Utah Valley’s Holton Hunsaker seconds after a game in Orem, Utah, triggering a brawl that involved fans on the court.
Alan Williams led Santa Barbara (20-8, 11-4 Big West) with 18 points and 11 rebounds, Kyle Boswell had 17 and Zalmico Harmon 16. The Gauchos wrapped up at least the second seed in the Big West tournament, remaining a game behind first-place Irvine with one game left for each in the regular season.