Joe Furstinger of the University of New Mexico men’s basketball team has been suspended for one game by the Mountain West conference for his actions at the end of Tuesday night’s matchup against Boise State. He will miss Saturday’s game at the Air Force Academy.
“The student-athletes and support personnel from both institutions have been admonished with regard to their leaving the bench area to participate in the altercation,” the Mountain West said in a press release. “This action could have resulted in a much more serious incident. The game officials correctly determined that time had expired and were thus unable to employ applicable NCAA playing rules.
“However, those individuals beyond the permitted head coach and one assistant coach who came out on the court during the altercation could have been ejected from the game had time remained and would have been subject to potential suspension had they participated in a situation defined as a fight.”
In the last seconds of the game, after Anthony Mathis missed an attempt to tie, Furstinger sprinted underneath the basket and shoved the Boise State player who had rebounded the ball in an apparent attempt to foul. A scuffle ensued with both benches emptying out and coaches and security officials attempting to separate the players. Justinian Jessup of Boise State was given a formal reprimand by the league for his retaliation push.
Both benches were given admonishments for leaving the bench area because of the potential that action had to escalate the altercation. Because the game was over, officials were unable to apply any of the applicable NCAA rules.
The league also commended head coach Paul Weir for the fashion he handled the incident in.
“What happened at the end of the game was completely unacceptable,” Weir said after the game. “I apologize to fans, to the Mountain West, to Boise State University, their whole staff, their program. I didn’t see everything that happened, but just completely unacceptable behavior. I am sick about it — as sick as I am about the game. That’s really not how a game like this should end.
“I don’t know where that behavior came from. It’s not something that we’ve ever encouraged, talked about, endorsed in any way. It’s just completely unacceptable, and I apologize to every Lobo fan out there that they had to see that, anyone at UNM and obviously to Boise State University as well. I hope that’s not indicative of our institution or this program. That was just uncalled for on a lot of levels, and I’m extremely disappointed about it.”
In 25 games so far this season, Furstinger is averaging 9.3 points, 7 rebounds and 2.5 assists per game. He averages 28 minutes per game, the highest on the team.
Cameron Goeldner is a sports beat reporter and photographer for the Daily Lobo. He primarily covers men’s soccer and softball but also contributes content for baseball, basketball, football and track and field. He can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @goeldfinger.