College basketball notebook: Fan celebrations taking center court this season

Fans celebrate Virginia's win over Duke on Feb. 28, 2013 by storming the court in Charlottesville, Va. Virginia won the game, 73-68.  (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)
Fans celebrate Virginia's win over Duke on Feb. 28, 2013 by storming the court in Charlottesville, Va. Virginia won the game, 73-68. (AP Photo/Steve Helber, File)
Photo by AP
| Friday, March 1, 2013, 9:42 p.m.

With so many upsets in college basketball, there seems to be daily highlights of fans storming the court to celebrate.

No team has separated itself from the pack, and there have been 15 instances when top-five teams in the Associated Press Top 25 poll lost to unranked squads on the road, according to STATS LLC.

That's led to a lot of postgame mayhem — and Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said it's not all fun and games when it happens.

He would know. His third-ranked Blue Devils have lost on the road to start court-storming celebrations four times this year, including Thursday when his team had to battle through the surge at Virginia. The coach said afterward that fans should celebrate, but the focus should be getting the visiting team off the court first.

“Put yourself in a position with one of our players or coaches,” Krzyzewski said. “I'm not saying anybody did this but the potential is there all the time for a fan to come up to you and say, ‘Coach, you're a (expletive)... .' Or push you or hit you. What do you do? What if you did something? That would be the story, right? So we deserve that type of protection.”

There had been only seven instances in each of the past two seasons in which AP top-five teams lost to unranked teams on the road. But the past week has shown just how wild this season has been by comparison.

First No. 5 Miami — ranked No. 2 at the time — lost at Wake Forest last weekend. Then top-ranked Indiana lost at Minnesota on Tuesday. The next night, No. 4 Michigan fell to a Penn State team that was 0-14 in the Big Ten.

And in each of those cases, fans gathered around the edges of the court to count off the final seconds before charging in to celebrate at the sound of the horn.

The SEC fines its members when fans storm the court, ranging from $5,000 for the first offense, $25,000 for the second and $50,000 for a third.

Harrison suspended by St John's for rest of season

D'Angelo Harrison, the third-leading scorer in the Big East Conference, was suspended by St. John's for the rest of the season.

Red Storm coach Steve Lavin made the announcement without giving a reason for the suspension, which includes postseason games.

NCAA hits Saint Mary's with recruiting violations

The NCAA placed Saint Mary's on four years' probation for “failure to monitor its men's basketball program,” reducing scholarships after it says the perennial mid-major power committed several recruiting violations.

San Diego basketball star gets 6 months in prison

Former University of San Diego basketball star Brandon Johnson, 26, was sentenced to six months in prison for his role in a game-fixing scheme.

San Diego's all-time scoring and assists leader admitted unsuccessfully soliciting an unidentified player during the 2010-11 season when he was no longer at the school.

La Roche women drop NCAA opener

La Roche College fell to undefeated DePauw, 73-43, in Greencastle, Ind., in the opening round of the NCAA Division III Women's Basketball Tournament. Jessica Pitts scored 13 points for La Roche (24-3).

Seton Hill women clinch finals berth in WVIAC

The Seton Hill women will play Fairmont State at 1 p.m. Saturday at Charleston (W. Va.) Civic Center in its first WVIAC Championship game. The Griffins secured the bid with a 61-49 victory over Charleston on Friday.

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