Brawl at NEC Championship between Bulldogs & Seahawks fans delays game by 30 minutes
With 4:37 minutes to go and Bulldogs leading by 68-32, a fight broke out on the stands at NEC Championship as fans threw punches and flung drinks and bottles at each other
The Northeast Conference (NEC) Championship between the Bryant Bulldogs and Wagner Seahawks on Tuesday night, 8 March, was delayed by nearly 30 minutes after a brawl started between fans of both teams on the stand. The game came to a standstill when a skirmish broke out during a timeout with the Bulldogs leading 68-32 with 4:37 minutes to go.
The annual NEC championship took place at Bryant's Chace Athletic Center in Smithfield, Rhode Island, as usual, but with 4 minutes, 37 seconds left in the game, a fight broke out and punches were thrown with drinks and bottles being flung around during the commotion as well. The game was stopped and the teams went back to their respective locker rooms and it was resumed after a half-hour delay. The cause of the brawl is still unknown as cameras could not detect anything during the commotion.
The fight was between visiting Seahawks fans and Bulldogs supporters. Wagner Seahawks' Will Martinez was the only one ejected for leaving the bench area during the incident.
After some time, the order was restored. Bryant Bulldogs Athletic Director Bill Smith grabbed the mic and said fans would be removed from the student section of the stands. During the delay, Seahawks supporters, including a band, and a few Bulldogs fans, were removed by law enforcement officials. Parents and family members were allowed back in for the finish, with police and security serving as a buffer between Bryant Bulldogs students and Wagner Seahawks supporters.
Jared Grasso, the Bulldogs' coach, told reporters that he was shocked and could not process what was happening and he wanted everything to end and the game to resume. He told, “I don’t even know what happened. I just wanted to get the game started again. Unfortunate incident. I don’t know how it started, why it started, what took place. Thankfully we were able to [finish the game].”
Seahawks fans are furious as this was the third time since 2016 that they advanced to the finals, only to fall short. They trailed 36-6 at one point in the first half and were down 38-12 at halftime. It was a nightmare of an evening for Alex Morales, the two-time NEC Player of the Year, who scored three points on 0-for-16 shooting. The Seahawks lost out on home-court advantage to Bulldogs. It was a bad end for the Wagner Seahawks’ six seniors who went 34-13 in the past two seasons and won an NEC regular-season title a year ago.
Fortunately, there were no further altercations once the game resumed. Bulldogs fans were held off from storming their home court until the Wagner players left the court to prevent further disputes. Thankfully, no one was seriously injured during the crazy evening.