WSSU basketball player suspended after brief fight during game
WINSTON-SALEM, N.C. — One of the ugliest incidents in the last 20 years at the Gaines Center has led to the suspension of center Stacy Caroway of the Winston-Salem State basketball team, according to the Winston-Salem Journal.
In Tuesday’s 105-64 win over Barber-Scotia, Caroway was fouled hard by Chris Calvan and they had a brief fight that led to both benches emptying. No other punches were thrown and order was quickly restored with 2:25 left in the game.
At first, the game officials said the game was over and the teams went to their respective locker rooms with the Rams leading 99-62. But a few minutes later the teams returned to the Gaines Center floor but fans were not allowed to stay. The game was completed without further incident in an empty gym and both teams shook hands afterwards.
Commissioner Jacqie McWilliams of the CIAA said on Friday afternoon that Caroway would miss today’s game against Belmont Abbey at 4 p.m. at the Gaines Center. She said after seeing the video provided by WSSU and after being in constant communication with Tonia Walker, the athletics director at WSSU, that no other suspensions were likely.
“At this time and from what we have gathered from James Birch (the CIAA’s basketball coordinator of officials) and the on-site observer (Vierl Banks) there won’t be any other suspensions,” McWilliams said. “But we can change that (on Saturday) if we get further information….”
Walker and Coach James Wilhelmi of the Rams did not return phones messages left on Friday afternoon.
Several Rams left the bench area after the fight but Wilhemi and his two assistants and Coach LeVelle Gerrald of Barber Scotia kept the teams separated as best as they could., according to McWilliams.
“It was broken up very quickly and Tonia said that police were very quick to respond,” McWilliams said.
Caroway, a 6-7 reserve center, is a senior for the Rams (3-1). So far this season Caroway has split time with freshman Dedric Byrd. Caroway is averaging 6.5 points and 16.2 minutes a game. He is second on the Rams in rebounding at 4.5 a game and was shooting a team-best 69 percent from the field.
Belmont Abbey (0-5) comes into Saturday’s game looking for its first win.
Martin Unger, who is in his first season as head coach, has a young team with one senior and one junior on his roster. The Crusaders are coming off a 91-59 loss to Lees-McRae on Tuesday night.
The Crusaders are allowing 82 points a game and are scoring just 53 points a game.
Markel Pollard and Ray Chen are their leading scorers at 10 points a game. Pollard is a 6-5 freshman forward and Chen is a 6-1 sophomore guard.
Point guard Justin Kuhlman, the only senior on the roster, suffered a broken hand in a preseason scrimmage and he will not be available until January.
“We are just very young right now and are still trying to find ourselves,” Unger said. “Another of our freshmen, Deion Lane, had a stress fracture and he’s slowly getting back for us. He’s played the last two games for us but he’s not 100 percent yet.”
Last season Belmont Abbey was 11-16 overall and 7-9 in the Conference Carolinas and beat the Rams at the buzzer in a game played at Belmont Abbey.