A physical confrontation that erupted between Brown University basketball Coach Mike Cingiser and a Cal State Fullerton heckler turned into a brawl that cleared the Brown bench and halted the game for more than 10 minutes Wednesday night at Titan Gym.
The Titans, who led, 44-29, when the incident occurred with 4:45 remaining in the first half, won the game easily, 106-60.
Cingiser, upset by the actions of Bill Harvey, a longtime Fullerton fan whose courtside antics have more than once caused him to be ejected from a game, walked around the court to Harvey on the far side. A moment later, the two were in a tussle that Brown players and other fans joined.
Harvey and two other fans were taken out of the gym by Cal State Fullerton University police. Sgt. Jess A. Lopez of the University police said afterward that no arrests had been made but that the incident was under investigation. Lopez identified the other two fans as Harvey's brother, Roger Harvey, and Michael Bader.
Official Al Hackney, who said at the scorer's table he might suspend the game, eventually assessed Cingiser with one technical foul. A public address announcement threatening to clear the gym was also made.
A coach may be assessed with one technical for leaving the coaches' box on the sidelines.
Neither Hackney nor the other two officials would comment after the game.
Cingiser was escorted by police off the court at halftime, and again with 28 seconds remaining.
Asked if he regretted his action, Cingiser said "Uh-huh."
"I went over to try to get him off (to stop verbally taunting) the kids," Cingiser said. "I don't know whether he pushed me or I pushed him. . . . I'm not sure."
The confrontation apparently had been building. Harvey had been standing on the sidelines shouting at Brown players, and Cingiser and Harvey already had gestured toward each other. John C. Parry, Brown athletic director, said he had requested that security personnel do something about the situation 15 minutes before the fracas.
Parry would not comment on whether he expected to take any disciplinary action against Cingiser.
"What (Cingiser) did was wrong," Parry said.
Ed Carroll, Cal State Fullerton athletic director, said he did not know whether any further action would be taken.
"Generally speaking, when a fan is not interfering with the game--they buy a ticket and are allowed to be here. But it's a fine line," Carroll said.
"It's an unfortunate incident, very embarrassing to Brown and to us."
Fullerton Coach George McQuarn said Hackney gave him the option of having Cingiser ejected and awarding the Titans 28 technical shots--two for every Brown player or coach in the brawl.
"I wanted to play basketball," McQuarn said. "The last thing I wanted was the coach out of the game and 28 foul shots."
Cingiser said he was trying to defuse the situation.
"He (Harvey) was nose-to-nose with the kids," Cingiser said. "I thought he was going to get the kids crazy. . . . What this is supposed to be about is those 10 guys. It's not supposed to be about me or about that guy in the stands."
Fullerton (4-5) scored its second largest number of points in McQuarn's eight seasons. The Titans scored 117 against United States International University in 1985.
Three Titans scored more than 19 points--Richard Morton (29), Henry Turner (20) and Van Anderson, whose 22 points were a career high.
Morton has now scored at least 18 points in his past 21 games.
The game marked the end of Fullerton's nonconference season.
All four Fullerton victories have come at home, and all by large margins. None has been closer than 12 points. Fullerton is winless on the road, however. It's closest loss was nine points.
McQuarn said it was difficult to assess the nonconference season before the Pacific Coast Athletic Assn. opener at Cal State Long Beach Saturday night.
"We've spent most of our time teaching people how to play new positions," said McQuarn, whose team has struggled with injury, illness and inconsistency. "We've spent very little time teaching defense and fundamentals."