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College Basketball

‘Wasted’ UC Santa Barbara Gauchos fan storms court, confronts Hawaii coach (video)

In one of the more bizarre scenes of recent memory at a college basketball game — and that’s saying something — an unhinged UC Santa Barbara Gauchos fan ran on to the court during a stoppage in play, stormed across the hardwood and angrily confronted the Hawaii Rainbow Warriors coaching staff, specifically head coach Gib Arnold.

Arnold said afterward that he has seen a lot of crazy things in his 22 years of coaching as well as playing basketball, but nothing like what happened on Thursday during his team’s 86-77 loss.

“It was a little crazy to have a fan pushing your players around. I’ve never seen it. You don’t expect it,” he said.

The man, clad in a blue UC Santa Barbara Class of 2014 shirt, was later arrested by university police and will face stern punishment, including anything meted out by the school, according to UC Santa Barbara spokesman Bill Mahoney.

“Historically when things like this happen, the student, who was arrested, would go in front of Judicial Affairs, which is part of Student Affairs,” Mahoney wrote in an email to ESPN. “The extent of his punishment would be speculation, but I would doubt it will be mild.”

Mahoney indicated if the man is a student, he could be expelled.

Another thing Mahoney will be forced to answer to on behalf of the school’s administration and security staff was the relative ease by which the man gained access to the court and the disturbingly close proximity he reached with Hawaii’s coaching staff. The first person to respond was Rainbow Warriors players Christian Standhardinger and Garrett Nevels, who pushed the man away after he got in the face of Arnold in a hostile manner.

The aftermath of the incident was troubling as well, as the man reportedly was “shown in replays continuing to gesture toward the court after the incident as he walked unimpeded back through the stands.” The heck?

Arnold, despite the close call — things could have gone much, much worse, obviously — isn’t overly concerned about this kind of ridiculous behavior becoming a trend.

“It doesn’t concern me,” Arnold said. “It’s rare. I hope security would be better. The guy was wasted and in a different world. It is what it is. You can’t control crazies. That’s why they’re crazy.”

Crazy, indeed.