Sports

Northern Arizona coach suspended for fracas in Big Sky tourney

Ogden, UT (SportsNetwork.com) - The Big Sky Conference has suspended Northern Arizona men's basketball coach Jack Murphy for one game for his actions after Friday's game against Montana.

Northern Arizona dropped a 61-59 decision to Montana in the Big Sky semifinals after Jordan Gregory's basket with less than a second remaining. A Montana player in street clothes raced onto the court after the basket, but with 0.4 seconds still remaining a technical foul could have been whistled against the Grizzlies.

Officials decided not to make the call because the action did not interfere with play.

After the game, Murphy appeared to poke Montana coach Travis DeCuire in the chest when the two coaches met during the handshake line. A scrum ensued, though punches were not thrown.

Big Sky commissioner Doug Fullerton said Murphy's action warranted the penalty.

"All of the student-athletes did a tremendous job of diffusing instead of escalating a tense situation," said Fullerton in a statement Sunday. "It's clear from the video that Coach Murphy instigated the incident. We expect more from our coaches when it comes to sportsmanship. This is unacceptable behavior for any coach in America, especially in the Big Sky."

Fullerton said the suspension will be enforced this season if Northern Arizona earns a bid to a postseason tournament. If not, the suspension will take effect when the Lumberjacks make their next appearance in the Big Sky Tournament.