Basketball Altercation Grabs Statewide Attention

February 11, 2005 -- Posted 11:00 p.m. CST

JONESBORO -- The floor is quiet and seats are empty, but that was not the case at the Convocation Center on Thursday night.

The intense rivalry between UALR and ASU erupted into a heated confrontation between ASU fans, and the coaches and players on UALR's team.

Intense moments on the court, too often, are carried off the court.

This time, it was in Jonesboro.

"There's always talking to the coaches and talking to the players--just trying to get in their head down by where we sit. There was not profanity that I heard,"said Rusty Acebo.

Rusty Acebo said UALR's head basketball coach accused him of using profanity.

Acebo says the coach had the wrong guy.

"We're just arguing back and forth. With that, he started coming at us. I am still talking with my hands, and had a water bottle in my hands. He just kind of brushed up against it. I never felt like I was in harms way,"said Acebo.

Acebo said security guards told him to leave the game.

He says he repeatedly asked why, but never got an answer.

Thursday night's altercation has ASU's Athletic Department taking a proactive approach to make sure there is not a repeat performance.

Dr. Dean Lee works for ASU's Athletic Department.

"Immediately, we will increase security around the visiting team, and we'll look at other things we can do from a preventative measure.  Hopefully, we won't have another event like this in the future....ever, "said Lee.

Dr. Lee says as each violent incident occurs at any level, in any sport, he and his staff meet to discuss what can be learned from each situation, and how to avoid similar incidents on the campus of ASU.