A college basketball game between two Florida schools took a violent turn when a player for Saint Leo University appeared to sucker-punch one of his opponents on Nova Southeastern.
The Division II Sunshine State Conference game in St. Leo, Florida, had reportedly been physical before Isaiah Hill flattened Nick Smith with his fist or forearm. The officials didn’t seem to notice the attack, but Saint Leo suspended Hill after video of the Dec. 7 incident emerged.
“Isaiah’s conduct on the court is not an accurate representation of Saint Leo’s core values,” Athletic Director Francis X. Reidy said in a statement on Monday. “Saint Leo University holds its students to high standards of moral and ethical conduct as a reflection of Benedictine values. Upon review of Isaiah’s actions this past Saturday, he will not represent Saint Leo University in competition for the remainder of 2019.”
A stunned Smith got up and finished the game ― a 92-77 victory for his team, The Ledger reported.
USA Today’s For the Win called the blow a “vicious cheap shot.”
Saint Leo president Jeffrey Senese deleted a tweet complaining that the video was out of context and that the opposition took “constant cheap shots” and disrespected the Saint Leo team “in an unsportsmanlike manner,” The Ledger noted.
Senese took a more apologetic tone in a later statement. “This type of conduct will not be tolerated,” he said. “I am saddened by this event as this behavior does not reflect who we are at Saint Leo University and apologize for any comments that suggest otherwise.”