Xavier dominated St. Johns 88-60 to win its first game of the Big East tournament on Thursday at Madison Square Garden.
The win, though, quickly turned ugly.
While in line to shake hands following the game, players from both teams erupted. St. John’s Bashir Ahmed shoved Xavier’s Trevon Bluiett, and Ahmed refused to shake hands with Xavier players or staff following the blowout, prompting an exchanging of words.
— FOX College Hoops (@CBBonFOX) March 8, 2018
“Kids kept on talking to our guys,” Xavier coach Chris Mack said in a postgame TV interview. “You know, we pushed our guys away, man. It’s not right.
“You know, I’m really proud of our group because everybody’s been telling us, including some guys on FS1 last night, that with our attention to detail and not being ready to play, I thought our guys were ready.”
The incident may not have ended on the court. Dana O’Neil of The Athletic reported that Big East Conference officials are reviewing security footage at Madison Square Garden, trying to determine if something happened “in the back of the house.”
A source told O’Neil that “St. John’s players attempted to get into the Xavier locker room.”
“We know something happened,” Stu Jackson, the Big East’s senior associate commissioner, told O’Neil. “But at this time, we aren’t really sure exactly what it is.”
Neither Mack or St. John’s coach Chris Mullin said they saw anything happen, and Mack said he “wasn’t aware that anyone was trying to get in his locker room.”
“I’m not going to throw anybody under the bus,” Mack said after the game. “A couple of their guys didn’t want to shake hands. It was squelched very quickly.”
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