Lun. Abr 15th, 2024

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Wake Forest did everything it needed Saturday to take a major step toward earning an NCAA tournament bid, a moment that sent its celebrating fans sprinting onto the court as the clock hit zero.

That moment of exuberance left Duke star Kyle Filipowski hobbled after a collision with a fan, reigniting discussions about the dangers of court storming and overshadowing the afterglow of the Demon Deacons’ 83-79 win against the eighth-ranked Blue Devils.

The 7-footer was hobbled when he appeared to bang his right leg into the leg of a fan running by him. Filipowski, who had raised his arms as though to brace for a potential collision, spun off balance and ended up wrapping his arms around a manager and walk-on teammate Stanley Borden for help getting to the locker room tunnel amid the chaos.

Filipowski, who said he injured his knee in the collision, believes the contact was intentional.

«It’s just really ridiculous how that situation is handled,» Filipowski told WFMY News after the game. «I absolutely feel like it was personal. Intentional for sure. Like I said, there’s no reason where they see a big guy like me trying to work my way off the court and they can’t just work around me, you know? There’s no excuse for that.»

He later posted a short message on his X account that read, «this gotta change.»

Duke coach Jon Scheyer expressed his displeasure with court storming, calling for it to be banned.

«When are we going to ban court storming?» Scheyer asked the media. «When are we going to ban that? How many times does a player have to get into something, where they get punched, or they get pushed, or they get taunted right in their face? It’s a dangerous thing.

«You look around the country. Caitlin Clark, something happens. And now Flip, I don’t know what his status is going to be. He sprains his ankle. It’s one thing, like when I played, at least it was 10 seconds and you storm the court. Now, the buzzer doesn’t even go off and they’re running on the floor. This has happened to us a bunch this year.»

Wake Forest coach Steve Forbes agreed with Scheyer — court stormings should not be allowed.

«I didn’t see what happened in the end. I hope he’s OK,» Forbes said. «I don’t like court stormings. I never have. I’ve been a part of those before. They just don’t feel safe.»

On Saturday night, Wake Forest athletic director John Currie issued a statement saying he had expressed «regret» for the incident to Duke AD Nina King as well as to ACC senior associate commissioner Paul Brazeau.

«Although our event management staff and security had rehearsed postgame procedures to protect the visiting team and officials, we clearly must do better,» Currie said.

The ACC followed later Saturday with its own statement from commissioner Jim Phillips, who called the safety of the conference’s student-athletes «always our top priority.»

«We have been and will continue to be, in contact with both Duke and Wake Forest regarding what happened following today’s game,» the statement said. «Across college athletics, we have seen far too many of these incidents that put individuals at serious risk, and it will require the cooperation of all — including spectators — to ensure everyone’s well-being. As a conference, we will continually assess with our schools the best way to protect our student-athletes, coaches, and fans.»

ACC schools do not have a fine structure or disciplinary measures in place for when fans rush the court, according to information provided to ESPN. Each school manages its own events. There are some conference requirements for keeping officials and visiting teams safe and helping them off the floor.

Filipowski had 17 points to lead the Blue Devils (21-6, 12-4 ACC).

Hunter Sallis capped off the game by hitting two free throws with 1.8 seconds left to start the celebration for the Demon Deacons (18-9, 10-6). Andrew Carr scored 16 of his 18 points after halftime, including dominant stretches coming out of the break that had the Demon Deacons feeding him to facilitate out of the post or score over Mark Mitchell inside.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.



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