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Assault.

This is March: SIUE player cold cocks UT Martin player in OVC tournament, promptly gets ejected

Ahhh, March. The month of buzzer beaters, epic Cinderella stories, endless beers and wings, and ... vicious right hooks that lead to multiple ejections?

It's not exactly what Jon Rothstein had in mind when he coined the phrase "This is March," but it's what we got on Thursday night in a quarterfinal matchup between SIU-Edwardsville and UT-Martin in the Ohio Valley Conference tournament. Late in the first half, after an SIUE bucket, Tennessee-Martin senior forward Rifen Miguel and SIUE forward DeeJuan Pruitt were making their way back down the court when they bumped into each other and then got in each other's faces. Like, directly in each other's faces. 

In a half-hearted attempt to keep things civil, Miguel put both hands in the air while also putting his forehead in Pruitt's mouth. This continued for about five steps until, just before both players reached halfcourt, Pruitt had had enough and unloaded a right hook in Miguel's jaw:

Assault. 

But, actually? That was a seemingly out-of-nowhere slug, though this video shows that Miguel did get a little aggressive in the paint right before the SIUE basket, which led to the donnybrook:

That was a big bump, but it's still no excuse for Pruitt to punch him in the face, and backpedal away cowardly. If you're going to sucker punch a guy, you better stand in there and be ready for him to fight back. Pruitt snuck away so fast he ended up behind his own team's bench with a wall of teammates in front of him. Tough look. 

As you'll see at the very end of that three-minute clip, UT-Martin sophomore Jalen Myers swung on Pruitt as he was retreating, though he didn't appear to connect. Ultimately, Miguel, Myers and Pruitt were all ejected from the game, and UT-Martin got the last laugh in an 81-75 victory, effectively ending SIUE's season.