Even without beating Nevada on Saturday night, the Utah State Aggies possessed a strong enough resume to get into the dance later this month. But a win over the No. 12 ranked Wolf Pack would have just about locked up their bid in the NCAA Tournament, so it was still a monumental game between the top two teams in the Mountain West Conference.
Naturally, the Utah State crowd came to play in primetime. The Aggies have one of the most underrated home-court advantages in all of college sports, with a student section that has provided viral gold over the years on YouTube. They were out in full force Saturday night, propelling their squad to a signature win. While on paper it was hardly an upset (Utah State has the best record in the conference), the fans stormed the court anyway:
The court-storming argument (when to do it, when not to do it, whether it should be allowed at all, etc.) is a discussion for another day. Obviously, this was a big night at Utah State, so even if they are just as good as Nevada, the fans still wanted to celebrate. But when they start touching or cursing at other players among the scrum, that's when things usually get ugly. And while it has only been alleged that those things happened, it seems like they probably did after watching the reaction of some Nevada players and coaches afterwards.
In video captured by Jake Edmonds, a sports reporter from Salt Lake City, Nevada senior Jordan Caroline can be seen punching through a fire extinguisher box Amare Stoudemire-style, shattering the glass all over the floor. As a coach holds him back and eventually gets him and other players to the locker room, some of Nevada's coaches, including head coach Eric Musselman, can be seen cursing at police officers that they claim did nothing to stop the opposing fans from touching their players. Check out the full video, which contains very strong language:
Wild scene, to say the least. Here's another angle, which shows one of the police officers shoving a Nevada coach and screaming "get in your room!":
Edmonds went on to report that Nevada players shouldn't have even been in that tunnel, but they may have been because it was their only option with fans possibly blocking the entrance to their locker room after the game. As of now, it's still unclear what was said by any fans or opposing coaches, and Nevada did not make any players or coaches available to the media afterwards. In statements made by a Nevada spokesperson and Utah State's athletic director to ESPN afterwards, it sounds like everyone is going with the "still gathering information" routine, as they should.