Basketball players

Two Michigan basketball players suspended for their role in Wisconsin fight


Moussa Diabate and Terrance Williams have been suspended for one game, effective immediately, for their role in Sunday’s postgame bout between the Michigan men’s basketball team and Wisconsin, the Big Ten announced Monday.

Michigan coach Juwan Howard, who escalated the disagreement by hitting a Badgers assistant in the postgame handshake line, was suspended for the remainder of the regular season and fined $40. $000. For Wisconsin, player Jahcobi Neath was suspended and coach Greg Gard fined $10,000. No other players or coaches were punished by the Big Ten for these incidents.

All of the sanctions were revealed Monday evening in a press release from the conference.

“It has been determined that there is a clear violation of the Big Ten Conference Fair Play Policy by Michigan Men’s Basketball Head Coach Juwan Howard. University of Wisconsin men’s Greg Gard violated the conference’s fair play policy,” Big Ten’s statement read.

“For their roles in the altercation, Terrance Williams II (forward) of Michigan, Moussa Diabate (forward) and Jahcobi Neath (back) of Wisconsin also violated the Big Ten Conference’s sportsmanship policy. Many members of the bench of both teams, including the assistant coaches, did not represent the level of sportsmanship expected of the Big Ten Conference and its member institutions.”

Diabate has started the majority of Michigan’s games at 4, and he’s also playing at 5 as a replacement for Hunter Dickinson. The rookie, a former five-star rookie, is averaging 9.3 points and 5.7 rebounds per game for the Wolverines. His 28-point outburst last week against Iowa was a career high and propelled the team to one of its biggest wins of the season to date.

Williams II has played 23 games this season, including 22 as a substitute. The forward gained 15 minutes against Wisconsin, and he had his best performance of the season with a 22-point night in December against Nebraska.

The suspensions mean Michigan will be shorthanded as it enters the final stretch of the regular season.

The Wolverines have four straight games at Crisler Center, all against likely NCAA Tournament teams. Michigan hosts a resurgent Rutgers team on Wednesday, Feb. 23, which Diabate and Williams II will miss. They can return to face Illinois, Michigan State and Iowa in Ann Arbor. The program then closes the regular season on March 6 at Ohio State.

Sunday’s events unfolded at the end of Wisconsin’s 77-63 win at the Kohl Center. Howard said he was upset that Badgers coach Greg Gard called for a late timeout when the game was already decided, and that the animosity led to a tense conversation between the two in the line of hand shake.

Gard put his hand on Howard’s chest, and the disagreement continued and turned much more violent when Howard struck, hitting an assistant coach. In the ensuing scrum, Diabate and Williams II appeared to land additional blows as players and coaches from both teams converged in a scrum.

“Big Ten conference coaches and student-athletes must demonstrate the highest standard of athletic conduct,” Big Ten commissioner Kevin Warren said. “I am grateful for the partnership with Michigan Athletic Director Warde Manuel and Wisconsin Athletic Director Chris McIntosh. We expect yesterday’s incident to provide our coaches and student-athletes with an opportunity to reflect, learn and move forward in a way that demonstrates decorum and leadership on and off the court. .


Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel called the postgame events “unacceptable.”

“I am aware of and watched the end of our men’s basketball game,” Manuel said in a press release. I reached out and apologized to Chris McIntosh and President Coleman contacted Chancellor UW Blank to apologize for the totally unacceptable behavior. We will review the situation further and work with the Big Ten Conference as they determine their disciplinary action and determine if further disciplinary action is warranted.

Here is what the two coaches said after the game:

Juwan Howard on if he was upset by the Wisconsin timeout:

Yes. I didn’t like the timeout being called, and I’m going to be totally honest with you. I thought it was unnecessary at the time, especially being a big lead.

And then for the timeout to be called with three seconds, four seconds ago, I thought that was, what I felt, wasn’t fair to our guys.

Juwan Howard on what happened when the disagreement got worse:

Well, basically, you know, I spoke with the head coach, which I’ll remember, because of that timeout. And someone touching me – and I think it was very inappropriate for him to touch me while we were talking and communicating with each other. So that’s what ended up happening. And that’s what made it worse.

…Touching me unnecessarily. That wasn’t the cause of it when we were talking. At that moment, I thought it was time to protect myself.

Greg Gard on what happened in the handshake line:

As I was going through it, you know, I know it didn’t come right away. He came in later after some of the players and was coming down the line with everyone. They were all fine, and he came up to me and pulled his mask down and said, “I’ll remember that.”

He started pointing at me and patted me on the chest and I said, “Wait, let me explain why I took the time.” Maybe he doesn’t know the rule that you get the 10 second reset.

I wasn’t going to put my players in that kind of situation to have to break a press in four seconds. It’s difficult off the bench. I wouldn’t do that for a regular band. I can take a time out. This gives my players the best chance of success.

So that’s when it started, he said ‘I’ll remember that, I’ll remember that.’ And I said, ‘Hey, let me tell you why I did what I did.’ And he didn’t want to be part of it and kept on going.

Unfortunately, as I said, he momentarily eclipsed. I’m not going to let it eclipse her any longer.