- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 18, 2011

The goodwill tour of China by Georgetown’s basketball team turned ugly Thursday, after an exhibition game with the Bayi Rockets ended with an on-court brawl.

The game in Beijing ended in a 64-64 tie as coach John Thompson III pulled his team off the court because of the melee.

A two-minute video of the fracas posted on SportsGrid.com showed a physical contest quickly spiral out of hand. Shoves turned to punches in a wild, confused scene as both benches cleared. Chairs were thrown. When Georgetown’s players were rushed off the court by the coaching staff, the video showed a barrage of bottles heaved at them.

Georgetown spokesman Mex Carey, traveling with the team, told The Times via email no members of the Hoyas’ travel party were injured and the tour will continue as scheduled.

In an emailed statement, Thompson expressed sadness over the situation on a trip he hoped would bring his young team together.

“Tonight, two great teams played a very competitive game that unfortunately ended after heated exchanges with both teams,” Thompson’s statement said. “We sincerely regret that this situation occurred.

“We remain grateful for the opportunity our student-athletes are having to engage in a sport they love here in China, while strengthening their understanding of a nation we respect and admire at Georgetown University.”

The Rockets are a military team in the professional Chinese Basketball Association, with their players serving in the People’s Liberation Army.

Georgetown’s trip was off to a promising start after the Hoyas opened with 98-91 win over the Shanxi Dragons in front of Vice President Joe Biden.

Two more games are planned in Shanghai before Georgetown returns home Aug. 27.


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