LAWRENCE — Bruce Weber thought the game was over, as did just about everybody else crammed into Allen Fieldhouse.
No. 3-ranked Kansas had just dismantled his Kansas State Wildcats on Tuesday night and Weber was headed for the handshake line.
"I turned around to shake hands with coach (Bill) Self and their staff and the next thing I knew their guys were running and I turned around. That's all I saw."
What Weber did see was K-State freshman guard DaJuan Gordon steal the ball from KU's Silvio De Sousa while the Jayhawks were looking to run out the clock on an 81-59 victory. De Sousa raced back to swat the layup at the other end, which should have been the end of it.
But instead De Sousa stood over Gordon and glared. That in turn precipitated a bench-clearing brawl that ended with all but the 10 players on the court ejected, a De Sousa technical foul for taunting and a Pierson McAtee free throw for the Wildcats that changed the final score to 81-60.
"Probably my fault, but I had told (the K-State players) not to press, I had told them not to foul and to back off," Weber said. "The kids are young, they want to play hard. They were disappointed, frustrated."
The Big 12 addressed the matter late Wednesday afternoon, issuing suspensions to four players involved in the brawl. De Sousa got a 12-game penalty and K-State's James Love, who was not suited up for the game, got eight.
Wildcats freshman forward Antonio Gordon received a three-game suspension for his role, with KU's David McCormack drawing a two-game ban.
“I’m extremely disappointed in our team’s actions in the aftermath of last night’s game at Kansas,” Weber said Wednesday in a statement released by K-State. “They do not reflect what our program is about here at K-State.
"Our team will live with the consequences of those actions and move forward in a positive manner. Our focus going forward is to help our players learn from this situation and ensure that it never happens again.”
Weber said Tuesday night that he addressed the situation with his players in the locker room immediately after the teams left the court.
"You win with class, you lose with class," he said. "Disappointing that anything had to happen at the end and that's all I can say.
"Again, it's my guys, it's my fault. They obviously wanted to have a game, compete, and we didn't compete like we needed to and probably a little frustration, especially the young guys."
Weber did not endorse Gordon's decision to go for the steal.
"I told them to back off. But he's a competitive guy and I don't want to take that fire out of his belly, but you've also got to be smart," Weber said. "And all we talk about is act right, treat people right, play the right way.
"That's been our way at K-State. I don't know if coach (Bill) Snyder said it, but that's how he brought his (football players) along. It's what makes K-State special. It probably shouldn't have happened, so life lessons, that's what we talked about in the locker room."
Gene Taylor, K-State athletic director, also commented on the Big 12's actions in the school's press release.
“We do not condone this type of behavior in any circumstance and fully support Commissioner Bowlsby’s decision on this matter,” Taylor said. “There is no place for this type of conduct in the game of basketball, or any sport, and in particular this great rivalry.
"In addition, I would like to offer my appreciation to Jeff Long and the University of Kansas administration and event staff for their efforts in resolving the situation.”
KU and K-State will meet again on Feb. 29 in Manhattan.