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NCAA ‘court-storming’ under fire after injury

KYLE Filipowski of Duke suffers an injury after fans stormed into the court following Wake Forest’s 83-79 win in North Carolina in the US NCAA. | JUSTIN BERL/AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE

LOS ANGELES (AFP) — US college basketball authorities faced fresh calls to ban rowdy postgame court invasions after a second player was injured in a stampede by spectators.

Duke University center Kyle Filipowski — one of the top-rated prospects in college basketball — suffered a knee injury on Saturday after Wake Forest University fans in North Carolina stormed the home court following their team’s 83-79 victory.

The incident came just over a month after University of Iowa star Caitlin Clark — a top player in women’s college basketball — was flattened by an Ohio State fan during another post-game invasion on 21 January.

For some, “court-storming” is a cherished tradition of US college basketball.

But the latest incidents have brought calls for an outright ban on spectators storming the court, and tougher sanctions for those involved.

Duke coach Jon Scheyer said that the Atlantic Coast Conference, the governing body for his team’s division, needed to take firm action to stop court-storming.

“The ACC needs to do something,” Scheyer said in a video press conference.

“There has to be something done to protect our guys, and not just our guys, but any team that’s in that situation.”

“We shouldn’t wait until next year. So that should be done right now.”

After Filipowski’s injury, an incensed Scheyer had called for an end to wild post-game celebrations.

“When are we going to ban court-storming?” Scheyer said.

“How many times does a player have to get into something where they get punched or they get pushed or they get taunted right in their face? It’s a dangerous thing.”

Filipowski, meanwhile, said he believes he was targeted by opposition fans.

“Intentional for sure,” he said after Saturday’s loss.

“There’s no reason where they see a big guy like me trying to work my way off the court and they can’t just work around me. There’s no excuse for that.”

ACC officials said player safety was under constant review, but acknowledged recent incidents were unacceptable.

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