Florida fan ejected for wrapping arm around Kentucky player’s neck during basketball game

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A fan of the University of Florida was ejected from the Gators’ basketball game against the University of Kentucky on Wednesday after wrapping his arm around a Wildcat player’s neck in the second half. 

Kentucky’s Cason Wallace went to save a ball from going out of bounds and after doing so, one of the fans sitting courtside at the arena wearing an orange Florida Gators shirt, was seen standing and putting his arm out.

It ended up wrapping around Wallace’s neck and play was halted. 

Head coach John Calipari was livid on the Kentucky sideline, while referees began to discuss what happened. The play went under review and video replay clearly showed the refs what everyone else saw back home. 

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Cason Wallace #22 of the Kentucky Wildcats with John Calipari against the Tennessee Volunteers during the game at Rupp Arena on February 18, 2023, in Lexington, Kentucky.

Cason Wallace #22 of the Kentucky Wildcats with John Calipari against the Tennessee Volunteers during the game at Rupp Arena on February 18, 2023, in Lexington, Kentucky. (Andy Lyons/Getty Images)

“That is inexcusable,” one of the ESPN announcers said. “That’s an easy call. That guy is gone. …That guy should never come to another game.”

“No, never,” his broadcast partner replied. “And in the SEC, not just on this campus. That’s as bad as you can act as a fan. … Absolutely unacceptable.”

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The fan was eventually seen walking off the floor, as were apparent friends with whom he was sitting. 

The announcers didn’t appreciate the fans trying to hype up the crowd as they left the floor, either. “No, don’t ask for applause. That’s not the right response. You were wrong and you need to leave.”

The game was deadlocked at 50 apiece with 13:47 left in the second half, but in the end the Wildcats picked up a road conference win, 82-74. 

Wallace, who played 38 minutes for Calipari, finished the game with eight points, six assists and two rebounds. 

Cason Wallace #22 of the Kentucky Wildcats shoots the ball against Aleks Szymczyk #13 of the Florida Gators during the second half of a game at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center on February 22, 2023, in Gainesville, Florida.

Cason Wallace #22 of the Kentucky Wildcats shoots the ball against Aleks Szymczyk #13 of the Florida Gators during the second half of a game at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center on February 22, 2023, in Gainesville, Florida. (James Gilbert/Getty Images)

Oscar Tshiebwe was the leading scorer of the night with 25 points, while Jacob Toppin, brother of New York Knicks forward Obi Toppin, had a double-double with 19 points and 11 rebounds. 

Antonio Reeves also added 16 points for Kentucky. 

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Head coach John Calipari of the Kentucky Wildcats talks to an official during the first half of a game against the Florida Gators at the Stephen C. O'Connell Center on February 22, 2023, in Gainesville, Florida.

Head coach John Calipari of the Kentucky Wildcats talks to an official during the first half of a game against the Florida Gators at the Stephen C. O’Connell Center on February 22, 2023, in Gainesville, Florida. (James Gilbert/Getty Images)

The Wildcats outscored the Gators 46-37 in the second half after going into the locker room down by one, 37-36. 

Unfortunately, this isn’t the first time someone not supposed to be interacting with players stopped a game. 

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In a matchup between Mississippi Valley State and Alabama A&M earlier this month, a cheerleader stepped onto the court to confront a player after he appeared to impede her stunt near the baseline during his inbounds pass. 

The cheerleader was eventually ejected. 

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