On a 10-day diplomacy tour of China commissioned by the U.S. State Department, Georgetown squared off against a professional Chinese team, the Bayi Rockets. According to various reports, tension quickly escalated as the game got more physical in the second half. The teams were allegedly exchanging words all game long.
According to a report from The Washington Post's Gene Wang, Rocket forward Xu Zhonghao was blatantly taunting Georgetown head coach John Thompson III. Thompson was reportedly shaking his head. Fans from the Georgetown side who went to the game said the team was getting angry at what they thought was blatant hometown officiating. Wang said play had to be stopped three minutes into the second half when Georgetown forward Nate Lubick had words with one of the Rockets players.
It boiled over with approximately nine minutes remaining in the fourth quarter. A player for the Rockets committed a hard foul on Georgetown guard Jason Clark. The junior took exception to the foul and mouthed something to the Rockets player. From there, another Rockets player came over and the brawl was on.
Both benches cleared and spilled over into behind one of the baskets. It was there where numerous players on the Rockets started grabbing chairs. According to Wang's report, Thompson was able to quickly usher his players off the court.
As Georgetown players left the court, the crowd was throwing numerous bottles and items at them.
It was a scene reminiscent of the famous brawl between the Detroit Pistons and Indiana Pacers, as the sides exchanged blows while numerous officials tried to separate them.
Tonight two great teams played a very competitive game that unfortunately ended after heated exchanges with both teams. We sincerely regret that this situation occurred, Thompson said in a statement.
The brawl comes at the same time Vice President Joe Biden is on a tour of China working on diplomacy. Thus far, Biden, who met with the Georgetown basketball team and watched one of their earlier games, has yet to comment on the incident.
Georgetown is supposed to continue the tour in Shanghai, however, this incident may change their itinerary.
Unsurprisingly, It seems as if Hoya nation is decidedly in favor of its favorite team. In a Twitter post, Hoya alumni Roy Hibbert said he had heard about the fight and thought the Hoyas looked tough for the upcoming season.
According to the blog Casual Hoya, a Chinese fan who attended the game blasted the Rockets and praised the Hoyas. The fan allegedly said, A number of times it was obvious the students didn't commit fouls. Bayi is a professional basketball ruffian/hooligan gang.
Here is the video.