Melee puts end to Fla. State- Fla. A&M game B

December 09, 1991

A bench-clearing melee stopped Saturday's game between Florida State and Florida A&M with 1 minute, 19 seconds left in the first half, and the Seminoles were declared winners by forfeit.

The two Tallahassee schools were playing for the first time since 1982.

Florida State had taken a 38-35 lead on Charlie Ward's layup when the fight started between the Seminoles' Douglas Edwards and Florida A&M's Reginald Finney.

Within seconds, the Florida A&M bench had emptied. Game officials ejected all but three Rattlers players along with Florida State's Edwards, Sam Cassell (Dunbar) and Ray Donald.

Florida State coach Pat Kennedy said yesterday that he will seek to have Cassell reinstated.

"We've had a chance to review the tape," Kennedy said. "Sam didn't do anything. He was running away from it."

However, the Tallahassee Democrat reported yesterday that Cassell went to the press table in search of a sharp pencil to take back into the battle before he was stopped by members of the coaching staff.

Florida A&M coach Willie Booker, who was also ejected for leaving the bench, decided to forfeit instead of having his team continue with three players.

"The way it ended was a horrible thing," Booker said. "The only thing I can do is apologize for my players coming off the bench."

The six players ejected for fighting must sit out their team's next game and face suspension for the year under NCAA rules if they are ejected again for fighting.

With final exams scheduled this week, both teams are off for several days. Florida State makes its ACC debut Sunday at HTC North Carolina, and Florida A&M plays Dec. 17 at Southern University.

"Obviously, it will destroy our [ACC] opener at North Carolina," Kennedy said.

* ARIZONA: Sean Rook helped hold Shaquille O'Neal to 10 points and four rebounds Saturday night to lead the third-ranked Wildcats to an 87-67 victory over No. 16 LSU. O'Neal, who also had three blocks and four steals, played 22 minutes before fouling out, scoring the fewest points since he was a freshman two years ago.

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