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UT Martin’s Rifen Miguel gets sucker punched by SIUE player during OVC tournament, three players ejected

An Ohio Valley Conference tournament quarterfinal matchup between Southern Illinois-Edwardsville and Tennessee-Martin on Thursday night took an ugly turn after punches were thrown early on in the game, resulting in three player ejections. 

UT Martin was leading SIUE, 31-27, with just over four minutes remaining in the first quarter when Cougars forward DeeJuan Pruitt punched Rifen Miguel in the face after the Skyhawks senior appeared to run down the court with both arms extended over Pruitt.

A scuffle broke out before players and coaches jumped in to separate the players.


The game was delayed for 10 minutes before officials ejected Pruitt, Miguel and UT Martin forward Jalen Myers. 

Miguel was also seen leaving court with a bloodied face. 

Rifen Miguel, #23 of the Ohio Bobcats, walks in for the game against the Virginia Cavaliers in the first round of the 2021 NCAA Men's Basketball Tournament at Assembly Hall on March 20, 2021 in Bloomington, Indiana. 

“I think when you talk about an array of emotions — we talk about winning looks different every night,” UT Martin head coach Ryan Ridder said, via the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “If you had told me the last two hours would look like this, I wouldn’t have believed you. But at the end of the day, that’s a resilient group that found a way to come out shorthanded and get it done.” 

Marquette Golden Eagles forward Justin Lewis, #10, goes around SIU Edwardsville Cougars forward DeeJuan Pruitt, #1, during a game between the Marquette Golden Eagles and the Southern Illinois University Edwardsville Cougars at the Fiserv Forum on Nov. 9, 2021 in Milwaukee.

The Skyhawks defeated SIU-Edwardsville 81-75 to advance to the semifinals on Friday night where they will play Tennessee Tech. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report. 

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