The Pittsburgh Panthers were leading the undefeated and number one Syracuse Orange 56-55 with 4.4 seconds left on the clock. Following a timeout, Syracuse guard Tyler Ennis received the in-bounds pass, dribbled down the hardwood ten feet past the half-court line where he launched up the final shot with one second left. It went in as time expired and the Orange won 58-56 to improve to 24-0 on the season.
You could see it in their eyes, Panther fans were devastated and some even furious at the thought that they were so close to knocking off the number one team in the country. In fact, you could see it in their fist. Pittsburgh fan Dane Johanna had been hiding under the Syracuse bus for an estimated forty-five minutes waiting for the Orange to come aboard. When the team came out of the staff entrance at the back of the arena Johanna saw his chance. According to Syracuse guard C.J. Fair, Johanna jumped out from behind the front wheels of the bus and gave Ennis an uppercut punch to the jaw.
In the mere seconds following the incident Syracuse forward Rakeem Christmas grabbed hold of Johanna and handed him over to security. The fan is now in custody and is facing charges of assault. For Ennis, he was rushed back into the arena for medical attention, his injuries are unknown.
This incident was saddening for both coaches, Jim Boheim was asked about the situation and responded “Well, it is really terrible. Some fans just go to far, I cannot remember another time when a fan just came up and straight punched an opposing player. Hopefully Tyler (Ennis) will be fine and we can move on”. When Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon was asked about the altercation he was outraged. “This is just unacceptable, I am furious at the fan and this is exactly not how to react after a loss. Fans like that have no place around sports, they are terrible”.
Syracuse plays next on February 15 at home versus North Carolina State.