South Carolina-LSU fight: Long delay after both benches, Kamilla Cardoso ejected & man jumps onto court

Sunday’s SEC championship game between LSU and South Carolina was chippy from the start, but it predictably devolved into a much more serious situation late in the second half.

The Tigers and Gamecocks got into it toward the end of an intense battle, resulting in several ejections. LSU’s Flau’jae Johnson was at the center of the bad blood, as were South Carolina’s Kamilla Cardoso and Ashlyn Watkins.

The incident occurred between two teams with legitimate national championship hopes. South Carolina ensured it will go into the NCAA Tournament unbeaten with the 79-72 win over LSU, while the Tigers can’t be discounted given their title experience from last year’s run.

Here are the details on Sunday’s fight involving LSU and South Carolina, including a look at who was ejected.

MORE: What to know about Kamilla Cardoso

LSU-South Carolina fight

Johnson and Cardoso found themselves at the center of the brawl. Johnson initially put her hands on Watkins, and Cardoso quickly came in to knock Johnson to the ground.

The shove set off a scrum involving both benches, with a man believed to be Johnson’s brother also making his way onto the floor. He was reportedly escorted out of the arena in handcuffs.

The brawl prompted a 20-minute delay to determine ejections. Cardoso was ejected along with the vast majority of both benches, leaving LSU with only five available players and South Carolina with six down the stretch. Two South Carolina bench players were allowed to remain in the game because they did not step onto the court during the skirmish. 

Cardoso will be ineligible to play in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, though that matchup is unlikely to be a serious test for powerhouse South Carolina. All players ejected for coming off the bench will still be eligible to play.

It was a much different kind of day for Cardoso after she kept the Gamecocks’ undefeated season alive with a buzzer-beater to sink Tennessee on Saturday. She and Angel Reese got into it earlier in the game, and her day ended early once she decided to shove Johnson. 

South Carolina coach Dawn Staley apologized in her postgame interview, explaining that the incident is “not who we are.”

The Gamecocks will enter the NCAA Tournament as clear national championship favorites, but their weekend at the SEC Tournament serves as an indication they won’t be able to simply coast to a title. 

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