Montrezl Harrell's ejection could lead to suspension

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Montrezl Harrell was well on his way to another dominant performance Saturday late in the first half during a 76-67 win at Western Kentucky before losing his temper in the skirmish for a loose ball and making a potentially costly mistake.

Harrell went to the floor trying to force a tie-up with WKU sophomore guard Brandon Price. While both players were vying for the ball, Hilltoppers’ freshman Avery Patterson grabbed at Harrell from above angering the junior All-American candidate.

Harrell stood and threw a punch at Patterson and inadvertently hit official Pat Adams in the chest with an elbow. Adams doubled over in pain as the combatants were separated.

The No. 4 Cardinals were leading 28-22 with 38.2 seconds remaining in the first half when the altercation occurred. Harrell had scored half of his team’s points to that point. After officials reviewed the play, Harrell was ejected for throwing a punch and WKU guard DJ Clayton was assessed a technical foul.

Western Kentucky coach Ray Harper and Louisville coach Rick Pitino exchanged words and were issued technical fouls during the discussion with officials after the replay review and tempers continued to flare throughout the game.

Harrell’s inability to control his emotions will undoubtedly cost him a one-game suspension Tuesday against Cal-State Northridge. It would be unusual for Harrell to receive more than a one-game suspension causing him to miss next Saturday’s rivalry game with No. 1 Kentucky, but the fact that Harrell put himself in position for that possibility to even be a concern was a mistake that can’t happen.

The ACC has the authority to review the game and determine if Harrell threw a punch and any resulting punishment. Anything more than a one-game suspension would be unusual.

Harrell expressed regret after the game for letting his emotions get the best of him.

With Harrell out of the game, the Hilltoppers cut the lead to three in the second half, but Louisville sophomore guard Terry Rozier picked up the slack scoring 17 consecutive points for Louisville during one stretch. Rozier finished with 32 points.

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[Kyle Ringo is the assistant editor of The Dagger on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at kyle.ringo@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!