Division III player suspended, barred from campus after vicious cheap shot

A Division III game in Massachusetts was marred by a vicious cheap shot better suited for the WWE than basketball. (Screenshot via Boxcast.TV)
A Division III game in Massachusetts was marred by a vicious cheap shot better suited for the WWE than basketball. (Screenshot via Boxcast.TV)

A Fitchburg State player has been indefinitely suspended from his team and barred from campus as a result of a vicious cheap shot he delivered late in Tuesday’s loss to fellow Massachusetts Division III school Nichols College.

Kewan Platt dropped Nichols guard Nate Tenaglia with a right elbow to the face better suited for a WWE match than a basketball game.

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The incident occurred just after Tenaglia drilled a corner 3-pointer with less than three minutes to go in his team’s 84-75  victory. After appearing to turn his head to check whether the referee on the baseline was paying attention, Platt took his chance to retaliate, leaving Tenaglia writhing on the floor in pain clutching his face.

Another referee spotted the malicious cheap shot, blew his whistle and slapped Platt with his second technical foul of the game, resulting in his ejection. The junior guard was escorted off the floor as Tenaglia collected himself and referees briefed both coaches on what happened.

“I was proud of how our guys handled the situation,” Nichols coach Scott Faucher told Yahoo Sports. “They came together and focused on the next play.

“Nate actually made the two free throws and stayed in the game. He’s an extremely tough kid. He took the shot, rallied his teammates together and went right to the free throw line.”

It’s unclear what provoked Platt because neither Fitchburg State coach Titus Manderson nor athletic department spokeswoman Bettiann Michalik immediately returned messages left by Yahoo Sports. Asked what he thought led Platt to take his frustration out on Tenaglia, Faucher said he’s “not really too sure.”

“There wasn’t really anything before that, any incidents,” he added.

Full video of the game confirms that there were no previous physical altercations but does provide a bit more context. Fitchburg State’s previous possession ended with Platt attempting an ill-advised step-back 3-pointer that sailed several feet over the rim, perhaps leaving him frustrated enough to make a poor decision seconds later.

Fitchburg State announced Platt’s punishment via statement Wednesday afternoon, saying that it’s “appalled” by his conduct. The junior college transfer’s indefinite suspension is not a decision the school could take lightly considering he’s the Falcons’ leading scorer so far this season at 21.3 points per game.

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Jeff Eisenberg is a college basketball writer for Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at jeisenb@oath.com or follow him on Twitter!

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