DeGioia and Athletic Director Lee Reed were not immediately available to comment, according to a school spokesman.
Bayi did not immediately issue a statement, but as word of the brawl spread throughout Chinese social media, many citizens chided Rockets players for crossing the line between physical play and unsportsmanlike conduct.
Some Chinese fans were incredulous. “It seemed that [the referee] was eager for the Chinese team win tonight, so the Georgetown team members were very unhappy about it,” said Zhou Ting, 26, a doctoral candidate in biology at the Chinese Academy of Science who attended both games. “I can tell the Chinese players provoked the conflict. . . . The [Bayi] basketball players have got a bad habit of revenge on every small, unfair thing in the Chinese Basketball Association. It’s a hooligan’s habit.”
Immediately before the fighting began, Bayi forward-center Hu Ke was called for a foul against Georgetown’s Jason Clark. The senior guard took exception to the hard foul and said so to Hu, triggering pushing and shoving between them. At that point, players from the Georgetown and Bayi benches ran onto the court, and bedlam ensued.
A woman sitting in the Georgetown fan section directly behind the bench implored Chinese police to try to calm the situation, yelling about the risk of injuries to bystanders. Chinese authorities made no attempt to break up any of the fights, and the three officials working the game could not be seen as the melee erupted.
At that point Thompson said, “We’re outta here,” and pointed toward the tunnel behind the Hoyas’ bench leading underneath the stands.
No players or coaches on either side were seriously injured.
As Thompson and his staff began escorting their players off the court, the group had to dodge plastic water bottles being hurled from the stands. According to one Georgetown official, several bottles struck fans in the Hoyas section. Once the coaching staff and players reached the locker room, the team immediately gathered all its equipment and headed for the buses outside.
Members of the Hoyas basketball staff tried to find a police escort for the entire Georgetown contingent, including the alumni and supporters who attended the game. But rather than wait, Thompson told everyone to walk to buses together.
Among the most surreal sequences unfolded early in the third quarter, when Rockets forward Xu Zhonghao approached Thompson while he was standing near the Georgetown bench and began yelling at him at close range during the course of play. Thompson stared at Xu in disbelief before officials halted play for several minutes. Moments later, Bayi player Wang Lei was called for a technical foul after vehemently disputing a call, and play had to be stopped again.
“Once it got out of hand, I was in great fear for everyone associated with Georgetown University, because if you look at it in terms of sheer numbers, we were very much outnumbered,” Thompson said. “Once it got to that point, once all the skirmishes had ended, my only thought was to get our fans, our players, our family, our friends out of this building as soon as possible.”
Washington Post staff writer William Wan in Washington and research assistant Zhang Jie in Beijing contributed to this report.