WATCH: College basketball player PUNCHES official in celebration gone wrong
The US college basketball matchup between Illinois and Michigan on Wednesday night was forced to continue without one of its officials when he was punched to the ground by a player during a celebration gone wrong.
Late in the second half, Illinois center Kofi Cockburn had just scored and drawn a foul when he swung his arm round in celebration.
But he clearly didn’t see match official Lewis Garrison emerging from behind him, and proceeded to send Garrison crashing to the court as he caught him with his swinging right elbow and forearm.
Illinois’ Kofi Cockburn accidentally elbows Referee Lewis Garrison. Ouch. pic.twitter.com/qEWBxlT2YC— CollegeBB News (@CollegeBBNCAA) December 12, 2019
Garrison immediately went down holding his head, while a concerned Cockburn went to his aid, trying to help the dazed official to his feet.
But Garrison was unable to continue and was reportedly later taken to hospital for a precautionary X-ray, although he is not believed to have suffered any serious injury.
Michigan coach Juwan Howard said Cockburn had clearly not intended to take out the official.
"He didn't see him, he hit him in the back of his head,” Howard said, ESPN reported.
“As you can see, we had to finish the game with two referees. I just hope he's OK."
Kofi Cockburn now Leads the Big Ten in double-doubles and referees punched— Max (@champaign_mane) December 12, 2019
The incident took some of the shine off the performance from freshman center Cockburn, who starred with 19 points, 10 rebounds and four blocks as Illinois recorded a 71-62 victory over No. 5-ranked Michigan – their first such win over a top-five program since 2013.