Illinois' Alan Griffin Suspended 2 Games for Stepping on Purdue Player

Blake SchusterContributor IIIJanuary 23, 2020

Illinois guard Alan Griffin (0) is escorted off the court after being ejected for a foul during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game against Purdue in West Lafayette, Ind., Tuesday, Jan. 21, 2020. (AP Photo/Michael Conroy)
Michael Conroy/Associated Press

No. 21 Illinois will be without guard Alan Griffin for the next two games after the Big Ten suspended the sophomore for stepping on Purdue's Sasha Stefanovic.

Griffin was immediately handed a flagrant-2 foul and ejected. The Fighting Illini earned a 79-62 victory over the Boilermakers on Tuesday, but Griffin's actions marred the win. 

"We don't condone that," Illinois coach Brad Underwood later told reporters. "It's not part of anything we're trying to do with our program."

In 18 games this season, Griffin has averaged 8.4 points and 4.2 rebounds in 16.3 minutes. So while he's not the most vital piece to the Illini's success, he still adds depth. 

Perhaps most importantly, it's unforced adversity for an Illinois team that's beginning to show significant progress in year three of Underwood's tenure. The Illini are 14-5 (6-2 Big Ten) and just a half game back of Michigan State for the conference lead as they look to snap a six-year NCAA tournament drought.

Big Ten Commissioner Kevin Warren said in a statement:

"After a thoughtful and thorough review of this incident, we are all extremely fortunate this did not create a hostile and unsafe environment for the players, coaches, game officials and fans. It is important for me to emphasize and make it crystal clear that such behavior will not be tolerated, period. We place the utmost importance on the safety and well-being of our players, coaches, game officials and fans. The situation provides a teachable moment for all parties involved, especially our student-athletes as they use their time in the Big Ten to grow as individuals both on and off the field of competition."

Griffin's suspension comes at the same time the Big 12 is enforcing temporary bans for multiple players involved in a skirmish at the end of the Kansas-Kansas State game that also took place Tuesday.  

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