Texas' Gabe Muoneke has been suspended one game by first-year UT men's basketball coach Rick Barnes because of unsportsmanlike behavior exhibited in Monday night's loss to Kansas at Allen Fieldhouse.
Muoneke, a 6-foot-7, 250-pound junior forward, will miss Saturday's game against Oklahoma State in Austin, Texas.
Muoneke punched KU's Nick Bradford in the stomach in Monday's opening minutes, forcing Bradford to exit a few moments to catch his breath. In the second half, Muoneke popped Kansas' T.J. Pugh in the stomach on a play in which Pugh's teammate, Eric Chenowith, was fouled while Pugh chased a rebound. Later, Muoneke hit Pugh in the face as Pugh blocked out under the goal.
Barnes held a meeting with the Houston native after Muoneke punched a Wisconsin player during a Dec. 15 game.
"At that time we laid down ground rules as to what action would be taken if this happened again," Barnes said. "After reviewing the game tape, I saw some actions by Gabe that were unsportsmanlike. If I had known it happened during the game, I'd have taken him out.
"We are in the education business here and it is our responsibility to help him," Barnes added. "Gabe will learn this behavior is not tolerated and not representative of the University of Texas."
Muoneke apologized on Tuesday for his most recent actions.
"I'd like to apologize to the University of Kansas, its players and coaching staff for my actions in last night's game," Muoneke said. "I'd also like to apologize to the Big 12 Conference and University of Texas.
"I am embarrassed and ashamed of what I have done. My behavior was inexcusable and totally inappropriate and I want to fix it. I will seek any and all help to help to allow me to overcome this."
That will include counseling, which will start Thursday.
"I think it's an on-the-court problem that if it's not taken care of, it could spill over," he told the Associated Press. "I haven't done anything to make anybody proud. I think some think I'm a thug, some hate me, some think I'm funny. I don't think anybody thinks of me as a basketball player right now."
Big 12 commissioner Kevin Weiberg released a statement following the action taken by Barnes.
"We have reviewed the action taken ... and feel no further conference action is required," Weiberg said. "The one-game suspension is an appropriate penalty. We appreciate coach Rick Barnes and the university's prompt action in this matter and the public apology issued by Gabe Muoneke."
KU coach Roy Williams said Tuesday: "There were some things on the tape that didn't necessarily need to have happen in a college basketball game. I'm sure Rick saw the same things and made that decision to suspend him."
Pugh was not overly bothered by both blows.
"Maybe at some times it crossed the line," Pugh said. "Both teams were playing hard. It was physical, but we expected that. There were no hard feelings."
"That dude is strong. He got me a good shot in the stomach," he said. "Hopefully in the future the refs will catch that."
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