Saturday’s Maryland-North Carolinamen’s lacrosse showdown in Chapel Hill, N.C., was a fight to the finish – right up to the point where it actually became one.

The two teams didn’t shed their lacrosse gloves for boxing gloves as a bench-clearing brawl began in the final minute of the Tar Heels’ 11-10 win, but that certainly didn’t stop the fisticuffs before a national television audience. As you can see in the video below, in a matter of seconds, Tar Heels attackman Greg McBride goes from lying on the Fetzer Field grass to on the attack. His combatant, the Terps’ Kevin Cooper (Archbishop Spalding), morphs from midfielder to middleweight boxer.

Ding-ding-ding.


Enraged by an illegal cross-check, McBride dives for Cooper’s midsection in an apparent takedown attempt, but he slides off and back onto the wet playing surface. At this point, their sticks have been abandoned, the two preferring to let their fists do the talking. McBride staggers to his feet once more, but Cooper lands a right, sending the Tar Heel stumbling. His haymaker on a dazed McBride comes a second later, at which point the Carolina cavalry rides in to separate the two. More peacemakers arrive, but the jawing doesn’t stop.

“All hell kind of broke loose,” midfielder Marcus Holman (Gilman) told The Daily Tar Heel afterward. “I don’t know how to describe it other than that.”

McBride and Cooper were ejected for fighting, and five penalties were doled out in the aftermath of the fracas. Cooper will miss the Terps’ matchup with No. 2 Virginia, and McBride is likely to miss the Tar Heels’ next game, as per the NCAA rulebook.

“There are times when good kids make bad decisions,” Maryland coach John Tillman said. “And we’ve got to make sure that we talk to those guys, we educate them, we address it and we make sure it doesn’t happen again. Because it’s not going to happen again.”

xcxjsshaffer@baltsun.com

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