Duke's Kyle Filipowski says Wake Forest fans tried to hurt him in court-storm, but who initiated contact?

Mass chaos erupted Saturday at LJVM Coliseum in Winston-Salem, North Carolina, as Wake Forest fans rushed the floor following the Demon Deacons’ 73-69 win over No. 8 Duke. 

The court-storming began with no resistance before the final horn sounded and almost instantly turned into a dangerous situation that led to Duke leading scorer Kyle Filipowski suffering a knee injury amid the madness. 

“I felt a bunch of hits on my body,” Filipowski told Greensboro, North Carolina, CBS affiliate WFMY of the sequence that led to injuring his right knee. “This one was the worst of them. Like I said, it’s just really ridiculous how, you know, that situation’s handled. I’ve already heard that there (are) some videos of (me) getting punched in the back, so I absolutely feel like it was personal, intentional for sure. There’s no reason why they see a big guy like me trying to work my way off the court and can’t work their way around me. There’s no excuse for that.”

So what exactly happened, and who, exactly, is at fault? There are several videos with different angles available, so with the dust settled, let’s take a look.

Storm was brewing before game was over

Video of the incident appears to show Wake Forest fans stampeding towards midcourt with reckless abandon that led to the collision, and further analysis of the incident backs that up. The first wide angle of the scene shows several Wake Forest fans beneath the basket were already near the free-throw line before the clock even expired. 

By video you can see there is some sort of collision between Filipowski and a fan, however, the initial angle shows more of an incidental contact than anything malicious. Filipowski clearly gets dinged in the middle of a stampede before a student manager comes to his side and helps protect him while dragging him from the middle of the scrum.

You could interpret that angle several ways but nothing appears malicious from such a scoped-out point of view. That is not the case with another view ESPN showed after the game.

Wake Forest fan taunts Filipowski

In a separate angle of the court-storming, video shows a Wake Forest fan sprinting to midcourt but pausing mid-sprint to taunt Filipowski as he made his way off the floor. 

Bracing for contact, Filipowski extends his arms but is in the process clipped in the knee by the eager fan. Below is a look at the fan as he runs past Filipowski taunting. One could argue Filipowski initiated the contact, but slow-mo of the sequence appears to show that his leg was extending only as he was walking off the floor. 

Only an instant later, Filipowski and the fan collide and appear to knock knees with one another. Filipowski was seen with ice around his right knee after the game, according to The Associated Press. In the screenshot below it appears Filipowski extends his arm but only after seeing the fan barreling toward him in what appears to be a protective position. During this time it appears his left ankle also briefly looks unstable and unbalanced. 

That collision caused Filipowski to swirl into a spin amid the storming fans before Duke manager Luke Klores could get to him. You can see below he goes into a bit of a spin as a result of the contact and takes several more blows before getting rescued.

Here’s the above-the-court angle that clearly shows the incident.

From that angle it’s difficult to tell exactly when the fan came into view for Filipowski, a key piece of information necessary to determine intent of Filipowski’s extended arm. If he saw a Wake fan coming and gave the forearm shiver, then perhaps there was planning that went into it. From the angle below, though, it appears Filipowski was taken aback by how quickly the Wake fan was in his personal space and only threw his arms up as a way of protecting himself. The arm comes up and out at almost the exact moment his knee is injured.

Furthermore, in terms of determining intent, there is a reasonable argument to be made here that the Wake fan, not Filipowski, initiated the contact. Two videos require further scrutiny. The first is the above-court angle just before the two collide. 

The second video is from the main broadcast angle. The fan falls to the floor in a heap after colliding with Filipowski. It appears the fan also made a jumping motion, which may have been a protective reaction to try and avoid Filipowski.

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