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NMSU player tossed for punching foe in face

New Mexico State forward Robert Carpenter was ejected from Thursday night’s game for punching Liberty forward Shiloh Robinson in the face, and Aggies coach Jason Hooten said he anticipates Carpenter will be suspended.

Carpenter was issued a flagrant foul 2 and quickly tossed for the punch in the first half of New Mexico State’s 79-73 overtime win at the Pan American Center in Las Cruces, New Mexico.

Carpenter and Robinson had tangled while battling for position under the hoop, and as Robinson turned to head back down the court, Carpenter struck Robinson in the face. Robinson fell to the ground, clutching his face, and was attended to by staff.

Hooten, in his postgame news conference, said he had not had an opportunity to review the incident or what might have led to it. He apologized to Liberty coach Ritchie McKay for Carpenter’s actions, saying they were “not acceptable.”

“That’s not the way that we’re going to do things here at New Mexico State University,” said Hooten, who is in his first year overseeing a program looking to turn the page from hazing accusations and a deadly shooting last season.

Hooten expressed shock at Carpenter’s actions, calling him “a really good kid.” But he added, “There’s just no room, no room for that in the game, at all.”

Hooten said he expects that Conference USA will suspend Carpenter for at least the Aggies’ next game, Saturday against Jacksonville State, and possibly longer once officials review the video.

“My rule is he won’t play on Saturday,” Hooten said.

Carpenter, a junior, is in his first season playing for New Mexico State after a transfer from Mississippi Valley State. He also played previously for St. Bonaventure. He is averaging 10.2 points, 4.1 rebounds and 0.2 assists in 19.2 minutes per game for the Aggies.

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