"It was just in the heat of the moment and I thought it was going to escalate into something," said Emery. "I was just trying to calm both guys down. The whistle had blown and he threw the ball at J.T. [Tavernari], but I didn't say anything mean or derogatory against him. It was just a heat-of-the-moment action."
What happened next brought Cougar fans to their feet in an uproar and Emery lying on the floor. Henderson swung at – and made contact with – Emery's face. While Emery's fall to the floor may have made the incident look worse than it actually was, there is no excuse for anyone swinging their hand toward the face of another player.
Following the incident, as officials discussed what actions would be taken, the Cougars gathered at their end of the court. Coach Rose counseled his players on how to handle the situation in what was a highly charged atmosphere.
"Yeah, just keep playing," recalled Emery about what was said in the team huddle. "We had the lead and we didn't want to do anything that would jeopardize our season or the game. I mean, you just keep your head and you let the officials deal with it."
"This is not a normal game, it is a rivalry game and emotions run high," Coach Rose was quoted as saying after the game on KSL's website. "Everybody is under a lot of pressure to play the best they can play."
Henderson was ejected from the game, and on Monday it was announced that he will serve a one-game suspension. Emery said he would prefer to not dwell on Saturday's incident, and that the Cougars will just leave it in the hands of MWC officials and Utah coach Jim Boylen.
"We just move on," Emery said. "We move on towards the next game and if that's what they've decided, that's their decision. People are going to say things and there's never really a perfect solution, you know. Obviously everyone has had their different opinions and side but you just move on, and it's one thing that happened and you put it in the past and keep playing."
These latest fireworks in this instate rivalry will only lead to greater anticipation for the BYU vs. Utah rematch that will be held March 3 in Salt Lake City at the Huntsman Center.