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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


Mathurin ‘did not recall’ touching TCU cheerleader

Nathanial Stenchever

Bennedict Mathurin, a guard on the Arizona men’s basketball team, takes a layup on Saturday, Nov. 27, in McKale Center. The Wildcats went on to win the game 105-59.

The star shooting guard of the Arizona men’s basketball team, Bennedict Mathurin, became a major subject of discourse on social media Sunday night, but for two very different reasons.

On the one hand, the Pac-12 Player of the Year and a second-team AP All-American was lauded for leading the team to an 85-80 victory in overtime against TCU, personally with 30 points. This is the 20th time the team will advance to the Sweet 16 in school history.

On the other hand, Mathurin was criticized for appearing to touch the chest of a TCU cheerleader on his way off the court.

“Hey @MarchMadnessMBB @ArizonaMBB why did Benedict Mathurin have to touch a @TCU cheerleader in the breast?,” one Twitter user wrote on March 20. The post sparked a lively Twitter debate, garnering over 200 replies either attacking or defending Mathurin.

Nathan Wiechers, associate director of communication services, released the following statement to the Wildcat from Dave Heeke, vice president and director of Arizona Athletics.

RELATED: Mathurin and Koloko combine for 58 points leading Arizona MBB past TCU in overtime and advancing to the Sweet 16

“Shortly after returning to Tucson, I was notified that people on social media were claiming a video clip showed Bennedict Mathurin may have made physical contact with a TCU student while walking off the court,” Heeke wrote. “I have reached out to TCU’s Athletics Department and I spoke with Bennedict. While he does not recall any contact, he has attempted to reach out to the TCU student through their Athletic Department to apologize.”

At a press conference, Associated Press reporter Jim Vertuno asked Mathurin about the incident. Mathurin echoed the earlier statement from Heeke, saying that he sent an email and tried to reach out to the cheerleader through the TCU athletic department.

It is unclear whether Mathurin was successful in making contact to apologize to the TCU cheerleader. 

Follow Kristijan Barnjak on Twitter

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