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Minnesota suspends backup McNeil after arrest

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MINNEAPOLIS (AP) Minnesota sophomore guard Daquein McNeil was jailed Tuesday without bail after his arrest on a felony domestic assault charge involving his girlfriend.

McNeil, who was suspended from all team activities pending the investigation, was booked Monday, according to jail records. The Hennepin County attorney's office had until Wednesday to charge him, spokesman Chuck Laszewski said.

McNeil was arrested for second-degree domestic assault and domestic assault by strangulation. According to the Minneapolis police report, the 20-year-old McNeil and his girlfriend, who is 28, got into an argument Monday morning at an apartment on campus. McNeil tore off her clothes, hit her multiple times with a large belt, choked her and poured cold water on her, the police report said.

She fled outside wearing a small robe and coat to another apartment around the corner, where a man called in the emergency and she waited until police and medics arrived. Officers observed the victim distraught, with several bruises and welts over her body, the report said. She was taken to a hospital.

Minnesota athletic director Norwood Teague said the school was gathering information and cooperating with authorities.

''This athletics department values respect and positively impacting the lives of others and will not tolerate any form of domestic assault from its staff or student-athletes,'' Teague said in a statement released by the university.

The team was unavailable for comment. The Gophers play St. John's on Wednesday in New York in the semifinals of the NIT Season Tip-Off at Madison Square Garden.

McNeil was averaging 3.3 points, 3.3 rebounds and 2.5 assists in 18.8 minutes per game. He was usually the second guard off the bench, behind starters Andre Hollins and DeAndre Mathieu and backup Nate Mason. McNeil played sparingly as a freshman, averaging 1.6 points and 9.8 minutes per game, but coach Richard Pitino mentioned him last month as the team's most improved player over the summer.

McNeil was the first player to sign with Minnesota after Pitino was hired last year, after originally committing to play at Florida International where Pitino previously coached. He was a three-year starter at Vermont Academy, a prep school in the small town of Saxtons River, after leaving behind a rough upbringing on the east side of Baltimore where he lived with his aunt. In 2007, when McNeil was 13, his father was murdered and his mother died after a long bout with lupus.