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UW Athletic Director Shows Support for Suspended Cole Bajema

The Husky forward will sit out Saturday night's USC game.
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After Cole Bajema drew a one-game suspension from the Pac-12 Conference for what's been perceived as a dirty play, University of Washington athletic director Jen Cohen has come out with a statement in support of the senior forward.

On Saturday morning, the Husky leader released the following message through the athletic department. 

“We were surprised and are extremely disappointed with the decision to suspend Cole Bajema for our game Saturday at USC," Cohen said. "Cole has demonstrated character and sportsmanship during his three years competing in the Pac-12. We stand in support of Cole and look forward to him returning to the court next week."

The 6-foot-7 senior from Lynden, Washington, will sit out Saturday night's game against USC after the conference determined he had purposely kneed UCLA's Adem Bona in the groin during the Huskies' 70-61 defeat on Thursday night at Pauley Pavilion.

The irony of all of this is Bajema likely is the last guy one might expect to be accused of an underhanded play, hailing from his small conservative town on the Canadian border and graduating from Lynden Christian High School. He is considered a scrappy player, but not one who does offensive things. 

Bajema, who averages 9.9 points per game, is the second-leading scorer for the UW (13-11 overall, 5-8 Pac-12), which will tip off off against USC (16-6, 8-3) on Saturday night at 6:30 p.m. 

At UCLA, the veteran UW swingman was assessed a personal foul and continued to play after Bona missed his foul shot with the Bruins leading 33-19 at the time.

On further review, the conference determined the Husky player should have been ejected for the infraction, hence the one-game suspension he'll serve now.

In a late Friday night statement, the Pac-12 determined the following

"Bajema made significant contact with the groin area of a UCLA student-athlete during live game play. The NCAA Rule Book (4-15.2.c.2.d) states 'any contact by the offending player to the groin area of an opponent which is not clearly accidental' is a Flagrant 2 personal foul which carries a penalty of two free throws, possession of the ball for a throw-in, and ejection of the offending player."

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