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Basketball players from colleges tied to brawl probe

OLEAN -- State police are trying to determine how two students were stabbed during an early morning fight involving several members of the St. Bonaventure University men's basketball team and players from a junior college team.

A member of the team from the Jamestown Community College-Olean campus was wounded, and a former member of that team also was hurt in the brawl that occurred at about 3 a.m. Sunday on the St. Bonaventure campus, according to police.

Police believe that "about eight to 10" young men were involved in the fight, including members of the St. Bonaventure and JCC-Olean teams, State Police Lt. John C. Aquilina told The Buffalo News on Monday.

So far, no charges have been filed, and police will talk with the Cattaraugus County district attorney's office before deciding on further action in the case, Aquilina said.

Police conducted interviews at St. Bonaventure on Monday. The names of the players allegedly involved were not released.

"We're talking to everyone who might know anything," Aquilina said.

"We're trying to determine what the [JCC-Olean] players were doing there, and what led up to the dispute."

Some of the brawlers were basketball players from the two schools, Aquilina said.

Rameek Boyd, 20, a freshman member of the JCC-Olean team, and James Chatmon, 20, a former member of that team, were treated in Olean General Hospital for minor stab wounds and released.

According to two sources familiar with the situation, the fight stemmed from a Friday night incident at the Rathskeller bar on the St. Bonaventure campus.

The sources said several visitors from the junior college were ordered to leave the Rathskeller after a disagreement between basketball players from the two schools.

The sources said a group of Jamestown players and friends drove to St. Bonaventure early Sunday morning, pulled up outside some townhouses where students lived and challenged members of the St. Bonaventure team to a fight.

The two victims were stabbed with a screwdriver, one of the sources said.

"We have heard that, and we are looking into that," Aquilina said.

He added that police are trying to determine whether people on both sides of the dispute had weapons.

Officials at both schools had little to say about the incident.

"University officials and students are cooperating with New York State Police as they investigate an altercation early Sunday morning between some SBU students and several men who don't attend the university," a St. Bonaventure spokesman said in a statement.

The spokesman declined to comment further.

"We are indeed concerned about the incident and are cooperating fully with law enforcement officials," said Nelson J. Garifi, a spokesman at JCC-Olean.

Aquilina said he hopes to have the investigation wrapped up within a couple of days.

He said that anyone with information on the case should contact Senior Investigator Brian J. Ratajczak at 353-8800.

St. Bonaventure basketball coach Mark Schmidt declined to comment.

e-mail: dherbeck@buffnews.com and rmckissic@buffnews.com

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