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MN basketball player arrested for assault following Whitworth game

By Annie Bishop, KXLY4 Reporter , annieb@kxly.com
Published On: Jan 30 2013 12:16:04 PM CST
Updated On: Jan 03 2013 12:53:08 PM CST
Eugene Lawrence
SPOKANE, Wash. -

A college basketball player from a St. Paul, Minn. university was arrested after he allegedly sent a Portland woman visiting Spokane to the hospital New Year's Eve with a broken eye socket and broken jaw.

It was supposed to be a happy reunion between old high school friends when Hamline University's basketball team visited Whitworth University for a basketball game Monday night.

Kayla Bray, 20, thought it would be great to hang out with Hamline player Tyler Pannell after the game, but their visit turned out different than anyone could expect. That get-together ended with a friend and fellow player of Pannell's in handcuffs and Bray in an ambulance headed to the hospital with a broken jaw.

Pannell and Bray are old high school friends from Portland who were reunited in Spokane on New Year's Eve. Pannell is a basketball player for Hamline University. The team was in town for a tournament at Whitworth.

Bray's dad, Steve, said she gave Pannell a ride to a hotel and at some point she got into an argument with another player Hamline player, Eugene Lawrence.

That's when police say Lawrence punched her in the face, knocking her to the ground.

When she came to Bray said his daughter asked for the players to call 911, but they refused - because it would break their curfew. Bray called for help herself.

Lawrence made his first court appearance Wednesday and is charged with felony second degree assault. Because he has no criminal history his bail was set at $5,000.

An assistant coach for Hamline University, who was in the courtroom with Lawrence Wednesday, declined comment. Lawrence's biography, which was on the basketball team's online roster Wednesday morning, has since been removed.

Hamline University released this brief statement on the incident to KXLY Thursday morning:

"We are very concerned for the welfare of Ms. Bray and regret that this incident happened. Eugene Lawrence has been placed on an interim suspension from the basketball team and the University, and we are fully looking into the incident. We have reached out to the Bray family and shared with them our concern and support for their daughter."

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