Gard grabbed Howard with his left hand to stop the Michigan coach from moving to the next person to shake hands with, which seemed to anger Howard.
Shortly after, Howard threw a punch towards a member of the Badgers coaching team, sparking pushing and shoving between both sets of players and staff.
Gard spoke with CBS Sports postgame on the court to explain his perspective of the altercation.
“Apparently, he didn’t like that I called a timeout to reset the 10-second call because we only had four seconds to get the ball over halfcourt,” Gard said. “And I didn’t want to put my backups, I had all my bench guys in the game, I didn’t want to put them in that position of scrambling with only four seconds.
“So I took a timeout and I got us a new 10 seconds and helped them get organized and get the ball in. He did not like that when he came through the handshake line, so I’ll leave it at that and the tape will show the rest.”
Howard addressed the incident in the postgame press conference: “I didn’t like the timeout they called, I’ll be totally honest, I thought it was not necessary at that moment, especially with it being a large lead. … I thought that wasn’t fair to our guys.
“Basically, I addressed with the head coach that I would remember that because of that timeout. So that’s what ended up happening, that’s what escalated it.”
University of Michigan athletic director Warde Manuel released a statement after the end of the game.
“I am aware of and watched the end of our men’s basketball game,” Manuel said.
“There is no excuse for any of our staff or student-athletes to get into a physical altercation with others regardless of instigating factors.
“I reached out and apologized to Chris McIntosh and (Michigan) President (Mary Sue) Coleman has reached out to UW Chancellor Blank to apologize for the totally unacceptable behavior.
The Big Ten conference said it is “aware” of the incident and that it is “currently assessing the incident.”
“The conference will provide more information and will take swift and appropriate disciplinary action when it completes its review,” it said in a statement.
Michigan lost to Wisconsin 77-63, and as the two teams shook hands at the close of the game, Wisconsin’s head coach, Greg Gard, appeared to grab Howard after it appeared that Howard was slow to shake his hand.