Tag Archives: basketball

Temple Wins the A-10, Heads to the Tournament

This afternoon the Temple Owls won the Atlantic-10 championship, avenging a February 6th loss to Richmond. This was the third consecutive A-10 championship the Owls have brought home to north Philly.

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Despite winning the A-10 and leading Div1 teams in road victories, the Owls only managed to earn a 5 seed for the Tournament. The first round finds them facing Cornell (At one point in my life as soon as I heard the name Cornell I thought of the Ivy League, prestige, and academic excellence . . . now my first thought is: Cornell, that’s Andy Bernard’s alma mater.)

While it’s a long shot, it would be amazing to see Temple play Villanova in the Final Four. Philadelphia would be a crazy town on that night.

This year I’m expecting more than one and done from the Owls. The team is better than it has been in years. Hoot! Hoot!

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The Harlem Globetrotters at the BJC

This afternoon I happened to stop by the Centre Daily Times website to read the local news. I noticed that the Harlem Globetrotters were in town and playing tonight. Somehow this had eluded me. On the spot I decided to go to the game.

As a kid I read Meadowlark lemon’s biography. And I also watched a taped copy of a televised game the Globetrotters played right after Hurricane Hugo many times. The players I remember from that game are ‘Sweet’ Lou Dunbar, ‘Twiggy’ Sanders, and ‘Curly’ Neal.

So it was with expectation that I went to the game tonight. When I arrived there was an emcee and a mascot working the crowd. It was evident this was as much an entertainment production as a sporting event, for when the 7:00pm gametime arrived neither team was on the court. The Washington Generals appeared first. Their coach took the mic from the emcee and proceeded to talk a little trash (about State College and the Globetrotters). It reminded me of a WWF event. It was obvious that his job was to villainize the Generals.

After the emcee got the mic back the Globtrotters took the floor. They emerged through a cloud of smoke. Sweet Georgia Brown started playing, and the players formed a circle to put on a ball-handling display.

The Globetrotters ball-handling to "Sweet Georgia Brown."

When it came time to start the game one of the Globetrotters substituted a helium-filled imitation of a basketball, which ended up at the ceiling of the BJC during the opening tip.

The opening tip floats toward the ceiling of the BJC.

The game was interrupted for all sorts of pranks and comedy routines. Several players were wearing mics on court. Numerous times in the game the Generals coach busted out an umbrella and hypnotized a Globetrotter player to control his actions.

Don't look at the umbrella!

At another point a foul call resulted in an impromptu eye exam for a referee.

Either way the ref will fail this test.

A local weatherman played for the Generals as number 00. He played a couple of minutes, air-balling two threes and drawing one foul. At the line he sank both free throws.

The weatherman prepares to sink a free-throw.

When the game was being played I noticed that it was very fast. The Globetrotters used many timing plays with quick passes and half of their points were scored via dunks. Their speed coupled with poor lighting made taking pictures difficult. I have many blurry shots of various players dunking basketballs.

'Moo Moo' Evans dunks.

'Turbo' Pearson dunks.

Late in the game the Globetrotters pulled one of their classic gags, with a player sneaking up on a General at the free-throw line and removing his shorts. The General quickly retaliated with shorts for shorts justice, revealing that the Globetrotter was wearing a pink tutu under his shorts.

The poor kid on the left may be scarred.

The old borrowed purse routine was also pulled.

It's not everyday you see a player posting up with a purse.

Another routine featured an “elderly” fan walking onto the court during the game. He was introduced as a great player from the 1950s. He asked to play and shuffled around slowly at first, then suddenly take a pass and slams it home. As predictable as it was, it was still quite funny to see.

The old guy has hops.

The final score was 80-76, though throughout the game it was evident it was entertainment first and a basketball game second. I enjoyed the evening.

'Cobra' Coley with a big slam.

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A Snowstorm and a Basketball Game

Last night snow began to fall in State College. Thanks to insomnia I was awake to witness the accumulation until 5:30 this morning. At that time we had a bit more than a foot on the ground. Today I heard totals between 14″ and 16″ for the snowfall in State College. It is a tough snow to measure because it is light and tends to drift.

Soon after noon I grabbed my camera and walked to campus. It was brisk and bright. Only a  few brave souls had walked the bike trail before me along with several cross country skiers.

The bike trail under snow.

On campus snow removal was in full swing. From outside the Bryce Jordan Center I could see Tussey Mountain and Mount Nittany. I’m sure today was a great day at Tussey.

Tussey Mountain on a snowy February day.

The Penn State Nittany Lions played the Minnesota Golden Gophers. The Lions came into the game with a ten game losing streak, still looking for their first conference win. Combine a struggling team with inclement weather and you have the recipe for an empty building. The official box score lists the attendance at 10,291. This is like Danny DeVito listing his height at six feet. This number must have come from tickets sold, for there were closer to 2,000 people there than 10,000.

The Bryce Jordan Center during the game.

When the game started I was sitting in the first row in the second level and I had eight sections to myself. I hoped to get some pictures through the backboard from that vantage point, or at least some shots with the shooter lining up with the basket. In the second half I moved down beside the Blue Band.

Talor Battle at the free throw line.

Three minutes and nine seconds into the game Penn State lost the small lead they had been flirting with. From that point on they would never lead again. The team struggled all game long to get clean looks at the basket. Battle went 3-7 from the free throw line and 7-19 from the field. The Gophers dominated the inside.

The Lions wore throwback uniforms. I thought they looked good, especially the blue keystone on the shorts that contained an S.

Battle attempts a three-point shot.

While I was sitting by the Blue Band in the second half the Nittany Lion kept running close by. I’m very impressed by the gymnastic feats the Lion is able to pull off. The moves are solid, not to mention the fact that the guy is wearing a bulky mascot suit.

Run, Lion, run!

Ralph Sampson III played for the Gophers. He played a solid game and finished with a double-double.

Ralph Sampson III on the court.

Instant replay was needed twice during the game. The first time was to determine how much time was left on the shot clock after a messy sequence in which Penn State lost control of the ball. As the referees crouched down to look at the tiny little monitor I couldn’t help but wonder why they do not have a better screen.

The referees review a shot clock decision (on a tiny screen).

This game featured a few firsts for me. In the second half Chris Babb hit a three-point shot while being fouled. I was very excited; I thought I was about to witness the first four point play I have ever seen in person. And Babb bricked the foul shot like Shaq. It wasn’t even close.

Another first was seeing Tubby Smith draw a technical foul. Technically the technical was called on the Minnesota bench, but it was Smith’s actions that were primarily responsible for the call. I’ve never in person seen a foul called on a player not on the court.

The final first was seeing a legitimate buzzer beater. Lawrence Westbrook had the ball in his hands with just a few seconds left and a tie game. He stepped to his left and shot a 19 foot jumper, his release occurring with less than one second left. The buzzer sounded as the ball floated home. The most dramatic of finishes. Replay was used to confirm the shot was released in time.

The Gophers celebrate the victory.

Westbrook (#20) is congratulated by teammates.

The picture above captures a lot. The Gophers celebrate. Ed DeChellis and Tubby Smith are both staring at the referees (located just off the frame) as they review the shot. A Penn State player squats dejectedly on the court in the upper right corner.

Now Penn State is 0-11 in the Big Ten. That is a bad year.

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The WS Trophy Up Close

A few days ago I mentioned that the Phillies’ 2008 World Series trophy was coming to the Bryce Jordan Center today. The visit coincided with the PSU vs. Wisconsin basketball game. As of this morning I was not sure if I was going to go see it. I was considering it, but I had some work to do and I was also tempted to go to a tennis courts and hit serves for a while.

At church my friend Jared mentioned that he was going to the game and asked if I wanted to go. I decided my work could wait and that giving the tennis courts another day to dry off was a good idea. So I went.

The WS trophy was on the concourse level of the BJC. It took about 30 minutes to get through the line and get a picture with the trophy.

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Jared and me with the WS trophy

The BJC was feeling rather festive. Many people were wearing Phillies merchandise. People were there early to see the WS trophy as well. Add to that the fact that PSU has been making a case for an invitation to the NCAA tournament. The announced crowd was 14,686. That is by far the largest crowd I’ve seen at the BJC. Jared and I sat in the student section.

The game was close in the first half. Both teams struggled shooting the ball. I really thought the Lions were going to find a way to win the game. In the last minute before halftime the Badgers extended their lead from two points to seven. It was deflating to suddenly be down by that many points.

At the half a large green visitor from the Galapagos Islands showed up. He was carrying the WS trophy.

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A wonderful sight

After the half the Phanatic roamed the arena during the first ten or twelve minutes of the second half. He hung out in the student section, sat with the band, and attempted to direct the band. I will always maintain that the Phanatic is the best mascot in sports. Am I biased? Probably. Am I right? Definitely.

phanatic_psu1

The Phanatic in the student section

In the second half Wisconsin never relinquished the lead. PSU got very few good looks at the basket in the game. Most of the Nittany Lion shots were forced or highly contested. On the other end of the floor, the Badgers managed to set up numerous easy lay-ups and dunks. At the end of the game PSU went 0 for 14 in three point attempts. The lone bright spot on the day was that the Lions shot reasonably well from the free throw line (something they have struggled with this season).

The final score was Wisconsin 54, Penn State 44. 

I’m glad I went to the game. It was fun to see the BJC so full and loud. It was nice to see the WS trophy and the Phanatic. Pitchers and catchers report on Friday. Woo-hoo!

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Basketball Players Among Us

I find it very interesting to see what sports celebrities and politicians play. For instance, I think it’s pretty cool that Barack Obama likes to play hoops. You never know what sport might turn up. John Kerry windsurfs, Garth Brooks plays baseball, Ryan Howard bowls, Charles Barkley attempts to golf, Brad Pitt is rumored to be a tennis player.

Recently I found out that Bill Cosby has been under contract for the Harlem Globetrotters (an exhibition basketball team) for the past 36 years. He earned $1 per year for the first 14 years, but then received a raise to his current annual salary of $1.05.

Now that’s not the most interesting thing about the Globetrotters’ roster. In 2000 Pope John Paul II was named an honorary Globetrotter. Evidently his Holiness could bring it on the court. Additional honorary Globetrotters include Nelson Mandela, Whoopi Goldberg, Bob Hope, and Jesse Jackson.

PG – Pope John Paul II
SG – Bill Cosby
SF – Whoopi Goldberg
PF – Bob Hope
C – Jesse Jackson
6th Man – Nelson Mandela

If you put that team on the court I’d pay $500 for a ticket.

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