Monday, March 8, 2010

AE Tournament 2010: BU stuns SBU, advance to Final at UVM

3/7 - BU v. Stony Brook - America East Semifinal #1 - BU wins 70 - 63

BU Recap
Boston Globe Recap

I have not been more excited for a game all season than this one, and I was never disappointed (except for maybe the first five minutes of the second half, but I will get into that later). BU is in the final two, they went into Hartford and did what they needed to do - win two games.

The Atmosphere

Let me describe the atmosphere to give you the full flavor of the game.  I went into this game, like I had the day before with my father Vito and in the same BU Basketball shirt I wear to almost every game.  This time instead of sitting behind the basket, we sat at half court about four rows up, surrounded on three sides by UVM fans.  Before the game we went to this tent in the southwest corner of the Gym for a coupe of beers.  (This actually surprised me that there was a beer tent on a college campus connected to the game.  They roped off an area and you could not bring a beer outside of that area, they had TV's set up, some pretty fancy food and a place where you could make your own signs, with very limited profanity retrictions).

Once the game started I started rooting and shouting for the BU Terriers like any BU fan would. But I noticed something else; the Vermont fans were also rooting for BU (not quietly rooting, they were pretty loud for most of the game, they were doing cheers, clapping, standing up and screaming at the ref).  I was shocked.  I immeidiately resented all of the Vermont fans surrounding me, they're BU's biggest rival and they are rooting for us? Then I realized why, because of the format of the America East conference tournament, if BU beat Stony Brook and UVM beat UNH, UVM would host the championship in Burlington, VT, because they would be the higher seed.  Even after realizing this, I still resented UVM fans, I wanted UNH to win in the next game but I wasn't rooting for them.  It's like being a Yankees fan and for some reason, some odd situation happens, where Red Sox fans start rooting for the Yankees because it somehow benefits the Sox if the Yankees beat another team (there has to be some made up word or term for this situation, if not I am fielding suggestions).  This is completely unaccepteable.  They are rooting for something that their team cannot control, it's idiotic and I hate it.  Hopefully, come Saturday at noon on ESPN2, every one of the UVM fans who was rooting for BU will come to regret it.

Another person rooting fervently for BU was my father. As per usual when he came to one of these events he bought a hat of the team he was rooting for. I appreciated the support, it felt like I was watching the game with another BU alumni or BU fan.  He was actually getting more heated than the BU alumni occupying the one side of us that was not UVM fans.  He even got more heated than myself on occaision.  A couple of times when the ref called a bad foul that went against BU, he stood up and started screaming at the top of his lungs at the ref.  And we were four rows from the scoreres table, the ref definitely heard him, a couple of times I had to tell him to calm down.  When Coach Chambers got his technical foul, I was convinced that the ref was T-ing up my dad for something he said not the coach of BU.  This I had nothing against, I loved this, I was so glad he came with me.

Then there were the people that were rooting for SBU.  They came in force.  At one point during the game I tweeted a twitpic (see below) of the SBU student section, the word "Seawolves" all nine people who spelled out the plural form of their teams mascot outnumbered the total BU student section, if you read my blog post on Terriers Basketball attendance and why it was so poor, especially among students, this seemed to be on par.  It was more of a home game for Stony Brook and an away game for the Terriers.  The easiest way to recognize who has more fans at the arena when a game is played at a neutral site, listen to the noise during foul shots.  When BU was taking their shots from the charity stripe the arena was significantly louder than when SBU took their shots (surprisingly though, BU held the advantage in foul shots made, SBU missed more than half of their chances, maybe this was the difference in the game).

Stony Brook Student Section

BU Student Section (to be fair there might be a few more this was taken during the horn malfunction in the first half)

The Game

The most exciting game I have seen all season.  The atmosphere was electric and I found myself actually being nervous for all of the players and coached involved.  This was the biggest game Coach Chambers has ever coached and the biggest game BU's seniors have ever played.  Keep in mind, BU has not been to the conference championship since 2003 and has not won the conference tournament since 2002.  A win in this game would bring BU to a game they haven't been to in over half a decade.

I'm dividing this game into five parts.  I'll write a paragraph on each:

  • The first 3 minutes of the game
  • The rest of the first half
  • The first 5 minutes of the second half
  • The middle of the second half
  • The last 4 minutes of the game
In the first 3 minutes of the game I was discouraged. Right away I was thinking "oh no."   It's going to be one of those games.  I am coming into the game all excited and pumped up and right way the team is deflated, Muhammad El-Amin, this year's America East player of the year hit three straight from the beyond the arc.  He needed to be stopped.  It was evident in order for BU to stay in this game El-Amin needed to be nuetralized for the rest of the game and to a certain degree he was.  in the remaining 37 minutes he only added 11 and finished the game with 20.

The rest of the first half was the Core Lowe Show.  He was making deep deep three-pointers.  All around me I was listening to UVM fans just saying "WOW, how did he make that shot?"  Coach Chambers knew what Lowe was doing, the fans knew what he was doing.  I just smiled and knew, like I mentioned in my preview, if Lowe and others could stay hot from three the Terriers will win this game.  But that was not the only story of this portion of the game, BU's defense did a fantastic job, limiting SBU to only 15 points in the last 17 minutes. I was hoping they would carryover both their defensive and offensive performances over into the second half.

At halftime BU led 37 - 24.

The first five minutes of the second half punched me in the gut.  I was twice as deflated when BU allowed SBU to go on a 16 - 0 run to start the second half and give up the lead that they spent so much time building in the first half.  I and every fan in the Arena was in panic mode, completely in shock that they allowed this to happen and so were Terriers. 

At the start the middle of the second half Coach Chambers decided that he had enough. He called time out and got pissed.  For about a minute, between when the time out was called and the band started playing, one entire half of the arena could hear Coach Chambers yelling at his players, he needed to start a fire or BU was going to see this one slip away.  Whatever he did worked, BU didn't take the lead but they kept it within at least 5 points the entire time.  Still they were getting frustrated, and so was I that we were not able to pull closer. 

In the last five minutes of the game, all of that frustration culminated with a stupid foul called against BU.  Coach Chambers got emotional and got a technical foul right away.  He was saying to his team" "I'm doing everything I can to win this game, I want it bad, how much do you guys want it?"  The players responded, they went back to finishing the easy baskets and playing great defense.  To end the game they went on a 9-0 run to lock up the win, and advance to the final Saturday noon ESPN2 at Burlington against the only America East team they have not beaten so far this season: The Vermont Catamounts.

Random notes and thank yous
  • Thank you to the Albany fan who sold us his $300 worth of tickets for $20 because Albany made an early exit, the seats were awesome, I even ended up selling one for $10. 
  • During the Stony Brook game, Tina Charles of the UConn Huskies women team, came in halfway through the first half, just after her Huskies beat Syracuse for their 70th straight win an NCAA women's record.  Thanks for your interest in America East basketball Tina!
  • Thank you to my father Vito, for providing me with transportation to and from all of the games this weekend.
That about wraps up this post.  I'm going to add some pictures to this post later tonight.  Also, stay tuned later this week for mor posts leading up to the much anticipated BU v. UVM face-off on Saturday.


1 comment:

TimmyG said...

I was trying to describe why UVM fans annoy me to someone not familiar and the best I could come up with is that they're all very self-serving with their rooting interests. While my fiance and I sat next to some very, very kind gentlemen that also happened to be UVM fans, it hasn't done anything to alter my negative perception of them as a whole.