Rice (75) at Southern Mississippi (86) 01/18/18

55 out of 351   15% complete

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This game was an added bonus on the Mississippi trip. Our plane was scheduled due to leave Wednesday night but due to bad weather up and down the East coast, our flights were canceled 5 times to an eventual departure Friday morning. As we pondered our fate Thursday morning, I had one of those “just for the hell of it” moments and checked to see if there were any games in the area going on Thursday night. That’s how we ended up be in Hattiesburg, Mississippi.

The Reed Green Coliseum was built in 1965 and modernized over the years to a certain degree. My first impression walking in was that we were inside Space Mountain in Disneyland. The roof tiles needed a good cleaning and it had the 1960’s look to it. This was my kind of arena.  Old arenas and me have a certain affinity.

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Check out these wooden benches which date back to the original build. You can almost see the ghosts of fans cheering for Clarence Weatherspoon back in 1992. He is now an assistant coach on the team along with his player son.

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The crowd was sparse tonight guessing due to the cold weather by Mississippi’s standard. Other than the pep band, there was not much noise happening in this place tonight. I tend to notice little events going on in the game that sometimes result in coaches going off on a player. Dominic McGee on a drive to the hoops was complaining to the ref that he was fouled. Meanwhile, his man on Rice was running down the court making an easy layup. I saw the coaches talking to each other. It happened a second time. The coach calls a time out and gets in McGee’s face. When he is done, 6′ 6″ Clarence Weatherspoon who has expanded sideways over the years takes over and repeats the demonstrative head bopping discussion with McGee. The poor kid did not know what hit him.

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I also like to point out unique traditions as I travel on my journey. See the man above in the white shirt. When the Jaguars score a three point shot, he gets up and waves the “3” sign back and forth and puts it on the row of chairs. When he ran out of chairs, he just started over again. I am hoping that this job is not the only reason he gets up in the morning for.

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Rice is considered to be a IVY league type of school in the Southwest. The Owls last made March Madness in 1970 losing to New Mexico State in the first round. They don’t get the athletes to compete but probably serve a better purpose in society providing scientists and engineers to help make the world a better place.

I was impressed with LaDavius Darine of Southern Mississippi. This freshman was built like a senior and displayed a deft scoring touch throughout the game. He averaged over 30 points a game in high school. At 6′ 4″ and weighing 215, he must have been a load back in Calhoun City, Mississippi.

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Once again, I present the obligatory picture of the Southern Mississippi Golden Eagle mascot.

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Goodbye Mississippi till next year! Your snow and ice this trip did no good in my mind as a possible retirement home.

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Next game: Garner-Webb at UNC Asheville 01/24/18

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