South Carolina State (63) at Delaware State (60) 01/06/18

#52 of 351   14% complete

I stayed overnight at my cousin Brian’s house who lives about 45 miles west of Philadelphia. Brain accompanied me to this game which is his first in Operation 351. He is a sports aficionado and volunteered to serve up his home as the alpha base for all future games in Pennsylvania. Welcome aboard Brian!

Delaware State is across the street from the Dover Raceway which hosts NASCAR events.
As you can tell, we were not quite sure if this was the entrance to the arena.

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This was my first visit to a primarily black populated school. I did expect to see a rousing pep band with an energetic cheer and dance leading squad. Sadly, there was none of that tonight. There was also not much of a student section represented either. However, what made up for it all were the adults probably most of them parents from both sides dancing and cheering on their teams. There was a gentleman from Delaware State working really hard to get the crowd involved.

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As someone said on Twitter after I posted a picture, “Yikes that’s a Div 1 gym?”. I replied that I have seen smaller like St. Francis of Brooklyn.  Both teams have horrible win and loss records but it was one exciting game. As I told Brian afterwards, this particular game does not warrant a speck on the college basketball universe but in itself, it was a very exciting game to watch between two evenly matched teams. I was very glad to have witnessed this event.

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Yes there is one Caucasian ball player on the court. His name is Artem Tavakalyan #34 from Moscow Russia. I wonder if he knew when he signed up that that he was playing on a …. never mind. He is the leading scorer for Delaware State but you have to wonder about the dynamics of a Russian playing with a black college team.

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Both of these teams play in the Mid Eastern Athletic Conference joining other black colleges like Hampton and Morgan State from the mid Atlantic region.

So here is the exciting part! The score is tied at 60 with 10 seconds left. South Carolina State in bounds the ball.  Senior guard Patrell Rogers races down the sideline and launches a side leaning 30 foot three point shot to win the game. The Hornet fans were in a state of shock. It was a fitting end to a hard fought game from both sides.

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That’s a South Carolina State proud mother celebrating!

Next game:  Southern at Mississippi Valley State         01/15/18

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William & Mary (90) at Delaware (65) 01/05/2018

#51 of 351   14% complete

After a disappointing cancellation of my two Buffalo area games (Buffalo and Niagara) in December due to snow, I was eager to get back on the Operation 351 saddle.  My travels today involved a 4 hour ride from Connecticut to Newark, Delaware home of the Delaware Blue Hens.

 

Do not ever mispronounce Newark to a native Newark resident in Delaware. The correct pronunciation is NewARK with the emphasis on the second syllable.  There should never be any association with their dirty cousins from New Jersey.  If you want anymore information on what a Delaware Blue Hen looks like, here you go: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Delaware_Blue_Hen.

After a unhealthy plate of wings and beer at Tailgaters, I was off to see the my first game of the new year. Walking from the parking lot to the front door in below zero weather revived me from the long drive from the north.

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Let me state that Delaware’s arena, cheer leaders, the dance team and the pep band were top notch. The team was not this night. William & Mary is damn good and not a team that I would like to face in March.  They rank 6th nationally in 3 pointers made (11.5) and average 87 points a game ranking 14th. They lead the nation in three point percentage (46.2) and rank 2nd in free throw percentage (80.6). The Blue Hens never stood a chance.

But let’s talk about what I view as the stupidest half time game witnessed by yours truly since his mission began. I will call it the Burrito game for lack of a better name. Each contestant was giving a silver tarp and 5 different colored pom poms. Each color represented an item that you would put in a burrito. For example, the green pom pom would represent lettuce. Each contestant had to run back and forth to the poms poms and place it in the silver tarp (the burrito). The first one to complete this task was the winner. Mind you, I had no idea what was going on during this contest. I asked a student later on who filled me in on the details. It was one of those “Seriously?” moments.

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I love college traditions during a game and keep a lookout for one with each visit.  When a Delaware player would shoot a foul shot, someone in the pep band would yell before hand in a loud voice “Hands up!”.  The pep band and cheerleaders would raise their hands. Now this is nothing new but it was the authoritative voice of this gentleman that gave it some class. I could imagine that being chosen for this special honor is a long time Delaware tradition passed down through the ages.

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I was impressed with two players from William & Mary. Nathan Knight a big 6’10” forward was unstoppable underneath with 25 points and provided a good foil to the Tribe’s torrent three point shooting. He is from the Syracuse area so I was wondering how the Cuse missed on this guy. Matt Milon was on fire from three point land. He was a transfer from Boston College where he only averaged 5 points a game. He could not miss tonight and finished with 22 points.

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That was a terrible final shot of the scoreboard. W&M 90 Delaware 65.

Next Game: South Carolina State at Delaware State                          01/06/18