Misericordia (64) vs. Binghamton (107) 11/12/18

#69 of 353  19% complete

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I always report on “firsts” in this blog. Tonight was the first time that I heard a school’s fight song blaring from loud speakers outside the entrance.

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I really try to avoid seeing D2/3 teams playing D1 teams in my travels. The truth is that it becomes difficult trying to find back to back games fitting into my schedule that make a long trip worthwhile. Given that the mission is to attend a game at every D1 campus, I will put up with a groaner game every now and then. BTW Misericordia is from Dallas, PA.

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It was an interesting contrast seeing the skill and athletic ability of the D3 team Misericordia players vs. the D1 players. A D3 player was typically a star on his high school team but lacks one or more athletic or basketball skills to compete at the D1 level. They may be a great outside shooter but slow as molasses. They may be tall but have hands of stone underneath the rim. The D3 players makes up for these weaknesses with hustle and effort but as the score indicates, that will only take you so far. The first half of the first half did make for a competitive game much to the chagrin of the old Binghamton fans sitting around me. As the game wore on, the Misericordia players worn down as the score margin became wider and wider.

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This is the fourth time that I have seen Binghamton play. The freshmen that I saw in the first game against Maine on 01/30/16 are now seniors. I actually remember Tim Rose as a confident ball handling freshman who is now one of the leading assist makers in the America East Conference.

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With all due respect to Binghamton, the city is a tough place to hang out in November. Most attractions close down for the week and are only open on weekends.  I do recommend two Italian restaurants that served great food: Michelangelo’s and Le Venice. Without an exercise room in the hotel, my net poundage did increase this trip. A five mile walk in Ostiningo park did help a little.

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A nice little perk that Binghamton does is to throw out a t shirt to the crowd for every Binghamton three point shot made. Also, each fan was given a coupon for a free donut at Dunkin Donuts because there were three Binghamton dunks.

Next game:  Arkansas State Vs. Lehigh 12/1/18

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Colgate (73) vs. Cornell (57) 11/11/18

#68 of 353  19% complete

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After a 4 hour ride from Connecticut, this venue met all the requirements for an relaxing afternoon. The parking lot was free and a short distance from the entrance. The ticket was cheap and close to the court. No traffic or lines were encountered.  It was a beautiful day to admire the rolling hillsides of the Catskills. All the check boxes were checked.

This game will almost complete for me all the schools in the Ivy League. For all you old Sports Passport fans, I would earn a “Ivy League” stamp. I am often asked “How did you get started doing this insane journey?”. I came across the Sports Passport site about 5 years ago.  As you attend each event, you can check in and record your visit. Stats are accumulated totaling up the number of games, venues, players, etc. There are supplemental functions like friends and earning badges. My 68 games are out there under the name “Operation351”.

The original Sports Passport site had college basketball badges for each state and each league completed. The current site pared down the badges to more general achievements much to my chagrin. There were also some specialty badges but one badge caught my eye. It was titled “351” which was earned when someone visited all 351 D1 venues. No one had earned the badge.  The light bulb went off in my head thinking about my love of travel and college basketball. So here am I 68 games later!

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I saw that fellow college basketball junkie John Witkowski tweeted that he was at the Cornell game. He titles his quest “Mission351” and is currently at 115 games. That is quite an achievement considering he is much younger than me and working full time. After exchanging tweets, it turns out that we were in the same row a few seats apart. We chatted at half time about upcoming plans and experiences with our travels. It is comforting to know that there are other crazies out there like myself. Safe travels the rest of the way John!

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Syracuse Jim Boeheim’s son Jim plays for Cornell.  Coach Jim and his wife were sitting one section over from me. I noticed that not one person came over to him during the game so I decided against playing the obnoxious fan part asking for a picture. See below for a picture of little Jim on the court and Big Jim and Mrs. Jim walking out to the parking lot.

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Cornell was hoping to go 3-0 for the first time in two decades but Colgate was the better team today, Colgate sophomore guard Jordan Burns was very impressive today slashing the lanes multiple times for layups. He also made some pull up jump shots to hold the Big Red at bay. BTW – Jimmy Boeheim did not have a good day so I suspect Dad was not in a good mood.

Did you ever go looking for one Waldo but found many?

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Next Game : Misericordia at Binghamton 11/12/18

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Bucknell (88) vs. St. Bonaventure (85) OT 11/07/18

#67 of 353  19% complete

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This was my first time to this part of the country. The ride south from Buffalo to Allegany was picturesque to say the least with rolling hillsides and farms populated with small houses and hundreds of acres behind them. I was stuck behind a school bus part of the way down.  Usually the frequent starts and stops can make one a little anxious but I was surprised how calming it was because it gave me a chance to check out the scenic views with each stop.

With a few recommendations from REDDIT, I had to stop and try the burger at Burton’s along with a couple of brews. The place slowly filled up with Bona fans adorned with their official  t-shirts. I asked an older gentlemen next to me on how did he think the team would do this year. He was very unsure because they lost superstar Jaylen Adams and other key personnel. The incoming freshman were heralded but untested, But there was universal consensus among the patrons that the Buffalo Bills are the worst team in football. Yes the burger was excellent!

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I classify the Reilly Center as an arena with lots of “SOL”. By “SOL”, I mean small,  old and loud. These are my favorite type of venues. As you can see, the student body showed up in force on opening night. The Bonnies are riding off a high from last year when they defeated lower seed UCLA in a First Four contest in Dayton. A banner was unfurled in a ceremony before the game. There was a moment of confusion on my part when the banner read “First Round”. They won so how could it read “First Round” but then I realized that the First Four games were not considered a round.

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I sometimes highlight young and upcoming talent here. I would like to do that now from both clubs.

For St. Bonaventure, I was impressed with freshman Dominic Welch and Osun Osunniyi. Welch is a local Buffalo product who averaged 30 points a game in his senior year. He has a nice stroke and should improve his all around game with more experience. Osunniyi is a thin 6’10” center from New Jersey who dominated the boards at times offensively and defensively.  Both of these kids made key freshman mistakes down the end but coach Mark Schmidt has a couple of keepers on his hand.

For Bucknell, I was impressed with Paul Newman a 6′ 9″ sophomore from Philly, He had a street game that resulted in several great plays keeping the Bisons in the game when the Bonnies tried to pull away in the second half.

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St. Bonaventure was at a distinct disadvantage this game because they were missing their best player injured  Courtney Stockard. He erupted for 26 points last year against UCLA. Nevertheless, this was an exciting game as most overtime games are. The game was interrupted several times by the referees reviewing plays. I understand the concept of getting it right but sometimes the excessive reviews slows down the game and momentum for whoever has it at the time.

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A shout out to Bucknell senior guard Kimbal Mackenzie from Ontario. His 28 points and clutch foul shooting was the difference down the stretch. Both teams will be a handful for any opponent in March.

A lesson in life was learned tonight. Always remember what entrance you come into the arena. Should there be a similar entrance on the other side of the building like the Reilly Center which you exit from and walk a mile looking for your car in the opposite direction, you wish that you were more careful!

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Next game : Colgate Vs. Cornell  11/11/18

 

 

St. Francis (PA) (67) vs. Buffalo (82) 11/08/2018

#66 of 351  19% complete

Driving from the airport, I was reminded that I will be seeing the Buffalo Bulls tonight.

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I am excited to begin my fifth year visiting college basketball arenas with the goal of seeing a college basketball game at all of the 353 Division 1 schools. I have been asked several times about “Operation 351” when there are 353 schools. Given that this domain name and various media tied to my journey have the “351” incorporated into the name, it would foolish  to change the name every time a school pops in and out of Division 1.

Here is a link to the latest changes to Division 1 status: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_schools_reclassifying_their_athletic_programs_to_NCAA_Division_I

I attempted to visit Buffalo last year but had to cancel because of a blizzard. The lesson learned is to schedule cold weather schools early or late in the season. Therefore, I will be visiting  Buffalo, St. Bonaventure, Binghamton and Cornell in the first two weeks of November. The weather for this Buffalo game was 55 degrees but with a wind blowing very hard.

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If you come to a Buffalo game, prepared to look long and hard for parking if you are a visitor with no special privileges. There was a football game going on that night in the stadium next to Alumni Arena which may have exasperated the problem but it was a long blustery walk to the arena.

Many college basketball fans forget that #14 seed Buffalo defeated #3 seed Arizona last year in the first round of the NCAA tournament. I believe that the UMBC win over Virginia overshadowed the Buffalo win.  Buffalo returns three very talented seniors this year and is picked to finish first in the MAC. C.J. Massinburg was picked to be the preseason MAC player of the year. St. Francis (PA) was picked to be first in the NEC.  It is rare when two good evenly matched teams play in a season opener.

The game start time was 4PM so as to not clash with the 7PM football game start. The stands were virtually empty at the start but filled up with fans gradually. Given that I travel far and wide for games these day, I get a little paranoid showing up and finding out that the game was sold out. I buy my tickets ahead of time on the school site, Ticketmaster or Stub Hub. There was very little selection left last week so I picked an upper level seat probably paying more than I should have on Stub Hub. As it turns out, many sections are reserved for students and season ticket holders giving the appearance of scarce seats available to the general public.  The Alumni Arena has great viewing from all levels so I was happy with my seat even though it was out of range from the many t -shirts thrown into the crowd at every three point basket made.

I vote this gentleman as the best singer of the national anthem in my travels so far. I did not catch his name but his voice belongs in an opera.

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I was very impressed with the defense of the Buffalo guards. They drew numerous offensive charges instead of playing the matador defense I am used to seeing these days. Although their three point shooting was off tonight, their relentless pressure on the ball caused St. Francis to take many contested shots.

I saw a first tonight for me in terms of the rules. A player was called for a offensive foul. The refs conferred and reviewed the play. The call was overturned to a blocking foul. I did not not know that this call could be reviewed!

Buffalo pulled away in the second half. One could tell that this team is experienced by the ball flow on offense. They always seem to make the unselfish pass. Look for good things from this Buffalo team as they take on a tough out of league schedule including West Virginia and Cuse.

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The highlight of the day was meeting Nate Mendelson who is the sports editor of the Spectrum newspaper at the University of Buffalo. He saw my posts on Reddit and came over to meet me at my seat. He interviewed me for an article in the paper. But the best part was that he invited me to the post game press conference. After the presser was over, he introduced me to coach Nate Oats and told him about my mission. He was genuinely interested as we chatted about Operation 351, his team and his friendship with UCONN coach Dan Hurley.  Coach Oats, you have won over this guy to be a lifelong Buffalo fan. Good luck the rest of the way!

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Next Game : Bucknell vs. St. Bonaventure 11/8/18

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UMASS Lowell (80) vs. Wagner (96) 12/05/2017

#50 of 351   14% complete

I am excited to begin my fourth year of Operation 351. I have 15 games scheduled for the year pending bad weather and life changing events. They are listed below:

Lafayette at NJIT (Newark)                          11/14/17

UMASS Lowell at Wagner                             12/05/17

William Mary at Delaware                           01/05/18

South Carolina State at Delaware State     01/06/18

Southern at Mississippi Valley State          01/15/18

Vanderbilt at Mississippi State                    01/16/18

Gardner Webb vs. UNC Asheville               01/23/18

UNCW at Northeastern                                 02/03/18

Northwestern at Maryland                          02/10/18

Seton Hall at Georgetown                            02/10/18

George Mason at Lasalle                              02/17/18

 Duquesne at St. Joseph’s (PA)                      02/17/18

Houston at Temple                                        02/18/18

Dartmouth at Princeton                               02/24/18

 Iona at Rider                                                   02/25/18

Last night’s game at Wagner had two special milestones in my journey. I hit the fifty mark and completed the “NYC” challenge seeing every Division 1 school in the five boroughs. To make it extra special, I took my first trip ever on the Staten Island Ferry.  I have a childhood memory of watching an “I Love Lucy” episode where Fred and Lucy get seasick on the ferry. There was nothing spectacular about the free 25 minute ride from the tip of Manhattan to Staten Island but it was cool to ride on such a historic vessel. I was also pleased to be joined by new son-law John who loves all sports with a passion.

 

 

Wagner provides a convenient shuttle from the ferry to the school. After a short walk in the rain, we were at the Spiro Athletic Center.  Upon entering the arena, we were greeted with ear-splitting rap music while the players warmed up. I guess that my favorite genre country music  will never make its way to a college basketball gym.

The General Admission tickets were $10 which provided us with very close to the court bleacher seats. I was still stinging from Wagner’s upset of UCONN last year so I was curious how the Seahawks would do tonight.

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Wagner does not go out of its way to provide a Division 1 experience at the game. The scoreboards were plain. I have a pet peeve in that I declare a scoreboard deficient if it does not show the total points for a player at some point during the night. The student crowd was sparse and quiet. The pep band tried to draw up some energy but to no avail. Perhaps Tuesday nights are not the best night to see excitement.

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Wagner was clearly the superior club. UMASS Lowell tried to hold on but were not strong or quick enough to keep up with the Seahawks. As I journey my way through Division 1 basketball games, I try to identify freshman who are playing under the radar but show something intangible to me. Most times, I don’t find such an individual but tonight I did.

Keep a lookout for freshman Chase Freeman of Wagner. This kid from Tennessee has not seen much playing time but he is talented despite his small stature. I was watching his ball handling skills and shooting during the warm ups and made a point to key on him during the game. He played well for the few minutes he was in tonight. As a point of reference, I had seen a kid named Makai Mason from Yale who you made have heard of. He has blossomed into a potential draft choice although he has been sidelined by injuries the past two years.  I had the same feeling about him when I saw him as a freshman at Yale.

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The player of the game was Blake Francis from Wagner. He and the rest of his teammates went on an incredible 3 point barrage in the first 5 minutes of the game. He likes to shoot but he is deadly accurate.

Tonight also set a couple of other records. Number one – John and I were commenting how many times the referees were cleaning up wet spots on the floor. I get the injury liability but I was looking at a long ride home which did end up with a bedtime of 1:36AM.  Number 2 – This ride to get to the game involved a drive to the Bridgeport train station, a trip on Metro North to Grand Central, a subway ride to the tip of Manhattan, a ferry ride over to Staten Island and finally a shuttle to the gym. This trip wins the “Can’t I just take a helicopter to the game?” award.

 

 

So goodbye New York. I will visit you again but under the guise of sight seeing or play watching.

Next Game: William Mary at Delaware                           01/05/18

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Robert Morris vs. Long Island University (Brooklyn) 02/02/2017

#45 of Operation 351    12% complete

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I will be giving out two awards on this trip.

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Award # 1- This school has the coolest pep band. Led by an enthusiastic band leader who gyrated and urged the students into some soulful and explosive music during the game, the pep band was worth the price of admission which was free (details later).

 

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Award # 2- This was absolutely the worst gym on my travels so far. There were no signs anywhere leading up to the building. Perhaps I entered on the wrong side but I had to ask numerous times where the gym was. When I get there, I walk into a non-descript entrance where there is a buffet going on in a crowded hallway. I asked again and followed some stranger to an obscure elevator off to the side riding up a couple of floors. I attempt to follow him and buy a ticket. This particular entrance did not take cash. When the girl attempted to explain to me how to go the right way, she became very confused. She said “Hey don’t worry about” and let me in for free.

I usually like to walk around at half time but got very lost bumping into stairwells and classrooms as I did so. There was no place to walk around as in most arenas. Again, I will apologize if I was not looking hard enough but it should not be difficult to enjoy the ambiance of a college basketball arena. Somewhere there was a concession stand but I never did find it.

If you look above, I was staring at a white wall with one banner hung in the middle. This space is crying for a mural or something to spice it up.

Sorry LIU I am sure you are a great school but this arena needs some TLC.

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LIU came in with a much better record (14-9) than Robert Morris (7-16) but the game was back and forth. Robert Morris had the better guards but could not match the size of LIU underneath. Both teams fought hard as you will see in a typical NEC game with 15 lead changes. The game went down to the last minute with Robert Morris pulling off the road upset.

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I was very impressed with RMU sophomore guard Isiah Still. He led all scorers with 21 points. His penetration skills and scoring in the paint kept LIU off balance all night long. I will be watching him over the next 2 years.

So if you are every in this area which a couple of blocks down Flatbush Ave. near the Barclays Center, stop into Juniors for the best cheesecake ever. I can still taste it!

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On to the Palestra Tuesday night!

 

Binghamton (65) vs. Albany (84) 01/19/17

#43 of 351    12% complete

 

 

This is my second 2 1/2 hour trip to Albany in 2 weeks. There is a marked contrast between the Siena arena and the University of Albany arena. The Times Union Center used by Siena was located downtown in a not too friendly looking part of town. Let’s just say it was a quick walk from the parking garage to the arena. The SEFCU arena used by Albany is on their campus and located in a suburban area marked by shopping centers and malls. I was surprised since Albany is part of the SUNY system (public) and expected that its campus would be less distinctive but I was wrong. The Albany campus was green and wide open. I had wished the  Albany game was during the day so I could take a look around.

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I have a complaint about the SEFCU scoreboards. Nowhere to be found was a point total by an individual player. There was some hot shooting for Albany and it would have been interesting to see the running total for certain players. The corners of the arena were filled with a huge TV broadcasting the game. Nice but useless in my opinion. This arena wins the prize for the most boring scoreboard.

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It seems that every mid major has a small point guard from the Chicago area. Tonight was Albany guard David Nichols who lit up the floor for 25 points. So another pet peeve –  can you list the player’s height in the program? I am guessing that Nichols was 6 foot. He was quick and had the mid jumper on fire. I was also impressed with sophomore Joe Cremo who was the freshman of the year last year in the America East. I appreciate guys who have an high basketball IQ. Cremo was also very hot but always distributed the ball at the right time.

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Binghamtom wins the prizes for the most appearances to date in Operation 351 – 3 so far. They were all away games for Binghamton. Their home game will require an overnighter along with Buffalo, Syracuse, St. Bonaventure and Cansisus. I am hoping to do Cornell and Colgate in separate one day  trips thus completing New York State.

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A special shout out to the Albany uniform. It was a combination of purple and gold. A very cool combination! Plus as a dog lover, the statue of the Great Dane in the arena was neat to see.

Albany completely outplayed Binghamton from the opening bell. I am surprised that they are only 11-9 for the year. They had some good shooters and played great defense. I expect them to make noise in the America East tournament.  Perhaps we will see them in March.

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BORING!

 

St. Peters NJ (54) vs. Siena (56) 01/08/2017

#41 of 351     12% complete

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The plan today was to drive to Boston to see Northeastern play James Madison. The snow storm in Boston led to an adjustment in plans resulting in this game in Albany.  WAZE took me on some state roads through the northwest corner of the state saving a few minutes instead of the interstate route of I-84/I-91 and I-90. Sometimes common sense must prevail instead of trusting an app. The roads were dark and slippery as we meandered north.

This was the second year in a row that I had to reschedule Northeastern and then found that there were no more available dates for the rest of the year. My goal of completing the New England states must wait another year. I will be hitting New Hampshire next week leaving Northeastern as the last remaining school in New England.

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This was my first trip ever to Albany. The lit up skyline was a sight to see as we proceeded on I-787 entering the city. The Trans Union Center was a short ride off of the exit. It was under some construction but it is your typical “way-too-big” arena for the teams it hosts like  Siena and the hockey Albany Ducks. As you enter the arena, you are greeted by large black curtains around the higher elevations.

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Kudos to the arena for holding the “Taste of NY Craft Beer Festival” during the game. For $15, you got samples of local craft beers and a place to stand on the floor during the game. Also many types of beer were sold at the concession stands. I have never seen so much promotion of beer at a college game.

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The was the first game in my Operation 351 journey where were no band, no cheerleaders, no dance team and no student section. It is not a school break when this might be expected. It was very quiet except for the cheering local fans. However, the attendance was more than expected with many families. Siena has not had much success lately so it was nice to see the local support.

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The game was close throughout in this MAAC affair. The old gentleman next me said that Siena lost some close heart breakers over the past couple of weeks so this was a great win for them. I love watching the old guys in the crowd complain about every call and cheer like there is no tomorrow. I see this more with smaller teams and venues vs. the P5 powers.

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The player of the game was Marquis Wright of Siena. This craft 6’1″ guard had some nifty moves and made some key shots at the end. One can tell who the team leader is by how they step up to the plate when needed.

Did you ever see a play where you know the coach is going to talk to the player after the game? With Siena leading by two points, Siena grabs the rebound. The player takes off down the court to what looks like an easy layup. Well he gets blocked. The St. Peters’ player grabs the rebound, dribbles up to half court and launches a game tying shot. The ball bounded off the rim. I can hear the Siena coach screaming now about running out the clock!

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Manhattan (61) vs. St. Francis Brooklyn (54) 12/20/2016

#40 of 351/ 11% complete

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This was indeed the smallest gym I have ever been to in my entire life. That includes countless middle school, high school, college and pro arenas. It does not get more intimate than this with a 1200 seat capacity. I attended the game with my daughter Hope who was visiting friends in New York City. She did ask on multiple occasions, “This is Division 1 basketball?”.

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Both rosters were filled with NYC players. Although the teams are in separate leagues, one could tell by the jawing back and forth between both teams that many of the players were on rival teams in the NYC high school scene. As you see the banners in the above picture, I noticed the absence of an NCAA tournament banner. Yes,  the St. Francis Terriers are also one of only five Division I programs to have never participated in the NCAA tournament.

 

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I don’t like to bad mouth any player but I can not resist when discussing Ahmed Ismail from Manhattan. I saw this 7′ 2″ Egyptian giant warming up  and was intrigued.  He would surely dominate this game with his height. On the contrary, I have never seen a worse big man on the college level ever. He hustled and was genuinely trying out there. However, he fumbled 95% of the balls that came to him whether they were passes or rebounds. I am convinced that Ismail was signed sight unseen strictly because of his height. I actually felt sorry for him as the game went on. He is in the center of the picture below.

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Player of the game goes to Manhattan guard Zavier Turner. This 5′ 9″ dynamo guard was quicker than anyone else on the floor plus was accurate with his 3 pointers. He is from Indiana so you have to wonder how he ended up in Manhattan. He led all scorers with 26 points.

For those looking for a great place to eat in Brooklyn, check out Harvey’s End. We had excellent salmon and gnocchi. As a key lime connoisseur, I had my first taste of Persian Key lime pie. I am still thinking about it this morning.

Since this will be my last game of the year, happy holidays to all my friends and family!

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New York Institute of Technology (75) vs. Fordham (101) 11/14/16

#36 of 351

IMG_0422.JPGThe Rose Hill Gym is the oldest on-campus venue currently in use by a Division 1 club. Opened in 1925, the gym is surrounded by stone walls as if someone dropped a basketball court in the middle of a mid-evil courtyard. These are the kind of gyms that ooze character and history much like Yale’s Payne Whitney gym. I inserted a picture  above of some cathedral windows overlooking the court. The arena is very small and unimposing but it makes for great viewing of a basketball game.

So for the scary part! I did not do a thorough job of researching the Bronx neighborhood and the route from the train station to the gym. I read that it was a short walk. As I exited the train station, I saw the campus behind me. So I used WAZE to map the streets to the gym. The smart thing would have been to use Google Maps to map out a walk to the gym. So as I meandered down the first street, my heat beat quickened as I saw that I was not in friendly territory.  As I passed shuttered store fronts and loud music emanating from wherever, I quickened my pace to a very fast walk. I discretely kept looking at the phone without advertising myself as a tourist. I was picturing a gang of youths hanging out on the street corner ahead licking their chops at this target walking towards them. Nonetheless, I made the 10 minute walk in record time. Once inside the campus walls,  I felt safer. After the game, I opened up Google maps and found a walking path from the gym to the station within the campus. Lesson learned!

Inside the campus, I asked an older gentleman where the gym was. He gladly showed me and as we walked, we conversed about his old days at Fordham when he graduated in 1961. He showed me the green area where he played intramural sports. He was a pharmacy major who later became a lawyer. The workload forced him to drop out of the four major sports he was playing except for baseball. As we walked by buildings, he would describe each one. These are the moments that make it all fun – interacting with the older alumni who love their school.

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The crowd was very small which I am guessing was due to their Division 2 opponent. NYIT kept it close during the first half but the Fordham completely overran them in the second half.

I have noticed a roster pattern when you have a small Division 1 school fighting for recruits among the bigger schools in the area. This is the case with Fordham and the other borough schools. If you examine the Rams roster,  half of the players are from other countries. Fordham has players from Germany, Canada, Czech Republic and Turkey. I suppose it is important for coaches in these situations to have contacts overseas that may bring in a good but unknown player.

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My player of the game  was Ram Joseph Chartouny from Canada. He had 17 points and 14 assists. One could tell that Chartouny knew exactly what he wanted to do with the ball making the right decisions on whether to shoot or pass. He was selected on the preseason  first team for the A-10. Given UCONN’s troubles lately,  he would add immense value to their offense.

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The pep band was loud and raucous. The noise must be outrageous for a game with a rival given the small size of the gym.

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So I have two NYC teams down this year  and three to go. On to Chicago for a 5 day/ 3 game trip!

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