Arkansas State (51) Vs. Appalachian State (63) 01/28/2023

Game #114 of 362 31% complete

The trip from the Wake Forest game to this game took about an hour and a half. I was overjoyed to see that I would make it in time for the opening tip but to my dismay, I saw the dreaded parking garage. The garage was about a 10-minute walk after I found a spot on the top floor. I entered the game with about 10 minutes left in the first half. I was very impressed with the arena, as I was not expecting something that big.

As I walked to the arena, I heard loud rap music blaring through the air. Next to the arena, there was a frat house with occupants on the roof with speakers greeting guests as they entered the arena.

The ride from Wake Forest was mostly uphill. I could tell that we were hitting higher elevations because my ears started popping. As evidenced by this board in the arena, I was 3,333 feet about sea level.

The Arkansas State coach went ballistic a few times during the game, going at the refs and sometimes his own players. The assistant coaches had to hold him back from killing someone.

I have only known Appalachian State through its football program, incurring huge upsets of national powers. The Mountaineers had a 17–14 victory over 6th ranked Texas A&M in 2002. The Mountaineers also shocked the fifth-ranked Michigan Wolverines in 2007. The football team has won three national championships in its division.

Appalachian State led for most of the game against the last place Red Wolves in the Sun Belt Conference. This was the ninth loss in a row for Arkansas State.

I was hoping to catch dinner in Boone after the game. The roads were a nightmare which seems obvious when a basketball game happens on a Saturday night in a small town. I caught dinner on the road a couple of towns over. I swear I was on Candid Camera when the waitress brought over chicken noodle soup instead of tomato basil, gave a me a big glass of water when I haven’t even touched my first glass and finally gave me a bill from the wrong table. The restaurant will remain nameless.

Arkansas State (70) vs. Lehigh (82) 12/01/18

Game #70 of 353  19% complete

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The 3 1/2 hour ride from Connecticut was made easier with the company of my friend Andy who has completed 12 Operation 351 games with me over the years. I am anticipating one more car ride to Philly this year and a couple more to Pennsylvania and New York next year before turning to plains and trains.  It is a sign of progress for me that I have run out of driveable games to go to. Although technically any game can be driven to but I cut it off at the 4 hour mark.

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The Stabler Athletic and Convention Center was opened up in 1979 and showing her age. The old lady could use a fresh coat of paint on the walls and floors. It is rare that I can take my half time walk around the perimeter halls and encounter nothing but a couple of concession stands. I always look for school memorabilia and achievements but there was absolutely nothing. The stands were void of students except for the cheerleaders and pep band. I assumed it was class break but the last day of classes are December 8th unless I am misunderstanding the academic schedule. Given that Lehigh is one of the stronger teams in the Patriot League, I expected more excitement.

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One of the joys of visiting small arenas is the opportunity to sit in court side seats for a reasonable price. This was the case for this game and the Lafayette game. One does not appreciate the speed and quickness of the games till you are sitting eye level and up close. You also get a better sense of the offensive scheme and patterns a team runs from this perspective.

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This game was a classic case of size (Lehigh) vs. quickness (Arkansas State). The height advantage underneath was too much for the Redwolves (love this name) to overcome. I was very impressed with Arkansas State guard Ty Cockfeld who scored 30 points with an all around solid game. Lehigh answered with Kyle Leufroy who scored 20 points with clutch shooting down the stretch.

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I used some well honed begging techniques to acquire this t shirt from a cheer leader. Although I am like many of  who have too many t shirts, this is one more piece of memory from my Operation 351 journey.


Perhaps this is the game I should have gone to!

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Next game: Sacred Heart vs. Lafayette 12/02/2018