Rhode Island (79) vs. George Mason (64) 01/28/2020

Game #90 of 353    25% complete

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The star of this game was the George Mason band. I saw violins, a lighted drum set and a ton of instruments accompanied by singers belting out tunes. The band director was entertaining to watch directing the band with hilarious gyrations. This was the best band that I had ever seen at a college game. I even hung around at the end of the game to hear their final tunes.  They had one kid stomping on the bleachers with both legs when the Rhode Island player was shooting a foul shot. Unique at first, annoying in the end!

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I had a pre-game burger at Brion’s across the street from the Eagle Bank Arena. I sat near four guys at the bar who complained endlessly about their George Mason team. As a member of the UConn Boneyard message board, I realize that bitching about your team is a universal language that always occurs regardless how well your team is playing. I was tempted to interject with an introduction about my mission but they were very worked up so I left it alone. I was also not up to ribbing about the 2006 UConn heartbreaking loss to the Patriots who eventually went on to the Final Four.

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The pennants in the arena brought back the bad taste in my mouth of UConn’s upset by George Mason in 2006. Some knowledgeable fans consider the 2006 UCONN team the most talented ever in Husky history.

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At the end of the first half, a George Mason staff women came up to our section offering a free seat upgrade. I am thinking like what is the catch here. There was none so I moved down to four rows from the court behind the Rhode Island bench. Kudos to George Mason for offering this. More schools at the risk of pissing off the season tickets holders in the good seats should be doing this. That being said, the huge Eagle Bank Arena was very empty with certain sections covered up. It appears that the Patriots fans following has not kept up with the capacity of the arena.

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I was very impressed with this Rhode Island team. At 15 wins and 5 losses, they are off to a fine season with a well-balanced team that can shoot the ball and play tough defense. The team also drew a large fan contingent on the road. They have not lost a beat since Dan Hurley left the club two years ago. George Mason had no chance in this game falling behind early and never catching up.

Two Rhode Island players caught my eye. There was Fatts Russell who at 5’10” 165 pounds belies his name but was too quick for the George Mason guards. There was Atwan Walker who name sounds like Antoine Walker the Kentucky collegian who had a successful career in the NBA. Was Antwan possibly the son of Antoine?  Nope.

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Next Game: Long Island at Merrimack 02/01/20

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Valparaiso (58) Vs. Rhode Island (55) 11/17/2015

#17 of 351

Welcome to season 2 of my journey to visit all 351 Division 1 campus arenas. I begin this year in Rhode Island traveling 2 hours from Connecticut for a 10am start. The game was part of ESPN’s Tip Off Marathon where one could watch basketball for 24 hours straight. This particular visit earned me the Rhode Island stamp on the Basketball Passport site (http://bbpassport.com/) since I have now completed visiting all four of the D1 campus sites in RI.

 

I was pleased to meet Russell Steinberg and Peter Casey. Both are college basketball junkies like myself who I became acquainted with on Twitter. Peter runs the excellent college basketball site (http://bbpassport.com/) which logs games and achievements  by subscribers for all major sports. Russell’s tweets have made me laugh many a time over the past year. To top it off, they gave me their extra ticket in section 112 replacing my nosebleed seat in section 302.

The Rhody’s fans expectations have been tampered a bit with the loss of star guard E.C. Matthews for the season from an ACL injury. Yet the crowd and especially the student section were there in full force. Rhody hung with Valparaiso for most of the game. Two missed three point baskets at the end by Rhody would have sent the game into overtime. In the end, Rhody’s poor foul shooting was the cause for the loss.

It was interesting to see Kuran Iverson playing for Rhody. As a UCONN and local high school basketball fan, I followed Kuran from high school. He is a Connecticut resident that played for Memphis before transferring to Hurley’s club. He appeared to be labeled for stardom out of high school but has quickly withered on the vine. He is athletic but too much a shoot first mentality for my taste.

Overall, Ryan Center looked modern and clean but again as with many of the college arenas, they leave very little room in the hallways for folks to move around. I guess money has to be saved somewhere. I ate at the Mew Tavern in Wakefield upon the recommendation of the Stadium Journey site. It was funny to watch the frazzled bar staff trying to cope with a extremely large crowd because of the game considering Tuesday’s lunch time is relatively slow.

Stadium Journey – http://www.stadiumjourney.com/stadiums/thomas-m.-ryan-center-s704)

Stadium and Arena Visits – http://stadiumandarenavisits.com/visitsreviews/100-ryan-center/