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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Cornell (65) vs. St. Peters NJ (62) 12/28/2015

#23 of 351

 

 

With all due respect to the residents of Jersey City, I can safely say that this will be my last voluntary visit to Jersey City. Stadium Journey had warned that finding a bite to eat around the campus would be tough but I was confident that there would be someplace to grab a burger and a brew. As I saw each potential eatery pass by with absolutely no parking anywhere to be found or blocked by construction paraphernalia, I drove through some sketchy neighborhoods before my hungry stomach settled on a Burger King with a parking lot.

With an attendance of 611 folks, the gym was not loud except for a Cornell parent sitting near by who cheered with exuberance for the entire game. To see that much excitement over a game with little national significance is one thing I love about college basketball. Passion for a local sports team is that one constant across the nation that knows no bounds defined by politics, nationality or religion.

There were two first for me in this game.

1). This was the first D-1 gym that I visited that did not have any seat-back chairs not counting the $50 courtside seats.

2). The St. Peter’s team threw out a t-shirt to the the crowd after being introduced in the starting lineup. More teams should do this.

The game was dominated by guards particularly Antwon Portley (St. Peters) and Robert Hatter (Cornell). Both guards were on the thin side but had great quickness and jumping ability. They were the perfect guards who excelled in this level of competition but would probably struggle in one of the higher echelon leagues. As I see more games, I begin to see the difference among player’s skill levels and why they are playing at the level they are.

I was impressed with Cornell’s fan base who made the trip down here. They easily out numbered the home crowd.

It was an awkward moment when fans were asked to stand and sing the St.Peters alumni song. I counted 6 fans participating.
Stadium Journeys: http://www.stadiumjourney.com/stadiums/yanitelli-center-s556