I planned on taking it easy on my live blog of the Hawks-Explorers game, maybe updating five times per half, but that plan went downhill fast. It was, legitimately, the most entertaining game I've seen all year, although all ESPN seems to show is the Big East, so that doesn't say too much. You can look at the box score, but here are a few things you might not have noticed.
I will never stop liking St. Joe's fans, but two of their roll-outs, while funny, were completely incorrect.
- “Keep Exploring the bottom of the A-10.” - the Explorers may have played the easiest imaginable non-conference schedule (two of their wins came against 1-9 St. Bonaventure and one versus 3-8 George Washington), but still they are 5-5 in the Atlantic 10. An even record in the nation's 8th-best conference according to the RPI. So while that sign is great, the Explorers are proving it wrong.
- “St. Joe’s salutes La Salle fans (both of them).” Again, these two signs are funnier than the Red and Blue Crew's entire season besides the Drexel game. But the La Salle fans were loud, and down the stretch louder than the St. Joe's contingent. True, there weren't a whole lot, but they were just as plentiful as the Villanova fans in the Holy War, and 10-times as ruckus.
Now, here's my top 5 plays of the game. As Chris Rock used to say as "Nat X" on Saturday Night Live would say, why only five? Because the Inquirer could get a top 10, but I work for a college newspaper and the man would let me get half of that. Okay, really I only have five good ones. (And I refuse to pull a SportsCenter and make "La Salle three-point shooting" one of the top plays.)
First, a couple honorable mention:
- St. Joe's Ahmad Nivins throwing Jerrell Williams to the ground to make way for a wide open dunk on his team's first possession. Oh how that was not indicative at all of what happened the rest of the way...
- La Salle's Rodney Green blocking 6-foot-10 Pat Calathes from behind and going the other way. He got fouled, but didn't make the layup, costing him a spot.
5. A Hawks fan in the Qdoba shootout won free burritos for a month, doing basically nothing. I what I believe was 35 seconds, he hit a layup, an elbow shot, an elbow shot from the other side and another layup. That's pretty hard to screw up. In the Penn equivalent you must hit a layup, free throw, three-pointer and a half-court shot for the same prize. Even without the half-court shot the Penn contest is much harder.
4. On a drive in the first half, Calathes took it down the heart of the lane, and while getting his jersey pulled (by I believe Paul Johnson) he threw down a nasty dunk over the La Salle junior. After the play he slapped the ball into the crowd and received a harsh warning from an official (though he didn't receive a technical).
3. With his team up by one with under 30 seconds to go, Kimmani Barrett got the ball in the post, was double-teamed, but somehow flipped the ball over the big men for the eventual game-winning basket.
2. Eight-minutes in, Williams went up for a monster dunk, taking off from outside of the lane on the right side, and Nivins absolutely rejected him. The 6-9 big man got his entire palm on the ball just before the height of its path, and threw it down. Needless to say, the Hawks fans went berserk.
1. With just over a minute to go and the game tied at 86, Yves Mekongo Mbala missed only his second shot of the night, but Green, a 6-5 guard came flying down the lane for a thunderous dunk to take a two-point lead. It was probably the loudest a La Salle crowd got since Donnie Carr. No Fran Dunphy. No Bill Raftery.
I don't have much to say today about Penn basketball, but that Remy Cofield still isn't practicing with his foot injury. Glen Miller wouldn't say what it was, how long he's out for, or whether or not he'll play against Harvard and Dartmouth. He's "day-to-day." If the injury isn't "out for the year", chances are it's "day-to-day."
Getting through the seven-hour bus trip to Dartmouth can be rough, and Brian Grandieri will spend his time watching Lost. That show could even make the Hanover, N.H., trip seem quick. It'd take a bus ride to Japan and back to watch all the episodes of that show.
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