While cutting through the Long Beach campus on this chilly evening I wondered to myself what kind of a crowd this game would attract. Seeing as how the first game of the season coincided with the school's homecoming festivities I wasn't surprised to see that the crowd seemed to skew old. If there was any day for alumni to come back to check on their old stomping grounds homecoming would be the time to do it. I arrive at the Pyramid about a half hour before tip off and the crowd appears to be much the same as before. No worries, Thanksgiving is right around the corner and I'm sure many students are taking a head start on their travels. Besides, the crowd that is there for the beginning of the game is into it from the very get go. Better to have half a house full of diehards than a packed house full of people sitting on their hands right?
The row I'm sitting in is empty except for me so I'm enjoying the extra room to stretch out. The first ten minutes of the game go quickly. Both teams are playing hard but Long Beach State jumps out to 20-7 lead thanks to a strong start on defense and some timely #superhoops and all is well so far. Everyone is enjoying themselves, even the Boise State fan a few rows behind me that relishes every opportunity to let the referees know what a poor job they're doing calling the game. Things were going swimmingly until the latecomers showed up.
Rarely has my patience ever been tested in a public setting as it was last night. A couple arrived: the man roughly in his mid-forties, looked like type who drove fancy sports cars and had a trophy wife. The woman, at least ten years his junior was probably said trophy wife. They seat themselves beside me at about the 8:30 mark of the first half and proceed to do everything to not pay attention to the game in front of them. I have to tip my cap to them as this was quite the feat, to be at a basketball game for an hour and a half and not once bring up basketball in any conversation.
Fear not, as they found plenty to occupy themselves with: they talked about Facebook, gossiped about their neighbors, played phone tag with friends who were also in attendance at the time, people watched, etc. It took every ounce of willpower in me to not just stand and yell at them "who gives a f***!?" There were so many interesting things to take away from this game but these two could not be bothered to care one bit.
For starters, the match up itself: the 49ers, 2-1 after an overtime loss at San Diego State were looking to bounce back against a 3-0 Broncos team that was averaging almost 93 points a game. How about the tribute to the late Miranda Serna, a former 49er women's basketball assistant who tragically passed away in a plane crash a few days ago? Or how about the appearance during a first half timeout of Stephanie Bryson, who was just selected as the first Rhodes scholar to ever come from this campus? Or the performance of T.J. Robinson, whose 13 rebounds made him the all-time leading rebounder in Long Beach State history and moved him into fifth all-time in Big West history?
Would any of this compel them one bit to care? Of course not, they had dinner plans to make and why should some little insignificant basketball game get in the way?
So I gritted my teeth, soldiered on and made the best of things. Save for a few Bronco runs the game was never really in doubt as the 49ers were able to capitalize on a very solid defensive performance to control most of the game. The Red Line Upset was sealed and the home crowd was sent off into the southern California night to celebrate and begin their holiday week on an upbeat note. I had a good time in the end, but part of me secretly wished that those two sitting next to me tonight would find a better way to spend their fall and winter nights. If anything they seem better suited to be at a Lakers game more than anything else, maybe they should give that a shot.
BOISE STATE 3-1 (0-0) -- A. Drmic 7-17 1-1 20; W. Perryman 1-4 1-2 3; D. Wiley 2-7 3-4 9; I. Hadziomerovic 0-4 0-0 0; K. Buckner 3-5 8-9 14; R. Watkins 2-9 2-4 6; J. Elorriaga 1-4 3-3 6; D. Marks 1-2 0-2 2; T. Bropleh 0-0 0-0 0; J. Crayton 0-2 2-2 2; T. Nichols 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 17-54 20-27 62. LONG BEACH STATE 3-1 (0-0) -- L. Anderson 2-8 3-3 7; C. Ware 1-9 2-2 5; T. Robinson 8-9 2-6 18; J. Ennis 6-9 2-2 16; E. Phelps 5-8 1-2 11; M. Caffey 2-6 2-2 8; E. Dervisevic 2-3 0-0 5; P. Pappageorge 1-2 0-0 2; C. Jackson 0-1 0-0 0; N. Shepherd 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 27-55 12-17 72.
Three-point goals: BOIS 8-27 (D. Wiley 2-7; W. Perryman 0-1; J. Elorriaga 1-4; A. Drmic 5-12; I. Hadziomerovic 0-3), LBSU 6-16 (L. Anderson 0-4; C. Ware 1-4; E. Dervisevic 1-1; M. Caffey 2-3; J. Ennis 2-4); Rebounds: BOIS 30 (D. Wiley 7), LBSU 37 (T. Robinson 13); Assists: BOIS 13 (W. Perryman 5), LBSU 17 (J. Ennis 6); Total Fouls -- BOIS 20, LBSU 22; Fouled Out: BOIS-D. Marks; LBSU-J. Ennis.