The MAAC started conference play last night, and I love conference play, so it was off to Baltimore. My first game outside of the Palestra this season reminded me that taking in a game in an arena you've never been to before can feel like a great anthropological adventure. (Like at my first Navy game last season where I noticed all the major corporate sponsors were defense contractors.)
I bought my tickets to the game online, and just a few minutes after clicking the "checkout" button, I got an e-mail from a kind person in the Loyola ticket office asking me if I wanted my seats in the home or visitors' section. After careful weighing of the options, I decided to just confess that I was not affiliated with either school, and asked for the best seats available. As I suspected, they were in the visitors' section, a few rows behind the Marist bench, which was great for seeing game action, but it meant that I didn't get to really see the famed Coach Patsos in action. Next time.
Loyola's arena, the Marist fans around me explained, has been upgraded pretty significantly in the last few years, and it certainly showed. I couldn't get a good picture of this, but you can kind of make it out over section 10 in the photo above: there's a luxury box. The student section was somewhat late-arriving, but filled in pretty well by the middle of the first half. Many of them were sporting a very cool t-shirt celebrating 100 career wins for Coach Patsos - unfortunately we missed the pre-game ceremony, but I'll be scouring the internet for one of those eventually.
In the first half, the game was close and the teams seemed evenly-matched, though the defensive intensity was a bit low. On the plus side, this meant more than one exciting two-point dunk shot and at least two made 3-pointers from 6'10" Loyola forward Shane Walker, the tallest guy on the floor for the Greyhounds. Midway through the second half, Marist's big men appeared to wear down, and Loyola took advantage, jumping out to a 15-point lead they would never relinquish.
One of my favorite parts, though, was the collaboration between the Marching Flock and the student section to get the students back up and cheering after timeouts. The video doesn't quite do it justice, but it sure looked like fun. Next time I'll ask for tickets in the home section so I can join in - I bought my own "Unleash the Hounds" shirt so I can blend in, at least with the alumni grasping at a few moments of that college joy. I'm not a real anthropologist, after all, so I can throw scientific distance out the window when I want to.
at LOYOLA (MD.) 76, MARIST 63 12/01/2011
MARIST 2-5 (0-1) -- A. Kemp 2-8 2-4 6; I. Morton 2-9 1-3 6; C. Lewis 5-9 5-5 16; D. Price 5-10 0-0 11; M. Thomas 3-5 0-0 8; A. Alexis 1-8 1-2 4; J. Bowie 3-4 0-0 6; P. Prinsloo 0-1 1-2 1; T. Curry 2-2 0-0 5; R. Hall 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 23-56 10-16 63. LOYOLA (MD.) 5-1 (1-0) -- S. Walker 2-8 5-6 11; R. Williams 3-3 1-1 8; D. Cormier 6-13 2-4 15; E. Etherly 5-12 4-6 14; R. Olson 4-8 1-2 11; J. Drummond 5-11 2-4 14; J. Latham 0-2 0-0 0; A. Winbush 1-4 1-2 3; J. Brooks 0-2 0-0 0; P. Williams 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-63 16-25 76.
Three-point goals: MAR 7-14 (D. Price 1-4; A. Alexis 1-2; T. Curry 1-1; C. Lewis 1-2; I. Morton 1-3; M. Thomas 2-2), LMD 8-15 (S. Walker 2-4; R. Olson 2-4; D. Cormier 1-1; J. Drummond 2-5; R. Williams 1-1); Rebounds: MAR 23 (A. Kemp 7), LMD 41 (E. Etherly 10); Assists: MAR 8 (I. Morton 4), LMD 13 (R. Williams 6); Total Fouls -- MAR 19, LMD 15; Fouled Out: MAR-None; LMD-None.