Writer's note: This is the second game of six from the Global Sports Hoops Showcase to be covered for @800GP. Here's a link to game one.
I just sat through the worst basketball game I've ever covered.
Worst. Game. Ever.
And the worst part is that there's no reason for it to have happened in the first place.
Why would Oregon schedule a team that is reclassifying from Division II to Division I? Why would it play them five days before Christmas in the team's second game in three nights and the first of three games in three days in the Global Sports Hoops Showcase? Why would North Carolina Central come all the way out to Eugene, Ore.? There's no good reason for any of these. I'm still trying to figure out why this tournament exists.
Apparently, everyone in Eugene was left asking the same questions.
There was zero atmosphere at Matthew Knight Arena. As one person put it, there were more middle-schoolers in attendance than there were college students. There were eight University students in the Pit Crew, Oregon's student section. Chances are, as a student journalist, I was the ninth and final UO student at this game. A week-plus after school has ended for the term, the fact that even we made it there is kind of an accomplishment in itself. In a Matthew Knight Arena tradition, the arena only got loud when the Jumbotron told the lemmings in attendance to do "make noise." (In the halcyon days of yore -- approximately a year ago when it was still in use -- McArthur Court was actually capable of producing noise without anything more than two animated yellowish-lightbulb-on-black clapping hands. Since the Ducks left there, Oregon's home games have been devoid of any sort of charm with one notable exception.)
The first half was the worst basketball I've ever seen. Wrap your head around these combined statistics, as collated from tweets I sent out during halftime the game:
"It's halftime. Oregon 21, NCCU 18. Teams are 12 of 58 from the field, 2-19 from three. 11 turnovers, four assists."
"UNCC's Ray Willis is a frigid 2-13 from the field. Oregon's worst shooter is Devoe Joseph, who went 0-5. E.J. Singler's 1-5 too."
"Tempo-free stats! Oregon: 21 points/27 possessions. 0.778 PPP. UNCC: 18 points/29 possessions. 0.621 PPP. This game is so terrible."
I drove back to Eugene just to watch this. Are you kidding? But the terribleness didn't just stop with the halftime stats. The on-court announcer said it was a kid's birthday during a halftime promotion -- it wasn't.
The first half had one thing going for it that the second one didn't -- at least the first half was close. Oregon put a 19-3 run together after the Eagles tied the game at 28, sealing the game and making the last few minutes excruciating to watch.
This game saw multiple three-second violations, multiple lane violations on free throws and a meaningless four-point play with seconds to go, and ended up with one of the ugliest box scores I've ever seen. (You can go to the bottom of this page and look at just how oppressively inefficient North Carolina-Central was. Oregon wasn't much better, despite residing well above the Red Line.)
The only thing I have to say is, thank goodness nobody was there. The "5,655" in attendance might have been true if you were counting shoes, or fingers on people's hands.
at OREGON 58, NORTH CAROLINA CENTRAL 45 12/20/2011
NORTH CAROLINA CENTRAL 5-6 (1-0) -- K. Walden 2-7 1-2 7; R. Willis 5-21 0-0 11; E. Chapman 2-8 0-0 4; J. Ingram 4-11 1-2 10; D. Sutton 1-5 0-1 2; N. Chasten 3-6 0-0 6; E. Anyaorah 1-6 1-1 3; K. Jawara 0-1 2-2 2; D. Best 0-0 0-0 0; T. Beaman 2-3 1-1 7; T. O'Neal 0-0 0-0 0; J. Nicely 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 18-61 5-7 45. OREGON 7-3 (0-0) -- D. Joseph 3-9 2-2 10; E. Singler 3-8 7-8 13; G. Sim 5-7 0-0 13; J. Loyd 0-6 0-0 0; O. Ashaolu 3-4 2-2 8; C. Emory 1-5 2-2 4; T. Woods 0-3 7-8 7; B. Kingma 1-4 0-0 3; J. Jacob 0-3 0-0 0; N. Lucenti 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 16-49 20-22 58.
Three-point goals: NCC 4-20 (E. Anyaorah 0-4; R. Willis 1-3; N. Chasten 0-2; T. Beaman 2-3; E. Chapman 0-3; J. Ingram 1-5), ORE 6-18 (O. Ashaolu 0-1; D. Joseph 2-4; G. Sim 3-5; E. Singler 0-1; J. Loyd 0-1; C. Emory 0-2; B. Kingma 1-4); Rebounds: NCC 33 (R. Willis 9), ORE 32 (O. Ashaolu 9); Assists: NCC 6 (E. Chapman 2), ORE 10 (J. Loyd 4); Total Fouls -- NCC 17, ORE 10; Fouled Out: NCC-None; ORE-None.