"What in the #expletivedeleted did I just do?" That was the first thought to go through my mind after pulling over to the side of the road. Less than two miles from the Brick Breeden Fieldhouse, home of the Montana State University Bobcats, there I sat. I've driven up and down South 19th Street thousands of times to get to the fieldhouse - to watch practices, conduct interviews, just stop by to chit chat with various coaches and athletic administrators. So why in the name of everything was I sitting on the side of the road with a flat tire? I forgot to zag.
The way the street is constructed, there are middle-of-the-four-lane road cement strips which separate the northbound and southbound lanes and also provide left-turn stoppage points to get onto a couple of side streets that lead onto 19th. It's hard to describe without a map, drawing or picture, and I'm not going anywhere today. In any fashion, the flow of the left lane going both northbound and southbound redirects slightly when you near one of these islands. So, again, it's a route I know very well. Except when you're rushing because you like to be at the arena at a certain time during pregame and it's sleeting very hard.You see where this is going, right?
Basically, I wondered why the car in front of me was slightly swerving and thought "had to be the sleet." Realized it was the turn lane about five feet before I drove straight into not only the island, but a giant metal pole that would have undoubtedly stopped my momentum and done horrible, vicious "Ali Farokhmanesh with a 3 to crush Kansas" things to my car. So instead of a crunched car and near-death, I swerved enough to just destroy my front left rim and flatten that tire. Oh, and break the tire pressure gauge in my front right tire, which I also thought was flat.
After consulting with the mechanic who arrived to check out the scene (thank you, OnStar), the realization that I only needed one tire changed and not a tow set in, and just in time to realize that I'd be fixed and Fieldhouse-bound in enough time to actually see the start - you know, what I need to be there for to do my job. Embarrassment is what coursed through my veins from the moment I hit the #expletivedeleted island to stepping into the arena. How could I be so careless, so dumb?
I'm not so sure that's what Northern Colorado head coach B.J. Hill was thinking about his team - how could they be careless? - but it might have entered his mind. Northern Colorado is a younger, semi-rebuilding team after its program-best year in 2010-11. The Bears have one true senior, one true junior and a redshirt junior as their presumed guides, with a redshirt sophomore, a redshirt freshman and a couple of true sophomores as key contributors. None, until this season, had ever been placed in a position of leadership - a factor a few pointed to after the Bears lost to NAIA Westminster in Greeley earlier this year.
Long story short, Hill should've been ecstatic with his team Saturday night. UNC shot 52 percent from the field (26-for-50), the fourth time in Big Sky play they've shot over 50 percent. The Bears shot an #OMGSHOTSFIRED 65 percent (15-of-23) in the final 20 minutes - yes, that does say 65 percent. Yet, Hill walked off the floor grumbling.
MSU averages between 6-7 #superhoops a game - before Saturday, it was 6.7 overall and 7.16 in BSC play. Saturday night took the numbers up. The Bobcats sank 13 #superhoops, and always had one to answer a UNC run. 13 #superhoops! I've covered plenty of college and high school contests and don't remember seeing that many. Ever. Maybe 10. Possibly 11. Never 13. Thing is, MSU needed every one of them as the final margin was a simple 12 points, or four #superhoops. The Bobcats didn't play defense very well, and that will come to be talked about. They were just cruising along, relying on the #superhoops - much like a certain scribe who didn't think about the road as much as he should have. And what happened? Bam!
at MONTANA STATE 84, NORTHERN COLORADO 72 01/21/2012
NORTHERN COLORADO 6-12 (3-4) -- E. Lloyd 5-8 1-1 13; M. Proctor 5-7 4-4 14; T. Svihovec 4-7 4-4 12; T. Unruh 0-2 0-0 0; A. Hawk-Harris 2-5 0-0 5; P. Garnica 3-6 0-1 6; E. Addo 4-7 3-4 13; C. Osborne 2-5 1-2 5; B. Keane 0-2 0-0 0; B. Douvier 1-1 1-2 3; T. Huskisson 0-0 1-2 1. Totals 26-50 15-20 72. MONTANA STATE 10-8 (5-2) -- T. Johnson 5-8 1-2 11; C. Moon 4-11 3-5 13; X. Blount 3-8 4-4 12; M. Fall 0-2 4-4 4; S. Reid 2-9 4-4 10; M. Dison 5-8 3-4 17; R. Singleton 2-5 0-1 4; J. Allou 2-3 0-0 4; J. Budinich 3-4 0-0 9. Totals 26-58 19-24 84.
Three-point goals: NOCO 5-14 (E. Addo 2-2; E. Lloyd 2-5; T. Unruh 0-2; P. Garnica 0-1; T. Svihovec 0-3; A. Hawk-Harris 1-1), MTST 13-29 (J. Budinich 3-4; S. Reid 2-6; R. Singleton 0-1; C. Moon 2-9; M. Dison 4-5; X. Blount 2-4); Rebounds: NOCO 24 (M. Proctor 8), MTST 26 (T. Johnson 9); Assists: NOCO 8 (M. Proctor 2), MTST 13 (R. Singleton 6); Total Fouls -- NOCO 23, MTST 19; Fouled Out: NOCO-E. Lloyd; MTST-None.