I'M JUST GOING TO COME OUT AND SAY IT. THE ONLY REASON TO ATTEND SATURDAY'S GAME AT MILLETT HALL WAS TO WRITE A RECAP FOR ALL CAPS DAY. BOTH TEAMS WERE SOLIDLY IN THE BOTTOM HALF OF THE MID-AMERICAN CONFERENCE. MIAMI ENTERED THE CONTEST AT 7-15, 3-7 IN THE MAC. CENTRAL MICHIGAN WAS EVEN WORSE AT 7-16 AND 2-8 IN CONFERENCE. BOTH TEAMS WILL SEE THE FINAL BUZZER OF THEIR SEASONS SOMETIME DURING CHAMPIONSHIP FORTNIGHT.
Well, there may have been one other reason. The women's and men's doubleheader was billed as "Box-Out Cancer Saturday." Each of the Miami players wore pink t-shirts during warm-ups, while the cheerleaders and dance team used pink pom-poms and both teams had pink towels at their disposal on the bench to raise awareness (as if anyone in America would not be aware that cancer sucks at this point.) It's the second leading cause of individuals hearing their own final buzzer each year.
Central Michigan has some colorful names on the roster. Olivier Mbiagoto has the handle to give Drake U'u a run for his money as "Best Name in the Mid-Majority." Unfortunately, colorful names don't put any points on the scoreboard, despite Mbiagoto giving Central Michigan a 3-2 lead with a superhoop 35 seconds into the contest.
That would be the only lead Central Michigan would hold the entire game. Over the next 11 minutes, Miami would go on a 20-4 run that doomed the Chippewas, who would never even trim the lead to single digits. With 5:17 left in the first half, Central Michigan finally got to use the tens digit on the new Millett Hall scoreboard that was installed over Winter break when Finis Craddock hit a free throw that made the score 24-10.
Yes, gone are the old hanging scoreboards that didn't even have the ability to display tenths of a second in the last minute and still had the old Miami Redskin logo on them. Now in place is a digital/LED combo that really doesn't display as much info as you would like. Team fouls, time outs and player fouls and points only appear in scrolling form on the top half of the scoreboard.
Yet the disappearance of the Redskin logo doesn't stop a few of the fans reminiscing for the old days prior to the nickname change. Every few minutes, a loud gentleman would wait for near silence and belt out "Let's Go Redskins." The Redskin nickname was retired in 1997 and deservedly saw its final buzzer. No one in their right mind can claim that term honors Native Americans. Granted, it does seem weird that Central Michigan can continue use of the Chippewas, since the Chippewa tribe approved it.
With a big lead throughout the game, Miami coach Charlie Coles was able to sit in his chair on the bench and relax for most of the game. There have been rumors that this year might be the final buzzer in Coles' coaching career, and no one would blame him for retiring at age 70. But Charlie admitted in Miami's student newspaper that he's probably retired 700 times in his mind, and hadn't committed either way yet. Coles let his assistants, former Miami players Jermaine Henderson and Jason Grunkemeyer, along with former Butler coach Todd Lickliter, handle most of the coaching duties during the game. A smooth transition seems to be in place if Coles does leave at the end of the season, but it would be a shame to not have Coles' press conferences to look forward to anymore.
As the second half wore on, the crowd started to thin out. There was a hockey game across campus at 7, and people were in the mood to catch dinner before the game or get a prime spot in the student section. I wrote this tweet with 4:40 left in the game.
That tweet came less than two hours before it was discovered that Whitney Houston had passed away. The "people are leaving" was obviously meant for the Millett Hall fans, but was a bit of a premonition for what would happen later in the day. "I Wanna Dance with Somebody" was a strange time-out song choice for a basketball game in 2012, and when I found out later that night that Ms. Houston had the final buzzer sound for her, I wondered if the sound crew at Millett had some inside info. That was not the case, but eerie none the less.
Despite the large margin, Central Michigan was bound and determined to delay the final buzzer as long as possible. Despite being down 18 with 1:32 left, CMU decided to start fouling in hopes of coming back. If my phone would actually send out the pictures I took with it, I would have tweeted a picture of my kixx in true mid-majority tradition. Instead, there was one last timeout for the Millett PA to blast a bass-heavy "Teach Me How to Dougie" while a kid in the crowd got the chance to dance with Swoop, the RedHawk mascot.
THE END OF THE REDHAWK BENCH WOULD GET A LITTLE PLAYING TIME, AND MIAMI WOULD SURVIVE THE FESTIVAL OF FOULING, 69-50. EACH TEAM HAS LESS THAN 300 GUARANTEED MINUTES LEFT IN THEIR SEASON. NEITHER TEAM WANTS TO SEE THE FINAL BUZZER OF THEIR SEASON COME. BUT COME IT WILL, BECAUSE IT ALWAYS DOES. FOR ONLY ONE TEAM GETS TO END THE SEASON WITH A TRUE WIN, THE OTHER 344, WELL, YOU KNOW.
at MIAMI (OH.) 69, CENTRAL MICHIGAN 50 02/11/2012
CENTRAL MICHIGAN 7-17 (2-9) -- D. Jackson 4-9 0-0 10; T. Zeigler 6-15 5-10 17; A. McBroom 1-5 2-2 4; J. Morris 0-2 0-0 0; O. Mbaigoto 1-5 0-0 3; F. Craddock 2-6 4-5 9; Z. Saylor 1-2 0-1 2; A. Coimbra 0-0 3-4 3; A. Barnes 1-1 0-0 2; J. Harden 0-0 0-0 0; A. Keel 0-2 0-0 0; N. Jordan 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 16-47 14-22 50. MIAMI (OH.) 8-15 (4-7) -- J. Harris 6-11 2-2 17; J. Mavunga 4-7 5-8 14; Q. Rollins 2-8 3-5 7; A. Thomas 2-3 4-7 9; B. Sullivan 3-8 0-0 8; W. Sullivan 2-7 2-2 8; V. Legarza 0-1 0-0 0; J. Sewell 2-2 0-0 5; D. McGhee 0-1 0-0 0; J. Tadlock 0-0 1-2 1; J. Mezher 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-48 17-26 69.
Three-point goals: CMU 4-18 (F. Craddock 1-3; J. Morris 0-1; D. Jackson 2-6; T. Zeigler 0-1; A. Keel 0-1; O. Mbaigoto 1-4; A. McBroom 0-2), MIO 10-19 (J. Mavunga 1-1; A. Thomas 1-2; J. Harris 3-5; Q. Rollins 0-1; J. Sewell 1-1; B. Sullivan 2-4; W. Sullivan 2-5); Rebounds: CMU 28 (T. Zeigler 8), MIO 34 (A. Thomas 7); Assists: CMU 4 (F. Craddock 1), MIO 15 (Q. Rollins 5); Total Fouls -- CMU 22, MIO 21; Fouled Out: CMU-A. Coimbra; MIO-None.