I spent a lot of time trying to decide whether or not to attend the first round CIT game between American and Buffalo. My last game, two weeks earlier, more or less served as my epilogue on my #800GP experience. However, something, and I couldn't quite figure out what, was drawing me to the game. Maybe it was just one last chance to watch some live college basketball, or maybe it's that my schedule will potentially provide me with no free time for the next couple of months, and that going to sporting events is something that relaxes me. Whatever the reason was, I headed up to Bender Arena one last time (for good) this season.
The term #ghostbracket could appropriately be applied to this contest, as it seemed like there were #ghosts everywhere in Bender Arena. The announced attendance was a woeful 256. No 1 before that, just 256. Call it a hunch, but I don't think that American University will be hosting more #ghostbracket games anytime soon. There were many Buffalo fans in attendance, although there were still plenty of AU fans as well (although I'm sure the 80 degree day in our nation's capital kept plenty of people away). One group that was notably missing was the students. With the game being played in the middle of spring break, there weren't many around. I give credit to the pep band for assembling 13 musicians who were not on break to perform (the unlucky souls who were spending break on campus). However, there were no cheerleaders or dance team, as has been typical at many AU home games.
The game itself was never really that close. American led 5-2 about a minute into the game, before a #superhoop by Auraum Nuiriankh tied the game at 5. That was American's last lead of the night. The lead stretched to 13 before AU went on a 4-0 mini-run to end the first-half down 9, 37-28.
As the arena was empty, I took advantage of the opportunity to move to the student section, right behind the scorers table. While these seats are normally taken by students, and access to these sections is restricted to those with an AU ID, the security people really didn't care. This allowed me to see AU coach Jeff Jones up close. For some reason, I've always been a fan of his. Yes, it's weird because I went to Lehigh and hate American, but I like the enthusiasm that Coach Jones brings to his team. It was definitely fun to see him up close, and watch the scathing looks he gave to his players and the officiating crew. My favorite moment was after an #omgdunx by Tony Wroblicky. While I am a fan of #omgdunx, Coach Jones was less than impressed, turning to one of his players and yelling "If he's gonna clown around like that, he can sit on the bench!" That remark definitely was my favorite coaching moment from the entire season.
American had one last gasp in them early in the second half, cutting the lead down to five. However, another #superhoop, this one by Zach Filzen, stretched the lead back to eight. The lead continued to stretch to double digits, reaching the final margin of 17. Coach Jones gave his seniors one final curtain call in front of the small crowd, pulling them with a minute left to handshakes from the coaching staff and a standing ovation from the crowd (props to the Buffalo fans for cheering for the AU seniors in the final game of their college careers). I applaud the Eagles for never quitting, and providing me with one more game.
BUFFALO 78, at AMERICAN 61 03/14/2012
BUFFALO 19-10 (12-4) -- M. Watt 6-11 3-4 15; Z. Filzen 6-9 0-0 18; J. Oldham 2-6 0-0 4; T. Watson II 2-5 0-0 6; J. McCrea 8-13 2-2 18; T. Robinson 2-4 0-2 4; D. Barnett 2-5 0-0 4; A. Nuiriankh 1-4 0-0 3; C. Downing 2-2 0-1 4; C. Raley-Ross 0-2 0-0 0; X. Ford 1-1 0-0 2; R. Thomas-Edwards 0-0 0-0 0; R. Sebuharara 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 32-62 5-9 78. AMERICAN 20-12 (10-4) -- T. Brewer 5-16 0-0 11; C. Hinkle 7-19 4-4 22; D. Munoz 2-5 0-0 5; T. Wroblicky 5-13 1-2 11; R. Grafft 1-2 0-2 2; J. Schoof 1-4 0-0 3; B. Jolivette 2-3 1-2 5; S. McCormack 0-1 0-0 0; M. Bersch 1-3 0-0 2; J. Borucki 0-1 0-0 0; D. Fisher 0-0 0-0 0; W. Flood Jr. 0-2 0-0 0; J. Hill 0-0 0-0 0; K. Kager 0-1 0-0 0; W. Simon II 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 24-71 6-10 61.
Three-point goals: BUFF 9-21 (Z. Filzen 6-9; M. Watt 0-1; D. Barnett 0-3; T. Watson 2-4; A. Nuiriankh 1-4), AMER 7-27 (T. Brewer 1-8; C. Hinkle 4-11; M. Bersch 0-2; D. Munoz 1-1; K. Kager 0-1; J. Schoof 1-4); Rebounds: BUFF 36 (M. Watt 9), AMER 27 (T. Wroblicky 8); Assists: BUFF 19 (J. Oldham 6), AMER 13 (C. Hinkle 3); Total Fouls -- BUFF 12, AMER 11; Fouled Out: BUFF-None; AMER-None.