I don't arrive at games late. Well, not really, really late. Quite often my wife and I arrive just before or just at tip-off, but I'm basically on time, not missing more than a few moments. Also, when I do arrive, I always wait until the play has stopped before entering the seating area. I hate it when people walk in front of you during play, so I'm very careful to try and enter during dead balls or timeouts.
February 21st, I was late -- really late. My wife and I had used an online site to buy two tickets for the price of one to the Creighton-Evansville game. It was a great opportunity, but when we forgot to print the voucher to bring to will-call, we had to turn around and go back. We were already just on the fringe of being late, so now we were definitely going to miss the tip.
Another thing about me: I hate to pay for parking. As George Costanza says, "Why should I pay, when if I apply myself, maybe I could get it for free?" Thankfully, there is a rather large lot, only a short walk across a bridge from where Creighton plays, that is free. The word seems to have gotten out though, because when I got to the lot it was completely full.
So the game had already started and I was still searching for a spot. The next area to check is the downtown area west and south of the arena. I drove through the areas where I've parked in the past and couldn't find any spots. I started to realize we were going to have to walk quite a ways from wherever we parked, so I dropped off my wife at the entrance to wait for me. Miraculously, quickly after I dropped her off I was able to find a spot not all that far from the arena. Someone was leaving from a shopping area a few blocks away and I was there to nab their spot!
It was kind of fun to arrive so late. I was able to hear the roar of the crowd as I made my way up the stairs to the upper deck of the arena. It was pretty impressive to hear the noise from the outer part, something I don't ever experience. We arrived nearly at the end of the first half and found our seats. Creighton struggled with Evansville's hot-shooting guards all night. They weren't able to find a way to defend them coming off of screens, and Evansville looked like they were going to pull an upset.
Late in the game the Bluejays needed a couple points to tie the game. As the last seconds ran out several attempts were thrown at the basket. The final one came from Gregory Echenique. When he was about to throw it up, I didn't think there was enough time left. I thought the shot was going to be late. Unlike me, the shot was in time, and it fell through to send the game to overtime.
In overtime, Creighton had a lead as the final seconds ticked down. Evansville played for the win and held for a final shot by their hot shooter, Colt Ryan. Ryan's 3-pointer was no good, and Creighton held on to win despite a 43-point game from Ryan.
By that point I felt like I'd gotten my money's worth from the overtime, even if I missed most of the first half. After the game, Creighton had their senior night festivities, videos of the graduating seniors, and speeches by each of them. First were the speeches of three seniors who were walk-ons and had barely played. It was very nice to see Creighton recognize them in such a big way. Hearing the perspective of someone like them was unique. Finally the big-name senior, Antoine Young, a local kid, got to speak. Antoine is a very polished young man and did a great job. In all fairness, all the players did a great job and showed themselves very well in front of the fans. Creighton University should be proud of the young men they have helped produce.
I don't think I'm going to make a habit out of being as late as I was. While it was fun to approach the game from a more laidback perspective (not rushing to be on time), I think I'd prefer to see the start!
at CREIGHTON 93, EVANSVILLE 92 02/21/2012
EVANSVILLE 14-14 (8-9) -- C. Ryan 17-24 5-8 43; D. Holmes 8-9 5-6 25; K. Harris 0-4 2-4 2; T. Taylor 3-6 3-3 9; J. Moore 1-1 1-2 3; N. Cox 2-5 2-2 6; L. Jones 1-6 0-0 2; R. Cesnulevicius 0-0 0-0 0; R. Sawvell 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 33-56 18-25 92. CREIGHTON 24-5 (13-4) -- D. McDermott 7-14 6-13 21; A. Young 4-8 13-14 21; G. Echenique 4-5 1-1 9; J. Jones 4-6 1-3 11; J. Manigat 4-5 2-2 12; G. Gibbs 1-2 0-0 3; A. Dingman 5-6 0-1 14; E. Wragge 0-4 0-0 0; A. Chatman 0-1 2-2 2; W. Artino 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 29-51 25-36 93.
Three-point goals: EVAN 8-14 (D. Holmes 4-5; C. Ryan 4-8; K. Harris 0-1), CREI 10-17 (G. Gibbs 1-1; J. Jones 2-3; E. Wragge 0-2; D. McDermott 1-3; J. Manigat 2-2; A. Chatman 0-1; A. Dingman 4-5); Rebounds: EVAN 27 (C. Ryan 6), CREI 26 (G. Echenique 7); Assists: EVAN 25 (D. Holmes 7), CREI 19 (A. Young 7); Total Fouls -- EVAN 31, CREI 22; Fouled Out: EVAN-L. Jones; CREI-J. Manigat.