Game 106: at Holy Cross 71, Fordham 63 (2OT)Sunday, December 4, 2005
Hart Center - Worcester, MA
The first snowfall is like the first seasonal anything - the first skinned knee of the summer, the first sniffle of the autumn. There's a little bit of a shock, and then when it happens again you're used to it.
So it was on a chilly December Sunday in lovely Worcester
, Massachusetts. Snowplows criss-crossed themselves in parking lots, unsure of which roads to pave. Drivers on the cross-state MassPike slid around on patches of slick, black ice. Never mind that there were only a couple of inches on the ground, people weren't used to it yet.
There was at least one shelter from the not-so-perfect storm - the cozy, warm Hart Center, where the men's basketball team from the College of the Holy Cross
were entertaining guests from New York City, the Fordham
University Rams of the Atlantic 10 Conference. As a couple of thousand fans huddled around the wooden floor, much like they would at a stone hearth, a 1-5 squad and a 2-4 one fell all over each other in a lackluster display of group hoop skill.
With ten minutes remaining in the second half, the most talented maroon-clad Ram, 6'8" specimen Bryant Dunston
, turned to his man. "Is it still snowing?" he asked politely as he aggressively jostled for position under the basket.
"I think so," Holy Cross power forward Kevin Hyland
responded. "I heard someone say that there's ten inches out there."
"Sucks," said Dunston. "I mean, our bus driver is a good guy, but he can't drive through snow worth s✶ ✶ ✶. I can't sleep, I get too nervous."
"Yeah," Hyland returned. "Coach Willard is chewing my ass out for guarding you with all the effectiveness of a wet dishrag, but I'd much rather be in here than out in the snow."
"Hey, what you guys talking about?" piped up Torey Thomas
, the Crusaders' bottle-rocket point guard, as he dribbled around the perimeter.
"The snow," Fordham guard Marcus Stout
called out as he was scraped away from the play by a hard screen. "It's really piling up outside."
"Man, I hate snow," Thomas muttered.
"Hey, I just got a great idea," Hyland said. "Did any of you see that Southern Miss-New Orleans
some of the other nine said. "Eh?" "What the hell are you talking about?"
"I saw it on The Mid-Majority
," Hyland said excitedly. "It's my favorite website. Man, they've got the best college basketball stats on the web, and lots of really fantastic performance analysis tools too.""Never heard of it,"
his floormates responded. "Nope, sorry." "What's a website?"
"Anyway, I saw how UNO and Southern Miss went four overtimes," Hyland continued. "I was thinking that we could try to beat that. You know, try to play all day, until it stops snowing!"
"Sounds like a plan," said Thomas. "Let's do it!""Cool!"
the other players exclaimed. "Awesome!" "Let's play five!"
With nine seconds remaining in regulation, Fordham led by two with the ball, inbounding from under their own basket. All they had to do was dodge the hands of a would-be fouler to ice the win.
"Psst," Thomas whispered. "Don't forget the plan!"
"Oh yeah," Stout said cheerily, delivering a hard two-handed push that would do proud a nose tackle. Thomas was sent to the floor with a tenpin crash. "Here's the ball back!"
Soon thereafter, Thomas drove and dished in the lane and the score was knotted at 55."Overtime!"
the other players exclaimed. "Alright!" "Fun!"
The two teams were extra-careful not to score in the extra session, but somehow the Rams drove out to a three-point lead. Then, in the heat of a closing moment, Dunston absorbed a blocking foul on a baseline drive. Most folks in the Hart Center had stopped keeping track, but the officials hadn't. It was his disqualifying fifth offense.
"Oops," said Dunston, pulling his long shirt from out of his shorts and making his way towards the bench."Oops,"
said the other Fordham players.
The two teams were able to end the overtime tied at 60, but it was a beleaguered Fordham team that hit the floor for the second session. Holy Cross steamed out front, hitting shot after shot after shot. Soon the 'Saders were up by five, eight, then ten.
"Hey, you guys okay?" Thomas asked Stout during a stoppage in play. "The plan, dude!"
"We're just going to chuck and duck some ridiculous threes for a few more minutes," said Stout, his eyes hollow and downcast, sweat pouring out of his face. "And then we'll be on our way."
"You sure about this?" Thomas inquired. "Even with all the snow?"
"Yeah," Stout responded. "We got nothin'."
"If you say so," said Thomas dejectedly. "Good luck with the season. Just promise you'll have a safe ride home, 'kay?"
"Thanks, man," Stout said, allowing a slight smile. "Merry Christmas."Actual Recap
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