ATB: Wild Friday Night

Posted by rtmsf on February 13th, 2010

What Happened Tonight?  On a random Friday night in February when most people were watching the opening of the Winter Olympics and the epic fail of the cauldron-lighting, we very well may have had the wildest evening of the year in the 2009-10 college basketball season.  Normally, there’s no reason to even recap games from Friday nights throughout the year, but tonight we wouldn’t be doing our job if we weren’t here.  Could both the Game of the Year and the Upset of the Year have been tonight?  If you missed it, we’ll try to do our best to get you caught up…

Jermaine Dixon & Brad Wanamaker Are Giddy After Beating WVU

Game of the Year? #23 Pittsburgh 98, #4 West Virginia 95 (3OT). In a game that was reminiscent of the six-overtime epic from last year’s Big East Tournament, Pitt made a miraculous comeback to beat #4 West Virginia in triple-overtime, 98-95.  Thanks to three consecutive missed free throws by WVU on 1-and-1 opportunities, Pitt was able to cut the lead in regulation to three with 30 seconds left.  Nasir Robinson stole West Virginia’s pass, and after a missed out-of-bounds call by the referees, Ashton Gibbs sent the crowd into a frenzy with a three-pointer.  The Panthers carried their momentum to a five-point lead in the first overtime, and had a chance to ice the game with seven seconds left.  Gibbs then went to the free-throw line with the Panthers up by two, but missed the second free throw attempt and West Virginia’s Darryl Bryant took the ball and made a clutch three-pointer with three seconds left to force a second overtime.  WVU was forced to make another comeback when they were down by three points with 20 seconds left when Gary McGhee fouled Da’Sean Butler on a three point attempt.  After Butler made all three free throws, the fans at the Peterson Events Center became witness to a third overtime.  West Virginia had a one-point lead with less than a minute to go when Pitt’s Gilbert Brown sank a pair of free throws.  After two missed shots by WVU, the Panthers escaped with a three-point win.  With the victory, Pitt moved to a tie with the Mountaineers for third place in the Big East.  There was no RTC for the student section tonight, but with their third consecutive win, Pitt may have moved up to an overall four seed tonight.  As for the Mountaineers, they need to work on their free throw shooting before they meet Georgetown and Villanova at season’s end.  If you missed the game and highlights, we suggest you go here to watch the last six minutes of regulation plus the OTs.

Two Conference Unbeatens Go Down…

Penn Fans RTC Against Cornell (photo credit: Ed Hille)

  • Pennsylvania 79, #22 Cornell 64.  In his recap of this game, ESPN’s Doug Gottlieb called this the upset of the year in college basketball.  His reasons: Cornell has all five starters back (including four seniors) from last year and are the two-time defending Ivy league champions; they were undefeated in conference play up until tonight and had beaten all of their Ivy opponents by an average of 25 points.  Penn, on the other hand, had their coach fired earlier this year and had only won four games all year.  KenPom ranks Penn 308th… out of 347 D1 teams.  Mr. Gottlieb makes a good case.  After Penn took a single-point lead into halftime, sure, a few eyebrows were raised.  It was the 15-0 Quaker run to start the second half that turned heads.  After that run, the closest the Big Red got was five.  That tends to happen when you play the kind of defense that allows your opponent to shoot 56.3% from the field, including 52.4% from behind the three-point arc.  Jack Eggleston and Zack Rosen had the nights of their lives, shooting a combined 14-24 and 7-10 from three-point range, posting 24 and 22 points, respectively.  A couple of weeks ago Cornell was the feel-good story of the year, enjoying that shiny new ranking and the head-tilted awwwws of the college hoops world, as well as an assumed Ivy League title and NCAA Tournament bid.  Now, it’s all in danger.  The ranking’s gone, come Monday.  Their tournament lives will be determined by their next two games, both on the road — tomorrow at now-first-place Princeton and next Friday at Harvard, the latter rather pissed and looking to avenge the 36-point pasting they took from the Big Red on January 30th.  That one could very well determine the whole thing.  The Pennsylvania supporters pulled an admirable RTC after this one, and we could hardly blame them.  Man, we’re going to have to all chip in for (Back Door Cuts contributor) Dave Zeitlin’s electro-shock therapy as a result of this, aren’t we?

  • Niagara 87, Siena 74.   Not to be outdone on this crazy night were the Siena Saints, holders of the nation’s longest winning streak at 15 games, a nice little run that’s given them a four-game bulge over the Iona Fighting Jeff Rulands (yeah, we’re aware he’s at UDC now, but it’s Iona), the second-place team in the MAAC, not to mention an eight-game lead over hosts Niagara.  After blowing a nine-point first half lead the Saints went into the break down by a deuce, but quickly fought back to keep this one tight for the first seven minutes of the second half.  It was at that point that the already hot Purple Eagles (53% for the game) got hotter.  Niagara uncorked a 17-0 run all over the Saints over a mere three minutes.  And… we’re done.  The closest margin after that was the final score.  Ryan Rossiter seemed the only Saint really into this one, contributing 23/12 in the bid to keep the winning streak alive.  But that simply couldn’t match the shooting performances of Niagara’s Kashief Edwards, Tyrone Lewis, and Bilal Benn.  Edwards went for 20/6 on 9-14 from the floor, and Benn’s double-double of 15/11 (nine of those boards from the offensive end) was powerful, but Lewis (24/3/4) was the difference-maker, having himself a tidy little shooting night consisting of 7-13 from the floor overall, 4-7 from three, and a perfect 6-6 from the free throw line.  Siena fans, there’s no need to panic.  Your 20+ wins, excellent conference record, probable regular season MAAC title, RPI of 34, and memory of last year’s Big Dance upset over Ohio State should all get you an at-large if something crazy happens in the MAAC tournament.  But this is no time to be developing bad habits.
rtmsf (3720 Posts)


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4 Responses to “ATB: Wild Friday Night”

  1. jstevrtc says:

    I love that photo. As you can see, that Events Staff guy has this thing TOTALLY under control.

    John Stevens
    RTC

  2. Dave Zeitlin says:

    What the photo doesn’t show is that the entire student section filled the lane, not the court. But hopefully this win brings the students back after two-and-a-half years of misery.

  3. Tommy says:

    The “Jinx Alert” article didn’t take too long to take effect. Siena and Cornell were predicted to run the table, and lost during the same week the article was published. Funny how that works.

  4. jstevrtc says:

    Tommy:

    Yeah, I’m the guy who wrote that piece, and I’m writing to you from my bunker, the location of which I can’t divulge. Seems some folks from Siena and Cornell are wanting a piece of me after I put the kibosh on them. And the Butler people are lookin’, just in case.

    The Siena loss I can understand a LITTLE…but REALLY, Cornell??

    I went back and looked…KenPom gave Cornell a 98% chance to beat Penn. Yeesh. And Siena disappoints me/us on the same night, 24 hours after I make this prediction? Synchronicity…

    John Stevens
    RTC

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