“Binghamton U. vs Boston U., America East Tourney, 1st Rd. Report (03/03/07)
Posted by Steve Bzomowski on March 4, 2007
Boston University Basketball Images
Someone asked me after the game if I was surprised BU won. I said, “no, I wasn’t surprised. Everyone knew BU would win”.
I love going to mid-to-low major DI games. Boston’s great for them because BU, Northeastern, and Harvard (RPIs of 207, 171, 185 respectively), although solid teams, and sometimes a level or two better than solid, get no support, no crowds. Therefore, it’s easy, cheap, and eminently enjoyable going to their games. The gyms are tiny and the fans so scarce that you can almost always sit in, say, the fifth or sixth row – optimal – and catch everything: coaches’ calls, the up-close intensity of the defenders, an appreciation of their effort, size, speed, quickness, skill. If you’re lucky, you can even catch an errant pass and take-off out the door with it. Hey, those things are like forty bucks! In these gyms, each smaller than my high school gym, you are in the game. Perfect. Because that’s why you go.
But something happened between the regular season’s games at BU (Boston University, not Binghamton University) and their hosting the America East Conference Championships: they (naturally) moved the games to their gleaming, new, OVERPRICED hockey rink, the Agganis Arena. Instead of hardwood bleachers, your tush gets cushioned seats. Instead of the old FairPlay scoreboard, you got the Jumbrtron that’s bigger than my house. Instead of 10 bucks lighter in your wallet, you’re down 25! Instead of catching bad passes, you’re catching a cold from the draft of 6,000 empty seats. This was two lo-major teams playing a beta version of the big-time in a big-time arena.
Alright, there might have been 2,000 there but the scene just wasn’t as much fun. Binghamton, coached by Al Walker, an assistant at Cornell when I was with the Crimson, jumped on the Terriers, 15-3. Five foreign born players on the Bearcats and the same on the Terriers. No edge there. Binghamton has a 6’9, 260 lb. chiseled dude from Serbia, #44, Miladin Kovacevic, with a shaved head and fat goatee who set 3,000 screens in 20+ minutes. What a career in Ultimate Fighting he has before him! The screens and goatee were to no avail. Terriers (with assistant coach Mike Costello who has coached many NTL clinics and weekend camps) scrapped their way back to 26 all before Binghamton took a 5 point half time lead. Mostly man-to-man for (I so badly want to type BU) the Terriers with some 1-3-1 thrown in to keep ’em off balance. All man for Binghamton. Twelve point second half lead for the visitors but the hosts answer and pull even and then away in the last five minutes behind one of the heroes of last year’s Massachusetts Divsion One State Champions, Newton North, our local boy, Corey Lowe. The Bearcats poorly defend the dribble drive. BU wins, 62-58.
Couple other observations:
1) Boston University has a freshman guard, Tyler Morris, who was named AE Rookie of the Year. I’d be amazed if at least 1,850 of the 2,000 in attendance weren’t saying to themselves: doesn’t that kid’s game remind you sooooo much of Steve Kerr’s? Very quick jump into a quicker release jumper. Sweet.
2) Because it’s a hockey arena, the closest sideline seats are actually about twenty feet away from the court – a long way! Still, the other Serbian on Binghamton, #43, Lazar Trifunovic (they’re both freshmen) threw a pass, out of the half-court offense, that landed in the third row. He was on the elbow and the pass was to the corner. It took off like Evel Knievel over the Snake River Canyon. It was the most spectacularly wayward pass I have ever seen. I thought, wow, where is that going?