vs. Youngstown State University
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Ugliness, thy name is victory.

67 - 61

The title pretty much sums up this home game. Although we won 67-61 and we dramatically cut down our turnovers, it was still a rather ugly win. I hadn't seen a team fumble the ball as much as Youngstown State did since our exhibition game against Croatia (ick).

Notable highlights were Matt Moran's relentless attack on the boards (as always), Joe Branch's defense and late-game boarding not to mention a rather "nasty" dunk on an unsuspecting victim on an inbounds play under the basket...in the vernacular of basketball-speak, Joe "put his nuts in the back of that nigga's head"--it was pretty phat (that's "cool" for those of you with limited ghetto vocabulary).

The Inside Stuff...

Evan Eschmeyer's aggressive post moves helped as well, especially since I found myself sitting for a good deal of the game (didn't bother to check out how many minutes I had played). Early on in the game, I racked up two quick fouls, one on a push (trying to keep my man from posting on me) and the other was an offensive foul. Since the tallest guy on their team was but a measly 6'9", I went into this game with the mentality of "I'm gonna dunk on someone HARD." Well, the first time I got the ball down low I got a little over-zealous with my might and very nearly sent the guy across the lane with the back of my arm. Oh well...it's the thought that counts, isn't it? Off to the bench I went. I finished the game with a whopping 1 point and 1 rebound (or was it two?) and no blocks. Great way to start out the season there, Dan. *Sigh*

When I came back in, I wanted blood, preferably from an opposing player (I've been known to draw blood from my own teammates--notably Evan Eschmeyer's bloody noses and split chin, and old-timer Kevin Rankin's daily nose bleeds). What happened? The same thing--I got the ball, turned to make my move, and one of those tiny little punks jumped in front of me and drew a charge. I hate short players. Surprisingly, Byrd left me in for a while. My own personal moment of joy came on a defensive box-out early in the second half.

Their power forward, a rather heavy-set (can't call it muscle, really) 6'6" dude decided he was going to crash the boards hard. I stepped out in front of him to let my 5 mph bony butt-cheeks keep him under wraps, but he tried to side-step me only to find my upswinging elbow with the underside of his jaw. It was purely incidental contact...just another victim of the Kreft 'bows. He hit the ground pretty hard and didn't come back in for the rest of the game. Poor kid....flew all the way out from BFE Ohio only to get elbowed in the throat. Reminds me of last year when Rashard Griffith, Todd Lindemann and Kevin Rankin all elbowed me in the throat within the course of 4 days. I woke up on the fifth day at 4 AM unable to breathe and had to be rushed to the ER...but that's a story for another time.

Never a dull moment in the locker room...

The Cheshire Cat
Coach was all smiles...the Cheshire Cat of the Big Ten was sporting an ear-to-ear grin. He proclaimed that while ugly, it was still a win and we'd take it anyway. He commented on the extreme youth of the team pointing out that Evan just finished his second college game of his career, commented on the freshmen, and said "Dan's still green...glowing like a light" (evidently a jab at my overwhelmingly Nordic complexion). I could do nothing but roll my eyes at him and muster-up a smirk. When he finished his little post-game song-and-dance routine, we all put our hands together in a huddle for the obligatory parting chant (or whatever you want to call it). Coach said "64 on three....gotta get 64". I was confused...this was like the third time he's said this and I had no clue what he was talking about. All I could think of was that he was either going to get 64 kilobytes of RAM (pretty useless) or maybe a half-gallon of Old English or some other fine sipping brew. Known for asking stupid questions at the most inopportune times, I opened my mouth...

"Coach, what is this '64' you keep talking about????"

Jevon Johnson looked at me as if I had just contracted leprosy. "Watch more basketball, Dan".

Still confused, I looked at Byrdsong for an explanation. He replies with "Dumb on three....ready? 1...2...3....." and the whole team, sans myself hollered "DUMB." Terrific. Now I'm a big, green, dumb lightbulb....whatever. =-

Afterwards, Brian Chamberlain explained it to me. How was I supposed to know that it was some cryptic reference to the NCAA tournament???? I'd never been there!

Always the last to know ...

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