Friday, March 10, 2006

Sports: Big West Tournament, Day 2

Took a look at Sigalert.com to map out my route to the Big West Tournament (BWT). I was thinking of trying 10E-110S-105E-605S-91E and then finishing with some surface streets. Looking at the map, I opted for merely 10E-5S and some surface streets.

I got to the Anaheim Convention Center around 7:45 hoping to catch a little of the opening game of the evening.



I got to my seats to catch the final 3 minutes of a very exciting contest between Long Beach State and Cal State Fullerton. Fullerton and Long Beach are relatively close to Anaheim which meant the Arena was loud with cheering as fans would erupt as their team scored.

I looked at the score board and saw that Fullerton's Jamaal Brown had gone wild. He would eventually finished the night with 30 points. He was unstoppable in the handful of possession I saw. He had taken over the Fullerton offense as the game was nip and tuck down the final stretch. Everyone knew it would be in Brown's hands as they were down one point with the ball and the clock running down towards zero. Brown took it to the hoop and three Forty-Niners collapsed on him and Brown was fouled. Brown missed both free throws!! Long Beach recovered the rebound and the Titans quickly fouled. Long Beach hit both free throws to seal the victory, 94-91.



My seats happen to be on the side of the arena for Long Beach fans and the screaming and cheering and foot stomping was enthusiastic. Welcome to mid-major madness where winning the tournament gets the only ticket to the NCAA! Check out a snippet of the sights and sounds of victory!

The second game was Cal Poly versus UC Santa Barbara. UCSB is a 3 hours drive to Anaheim and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo is about 5 hours away. Thus, the crowd was considerably thinner for the second game of the night. Interestingly, there seemed to be more Cal Poly fans!

It was an ugly first half as both sides had no answer for the zone defense. The score stood at a paltry 18 all at the half with both teams shooting percentage in the twenties.



The Mustang band doing one of their routines at the half.



The Gauchos taking the floor for the second half.

Unfortunately, the Gauchos couldn't solve the zone and failed to score for 5 minutes and found themselves down by 11.

Gaucho coach Bob Williams switched to man-to-man to shake things up and his team responded cutting the lead to 5.

With the game getting tight and a foul going against the Mustangs, Coach Kevin Bromley took off his coat and threw it down and went to give the ref an earful. The rest of the night, both coaches worked the refs continuously. My impression is that Big West refs have slow whistles compared to Pac-10 refs.

The small number of Gaucho fans were feeling hopeful that their team was coming back but a few turnovers allowed the lead to balloon once again.

Besides the basketball team and the bands, there are the spirit squads and dance teams. Check out the Mustang cheerleaders in one of their numbers.

UCSB would cut the lead to four in the final two minutes but couldn't capitalize on missed Mustang free throws. The final score Cal Poly 57 UCSB 50.

Day Three of the BWT has Pacific facing Cal Poly in the early evening game and UC Irvine meeting Long Beach in the second game.

related posts
Day 4
Day 3
Day 2
Day 1
Preview, part II
Preview, part I

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