Monday, November 19, 2018

Basketball Weekend With DeSales, Lafayette

This is one kind of terrier. 
This was a basketball weekend for me. It started with an exciting weekend tournament at Salisbury University, where DeSales University dropped one and won one. It ended with Lafayette College's home opener against St. Francis Brooklyn before an enthusiastic crowd in Easton. Though Lafayette was down by as many as 25 in the second half, Leopard sophomores Alex Petrie and Justin Jaworski kept the game within reach. The 84-72 final score could just as easily have been the other way around.

My grandson plays for DeSales. He tells me college is a much quicker paced game than high school, but loves it. His smile as the team warms up makes the trip to watch him worth it.

His Central teammate, Jay Vaughan, is another one of my favorites. He is at Lafayette and loves that school so much he turned down opportunities elsewhere.

What I like best about both of these young men is they are team players.

On Sunday, I arrived a little early for the Lafayette game. I bought a ticket, assuming that I could sit anywhere. Naturally, I picked the best seats I could find at center court. When I saw the rest of the gang that came to watch Jay, I called them over to sit with me. So there were about six of us, sitting in perhaps the best seats in the house.

A woman sitting in front of us turned around and told me, very nicely, that we might have to move. She explained some of her friends join her at games. They sit exactly where we were seated.

Who the hell did this lady think she is? What made her think she could just tell my friends and I to move from seats we already had? Doesn't she know possession is 9/10 of the law? These were the thoughts going through my mind. But strangely, I agreed to move if her friends showed. She was so damn nice it disarmed me. Plus, I was with a group of very nice people.

At this point, I pulled out my ticket and looked at it. It was assigned seating. I was sitting in someone else's seat. My actual seat was somewhere in the library, second floor.

Then, on the Jumbotron, there was a video explaining how great Lafayette is. It started with remarks from college president Alison Byerly.

That was the lady who had just told me I was in the wrong seat.

Little did she know that she had just interacted with the Lehigh Valley's meanest and most ornery bottom-feeding blogger.

To make up for my uncharacteristic pleasant behavior, I let the air out the tires of the St. Francis team bus.

Now let me tell you about the game. Lafayette started off with seven unanswered points. The Leopards dominated 7-3 at the first break.

This is another kind of terrier
Then the St. Francis Brooklyn Terriers, a basketball squad with 12 players over 6'3" and four players who are 6'8" and above, introduced someone into the game who is more like their team name than any of the giants on the court.

This terrier is sophomore Chauncey Hawkins. 5'8" tall and 155 pounds.

A terrier is hardly the kind of dog that instills fear, especially when its owner dresses it up like a little doll. As any terrier owner will tell you, this is a mistake. Despite its small size, this is one smart, fast and completely fearless canine.

Hawkins displayed all these qualities the moment he made his appearance. His jumper at 11:10 put his team in the lead, 11-10, and the team stayed there. What surprised me about his play was his ability to penetrate. Most shorter players rely on the three-point shot. but Hawkins also went inside, scoring 18 of his team-high 26 points by driving to the rim. He kept going even after being knocked down on one effort in which he took a nasty shot to the ear.

Hawkins also has a future career in Hollywood. On several occasions, he ran into a defender and would shout out and grimace, drawing a foul. This resulted in 10 free throws, and he sunk six.

On defense, he kept close without fouling, just making it harder for the bigger player to move.

Lafayette turned the ball over too much. Eighteen of St. John's 84 points came courtesy of Leopard turnovers.

My assessment is that Lafayette is a much better team than the one that played on Sunday. It will find its groove. They will be at home again on Wednesday, November 28, hosting Cornell.

As for DeSales, 2-2, there should be a very exciting game on Tuesday when they visit Moravian College, 2-2. Moravian lost to Johns Hopkins 81-75. DeSales lost to Johns Hopkins, 85-78.


Anonymous said...

Just a friendly, helpful FYI for your future visits to Lafayette BB games: For regular season home games, there is a generally accepted practice of “open seating” despite all tickets having assigned section/row/seat numbers printed on them. As an exception, ushers will ask folks to move if they have located themselves in a season ticket holder’s “assigned” seat. We’ve had to ask a few folks to do that over the years, but the atmosphere at Kirby and the civility of the overwhelming % of fans have never shown that custom to be a problem. Hope you enjoy future games at a DeSales and Lafayette.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I was at a Lafayette game a few years ago, and just did not recall the assigned seating. I love the atmosphere there. The fans were in fact very hospitable. I have only been to one DeSales home game, but understand the gym there gets packed, too.

Anonymous said...

Great atmosphere. But nothing compares to the old Alumni Gym. The noise in that band box was deafening. Tracy Tripuka still holds the career scoring mark. He only could play three years back then, and there was no 3 point shot and no shot clock. Think about that. Cool post.

Bernie O'Hare said...

I was talking to an Easton and Wagner alum today who wishes he had the 3 point shot back in the day.