Divine Intervention on the Hardcourt
My son and I traveled to Oklahoma City for March Madness opening weekend. We watched 6 amazing games in Chesapeake Arena which included a last second game winning shot from mid-court and the largest last second comeback of all time in College Basketball.
For last Christmas gave all the children and grandchildren Trips. Our son’s was two tickets to the First and Second rounds of the NCAA Basketball Tournament aka March Madness
We drove up to Oklahoma City from McKinney early Friday morning, ate lunch in the Bricktown Brewery, and walked over to Chesapeake Arena for the first of two sessions.
The first game was Oregon State vs. VCU. Gary Payton Jr. played for Oregon State. He may have been the best player on the court but VCU was the best team. VCU advances. The next game, Oklahoma vs. Cal State Bakersfield, featured Buddy Hield and he did not let the crowd down. He was easily, in my humble opinion, the best player on the court this weekend. Although the game was surprisingly close most of the game Oklahoma pulled away the last few minutes of the game and won setting up a VCU vs. Oklahoma match on Sunday. This was clearly a home match for Oklahoma which was expected since they were the highest seed in this venue.
After the first session ended everyone had to leave the arena. Another set of tickets were required for the second Friday session. We like everyone else waited for the arena to open for the second session, and we waited, and we waited, and we waited… Finally, 20 minutes before the Texas A&M Aggie vs. Green Bay Phoenix tip-off the gates open. Trying to enter before the game commenced was pretty much chaos! To top it off the ticket person in my line was still in training slowing the entry line down even more. After finally making our way through the entry process we rushed to our seats and sat down just as the teams were tipping off to start the match. Most people, even those who had gained entry did not realize the game was starting. As a result maybe 500 people were sitting in the arena at tip-off. The game was close at first but not too far into the match the Aggies pulled away and won handily.
The Texas Longhorns and Northern Iowa (UNI) were the last game of the day. It was close all the way with the teams trading the lead. The Horns scored to take the lead with 2.5 seconds left in the game. But, a kid from UNI took the inbounds pass and threw up a prayer from mid-court. His prayers and UNI’s were answered! The round ball dropped through the basket without touching the rim as the buzzer rang ending the game. The Panthers were in heaven and the Horns were despondent but that’s the way the ball bounces sometimes.
We awoke Saturday to a cold and blusterly day. After reviewing the top things to do in Oklahoma City we decided to watch basketball all day. After searching the Internet for Sports Bars for some time we chose one close by, the The Garage Burgers and Beer. Turned out to be a wise choice – lots of TVs, great food, and great local brews. We tried a couple of other joints later in the weekend but none were as good as this one. Wish there were one in Fairview or McKinney.
Basically all we did on Saturday was watch basketball games. Great way to spend the day
Sunday morning breakfast was at the local IHOP. Then we drove downtown and wandered around the streets of Bricktown. Its a nice area full of restaurants, close to the arena and the ballpark.
We ended up at the Bricktown Brewery again where we watched the early basketball games and visited with quite a few interesting people. Among them were the parents of one of the Aggie basketball players, and a couple of VCU alumni, one of which was the radio pre and post game radio announcer.
Around 3:30 we headed off to the arena. The first game was Oklahoma vs. VCU. Oklahoma City is definitely a home crowd for the Sooners. The noise in the arena was deafening! It was a good game and at the buzzer the Boomer Sooners prevailed.
The Agony and the Ecstasy
Finally and the last game of the weekend, The Aggies vs. UNI Panthers ! The game we have been waiting for. The winner advances to the Sweet Sixteen and the loser goes home. The games started poorly for Aggie fans. There was a lid on the good guys basket. At half time the the scoreboard read UNI 32 A&M 22. The Ags did not fare much better in the 2nd half. Our shooting percentage improved but so did UNI’s. The Aggies are down 10 with 31 seconds remaining in regulation time. Then they stage the greatest comeback in College basketball’s history (Or the worse collapse). We tie the game 71-71 and go to overtime. Click here to see the video.
The first overtime ends in a draw.
UNI does not have as many troops as A&M and by the start of the 2nd overtime its apparent they are out of steam and the Aggies go on to win in two overtimes. On to the Sweet Sixteen.
WHen asked later about the unbelieveable comeback the A&M Coach, Billy Kennedy stated the only explanation was Divine Intervention.
The Ride Home
The game was not over until 10:30ish. I am not real sure. After a game like that everything is a blur for awhile. We drove home to Dallas. It was Sunday night after all and we had to both work Monday. The good news is we were so pumped up after the game we did not get sleepy at all.
1:30AM – home in bed and the story ends.