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With UMass up 56-49 in the final minutes of their final home game of the season, I was pretty confident this would be a happier blog. But apparently they were still suffering the effects of the Blarney Blowout, and St. Louis ended UMass’ stellar regular season with a 64-62 win.
First of all, I love what they’ve done with the starting lineups. The Mullins Center all of a sudden has magically transformed into a palace of winners. Matty G does an awesome job, and has obviously been watching tapes from the 1990’s Bulls introductions.
Gives me chills. Well those seats truly sucked. I freaking love the fact that it’s hard to get tickets to games now. Watching Jameer Nelson and Delonte West defecate on the Minutemen my senior year, while being able to sit three rows behind this Naismith Player of the Year, was a cool experience and all, but is indicative of a team that simply wasn’t worth watching for free. Now you can only find tickets on the black market unless you buy them a month and a half in advance. That’s how you know you’ve got a winner.
But yea, since UMass is a hot ticket, that’s pretty much where you’re gonna sit. Luckily though, we’re from Worcester. We pride ourselves in our craftiness and the ability to make something out of a flaming bucket of poo. If you’re from Worcester and you’re reading this right now, then chances are you have a stash of plastic bags in your house somewhere right now. Like, a hundred of them at least. That’s pretty much what defines a Worcesterite – plastic bags. We can make anything out of them – lunch boxes, suitcases, trash bags – anything.
I spent the first ten minutes of this great, action packed game keeping my eyes on empty seats. With ten minutes to go in the half it was time to make the move. First I go and have a seat. Then the wife follows shortly after once the coast is clear. I can deal with the embarrassment of being told that I’m in your seat. She can’t. Much better view though huh?
It got us right near the tunnel where St. Louis came out, so we got to berate their players for their terrible array of haircuts. Whether it was the long flowing locks, of perpetual complainer Jake Barnett…
or the wannabe Jersey Shore look Austin McBroom is going for…
or the Rastafarian look Jordair Jett is going for….
They were all extremely dislikable. We also got to have a brief chat with UMass alum and 98.5 the Sports Hub’s Marc the Beetle Bertrand about TurtleBoy Sports:
It was the final game at the Mullins Center for Sampson Carter, Raphiael Putney, and Chaz Williams. Unfortunately only one of them came to play tonight, and he brought one of the biggest entourages in the history of senior night. First of all, Chaz Williams’ daughter is one of the most wonderful children you will ever see. Watching her watch her father’s tribute video at the end of the game was worth the inflated price of admission I paid for tickets on Stubhub. (Sidenote: why is scalping tickets “illegal” but scalping tickets on stub hub is perfectly legal?)
Her Daddy is an absolute warrior. In a game that likely featured two players competing for Atlantic 10 player of the year, Chaz and Jordair Jett gave fans a performance to remember. Although everyone will remember Jett’s game winning bucket, it was Chaz who stole the show. His 20 point, 9 assist, gutsy effort exemplified his career as a Minuteman. St. Louis is a big team, but that didn’t stop Chaz from taking it to the hole and putting in buckets he had no business making….
Or drawing multiple defenders and finding a wide open Cady Lalanne under the hoop….
Chaz just could not be denied today…
Derek Gordon was phenomenal today. His floater simply cannot miss. It’s the most guaranteed
shot in college basketball.
I thought for sure that this was the dagger by DG right here. Put us up 7 with five minutes to go. Seemed like we had all the momentum at that point. The “and one” exclamation got the crowd fired up. I love the passion this kid brings to the game…
I know a lot of people like Tyler Bergantino. He’s a really likable kid. He’s just a terrible, terrible basketball player. He tries hard, he really does. He’s just not very good unfortunately. He’s basically a less talented Scalabrene. Maybe he’ll prove me wrong, but I don’t see him developing in his final two seasons. This series right here epitomized what his game is all about:
A missed layup. Hustles to get the loose ball. Fails to come up with the rebound on the missed shot. That’s Bergantino in a nutshell. I’d much rather see him as the lovable benchwarmer that gets in during blowout games and makes the crowd go wild when he hits a meaningless three, as opposed to vital big man off the bench for Cady.
With the game tied 62-62 and under a minute to play, UMass had the ball. They simply had to score, or else they’d give St. Louis a chance to win the game without a proper rebuttal. That’s when this atrocious call happened:
Typical Atlantic 10 officiating. Blow your whistle first. Ask questions later. That’s not a jump ball, it’s just not. It’s a block that Lalanne corralled and would have likely put back in for two points. Instead it went to the possession arrow, which was pointing in the Bilikens’ favor. Cady didn’t have a great game, but I was pleased with his performance. He actually played good defense and had much better position than he normally does. It was just a bad matchup for him. Their 7′ center Rob Loe was held below his season average, scoring only 8 points. Baby steps for Cady. Baby steps.
So it all came down to one final possession. With only a second differential between the shot and game clock, in a tie ball game, St. Louis held the ball. Everyone in the arena knew it was going to Jordair Jett. Especially the UMass hooligan who kept yelling, “Jordair Jett has herpes”. Listening to the grandmother behind us lie to her grandchildren about what he and the other stumbling drunks in the crowd were saying, was fantastic.
So here’s what happened:
As Derek Kellogg said after the game, Jett “parted the Red Sea.” Seriously though, what kind of defense was that from Putney and Sampson. He beats Gordon, which is forgivable, and then just calmly lays it in between two 6’9″ senior forwards. On a hobbled knee. On senior night. Jordair Jett looks and plays like he’s a 35 year old NBA veteran. It’s simply inexcusable to let him go that uncontested to the hoop. Knock his ass down if you have to.
What was really inexcusable was Kellogg not calling a timeout after that. UMass had three, with just over three seconds left. For some strange reason DK thought the best course of action was to let Chaz heave up a half court shot at the buzzer. Game over.
This loss might actually be a blessing in disguise though.
Now the Minutemen are the sixth seed in the conference tournament instead of the three (St. Joe’s was upset today by Lasalle). This works out quite well for me, and most normal people who have a job. The six seed plays at 9 PM Thursday and Friday in the A-10 Tournament. If they beat 11th seeded URI, which they obviously should (but anything is possible with this team), then they move on to play third seeded George Washington Friday. Couldn’t possibly be better timing. If you wanna take the day off from work on Friday, then you can see both games. If you don’t wanna, you can still get your ass to Brooklyn for Friday’s game.
They’re lined up to play two teams that they were 3-0 against this year. That would hypothetically put them in the semifinals for Saturday against VCU, another team they’ve beaten this year.
So here’s looking at the bright side UMass fans. We’re definitely in the tournament. If we get bounced by URI, we’re a nine seed, and have a chance to pull some crazy shit in the tournament against a one seed. If we win the whole thing we can make it as high as a five seed. It’s gonna be an awesome, awesome weekend in Brooklyn, and TurtleBoy Sports will be there reporting live from the Barclays’ Center. See you there Minuteman Nation.
How far is this team going in the postseason? Feel free to share your thoughts to keep the conversation going…
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