If you are only going to hit one basket in a game, hitting the shot that sends your team to the NCAA Tournament is good time to do it. And that’s just what Robert Morris University guard Dallas Green did (not the former big league manager), picking up a loose ball and draining a baseline jumper with 2.5 seconds left to give the Colonials a dramatic 48-46 victory over Mount St. Mary’s to win the Northeast Conference Championship.
But as exciting as the final three seconds or so were, the first 39 minutes and 57 seconds were just as ugly. As in, “hey, look, ‘Sports Soup’ is on!” bad. The second half was pretty rough to watch, and that was a huge upgrade over the first half: the halftime score was 19-19, and the leading scorer for the game was RMU’s Jeremy Chappell (seen below celebrating) with 15 points.
But in the end, it was Green who provided the heroics. Which rubbed his opponents the wrong way:
Mount St. Mary’s guard Jeremy Goode was particularly stung that Green — a player who even Robert Morris coach Mike Rice admitted was the fifth option on the play — was the player who hit the decisive shot.
“It hurts more,” Goode said. “You’d rather see a guy who makes shots the whole time he has been here make the game-winner. Not [Green] though.”
I’m sure that Green is going to be very upset about those comments…as he and his teammates prepare for the NCAA Tournament, while the Mount St. Mary’s team prepares for a long off-season. But based on the game last night, I doubt that Green or that rest of the Robert Morris team should be game planning for more than one game.
(And in case you were curious, Robert Morris guard Mezie Nwigwe played despite being arrested on assault charges after a fight this past weekend, scoring a whopping three points in 18 minutes.)
There was another ticket punched to the Big Dance last night which also ended in dramatic fashion. Portland State squeaked past huge underdog Montana State team (who finished the season 14-17) to win the Big Sky Championship. The Vikings also used a last-second shot to clinch their spot, as Julius Thomas dunked with 3.5 seconds left for the winning points in their 79-77 victory. Hopefully they can avoid being a No. 16 seed again, like they were last year before getting thumped by Kansas.
Meanwhile, coming on the heels of the death of TapouT clothing co-founder Charles “Mask” Lewis being killed in a gruesome car crash, there was more bad news from the MMA world. Quinton “Rampage” Jackson broke his jaw in his UFC 98 victory over Keith Jardine on Saturday, which will force him out of his light heavyweight title match against Rashad Evans. Unbeaten Lyoto Machida is taking his place. Let’s hope that Rampage finds a healthier way to deal with his disappointment than before.
(And about the crash that killed “Mask” Lewis: the police are now looking into street racing as a cause of the accident, and it turns out that Lewis had at least eight traffic violations since 2001, including a DUI.)
Other sports stories floating around as you pondered who will make Bristol Palin an honest woman:
- Mel Kiper Jr. apparently hates Jay Cutler something fierce, according to RUMORS AND RANTS, who have transcribed his diatribe on the suddenly-maligned Denver (for now) quarterback. Not only does Kiper say that the media hype around Cutler was so ridiculous “I had to run to the bathroom quick. It was making me ill,” - I assume he checked his hair after throwing up - he also compares Cutler to He Who Must Not Be Named (Jeff George).
- The LOS ANGELES TIMES says that the LAPD are re-opening the case of Howie Steindler, the boxing trainer who was the inspiration for Rocky Balboa’s trainer Mickey Goldmill and was murdered 32 years ago (and not by the angry words of one Clubber Lang.)
- San Jose mayor Chuck Reed tells MSNBC that the “odds are better than 50/50” of the A’s relocating there from Oakland. Of course, MLB would still need to remove territorial rights to San Jose from the Giants, which is probably why A’s owner Lew Wolff was - as SHYSTER BALL notes - sucking up to Bud Selig last week.
- Remember how the statue at Syracuse honoring Heisman Trophy winner Ernie Davis had such historical anachronisms as a modern helmet and Nike shoes?The SYRACUSE POST-STANDARD says the statue has been “fixed” and returned to campus.
- Venezuela defeated the US 5-3 in the World Baseball Classic in a fairly meaningless game (both teams had already made the quarterfinals), despite what ESPN chronicles as simmering tensions over President Hugo Chavez threaten to boil over for the team and its fans.
- The GREENWICH TIME has the punishment for a highly-successful Connecticut lacrosse coach after it came out he was arrested for drunk driving last year: a two-week suspension, plus having to volunteer for a “Safe Rides” program. Are you sure he’s the person you want to be your “safe ride?”
- FOOD COURT LUNCH breaks down some SABRmetric terms you probably don’t know, like Spouse Slugging (leaders include Brett Myers and Elijah Dukes) and Scrappiness Index (David Eckstein).
- The ATLANTA JOURNAL CONSTITUTION says that tickets to the ACC Tournament, once one of the toughest to get in all of college sports, are now yours for the taking as the event is not a sellout, with almost 10,000 seats remaining unsold.
- Hey, remember when Notre Dame was everyone’s trendy pick for a Final Four dark horse? Perhaps everyone meant NIT Final Four, as that’s where the Fighting Irish are heading after getting bounced from the Big East Tournament by West Virginia.
- Despite almost slicing her thumb off on a broken champagne bottle while celebrating a win earlier this season, the BOSTON GLOBE reports that Lindsey Vonn has made history by becoming the first American woman to win back-to-back overall and downhill World Cup titles.