Horizon League Quaterfinals: Sights & Sounds
INDIANAPOLIS - Tonight the Horizon League played the quarterfinal games at number one seed Butler University. The 6 p.m. game featured Wright State playing Milwaukee and the 8 p.m. game featured UIC and Cleveland State. In both games the higher seed prevailed. Wright State beat Milwaukee 80-70 and Cleveland State beat UIC 67-64.
-Hinkle Fieldhouse is known for the venue where the big game in the movie Hoosiers was played but this court and fieldhouse has seen all kinds of history. For starters almost every major player from the Midwest has played here. Oscar Robertson played high school games here, Steve Alford once scored 50 points in a high school game at Hinkle. Cazzie Russell came in with Michigan to play Butler. You can't forget Larry Bird playing here in high school and college. There have been ABA and NBA All-Star games. Billy Graham once held a crusade here. Presidents Hoover, Eisenhower, Nixon, Reagan, Clinton and Bush have spoken here. Jesse Owens ran an indoor track meet while a student at Ohio State here. Maybe the most amazing thing is they still use the original court.
-Wright State came out hitting shooting well and then Milwaukee switched to a zone at about the 13 minute mark and Wright State kept up shooting well from outside including several 3-pointers. The Panthers went back to man-to-man and started a run.
-The crowd in game one was heavily Wright State supporters, probably 85 percent or so were cheering for the green and gold. In fact, I think Wright State had more fans than the other three teams combined. There were maybe 500 Raider fans in attendance tonight.
-At the 10:35 mark writer Jay Pearlman leaned over and called the game for Wright State. The Raiders were leading 59-45. In case you are not familiar with Pearlman's background he used to be a coach on Dan Dakich's staff at Bowling Green State University, so he knows a little about basketball. Of course, he was right again.
-In the second half of the game Wright State held the Panthers to just six points in the first 9:47. The amazing thing was that Milwaukee had just six points and not one was a legit field goal. Their scoring consisted of two foul shots and Wright was called for two goal-tending calls.
-Wright State's athletic director Bob Grant expects 1000 or so fans to be in attendance for the semi-final game against Butler.
-The 80 points Wright State scored tonight were the most points the Raiders have scored in a game all season.
- So far the Horizon League Tournament has had no flub-ups here at Hinkle Arena. No birds flying around crapping on fans or flying into the ventilation system and getting ground up in a flurry of feathers. No score board malfunctions. No mascots taking a doo doo on the court. All of those things I have witnessed at college games. It had been rather uneventful except for the great basketball on the court.
-There was a little unusual excitement tonight when the game officials asked Horizon League officials to remove several Wright State students that were sitting under the basket where the Butler students usually sit. It is not known what they said, but the students said as they were being tossed out that they said nothing offensive. Three Raider Rowdies were removed and the other Raider students behaved themselves.
-UIC has won six of the last seven games they have played coming into tonight's game.
-UIC's 7' 0" Scott VanderMeer hold's the Horizon League record for blocked shots. Including the two he got tonight, it is 273.
-The semifinals on Saturday night feature four teams with at least 20 wins or more.
*Wright State (20-13) plays Butler (25-4) at 7 p.m.
*Cleveland State (23-10) plays Green Bay (22-9) at 9 p.m.