11 straight seasons of at least 20 wins. 13 straight seasons of at least 10 conference wins. A couple streaks that this program has been built on now for several years now. The Jays have now won 5 in a row and the team play continues. tonight it was 19 assists on 27 baskets.
Josh Dotzler held on to the ball. Non-Dotzler supporters can now go into hiding. 9 more assists tonight, 1 turnovers. In the last 3 games that is now 19 assists and 1 turnover. He leads the Valley in steals. 5 guys in double-figures. P’Allen Stinnett willed himself for 15 points and Booker Woodfox is back to where he was at the beginning of the season with 18 on 7-12 shooting and 4-6 from three.
But I’ll tell you, the story of the night for me was all the extra things going on that made the whole game feel like a wild circus the whole night. The series of events made me wish I didn’t leave my camera at home tonight. First off, the student section again was atrocious. For the third straight game, the students did not show up in full force which is really disappointing. FSN was in town and even had towels for the students to wave. When 16,000 other people can show up on a Wednesday night and even with a later start and maybe a couple hundred of students show up (out of 800 to 1000 seats) that is pathetic. So I am calling them out.
However the students that were there sort of got the game off to a weird start. Tonight instead of the normal newspaper, there was some tissue paper shooters in the student crowd and the court was full of confetti right before tip-off, so the brooms needed to come out and delayed the tip off by a few minutes.
Then at the 12 minute mark, you had a guy doing the bowling-find the pin game that looked eerily familiar on the big board, but I think the crowd was into it. Then a few minutes later, Bradley’s Sam Maniscalco pushed P’Allen on a fast break and P’Allen crashed into one of the Jay’s dancers (no foul called). She was laid out. It looks like his right foot flew around and nailed the dancer in the head appearing to knock her out. The paramedics seemed to take forever to get to the scene and while the commotion was going on, the referees continued play even though there were several people almost under the basket attending to the Jay’s Dancer. Play was finally delayed for several minutes. Word is that she suffered a concussion. We hope she is doing ok.
Then right as the half expired, Maniscalco throws up a half court shot that bounced around on the rim and went into give Bradley the lead at the half. The halftime show consisted of this guy pedaling aroudn in what looked like a giant hamster wheel which the crowd really wasn’t into.
Things were back and forth as the second half started and play became a little more physical. Then with about 6 minutes to go, Antoine Young is at the line shooting free throws and the Qwest Center goes quiet. Now I appreciate “The Perch” with a bunch of rowdy former students and their energy helps the student section and the crowd a little bit, but this one guy who is always belligerent, started shouting something about one of the Bradley players and clear as day c***sucker comes out of his mouth. So as everyone turns around to see where it is coming from, on the second free throw, again the comment comes out of his mouth. As probably the whole visitor side of the Qwest Center heard this guy, you could see the Qwestopos organizing heading to find the guy. Now I was kind of cringing a little bit while a little second grader is sitting next to me and asks her dad, “What did that guy say? What does that mean?” It is one thing to have energy, it is another to be an idiot. This is the same guy who berates his own team he is cheering for. Go home dude.
One thing that was great to see then a couple minutes later is Kaleb Korver diving to the floor for a loose ball causing a jump ball. Then on the ensuing possession, they made an opening for Korver and he drove to the basket and made an impressive wild driving shot while being fouled.
Korver has made almost exclusively three-pointers this season. He scored his first 2 point basket in over a year. (Jan 2, 2008) Even “Sign Guy” was there–”Jim Les=Job Creator..You can have his next year.” Playing some good defense the rest of the way and getting pizza, thus ends the weird and crazy circus.
The Jays now head to bizarro world on Valentine’s day to take on Southern Illinois. Will it be a Valentine’s Day massacre? For SIU, after getting destroyed by Northern Iowa tonight, they may have a real tough time even breaking .500 for the season. It is quite amazing how SIU has gone down so fast over the last couple of seasons, but winning in Carbondale is not going to be easy. However, with the way this Jays team is playing, coming out with a win for the first time in years could be a real possibility.