Let’s travel back to 1988...
It’s time for a Big Monday matchup between the Providence Friars and our Pitt Panthers from the Field House. As the starting lineups are announced I’d like to give a shout-out to my mom and dad who are in attendance tonight. Apparently they felt the need to NOT bring their son to the game. Thanks. Oh happy birthday, Mom. I’m not bitter, I promise.
Starting at guard for the Friars is Delray Brooks, who if I remember correctly played a couple years at Indiana before Bob Knight threw a chair at him. Or maybe he threw a chair at someone else? At some point a chair was thrown and Delray Brooks transferred to Providence. At guard for Pitt is Blackhawk’s own Sean Miller, who just has the look of someone who will make several elite eight appearances with nothing to show for it. I definitely saw him at Antoon’s yesterday. The rest of the Providence starters are irrelevant players who warmed the bench last year when Providence was actually good. They’ll be coached tonight by not Rick Pitino. Pitt’s starting Gore, Lane, Smith and Matthews like they have been. Mike Gorman will be calling the game and Bill Raftery will provide the color. Raftery said the keys to the game for Providence will be the 3-pointer and pressing. And for Pitt it will be Jerome controlling the lane (I see what you did there, ESPN) and Miller and Matthews breaking the press.
Providence wins the tip and promptly drains a three and sets up their press. They must be watching the broadcast. Pitt breaks it with ease and Matthews gets an easy bucket. A few possessions later, Smith misses a layup, Lane tips it back to him, and Smith misses another easy one but he’s bailed out by a foul. I don’t want to speak negatively about an All-American candidate, but Smith should probably learn how to make layups. It could prove useful in the NBA. Providence leads 5-4 at the first media timeout.
Lane hits a pair of free throws to give Pitt the lead back. Smith is called for a foul on the other end and Raftery is upset because he thinks Smith was punished for playing good defense. Providence will inbound underneath the basket. They can’t get it in. They throw it underneath and its knocked loose. Miller picks it up. He’s got numbers. Throws it over to Lane and HOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOLLLLLLLLYYYYY S@#% FAKLDJFLKAJDFLKAJDFLKADJ WHAT THE DAHFKDLFLADKJFLDKFJALDKJFF!!!!! HE BROKE THE DAKFJDSLFKJD! ALDAKJFLDSKJFLADKFJALDSKFJADLSKFJALDKJFALDKJFA; DJF;KAJADK;FD LDFDKJF;AKDFJ;AKDJF; ADKJF;AKJDF; HE BROKE THE BACKBOARD! THERE IS GLASS EVERYWHERE! They may have to stop the game for a while. So I’ve never seen this happen before. Do we automatically win? Do they automatically win?
Truly tragic. Great call by Raftery, though. “Send it in, Jerome!” I like that. It might be a while. Raftery jokingly says if the refs had any nerve they would have called a charge and waived the basket. And we’re back after a length delay. Pitt has seemingly forgotten they still have 35 minutes of basketball still to play. They just turned it over two more times. Providence has a 13-12 lead. They just T’ed up Not Rick Pitino for yapping at the ref. I don’t know why. He might be mad at the defense Gore is playing right now. Miller hits both free throws to reclaim the lead and Pitt will have possession. They score and there’s another media timeout, which is annoying considering they had 29 minutes earlier to show all the commercials they had scheduled. Pitt goes on a bit of a run to take a 22-13 lead. Lane gets the ball on the break again and tries the exact same dunk. This one doesn’t shatter glass. Providence is second in the nation in free throw shooting behind Butler. Of course they miss the next one they take. The last few minutes of the first half are uneventful and Pitt heads to the locker room with an 11 point lead. Pitt shot 63% (compared to 38% for Providence), which is definitely not sustainable. They turned it over 13 times, which I hope is also not sustainable.
Lane had 11 rebounds in the first half so it’s fitting that he starts Pitt’s first second half possession with an offensive rebound and put-back. And Lane gets a steal at the other end. Getting away with the cold-blooded murder of an inanimate(?) object in the first half has done wonders for his confidence. Providence gets fouled and will go to the line for two. The shot rolled around the rim and would have dropped for a potential 3-point play if another Providence player didn’t try and dunk it. No basket. And Providence misses both free throws. I’m not sure if Pitt is winning this game or Providence is losing it. Pitt gets an open look because of Providence trapping, it either goes in or it doesn’t and Providence shoots a three. That describes most of the second half of this game. Backup guard Pat Cavanaugh missed a free throw. Cavanaugh came to Pitt last year to play quarterback, but too many people called him Matt (easy mistake, really) so he joined the basketball team instead. Lane is throwing no-look passes now, Providence should just pack up and go home. Unofficially Lane has 800 rebounds tonight. Officially it’s 17 to go along with 17 points. It’s 83-49 Pitt right now and the scrubs are in. Walk-on Steve Colombo (all 5’9” of him) just hit a three and the crowd at the Field House just went nuts. Not Rick Pitino is still attempting to coach his players, which is adorable. The game mercifully ends 90-56 in favor of the good guys.
-Pitt is good.
-Providence is bad.
Hail to Pitt.