Jan. 12, 2006
By Brian Witter
The Santa Clara
Moments like being at Monday night's basketball game erase all the complaints about missing out on the "college experience" just because there's no football or that the WCC isn't a power conference.
Even before I walked into the Leavey Center, I could feel the energy surrounding the hype of the game. People were clawing at each other to get in to see the nationally televised, NBA-scouted matchup. The pep band was brandishing a ridiculous cardboard mustache in addition to brand new outfits. It almost felt like I was at someone else's gym watching some other game. This couldn't be Santa Clara, at least not during the regular season. But it was.
Alumni and other local fans were dropping their jaws like I was when they saw how amped up the crowd was. We've played Gonzaga before, but the exhilaration for Monday's game felt different for some reason.
Maybe people were just overexcited about the prospect of appearing on national television or perhaps they just wanted to see the bizarre Adam Morrison ballet and get a glimpse of his upper lip. Probably both. For the freshmen who attended their first Bronco basketball game Monday, it must have been especially shocking as they were thrown head first into the mania reserved for the Zags.
Unfortunately, the final score doesn't do the game justice. I came into contact with several sufferers of laryngitis on Tuesday morning following the game. It would not have been that way if the game had been a blowout. It was closer than most probably thought it would be until about midway through the second half.
Yes, they beat us. But they're the No. 6 team in the nation. After the game, it didn't really feel like a crushing loss. I was proud to see my team hang with and fight a Top 10 team as best they could. Not only was I impressed with what was happening on the floor, I was also enjoying what I saw in the stands.
I read a Morrison quote before the game about Santa Clara and how badly he wanted a blowout win because all our fans were just bandwagoners who couldn't name their own starting five and had just come to see him. Nuh-uh. No way.
The Ruff Riders were definitely the 6th man out there Monday night and it showed. There was to be no blowout in our house. Let's make sure it stays that way. For those of you that were at the game on Monday night, keep coming and bring your friends. It'll only add to your college experience.