Yesterday was a tough day to be a basketball official in NYC, with tournament games on your agenda. Hours after missed calls and mishaps at MSG in the Big East matchup between Rutgers and St. John’s, the NRF had a controversial ending, which would have made Skip Bayless make one of his famous winded-rants.
The first half of game was odd enough, after the Foamies managed to dig a hole for the Shox that was 9 points deep. But, despite six attempts at the basket, they couldn’t quite bury the Shox when they had the chance. A championship team always stomps on their opponents’ neck when given the chance, and the Shox were served on a platter with fine red wine from Napa Valley-but the Foamies weren’t hungry enough and let their lead slip away. ROY candidate and all-star, Chad Easterling (14 points) began his takeover of the game and, along with the Harlem Height hero CGF (six points, six rebounds) , made it to the foul line to turn the tides and create a 17-10 lead at the half for the Shox.
The second half saw the layups that the Foamies couldn’t hit, become long distance shots they couldn’t miss as Chris Dowling (seven points, nine rebounds) and Keith Howard (14 points) hit from downtown. Howard helped the Foamies regain the lead with less than three minute left in the game. With a two points lead, Do Kim was facing pressure from Chris Petrie and threw the ball off his leg. However, the officials missed the play and called it a turnover for the Foamies. This would prove to be important down the stretch because, a late game drive from Bernard Bowen (14 points) saw the score tied at 31. With 20 seconds left on the clock, Dowling recovers a loose ball, makes a break for the basket and draws a lot (A LOT) of contact on the fast break but doesn’t get the call. CGF makes a break towards the other end and tries to score on the other end and draws a foul. However, he can’t connect on either free throw and regulation ends in a 31-31 tie.
“He is who we thought he is,” belted Jay Corbin.
With 3 minutes to go in regulation, CGF makes a steal at half court and puts the Shox up by two. Bowen would later prove to be the little engine that could, driving through traffic to put his team ahead for good and on to the semifinals.
“Sloppy win,” CGF said. “There were several plays that were so bad; I can say we should have lost that game.”
In an emotional loss for the Foamies, all star guard Kim had this to say:
“We got out to a good start but they played physical. We should have never let them make that run and get back in the game with like 10 free throws in the first half, because that took us out of our game.”