NEC Title Game Rematch Makes for Great Night & Worthwhile Road Trip

Overtime! copy editor Ralph Ventre, or @NECralph as he is known to the Twitter World, traveled out to Robert Morris for Thursday night’s NEC-TV game between the Colonials and LIU Brooklyn Blackbirds.  Below are some thoughts on what he witnessed.


As our Dodge Durango rental car passed mile marker 146 on the Pennsylvania turnpike, he looked over to me and uttered “What am I doing?”

The “he” was my boss, and we were nearly two-thirds of the way through a 350-mile drive in somewhat arduous conditions.

When he said it, I must admit, I was a bit puzzled since he didn’t appear to be doing much at all besides checking e-mail via iPhone throughout much of the ride.

When I asked him to explain, he responded with words to the effect of “I could have just sent you out on this drive and been home with my family, but something inside of me thought it would be a great idea to spend six hours in a car with you to see a basketball game!”

Well, he, as a senior administrator, is right in the sense that he certainly didn’t have to make the trip.  After all, what did he hire me for?

But the true answer to his “What am I doing?” question is simple.  He is crazy!

Crazy about Northeast Conference hoops.

And with a matchup like the one last night, being played in one of the best mid-major college hoops atmospheres I’ve ever witnessed, how could you blame him?

As soon as we stepped into The Chuck, or the Charles Sewall Center as it’s officially named, more than two hours before tip-off, the sounds of Fergie started playing in my head. Yes, I had a feeling, that tonight’s gonna be a good, good night.

And, (surprise, surprise) I was right.

The play was choppy at times, but the buzz in the building never subsided.  Robert Morris led wire-to-wire but needed some big shots to quell a surge by defending NEC champion LIU Brooklyn.

Whether it was Velton Jones making one of his patented pitbull-like drives to the basket or Coron Williams knocking down a key 3, the fans who #PackedTheChuck had plenty to cheer about. 

They also had a chance to see LIU’s Julian Boyd, up close and personal.  That in itself is quite the treat.

Boyd may suffer from a heart ailment, but this guy plays with plenty of heart.  Combine that inner drive with a tremendous skill set and a great physical attributes and you have quite the player.  Despite his team losing for the first time in 19 consecutive NEC regular season games, Boyd had a typical night – 25 points, 12 rebounds and 8-for-11 shooting.

The most-impressive performance in my eyes, however, didn’t come from Jones, Williams, or Boyd.  It came from the 6th man.  The breadth and enthusiasm level of the crowd was unlike I’d ever seen in my many, many prior trips out to #TheChuck.

Oh, and if you were wondering, my boss was happy he came.


NEC-TV Game of the Week (LIU Brooklyn at Robert Morris)
Play of the Night
With LIU on a 10-0 run that whittled RMU’s lead down to five points with under 3:00 to play, Velton Jones penetrated and dropped off a perfect pass for Lijah Thompson.  The power forward converted the easy layup and the foul.


Fan(s) of the Game
The Sewall Center was exuding school spirit Thursday night, only hours after Twitter was overflowing with #PackTheChuck tweets.  @RMUcoop44 and @hEy_m0lly tweeted the talk and walked the walked.  They promised the Twitter World they would be in attendance on Thursday, and they made good on their word.  Overtime! staffers spotted both of these #ColonialsCrazies, proudly wearing white and screaming for their team.


The Video Highlights


Articles of Interest
Myers Keitt seals it in OTAsbury Park Press

Colonials shoo away Blackbirds in NEC clashBeaver County Times (Mike Bires)

Sacred Heart goes cold from outside in loss to WagnerConnecticut Post (Bill Paxton)

Robert Morris men slow NEC leader Long Island at SewallPittsburgh Tribune-Review (Paul Schofield)

Colonials avenge title game loss, down LIU 75-66RMU Sentry (Nick Buzzelli)


Video Vault
This feature on RMU’s Velton Jones ran at halftime of LIU-RMU MBB game on Jan. 26…


– Jan. 27, 2012 –

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