Futon Report: Rockets’ season mirrors ‘Apollo 13′Written by Matt Sussman | | firstname.lastname@example.org
Thanks to the magic of movies, I’m aware of the story of Apollo 13. A space shuttle launched, something bad happened in space, and after a nightmare of technical malfunctions, NASA brilliantly guided the astronauts back home. That parallel works for the UT basketball team because of how they saved their best for last. Although mostly it works because of the mascot.
Seven wins and 24 losses in the regular season was attributed to this bad, bad team. They earned that final seed with disappointing basketball and they should have been destroyed by Akron in the MAC tournament by, let’s say, 23 points. Instead, the Rockets showed — for the first time all season — that the team was capable of running with any team in the league, as evidenced by their heartbreaking 93-92 overtime loss.
While I did not have the pleasure of attending this game, the WSPD broadcast and MAC-Sports.com live blog were more than enough to capture the excitement. But in the end, the Zips’ excitement (and clutch shots) sealed the game.
The Rockets, after playing inspired basketball, had a three-point lead with seconds left on the clock. But Akron’s Anthony “Humpty” Hitchens drained a 3-point shot to send it to overtime.
In the extra period, UT’s two leading scorers, Tyrone Kent and Jonathan Amos, fouled out. No sweat. They hung in there, and freshman guard Clayton Sterling stepped up with the go-ahead basket. Mere seconds were left on the clock.
Unfortunately, seconds were all the Zips needed, and Brett McKnight tipped in the winning basket to seal the win.
I’m trying to remember the last time I was excited over a game I was listening to on the radio. It was even longer when I was that pumped over a Rockets basketball game, and it’s too bad their season had to end like that. Finally, they play a fantastic game, and they still lose.
If nothing else, this will help the underclassmen next year. Justin Anyijong and Clayton Sterling learned they can make big shots without the seniors around, which is the situation they will experience next year. (Mohamed Lo learned that you can’t commit more than five fouls in a game.) This, of course, will not be solace for them this week, as they were almost the first bottom seed to win a tournament game since 2000.
It’s too bad this team finally played to their potential last night, because had they done that all year, they truly could have landed on the proverbial moon.
Note: If you want to continue following the MAC tournament at work (which CERTAINLY does not include me, bosses, since I always stay busy at work) MAC-Sports.com is live blogging every game of the MAC tournament (women’s too) with up-to-the-minute scores and analysis, and they are doing a heck of a job on it. As a live blog connoisseur — sometimes I do them during big sporting events for Deadspin — I can certainly appreciate the work they’re doing, and I hope you will too.