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AU Storms the Court Again

I liked these guys, even if they did storm the court.

So for the second straight game, American wins a home game it was supposed to win. This time, the Eagles were the No. 1 (that means top) seed in an eight-team tournament, playing against the No. 8 (that means worst) team. And for the second straight game, the home team won, and the home fans (inappropriately underdoggish motto: "Don't Stop Believing") stormed the court. I'm telling you, this simply has to be the first non-televised non-sellout-crowd top-seeded quarterfinal court storming in world history. Simply remarkable.

This time, it would appear, a higher number of students did the storming. (See the last photo of this gallery.) And no, I'm not trying to be a grumpy old person telling the kids to stop having fun, I'm just trying to protect the sanctity of an institution that ought not be watered down through premature deployment.

For perspective on the mindset of the American fan, let's turn to this morning's edition of The Eagle:

It seemed as though Bender Arena was literally alive last night as a sea of blue stomped its feet to give the AU venue a heartbeat. Cheesy? Yes. But who cares - this is the first time Eagle fans can actually boast about their team, something Big 10 schools are used to doing on a daily basis....

Who knows why out of all the games so far this season, people turned out by the thousands for this one. It wasn't the free pizza - there wasn't any - and it definitely wasn't the chance at a new Pontiac G5 - everyone knows even Michael Jordan himself would have an issue making that half-court shot. So what was it?

To be honest, I don't really have an answer to that. Maybe it's because everyone likes a winner. Maybe we're all just fair-weather fans. Or maybe it's because spring break is approaching and we all need something to boast about to our friends who go to Duke or UNC-Chapel Hill....

So what will it be, AU? It's your decision to make. We have the ability to go from the bottom to the top of the sports totem pole. All it takes is a little spirit and a few splashes of blue body paint.

Really? I mean, really? Listen American fans, you've got eight days before all of sportingdom might be watching you on national television. Just because your school has never made the tournament doesn't mean you have to pretend you've been living in an Afghan cave for the last three decades. For the love of Clawed, pull yourselves together here.

By Dan Steinberg  |  March 6, 2008; 3:49 PM ET
Categories:  College Basketball  
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We hadn't beaten Holy Cross at home since the 2003-04 season.
We lost to Holy Cross at Phil Bender this year by two points.
We didn't have a lead in this entire game until 5:51 left int he second half.
Holy Cross is our arch-rival.

Regardless of seeding, all the teams in the Patriot League are pretty close in terms of talent. There are no guarantees in the PL. To pull out a game like this where we were down 12 in front of a Bender Arena that was packed to the gills with students who normally don't show up?

Yeah, it's a big deal. A really big deal.

Take it easy on the self-esteem stomping. There's something great brewing in Tenleytown, and it doesn't have to stop with us getting our tickets to the dance.

Posted by: Clawed Z Eagle | March 6, 2008 4:04 PM | Report abuse

I agree...It's a little ridiculous.

Of course, you have to remember that my freshman year(2004-2005) about 20 people stormed the court after we beat Tom Brennan's Vermont team that had Taylor Coppenrath, so we're making progress in our selection....

I think the mitigating factor was that it WAS holy cross, so this was a little bit like the 2004 ALCS was for the Red Sox...the game prior to the big one was even more significant because we beat the team that always beats us.

But yeah, a little silly to storm.

Go AU though.

Posted by: R | March 6, 2008 4:27 PM | Report abuse

"To pull out a game like this where we were down 12 in front of a Bender Arena that was packed to the gills with students who normally don't show up?"

Dude, the announced attendance was 1865...thats approximately 3000 less than the total capacity of Bender Arena

Posted by: AU | March 6, 2008 4:30 PM | Report abuse


If you had been there you would've seen that 3 sides of the arena were completely packed and the fourth side was at least half full.

That statistic is off to be sure. The clickers at the door were characteristically slow last night.

Posted by: Clawed | March 6, 2008 4:35 PM | Report abuse

As a fan that didn't rush the court, I agree with you, and I'm not going to defend their actions.

But I will try to explain them:

Besides the fact we've lost something like the past 7 Phil Benders, most students will be on Spring Break next week. We won't be there for the championship game. I'd love to stay, but I figure there are a lot of students who like me are eager to see their families or already made plans.

So this was their one shot. This was their championship... sort of.

Posted by: Kevin | March 6, 2008 4:36 PM | Report abuse

Spring Break? Inconceivable!

Posted by: B.A. | March 6, 2008 4:45 PM | Report abuse

I went to every regular season Holy Cross game the last four years. Each loss was heartbreaking.

But storming the court was just about the dumbest thing I've ever seen.

Come on guys, let's have a LITTLE respect for ourselves. We've been the the Patriot League championship before and we've NEVER lost in the first round of the PL Tourney.

This wasn't exactly uncharted territory.

Posted by: KC in DC | March 6, 2008 4:53 PM | Report abuse

Patrick Doctor hopes that you stop raining on the AU parade.

Posted by: | March 6, 2008 4:57 PM | Report abuse

Dude, the announced attendance was 1865...thats approximately 3000 less than the total capacity of Bender Arena

Posted by: AU | March 6, 2008 04:30 PM

And about 3,000 less than the Gonzaga-O'Connell game last week.

Posted by: Just sayin' is all | March 6, 2008 5:00 PM | Report abuse

KC, as much as I agree that rushing the court was stupid, and as much as I yelled that at people as they were running out there, you shouldn't talk. You passed up your one chance to see AU beat holy cross to see the Wizards get destroyed. Your opinion is not valid.

I better see you at Bender on Sunday, maybe I'll gain some of my respect for you back.

Posted by: Matt | March 6, 2008 6:04 PM | Report abuse

Ok, so AU beat Maryland this year, and Maryland stomped Holy Cross by like 30 points (in our atrocious yellow unis, no less).

Just sayin'.

Posted by: Grant | March 6, 2008 6:06 PM | Report abuse

Holy Cross is like AU's Kryptonite. Or at least they were until yesterday?

Posted by: Matt | March 6, 2008 6:09 PM | Report abuse

Matt, I know where you live and I hate you.

My credibility in the world of commenting on sports blogs has just been destroyed.

Posted by: KC in DC | March 6, 2008 6:16 PM | Report abuse

I couldn't agree with you more on this article Steinberg. As an AU student and a big college basketball fan I was pretty embarrassed by the idiot students that stormed the court after the HC game. The Lafayette game meant something. This one only means something if we beat Army and whoever wins between Colgate and Bucknell. BTW, that's me and my team that's painted up in that picture and we didn't storm the court last night because we knew better than that.

Posted by: DK | March 6, 2008 6:57 PM | Report abuse

What's so embarrassing about storming the court? After watching AU lose the PL CG to HC in 2001 and 2002, and losing to them at home ALL THE TIME, and again in last year's PL Tourney, this is a long time coming. It's like we finally got that HC monkey off our back.

I didn't storm the court, but if students want to, what's the matter? Also, it wasn't a frenzied rushing on the buzzer, people just started making their way there after a minute or two had passed.

Posted by: blid | March 6, 2008 7:37 PM | Report abuse

I don't by the whole because this was against Holy Cross it was alright to storm the court. Court-storming is reserved for beating a top 5 team at home, especially if your unranked or for winning your conference tournament and getting the automatic bid into the dance. People need to realize that American was supposed to win this game not matter who they were playing. They played the best basketball over the course of the season and were rewarded with the number 1 seed, people should have been expecting to win and if your expected to win you shouldn't storm the court unless it is the championship game. If they lose on Sunday I will put most of the blame on the people who stormed the court

Posted by: RL | March 6, 2008 8:04 PM | Report abuse

"What's so embarrassing about storming the court?" Look, I understand that HC has been a thorn in our side for a long time but this was a 1 vs. 8 matchup in the FIRST ROUND!!! We won a game that we were supposed to win! Some of our "fans" who showed up for the first time all year are in it more for their own benefit so that they can say "I got on TV," which unfortunately they did on all the local news stations for everyone to laugh at our stupidity. I understand that AU isn't a sports school, but do we have to destroy one of college basketball's greatest celebrations by overusing it like this? I think not. Have some pride in yourself and some faith in your team.

Posted by: DK | March 6, 2008 8:04 PM | Report abuse


You storm the court to show satisfaction with a win that is special.

This win was special, watching AU lose to them for the past 4 years, it was nice to finally win.

Plus for a non-sport school like AU to have so many people there at games was a very nice feeling.

Posted by: JV | March 6, 2008 9:40 PM | Report abuse


Did you GO to the game? Probably not.

And also, Dan my man, AU is in the process of TEAM-BUILDING. We're not Georgetown, but we're sure as hell getting there.

Out of a full-time student population of 5,000.... 1,500 at a game during midterms is pretty damn good if you ask me. Also, we're building tradition. If you had won the game, you would've wanted people to storm too. Every victory is a step up from where we've been in a long time, and that's pretty damn exciting if you ask me.

And PS victory against an ogre who Jordan was about 100 lbs lighter than is also pretty damn good.

Can you cut us a break and work with us, and actually SUPPORT *gasp* the school where you attend the games? If not, you're as bad as the people you're blaming for not coming.

Posted by: KS | March 7, 2008 11:04 AM | Report abuse

By Team Building, do you mean replacing 6 graduating seniors with 2 freshman and a bunch of junior college transfers? This is an off year for the Patriot League overall, I'm pretty sure last year's team was better.

On another note, what garbage from The Eagle. I liked it better when their columns focused more on pro sports and pop culture. Whatever happened to those guys?

I hope AU wins the PL tournament, just so ESPN 2's cameras can pick up video of 15 people storming the court

Posted by: Kermit Washington | March 7, 2008 12:16 PM | Report abuse

To: Anyone who is attending the AU-Army game
From: Every other mid-major in the country

That said, my friends and I have changed our plans to come back early if we make the PL Championship; I hope anyone who can does the same. Maybe... just maybe... we can get like... 20 people to rush the court.

Posted by: Kevin | March 8, 2008 9:22 AM | Report abuse

I just find it funny that people make all kinds of rules about when it is okay to rush the court and when it isn't, and then look down their noses at a team's fans if they get excited and they break one of those rules.

Posted by: blid | March 8, 2008 1:40 PM | Report abuse

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