Today, SIU took another step toward winning it's second consecuitive MVC tourney title with it's 53-51 victory over Bradley at the ScottTrade Center in St. Louis.
I'd love to tell you a game story describing how I was there, unfortunately my roommate and I were unable to snag student tickets. Which leads to the following story.
After roaming the streets near the ScottTrade Center, my roommate Steven and I decided to go to the nearby Sheraton Hotel which is only blocks from the arena. Little did we know it was the hotel that was hosting Creighton, their fans and their alumni.
Creighton's our biggest rival. Heck, they're our arch-enemy. Needless to say, we were in an interesting predicament.
So it was me, my roommate and a few scattered maroon-clad Saluki fans cheering on their #11 team in Creighton's hotel among Creighton fans and a whole bunch of Bradley fans.
First, I must admit that all Creighton fans aren't as horrible as I thought they were. Sure, a lot of them are still angry, obscenity filled people...but the guys we were standing next too weren't bad people at all. They knew basketball. Also, I guess there's no sun in Omaha, Nebraska....the Creighton girls (though some were cute) were really pale. Makes me wonder if the sun can get through the cornfields.
Anyway, on to the game.
The game was back and forth. Bradley fans had a lot to shout about early with their three point shooting and their getting away with murder on the defensive end. SIU didn't help it's own cause with it's poor shooting and turnovers.
In the end, senior guard Jamaal Tatum stepped up hitting big shots again and again, eventually pulling SIU in the lead. Later a Randal Falker free throw made it 51-49, but that didn't last long when a Bradley player went down court and scored a tying basket.
This sets up the final scene. Tatum cut to the basket with under 5 seconds left and missed a potential game-winning lay-up.....but right there to clean it up was junior forward Matt Shaw, whose put-back put SIU ahead for good.
Daniel Ruffin's desperation half-court three was no good and the SIU victory was clinched.
Tomorrow, #11 SIU (#1 seed in the MVC tourney) plays arch-rival Creighton (#2 seed) who beat Missouri State in the other MVC semi-final game. I'm excited because really, that's how it should be. The two top teams in the tourney, the two biggest rivals in the conference and the two best programs in the nation's best non-BCS basketball conference.
My roommate and I will be back in "The Lou" bright and early tomorrow morning in another attempt to get tickets. Wish us luck, and then watch us tomorrow on CBS!
P.S. Shout out to "Bernie Federko's Steak and Sports Grille." That's where we stood and watched the game in Creighton territory. Good people, cute waitresses and the wings are pretty good! If you're stuck in the St. Louis area around Busch Stadium or the ScottTrade Center, that's the first place I suggest that you go and grab a bit to eat!