Friday, July 21, 2006

No Chili's After Chili Loss To Chili's

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There was no post game celebratory beer after the Origins Unknown vs. Team Chili’s game last night in Reading. There could have been a post game drink-your-sorrows-away beer, but OU skipped that too. OU enjoyed a well-balanced, spirited effort for nearly the entire game against a bigger Chili’s team last night at the YMCA. Unfortunately, OU experienced one of the franchise’s biggest melt-downs in the final minutes, and ended up on the wrong side of a 79-75 overtime loss to the Chili’s team.

The game had all of the makings of a slugfest with the two teams being polar opposites of each other. Chili’s was led by two 6’5” bangers, and a feisty left-handed point guard. OU, playing without middle man James “Stretch” Hogan, countered the size differential with their run and gun style of play, and defensive scrappiness. OU jumped out to a quick lead, and pushed the tempo at every opportunity. Dr. Greg Robinson (12 points), Danger Dan Fisher (17) and Cap’n Mike (31) were all involved in the early scoring, with Pete Martin (4) setting up the trio with his passing and screens. Shuter Patel (11) came into the game midway through the half and provided a spark with his jumper and slashing. On the other end of the court, Chili’s was pounding the ball down low to their big men, and having good results. OU was doing a decent job of doubling down on occasion, but they were still getting their points. OU was able to extend a lead by using the “extra pass” to find the open man, and also take advantage of periodic Chili turnovers. The first half ended with OU up by a handful.

The second half was similar to the first… until the last couple minutes. OU continued to push the pace of the game, and built a comfortable 10-12 point lead for the majority of the half. With less than 3 minutes left and OU up by 12, Chili’s called a timeout that would alter the course of the game, and the night. Coming out of the timeout, OU made the mistake of leaving Danger Dan on the bench, and immediately suffered with ball-handling and defense. While OU was starting to lose focus, Chili’s seemed to gain energy by the minute. Forced to foul, Chili’s sent three separate OU shooters to the line, where each missed the front-end of their one-and-ones. Compounding the debacle, multiple OU defensive assignment lapses led to FOUR Chili’s three-pointers in the final two minutes – which was ironic, since they hit one before that all game long. When OU did have the ball, the clock seemed to stand still. With less than 12 seconds left, a Chili’s player who had scored exactly ZERO points in the game, drilled another wide-open three pointer to tie the game. Inexplicably, no one on OU called for a time out (of which they had three to use), and Cap’n Mike forced the ball up the court and into a last second, off-balance, prayer, which wasn’t even close.

Distraught, but still with a chance to right the ship, OU came out of the huddle ready to take back the control that they had lost. Cap’n Mike went strong to the hole off of a nice pass from Pete, and was able to get three the hard way. Who would know that it would be the last points that OU scored in the three-minute overtime, as Chili’s had the legs and the will to come back, and ultimately, close the door on a forgettable night for the defending champs.

OU, now at 3-1, is back in action next week against Evans, 2-2.
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