When the number of Mountain West games is 18 and your program hasn’t won a regular-season league championship in forever, any mark on the left side of a win-loss column is cherished inside a locker room.
The quote goes like this: Seize the moment, because some opportunities don’t come twice.
The cheers began when he first became visible from a tunnel at Orleans Arena. They stood and clapped and chanted his name and held signs in his honor because, well, it’s true everybody loves a winner. No matter the cost.
It was Friday afternoon at the South Point, and the women’s basketball team from Stonehill College was playing Tarleton State in the annual Division II holiday tournament. That was one way to look at it.
It was following a game at the Maui Invitational in November when UCLA basketball coach Steve Alford, his team having just lost to Wake Forest, spoke about the Bruins being assessed 28 fouls.
It all made sense before Wednesday, how this week might play out for UNLV’s basketball team, how important it could prove in regards to the postseason, how a winnable game against Arizona State would be followed by an extremely difficult one at Arizona.
I suppose the best thing that could have happened for UNLV’s basketball team Wednesday night would have been for no one to discover those AAA batteries and duct tape needed to fix the shot clocks at Thomas & Mack Center because when you spend nearly $50 million on renovations, it must be tough making sure all the lights work.
Jim Livengood is excited about the upcoming basketball game between UNLV and Arizona. He’s more enthused about the possibility of the women’s Sweet 16 moving to Las Vegas if/when the NCAA lifts its cromagnon ban on official postseason tournament games being played in cities that offer sports wagering.
When I was a senior in high school, the Golden State Warriors were NBA champs. They had Rick Barry and Jamaal Wilkes, with the funky shooting stroke, and Clifford Ray. They also had Al Attles’ leisure suits, and his pointed collars and pants, which often were loud or plaid.
The lesson is this: That a week and a month and a few months from now, and perhaps into the madness of March, UNLV’s basketball team can take from a December game in south-central Kansas along the Arkansas River a definite truth about opposing an elite point guard.