Albany dropped an 88-64 decision at Xavier on Tuesday night, largely because of an 18-point effort from Musketeers guard Mark Lyons.
The Great Danes could have given themselves a much better chance to win had they just left Lyons behind in New York.
Lyons, who lives just outside Albany, was home for Christmas and got stranded by the winter storm that also led to the cancellation of Albany’s flight to Cincinnati.
After exhausting all other options, Xavier coach Chris Mack called and made the unusual request to the Albany coaching staff to let Lyons ride the team’s chartered bus to the game.
Albany coach Will Brown agreed, though Lyons was reluctant to ride for 12 hours with the team he was going to compete against. Xavier star Tu Holloway also needed a ride but was unable to get from his home in Hempstead to Albany to catch the Great Danes’ bus.
Brown joked about his plan to keep Lyons from performing well once the bus arrived in Cincinnati.
“I’m ordering the whole (Olive Garden) menu for them,” Brown told Foxsports.com with a laugh, while also joking he was instructing his players to elbow the Xavier kids every time they nodded off to deprive them of sleep. “And they aren’t getting off the bus until they eat all of it. I’m hoping by the time they get to Cincinnati, they look like a power forward and a center.”
It’s a feel-good story until the NCAA inevitably finds a way to punish these two schools for the entire situation, since they are not among the organization’s major cash cows.
n PIT STOPPED? — When UNLV makes its annual stop in Albuquerque to play New Mexico in basketball, the game might be played in an unfamiliar venue.
According to krqe.com, the fire marshal will be forced to shut down The Pit if improvements aren’t made to the arena’s ventilation system by Jan. 31.
New Mexico State Fire Marshal John Standefer told the station that despite a $60 million renovation, there would currently be no way to clear smoke from the arena in the event of a fire.
The most shocking thing about the situation is that there is a bigger potential disaster looming on campus than the Lobos football program.
n BUFFALO INSULT — In less than 140 characters, NHL first-round draft pick Emerson Etem managed to insult both the city he is in to play in the World Junior Hockey Championship and the city where he starred in the Western Hockey League this past season.
In Buffalo to play for the U.S. team, the 18-year-old Long Beach, Calif., native took to his Twitter account to complain about the locale of the event.
“much needed day off, buffalo is a ghost town!! the worst city ever, it makes medicine hat look like paradise, never thought ide say that,” he posted.
Etem is coming off a 37-goal rookie season for the Medicine Hat (Alberta) Tigers of the WHL. His tweet didn’t go over well in either city and left Etem scrambling to apologize, which he did in a lengthy, rambling statement to the Buffalo News.
Someone should tell Etem that judging the city of Buffalo on a Monday in late December is like basing your entire opinion of Etem’s hometown of Long Beach on a Snoop Dogg video.
COMPILED BY ADAM HILL
LAS VEGAS REVIEW-JOURNAL