Wednesday night was the final home basketball game for four of the Boilers. Bobby Riddell, Chris Reid, Nemanja Calasan, and Marcus Green played their last game in Mackey Arena. The players were joined by their families on the court for a special presentation before the game. Well Calasan was joined by his American family and girlfriend since his real family couldn't make the trip from Srbinja, Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Members in the Paint Crew even dressed up like and made signs for their favorite players. There was a giant twenty dollar bill with Green on it, a couple guys painted for Calasan, another guy with an afro and American flag shirt for Reid, and numerous buckets for Bobby "Buckets." The fans couldn't be more proud of their seniors.
After this presentation, the game against Northwestern began. We were favored to win this game since Purdue (11-6 Big Ten, 22-8 Overall) is number two in the Big Ten standings, and Northwestern (8-9 Big Ten, 17-11 Overall) is only number eight. While we couldn't win the Big Ten title thanks to Michigan State's victory over Indiana on Tuesday, surely we could lock in this win on Senior Night.
While the passes and ball handling were not that great, we still managed to stay ahead in the first half. Things looked promising especially after our big run. We went into halftime with a seven point lead, but then it all changed when the second half started. We got behind and never really took the opportunities we had to come back resulting in the 64-61 loss.
We had several chances to make free throws, but they just weren't going through the net. Only losing by three, I can't imagine how the players felt about this. They probably are saying to themselves, "If only I would have done this at this time, or if only I would have made that one shot." I know that I would feel as if the loss was all my fault. Even the player that sat the bench probably wondered how the game would have turned out if they had gotten some playing time.
Don't get me wrong. I know the players work hard in their practices and spend numerous hours going over different drills and plays. In no way could I do any better than they did. I wouldn't even stand a chance. It was just the fact that our record was so much better than theirs, and the crowd was so excited to see this match up on Senior Night that made this loss so disappointing and frustrating.
The fans are so used to seeing wins especially at home that we didn't really know how to handle this. I know that at some points I was getting so frustrated that I just wanted to get up and leave. That's what some of the other "fans" did. I could not let this frustration overcome my pride for the Boilers. I needed to be there to support them no matter what happened.
In the last few minutes of the game, it looked as if we might be able to pull it out, so it was a good thing that I didn't leave. We cut their lead down to two and had to chance to get ahead with those free throws that we missed. However, Northwestern increased their lead by making their free throws at the very end bringing them to the point where we could not catch up in the last seconds.
Even after this loss, I still have my love for the Boilers. There is always next year for us to win the Big Ten Conference title. I will definitely be getting tickets again. For me, the games were always a highlight to my week, and I can't wait to see how our next group of Boilers will add to the team.
8 years ago