Live Blogging ESPN’s 24 Hours of College Basketball: Overnight

Tim has already announced his excitement for the start of the college basketball season. Well, he’s not the only one who’s excited: ESPN is covering college basketball throughout its family of networks on Tuesday, including 12 different games on ESPN itself. Well, if ESPN is up for 24 hours of college basketball, then so is NPI. In Part I of IV, we’ll cover the 2 AM game (San Diego State at Saint Mary’s), and the 4 AM game (Northern Colarado at Hawaii).

6:10 AM: Well, Northern Colorado holds on to win 81-75. It’s probably for the best: I didn’t have another great pun about Jeremy Lay’s name lined up. I’m handing off to Tim now, as he covers the 6 AM game, featuring his hometown Monmouth. Be sure to stay with us throughout the day.

6:06 AM: Williams’ legs just aren’t holding up down the stretch. He air balled a shot a few minutes earlier and was short on his second free throw. That may spell the end for Hawaii, as they fall back down five with 11.9 seconds left.

6:03 AM: I would just like to take this moment, with the Rainbow Warriors down two with 22 seconds left, to point out how ugly the Hawaii uniforms are. They should just go with Hawaiian shirts.

6:01 AM: Hang a Lay around your neck in Hawaii! Another 3 makes it 75-72, after two free throws by Northern Colorado.

5:59 AM: Come get Lay’ed in Hawaii! Another three by Lay and it’s 73-69 with less than minute left!

5:56 AM: Boy oh boy! Jeremy Lay just converts a four-point play, and all of a sudden it’s a six point game with 88 seconds left.

5:51 AM: Hiram Thompson feeds Adhar Mayen with a layup to end Hawaii’s field goal drought (Meanwhile, it took me 2 minutes to remember how to spell “drought.” I’m a little tired.). It lasted 10 minutes and 50 seconds. Nothern Colorado leads 69-57 with 2:28 to play.

5:46 AM: Northern Colorado is in the midst of a 19-0 run now. They’re up 69-52. The final score of this game may be more lopsided than the Saint Mary’s game. Somewhere, Timmy Chang is weeping.

5:43 AM: Northern Colorado is pulling away now. They’re up 12, which much feel massive to Hawaii. No team had had a lead bigger than 5 until a few minutes ago. The Bears are also doing everything better. They’re moving the ball and scoring in transition and even outrebounding the Rainbow Warriors now. Hawaii, meanwhile, still hasn’t made a field goal since the 14 minute mark.

5:38 AM: Tad Boyle must have been reading the blog: Northern Colorado scored a quick six points and now have their biggest lead of the game, 59-52 with 6:46 left to play.

5:33 AM: Hawaii hasn’t made a field goal in over six minutes of game time now. Somehow they’re still only down by one. Somebody needs to step up and take control of this game.

5:29 AM: The back-and-forth quality of the game continues. Northern Colorado ties it at 45, and Hawaii gets two free throws from Flemings. Then Elliot Lloyd of Nothern Colorado puts the Bears back on top with the team’s second three of the half. Hawaii ties it at the line, then the Bears get a layup and the Warriors tie it at the foul line again. Hawaii’s still got a small lineup in, so it’s impressive that they’ve been able to stay physical with Northern Colorado.

5:19 AM: Both teams clearly made adjustments at the half. Northern Colorado seems to be trying to stay away from three-point shots, as they haven’t been falling. Hawaii, though, has been much better so far in the second half. They’re pounding the offensive glass, taking a 45-42 lead. But Petras Balocka, the Warriors’ biggest rebounding force thus far, may be hurt. He’s on the bench and he’s clearly in pain. Hawaii needs him to stay ahead.

5:11 AM: Carter Blackburn has made three jokes about how he has to say “this morning” instead of “tonight” since it’s after midnight in Hawaii now. We’re two and half minutes into the second half. We’re in for a long night….or morning.

5:09 AM: Hiram Thompson, who was on the bench in foul trouble for most of the first half, is now running the point for Hawaii as we start the second half. Hopefully he’ll be a better distributor, and they’ll be able to get some offensive production from someone other than Dwain Williams.

5:01 AM: Man, it’s really annoying to hear the ESPN studio crew bitch about their lack of sleep as they rerun the same halftime show from the last game. Hey, I’m still up, coming up with new and insightful ways to work Timmy Chang into the game. And I’m not even getting paid. Let’s see a little more effort, Jay Bilas.

4:53 AM: On the last play of the half, Northern Colorado runs a screen for Yahosh Bonner, who throws up a great shot fake to lose his defender. Then he misses his wide open look. You can’t win them all. It’s 32-30 at halftime.

4:47 AM: The Rainbow Warriors briefly abandoned their man-to-man defense for a 3-2 zone. After the Bears adjusted, Hawaii went back to man-to-man. Northern Colorado looks a little flustered in their half-court offense, but they’re playing good defense and getting points in transition. They lead 32-27.

4:39 AM: Another three from Lay puts Hawaii on top for the first time since the opening minutes of the game. It’s quickly followed by a turnover and a momentum-killing air ball from Williams. The Bears answer with a three of their own, and are back up by two.

4:34 AM: Williams feeds Flemings for a beautiful dunk to tie the game at 22. I haven’t seen a Rainbow Warrior distribute the ball this well since Timmy Chang!

4:31 AM: A three from Jeremy Lay gives the Rainbow Warriors their second basket from someone besides Dwain Williams. Timmy Chang would be very happy. Northern Colorado gets a quick two, though, to keep themselves on top.

4:29 AM: Hawaii’s lack of a real point guard is showing, as they look a little unfocused on the offensive end of the floor. Dwain Williams has 12 of the team’s 15 points, as they seem to be employing the “pass the ball to Will” style of offense. He’s got a technical foul, mirroring Will’s attitude problems in that episode. He’s keeping them afloat though, as the Warriors only trail by 3.

4:17 AM: I’ve never really understood why coaches feel compelled to wear Hawaiian shirts whenever they’re in Hawaii. It’s hard enough to take this state seriously when its so far away; do they have to give the impression that they have a dress code. Plus, everyone knows that the only people who wear Hawaiian shirts are gay guys and big, fat party animals. Which one are you, Tad Boyle?

4:12 AM: Carter Blackburn and Nick Adams keep referring to Roderick Flemings of Hawaii as a “potential All-American.” Isn’t everyone a “potential” All-American at this point in the season?

4:10 AM: This is Northern Colorado’s fourth year in Division I. Last year, they went 8-8 in the Big Sky, which Blackburn just called a “significant achievement.” Setting the bar low, there, huh Carter? I guess this means they are favored against the Rainbow Warriors, who were 13-17 last year, but I can’t be sure.

4:04 AM: Thank you, Carter Blackburn. It’s just after 11 PM in Hawaii right now, which was the local time in California when the last game started.

4:02 AM: I have no idea what time it is in Hawaii right now. Carter Blackburn just announced that the sun set five hours ago. What time does the sun usually set in Hawaii in November?

3:59 AM: Saint Mary’s wins by the anticlimactic final score of 80-58. The Gaels were better, but San Diego State wasn’t as bad as that final score might indicate. Mickey McConnell is doing his postgame interview now, and Patty Mills has already been mentioned three times.

Coming up next is another classic Big Sky-WAC showdown, as the University of Northern Colorado will be taking on the Rainbow Warriors of Hawaii. Get ready for a lot of Timmy Chang references!

3:51 AM: Well, Saint Mary’s seems to have staved off any potential comeback by the Aztecs. They’re up by 21 with 2:15 to play. San Diego State turned the ball over too much and couldn’t ever put together one final run. McConnell, Samhan and Dellavedova were all pretty impressive. Look out, Portland! The Gaels are poised to take back their #2 position in the WCC!

3:41 AM: Mitchell Young fouls out, so Omar Samhan is guarding White now for Saint Mary’s. Samhan is quietly having a great night, with 13 points, 16 rebounds and 4 assists. He probably won’t be able to keep up with White defensively, but his presence on the offensive end has spread the floor for McConnell and Dellavedova. Samhan’s got pretty good vision in the post.

3:37 AM: It wouldn’t be a college basketball if there weren’t a stray whistle and a pause while the referees try to decide whether to call a block or a charge. Luckily, they got it right, as there is no way Kelvis Davis had his feet planted. The Aztecs ended up with a fast break anyway, but McConnell, doing it all over the floor, knocked the ball away. Gaels still up a dozen.

3:32 AM: McConnell’s first three of the second half helps keep San Diego State at bay. Saint Mary’s is ahead by 14, but they’re still having trouble keeping up with White and Malcolm Thomas.

3:22 AM: The Aztecs have cut the lead to 13 with 11:50 to play. D.J. Gay at the point has had a lot to do with that, as has Saint Mary’s freshman Mitchell Young’s inability to guard Billy White in the interior. Mitchell Young and Billy White sound like they should be boy scouts in the 1930s, not college basketball players.

3:19 AM: I think my extended exposure to Taylor King has inured me to the impact of hearing someone was “Mr. Basketball in the state of California.” Nevertheless, Kawhi Leonard won the title last year, and Bardo just called him possibly the best freshman in a non-BCS conference on the west coast. So he’s got that going for him, which is nice.

3:13 AM: I was about to say that both these teams are looking impressive on offense to start the half, and then Kawhi Leonard took a 3 from practically behind the scorers’ table and Omar Samhan thew a pass to nobody in particular. Still, though, UCLA and CS Fullerton will make any team look like the Phoenix Suns.

3:09 AM: You know what might get annoying after a while? ESPN announcers constantly reminding viewers what hour of the Tip-Off Marathon we’re in. (It’s Hour Four now, in case you were wondering.) Meanwhile, the second half starts and things aren’t as bad for San Diego State as they could be. They’re on a 20-17 run!

2:58 AM: ESPN’s studio crew (Jay Bilas, Digger Phelps, Hubie Brown, Rece Davis) is finding a way to spin Kentucky’s close call against Miami of Ohio in favor of Coach Calipari. They’re going with the “they needed to get these growing pains out of the way early” defense. Man, I hate John Calipari.

2:51 AM: McConnell was 5-6 when he threw up that buzzer-beater at the end of the first half. I wonder if he would have taken the shot if he were still 5-5. Games not really in doubt, and I’m sure he’d like to stay perfect. It’s 42-21 Gaels at the half.

2:47 AM: Stephen Bardo just said that Matthew Dellavedova of Saint Mary’s “plays on the equivalent of the U.S. Olympic team….in Australia.” Does he mean the Australian Olympic team? Or does the U.S. field Olympic teams for every continent? I’m guessing the latter.

2:45 AM: Apparently, Saint Mary’s was not picked to be Gonzaga’s chief competition in the West Coast Conference this year. Portland was the preseason #2. In other words, VENGEANCE GAME!

2:37 AM: The story so far has been Mickey McConnell, who is 5-5 from beyond the 3-point line. As is always the case for a team that lost their leading scorer from the year before, as the Gaels did when Patrick Mills declared for the draft, the announcers are quick to call him “the next Patty Mills.” We’ll see

2:31 AM: Streeter makes the first and misses the second, but Michael Roll misses a 3 and CS Fullerton gets its first win against UCLA ever. Meanwhile, Saint Mary’s is already up 29-9. Aztec fans across the country let a collective groan

2:28 AM: Wow, CS Fullerton had the ball with a two point lead and 24.2 seconds left. And they couldn’t inbound the ball. It’s a good thing UCLA is shooting 31.7% on the game. Jacque Streeter on the line for a 1-and-1.

2:20 AM: ESPN just showed a UCLA dorm room, where a freshman just bragged to the camera: “We’re still up watching ESPN’s Season Tip-Off.” Still? It’s 11:20 PM in California. And you’re in college. And your team is still playing. Chill out dude, you’ve got a long way to go.

2:18 AM: Aaron Thompson of CSF has 22 points as he hits a bucket to put them ahead of the Bruins by 2. That could be enough, based on the offensive ineptitude of these teams.

2:15 AM: You may be wondering why we haven’t been covering this game from the beginning. Well, we can’t cover TWELVE games in a row; that would be ridiculous. We’re busy people here at NPI. Eleven’s our limit.

2:12 AM: Fittingly, UCLA misses a buzzer-beating 3-pointer at the buzzer (they’re something like 3-19 from beyond the arc tonight). We’re heading to a second OT. Dave Pasch is calling it a “marathon to start the Tip-Off Marathon.” Boy is he excited.

2:09 AM: Well, I haven’t been watching this game for that long, but it has certainly been poorly played. Do we have missed layups? Yes. Turnovers? Yes. Bad rebounding? Yes. With that said, we’re tied at 60 with 26.8 seconds left in OT.

PREVIEW: John S here. I was all ready to bring you the epic showdown between the Gaels of Saint Mary’s and the Aztecs of San Diego State, but here we are with UCLA and Cal State Fullerton in overtime. This is a pretty auspicious start for ESPN’s marathon.

4 responses to this post.

  1. […] And we are… « Live Blogging ESPN’s 24 Hours of College Basketball: Overnight […]


  2. […] of ESPN’s Season Tip Off Marathon. We’ve been covering it since 2 AM. You can check out the Overnight here, the Morning here, and the Afternoon here. For the Evening, both John S and Tim will cover Duke vs. […]


  3. […] said it back in the opening live blog and I’ll keep saying it all year: The best thing about this college basketball season has been […]


  4. […] may remember that last year NPI brought you live-blog coverage of 22 of the 24-hour ESPN Season Tip-Off Marathon. So why aren’t we being as extensive this […]


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