As a multiple year Iowa Energy ticket holder, I've followed RU to keep tabs on the goings of the D-League, its players and fans. Although a loyal reader, I never had a desire to post until tonight. As your resident player blogger Mike Gansey can attest to, and depending on your opinion, something classic went down in the 2/6/10 Iowa Energy vs Erie BayHawks game. It was "Semi-Pro-esque" and therefore, the reason for a long post.
To start off, there was an announce crowd of 8,368 for this game. The large crowd was due in part to Ames High playing before the game against Sioux City North. They have the #1 recruit in the nation, Harrison Barnes (signed with N.C.) and are undefeated and #1 in the state. I'm sure other reasons for the crowd was that it was a Saturday and the severity of this winter in Iowa has a lot of people looking for things to do to keep their sanity.
The game wasn't all that hot. Iowa was up thirty towards the end of the third quarter. Usually, with a lead that large and the cessation of beer sales, there would be a lot of people in attendance leaving, however, the Energy had a promotion going on: if the Energy scored 90 points the crowed received a free coupon for BK fries. If they scored 100 the crowd got a coupon for a free Whopper.
At the start of the 4th quarter the score was 79-49 and a free Whopper was imminent for the fans, correct? Not so fast my fellow D-League fans. Either Erie was going to try to win a moral victory by denying the fans a free Whopper or the Energy had a horrible forth quarter, but, here's how it went down:
At the 6:40 mark in the 4th, Marvin Phillips hit the 90th and 91st point. FREE FRIES!!! and a free Whopper with a few more buckets. Between this time and seven seconds left in the game, the game announcer is ranting and raving about the Whopper and the crowd is chanting Whopper (clap) (clap) Whopper (clap) (clap); and remember we're talking an announced crowd over 8,000, with many on their feet. At the seven second mark, Iowa is still stuck at 98 points and with 5 seconds left Mark Tyndale of the Energy gets fouled.
If you've watched any of the Energy games on Futurecast, you know Mark isn't taking our technical foul shots. Tyndale steps up to the line and misses the first AND THE CROWD BOOs HIM. I kid you not, the crowd boos the kid (of course ,I assume, most don't realize how hard of a worker/Energy guy, no pun intended, he is and the many times he has stopped the bleeding for the team in games this year). That was one of the low points of the night but I'm sure his free throw shooting will get better sooner rather than later because of this. Anyways, he steps up and hits the second free throw to get to 99 points.
Of course my favorite Energy player (but maybe not LeBron's), Othyus Jeffers, trying to do the fans a solid, immediately fouls Frank Tolbert when Erie inbounds (Iowa's up 22 points mind you but he must think all the snow has killed all the crops and livestock because these Iowans are making a big stink about a sandwich). Tolbert hits the Free-throws and Iowa inbounds the ball to Jeffers dribbles up the court shoots a long three with no seconds left--- MONEY!! Iowa wins 102-78 and most importantly the crowd gets their Whopper!
The crowd went nuts! You would have thought we just won the title. My oldest kid, wife and I just looked at each other and had to laugh. I had to wipe my eyes, it was so funny. I just thought, only in freakin' Iowa. It was something to behold and did make a blowout game fun.
On the post game radio show, you could tell Coach Nurse was somewhat embarrassed by the situation and stated he didn't call for Jeffers to foul with four seconds left. But he also said Erie appeared to understand and take it in stride (maybe Gansey can confirm) and that they probably appreciated being part of the festivities as most nights they (D-League teams) are usually playing in front of way much smaller crowds. Again, sorry for the long post but had to report.
Scott's UPDATE: Here are the highlights: