Back in 2004, Rutgers went on a magical run to the NIT Final Four. The Big Ten Network is airing one of the most exciting games of that run, the semifinal game against Iowa State. I'm watching it, so I'll break it down diary style.
Gary Waters is dressed well, as usual. Says team has to shut down transition.
20:00: Starting line-up. Herve Lamizana, Sean Axani, Quincy Douby, Ricky Shields and Maquis Webb. Douby and Webb were just freshman, and I think this was one of the first games when Douby started, if you can believe that. Most of his freshman year, he came off the bench. In fact, Bill Raftery is talking Herve as the star. That would change in 2 years (partly because Herve was gone, but also because Douby was... insane.)
19:50: Iowa State opts for a 2-3 zone, which saddens Raftery immensely. They also score first on an easy lay-up. But RU breaks the press and Douby hits an off balance three.
18:45: Herve takes an off balance 3, but clearly his Allan Iverson sleeve has caused his aim to be off. Iowa State with a dunk. Iowa State opens up an early 6-3 lead, which is annoying 10 years later.
17:46: Axani hits a foul line jumper. As the guy who sits behind me would say "All heart, that kid. All heart."
17:30: The lead man on Iowa States press waves his arms like he's directing an airplane. Axani hits a lay-up with his heart. It was weird.
16:45: Herve. Teardrop. RU up 3. It's 2004, man. But now it's tied. Still 2004. My nerves need to chill out. Stupid extra coffee.
16:10: Douby hits a 3 from Nebraska. Ricky Shields shows an ability to get to the rim. I don't remember him doing that much.
15:00: The Scarlet Knights open up a 6 point lead and MSG erupts. No seriously, they erupted. If this team ever really got basketball going again.... sigh. The Scarlet Knights fans TOOK OVER the Garden that week. It was crazy.
13:47: Lots of goatees on this team. 2004 was a special time, wasn't it?
12:43: Marquis Webb hits a runner and gets fouled. Meanwhile, Douby stands at the 3 point line, wide open, hands in the air. This will be a recurring theme throughout their career.
12:15: Douby hit s a 3 from the Knicks' Locker Room. This will also be a theme throughout his career. 25-16 Rutgers. Rutgers has made 10 of 13 shots. Seriously, this offense clicked that year. If only Ricky Shields had boxed out against Virginia Tech.
11:36: Saying "if only" will become a running theme throughout my Rutgers basketball fan career.
7:06: Juel Wiggan sighting! Juel Wiggan was a classic Gary Waters player. Got solid minutes, looked great in out-of-conference on offense. Play good defense the rest of the time.
6:05: Adrian Hill sighting! One of my favorites. Rebounder. Monsterous Dunks. Knee injuries! If only...
5:09: Douby has 14 points. Most of them on shots he hit from the D Train.
4:17: Webb dribbles for a while, ignores open players, takes 3, misses. So much Eli Carter in Marquis Webb on that possession.
2:49: Herve schools an Iowa State player. Which is good, because Rutgers is a better college than Iowa State. *ducks*
1:56: If only Axani had used his hands instead of only his heart, he would have made that lay-up. RU up 38-29. Gary Waters stands up and coaches. Sits back down.
1:00: Douby steals the ball, dunks it. Iowa State misses and Rutgers has the ball. Gary Waters says Rutgers should play for 1. Shot clock violation. So, um, they played for none.
:15: They preview MLB's 2004 opener. Oh, right. This was before... The Collapse. *single tear* Rutgers goes into half up 10. Douby with 16. I'm sure he's done scoring for the day.
SPOILER: He isn't.
The Big Ten Network commercials are pretty terrible.
20:00: This game was on ESPN 2. Couldn't even make the flagship network. The Cyclones turn the ball over to start the half.
18:50: Herve's headband travels.
18:22: Raftery finally gets to say something nice about Iowa State player Sullivan.
17:55: Stinson starting to heat up for Iowa State. I remember this... I don't like this feeling. And now more dunks for the Cyclones and Gary Waters calls timeout. He does not hug anyone in the huddle.
17:28: Iowa State has a guy named Vroman. Or as I like to call him, 5roman.
17:04: Iowa State cuts the lead to one on a textbook fast break and then Douby foul. Are we sure this is a classic Rutgers game? *checks TV guide*
16:12: Douby misses a three from France. We have found the extent of his range.
15:34: The energy in MSG is amazing. I'd kill for this to happen again*.
*I would not really kill someone for Rutgers basketball to succeed. You won't get a motive out of me, copper.
11:26: Douby with a 3 from London. Only a hair closer. Rutgers is down 1. Douby passes to Axani who misses another lay-up. Stop with the heart, USE YOUR HANDS.
10:49: I believe (douby-lieve) Rutgers played the Dasani Water All Stars in the pre-season game in 2004. That lead to many puns from my buddy and I up in the rafters of the RAC. Byron Joynes sighting--big man who's claim to fame was he played with LeBron in high school!
9:57: Joynes is fouled trying to make a lay-up. I'd imagine this trip to the free throw line will be an adventure. ESPN (2) focuses on one of ISU's assistant coaches during a timeout for some reason. #narrativefail Raftery is talking about bestsellers. Joynes at the line.... makes one. Raftery now talking about Schiano. Bob Mulcahy sighting. Joynes makes the second due to my 10 years later reverse jinx. Seriously, this blog is a time machine. (Rutgers won't go to the NCAA in 2014-15. No way.)
9:29: Close-up on ISU coach Wayne Morgan. He looks terrified for some reason.
8:51: Juel Wiggans one, but Axani finally uses his hands and Rutgers is up 3.
8:32: Douby to the bench. Raftery says he has to pay his dues a little bit. HRMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMMM.
7:25: Ricky Shields gets fired going to the rim. Douby has 21 and is on the bench with cramps. I'm sure he won't come ba--HERE COMES QUINCY DOUBY. No wonder Wayne looks scared. Shields makes both free throws. Still a 3 point game.
6:56: Ricky Shields has decided to keep getting fouled. This team was pretty good. Just short of NCAA good. If only....I think Raftery just said someone had flesh eating ability.
6:39: I just wanted to type 5roman again. And he just got a technical, which sends MSG into hysterics. Oh no wait... it was Homan who got the T. Who the heck is Homan?
5:38: Stinson ties it. He now has 20. Douby hasn't touched the ball in a while.... we're due. Oh Douby with a lay-up and a foul. THIS BLOG IS A TIME MACHINE WITH THE ABILITY TO CHANGE THE PAST AND FUTURE BECAUSE OF REVERSE JINX.
5:13: Every time Douby thinks he's being pulled from the game, he whines a just a little bit. I don't remember that detail ten years ago. Probably because at this point in the game I was in the fetal position, praying.
4:35: Close up on Wayne Morgan. He may have just farted. (Sorry, I rarely do toilet humor.)
4:15: Axani has trouble defending Hroman. No word on if he can defend 5roman.
2:58: Herve ties the game, but then fouls Stinson to set up a 3 point play. ARE WE SURE THIS IS A RUTGERS CLASSIC, BIG TEN NETWORK*?
*Please tell me you've all seen this game before and are laughing now.
2:31: DOUBY FOR THREEEEEEEEEEEEEEE FROM SOUTH DAKOTA.
1:30: Rutgers is bailed out by a charging call on Stinson on a fast break.
1:15: Douby to Hill. Yeah, he gets even better at that later. DUNNNNNK.
1:01: Marquis Webb puts Rutgers up 3 from the free throw line. Douby gets fouled. I'm pretty sure this game goes into OT, so it must be a pretty big meltdown from the foul line for RU late.
:47: Rutgers is up 5. ISU makes a 3. Webb gets fouled on a triple team. Webb makes 1. Wayne Morgan makes some more funny faces. Webb misses the 2nd. Stinson gets fouled. Makes first with :20.8 left. Makes 2nd.
19.2: Rutgers can't inbound the ball. A problem that has plagued them for 10 years since.
11.2: Up 1, Shields, the junior guard, goes the line and makes the first. How the heck does ISU actually tie this game? He makes the second. FOULD GARY FOUL.
4.4: ISU makes a freaking 3 off balance. Oh, I remember. My stomach hurt then, it's kind of uncomfy now.
1.3: Marquis Webb walks on the inbound. Read that again. Now imagine my pain and anguish 10 years ago.
0.0: ISU misses a 3 and we're going to
5:00: Gary Waters looks like a man confused about what's going on. It's called basketball Gary. Ricky Shields doesn't know how to lay the ball in. On the fast break Stinson scores again and ISU takes a 2 pt. lead. I was catatonic in 2004.
3:36: Douby with a tear drop to tie it. That tear drop will get better and better over the next 3 seasons.
2:53: Douby gets fouled because he tried to pass the ball. Stinson fouls out with 32 points. Douby strokes his goatee and both free throws.
2:26: ISU goes to the line. Jake Sullivan makes both free throws, but he doesn't have a goatee.
1:42: Juel Wiggan is in the game for some reason. Did Webb foul out or something? Doesn't matter because Axani is all heart and hands. Lay-up city.
:53: Ricky Shields fouls a guy. 5roman has cramps. I just want to type Myles Mack and Kadeem Jack's names while we wait. ISU at the line. John Neal comes in, chewing gum. He, too, is goatee-less. This is taking forever. SHOOT THE FREE THROWS. Neal misses the first. And second. Rutgers is up 2 still.
33.9: Douby is fouled. He has 34 points. He will finish the game with 35. His legend will grow. His goatee too, because that's how nature works.
20: Jakes Sullivan misses a 3. Rutgers rebounds. There's a tie-up and it's still ISU ball.
6: Sullivan misses a 3 to tie it. Marquis Webb didn't foul out because he rebounded the ball. Rutgers wins. Gary Waters shakes hands, but no hugs. Breakfast isn't served.
Rutgers will go on to face Michigan in the final game. Rutgers loses that game, even though it is a close battle. If you want to relive some pain, you can watch that game on YouTube. This game and season were one of the last really fun seasons for Rutgers hoops fans. Two years later, Douby will leave for the NIT and Gary Waters will be fired.
Fred Hill takes over and the team goes into the tank. You can read that oral history here.
Like mystery novels? Read Dave White's crime novels on your e-Reader. When One Man Dies is available on Kindle, Nook and anywhere else e-books are sold. You can also find the Shamus Award nominated The Evil That Men Do and the best selling Witness to Death in the same places. Cheaper than Starbucks coffee!
Comments, opinions, you can reach Dave here.