Editor’s note: This week’s Sports on the Quad post is about the ups and downs of the Daily Bruin’s intramural basketball team. There are, unfortunately, more downs than ups.
The mood entering Sunday’s prime time intramural basketball matchup at Pauley Pavilion was hopefully optimistic. The mood leaving it, not as much.
The mercy rule ended the first game of a doubleheader evening three minutes early for the Daily Bruin men’s basketball team. Unanswered Hail Mary inbounds passes, pick-and-no-rolls and a run-and-chuck offense that featured far more chucking than running resulted in a 53-15 drubbing.
“You guys played with a lot of heart,” said referee Oren Rosen.
The basket, however, was heartless, sending away shot after shot from the hapless newspaper staffers. Midway through the second half, assistant sports editor and coach Korbin Placet estimated his team’s shooting percentage to be around 6 percent.
“You guys aren’t rebounding, every shot you take you haven’t made it,” Placet said. “You guys aren’t aggressive enough, and you guys also aren’t good passers.”
Add to that several handfuls of untimely turnovers and defensive miscommunications and Placet felt his team needed his harsh reality check to get back on the winning path.
The thing is, it’s been over a year since the Daily Bruin team has won an intramural basketball game, maybe longer. So perhaps it’s not as much about getting back on the winning path as it is about finding one in the first place. And the best way to forge a victory road out of the wild frontier that is Independent B league basketball is with frequent, intense practices.
“It fluctuates depending on schedules and what-not, but we try to get in a good five hours a week,” team captain and assistant sports editor Matt Cummings said. “I would say we might ramp it up to five and a half. I think that’s probably a 38-point swing if we get that extra half-hour.”
The fitness proved to be crucial during the second game. Fatigued and hungry, the Daily Bruin team managed to improve their scoring by 173 percent from the first game and even held a three-possession lead over their challenger at halftime. A long-overdue victory seemed imminent, but it was not to be.
California may be in a water crisis, but the state’s predicament pales in comparison to the offensive drought that struck the writers. Their sizeable lead vanished soon after the opening possession, the game tied with less than a minute to play. An errant pass spoiled a last offensive effort, and the journalists had to play their signature average defense if they hoped to come away with a draw.
As time expired, a rushed perimeter opponent launched a high-arching 3-point shot that banked in off the backboard, leaving Daily Bruin players once again subject to the hilarity of the basketball gods. Some laughed, some cried, others displayed the surrender cobra and one was awarded a technical foul for a rather forceful removal of his IM jersey.
The newspaper squad has a three-week hiatus from competition to get over the tough break before they play their season finale. With playoff hopes dashed, it’s time for them to think long and hard about what kind of team they want to be remembered as. After all, the Daily Bruin only needs one win to claim its best record in recent IM basketball history.
“It’s just about getting back to the little things,” Cummings said after the 38-point loss. “We really ought to play Daily Bruin basketball.”