This should be a day to enjoy, especially considering how dominating we were against long-time rival Long Beach State. However, it's just not to be right now as the heart-and-soul of this team, Hardy Aspilla, went down with a knee injury.
I didn't see the play so I can't say with any certainty how severe the injury. We do know he couldn't put any weight on his right leg and had to be carried off the floor during the game and carried out of the gym after. Hardy is not one for attention like this so it does not look good. X-rays and a possible MRI likely won't be known until Monday, after the swelling has gone down.
I just wish Hardy nothing but the best and I want him to know we appreciate everything he has done for this program. He is a tremendous competitor and one of the toughest players in the Big West. It sickens me to think that two players, Vili Morton of UCR and now Hardy, who have played inspired ball and have really stepped up their game, could lose their final years to injuries. Life isn't fair sometimes.
Commenting on the game itself right now just doesn't seem right but here is my best effort.
Turnaround for JB
I am always amazed how a player can look so uninspired in one game and then come out and play like Jamaal Brown did last night. He looked two steps quicker, rebounded with authority (a couple were Pape Sow-like) and played some pretty good defense. His offensive moves had the 49ers running in circles in the first half. He was a completely different player. With or without Hardy, we need JB to continue this type of play.
I'll take it King-size, please
With Ralphy and LB struggling -- well, okay, they weren't really struggling, but stay with me here -- Yaphett King stepped up in a big way by hitting four threes. All of them seemed to be big blows which stopped any Long Beach State momentum. 20 points, 5 rebounds and 5 assists earned him a tie with JB as player of the game.
Okay, onto Ralphy Holmes and Bobby Brown. A combined 28 points (13 for 26), 16 assists and 5 rebounds isn't 'struggling' but they just didn't seem to have their 'A' games. It's impossible to ignore the 12 assists LB dished out but when he starts hitting those three's again (he's 4 for 16 in last 3 games), watch out.
As for Ralphy, like King, he had a couple big shots but missed some inside stuff that he normally gets. If they continue to struggle like this the rest of the season I will be happy and we will have our first winning season in 12 years.
refs (They don't deserve the full spelling)
It is getting out of control and the Big West really needs to look at the obvious and blatant bias towards Cal State Fullerton in historic Titan Gym. It was as if they were looking at the scoreboard and doing everything they possibly could to keep Long Beach State within striking distance. Titan players would have none of it. They just kept playing their game and pretty much ignored it. Titan fans, however, didn't take it so well.
Would rather be creative
I'm sure this has to do with the fact that I am the only one in Section K with kids under 10 but I really wish we could stop the throwing of the F-Bombs (and the F doesn't stand for Fullerton). No matter how bad the calls, I think the more creative chants have a much better shot at getting our point across. Even the not-so-creative, but very persistent "These-Refs-Suck" chants are better. Much better.
Section K's best comes out when they come up with stuff like "Viva Asprilla" and "Free Throw (or garbage-time) All-Star". There were a couple others which escape me right now but you get the point. I just hate it when my son comes home after games and starts yelling, "You're a F-*%$in' hack mom!"
Another fun game to watch and any win in our program is a good win but the sting of the Hardy injury is pretty tough to deal with right now.