Years ago when I hosted a call in show after Lobos hoops the bumper song I used was "Will the wolf survive?" by Los Lobos. Cool song, appropriate use, I figured.
Now does it apply to the building they play in?
Will there be a revival tonight? All the elements are in place. A highly ranked team in Wake. A red-hot Lobo team with a 10 - 1 record and a lot to prove.
The students in front of the band were primed - bodies painted in red voices riding to Red Menace levels. Numerous NBA scouts in the house to observe the talent on the floor. Heck, famous local hack and now really famous web-hack Andy Katz was in the house!
Yep, just like old times. Will the crowd lift the Lobos like they did vs. #1 Arizona, like they did vs. the ranked Utah teams over the years? The 'PIT' games are vivid in my head and I was anxious for a trip down memory lane.Will Wake wake the echoes of the Pit from the past?
At the start of the game the stands were FULL! The fans roared at the Lobo player intros and greeted the Demon Deacons with chants of 'over-rated'. Everyone was standing as Danny Granger hit a three to open the Lobos scoring. Made enough noise to force Wake to miss three of the first four FT attempts.
A lot of noise the first 4:00 but the Lobos trailed at the first break, 9-5.Wake scored the first two buckets after the break and it was 14-5. Time out Lobos.UNM cuts lead to 16-12 and noise was rising like a wave. A Wake basket calmed it down a bit, 18-14 Wake at 11:17 mark media TO.
A Granger dunk brought the Lobos within 21-18 and the Pit rocked.Wake lead by one, 21-20 at 8:00 mark and the crowd felt like the glory days again.Alfred Neale's baseline drive gave UNM the lead 22-21 but Wake scored the next five-time out Lobos.28-25 Wake at 4:00 media t.o.
The BOOS rattled down after the refs calls a jump ball after a big pile up under the Wake basket.Bones Phaler trying to rip his arm away from Chris Ellis ignited the crowd with the Lobos down 3 with: 40 left.
Granger two FTs with 1.8 left pulled Lobos within three at the half, 36-33.Chotti begins the second half on fire but Wake has an answer and holds a 45-40 lead at 16:00 media TO. As the second half unfolded it was obvious Wake Forset would have to stumble for the Lobos to catch them. Wake did not stumble. If fact they got better while the Lobos struggles from behind the three-point line doomed them.
Chris Paul was awesome. Had an answer for every Lobos rally. Khris Collins drive to the basket made it 53-49 with 11:32 left. Wake called a time out, then proceeded to outscore UNM 28-15 to the final buzzer.
Now to the question of the evening. The Pit WAS back, until the crowd sensed it was futile. There were times that I felt the rattle of the noise. The pen, paper and table in front of me vibrated with sound waves.
I wonder if the Lobos themselves had a little trouble adjusting to the noise. That was the first real, live "Pit game" since most of these current Lobos played on Bob King Court. Chotti was there during those NIT Pit games under Fran Fraschilla in 2001, vs. Baylor and Pepperdine. The Pit was wild on those nights. Maybe the players have to adjust to the pandemonium of the wild Pit home-court advantage.
Yes the Pit was back. This Lobos team is good enough to win the MWC title. Sure, they have their flaws but the Pit crowd could help them win tough conference games. I think this team will live and die by the three. We have had Lobo teams like that in the past that were nationally ranked.
This team will end up with a good record and go to post-season play and people will come!
One sad note, I was sorry to see the crazy students getting hassled by security while they slipped down to the Lobo-Level section after those folks seated in the first row handed their ticket stubs to the students when they left. Hey, it's not the north end zone Red Menace section, that's for sure.