BROOKLYN, NY - The day after Thanksgiving, a day known to us as ‘Black Friday.’
A day shoppers go in a state of delirium melting the fantastic plastic, credit cards that is, running up expenses to mirror the national debt. On this day, the NIT Preseason Tip-Off held its consolation and finals.
For the second straight year, the venue was Barclays Center in Brooklyn. An attractive locale in its own right, the move still bucks tradition. For years the NIT, pre- and postseason, has been synonymous with Madison Square Garden. Following the move to early rounds at campus sites, the ‘World’s Most Famous Arena’ still claimed home for the tournament final four. Tradition aside, there were two games on tap.
The recurring theme of these games on this pleasant afternoon was the ‘r’ word: Resolve, resilience. Florida State a day earlier blew a huge lead and a potential game-winner with seconds left. In the third-place game they fought off an early challenge to dispatch Illinois, leaving Brooklyn with a split.
The championship saw Temple build a 20-point halftime lead. West Virginia stormed back, taking a lead in the stretch. The Owls quickly regrouped, got the lead back and held on to claim the title. Fran Dunphy’s Temple team, the one that mastered the comeback a day ago, stopped another such rally by making the plays as those final seconds ticked away.
Another thrilling NIT finish. An 81-77 decision for Temple. Another chapter to the storied tournament. While the setting wasn’t the Garden, as West Virginia and Temple battled in that frenzied final half; for those special moments, the site was forgotten. The concentration on the 94-by-50-foot area where two worthy combatants gave us a game to remember.
Entertainment on the subway en route to Barclays Center:
A panoramic view as Florida State takes on Illinois:
The Williamsburg Pizza stand, perhaps out of dough at this particular time:
Temple coach Fran Dunphy studies the action as official Ed Corbett looks on:
Temple cheerleaders getting good instruction before a timeout:
Game action as Temple battles as West Virginia:
Obi Enechionyia with a free throw to ice it for Temple:
A victorious Temple team celebrates their NIT Preseason Tip-Off title: