A friend called former Seattle University basketball great Eddie O'Brien during halftime of last night's Redhawk visit to Oregon State. When informed that the score was 41-27, O'Brien replied, "Great, we're only down by 14."
The Flyin' O'Briens, around the time they made the Harlem Globetrotters wish they'd stayed home.
Turns out that, in spite of the fact that star forward Charles Garcia was rendered virtually useless due to foul trouble, Seattle U led the Beavers by 14 at half, the same OSU team which suffered near-miss, single-digit losses while visiting both WSU and UW the weekend before, and is coached by Michelle Obama's brother.
If that represented shock, then what would happen in the second half of the game would come to represent a level of stupefaction rivaled only by Seattle U's 84-81 exhibition victory over the Harlem Globetrotters in 1952, a Chieftain (that used to be their nickname, before political correctness led them to the aviary) team led by O'Brien and his twin brother, Johnny.
Garcia picked up his fourth foul shortly after the second half began, ensuring that the Redhawks' leading scorer and rebounder would spend at least the next 10 minutes riding pine, leaving his undersized teammates to preserve the lead. Well, they did more than that: By the time the final horn sounded, Seattle U walked off Ralph Miller Court a 99-48 victor, frustrating their Pac-10 hosts with a multitude of trapping defensive schemes. On the offensive end, the Redhawks were sparked by the diminutive point guard Cervante Burrell, whose merciless series of one-man fast breaks led to 17 points in 22 minutes.
"A 51-point loss at home to Seattle U. is a joke, right? Can't happen, right?" This was the headline following the game posted on The Oregonian's website, above a recap which informed readers that the loss was the worst ever suffered by the OSU on their home floor, and tied the largest margin of defeat on any floor in the school's history (the team began playing in 1901).
"Ain't seen nothing quite like that, huh?'' Seattle U coach Cameron Dollar told The Oregonian. "I haven't.''
The Redhawks have had an up and down year as they try to play their way into a conference for the start of the 2012-2013 season, the first in which they will be eligible for the postseason since the school announced its Division 1 aspirations before the 2008-2009 campaign. But the OSU massacre marks the Redhawks' second major road upset of the year, the first being a late November victory over the University of Utah in Provo.
These are precisely the sort of eye-catching victories that should compel the likes of the Big Sky, Big West, or WCC to roll out the red carpet for Seattle U. when it comes a-knocking in a couple years. More importantly for Seattleites, the Redhawks' annual visit to Hec Ed on January 26 might finally mark the rebirth of a legitimately competitive crosstown rivalry that's been cryogenically frozen since Carter roamed the White House.