After Colgate polished off Missouri, the hoopsters turned
their attention to Duke in the second round of the 64-team tournament.
Wait a minute here. It was UConn in the first round and the Huskies, while extended, won. What's this second round stuff?
Well, UConn couldn't make it, so Missouri filled in -- and lost to the Red Raiders -- who advanced to play Duke, sure enough.
Oh, you thought this was that NCAA big dance thing. No, no, this is Pizza Hut Hoops, coordinated by Street Ball Partners International to mirror the NCAAs with intramural and pickup teams from all over the country. Colgate was represented by four players from Delta Upsilon's intramural championship squad and if it weren't for a hosing by refs against Duke there might just have been a strain of (three on three) Final Four fever sweeping campus.
After dispatching Sigma Chi in the fraternity division, DU won the overall intramural title by taming the Ragin' Cajuns, a contingent of freshman football players. From among the champs, four players were able to fly to Indianapolis to partake in the Pizza Hut tourney.
"We were a little sluggish for the first game," admits Joe Kasztejna '96.
"We had a taste of Indy the night before," confesses Joe Manhertz '96.
"It was actually a big bite of Indy," clarifies Chuck Scoggin '97.
"Missouri was hitting shots while we were bickering," says Manhertz by way of explaining DUs' 13-7 deficit.
From that point on, with pluck and defense, it was all Colgate. The gap narrowed to 15-13 and after Missouri missed a foul shot Manhertz drained a two-pointer, Scoggin stole the ball leading to a Manhertz layup. Colgate got the ball back on a block to set up Kasztejna's winning hoop.
"It was the first time a 16th seed has beaten a number one," says Manhertz.
A couple of hours later the DUs, outfitted in begged uniforms from the Colgate equipment room, faced a Duke squad, which was lavishly turned out and had advanced with a first round win over Eastern Michigan -- the exact opposite of what had happened in the varsity game.
Duke was taller but Colgate, not surprisingly, was more physical. Scoggin felt there was "a disparity in fouls. It didn't seem like street ball."
"Duke beat us by two, 17-15, and probably scored nine of their points from the foul line," says Kasztejna.
"Being aggressive kind of hurt us," says Manhertz, not the least bit sheepishly.
Mike Stryker '96, the team captain, luckily wasn't in charge of much other than filling out the paper work Pizza Hut required. Asking anyone short of a dean to ride herd on this squad would be unfair duty.
At least some of the questionnaires Stryker was answering were generated by Tad Brown '85, vice president of the sponsorship division of Street Ball Partners International, which is perhaps best-known for Hoop It Up. "We try to take sport to everyman and give the average man the chance to participate." In addition to basketball, the outfit is working with other sports to create similar events nationwide.
"It was great," smiles Joe Manhertz, thinking of the DUs' chance to participate. "We got to see Colgate play UConn, won a game ourselves and experienced some Indy hospitality."
Appears the fellas were hooping it up alright.