After UALR beat Arkansas State on Saturday night at the Jack Stephens Center, the student section rushed out onto the court to celebrate. They might have been rushing out to get senior walk-on Ted Crass as much as anything. But should they have been out there?
UALR Athletic Director Chris Peterson doesn’t think so. This is what he had to say this morning on an appearance on KABZ-FM 103.7 in Little Rock:
“First and foremost, I want to apologize to the Arkansas State fans because they’re great fans. They were out in full force and it was a great environment.
“But for us, being the fifth seed going into the Sun Belt Basketball Tournament, you don’t storm basketball courts. That won’t happen again as long as I’m there. Our kids were great. I loved them but you just don’t do that.
“You beat a No. 1 at home or you hit a shot to win a conference tournament or to win the conference, that’s another thing. It was a great game, a great environment. Our students were absolutely fabulous. But you don’t need to storm the court when you’re not the conference champion.”
I can go both ways on this. The student section was as good as it’s ever been – not in numbers but in actions. And anyone participating should be strongly encouraged to come back. But the victory was only a slight upset and didn’t have any effect on the Sun Belt Tournament.
It’s not the first time students have rushed the court in recent years. But the others seemed a bit more appropriate. Here are three that come to mind:
UALR 64, Louisiana-Lafayette 63 (Feb. 26, 2005)
Darius Eason’s buzzer beater gives UALR the East Division championship over Louisiana-Lafayette at Alltel Arena in North Little Rock. It was the final game there before moving to the Jack Stephens Center.
UALR 71, Creighton 69 (Nov. 25, 2008)
UALR rallied from a huge first-half deficit, winning on a basket by Mike Smith in the closing seconds. Creighton wasn’t ranked at the time but was coming off a couple of seasons when they made some national noise.
UALR 79, Arkansas State 77 (Feb. 4, 2010)
Alex Garcia –Mendoza’s 42-footer beat the buzzer as UALR rallied for an improbable victory over Arkansas State at the Jack Stephens Center.