With the USF SunDome undergoing renovation, our intrepid basketball reporter will follow the South Florida basketball team around the USF campus this season, as the team plays its games in different buildings across the campus. Check back after each home game for updates (hopefully).
After a back and forth first half, the USF Bulls used a great rebounding effort and some local magic to pull away from the Florida A&M Rattlers 83-59 Sunday at the reanimated specter of the Special Event Center.
The Special Events Center (SEC), which hosted lectures and concerts, was demolished in 2005 to help make way for the new Marshall Center.
Athletic Director Doug Woolard said the building reanimated due to the lunar eclipse over the weekend.
"After doing some research into the history of the campus," Woolard said "we saw that during a previous eclipse, ghost planes started landing on a reanimated airstrip in the middle of campus, much like the air field that existed at the campus' location before USF was formed"
"So we made an educated guess that with this eclipse the Special Event Center would reanimate, and sure enough it worked out."
"When I looked at the schedule, and saw the SEC on there, I thought, hey, didn't they demolish that building," said coach Stan Heath. "I mean, it's not on the campus map at all.
"But leave it to the creative schedulers at our athletic department to find us another quality venue on on this beautiful campus."
FAMU stayed competitive early despite shooting only 39% from the field in the first half.
"It took us awhile to adjust to the murky atmosphere," said FAMU guard Brandon Hosely, who shot 2-8 from the field.
Hugh Robertson, who got a rare start in place of Ron Anderson, pulled down a career-high 21 rebounds.
"It was like the ball was magically drawn to me," said Robertson. "I mean, really drawn to me. It followed me into the locker room at the half, and even into the shower after the game."
Anderson and Victor Rudd were both late scratches for the game. Anderson was out with the flu. It was initially thought that Rudd also had the flu, but, due to the lunar eclipse, he transformed, phantasmagorically, into a werebull.
"We thought about running some Teenwolf style plays for Victor," said coach Heath, "but the team trainers advised against it."
Notes: Longtime Marshall Center night custodian Sam Brown theorized that the time period of the SEC apparition was the Ziggy Marley Concert in May of 2002.
"This place tonight smells just like that dank herb from that concert," Brown said.
--- The USF Bull topiary, which normally stands in the location of the former SEC building, was seen drinking water at the pond outside WUSF-TV. It then tried to cross Willow Drive, but was struck by a food services delivery truck.
"Good riddance, that thing was fugly," said junior Tamika Richards.
--- A raucous crowd of 3,889 attended Sunday's game.
"It was nice to see the support," said coach Heath. "Now it may have been due to the fact that the majority of the crowd was zombies, but we appreciate any support we can get."
"It's too bad the zombies were the only ones left in the stands at the end, though," said Robertson "It would have been nice if our living fans hadn't left so early."
Among the undead were Alex Rivas and B. B. Waldon.