BYU takes on Seton Hall at the Marriott Center. The game is intriguing because Seton Hall has come all the way from New Jersey to play in the BYU Holiday Classic. How they ended up here is a mystery too me. The Marriott Center is only fractionally full and I land a seat about ten rows up next to Liberty Flames coach Randy Dunton whose team has just lost three straight games in the Holiday tournament. Needless to say he's not happy with the results. Having just lost to both BYU and Seton Hall I quickly ask him "who is going to win this game?"
"You kidding me? It's eight on five. BYU," he responds. I am not so certain as we both know Seton Hall has one of the top rated freshman in the country in point guard Eugene Harvey. He thinks I'm a BYU fan, but I correct him and say I'm just a basketball fan. He can tell as I actually know a few things about his Big South Conference and about schools other than BYU. I like Seton Halls quickness. Brown vs. Board of Eduction may have been decided decades ago, but it hasn't drifted to these two ecumenical schools. BYU has 10 white kids and two black kids while Seton Hall has 11 black kids and 1 white kid.
Seton Hall opens up an eight point lead and extends it to double digits in the second half. I tell Coach Dunton I think Seton Hall has better players and thats going to determine the game. He chuckles, and continues, "not in the Marriot Center they don't." His comments are mostly based on personal experience and he knows that with three Mountain West Conference officials doing this game BYU could pretty much beat anybody. I'm still skeptical, but as the one time coach of the year in the Big South Conference points out BYU is in the bonus less than five minutes into the second half. "That'll negate that quickness factor," he says.
We agree that Seton Hall is probably 20 points better than BYU on a neutral floor and I hold my belief that they will even be better tonight in Provo.
At the 12 minute time out in the second half Seton Hall has an 8 point lead. Coach Dunton announces during the time out that at the next time out (8 minute mark) BYU will be leading. The claim seems a little much and I'm skeptical.
At the eight minute time out the score is tied!
"Why does Seton Hall take a road game in Provo with Mountain West officials anyway?" I ask the head coach of the Flames.
"Simple, they get three games that count only as one on their schedule and with a new coach, they probably didn't have a schedule in place so they just needed games." Dunton replies.
Jerry Falwell could not have been more prophetic on his own evangelical network on this night. BYU cruises down the stretch to a 78-67 victory.
Tuesday I go back to the mortgage business, Coach Dunton has Florida next week. "We need the money." he says. So do I.