Saturday, November 18, 2006

Day three: November 17, 2006 – Let the games begin!

Hello there! The first day of play was fantastic. A crazy day for the staff, but everything seemed to go well with very few problems. We had a lot to do and thankfully, lots of people to help to do it.

Here is a quick update from yesterday’s four games:
Game #1 Alabama 71 Middle Tennessee St. 62
In the first game of the 2006 Paradise Jam, MTSU was able to pull even with the Crimson Tide, but No. 10 Alabama, lead by Ronald Steele’s 20 pts., were able to hold off the upset minded Blue Raiders. High scorers: Ronald Steele (UA) 20 pts.; Tim Blue (MTSU) 13 pts.

Game #2 Iowa 78 Toledo 65
The two Midwest teams played a physical and fast game to finish out the afternoon rounds. Although Toledo scored 27 points on turnovers, Iowa’s inside game wore down the Rockets in the end. Iowa’s Tyler Smith led the way with 28 pts. Justin Ingram led Toledo with 22 pts.

Game #3 Xavier 70 Virginia Commonwealth 67
Xavier and VCU put on a show for the Paradise Jam crowd with their intense defense and hustle in a game which kept fans on the edge of their seats until the final 10 seconds. Xavier had four of its five starters score in double figures while VCU was able to overcome a 14 point deficit to come within one late in the game behind the 21 points of B.A. Walker.

Game #4 Villanova 81 College of Charleston 68
Villanova had a strong second half, eventually building an 18 point lead, to defeat College of Charleston in the final game of the first day of men’s play. Senior, Curtis Sumpter tallied a game high 17 points for the Wildcats. Top scorer for CofC was Josh Jackson with 13 points.

As each game went on, the crowds grew larger and larger—I have a suggestion for any basketball game played on the mainland—play calypso music during time outs and half time. You can’t help but have a great time to sounds of kettle drums and island music! I am impressed with how many locals came to the games; in fact, Paradise Jam set an attendance record in the evening games with nearly 2,500 fans. The St. Thomas crowds seem to love the high flying men's collegiate game.

With the final game not ending until nearly midnight, it was a long but successful day for everyone here. Today, all the winning teams will go out on a catamaran tour and do some snorkeling and sightseeing. All of us staff were able to sleep in a little and maybe catch some sunshine and beach time, since we only have two games tonight: MTSU vs. Toledo at 7:00 pm, and Virginia Commonwealth vs. College of Charleston at 9:30 pm. Time to hit the beach for me—check back for updates tomorrow!

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