Basketball brings relief for Golden Eagle fans
Published: Thursday, February 14, 2013
Updated: Thursday, February 14, 2013 13:02
One day after losing their second conference game in a row, the Southern Miss men’s basketball team probably didn’t realize it would get worse before it got better. Instead of things getting worse on the court, things got worse off the south side of campus when an EF4 tornado ripped through the community on Sunday.
Things got better, at least for the moment, on Wednesday night as Southern Miss defeated Tulane 71-60- allowing Golden Eagles fans to celebrate for the first time since the disaster.
“That was more than a win. That was more than a win after two losses,” graduate student Taylor McCrary said. “It shed a light of hope on hard core Southern Miss fans.”
New University President Dr. Rodney Bennett, who was introduced by Athletic Director Jeff Hammond, spoke at halftime of the game.
“Thank you to the students and volunteers who came out to restore campus on a day you didn’t have to come out,” Bennett said. “Of the 940 volunteers, 292 were alumni and community members. The other 648 volunteers were students. We collected over 1500 bags of debris. Southern Miss is going to get back to normal because of your commitment to the campus. ”
“Everyone who is here in the Southern Miss community and the Hattiesburg Community- thank you for helping return this campus to normal for tomorrow morning,” Bennett said.
The win gave Southern Miss, as well as the community, something to cling to.
“Whenever something bad happens, its always better if you have something to rally around in order to allow yourself to momentarily escape from the bad and make you smile. Athletics always offers you that,” Hammond said. “The game tonight, as well as the other athletic events this weekend, all allow people to rally around the university. It allows you take a mental and physical timeout to smile and laugh and enjoy something.”
Head coach Donnie Tyndall was appreciative for the 3,700 who were in attendance, and was thankful for the enthusiasm that the crowd showed.
“With a lot of different things going on, I am just thankful and appreciative for the fans who did come out,” Tyndall said. “The greatest thing was that the fans who were here were passionate. That’s all I can ask for.
The basketball team will hit the road this weekend to take on ECU in Greenville, NC. The rest of the community, however, will continue to rebuild, restore, and recover.
As Bennett said, “Southern Miss to the top—that’s going to get us through this.”