“Jam the Gym” kicked off with a low turnout but big thrills on Saturday. A Bi-Mart sponsored basketball event at Lane that supports FOOD for Lane County, the double header featured 200 free rally towels for participants and half time shootouts for a free beverage.
Even with all of this support for the community and fans, the attendance for the game was roughly 125 people. “We’ve had a high near 800, give or take, and usually it’s right around 400,” Director of Athletics and women’s head coach Greg Sheley stated about past turnouts. Athletic Coordinator Brent Ellison speculated that the low attendance was due to competing events that contributed to the lowest numbers in the event’s 10 year history. “Well it depends upon what else is going on in town,” he said before the game as he talked about the unusually sunny day. “I’m worried about today. I keep looking out there, look at how nice it is!”
In turn, the low number count affected the donations for FOOD for Lane County without any barrels not even being filled halfway. But that’s not the only way that the Lane Athletics Department gives back — their Coca-Cola Freestyle machine, the only one in a college on the West Coast, helps raise money for the department and encourage sustainability.
“I think last term we saved over 4700 cups,” Sheley said. “Cups, straws and lids that did not go to landfill because of the reusable cup. So that was kind of cool.” As a new product to the school, the athletics department is still not sure of the financial returns. “We just started doing this literally Sept. 28-29,” Ellison stated. “We’re not going to know, really, until the end of the year.”
However, the audience didn’t have to wait that long for the games. After dropping off their food donations, grabbing a drink and picking up a rally towel, they sat down to watch the Lane Titans play the Clark Penguins.
With a fumbled tip-off, the women’s game signaled a rather rough start. Though the Titans were ahead, things became particularly heated in the second quarter with Sheley and the referees. After making a comment about how the refs seemed to want to go home early because of their calls, he was given a technical and Clark was allowed two shots from the free-throw line. “That’s the first call you’ve gotten right,” Sheley responded, much to the amusement of the audience. When asked about the call, Sheley simply responded, “I deserved it.”
But the uncharacteristic outset didn’t last long. Building their 12 point lead at the half to as much as 30, the Titans took their usual reins and rode the lightning bolt to a strong finish of 71-44. Yet the ride wasn’t over.
After a 20 minute interlude, the men were up and fighting. Hitting the Lane Titans like a sugar rush, the first half started as a quick lead for the first four minutes then sunk to a 10 point deficit of 36-46 at the half. With the wind seemingly out of the Titan’s sails, it looked like the 11-10 team was leaning towards breaking even.
But then there was the second half. Still down by six points after three minutes, the men’s game took a drastic turn when guard forward Chase Iwate-Bartelme began splitting the defense. On fire like Mississippi cajun, Iwate-Bartelme put up three back-to-back layups unanswered. Titans guard/forward Andrew Smith and guard Ahmad Jones added fuel to the flame by contributing to a total of 10 points unanswered before Clark had to call a timeout. From then on, it was a shootout. Both teams ended up tying 83-83 at the end of regulation.
Overtime was just as fantastic. Leading the charge after the tip-off, Jones quickly banked a layup for two and the Titans were once again on top. Clark took back the lead with 15 seconds left. With 3.3 seconds left and a score of 90-93, Titan guard/forward Cade Cattell took the ball, attempted a three point jump shot, and was fouled. Missing the initial shot, the final chance for the Titans came down to the free-throw line. After making a quick first point, Cattell dribbled once, twice, three times and missed the second attempt. Bouncing off of the rim, the ball sailed off the backboard with the final hopes of the Titan basketball team.
Making the third and final shot, Cattell rounded out the final score to 92-93 for a Lane Titan loss against the Clark Penguins. The next game for the Lane Titans will be on Wednesday, Feb. 15 against the Umpqua Riverhawks in Building 5.