The Hours We Were All Florida Gulf Coast University Basketball Fans


For the first time in program history Friday night, the Syracuse Orange became a Cinderella and upset the No. 2-seeded Georgetown Hoyas in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Don't understand? Well, lets relive the ride thanks to Florida Gulf Coast University.

The practice of living vicariously through something else is something sports fans do commonly.

It is a way to escape from our usually dull lives and accomplish something we will never in our lives get to do.

In the case of Syracuse Orange men's basketball fans, they will, more than likely, never get a chance to watch their program earn a No. 15 seed in the NCAA Tournament, thus, eliminating any chance of being one of March's amazing Cinderella stories.

On Friday night, the Florida Gulf Coast Eagles gave all Syracuse fans an opportunity to become a Cinderella and accomplish what seemed to be impossible, taking it to and beating the Orange's arch-rival, the No. 2-seeded Georgetown Hoyas, 78-68, in a second-round NCAA Tournament game in Philadelphia, Pa.

The Eagles, in their second year of NCAA Division I eligibility, not only shocked the college basketball world, but did so in a fashion that not even Disney could make up.

It all began with FGCU fighting off an early seven-point deficit in the first half. The momentum of battling with the most physically frustrating team in the nation carried on into the second half and grew after forward Eddie Murray flushed home this put-back with 16:33 remaining in the contest.



A 22-4 run by the Eagles helped them earn a 17-point lead with about 10 minutes to go, which was plenty of time for the talented Hoyas to make a run.

See, the problem with living vicariously through something is the stomach turns and rise in blood pressure is the same as if you or your team is trying to accomplish the feat.

So, when Georgetown trimmed FGCU's lead to six points with just under three minutes remaining it was time to prepare for a heart-attack finish.

When the Hoyas cut the lead to 65-58 with about two minutes to go, as a Syracuse fan, you probably feared the worst because, personally, you've been down this road before. (And now, you were emotionally invested and probably thinking, "Crap! Is my Syracuse bad luck rubbing off on the Eagles? Eeeeek.")

But then something absolutely insane happened -- Chase "freakin'" Fieler.

After that, it was nothing but free throw after free throw (hitting back-iron, top of the backboard, rattling around and) going in.

Markel Starks tried his best Gerry McNamara impression, but Starks is no McNamara. The Eagles were going to win this thing! (Syracuse fans) had knocked off a No. 2 seed in the NCAA Tournament!

In no time in the history of Syracuse hoops have Orange fans been more welcoming to Georgetown into a club than Friday night. That 1991 loss to the Richmond Spiders can no longer be held over the Orange(men)'s heads.

The Hoyas season ended with a loss to Syracuse in the semifinals of the Big East Tournament and a vicarious upset to the FGCU Eagles.

For a couple hours Friday Syracuse fans were all FGCU fans, and in the end could proudly proclaim, "Georgetown sucks."



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