hgazette.com, Haverhill, MA

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January 30, 2014

Sport debacles leave me empty

At first, I thought it was a misprint.

Wouldn’t you think so if you saw a college basketball score that read 116-12? Seems the host team Jaguars set an NCAA record by scoring the game’s first 44 points in their blowout over the Tigers.

End result: Southern 116, Champion Baptist 12.

According to my mathematics, the winning team prevailed by a humiliating 104 points over a Baptist team that had the word “Champion” affixed to its name.

As if this wasn’t embarrassing enough, it was blatantly reported for all to see in major newspapers throughout the country along with such top 20 teams as Gonzaga, Kansas, Oklahoma State and Baylor.

Welcome to the world of debacles and doom — a world where the victor is spoiled by the victory. As for the loser, where would you go to save some face?

Certain questions come into play. Why was there such a mismatch in the first place? Couldn’t the score have been more regulated? Was any compassion shown by the Southern coach or his players? Did he intentionally look to run up the score? How long were the regulars on the court?

Turns out this was a Division 1 matchup between an established program and an independent member of the Association of Christian College Athletics which obviously doesn’t make athletics a priority.

It wasn’t until a player sank two free throws 5 minutes before the half ended to get the Tigers on the scoreboard. The points eventually passed the 100 mark with 2:52 left in the second half.

As it turned out, Champion Baptist sank only 3 of 44 shots taken, committed 27 turnovers and was outrebounded 71-21. Not a single Tigers player scored more than four points.

Two previous losses were by 26 points to top-ranked Arizona and 25 points to No. 12 Baylor.

After covering sports for half my journalism life, I have come across games that were too painful to watch. Just peruse the sports section of your favorite paper and you’ll see the lopsided scores being reported.

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