AU makes alumni proud

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EaglesTennessee

\ Along with a colleague this afternoon, I checked out the second half of the game on the second floor of Clyde’s.\

\ The organizers expected 50.\

\ Nearly 300 turned out.\

\ The buffet spread had long since been destroyed. The tubs holding cold beer had been emptied. And it was loud.\

\ One recent graduate estimated the crowd was half graduates from the last 2-3 years and half from 10-plus years ago.\

\ “And a lot of us are on a two-hour lunch break,” the grad said. “I didn’t think it would be this close for this long.”\

\ The alumni watched the game on three flat-screen televisions.\

\ Several alumni said watching No. 15 seed Belmont lose 71-70 to No. 2 seed Duke gave them hope for an American upset. The Eagles were making their first-ever NCAA tournament appearance (Division I).\

\ Although they never led in the second half, the Eagles certainly got their fans’ hopes up. Down 48-40 with 9:10 remaining, the room was quiet, as if the fans were thinking what I was thinking: “Heckuva effort, but reality has set in.”\

\ But then eight straight points, punctuated by consecutive 3-pointers and the room erupted … for a few seconds. A Tennessee triple made it 53-49. AU would score next to make it 53-51 Vols. With 1:38 remaining, people started applauding, acknowledging AU’s effort.\

\ — Ryan O’Halloran

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Ryan O'Halloran

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