374 miles later: Crazies stick together

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Photo by Kyle Gorcey

Ducks are not the only group of similar creatures that travel in groups.

Kentucky basketball earned a date with the Colonials last March in what would be the deciding factor of the “most popular” event on campus, an NIT berth that scheduled a date with destiny derived from a venue conflict at Rupp Arena.

Fate decided to enter the equation and 3,444 fans of all ages packed the Charles L. Sewall Center for the biggest game of their lives.

On one side, Wildcat fans from Lexington stood firmly in their place above the upper echelon of college basketball. The polar opposite sat fans that weren’t just college basketball enthusiasts, but fans hungry for popularity, relevance and success.

Stemming from the craziness that is “#RMCMB” begins with the Colonial Crazies. Together, they travel as a gang on a mission.

Alan Buehler, former Robert Morris Student and a current representative of the university, was a former contributor to the Crazies.

“I just wanted to keep up the momentum. Getting people to want to go to games is a big thing and that’s been kind of our challenge. The first two years on campus, people knew about it, but didn’t really care and just went because their friends went,” said Buehler.

During the first round meeting in the NIT last season, Buehler dressed up as Moses and began to part the Red Sea of Colonial Crazies in the stands. Needless to say, the video went viral on YouTube and on campus.

“I still have the stitches and the scar mark from that, but yes, I think that was a big stamp I put on the Robert Morris campus was that short little video.”

In his absence, other college students took the charge to continue the tradition. Not so much reminiscing certain religious figures, but perhaps the occasional 374-mile drive from Moon Township to Lexington in a rainstorm.

Reminiscing from March 19th brings both happiness and sadness to the table. That was the first ever victory against the big-time college basketball program, however many seniors departed the team that held high responsibility off the court in conjunction with their on-court presence.

Velton Jones, Russell Johnson, Treadwell Lewis, Shane Sweigart, Coron Williams and Lijah Thompson all graduated in the spring of 2013 with a legacy left behind that won’t be forgotten.

In the memorable matchup against the Wildcats, junior forward Mike McFadden hit a pair of free throws with 8.7 seconds left to help lift the Colonials to a 59-57 victory in the first round of the National Invitational Tournament.

Forward Lucky Jones paced the Colonials with 15 points, while Johnson added 14 points and five rebounds. The ending of the game concluded with an emphatic punch to the basketball near mid-court after Kyle Wiltjer, former Wildcat forward, missed a 3-point shot with less than two seconds to play.

The Crazies, just like last night, walked from their dormitories and apartments around campus to congregate as one with their family. This time, a bus traveled through four states to reach the confines they call “home.”

Junior Carolyn Webster recollected about last year’s rendezvous with Kentucky with only smiles and a few battle scars to gloat about.

“The best memory I had was getting trampled, because I didn’t know how fast storming the court happened and I left on a stretcher and nearly fractured my back again.”

Robert Morris basketball battled through adversity Sunday night. However, it is that instance of peril and apprehension that builds a team from within. Before round two of Kentucky, five men played their fourth Division I game that night.

The youth speaks for itself in an atmosphere of history and stardom.

Amidst the loss and the way it happened, the 35 Colonial Crazies on the trip still have room to cheer.

At one point, a Kentucky student talked to Marissa Dubiach and told her, “”You guys have the BEST fans who have been here as a opposing team!”

Without a “W” in the most important column, Crazies fans will hold their head high.

Remember, Colonial Crazies, like ducks, fly together.