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Basketball - Blackham: Fans remember when ...

Basketball - Blackham: Fans remember when ...


Cajuns vs. Soviet Union
The Cajuns played the Soviet Union in an exhibition before the 1979 season when I was 9 years old. I had seen black-and-white photographs in the Daily Advertiser, but this was my first game live and in-person. For a 9-year-old standing on the railing of the concourse, right above the student bleachers, this was very, very exciting. Andrew Toney was in his senior year, so I was able to see him play before he got drafted by the 76ers and turned pro. As I recall, the Cajuns lost the game, but they had a very strong rally late in the second half and almost closed a big deficit.
Ian Edmundson
Redwood City, CA

Love of the game
My wife Phyllis and our 4-month-old son wrapped in a heavy blanket, sat in the temporary bleachers directly behind the player's bench. We knew Marvin, Elvin and Leslie personally. With seconds on the clock, Winkler hit the game winning basket. Everyone stormed the court. I saw my wife jumping up and down, hugging everyone in sight. When we began hugging each other we noticed neither had “Buster" our son. There he was, laying on those bleachers alone and on the top seats. I guess that must have been the moment he fell in love with basketball.
Lyle Mouton Sr.

Many memorable moments

The night Bo Lamar poured in 62 against Northeast in double overtime. As his scoring total climbed, I left my seat high in Blackham's smoke-filled ceiling and went closer to the court. Finally, I ended up standing right behind then-SID Bob Henderson at the scorer's table. I wasn't alone.


Bo Lamar hitting a halfcourt jump shot‚ at the buzzer, to beat a scrappy Yale team in the semifinals of the Bayou Classic. Most people heave the ball from halfcourt. Bo took his normal jump shot. His range was uncanny. Fans stormed the floor and hoisted Bo on their shoulders.


The incredible sound that was made on that portable hardwood floor when athletes the size and speed of Bo Lamar, Marvin Winkler, Payton Townsend, Wilbert “Tree" Lofton, Roy Ebron, Fred Saunders, and Garlin “Big G" Williams ran back and forth. It was a combination of squeaking shoes and sonic booms.


Most Odd Memory — The night “Big G." Williams lofted up one of his patented baby hooks from mid-lane at the goal closest to Johnston Street. After several soft bounces, the ball peacefully came to rest on the flat metal piece of the rim, which connects to the backboard. I have never seen this occur again in all my years of watching basketball.
Al Karre

Early 80's memorable
Karl Malone on a breakaway slamming it into the Johnston Street goal. I thought that goal would never stop shaking.


Bringing all those Burger King hamburgers and taunting “the round mound of rebound" with them.


Alla the Rim God slamming all those missed free throws — did he shoot left or right handed?


Getting to the game two hours early to get the prime student seat to throw all those peanuts at the other team's players.


George Almones getting in a fight at center court.


Reading the newspaper during the other team's lineup.


Taunting the Marquette priest while he sat on the bench — that's got to be a sin.


Johnny Collins picking all those pockets.
— David B. Gooch

La. Tech rivalry
I remember back in high school our basketball coach would always take the team to watch the La. Tech game. I remember Marvin Winkler and Jerry Flake. The riavalry was so intense that even the cheerleaders would get into the fray.

I remember one game when the cheerleaders were working the crowd with both teams at half court when one of the La. Tech girls was giving one of the male cheerleaders hell about something when he reached down and smacked a big kiss on her. The crowd went wild and as a young high schooler it just floored me to see that.
Bob Lemaire

Heart of Cajun basketball in Blackham Coliseum
I remember USL returning to basketball after the “death penalty."
I remember the Lyles Brothers, Wayne Julien, Dion Rainey, C.J. (Carl Jordan). Basketball was fun in The “Cow Palace."

Moving to the new Cajundome was a great step for basketball but many of us left our hearts not in San Francisco but in Blackham Coliseum.

The fierce rivalaries between the Cajuns and the Lamar Cardinals and the McNeese Cowboys were something to behold.

No one can forget McNeese coach Glenn Duhon taking his team to the free throw line during timeouts to get away from the Cajun students who parked behind the opposing bench and actually made a difference in a few games.

I would love to be there as the Cajuns move back to Blackham.
There are so many memories ... these are but a few.

Reggie White
San Diego, CA

First Toney sighting
I remember the very first home game that Andrew Toney played at Blackham Coliseum. I was a student at the time and had gone to the game with two of my student friends. As we watched the teams, we noticed a new freshman warming up for USL. We couldn't help but notice him because he was sporting a big fro hairstyle that appeared to be hard to manage. We didn't know anything about his basketball background at the time. During the game, Toney began to light up the scoreboard. At the end of the game, my friends and I were so impressed by his play we were hollering for the new freshman.

We attended most of the home games that year in support of the team. At one of the games, a picture was taken of Andrew Toney making a jumpshot.

This picture was printed on the cover of one of the game programs.

Later, as my friends and I studied the picture, we noticed that the student section had been captured in the background. Looking closely, we found our faces in the student section crowd. We brag about how we picked out one of the players for USL to become a star in the NBA. The rest is history that most USL basketball fans are familiar with.

My friends and I still talk about those great times at Blackham.
Reuben Mouton

Originally published December 2, 2005

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