The excitement was running high at the CU Denver PE Center on April 20. Zhiqing Xu, the expected ICB basketball star of this year’s annual ICB Basketball Challenge match-up, scored 12 points and lifted the student team to a 24:22 victory over the faculty/staff.
The ICB Student vs. Faculty/Staff Basketball Game has been successfully held by the ICB Club for three years. Participants are comprised of ICB students, economics and communication professors, Office of International Affairs staff, and staff from other areas within the university. The game lasts 30 minutes with a 5-minute rest between halves. Referring to the game rules, each team must have five players on the court, two of whom must be female.
Before the match, ICB students had already shown their confidence in the game this year. They believed that it was the strongest team yet. Indeed, the student team had more members than before: the leader Xin Wang, the other five key male players Handa Li, Peng Zhang, Yuchen Ma, Zhuang Zhang, and Zhiqing Xu. Five female players --Yiyi Jiang, Wanyi Yang, Lidong Zhang, Qiaoyue Liang, and Xianghan Ma -- also joined in the game. At the same time, the faculty/staff team was anxious to regain the trophy, having lost by only two points the year before. They believed it was a good chance to stage a comeback with the addition of the energetic new forces. Led by Rick Chaney, the faculty/staff team was comprised of Hamilton Bean, Kyle Hurst, Larry Loften, and Preston Brown; female members were Joanne Wambeke, Birgit Halliday, and Melissa Kelley.
At 11 a.m., following an hour of warm-up practice, the buzzer sounded and the game started. The student team launched a strong offensive. Yiyi Jiang caught the ball on the baseline from her teammate, scoring the first basket for the student team. Another student player Yuchen Ma, playing the forward position, showed his skills by scoring another basket. At the same time, the faculty team rapidly made the run, tying the score with a perimeter shot. Kyle Hurst slam-dunked a pass from Rick Chaney. Appearing on the court, Zhiqing Xu excelled with high speed; he quickly shot a basket. The faculty players rallied with a strong defense of their own, and prevented him from scoring several times. Kyle Hurst effectively fooled the students with fake passes and shots. The faculty team maintained the control of the game until the first half ended with an even 10:10.
At the beginning of second half, Zhiqing Xu quickly found his shooting touch, and scored the first four points. The student team seemed to get into their rhythm, and even extended their advantage to six points for a time. However, the faculty team would not take their defeat lying down. First, the women players started to counterattack. They cleverly cooperated to make several effective passes. Joanne Wambeke took this chance to elude the students’ defense, and successfully made the hoop. Then other faculty pressed on, and Preston Brown made an excellent set shot. The faculty team soon narrowed the gap, and the game trended to much fiercer competition. With under two minutes left and the score tied at 22, it was Zhiqing Xu, again, detecting a flaw in the faculty defense. He leaped and scored for two. The student team turned to enforce their defense, keeping the game close until the end.
With only two seconds left, the faculty team did not give up easily, and tried their best to tie the score. The pass between Hamilton Bean and Kyle Hurst toward the baseline was the last chance to make a quick flip.
Finally, the referee’s whistle blew. The game ended up with the student victory by 24: 22.
Both teams and the audience members expressed how much they enjoyed the game. A few students joked that the student team victory was the best way of settling a score with Kyle Hurst, the economics professor who is often “taking great care” of his students in class. Professor Hurst indicated that he would add more quizzes in class due to this basketball game. The students and faculty ended the event together with pizza and relaxation outdoors in the wonderful Denver sunshine.
Reporter: Lichao Sun