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‘New’ friend helps solve my dilemma

November 16, 2011
By KIM NORTH - Times Leader Sports Writer ( , Times Leader

After losing both my beloved wife (Patty) and man's best friend, my dog (Sadie), earlier this year, I've been searching for a 'new' friend.

Well, I think I found that 'new' friend Tuesday night.

No, it's not what you think!

Being a Duke University men's basketball fan, as well as a Pittsburgh Penguins' fan, and don't forget an Ohio State fan of whatever sport it is, I found myself with a dilemma Tuesday night, which ironically marked the 9-month mark of my wife's passing.

You see, all three played within an hour of each other. The Blue Devils came on the boob tube at 7 p.m. on ESPN against Michigan State, while the Penguins were hosting the Colorado Avalanche at 7:30 on Versus. Then, the Buckeyes were entertaining Florida at 8 on ESPN2.

How was I going to pull this off?

That's where my new friend comes into play - the remote control to my television.

I was able to watch most of all three contests, in which the team I was cheering for won, and that's something that doesn't happen very much.

Let's start with the Duke-Michigan State game, which tipped off at 7:23 p.m., according to my Comcast cable box, because of all the pre-game hoopla concerning Blue Devils' head coach Mike Krzyzewski chasing some type of college basketball all-time wins record.

Logan, W.Va., native Eugene Landau Murphy Jr. performed the national anthem flawlessly prior to the tip-off inside the partially refurbished Madison Square Garden in downtown New York City. Murphy Jr. was the winner of the recent America's Got Talent contest.

At 7:35, the puck dropped inside Pittsburgh's Consol Energy Center and the Avalanche didn't waste any time in grabbing a 3-1 advantage after one period, which made my interest wane some.

The three-goal outburst marked the first time in the Penguins' last 67 home games that they had allowed a trio of net-finders in the first 20 minutes of a game.

The Ohio State-Florida game tipped off at 8:05 even though the contest was not televised until some moments later due to the Miami-Tennessee women's game running over its allotted time frame.

That was four minutes (8:09) before the first half of the Duke-Michigan State game went to the half, with the Blue Devils clinging to a slim, 34-33, lead.

Pittsburgh finally got to grab a breather when its first period with Colorado came to a halt at 8:15.

So, that gave me more than a few minutes to view the Buckeyes' early struggles with the Gators as Ohio Valley native Ted Valentine carried one of the three officials' whistles.

The Blue Devils and Spartans resumed action at 8:29, with the Penguins and Avalanche beginning their second period four minutes later, so it was back to channel changing from 27 to 28 to 30.

Ohio State finally gained the lead late in the first half and held it heading into the lockerroom at 8:52. The second half tipped off at 9:08.

Pittsburgh did get one goal back in the middle frame, which ended at 9:12, and trailed 3-2 with 20 minutes remaining. The third period began at 9:30.

Meanwhile, Coach K was closing in on passing his former mentor, Bobby Knight, for the most wins in men's college hoops' history as the Blue Devils pulled away from the Spartans, but hung on for a 74-69 victory in the State Farm Champions Classic.

Just prior to the final buzzer at 9:37, Pittsburgh drew even with Colorado (3-3) on Brooks Orpik's first lamp-lighter of the season.

Back to the hardwood inside the Jerome Schottenstein Center in Columbus, the third-ranked Buckeyes were building an insurmountable margin against No. 6 Florida, with the hosts prevailing 81-74 in a game that ended at 10:09.

A minute later, the Penguins were closing out the Avalanche, 6-3.

My day actually began at midnight Monday when college basketball's 'Marathon" started as Gonzaga defeated Washington State. After a brief nap, I arose to watch Kent State knock off favored West Virginia.

Then it was on to Memphis and Belmont, San Diego State and Baylor, and Rhode Island and Texas before the three-headed monster at 7 p.m.

Finally, the day mercifully came to an end sometime around 11 p.m. when I must have dozed off during the Kentucky-Kansas game as I awoke to Sportscenter at 3:13 a.m.

Actually, it was a sports writer's dream day.

However, even though the remote control became my 'new' best friend, it will always be No. 3 in my heart behind the aforementioned two loves of my life.

North can be reached at



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