With ailing hip, Patroons center not thrilled with bus trip to Indiana

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ALBANY – Albany Patroons center Anthony Moe didn’t practice on Monday because his hip was feeling a bit tight.

“I think it’s the just the way I’m sitting at the house,” said Moe, whose team lives at The College of Saint Rose. “(I should) sit differently, but I only have one chair.”

At the time, Moe wasn’t sure whether the Patroons would be flying or busing to Indiana to face the Kokomo BobKats on Thursday in Game 1 of The Basketball League’s best-of-3 East Regional finals.

“It better not be bus,” Moe said with a laugh.”I was just thinking, they’d better get me an emergency seat (on the plane) so I can be right for the game.”

Well, it’s not a plane. The Patroons ended up renting a bus for the approximately 12-hour trip to Kokomo, Ind. They left Wednesday morning.

“We couldn’t get 15 people on the same flight,” Patroons head coach Will Brown said. “I won’t leave anyone and I don’t want to put our team on two different flights. … You know what? Best record in the league and we’re rewarded by starting the series on the road in Kokomo, Indiana.”

Under the TBL playoff format, the Patroons will host Game 2 at 5 p.m. Sunday and Game 3 (if necessary) at 7 p.m. Monday at Washington Avenue Armory, The Patroons plan to get on the bus back to Albany right after Thursday’s game. The BobKats are also busing to Albany.


Patroons president Michael Corts said expense had nothing to do with taking the bus.

“No, bus was about the same as the same as the flights would be,” he said.

Brown was aware the 6-foot-9 Moe, who averages 19 points and 9 rebounds per game, wasn’t crazy about the travel arrangements.

“He’s probably worse off that anyone,” Brown said. “He reiterated that to me. I told him he’s got four seats to lay across.”

Kokomo head coach Cliff Levingston, who played 11 seasons in the NBA, downplayed any Game 1 advantage due to the Patroons’ long travel.

“It doesn’t matter because we’ve got to come and do the same thing,” Levingston said. “These guys are paid to perform, so it doesn’t matter if you come off the bus or you’ve been sitting in a hotel room over two days. You’re here to perform. I expect nothing less from them than to come out and give us a game just like they would expect nothing less from us when we come out that way.”

Besides the trip, Brown said, the Patroons will be severely tested by a Kokomo team that started 1-7 before adding several players, including guard Derek Hawthorne (23.1 ppg). They swept Toledo Glass City BC in the Midwest Conference finals.

“They’re the deepst and best defensive team that I’ve seen all year,” Brown said. “When they’ve had their full roster intact, they’ve basically been running through people.”

The Patroons are 4-0 at home in the playoffs this year and 0-1 on the road. They lost Game 1 of the Northeast Division finals at Atlantic City. They didn’t have to go on the road in the Eastern Conference finals because the Huntsville (Ala.) Hurricanes were willing to come to Albany.

They could enter a challenging atmosphere at Kokomo’s Memorial Gymnasium. Bobkats general manager Sam Beckom said he expects about 1,200 to 1,500 fans on Thursday. The team also has a drumline of eight to 12 drummers and a DJ.

“We try to have a very electric atmosphere,” Beckom said. “Our crowd’s pretty rowdy and we’re all about having fun and having a good time.”

The Patroons should have back guard Trevis Wyche, who missed Friday’s series-clinching win over Huntsville with an ankle injury.

“Definitely got to play through it,” Wyche said. “It’s win or go home.”

Guard Mike Williams averaged 14.5 ppg against Huntsville despite having painful plantar fasciitis in his foot.

“Sometimes it hurts to the points where I’m walking on my toes, but I look at it as four more (playoff) games and I can go home and relax a little bit,” Williams said.

The winner of the Albany-Kokomo series will play for the TBL championship against the winner of the West Regional series between the So Cal Moguls and the Shreveport Mavericks.

Note: The Patroons won’t get forward Isaiah Jackson (leg) back this season. He decided to go home to Florida to rehab. He’s getting married next month.

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