Students dominate in basketball friendly vs. staff, 77-51

Damien Perez, ’24, goes for a layup as Assistant Professor of Business and Economics Chris Finaret moves to block.

The James P. Mullen Arena in the Wise Center was buzzing with school spirit on Sunday, Dec. 4, as inside, a student versus staff basketball game had just begun.
“Everyone needs a little break,” said Professor of Environmental Science and Sustainability Rich Bowden. “Things are wrapping up and getting intense, so this was organized at the right time.”
According to several student and staff players, the game was engaging and exciting.
“The game put us all into high spirits and gave us high hopes right before finals,” said Zachary Severs, ’25, who played for the student team.
At the beginning of the first half, the two teams were neck-and-neck with the students leading 17-13. From the sidelines, several of the staff members’ kids and grandkids were cheering them on.

Eventually, though, the student team began scoring faster, leading to a significant difference in scores.
“I’m a soccer player,” said Assistant Professor of Arabic and Director of Spiritual and Religious Life Sami Alkyam. “I was inclined to play and try to compete as much as I could.”
Not only were baskets being made, but so were fouls. In the first half alone, there were four total. When the buzzer for halftime rang 20 minutes later, the students led 50-26.
A competition had been arranged for halftime and President Ron Cole, ’87, joined the announcers on the court. The explanation was simple enough: to win a cash prize, ranging from first with a cash prize of $50 to fifth place with $10, students were given 45 seconds to make more free throws than Ron Cole and the other competitors
“Oh, I practiced a good hour this morning before this,” Cole said after the game. “I got three in a row once.”
Students lined up for the opportunity to win up to $50. Following President Ron Cole’s final score of two, student after student, including several team members, went such as Severs and Sydney Cook, ’24. The results were Ebrima Darboe, ’23, for first place with 12 baskets, Severs for second place with 10, and Cook for third place with nine.
When asked what inspired him to sign up, Severs responded, “We all (him and some friends from the student team) play together at the Blue Courts (in the Wise Center) in our free time. I thought it would be fun.”
With halftime concluded, everyone was back in it to win it. The faculty team fell behind during the first half despite both sides’ competitive spirits fueling the court.
“This was a way for the faculty and students to come together and be competitive and have fun,” said Kamryn Dorsett, ’24, who also played on the student team.
The faculty started to close the gap as the second half continued. Over a 10-minute period, the faculty cut the difference from 25 points to 21 points. But when the final buzzer echoed across the court, the score was 77-51, with the students on top.
However, as Cole addressed, the basketball game was not about who won.
“The point of the event was school spirit,” Cole said. “We put people across campus together so that everyone can share an experience. It was great. The school spirit here was fantastic.”
According to Severs and Dorsett, that goal was achieved. There was another reason for the game: raising awareness for CASA, or Court Appointed Special Advocates.
“It’s for kids who need legal protection, assistance, and guidance,” Bowden said. “So the student government put out the call for a bunch of us to play, and I signed up.”
“We (the Senate) usually get together at the beginning of the semester as a class and throw out ideas on what we want to see around campus,” said ASG Class President of 2025, Nicole Recio Bremer. “And they discussed that this was a thing that happened in high school and was a great experience. We made it happen, there was a good turn out, and we collaborated.”
Already, Allegheny faculty is interested in setting up a similar event. Cole aims for it to occur once a semester and, potentially, with another sport.
“I really hope there can be something like this again,” Alkyam said. “A professor and I were talking about a soccer or volleyball tournament. There are a lot of people who have an interest in these sports. It was a chance to bring the community together and see staff and faculty members outside their offices.”