AUSTIN, Texas — When the clock had ticked down to its final seconds and his 25-year career at Pacific had come to an end, coach Bob Thomason was forced to ponder for the first time what tomorrow will hold.
"People asked me all the time how are you going to feel?" said Thomason, who announced his retirement before the season. "I've coached for 42 years, how do I know how I'm going to feel not coaching? I don't know, but I'm looking forward to it. … My wife's a little nervous, she's only known me as a head coach. So she will either like me better or we're going to have problems. We've been married 40 years so I think we'll be okay."
Thomason left the Erwin Center with little sadness, saying he felt like Pacific had some open shots in the first half of a second-round loss to Miami, but they just didn't go down, leading a deficit they couldn't recover from. He was proud of his team.
"Sometimes you meet those moments where you just don't perform very well and that was (Friday)," Thomason said. "If I had to take a bad game in the last three, I'd take this one because we got here and I'm really proud of that for the kids."
RECORD GROWING: Miami extended its program-record winning streak in a season to 28.
EMOTIONAL DAY: For Miami senior C Reggie Johnson, Friday's victory was extremely emotional. Shortly after the game ended, Johnson walked over to do a radio interview and said "We did it. We really did it. Now we want more."
Johnson, who had never played in an NCAA Tournament game, said afterward it was everything he had hoped for.
"It's definitely a great experience to be out here and have an opportunity to play with these guys," he said. "I was saying to Durand (Scott) we waited four years to play in this tournament and we finally got our first win. I went up to him and gave him a big hug and told him that we're not done yet. The experience was fun. Now we've got to listen to Coach L (Jim Larranaga) and buy into his system and we got to try and do something special."
WHERE ARE THE FANS?: Per NCAA Tournament standards, the Erwin Center was emptied following the Colorado-Illinois game (end of first session). But for some reason, the doors for the second session opened late. So when Florida and Northwestern State took the court for warmups Friday night, the stands were empty, which seemed to surprise the players. Shortly afterward, the crowd began to enter, making the arena seem more like an NCAA Tournament site. Northwestern State's campus is about 330 miles from Austin, and the crowd reflected that. Northwestern State had an impressive turnout, making it seem more like a home game for the Demons.
Antonya English can be reached at [email protected]