Men’s basketball team falls prey to “Snowzilla” [UPDATED]

AP Photo - In this photo provided by Michael Watkins, traffic is at a standstill on the Pennsylvania Turnpike near Bedford, Pa., Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016. The Duquesne men's basketball team and Temple University's women's gymnastics team are stuck on the Turnpike due to treacherous weather conditions. A mammoth winter storm crawled up the U.S. East Coast on Saturday, making roads impassable, shutting down mass transit, and bringing Washington and New York City to a standstill.

AP Photo – In this photo provided by Michael Watkins, traffic is at a standstill on the Pennsylvania Turnpike near Bedford, Pa., Saturday, Jan. 23, 2016. The Duquesne men’s basketball team and Temple University’s women’s gymnastics team are stuck on the Turnpike due to treacherous weather conditions. A mammoth winter storm crawled up the U.S. East Coast on Saturday, making roads impassable, shutting down mass transit, and bringing Washington and New York City to a standstill.

 

 

 

 

 

By Joseph Sykes | Sports Editor

After trouncing the George Mason Patriots 86-75 Friday afternoon, the men’s basketball team lost a tough battle to Winter Storm Jonas later that evening.

On its way home from Fairfax, Va., the Red & Blue team bus was claimed by “Snowzilla” just outside Somerset, Pa – about 80 miles from downtown Pittsburgh. Despite the tough situation, which has garnered national attention from multiple media outlets such as Deadspin, USA Today and ESPN, head coach Jim Ferry stated that the situation is under control.

“Everybody is safe,” Ferry said. “We’re going to be okay.”

Sophomore forward Marshall Macheledt told The Duke this afternoon that he didn’t think the situation was too bad at first, but as time wore on, he realized he might want to get comfortable.

“At first, I kept thinking that the bus would eventually start moving again,” Macheledt said. “But, it turns out, the situation up ahead was much worse, and the reality was we weren’t going anywhere anytime soon.”

Macheledt is proud of his coach, though, for handling the situation so well, especially with the number of calls coming in from members of the media.

“Coach Ferry is really handling the situation well,” he said. “Earlier this morning, he was on the phone with ESPN and doing other interviews letting the media outlets know what the situation is and how we’re handling it.”

Ferry isn’t the only one handling the situation with good faith. According to the team’s Twitter account, players spent time making snow angels as well as trying to get the bus out of its rut. The team even launched a Twitter poll to decide who was going to get the bus rolling again.

“We took a poll on Twitter asking who would be doing the task,” senior walk-on Nick Foscia said. “We actually got a lot of responders – around 4,000 votes. Unfortunately, the walk-on’s drew the short straw.”

The walk-ons gave the difficult task their best effort, but as of now, the bus still rests in its current position. In fact, the Pennsylvania National Guard and the Somerset Fire Department were forced to deliver food and water to the scene.

When The Duke first spoke to Macheledt, he didn’t have a timetable for when the team would be back on the road.

“That’s the million dollar question!” Macheledt said. “We don’t know, unfortunately. We’re just taking everything step by step and hopefully the roads will become safe enough for us to head back to the bluff.”

As of 4:45 p.m., the Red & Blue have been stuck for nearly 20 hours. We’ll keep everyone posted once we find out more details.

UPDATE: Jan. 23, 8:55 p.m.

After 22 hours of being stranded in the snow, the men’s basketball team is finally on the move. Everyone is safe and sound!

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