Written by Chuck Miller

Albany Patroons v. Grand Rapids Hoops
Knickerbocker Arena, Albany, N.Y.
March 16, 1991
Albany Completes the Regular Season Undefeated at Home

Before this game, no professional basketball team, not the Lakers, nor the Celtics, nor the Knicks, nor the Tampa Bay Thrillers nor the Rochester Zeniths had ever won every home game. The Albany Patroons had won 27 home games in a row - heck, they hadn't lost at the Knick Arena since the 1990 playoffs, when with one off-balance jump shot the LaCrosse Catbirds stole the championship away.

Twenty-seven home games ago, the Albany Patroons started the season with returning veterans Vince Askew and Mario Elie, new rookies in Paul "Snoop" Graham and Jeff Fryer, and NBA-experienced players like Albert King. Like any CBA team, Albany's lineup changed drastically during the season, as players floated to the NBA (Mario Elie), drifted to foreign lands (Mike Giomi), limped to the disabled list (Willie McDuffie) or were just plain dropped (Tim Price). But George Karl's run-and-pass offense and tungsten defense helped win game after game at the Knick (and more than a few on the road, where they went 22-6). Fifteen opposing teams entered the Knickerbocker Arena - fifteen left as losers. Some teams returned for a second or third attempt at beating the CBA juggernaut. No luck.

On this night, the Patroons' Albert King was the star of the show. The NBA veteran pulled down 13 boards and scored 25 points, including swatting away most of the Hoops' Ron Cavenall's rebounds. King, later voted the CBA's 1991 Newcomer of the Year, reminded the Times-Union how difficult winning 50 of 56 games really was. "When we used to go and play the Lakers, we were always up to play them. You're always going to be up when you play the best in their place and it was that way this year. We had to go out every night and play hard."

Albany's Vince Askew also played hard, with 18 points and seven assists. Playing pivot for the Patroons, Askew shut down Ron Cavenall and Sedric Toney all night. "It's an honor to be a part of this [28 victories at home]," Askew told the Times-Union's Tim Wilkin. "I'm happy."

Even though they lost the game, the Grand Rapids Hoops snared the first and third quarter points of the evening. Those two quarter points were enough to put the Hoops in the playoffs, eliminating the Pensacola Tornados from postseason competition. "We wanted to earn our way into the playoffs," said coach Cazzie Russell to the Times-Union. "What better way to do it than against the best club in the league."

The fans cheered and hollered as the game ended, giving their Pats a standing ovation as they left the court. Inside the locker room, champagne poured like rain. Even team co-owners Joe O'Hara and Glenn Mazula received champagne shampoos. "I love the record for the sake of when I'm drinking a beer someday, I can joke about it," coach Karl told the Gazette's Mike MacAdam, "but I'm happy for these guys and the fans and the city of Albany ... a lot of people say I get angry when they compare me to [Bill Musselman and his 48-6 squad of 1987-88] ... hopefully someday I'll coach against him in the NBA."

For Cazzie Russell, this was his third major setback against a Patroons squad. The 82-83 Phil Jackson Patroons beat Russell's All-Stars in the 1983 All-Star Game. The 87-88 Bill Musselman Patroons won the CBA Championship in seven games over Russell's Wyoming Wildcatters. And now Russell's Grand Rapids Hoops became the 28th (and final) regular-season victim in the Knickerbocker Arena.

This would also be Vince Askew's last regular-season game with the Patroons. One playoff game later, Askew hopped a plane for Italy, fulfilled his contract with the Udine squad, flew to California, joined Mario Elie on the Golden State Warriors and left the CBA behind forever.

By 1993, Askew reunited with George Karl on the Seattle Supersonics - Karl as coach, Askew as utility swingman.

HOOPS (89)
Kimbrough 6-12 2-2 15; Blanton 3-6 0-0 6; Fox 4-8 0-0 10; Austin 5-10 0-0 10; Cavenall 6-10 3-5 15; Toney 4-7 2-4 11; McArthur 2-8 4-7 8; Brickey 2-6 3-4 7; Taylor 3-7 0-0 7. Totals: 35-74 14-22 89.

Sanders 6-9 3-4 15; King 11-19 2-2 25; Askew 7-12 6-5 18; Morton 3-9 0-0 6; Stotts 3-4 0-0 4; Graham 9-18 3-5 21; Harris 1-3 0-2 2; Fryer 2-6 0-0 4. Totals: 42-80 12-18 97.

GRAND RAPIDS 24-25-21-19 89 2
ALBANY       22-30-20-25 97 5
Three-point goals: Fox 2, Kimbrough, Toney, Taylor, King. Rebounds: Grand Rapids 36 (McArthur 9); Albany 41 (King 13). Assists: Grand Rapids 18 (Kimbrough 5); Albany 19 (Askew 7). Total fouls: Grand Rapids 21, Albany 20. Technical fouls - none. A-5,338.
The 28 Victories
1. 11/13 San Jose       123-111
2. 11/20 Pensacola      141-102
3. 11/23 Wichita Falls  115-93
4. 11/24 LaCrosse       116-95
5. 11/29 Grand Rapids   96-84
6. 12/1	 Yakima         131-115
7. 12/3	 Columbus       148-113
8. 12/19 San Jose       135-101
9. 12/29 Pensacola      121-110
10. 1/2  Oklahoma City  124-103
11. 1/7  Sioux Falls    91-86
12. 1/8  Omaha          134-125
13. 1/15 Pensacola      137-130
14. 1/21 Oklahoma City  106-101
15. 1/23 Tulsa          129-114
16. 1/25 Quad City      119-114
17. 1/28 Wichita Falls  114-90
18. 1/30 Columbus       100-95
19. 2/2  Rapid City     132-109
20. 2/11 Grand Rapids   116-108
21. 2/18 Rockford       115-114
22. 2/22 Pensacola      148-134
23. 2/24 Tulsa          150-105
24. 2/27 Grand Rapids   127-113
25. 3/11 Columbus       129-102
26. 3/13 Cedar Rapids   124-103
27. 3/14 Columbus       142-108
28. 3/16 Grand Rapids   97-89

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