I’m ashamed to say the basketball arena at Lafayette College in Easton, PA alluded me the last few years. Not sure why last Saturday was my first appearance there as the drive is relatively short. This was the second straight Patriot League facility and fifth overall visited. The 3,500 seat Allen P. Kirby Sports Center first made its appearance on The List last year, when I lowered the minimum capacity from 4,000 to 3,500. Sitting up on College Hill, the small private school rises well above the city and provides a nice birds-eye view of Easton and the Delaware River as a winding road brings you to the top of the hill. The football stadium parking here was awful and for basketball it wasn’t much better with one small deck available, but luckily that was enough and it was no problem getting to. Speaking of football, it was a very strange walk to the Sports Center as you walk through Fisher Field. Despite the cold and wind, it was great because that gave me the opportunity to walk the stadium and take some pictures that I didn’t get during my first visit there in 2006.
The Kirby Sports Center has a nice, modern exterior and concourse that was aided by renovations. The opening foyer looks more like a student union as opposed to an arena, but once you push in a little further, the hallway before entering the gym is nicely decorated with Lafayette maroon on the walls and complete with several trophy display cases. The gym itself is meh. All wooden bleachers with three sides of seating, while at the other end is a food stand before it opens up to the rest of the “sports center” (indoor track and other training), giving it a less than appealing look and feel. Lafayette-Bucknell was the game I saw and had an interest for, as I am a big fan of the lower-level in college basketball. Both teams were 2-0 coming in, but Bucknell is the prohibitive league favorite and they showed it. Hardly ever trailing they outclassed the Leopards and Mike Muscala was impressive scoring 27 with ease. The Bison won 79-65 with a 9-2 run to start the second half pushing them to the insurmountable lead. It was nice seeing a good crowd on hand (a legit announced attendance of 2,515) and the fans all were reading the free program as they were into the game. They seemed to know a lot about the team and league, too bad Bucknell never really gave them a chance to be more vocal.
For more on the whole arena experience, be sure to check out #112 Kirby Sports Center on the right side of the page