Scott Robinson turned 35 on Sunday and was hoping for a birthday present from the Nevada Wolf Pack basketball team.
Robinson, along with friend and fellow Nevada graduate Tom Armstrong, joined other die-hard fans in Bully's Sports Bar in North Carson to watch the Wolf Pack play Memphis in the NCAA Tournament second-round South Region game.
Nevada lost to the Tigers, 78-62.
He was hoping to have reason to travel to San Antonio, where the Pack would have played Texas A & M had the team managed an upset.
Robinson and Armstrong, both season-ticket holders, grew quiet along with the rest of the Bully's crowd as the game came to an end.
"I'm disappointed, I expected them to win," Robinson said.
He was ready for a celebration, wearing a Wolf Pack shirt and blue wig. The Pack kept them on the edge of their seats for the second half, once coming within two points. But the victory was not meant to be.
Though Armstrong said he follows the whole college basketball tournament, it's more intense for him now.
"I've followed March Madness before, but it's different now," he said, adding that the team fought hard and could have won if some calls had gone their way.
Memphis maintained about a seven-point lead throughout most of the game before Nevada pulled to within two points in the second half, before falling back.
"It was the turnovers that did it," said Judy Lampshire, who turned the game into a family affair, with her husband, Mike, her son, Andrew, and his girlfriend, Becca Conetto. "That and giving up too many 3-pointers."
Conetto's and Andrew Lampshire's dog might be happy though. If the Pack had won, they were considering naming their new female boxer puppy, Nicole Fazekas. With the loss, the dog's name will probably remain "Cocoa," Conetto said.
Andrew Meyer, a UNR student and fraternity brother, has found himself more interested in the game these days.
"I've been following it a lot more since Nevada has been doing better," he said.
Despite the loss, Meyer enjoyed the game.
"I think this is one of the best games they've played all year," he said. "With Memphis the pace is fast and they've had to step up their play."
John Stanley just credited Memphis with being the better team.
"I'd like to have seen them win, but Memphis has got some racehorses," he said.
Troy Tingle grew up in eastern South Dakota, where he said indoor sports like basketball drew a lot more enthusiasm than here in Nevada.
"This is the most enthusiasm I've seen for basketball since I moved here 10 years ago," he said. "I can appreciate being from a small state, that Nevada fans are excited about playing at this level."
• Contact reporter Karen Woodmansee at firstname.lastname@example.org or 882-2111 ext. 351.