ALBANY — Siena College men’s basketball head coach Jimmy Patsos wanted to talk foul calls with official John Gaffney during a timeout of the Saints’ game Thursday against Manhattan.
Quickly, that conversation became less of a focus.
“I saw this eruption of people,” Patsos said later. “I thought, you know, maybe the president or I thought Governor Cuomo walked in or something.”
Nope. Instead, Erin Tobin of Rensselaer had just used a one-arm fling of a shot to bank one in from half-court as part of a Dunkin’ Donuts promotion.
That alone got huge cheers from the announced crowd of 5,577. What happened next got an even bigger one at Times Union Center.
Once Tobin, 30, stopped celebrating her shot, her attention was directed toward the Dunkin’ Donuts mascot — who in fact was a costumed Steve Duckett, Tobin’s 31-year-old boyfriend from Queensbury.
The costume was pulled off the already kneeling Duckett, who offered his marriage proposal two days after Valentine’s Day at center court. She accepted, sealing the moment with a hug and a kiss on the Siena logo.
“I was jumping up and down after hitting the shot, since my brother said he’d give me $50 if I even hit the rim,” Tobin said. “And then I turn around expecting a gift card from Dunkin’ Donuts and there he was on his knees, and I didn’t have any words.”
Duckett almost didn’t, either. His proposal had been planned out . . . but that plan did not include Tobin making the half-court shot.
“Oh, no!” Duckett said of his initial reaction. “And then I said to myself, ‘Of course she would hit the shot.’”
Duckett had planned his proposal for a Saints’ game since Tobin, a 2008 Siena graduate, is a season-ticket holder.
Siena went on to win the game 94-71. Patsos said the shot-and-proposal moment produced one of the loudest cheers he’d ever heard at the arena, while senior forward Javion Ogunyemi was upset with himself after the game for having missing the moment as it unfolded feet away from him.
“I just heard everybody [get] excited, and I was mad I missed it,” said Ogunyemi, a Troy native.
After Siena’s win, Patsos needled another one of his seniors. Brett Bisping had gotten engaged in the offseason, but done so without the flair of Duckett.
“See, Brett,” Patsos said to laughs, “you could have done that.”