It's not often that a winless conference team knocks off a top-5 opponent in late February.
Historically, that rings especially true for Penn State, which had not beaten a top-5 team since the 2000-01 season until Feb. 27, when the Nittany Lions took down then-No. 4 Michigan at the Bryce Jordan Center.
Euphoria encompassed the Penn State fan base while Michigan natives watched the Wolverines take a shocking defeat.
But Stan Wisniewski, a Michigan native and father of Penn State forward Alan Wisniewski, was in attendance for the Lions’ win and stormed the court with the herd of supporters.
“It was pretty wild. I was only a couple of rows behind the bench. I'm watching the clock. I'm watching the players. I watch everyone erupt and I figured what the hell,” Alan’s father said after laughing heavily at the memory.
Alan, who was in the middle of the celebration standing inches taller than most at 6-foot-9, said he was ecstatic that his dad was there with him even though he didn’t play in the game.
“To be honest that was the greatest feeling in the world. I'll never forget that moment,” Wisniewski said. “Considering all the hard work I put in throughout the years, for him to be here for that moment was really a great experience for me.”
That being said, Wisniewski and his father weren’t always celebrating Penn State victories.
Growing up in Sterling Heights, Mich., the forward and his family members were Wolverine fanatics.
While the Wisniewski family had a handful of family members graduate from Michigan and Michigan State, living an hour from Ann Arbor among other things lent itself to the family calling “The Big House” its second home.
Wisniewski’s dad, a Michigan football season ticket holder for at least 30 years, frequently took Alan to games. Alan especially remembered the 2005 game against Penn State as one of his fondest memories.
A Michigan win, which handed the Lions their only loss of the season, was sealed with a touchdown pass from Chad Henne to Mario Manningham as time expired.
“I was loving that one,” Alan Wisniewski said.
Not only did he attend games, but posters of former Michigan greats like Charles Woodson and a full size Fathead of Tom Brady also graced Wisniewski’s bedroom throughout his childhood.
However, those items have since been replaced.
“Now we've got a lot of U of M gear stowed away in a closet or the basement,” the older Wisniewski said with a chuckle.
Both Wisniewski men acknowledged the differences in allegiance now that the younger of the two is a Penn State athlete.
The Lions forward, who has seen an increase in playing time this year, said his perspective toward Michigan changed when he chose to attend Penn State, and that playing the Wolverines is “bittersweet.”
However, things have changed for the elder Wisniewski too, especially when his son and the Lions visit Ann Arbor.
“Now that he's been a part of the Penn State basketball program it has been kind of fun. When we go to Ann Arbor for a home game, we go as visitors and get taunted by students with all that obnoxiousness that when you're from that state and that school you don't really notice,” Alan’s father said.
With “Go Blue” loyalties in the rear view mirror, Penn State’s matchup with Michigan in the Big Ten tournament — the teams’ third meeting of the year — provides yet another chance for Alan’s father to show his support for the Lions.
“He’s retired so he’s on the road a lot [coming to my games],” Wisniewski said. “He’ll be there for the Big Ten tournament in Chicago.”