Thursday, February 14, 2008

Thoughts from Greensboro

-The stars were aligned for Davidson to lose tonight. Greensboro had been underperforming...Davidson had been blowing people out...Sander was on the bench. The Spartans scorched the nets shooting 9-12 from three in the first half. Their intensity and home crowd helped ignite a first half blitz that found Greensboro sitting right below their average offensive output of the last week: at halftime. But Davidson won by five. Their defiance of the basketball gods tonight was extraordinary to say the least.

-Boris and Andrew played very gutsy basketball against the league's reigning POY. Rossiter also played very physical all night long. However, it seemed like the close quarters and frenetic pace of the game led the forwards to start dropping the ball again as they had earlier in the season. Several good offensive looks turned into turnovers while defensive rebounds turned into loose balls and second chance opportunities. That being said, Lovedale's late game free throws and d rebound combined with Meno's three-point play helped put Davidson over the top after they had caught the Spartans.

-The heart of this team literally came spilling out on the court tonight. Richards' eyebrow was split open in an ugly way, bleeding all over everything...yet he came back to make the game-winning drive and free throw. Max Paulhus Gosselin recovered from endless "air ball" jeering to make the game-saving steal leading to Richards' drive. Andrew Lovedale overcame foul trouble to bring down the rebound with a scream after Greensboro's late attempt to tie the game. Thomas Sander did not let his sidelining keep him from supporting the team...he was the first one on the court at every timeout and was never quiet on the sidelines even when the Wildcats trailed big. And then, of course, there was Stephen Curry.

-After the game, Max Paulhus Gosselin was asked: "So, do you think that Stephen Curry is an All-American." Gosselin answered honestly. "I actually only care about Davidson basketball, so I don't really watch other teams or sports on ESPN. I don't know who else is really good. But yeah, Steph is an All-American in my book."

-Although Curry recalled that he thought the turning point of the game came in the end of the first half when the Wildcats cut the lead to 15, I would argue that Davidson knew they were coming back much later, when they were trailing by more than 10 in the second half. Curry and Gosselin double-teamed a Spartan and forced a loose ball out of bounds. Although the official rewarded Greensboro the ball, Curry turned to Max with a big smile and winked at him. 2 seconds later, Curry had stolen the inbounds pass and gone the length of the court for a layup.

-Curry only hit 1 three in the first half. Some might say that could have had something to do with his shorts. He broke the drawstring in warmups and was forced to don an XL pair which he tied tightly and rolled down a few times, exposing the white waistband. It was a good look for Curry, maybe he should do it more often.

-I had the privilege of sitting next to a fellow blogger who was writing about UNC-Greensboro. Will Brinson is a regular contributor to AOL's Fanzone and did his own live blog over here.

-The more I think about it, the more that I really don't mind Kyle Hines winning last year's SoCon Player of the Year honor. He truly is a remarkable player at this level, especially for his height. He had several incredible hustle plays that put Greensboro ahead late after the Wildcats caught them, while his first-half dunks and blocks were things of beauty. I say that I don't mind because I know that this year's real POY was outmatching Hines throughout the entire second half. Curry's constant toughness and "next play" attitude were put on display at Fleming. The country's fifth-leading scorer led his team to another win because of his knack for hunting the mid-range shot. At a time when all college players either shoot threes or layups, Curry has perfected the mid-range two which makes him such a unique basketball player. He was absolutely phenomenal.

-Davidson's attitude in the second half was definitely one of a team finally kicking it into overdrive. The several hundred fans in attendance got into a shouting match with Spartan supporters while Davidson was not unwilling to show a ton of emotion on the court. This was probably the first time that I have seen Davidson win a game and have the team run out to celebrate in a very long time. It felt like a game one more time.

-We almost got lost driving back to Davidson as the snow covered all of the street signs in Greensboro and our directions weren't retraceable because of one-way streets. Wildcat blogger Lauren Biggers escaped with ticket office guru April Albritton while Davidson's SID and myself were stuck going around in circles. We finally found the highway and a Wendy's. The only times I have traveled to away games with our SID department, I have come home in the snow. Maybe I can make it snow in Charleston in March if I keep this up.

1 comment:

Claire said...

At the beginning of the game, there were about 20 of us sitting in front of the Union TV. With 10 minutes left in the second half as we tied and finally took the lead, there were at least 40-- probably closer to 50-- people surrounding the TV and screaming. In those last 3 minutes we raised our arms for FTs and started our typical home game cheers, willing our boys to hear us. It was an incredible atmosphere, and it exploded as we got the final rebound and Steph hit 41. I couldn't stop grinning for the rest of the night. On the postgame radio show, Logan Kosmalski said, "You can't be prouder to be a part of the Davidson community than you were tonight." Even though I'm always proud, this was a night that I truly felt it. GO CATS!