Saturday, March 01, 2008

Davidson 89 Georgia Southern 69

The Wildcats head down to Statesboro in their final regular season test of 2008. Davidson is coming off an emotional Senior Day win over Appalachian State, while Georgia Southern just lost in Charleston last night against their rival, the CofC Cougars. Right now the Eagles are sporting a 13-6 conference record and are eyeing a three seed in the upcoming conference tournament.

Although Georgia Southern got smacked by Davidson, 92-67, back in January, they have only lost once in Statesboro all season. The Wildcat women's team might have warmed up the red karma in Hanner by knocking off the Eagles on Thursday to put them in the driver's seat for the three seed in the tournament. Hopefully, the floor will still be warm with Wildcat success by Saturday night.

Davidson will enter this game with even more lift in their step as the Wildcats were featured on the front page of the New York Times this morning. The article once again sets forth the unique and value-driven approach of Davidson's institutional and athletic approach. Two games on ESPN drove the Wildcats to #27 of the AP poll last week. Would a national article sway over one or two final liberal writers to punch the Wildcats' ticket to the Top 25 for the SoCon Tournament?
14 minutes before tip-off and I’m finally settling down to do some hard writing. As you already know by now, Georgia Southern is not equipped with wireless. They are also not equipped with media table…Michael Kruse, Kevin Cary, Logan Kosmalski, John Kilgo and myself have been given the Duke treatment and are confined to the upper rafters of the Hanner Fieldhouse. After initially being told that there was no media food, I found some pizza on top of a Coke machine hidden in a corner. It is as sketchy as it sounds, but I’m hungry.

I’ve got plenty of stories from the Fan Bus on the way down here but I will post some of those on a separate blog entry later on. We had a scenic view of the GSU campus on the way in here. I still haven’t ascertained whether the Georgia Southern students are on break this week…but this campus was absolutely dead. I hope for this school’s sake that they are on break. This gym isn’t too large but it’s filling up pretty nicely. It echoes much like Greensboro’s small breadbox.

Glancing at the nearly all-Caucasian student section that stretches out in front of me, one hand-made sign really stands out: “Graham’s Crackers.”

Curry seems to be having trouble with his waistband again in pre-game intros…the last time that happened he scored 41 at Greensboro.
18:30 D 5 GSU 5
Max Paulhus Gosselin gets things going with a layup that was goal-tended. The call came really late and from a ref a long way away. That might not bode well. Good defense to start. I keep remarking that Graham is just too skinny to be an effective post player (I’m sure Davidson forwards have gotten that critique as well). O foul on Dwayne Foreman makes me feel better.
16:54 D 7 GSU 10
Curry was left wide-open on several shot attempts and Davidson is jumping passing lanes. I swear that I’m watching Duke play from up here at this weird angle. Two stupid fouls on the Wildcats back-to-back and GSU has a little momentum. Logan breaks down Thomas’ bad foul. Wow. GSU did not shoot like this at Davidson. Maybe I should have held off on the Greensboro references so early on.
15:22 D 11 GSU 10
Wildcats might have gotten away with a foul and a palming on that last fast break, But I don’t feel too bad about it because Sander just picked up his second foul. Curry has seven and could get a lot more because the Eagles’ D is very loose. No doubles…not too physical. Kevin Cary predicts another 40-point output. OK…no more Greensboro references…I’m done.

Boris has done well so far defensively securing loose balls and playing strong inside.
12:58 D 18 GSU 14
Rossiter with a great cut and Curry finds him off the in-bounds. Curry with another WIDE open three-point look. He waits for an eternity before knocking it down. And these refs are going nuts on GSU away from the ball…that’s the third offensive foul off the ball on them. Graham has two of them and he’s on the bench. Will Archambault is hacked on the way to the rim, but the far ref calls it and does so after realizing that the under guy has swallowed his whistle…a bit embarrassing.

You can tell a lot about a school and their athletic department by looking at the marketing and game operations people around the court. One guy with a credential and head set on under the basket was all in the ref’s ear after a foul. Bush-league.
11:10 D 18 GSU 21
And Davidson is really struggling right now. GSU on a 7-0 run as Archambault puts up some forced shots in the paint and then the Wildcats get called for a charge. The Eagles hit on the other end with some big shots, and McKillop calls a timeout. Davidson is playing down to GSU and jumping out of control and throwing the ball up. MPG back in for some defensive mastery, while coach McKillop speaks strongly to Will on the sideline.
7:54 D 24 GSU 23
Curry starting to get pressured now, as he shoots a three right into the hands of a GSU defender…always the competitor, Curry got the loose ball and got it back to MPG for two. Meno comes back in for Lovedale and is playing a little better offensively. Curry on the other hand is getting rattled by the contact. GSU is very rough and tumble.

Georgia Southern’s crowd only gets loud for “bad calls” and three-point shots. Doesn’t seem like too much of a home-court advantage to me. And now they’ve got a student playing the shooting game for a prize with a backpack on. What does he have in there that he wouldn’t want to put it down. Oh, they both have them on. Must be some sort of weird backpack-shooting promotion thing.
6:40 D 28 GSU 28
Curry and Sander now have two fouls apiece and Will returns to action. Barr replaces him not long after. The Eagles double J-Rich on the inbounds and Boris can’t get it in. I don’t like this. Graham is now back in the game with two fouls…like to see Davidson attack him. The Eagles learning the err of their out-of-control ways as they pick up two very bad fouls 90 feet from Davidson’s basket and Jason makes them pay at the line.
4:44 D 30 GSU 28
Davidson Asst. SID Lauren Biggers, she of the (Stef-IN), would be proud of GSU’s announcer. He has said Stef-IN Rossiter throughout the entire game. Andrew Lovedale continues to be off on the offensive end. He had 1 FG against ASU and has not hit yet tonight.

Big break for Davidson as Louis Graham picks up his third foul on an ill-advised charging call.
3:19 D 33 GSU 31
Meno looking good right now. He pulls down another O rebound and gets fouled on his shot attempt. His mother has stayed in town and traveled down on the fan bus this afternoon. GSU students show their class by chanting USA whenever Andrew or Boris are on the line. This is one part of the “USA” that I won’t be coming back to for a very long time.

Georgia Southern has cooled off on their shooting, but Davidson has not played crisp basketball in the least. This court has a bit of a Vanderbilt feel to it. There is a lot of space outside of the boundary lines (as I said, there is only one media table, the baskets hang and there is nothing on the baselines) and the court just feels really big and long.
Halftime D 42 GSU 35
Curry back in and hits a huge three-pointer. Bryant Barr replaces him to keep him safe before half. Meno with his eighth point of the game. Good game for him. Davidson is finally getting used to Georgia Southern physical over-pursuit (a complete turnaround from how they started the game).

The half about to close and MPG gets pegged with the worst foul call of the night so far. MPG got position on the rebound, stretched out his arms and was driven to the floor by his wrists . And he gets called for a foul.

McKillop should be commended for his game plan here at the end of the half. Curry came in and out for offense only and hit two big three-pointers. He’s got 16 at the break, while Meno has eight.

I just looked at the scoreboard and was shocked to see that seven point advantage. It doesn’t feel like that…that’s what Curry three-pointers will do for you.
The halftime stat sheet doesn’t look as bad as that half felt at times. Meno with six rebounds (four offensive) and eight points. The Wildcats with 10 assists against GSU’s five, and they have forced 11 turnovers on six steals. Louis Graham has been held scoreless so far and has five turnovers and three fouls. Dwayne Foreman has picked up the slack, though, with 10 points on 4-6 shooting.
18:51 D 44 GSU 37
Louis Graham on the bench as we start the second half here. MPG on Foreman…we’ll see if that slows him down some. Davidson tastes some of their own medicine as they are called for their second five-second call tonight. Andrew Lovedale picks up his third foul after Matthew Fields ripped a rebound out of his hands. Boris could be back in soon, because Lovedale is off tonight. And there’s his fourth foul. Yikes! Boris will be called on to finish this one off.
16:50 D 48 GSU 39
Wildcats very slow on offense so far this half. Curry hasn’t seen many touches yet with Foreman on him. But Louis Graham will go the way of Andrew Lovedale as his picks up his fourth foul on the inside. Davidson will now have to focus on the athletes of Marshall and Fields. MENO!!! With 12 points.
16:00 D 53 GSU 42
Curry and Richards slash to the hole for some more points…but today’s story is Boris Meno. He is the first one down the court on offense…he was pressuring the in-bound and nearly got a steal last time. Thomas Sander picks up his fourth foul away from the ball and Meno becomes even more important. Free throw shooting will be crucial later on, and I give the edge to Davidson in that category.
15:30 D 57 GSU 42
Kevin Cary states that this is a “big possession” after an Eagle charge. Jason Richards takes the ball to the hoop and scores. Foreman tries to answer but is way off and then Richards finds Curry on the baseline for a sweet jumper. GSU timeout and the guards do their jump and bump at mid-court. Wildcats on the brink of pulling away.
14:52 D 57 GSU 42
Many people talk about Davidson’s Wildcat mascot in disparaging terms (I’m looking at you, Bushido), but GSU’s attempt at an Eagle is pathetic. John Kilgo called it a big chicken last year. I think it looks more like a sea gull (props to Meg Clark for the inspiration).
12:20 D 59 GSU 49
Will Archer is just not feeling it at all. He is called for charging and taken out again. The Eagles are on a mini-run and this place is realizing that this is their chance to pull it under 10 and try to keep it there.

This place erupts after Graham and Meno battle like heck underneath. Meno goes down and Graham is called for a charge and his fifth foul. He ends his last game in Hanner with five fouls in 28 minutes and 0 points. Horrible way to go out. The event staff underneath the basket are almost ejected.
11:38 D 61 GSU 49
Curry picks up his third foul by jumping into a Foreman pump fake. Duh-wayne is not a bad player at all…but his teammates are horrible shooters and it doesn’t help your cause when your All-Conference forward fouls out with over five turnovers and no points.
9:44 D 66 GSU 51
Curry with five straight points to put him at 29. He has taken the Hanner Hooligans completely out of the game. It is silent in here…well not really. There is a red section in the upper corner showing their appreciation.
I usually update time at the timeouts but Georgia Southern’s scoreboard shows the time left in the timeout instead of the game time. It is the most bizarre thing I have ever seen.
8:56 D 69 GSU 51
Curry with an incredible three from the corner and the hooligans respond by throwing t-shirts and stuff on the court. Grow up people. One cheerleader even threw his megaphone on the court. Richards picked it up and gave it back to him with a smile. I have been a “rival” of the CofC Cougars for the last four years but I am in complete solidarity with them for their disgust of Georgia Southern and its fanbase.
7:49 D 77 GSU 52
I don’t know though. Stephen Curry has a “mean streak” in him. He was wide open on a run-out and pulled up for a three-pointer at the top of the key. Drained it for his 35th point of the game. And the fans are leaving like “ants fleeing a kicked anthill.”
5:28 D 80 GSU 55
Boris Meno comes to the bench with a “Bow-Ris” chant going. His mom stands up and does the hand chop.

Davidson with a little un-needed physicality on the defensive end and Barr is called for a foul that stops the clock and puts them on the line. Then Thomas called for a foul on the rebound of the free throw and GSU is back at the line.

GSU fans now taking their anger out on the Davidson fans by screaming at them. I hope that the Wildcats have a security detail on their way to the bus. The ones that are still here are just looking for trouble.
4:47 D 84 GSU 56
Curry to Max on the alley-OOP. And the foul. Georgia Southern is getting paddled with their pants down right now.
3:38 D 86 GSU 58
Georgia Southern has a timeout cheer where they ask one side… “who’s house?” , “our house!” The Davidson fans are the loudest participants right now. Curry is probably done tonight with 35 points on 13-17 shooting including 7-9 from three-point range. His name is already being engraved on that POY plaque in some warehouse in Spartanburg, S.C.
Final D 89 GSU 69
Civi Time sees Davidson move to a 3-2 zone to account for their height disadvantage. And MIKE SCHMITT gets into the game for the first time in his collegiate career to a cheer of “Let’s See Schmitt!” Nelms bricked some free throws. Poor Mike. On his first touch, he throws it away for a GSU run-out. At least he gets in the stat book.
Huge win for Davidson! 20-0 is sealed and you can pop a mini-bottle. The real celebration doesn’t come until next Monday. But until the Wildcats take the court against either Wofford or Western next Saturday. Until then, the Wildcats are the first ever team in NCAA history to go 20-0 in conference play.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Great story. I look forward to reading about the student union trough in your next posting. A Fan from the Bus!