Saturday, January 19, 2008

A Fun One

By: Lauren Biggers
Men's Basketball at Chattanooga


There was a point in today’s game that it happened. If you were one of the 5,300+ in attendance, you probably didn’t miss it, but you might not remember it.

The ‘Cats were holding a tentative 11-8 lead and it was, obviously, still early. After a missed Moc field goal and an offensive rebound, Stephen (excuse me, can I get your autograph?) Curry makes the first of four steals and, after a little give-and-go, caps the play with his first of eight three balls. A second later, a second steal results in a second three-pointer.

A Jason Richards steal turns into an easy back door lay-in for Boris Meno, and the scoreboard reads 19-8. This one is essentially over, again.

And then it happened. Jason is smiling. SteF-en is celebrating. The bench, always led by SteV-en Rossiter, is up and shouting.

This team is having fun again.

There’s Max Pauhlus Gosselin crashing into the scorer’s table with Davidson leading by eight. The students chanting “Steph-en Cur-ry” as he pours in his 25th, 26th and 27th points of the half, putting the ‘Cats up 41-26 at the break. The crowd sending the Wildcats to the locker room with a standing ovation.

“We haven’t played in front of the students in a while, and when they get going with all the chants and “Sweet Caroline,” we get pretty pumped up,” Curry said between signings. (He wasn’t pulling rank; it was autograph day, and all interviews were impeded by signings. This particular fan wanted nothing to do with mine though.)

In the second half, back-to-back dunks by Meno bust the game open, putting Davidson up 49-26 and getting the crowd to strike up the BOOOOORIS! chant, the one with the tomahawk and my favorite. There is fist pumping and chest bumping.

“I always have fun,” Boris said in between the media room and the autograph session. “Every time I play a basketball game, I have fun.”

There is Will Archambault passing to Andrew Lovedale, who has a better position under the basket, and earning a high five from his coach as he sprints back down the court. There is Lovedale earning an ovation after fouling out. And of course, there is “Sweet Caroline,” forcing, to the students’ great delight, a missed free throw.

“It’s always fun to play at home,” Rossiter said graciously granting me an audience and proving himself a worthy interview. “When we come out and execute our game plan, it allows us to really get out there and have fun.”

“Max always has his energy. If Thomas takes a charge, or Steph makes a shot, or Boris gets a dunk, or J makes a play on a fast break, any of those things can really get us going.”

Davidson’s non-conference schedule has been called one of the toughest in the country. Plenty of people will say - have said- too tough. Everyone has an opinion, but one thing is certain, those close losses weren’t fun.

But if you made the game today, you had to feel good about one thing. This team is having fun again.

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