By Lauren Biggers
Men's Basketball vs. Appalachian State
I meant to write something about last week’s BracketBuster matchup at Winthrop, but it’s a tough time in the sports information world. With spring sports starting up and winter sports still plugging along, the overlap often makes for, how shall we say, long weeks.
After a pair of home basketball contests, we got a brief respite on Wednesday. I spent Thursday at the Huntersville Aquatic Center, watching as the Wildcat women kicked off the 2007 Coastal Collegiate Swimming Association Championships, from which they would eventually bring home the inaugural trophy.
On Friday, we headed down I-77 to Rock Hill and the campus of Winthrop University. In the interest of full disclosure, I spent a year as an intern in the Eagles’ sports information office. It’s pretty tough to be loyal when you work in sports, but for what its worth, I wore red to the game. I was looking forward to the homecoming of sorts, but like Davidson baseball’s home opener, the Winthrop Eagles’ baseball kickoff got pushed back.
After giving SID assistant Will Bryan the quick tour – including my now condemned living quarters – we headed over to the Winthrop Coliseum. Finding the pressroom without food, we headed back out to Chick-fil-A. (I was told earlier in the season by an NBA scout that we have the best hospitality in the country at Belk, and I’m starting to think he’s right.)
Hunger satisfied by waffle fries courtesy of Davidson’s own Photo Bob, I settled into my spot on press row. The atmosphere was every bit as big-time as ESPN had to hope, with the Winthrop students and the Davidson fans sitting side by side and more than enjoying themselves. After the game, Winthrop head coach Randy Peele compared it to a second-round NCAA tourney game, not so subtly reminding everyone of his Eagles’ recent success.
On the court, it was not the Stephen (the assassin, water-gun toting) Curry show that the network had hoped for. The one-who-got-away finished with a season-low 12 points, but pulled his weight on the boards with eight rebounds. In a role reversal,Jason Richards decided to get in on the scoring, finishing with 21 points. Richards was fun to watch in the first half, shaking his head and smiling as his shot just kept falling.
In the hallway at halftime, a woman I used to work with said, “Your team is great,” and meant it. “That number two... He’s good.”
Flash forward a couple of baseball games and a lacrosse match,and the senior guard from Barrington, Ill., is still playing with a hot hand, leading the ‘Cats to a 68-55 win over Appalachian State on Wednesday night.
I missed the senior day presentations along with the first half of the game because of the overlap between baseball and basketball. In the interest of full disclosure, baseball is my first true love. But it’s tough to get excited about baseball when you can’t feel your toes, and like the sell-out crowd of 5,838 in Belk, I wanted to see the senior day show.
A glance up at the uber-fancy scoreboards at halftime pretty much gets me caught up, and as I thaw out, I settle back into my spot on press row for the final half of men’s basketball at Belk Arena of 2007-08 and the last I’ll see in person.
SteF-in got his points, finishing with 17, but the night once again belonged to Richards, who led all scorers with 24 points to go along with six assists and three steals. Needing 21 to become Davidson’s 37th 1,000-point scorer, how fitting that he would accomplish said feat in his final stand at Belk.
Afterwards in the media room, the notorious stats junkie says he wasn’t aware he’d hit the 1,000-point plateau until someone told him after the game, but I’m disinclined to believe him. Nonetheless, he, along with seniors Thomas Sander and Boris Meno seemed genuinely at ease while waiting in the holding room. The mood was festive, with the three taking congratulations from anybody and everybody from the final horn until long after the record-setting crowd had nearly emptied the building.
There’s not much to say about these three special players, who have been such a huge part of these really special times in Davidson basketball, but as they took to their bench for one final bow, the crowd of nearly 6,000 strong said it best:
“Thank you seniors.”