Monday, November 24, 2008

Second Chances

By Lauren Biggers
Men's Basketball vs. Florida Atlantic

The Davidson Wildcats beat the Florida Atlantic Owls 76-60 in the second game of a double-header, or the third round of Dick’s Sporting Good’s NIT Tip-Off, at Belk Arena Friday night. Loyola of Maryland beat James Madison 64-54 in the first game of the day.

With the NIT running this show, things were a little different.

The post-game press conference location was switched to accommodate the media meal, which was served at halftime of the first game. The benches, the scorer’s table and the floor all got logo makeovers. With season ticket holders and staff members needing tickets, familiar faces weren’t occupying their usual seats.

The View from Press Row was, um, different.

From our spot on the scorer’s table, we get pretty acquainted with the opposing bench, and tonight was no exception. Loyola’s head coach Jimmy Patsos is one whose reputation proceeds him, and I was told several times over that I was going to enjoy him.

Working a neutral-site game can be difficult, but Patsos’ personality – that doesn’t even begin to do it justice – made focusing on the game at hand even less intriguing. I really just wanted to watch him.

He’s shouting (REBOUND!) and jumping and spitting and running and switching from enthusiasm to disgust as quickly as you can say rebound (!).

He told one of his players to shoot threes like rainbows. Without cracking a smile.

Simply saying, this guy is worth the price of admission and could challenge The Shining Star for the crowd’s attention tomorrow night.

When he left the court, I hope it was for a nap.

By the time the Wildcats hit the floor, things started to feel normal again. Kevin was back on P.A., the WL welcomed the ‘Cats to the jungle, the D-block was in living color and Davidson was off to a quick start with back-to-back treys.

The shooting was just so-so, according to, you know, my ridiculous standards, but the rebounding (REBOUND!) was impressive.

After a FAU jumper cut it to 17-12, Big Ben Allison misses a three-pointer try but MAX grabs the board. Two more ‘Cats take shots that won’t go with Will Archambault pulling down rebounds in between before The Star (Folks, we got a star!) buries it from deep to push the lead back to eight at the second media timeout. He points to thank the passer. (Always thank the passer. And remember the little people.)

It was a possession – extended three times over - that was typical of the evening.

The ‘Cats finished with a 49-38 rebounding edge, including doubling the Owls on the offensive boards, 20-10. Playing large and in charge, Andrew LOVEdale and SteVe Rossiter had 15 and 12 rebounds, respectively.

In the game, offensive rebounds equal second chances.

In the fourth round of the NIT Tip-off, you get a seecond chance to catch a double header. See Patsos.

For the Wildcats, still chasing the perfect game, it’s a second chance to fine-tune theirs.


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