Saturday, January 9, 2010

But for Sims

By Lauren Biggers
Davidson vs. Appalachian State

13-for-19 from the field. 5-for-7 from deep. 13-for-13 at the line. 44 points.

I think a year ago, we all know whose line that could be. But not this day. Not in Davidson’s 78-68 loss to Appalachian State.

“He played like a guy who has played in this gym for three years,” said a resolute Coach McKillop in his post-game interview. “He was spectacular.”

“I don’t think anyone has scored 40 on us,” said a resilient JP Koolman in his post-game interview. “But I’ve never seen him play before.”

Well, I have. And he’s been good, but he’s never been 44-points-good.

But the day belonged to Appalachian State’s Donald Sims, doing his best Stephen Curry impersonation. All. Day. Long.

The day (entertainingly, everyone kept saying “tonight” in the post-game) started out (more-than-)OK for the Wildcats, who led by as many as 12 nearly halfway through the first half.

But Davidson just had no answer for Sims. (I miss MAX. especially during in-bounds plays in front of the table).

After Isaac Butts scored the first basket for the Mountaineers, Sims recorded App’s next eight points to single-handedly keep his team in the game so he could single-handedly win it in the second.

Davidson’s scoring was more balanced, with five players with at least five points after the first 20. And that too seemed OK, even good at times, as the Wildcats built their 12-point lead at the 12-minute mark behind back-to-back treys from the youngest McKillop and the WL.

Appalachian State cut it to three behind a 13-3 run, but Davidson scored the next seven to push it back to double-digits. And with just five minutes left in the period, the basketball gods seemed in the Wildcats’ corner.

But for Sims, who scored eight of his 21 first-half points. With the rest of the supporting cast adding four, suddenly we’re all knotted up at 35?

“They made key baskets at key times,” Coach summarizes, succinctly, accurately and painfully. “We missed key baskets at key times.”

That statement pretty much summarizes the second half.

A KOOLman bucket at 15:57 knotted the score at 44, one of four ties in the final period, and Davidson would break through, finally, to lead by one on a layup from Steve Rossiter with 6:58 to go.

But for Sims. Who scored nine of the Mountaineers’ next 10 unanswered points to give App. State a nine-point lead. Who netted 23 second-half points, to seal the game and steal the arena record.

Still doing his best Stephen Curry, Sims was deferential and humble in the post-game.

It was the first time I’ve seen someone score 44 points. It was entertaining, but it was not enjoyable.

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