Saturday, January 3, 2009

Welcome Back

By Lauren Biggers
Men's Basketball vs. Samford

This guy I used to work with in another lifetime had this idea of a “drive-up song.” Every time he pulled into the stadium, whether in the morning, afternoon or evening, he’d put on the same song.

An interesting idea, and guy for that matter, to be sure, but I started thinking about it as I pulled into Belk Arena for Saturday’s 76-55 win over Samford, (and not into the back lot without my parking pass. Mister parking lot attendant, if you happen to read this, I told you I work for Davidson... really, really, sir, I swear.)

“Welcome back, welcome back, welcome back.”

Christmas break is one of the good parts about working for an academic institution, and two weeks off is literally an eternity in athletics, where pretty much every day is a work day, and there is little distinction between weekday and weekend.

And after three days of high school basketball at the Bojangles Shootout tournament, benefiting Dell Curry’s
Athletes United for Youth foundation,it was nice to be back in my normal spot on press row, complete with media timeouts, shot clocks, and yes, Sweet Caroline.

The familiar sounds of Coach McKillop, easily claiming the night’s best-dressed award in pin stripes en route to his 350th Wildcat win, from the bench. (TI TIE WATCH: Baby-doll pink. Three stars.)

“Come on, Steph.”

This game never really in question, it was good to see Mr. 2000 live and in color again, wasn’t it? With 21 points on 7-of-14 shooting (5-of-6 from downtown) along with eight assists, four steals and four rebounds, it was easily his best performance of 2009.

Joining Wildcat greats John Gerdy and Fred Hetzel, he becomes just the third player in Davidson history to reach the plateau.

“Scoring that much is pretty cool for me because of the few people who have done it,” he says in a long-distance “interview” from south of the border. “To be named with those greats is an honor.” Ever polished, he adds, “But we can’t let it be a distraction.”

And while not everyone was back to work or school – the students still on break, including Mr. Wildcat and personal fav White Lobster, absent, the crowd did not disappoint nor, for that matter, were they disappointed.

Along with the 21, Ben Allison and Will Archambault dropped in 12 each in solid efforts, as all but three ‘Cats found their way into the scoring column in a good look balanced attack.

“It means a lot to have that many people at the game over Christmas break without the students there,” Mr. 3000 (?) continues. “And with this road stretch coming up we needed a solid performance at home.”

And to keep it light and lest anyone else wonder... seriously, the mouthguard?

It was one of two favorite moments from Saturday’s game.

(The other, btw, is Will not-in-my-house Archambault’s serious shakeoff of a defender and subsequent trey - a third straight from the same spot on the wing. Complete with intense glare.)

The action stopped, game decided, he drops his trusty (note: clear) mouthguard under the basket, fumbles it a few times before popping it back in.

“I didn’t really think about how dirty it was before I put it back in because the play was about to start and I had to protect my teeth.”

To an impressive chorus of “eeeeewwwws.”

If we’ve taught you one thing, let it be that people are always watching.

5,223 on Saturday afternoon at Belk.

It was good to be back, wasn’t it?


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