Saturday, December 13, 2008

The Last Six Minutes

By Lauren Biggers
Men's Basketball vs. Chattanooga

“This doesn’t have the last six minutes.”

I have just delivered the stats book to Coach McKillop, sitting in our office-turned-media-holding-room and awaiting his turn at the podium after the ‘Cats’ 100-95 Win over the Chattanooga Mocs Saturday night. Naturally, he flips to the last page of the book. Naturally, he is right.

“HM. OK. Let me go find it.”

The last six minutes, after all, sort of was the game.

Assistant SID Matt Harris has two last pages from which he is writing the game story from press row, which, naturally, should be twice as good. Problem solved, crisis averted.

With all of the last-six-minuteless books and the last page in hand, it’s back to the copier (Have you seen the SportsCenter commercial with Lebron James and Stuart Scott? With Lebron looking for paper jams, exasperatedly, and Scott scoffing, ‘Chosen one.’ If only.)

Try writing a game story for this one without the last six minutes.

Talking about the game in the office before the game, projections are made. (I’m pretty superstitious, so don’t worry. Nothing crazy.) Someone else is due for a big game, and we also would like for The Mouthguard to duplicate his performance in Belk against this team from a season ago.

He doesn’t, but there is Andrew LOVEdale trying, with 14 rebounds to Chattanooga’s 19 in the first half. (14! 19 minutes!)

And Will Archambault, five-for-five with a team-leading 13 points in 12 minutes off the bench.

But the ‘Cats trail four, 44-40.

But there are 20 minutes left.

The WL hits a three as does The One who color coordinates, after a pair of gimmies, and the ‘Cats are up four behind an 8-0 run in 2:30. Game on.

(I met the costumed version of the WL at the NC State game. A friendly freshman named Morgan, whose hallmates chipped in $80 for the suit and paint, after he was recruited by Wes the Boxer. Looks a torturous way to watch a game to me, but on him, I’m a fan. Next, a dance…)

But the ‘Cats just couldn’t seem to shake the Mocs, and soon another Stephen reclaimed the lead for his team. (Sounded weird, didn’t it? Another Stephen?)

Will and The One in White would put the ‘Cats on top again, 53-50, but again, the other Stephen for two. Chatt, 58-57. Well, let’s just get further ahead next time.

And when the youngest McKillop made a layup for his 11th and 12th points to give the ‘Cats a 12-point lead, it felt a pretty good distance with three minutes left. Not keys-shaking good, but close.

The gap ballooned over the next minute to 94-81 and fingers were flying over keyboards. And then a 14-3 run, in 1:24 (!), and it’s 97-95… wait, 97-95?

Fortunately, fouling The Mouthpiece to win a game hasn’t proven a great way to win a game, and he hits 3-of-4 from the line to put the 100-95 win in the books. (Do we get biscuits? Washer fluid? Tacos? Coffee? What?)

And the Wildcats, 1-0 in the league, survive and advance in the Southern Conference.

And there’s a knock at the door.

“Did you find it?”

I did.

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