Thursday, February 12, 2009

Rebound

By Lauren Biggers
Men's Basketball at Wofford


After a stunning game (I would not, could not say the L word) against the College of Charleston in Belk Arena on Saturday afternoon, the WILDcats rebounded nicely with a 78-61 win at Wofford Thursday night.

The SID party bus left Baker Sports Complex around 4 p.m. and arrived in Spartanburg one (amazing) road-trip CD later, and just in time for Chick-fil-A in the press room.

We settled into our seats, which, because we were needing so many of the few spaces available for non-TV folks, ended up on the official scorer’s table. I don’t know how I feel about sitting next to you guys, SID Marc Gignac jokes. (I think.)

I go over the names with the P.A. guy (Me: It’s STEFF-in. Him: Yeah, I know.) and give him the probable starting lineups.

“I’m not usually that excited about coming to these games,” he tells me. “But today, I’ve been ready all day. I made plans to drop off my car and get to the game early. It’s like having a front-row seat for something the rest of the nation wishes it could see.”

Then he gives me a cookie. And I think we could be friends.

Wofford is having its second-ever sellout, and first of the season, thanks to this Wildcat traveling circus, so you could say they aren’t quite used to this.

Excuse me, ma’am. Do you know where my seat is? A Terrier fan asks me as I head down the stairs to the table.

No sir, I’m sorry. I don’t work here.

From my seat, I am asked more questions I cannot answer. When is the anthem? Where do I put this microphone? THAT THREE SHOULD HAVE BEEN A TWO!! Sub, sub, sub.

I like being close to the action, but really, I just wanna watch the Charlotte Bobcats’ Rhythm Cats and eat my cookie in peace.

On the court, the game doesn’t start out the way I prefer, either, with the Terriers taking a 2-11 lead.

But an 8-0 Davidson run, punctuated by the first three of the night from I can’t Believe it’s not Butter, (You know because he’s on a roll. Da dum dum, ching.) puts the ‘Cats within one. That momentum, though, is stifled by a circus three from Wofford’s Jason Dawson as the clock winds down, and the Terrier dance troupe hits the floor for a performance, appropriately, to Britney Spears’ Circus (YES!).

After the insanely long horn (ah, now I remember this guy), a full-court pass from D.O.B.O. TI (subsequently very pleased with himself) and the cheerleaders throwing McDonalds cheeseburgers (way better than T-shirts), WILL Archambault hits a floater to cut the lead to three, 16-19, at the 11-minute mark. To chants of “U-S-A. U-S-A,” no less, from the students. Did they check the roster? They are gonna tire of that chant quickly, I predict.

Andrew LOVEdale converts on an and-one play to knot the score at 19, and Land o’ Lakes sinks a pair of freebies later to keep it tied at 23, but that ‘Cats can’t seem to shake those Dogs.

Butter Buds decides — because that’s pretty much what it looks like — to score 11 straight points (inspiring assistant SID Matt Harris to protest “Stop hitting me!” MY bad...), and get Davidson in position at the half, trailing just 41-36.

I would be lying if I said I wasn’t nervous, but I’m always nervous when trailing. I feel a lot better when the WL, MAX and Country Crock hit three straight 3’s to open the frame, and even better when Parkay’s floater in the lane puts the ‘Cats up a pair, 47-45, grabbing the first lead of the night with 17 minutes to go.

Davidson grabs a 10-point lead almost effortlessly, and Wofford takes a quick T.O. The music gal cues Rocky, and you have to give her credit for trying, but no, this one belongs to the ‘Cats.

Run the clock, Steph! Run the clock, (naturally with the lead at 15 and just two to play) come the instructions from the bench.

And yet, there is a pass to Steve Rossiter and another to a wide-open Andrew LOVEdale for an easy two. And 25 seconds left on the clock. In the timeout, there is good-natured laughing and plenty of “Sorry, Coach, I tried” looks.

Afterwards, Wofford head coach Mike Young grabs the mike and thanks his fans for coming. And thanks Davidson for making it happen. Class act. And then he wants to know where to put the microphone.

“How many points did he end up with?” A woman asks over my shoulder. “And I don’t need to tell you who he is, right?”

No ma’am. 39.

Rebound!

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