Friday, November 21, 2008

A Tale of Two Halves

By Lauren Biggers
Men's Basketball at Winthrop


It was the best of times. It was the worst of times. It was the age of wisdom. It was the age of foolishness. It was the epic of belief. It was the epic of incredulity.

OK maybe it wasn’t quite so dramatic.

I first read “A Tale of Two Cities” in the ninth grade, and to be honest, didn’t get it at all. Even now, some of its essence is probably lost on me, but for some reason, it popped into my head when I thought of how best to describe the men’s basketball team’s 97-70 win over the Winthrop Eagles Friday night at Belk Arena.

It was, in the simplest of descriptions, a tale of two halves.

Because I spent the greater part of the day traveling to and fro the SoCon volleyball tournament, I didn’t get to spend the usual part of my day breaking down the night’s matchup, studying box scores, watching film ... er, making ridiculous predictions. From what I did gather, though, predictions were heavily in favor of the experienced Davidson Wildcats, hosting the inexperienced Winthrop Eagles.

The first half, though, didn’t exactly play out that way, with the score tied four times and the lead – held by the Eagles for more than a simple stretch – changing hands five times. The Eagles’ Cameron Stanley put up 13 points, and kept Winthrop in the game, 41-35 heading into the second half.

Andrew LOVEdale, though, was having none of it, putting up huuuuuge numbers of his own.

16 points, 11 rebounds in the first half on 7-of-9 shooting.

He was playing so huge that in the second half, he collected a faux rebound on the second of three free throws, and he smiled about it. He finished with 20 points and 15 rebounds and connected at least three times on rockets from Will Archambault, who had a massive game with 12 points, six rebounds and five (!) assists.

LOVEdale wasn’t the only Wildcat putting together a nice half, but most of the others did so in the second. When it was all said and done, five ‘Cats were in double-figures, led by 30 points and 13 assists from America’s Sweetheart.

Converted forevermore, SteVe Rossiter put up 13 – including a perfect 3-of-3 from the line (sigh, free throws), and Bryant Barr, known forevermore as “the white lobster” finished with 11. I’m not sure where this nickname originated, but I know that a) I like it, b) it’s complete with a hand signal, and c) that kid in the student section in the white lobster costume tonight = awesome.

“That’s probably the most awesome costume ever,” director of basketball operations “TI” said afterwards. Or something very similar, I’m sure.

“Did you see my mascot?” the actual white lobster asked. With a smile.

In her first night on press row, SID assistant Alex was enjoying her new view. “You can hear everything,” she tells me, amazed(ish), before observing the students. “What is that flag... and why is that guy dressed like a ... shrimp?”

I filled her in, and she seemed to like what I was putting down. A few other things I took away from this evening: If I had three wishes, I would wish that 1. No one would ever use the ‘airball’ chant again. Ever. 2. Fans who choose to scream only at the referees about ‘double-dribbling’ and ‘hand checking’ and ‘charging’ would never, ever sit near me. Ever. And 3. The Wildcats could play every half like tonight’s second half.

(Correction: (Yes, I’m officially running corrections now.) Kim Murphy sang the national anthem on her 21st birthday at last Friday's game. Kelsey Foremost did the same on Tueday, her 22nd birthday. My apologies to these ladies for mixing them up, a belated happy birthday and job well done to both, and a thanks to Kim for the help...)

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