Tuesday, November 30, 2010

The Beginning

By Lauren Biggers
Men's Basketball vs. Monmouth

“Hey, are you gonna write the Bleacher Report again?” TI asks, while munching on chicken fingers at The BH after the Wildcats’ 69-53 win over Monmouth Monday night.

The what?

The View from... you know... whatever.

OH? That. Well, yes. It’s a pretty well-documented fact, at this point, that I started writing this blog mostly as an excuse to follow Stephen Curry and the traveling Wildcat circus around the world. (What? You did it too.) It was a way for me to earn my Chick-fil-A on the road, and a fun way to connect the team with the fans. And Stephen Curry will always cast a shadow over this blog. This team. This program.

Last year... last year was the start of the After Stephen era. Looking back now, it’s hard to imagine anything but a letdown. There was plenty of good to be sure (TWO rookies of the year?!) but just not. quite. enough. Fitting that Matt Matheny would put an end to it.

We all learned lessons last year. Me? I learned that each game is its own story. And if you get too caught up looking for the end, you might miss the beginning and middle.

This year is already full of ups and downs, and we’re only six games in. A disappointing loss at Penn. A disastrous shooting performance against West Virginia, followed by two resilient wins against Nebraska and Western Kentucky. Another road loss to a pretty good Rhode Island team.

So when the Wildcats finally came home, we didn’t quite know what to expect. Call me crazy, but with this team, I get the sense that that’s a good thing.

With nine minutes to play in the first half, I said to @gwagonmcfarlin, that we should be winning this game. But nope. Not til Brendan put the Wildcats on his shoulders, hitting one of his five three balls to put the ‘Cats up, 24-20 with seven minutes to go in the half, on his way to scoring a team-high 17 points.

From there it was all Wildcats.

And my favorite part? It wasn’t Frank Ben-Eze’s (who got an impressive ovation every time he breathed) MONSTER BLOCK (“that looked like Sarabeth Peele”). It wasn’t Jake Cohen finishing one rebound shy of a double-double or JP making a three despite getting fouled and then getting fired up about it.

I did really enjoy that the mascot is wearing one of my all-time favorite Wildcats’ numbers. (LOVE!) And when the D-block shouted “AHHHHH!” to mimic one of the Monmouth players disappointment over losing the ball out of bounds. I did not enjoy that really loud opposing fan screaming over my shoulder all night (except when she observed that the refs can’t see #!$! here. Because that $#!# is funny, lady.).

I love that Alvin and Clay got to play in this game. I love that Coach McKillop was so fired up over a phantom call on JP that he nearly threw his water on the bench (but I would have loved that more. Sorry guys.)

But my favorite part was when Jordan (“We call him the microwave”) Downing got the ball behind the line with the shot clock winding down. I think he was so surprised by how wide open he was that he nearly dropped it. But with two ticks left, he calmly buried the three right in front of the bench with a confident surprise.

It capped off a five-point run to push Davidson’s lead back to 14, but it didn’t mean much in the course of the game. Except for the smiles. And in the post-game afterwards, “I’m just really enjoying coaching these guys.”

So as the players enter the SID office en route to the media room, a high five for the captain.

“Thanks. We’re 1-0 at home.”

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