By Lauren Biggers
Men's Basketball vs. Furman
January 12, 2011
Just a few thoughts from me this a.m., because as it turns out, there are only 36 days until baseball season starts (!?!!) and I have a LOT to do before opening weekend (Feb. 18!!). But last night’s 79-70 victory over the Furman Paladins is worth some ink before I shift my attention to baseball AND the upcoming Kicks from ‘Cats (January 29! Vs. College of Charleston!).
After last week’s loss to Appalachian — which I didn’t write about because I was too busy being nervous about inputting stats, with WBB SID @gwagonmcfarlin on the road, and because it wouldn’t have been that fun to write anyways — and a tough road loss at Western this weekend, the Wildcats needed a win to get this train back on the tracks.
Only 39 seconds into this one, with super soph Jake Cohen saddled with two quick (ticky-tacky?!) fouls it was obvious that might be a challenge. The early goings were interesting, and we were tied at 8-8 (with SEVEN total fouls) at the first media timeout and both teams batting 1.000. Each a perfect 3-for-3 from the field with the Paladins converting their only free throw attempt.
Furman busted up the stalemate (yes, people love when I use that phrase) with five unanswered points, and the Wildcats were playing from behind. Not. This. Again. But Bootz hit a layup, grabbed a couple rebounds, and JP Koolman drained his first three of the night to cut that lead to two, 15-13, with just under 12 left in the half.
The scoring though, played second fiddle to the officiating crew (which didn’t even include TV Teddy. Sad face.), prompting Furman’s Jeff Jackson to explain to his staff that, “John Adams (NCAA coordinator of basketball officiating) is here, so he is losing his mind.” (GAH, I love an entertaining opposing bench so).
I’m not sure that the NCAA can’t assess fines to SID offices that speak negatively about officiating, so let me just say that these guys called an... uh... interesting... game, which at one point prompted student worker Leah to shout “FOULLLLLL!!!” before realizing she was indeed at the “silent” and “impartial” scorer’s table and clapping her hand over her mouth (NBD, we’ve all done it) and the D-block (who was FANTASTIC in their second-semester debut) to engage the crowd in a “Let them play!” chant. (And my personal fav solo heckle of the night, ‘hey ref, great free throw contest!’)
The Paladins led by as many as nine in the first half, but the momentum started to shift when Bootz hit a layup with five-and-a-half to go to cut it to four. After a Furman miss, Captain Will SECURED the rebound, Bootz found JP Koolman for the layup AND-ONE free throw, and the ‘Cats were down just one, 30-31, and threatening.
When Captain Will (MVP of the first half and prompting official scorer Lee Jones to add “and playing a hell of a game” after his name during our points/fouls run-down at half) secured the offensive board and made the pair of freebies from the ensuing foul. Bootz scored the next two layups, the second which gave Davidson its first lead, before Nik Cochran hit a three that caused the biggest eruption of the night from the Wildcat bench.
After some technical difficulties with the scoreboard (my sistah re: that break — that’s the most I’ve ever seen people dance at a Davidson game), Furman got the game knotted up for the last time at 39 on a Noah States layup with 18:16 left, before Jake Cohen (“where’s he been?... oh, that’s right. THE BENCH. WITH FOUL TROUBLE.”) put the ‘Cats on top for good, 43-41.
With the Furman bench shouting “SHOOTER!” about BMcKillop, Nik Cochran drains the three to put Davidson ahead 64-54, their largest lead of the night with 8:33 to play. Hey Furman, Nik doesn’t care; he’s got ice water in his veins. 22 points. 13 made free throws! AND THE ONLY DAVIDSON BLOCK OF THE NIGHT! (Me to Gavin: “K (that means block. I don’t know why, it just does.), Nik??”)
The Wildcats are winning, the Paladins are fouling, and all is right in the world again. And finally, one of my favorite parts of the night, Bootz passing up the last shot and (so smartly. So sportsmanlike) dribbling out the clock and Jeff Jackson calling off the dogs. (Also sportsmanlike. And we thank you. This game has lasted a while.)
That and the D-block all but refusing to leave until Nik got his much-deserved curtain call.
If you fought through the ice and snow, the show at Belk Wednesday night was deserved, too.