You ain't got no alibi--
You ugly! Yeah, yeah, you ugly!
I know how you got that way--
Yo' mama! Yeah, yeah, yo' mama!
Man. Last night's Davidson vs. West Virginia game, the first of the Jimmy V double-header, was the ugliest basketball game I think I've ever seen. The Cats made the Mountaineers look like the JV squad in the first half, ripping up the WVa defense and sending their coach's blood pressure (which seemed to be an issue anyway) through the vaulted ceiling of Madison Square Garden. The balance of the game tipped seriously in Davidson's favor when the Mountaineers' only remaining guard, who had been tiptoeing around the court trying not to re-injure the shoulder that kept him out of WV's last game, slumped off the court toward the locker room six minutes in, with another shoulder contusion.
Then Davidson spent the next twenty minutes trying to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, as Curry went cold for more than a dozen field goal attempts and the team battled against a reinvigorated WVa defense.
The Wildcats (whose roster boasts players from five states plus Quebec, Sussex, Turkey, and Nigeria) seemed to be trying to give up a win to a team playing without their two starting guards, a team that missed 12 of their 29 free throws, and who never had more than a four point lead. But the Mountaineers snagged a massive 32 offensive rebounds to the Cats' 12, which kept them in the game -- though, as a Davidson fan, I'll of course chalk this up to the fact that West Virginia is a taller team at every position.
It was a weird game. Davidson's coach, Bob McKillop, who is a cool character in most situations, exploded at his team during a mid-second-half time out. Even the unflusterable Curry grimaced and shook his head after missed shots, while his cowed teammates tried to keep him fired up.
Finally, in the last five minutes, the Cats gelled, turning up their defense, using clever inbounding strategies, bouncing off screens, and feeding the ball to Curry, who at last sank three after glorious three. I ask you: can that kid cut, or can that kid cut? He's smart, he's fast, and he can stop on a dime; WVa's defenders didn't have a blessed chance against his quickness and shot selection once he remembered how to play basketball again late in the second half. A drive, some fancy ball handling, two steps back... and voila. A hard-fought win.