Saturday in the Park

This is another “not sure where to begin, not sure where to end” entry. I saw the ODU/VCU game from press row, and followed closely the UNCW/Hofstra matchup. In between I got to see the Delaware Fightin’ Nanas drop a home contest to Towson.

(Side note: I’m not sure why but I like the work Glenn Consor does on the Comcast games. To me he seems to have the knack of knowing when to talk and when not to talk. His delivery may not be among the elite, but he’s always prepared and doesn’t try to wow you with bland insight, especially when your eyes can handle the task.)

And the side note allows me to segway thusly: speaking of insight, I don’t think much is needed from the ODU/VCU matchup on Saturday afternoon. The pair provided the kind of game you would expect from two of the CAAs best playing a rivalry game.

ODU won, of course, when Nick George’s three-pointer bounced harmlessly off of the back rim. Even so, the shot took a high carom, and for that brief instant all of the air was sucked compltely out of the Ted Constant Center. It was like one of those stop-action scenes out of a movie, where the director cuts from actor to actor showing each emotion as it appears in that moment. The split second of real-time action is covered by about 10 seconds of film. I know the building fell completely silent.

And then someone turned on the fans, literally and figuratively, when the ball did not find net.

After the final, furiuos minute, one in which VCUs Jamal Shuler showed unbelieveable range and resiliency, you would have to look hard to find a Monarchs fan that did not think George’s shot was going in and the game was going to overtime. It seemed fitting.

It was a game in which nobody walked away griping about officials, wondering why his team did or did not do this or that, or felt badly about how it was played. Most people only said “wow, what a college basketball game.” Big players played big in a big game. You can’t ask for much more.

I’ve given Isaiah Hunter some fairly hard shots this season, but I will also give him his due. He was the difference. His three that gave ODU a 69-64 lead in the waning minutes was a dagger, a shot only seniors seem to make. Hunter also made his free throws down the stretch to keep VCU at bay.

Jeff Capel said in the post game that Hunter gives ODU a swagger, and when pressed on what he meant, Capel was blunt: “He is cocky,” Capel said. “And I mean it’s a good cocky. Guards are flashy and flamboyant and his team responds to it. He has that ‘it’ inside him.”

I couldn’t agree more. (Though it also has a downside…hence, Richmond.)

I left with this one thought: I don’t think anyone in the CAA offices would complain if these two teams stage a CAA Final rematch. I don’t think fans would mind, either.

***

Home to the television and catch the halftime score, 50-47, Towson leading Delaware. Harding Nana had 28 points and seven rebounds. Two things from this game:

(1) If you believe Nana is a player that loads up his stat sheet late in blowout games or is “the one option on a bad team” and thus think he isn’t a great player, you either have not watched Delaware or are an idiot. The kid gives everything he has for a bad team.

(2) Delaware is just not good. Calvin Cannon can shoot the ball a little and Raphael Madera is kind of tall, but that’s about it. Losing Andrew Washington was huge. It makes Nana’s achievements all the better, not worse. And it calls into question the longevity of David Henderson. This team is gonig the wrong way, in the manner in which James Madison started going the wrong way under Sherman Dillard.

Towson pretty much had its way with the Fightin’ Nanas on a day in which Gary Neal couldn’t shoot and Harding Nana couldn’t be stopped. The game was also at the Carpenter Center. That’s all I really need to know.

***

Finally, I guess I should write a few words about that snoozer UNCW and Hofstra played, won by Hofstra 92-87 in three overtimes. Key note here: Hofstra held serve at home.

This was huge for the Pride. It had just come off a tough road loss to Towson, was still missing Adrian Uter, and is traveling to ODU Thursday. It could’ve gotten ugly. Thanks to Loren Stokes and his 30 points, it did not. Stokes started the
third overtime session with back-to-back three-pointers to give the Pride an 88-82 lead and they held on.

Most notable: Stokes played 54 minutes; Antoine Agudio 52, and Aurimas Kieza 51. Carlos Rivera was the weak link, getting “just” 46 minutes. The other interesting note is the inconsistent play of Tom Pecora’s big men. Chris Gadley came off of an 11-rebound performance and picked up four fouls and four rebounds in 12 minutes. Mike Davis-Sabb has had similar stretches of brilliance and disappreance.

***

With Northeastern beating Drexel, do you really think the standings could be any more jumbled? Everybody loves to pull the quote from Dick Vitale around Thansgiving about Drexel being picked for seventh place in the CAA. Well, the Dragons are eighth.

***

Final note, for today (though there is much, much more…):

Towson, the league laughingstock, would be the #5 seed if the season ended today. Don’t give me the “well, it doesn’t” schitck. I know that. Just sit back and take in the fact that the doormat is 4-2.

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~ by mglitos on January 16, 2006.

5 Responses to “Saturday in the Park”

  1. Wow, another post with no mention of 1st place GMU… shocker!

    Your VCU bias is easy to see. You might want to keep that in check for your book.

  2. New book title for you, “Three Dreams, No Bids,” the story of VCU, ODU, and Hofstra playing in the NIT after Mason wins the tournament.

  3. throw in the fact that NU is tied for 2nd place w/ UNCW if they beat Mason @ mason on thurs there’s no reason they shouldn’t be talked about as one of the favorites to when this league. If people are gonna say ODU had a bad run so did NU. NU’s losses in league really haven’t been that bad a tough game they should have won against GMU @ home. A game where they got beat by in my opinion a better ODU team, but they did play them exceptionally tough.(up 15 @ one point) So ignore them as you have through most of the regular season, we’ll be riding shotgun all the way to a title

  4. Um, GMUs last three wins have been Delaware, WM, and JMU. Combined conference record: 0-16.

    When you play somebody in the top seven I will cover them, like what occurred when Mason beat VCU.

    I apologize to everyone else. I erred in choosing to cover and write about VCU/ODU and HU/UNCW instead of the riveting GMU/JMU thriller.

    Please stop whining.

  5. mgl, that was a classic reply.

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