La Cuckaracha

Today presents an opportunity to write a very creative lead about the game. But I can’t. Oh, not that I don’t have the ammunition. VCU and ODU played a very VCU/ODU game Saturday at the Siegel Center, with the home team winning 80-75. (Side note: it won’t shock me to see the same score: Home 80, Visitor 75, next month in Norfolk.)

No, I have a different subject to hit first. Senor Crankypants remains undefeated as a head basketball coach with James Madison’s 59-52 victory at Georgia State. It was hte team’s first road victory of the season. It was just the second time they’d given up fewer than 65 points in a game. (As a comparison, Drexel has given up MORE than 58 points only five times.)

The Dukes, who play at Matthews against Nor’Easter on Wednesday, have climbed into the five-way donneybrook for sixth place at 3-5 in conference. But we all know that Senor Crankypants is tied for the conference lead at 2-0.

Jump on the bandwagon now, my friends, lest you be confused with an actual bandwagoner in February.

***

There is a raw emotion that follows ODU and VCU and their storied history against one another. With other games and other teams and other rivalries, you get the sniping, the yelling, the booing, the rooting. But with these two you can feel the sense of importance in every breath. It’s like sitting near the smoking section in a restaurant–you can’t see teh smoke and it’s technically a non-smoking section, but you know it’s there. You can smell it.

It’s the kind of emotion that fills the student sections 90 minutes before tip off. It gets normally spirited but congenial head coaches to get themselves T’d up at midcourt, and gets players donig things they normally do not.

In short, Saturday’s tilt lived up to billing. In a game of tremendous runs, VCU had the last and biggest one, rallying from 12 points down in the second half to pull out the victory.

Now, I pat myself on the back quite often here and I know it’s over the top. But I’ll do it one more time (before the next time). The game really came down to free throw shooting; only not hte free throws in the final 60 seconds.

The difference in the game to me was ODUs errant charity tosses as the game waned. It cost them more than the one point for making the shot. A two-point ODU lead that could’ve been four was only three, or even two. A three-point lead remained there. The importance is that ODU had a chance to dictate how VCU would run its offense–way different down four than down two. They missed and VCU didn’t face a major adjustment or feel the need to jack up a wild three.

The other turning point was two straight possessions late when Blaine Taylor felt forced, because of foul trouble, to have freshman Marsharee Neely cover VCUs slashing Eric Maynor. On both possessions VCU cleared one side of the floor and Maynor beat Neely for layups.

To me that was the difference in the game.

***

There were games other than Senor Crankypants and VCU/ODU. Notable:

Loren Stokes scored 30 and grabbed 15 in Hofstra’s 77-69 victory over William & Mary. That was enough to overshadow Antoine Agudio’s big game as well. Agudio finished with 22 points and eight rebounds. Stokes increased his scoring average to 20.7 points, while Agudio raised his to 20.3, making the Pride one of only two schools in the country with two 20-point scorers (VMI is the other). It was at this point last year I told you Will Thomas of George Mason would make first team All CAA and it is at this point this year I’m telling you Agudio is next year’s POY.

Drexel kept pace at the top of the standings with a more-difficult-than-expected 69-61 victory at Delaware, and was notable for a wild elbow Frank the Tank Elegar threw at I Am Sam McMahon. We’ll let you know if there is any disciplinary action.

Towson defeated The Dub 75-61 and I’m not sure there is anything notable from that one, and I thinkt eh same can be said for Mason’s 78-53 drubbing of Nor’Easter.

***

Life has to start, so we’ll check in later today. But keep this in mind: VCU at Mason on Wednesday is another telling game, and I think Drexel is staring at a trap game–the Dragons head to the beach three days before hosting VCU.

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~ by mglitos on January 22, 2007.

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