The ball stayed in the air for about a hundred seconds. Or so it seemed. My thoughts as Brandon Walton launched from the top of my laptop:
—What if he makes it his pizza is good but it is okay if he misses because we are just tied oh but wait what if they get a long rebound and a quick layup like in that other game which game was that OH HE HIT IT OH YES!! —
The feeling of joy mixed with a wave of relief at the fact that I didn’t have to think of how we could avoid blowing this game and the heartache that would follow.
The last time we were in this tournament we had exactly that kind of disappointment. It all flashed before my eyes again.
This time is different though. We don’t have a regular Sun Belt star. As great as Tristan and Josh were/are, they are not in T-Mitch’s class, yo.
Why am I talking about Tony Mitchell when he only had 5 points? Well, he also had 11 rebounds and SIX (6) blocks. Yeah. Six.
It was that clutch defense late in the game, when the first team to fail to match the shot-for-shot pattern was going to buckle, that made the difference. Tony dominated inside — only on defense. That is fine by me if Alzee and co are kicking ass like they were tonight.
I’ve long held that this team just needed the mere threat of an inside scoring threat to have a chance. It is a team game, though. If Tony continues his funk (for him –only 14 points vs Denver and ULL this week) then Monday night at 6pm will be the last time they play.
I don’t want to think about that, yet. I am feeling good. Not just because I had a few drinks at Freetail. I liked the way the guys were fighting despite making mistakes. No play exemplifies this more than Roger Franklin’s hero-block after turning the ball over at the three-point line (what were you thinking trying to drive on two guys, man??).
That kind of stuff will endear a guy to fans. So will clutch threes.
We will need more of both tomorrow night.
Now we get Arkansas State and ESPN3 (woo!). We’ll have more fans watching and another chance to win a small dash of perennially out-of-reach notoriety. I can only hope that the next game will be as awesome.
That is the great thing about these damn tournaments. There is no higher high nor lower low. I can almost (almost) understand those who would rather focus on the intricacies of their navel lint as viewed through the lens of Game of Thrones background characters than spend any stress-filled moment gazing at a tiny screen screaming at 19-year-olds.
Because dammit, it hurts when that 19-year-old dribbles off his foot. Or when they step on the end-line. Or when they can’t quite hit from 15-feet while un-guarded.
I suppose I put myself through it because holy hell it such a rush when they cash threes with seconds to go and block shots into the first row.
Can’t wait for tommorow /Bart Scott Voice.
Go Mean Green.
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