Thursday, December 31, 2009

That Just Happened. Again.

Maybe there will be a time when it doesn't feel this way. Maybe we'll become just like students/alums/fans of 'normal' major college athletic programs who enjoy their big road wins as part of the regular course of events, rather than celebrate them as precious Faberge moments. Until that happens, though, you'll just have to indulge us.

William and Mary went to College Park last night and thoroughly beat the Maryland Terrapins, 83-77. This wasn't a fluke, and it wasn't a gimmick. The Tribe shot 47.2% from the field, made 25 of 31 free throws, valued the basketball (only 10 turnovers), and competed on the boards (the bigger, more athletic Terps outrebounded the Tribe, 37-35).

As it is so many times, attitude was as important as numbers. From the tip (point of confession: this sentence should read, 'From the 12-minute mark of the first half...', as a combination of Tysons Corner trafficlusterfuck and Shlara's directional skills got us to the Comcast Center a few minutes late.), W&M looked like they belonged. And once Maryland realized the Tribe wasn't going away, the Terps sagged. I've rarely seen a more textbook illustration of the value of team over individual. Tony Shaver's boys routinely and repeatedly made the extra pass, rotated correctly on defense, and patiently ran their offense until they got a good look. The Terps, meanwhile, continually tried to break down W&M's zone, throwing up off-balance runners and ill-advised jumpers. Maryland's press lacked intensity, allowing easy pass after easy pass after the ball was inbounded - it was only when the Terps ratcheted up their energy level far too late in the game that they succeeded in turning the Tribe over.

W&M led by 16 with 6 minutes left, at which point Maryland's fans left the building in droves and their players hung their heads in defeat. A late run triggered by better defense and a few missed free throws made things interesting, but only just. Allow me to emphasize this: the better team won last night. Sophomore Quinn McDowell tallied 28 points on 8-14 shooting (9-9 from the line), David Schneider overcame a bad shooting night by flying all over the floor on defense to make several critical hustle plays, Danny Sumner kept the Tribe in the game in the early going and finished with 17, and Marcus Kitts hammered home a pair of dunks to break Maryland's spirit late in the second half. Contributions came from all over the place against a Terps team that was hell-bent on making individual plays.

(Note that we've maintained the G:TB tradition of taking blurry, grainy photos at W&M basketball games. That's Shlara on the left for those of you unfamiliar with our lady friend. KQ wouldn't let us photograph her - something about french fries.)

The 9-2 Tribe enters the meat of the conference schedule on a 9-game winning streak, traveling to Hofstra on Saturday (when they might...might be in the AP Top 25 - wrap your mind grapes around that, sports fans). Shlara, KQ, and my friend Dylan are on notice that we'll be required to keep traveling with the squad until they lose a game in our presence. As terrific as they've played in the non-con run-up, it won't mean much if they don't keep it up in what will be a very competitive CAA. They'll lose a few ugly ones when the three isn't falling, but I'm convinced now (finally) that the Tribe can play with anyone in the league.

I'd be more than willing to stop talking about the absurdity of big W&M wins, but maybe the Tribe can get a few more of them this season so I can ease out of the habit.

47 comments:

Dan said...

congratulations on your victory.

Whitney said...

In that picture it looks like you have your tiny arm cocked to punch Shlara in the face. Was the because she left your booster seat in the car?

rob said...

zing! i'm pointing to the scoreboard, actually. or wrestling with the apparition that's behind me. kq is only marginally better than shlara at photography.

rob said...

college hoops on television all day, beginning with michigan/indiana at noon.

and at&t ends its relationship with eldrick. wonder what that does to the dc tournament.

KQ said...

you try taking a picture of a twitchy squirrel in bad lighting and see how well you do.

rob said...

this is a fair point

KQ said...

and ps i'm in for future games. i'll even bring my rally fries. go tribe! (except against gmu)

Mark said...

Mmmm, rally fries...

rob said...

horseradish brain paralysis. arrggggggh.

TJ said...

Oh. My. Hangover.

Dan said...

teej - i'm 2-0-1 in bowl games thus far, so it's probably time to go against my hunches...but i like
navy at +6.5
stanford at +10
and va tech at -5.5
full disclosure - va tech is an emotional decision; and the others are simply hunches with minimal research.
i'm sure mark has some good scoop though.

rob said...

jeremiah rivers! onions.

rob said...

that's a pretty bad loss for the fighting beileins.

Whitney said...

For the first time ever, the local Fox affiliate is pre-empting the standard Redskins game. They will instead air the Eagles-Cowboys game at 4:15 on Sunday. I see the sense of it on paper, and I'd like to say I'm happy not to be able to see the Skins this Sunday.

But I can't. I'm fucking pissed. I am still a loyal Redskins fan, this is still (supposed to be) Skins territory, and I don't care if they suck ass (they do), I want to tune in and take my lumps just like always. It's how we dedicate ourselves, Fox assholes. It's how we prove ourselves as legitimate fans.

The man behind the decision? Bruce Rader. You hated him when he was your local NBC affiliate sports anchor when you went to W&M. You laughed at him when he strolled the beach with his weebil-frame body, when he was busted for coke, when he stumbled over comon sports names and didn't know shit about dick. Now you seethe at him when he has the authority and the audacity to take the Redskins off the air in Hampton Roads. Fat dick.

In truth, I'll just go to a bar who gets the Sunday ticket and drink all day. Still... the principle.

rob said...

consider yourself lucky. folks with time warner cable may be facing the prospect of no fox whatsoever as rupert and time warner engage in a dick-measuring contest.

TJ said...

Dan, I went Navy +220 and Stanford +320.

rob said...

from the 'people are stupid' file, tracy mcgrady is second in the western conference all-star balloting.

TJ said...

You know what, win or lose, it just feels right betting on the Naval Academy.

TJ said...

Um, not a good start for the service academy...

TJ said...

Can we discuss this Va Tech/TN game? I hate the cousin bangers quite a bit myself, for no real reason, but didn't they start to look competent by year end?

mayhugh said...

I love watching Navy. Lots of backfield motion and different backs with their hands on the ball.

Of course as I type that they fumble.

mayhugh said...

The Teej, Tennessee has no chance in that game. I have no evidence to support this.

TJ said...

No suprise Cornbread is a big fan of hands on balls.

rob said...

god forbid we have a playoff, because the integrity of the insight bowl might be compromised. which 6-6 squad did you back, teej?

TJ said...

Um, I just bet on the teams with the "+" by their name. It's a tried and true formula for limited success.

rob said...

teej, what's your overall gambling +/- thus far?

TJ said...

All told (sports bets, slots, video poker, craps), Team theTeej is up just over a hundred bucks.

rob said...

we're all very proud of you. nice work.

TJ said...

Oh, I'll lose all of that and more before I go...

Mark said...

TJ...City of Crompton actually looked decent by year's end but I have to agree that Lane and the Vols are gonna get handled by Tech.

/crosses fingers

Mark said...

"You know what, win or lose, it just feels right betting on the Naval Academy."

I have no idea what this means. I'm guessing it's TJ expressing his inner gay.

TJ said...

Or Mark it could mean I am a fan of the god damn United States of America, you commie fuck.

TJ said...

rob, now that I look at the stellar Insight Bowl match-up, I think I'll pass...

rob said...

it is with no small measure of sadness that i regretfully announce the demise of misery loves company. final post just went live. pour out a little, friends.

rob said...

bo ryan getting it done. again.

Mark said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Mark said...

I wasn't drinking yet but Rob told me to pour a little out so I cracked one. If I get belligerently drunk tonight, I'm blaming Rob. Which is really no different from any other time I have too much to drink.

rob said...

my new year's resolution is to meet mark in person. and give him a bottle of jameson. dude makes me laugh.

but i'm not going to florida to do it.

rob said...

maybe ricky dobbs should get some of those hand-strengthening thingies.

zoltan said...

How about you meet Mark at G:TB Summit 2010? Venue TBD. Or T:BD.

rob said...

done and done, z-man. venue will be the tribe's first round ncaa tournament venue.

or richmond for the caa tournament, whichever.

Mark said...

I guess I'll make it my new year's resolution to meet Rob. That's a lot more fun (and realistic) than going on a diet or giving up cocaine.

I'm definitely in for a first round NCAA tourney weekend. Can't see me making the trip for the CAA tourney in Richmond. Been to Richmond once, not much desire to return.

Also, Jazz Fest is always a good idea. As is the sports memorabilia show that Sports Guy wrote about earlier this year. I believe its in Baltimore this coming summer.

G:TB Summit 2010...we're pretty sure that it might happen.

rob said...

people on the caa message boards (yes, such things exist) are firm in their belief that w&m will get an at-large bid to the ncaa tournament if they go 13-5 in the conference. this, friends, is fucking crazytalk. on a number of levels. how 'bout we beat hofstra on long island before we crown their asses.

rob said...

on the other hand, the tribe is now in first place in the acc.

zoltan said...

You want to crown them then crown them!

zoltan said...

The Bills just hired Buddy Nix as their new GM. He's 70. He is not one of Shanahan, Gruden, Cowher, or Holmgren. In fact I've never heard of him. Apparently he retired from football in 2008, then he became the Bills' "national scout" this year. He was TO's college coach his freshman year.

If the drive for five is still alive, it's increasingly moribund with this hire.

Brann...it's good for you. said...

You won't beat Mason. GO MASON.