It's a great day to be a Gamecock, folks. On a day on which the baseball team evened its series against our rivals from the Upstate, the hoops team engineered an unlikely upset against a very high-quality Vanderbilt Commodores team in the unfriendly confines of Memorial Gym. Devan Downey led the 'Cocks with 26, while Sam Muldrow had one of the best performances of his career, scoring 20 on 8-12 shooting and nearly notching a double-double with 9 rebounds. Jermaine Beal led the 'Dores with 21.
After the loss to the Alabama Crimson Tide the other night, I'll have to admit that I had almost no hope of us winning this game. However, this win is a testament to the fact that this team is capable of playing with the best teams in the SEC on any given night, having now beaten what are probably the conference's two best teams in Vandy and the Kentucky Wildcats. That gives me some optimism going into the SEC Tournament. If we can maintain the level of play that we saw today, we're fully capable of going on a run and challenging for the SEC's automatic tournament berth. The odds are against us, but after today, I'm convinced that this team might have a little more magic left in it.
A couple more particular thoughts on the game itself:
- Downey was simply magical today. His second-half performance was one for the ages. A couple of his threes--including the crucial tiebreaker with a little under 2:00 minutes remaining--were from past the NBA line. Hopefully the scouts were watching.
- After rebounding poorly over several games, we won the battle on the boards today, despite the fact that Vandy has one of the league's better front lines. Why we couldn't protect the glass like this against the shorthanded Tide the other night remains a mystery to me.
That's a wrap on this one. The Gamecocks face Alabama in the first round of the SEC Tournament this coming Thursday.Time to avenge the atrocity we saw the other night. Go 'Cocks!