The Good: What a great come back by the Cocks! Tied at 35-35 for nearly 3 mins in the second half. Then Valley goes on a tear - an 11 point lead with 6:34 in the second. It looks like more than just an upset-in-the-making: it looks like Valley is the better team. Then - out of nowhere - Gill, Cooke and Leonard start playing hard in the paint! Going strong to the rim. Playing assertive, creative ball inside. A huge put-back by Cooke starts cutting into the Devils' lead. Gill gets a questionable GT call in his favor, and then - out of nowhwere - at 3:00 minutes - we start pressing! Hard! Mein Gott! Why did we wait so long?
Valley cannot handle the press. All of the suddent MSVU starts coughing the ball up - 1, 2, 3, 4 turn-overs - after a whole game of leading the Cocks in take-aways, now it's their turn to give us the ball. We start scoring in transition. Cooke is magnificent rebounding, stealing and at the stripe to seal the deal - we go on a 14-0 run.
We were a different team during the press. It was like 33 minutes of famine, followed by 7 minutes of plenty. We went from unbelievably boring and anemic to exciting and red-blooded.
The Bad: I know we're waiting for Ellington, and Williams is out for a few games, but dad gummit we almost let this game slip away. Kudos to Coach Horn for the come-back; that's the kind of ball we need to start playing now! But until we started the press at 3:00 minutes left, Valley was the better, more disciplined team. It's like we slept-walked for 33 minutes, washed our face for 4 minutes, then ran hard for the last three. That will cut it against a team like MSVU. I don't think it will work against UK, Vandy, Bama, etc.
The Ugly: The Colonial Life Arena was not just a tomb. It was a mausoleum. It was so quiet in there - and so sparesly attended - that you could literally hear a pin drop when the pep band wasn't playing. Horn has got to build some excitement. Yes, I know its the Tuesday before Thanksgiving, but still - I'd be shocked if there were 1,500 in attendance. We've got to get some crowd noise.