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South Carolina 61 Miss. Valley St. 57

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.

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