Ups and downs of college basketball

Part of what I love about college basketball is the fast pace.   The ups and downs of the court can be mirrored by emotions on a night when plenty of ball is being played.

UNCG lost a heartbreaker to the Pirates of ECU.  After starting the game with a 10-0 lead and leading for most of the game, ECU pulled up close and on a foul won the game.  UNCG was up by two in the final seconds of the game and Nick Paulos fouled a Pirate three pointer.  The basket did not connect, but all three of the foul shots did.  ECU topped the Spartans 85-84 in a tough loss for the Spartans.  Kayel Locke looked strong under the basket.  He fouled out of the game, but left it all on the floor when he did.

The player of the night, however, was Tevon Saddler.  The first year player racked up 34 points, 8 rebounds, and 5 assists.  In my last post, I wondered if he was going to grow or be a ball hog?  If this game is a suggestion, he is leaning toward growth.  His play against HPU was sloppy, but last night he had tightened up his movements and was making good shooting as well as passing decisions.  He was also a respectable 14-19 from the line (73%).  Another first year player, Tyrone Outlaw, was 5-6 from the line as well.  His foul shout has such a beautiful arc to it- he should be teaching lessons!

For the game, the Pirates shot 89% from the free throw line.  UNCG connected 74% of the time- good, but those extra points matter in a close game.  Overall, we would be good to remember that games can be won AND LOST on the foul line!

In other games from last night:

Michigan State topped Kentucky.  MSU was the only team in the top five that I wanted to win last night!  While I am always happy to report a L for DookKansas is not my favorite team either.  (My mom taught me to be suspicious of all teams that play basketball in the particular shade of blue favored by Dook/Kentucky/Kansas).  Wiggins and the Jayhawks outplayed hometown boy Parker and the Blue Devils in the second half.  But remember, the season is in its infancy, all of these teams are poised for a great year of basketball.

Does anyone else get distracted by Andrew Wiggins’ name?  I really hope that his parents were big sci fi fans because every time I hear it I think of Andrew ‘Ender’ Wiggin from Orson Scott Card’s short story and novel Ender’s Game.  As a character, Ender is chosen because he is “one the enemy would never expect.”  With all of the hype around Wiggins, there are expectations, but will he grow into a leader like Ender?

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