North of the 400

North of Toronto, South of a championship

March Madness running blog two

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It takes all kinds to win the NCAAs. There’s teams that win on skill, that win on luck, that win with calls. In a best-of-one, it’s not always the best team that wins.

So sometimes you can win on individual performance. You can ride a shooter’s hot streak all the way to the Sweet 16, if you’re lucky enough.

That’s what Davidson did against Gonzaga – they rode the hot shooting of Stephen Curry, who netted 30 of his 40 points in the second half, including a clutch 3-point trey and a solid performance from the line.

In game where both teams traded blows like prizefighters and neither team managed to take much of a lead, it was Gonzaga that blinked first, missing shots all throughout the second half.

But even a classic shooting performance wasn’t the lightlight of the first round of games on Friday. No, it was a roller coaster of a game between Drake and West Kentucky that gets that honor.

Despite being down by as much as 15 in the second half, Drake didn’t just claw their way to overtime, they forced it by capitalizing on 22 turnovers. Tying the game with 30 seconds left in regulation, they forced a turnover and took the last shot of the half. They too rode a hot shooter in Jonathan Cox, who scored 17 points in the last 10 minutes of regulation.

But that wasn’t enough. WKY won the game on a three-pointer at the buzzer. Sometimes that’s all it comes down to.

Elsewhere, American, the winners of the Patriot League tournament, tested Tennessee, the number two team in the East quarter. The Eagles kept it close all through the first half, and cut Tennesse’s lead to one with about six minutes to play, but the Volunteers pulled away late, as the Eagles kept going to long shots, hoping to tie the game or take the lead, not to chip away at Tennessee. It didn’t pay off.

More to come later on the second set of games.


Written by M.

March 21, 2008 at 5:13 pm

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