After the Buzzer: Pe’Shon Announces His Presence to the WorldPosted by rtmsf on November 11th, 2010
Your Watercooler Moment.
There really wasn’t going to be any question tonight, was there? Pe’Shon Howard announced his presence to the college basketball world by spinning, driving and fading his way into a 12-footer from the right side that dashed the dream of College of Charleston earning a statement ACC road win to use as a shiny gold star on its postseason resume. What — we’re talking about postseason resumes on only the second night of the season? Of course we are. For SoCon schools like Bobby Cremins’ club, there are limited opportunities available in a season to notch the marquee win that could give the Cougars a shot at an at-large NCAA bid (or a nicer seed if the auto-qualifier), and Howard’s play down the stretch of this game may have single-handedly eliminated that possibility. CofC will have more opportunities with games at North Carolina and Tennessee plus a home date versus Clemson, but it’s unlikely that the Cougars will stumble into the same perfect storm of a turnover-prone home team that goes 5-18 from the line and makes only two treys during the entire game. If Cremins’ team looked up the phrase “missed opportunity” on the Google, we’re pretty sure they’d see a mirror image staring back at them.
As for Gary Williams’ Terps, it’s clear that they still have some things to figure out. But don’t be fooled — we’ve watched Maryland teams that looked like they belonged in the MEAC in November playing as well as anybody in the country by March. RTC Live was courtside for the Terps’ 75-74 win tonight, and our correspondent Rob Dauster writes that “the Terps need a point guard and a leader… [despite] a dominating, 26/15 performance from their star center, Jordan Williams. They have other holes — perimeter shooting, depth up front — but in two games they now have 47 turnovers. Is Howard the answer? Right now, he looks like it. He’s an excellent passer, a talented penetrator, and a capable shooter. But perhaps the more telling sign was his poise and confidence at the end of the game. He wanted the ball in his hands with time winding down. And he succeeded. That kind of leadership is what Greivis Vasquez provided.” And it’s true — in merely two games, Howard is 8-11 from the field with 12 assists and five steals. Throw in the ability to finish ballgames as he’s already done once, and Gary Williams definitely has another star in the making on his bench.
The Tournament That Isn’t. Right, it’s actually a “Classic.” Not a tournament, remember. The 2kSports Coaches vs. Cancer Classic played three other games tonight that at first blush appeared to be tournament-style, but actually were just glorified fixes (average margin = 37 points). #5 Pittsburgh “moved on” with a 97-54 win over Illinois-Chicago behind dominant performances from Ashton Gibbs (24/7 assts), Brad Wanamaker (17/6/9 assts) and their glass-eating corps (+22 rebs), while Bruce Weber’s #16 Illinois squad “advanced” with an overpowering 47-18 first half en route to a 39-point victory over Toledo. Texas also looked impressive in another destruction at home, this time over Louisiana Tech 89-58 to “survive.” In two games this year, the Horns are proving to be a second-half team, breaking open both games by wide margins in the second stanza.
Next Week in NYC. With tonight’s wins, the four regional hosts now move on to face each other in next week’s semifinals in Madison Square Garden. Unlike this week’s games, though, next week’s contests are not already predetermined past Thursday night’s double-header of Pittsburgh vs. Maryland and Texas vs. Illinois. The winners and the losers will play each other on Friday night for the right to claim the championship, and based on what we’ve seen thus far, those should be two pretty great matchups. More next week on that, of course.
Tonight’s Quick Hits & Misses.
- The Pitt Backcourt. In two games, Ashton Gibbs and Brad Wanamaker are averaging 44/7/14 APG on 60% shooting with a ridiculous 4.6:1 assist to turnover ratio.
- Andrew Goudelock. His jump shot was ripping the Maryland nets with such exceptional rotation that it was actually changing the trajectory of the ball as it zipped through. Goudelock’s 27/10 (although with eight TOs) showed everyone why he’s the projected SoCon POY.
- Olu Ashaolu’s Breakaway Dunk. This was fantabulous, from one of the best names in the game today.
- Jordan Hamilton. Hamilton, so smooth on Monday night, didn’t look nearly as good this evening, too often settling for the three-ball (1-6) when it clearly wasn’t dropping.
- Peterson Events Center. Pitt’s home court has witnessed 134 wins versus only 11 losses in its nine years, for a winning percentage of 92.4% in that span.
- Terps Fans. Ok, it’s one thing if Texas fans can’t be bothered to show up; but Maryland? Not only is UMCP unequivocally a basketball school, but the Terps were playing a solid mid-major (as proven by the close finish). There better have been a reason we’re not aware of for such a lackluster fan showing.
Tweet of the Night. Tonight’s best tweet comes from SI.com’s Andy Glockner, a fella who captured what the rest of us were thinking as we watched the Andrew Goudelock Show turn into the Announcement of Pe’Shon’s Presence.