I got to watch the Davidson-Charleston game earlier this week. It was a very entertaining game from a sold out Carolina First Arena. Having been there earlier this season for the Charleston Classic, I can tell you that the Charleston student section can be very raucous which results in a very loud arena and a great atmosphere. The two teams didn't disappoint. The Cougars were up early 16-10 before Davidson finally caught up and went on a 12-2 run to end the first half up eleven as Curry had 17 points in the first half.
However led by Jermaine Johnson, the Cougars plugged away, whittling the Wildcats' lead until the game was tied at 59 with 10:41 left. The game remained tied until 8:10 left when Will Archambault hit a three to put Davidson up 66-63. The Wildcats would extend the lead to eleven, 75-64 on a Stephen Curry jumper with 4:30 left. However Johnson and Andrew Goudelock would lead one last charge for the Cougars, a 11-2 run to cut the Wildcat lead to 77-75 with 57 seconds left. After Curry hit one of two free throws to put the Wildcats up three, Goudelock missed a potential game tying three and Davidson held on for a 79-75 win.
Curry scored 29 points, along with 9 assists and 7 rebounds for the Wildcats but he did get some help from others. Archambault had 14 points on four three pointers. Steven Rossiter had 11 points and Andrew Lovedale added 9. For the Cougars, Goudelock had 22 points and Johnson had 16 points and 13 rebounds. However, Davidson did a good job of holding Johnson down in the second half as he only scored five in the second period. Charleston played well, but it was too three point happy as it went 7 of 29 from beyond the arc. Expect these two teams to meet again in the finals of the SoCon.
There are some dandy games this weekend for mid major fans. First, the biggest game is tomorrow night in the Missouri Valley as undefeated Illinois State hosts 12-2 Creighton. This is by far the biggest test this season for the 13-0 Redbirds. The second game in the Missouri Valley of interest is Sunday night when 10-4 Drake travels to a struggling 5-8 Southern Illinois. The funny thing is that the Sunday game is the one televised nationally on ESPNU. But you should be able to catch the Creighton/Southern Illinois game online via Creighton TV. Another non televised dandy of a game features 9-4 UALR at 8-4 Western Kentucky. Both teams are 2-0 and have signature wins. UALR gave Creighton one of their two losses while Western Kentucky knocked off then top ten Louisville earlier in the season.
And just to needle some Kentucky fans, we have a battle of the two Big South teams to have last beat Kentucky as VMI travels to as Gardner Webb. The Keydets knocked off the Wildcats this season while the Runnin Bulldogs beat the Wildcats last season.
It's time to check on two of my favorite mid major player watches.
The Chris Gadley Resurrection Watch continued on Tuesday as Gadley had his best game of the season with 18 points and 25, yes twenty-five, rebounds as Canisius defeated Maine 56-43. Gadley was 8 of 13 from the field including 2 of 5 from three. By the way Gadley is listed on ESPN at 320 pounds. After watching the Cuse game, I'd have to concur on that.
As for the Tim Crossin Burial Watch, well Timmy is still buried. In a loss to Lafayette, Crossin played one minute with no stats. Crossin didn't even play in a 20 point loss to NC State. The former 2005-06 All CAA Rookie team member has appeared in only 8 games for a total of 25 minutes. Just to show you how far Crossin has plummeted, here's some food for thought. The former two time first team All State Class A player for Bishop Reilly in PA has seen his average minutes go from 34 minutes when he was a freshman, to 17 minutes as a sophomore , to 15 minutes as a junior, to now three minutes as a senior. The 2005 AP Class A Player of the Year in Pennsylvania was third in the CAA in assists and averaged a 1.9 assist to turnover ratio.
And if you remember as a freshman, on a weekly basis, Crossin was facing the likes of Eric Maynor, Lindsay Hunter, Carlos River, John Goldsberry, and Jose Juan Barea. So those players are certainly as good or better than the guards currently in the CAA. And Crossin made the all rookie team that season. As for why Crossin's minutes dropped. Well, in the two prior seasons, Crossin lost playing time to C.C. Williams, a JUCO. In his two seasons at Towson, Williams was certainly was a capable point guard. Williams averaged a 1.7 assist to turnover ratio as a junior, then a 2.23 assist to turnover ratio as a senior. However, Williams averaged less points per game in his two seasons than Crossin did as a freshman. This year, Troy Franklin has the point guard responsibilities and averages 1.5 assist to turnover ratio. Despite the presence of Franklin, surely there is more playing time for Crossin. Oh well.
Funny, one day after I named St Mary's Omar Samhan "The Best Mid Major Player You May Not Have Heard of But You Will Soon", Kyle Whelliston in an ESPN chat names Samhan's teammate, Diamon Simpson, the mid major player outside of Stephen Curry with the best chance of making the NBA. Interesting. I have seen several of Simpson's games, and he is a good player. He averages a double double per night with 12.8 points , 11.9 rebounds per game and 2 blocks per game. But so far, his shooting percentage is down significantly from 54.5 percent last season to 45.5 percent this season and his points per game is down slightly. I saw two of his games in the 76 Classic tournament. He got into quick foul trouble against UTEP and only had four FG attempts. He played significantly more minutes against Cal State Fullerton and I wasn't impressed with his shot selection as he went 4-11 from the field. Samhan had double doubles in both games and was by far the best Gaels player in their loss to UTEP, the only loss for St Mary's this season. I like Samhan better.