After watching Campbell easily take out Methodist, I jumped into the car and headed to the main event of my evening. I had to travel across North Carolina to Charlotte's game against Davidson in a local rivalry for The Hornet's Nest Trophy.
Traveling from Buies Creek to Charlotte looked a bit daunting at first when I printed out the directions. There are no highways in that section of the state, so I was concerned about getting lost since it's an area I wasn't familiar with and I don't own a GPS unit. Luckily, I made my way easily through the rolling hills of North Carolina. Living on the coastline, you miss some of the simple things, such as terrain and elevation. It definitely made for a more entertaining three-hour drive.
I made great time, so I decided to check in to the hotel before the game. I thought I left the hotel in enough time to get to the Charlotte campus, but after two wrong turns, I ended up being a little late. I didn't make the game until the first media timeout, which I hate to do.
I made my way to my seat in the upper levels of Halton Arena and was happy to see an energetic crowd. Until now, I had only seen mostly non Division I games, games in small arenas or games over holiday breaks. I was happy to see a full Charlotte student section, not to mention a large contingent of Davidson students in the upper area behind the basket. Both factions were into it the entire time with plenty of chants.
The game was only 4-2 for Charlotte when I got there, so I hadn't missed much. Throughout much of the first half Charlotte was building some small leads, but Davidson would respond each time, which led to some fun exchanges between the student sections.
During a TV timeout, Charlotte was going to have Norm the 49er throw some T-shirts into the stands. I've seen this plenty of times before where most teams will just throw T-shirts into the crowd or use a single air cannon to get to the higher reaches of the arena, but not Charlotte. It built a rapid fire revolver air cannon that sent a barrage of T-shirts. It was one of the coolest things I'd seen for media timeout entertainment this year.
At the half, I wanted to check out the food option,s which included Bojangles and Uno's pizza, but I opted for the cheeseburger. Let me tell you, if you want a burnt hockey puck, then Halton Arena is the place for you.
After stomaching my "fine cuisine," I was ready for the second half. Charlotte was down one but scored the first nine points of the half. Much like the first half, the Wildcats started creeping back until Charlotte decided that it wanted to take the game over. The 49ers went on a run where it seemed as if they were making everything. Javarris Barnett was hitting all his 3s, some contested, some not. Charlotte eventually built a 16-point lead with six minutes to go.
Davidson seemed to make one last gasp at trying to get back into the game, but Derrio Green all but ended the game with a huge breakaway dunk, silencing the Davidson faithful. Charlotte turned the final few minutes into showtime and claimed the Hornet's Nest for the first time since 2007.
at CHARLOTTE 84, DAVIDSON 61 12/10/2011
DAVIDSON 6-3 (2-0) -- J. Kuhlman 5-16 1-2 13; N. Cochran 2-7 6-6 12; T. Droney 1-2 0-0 2; C. Mann 4-5 2-2 10; J. Cohen 3-7 0-0 6; C. Czerapowicz 2-6 0-0 5; T. Kalinoski 3-9 2-2 10; D. Brooks 1-7 0-0 3; W. Reigel 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 21-59 11-12 61. CHARLOTTE 6-2 (0-0) -- C. Braswell 8-11 2-3 19; J. Barnett 5-8 0-0 15; D. Mayfield 3-7 2-3 8; P. Henry 3-6 3-4 10; E. Nickerson 3-4 4-5 10; D. Green 3-9 3-4 9; L. Voncina 1-5 0-0 3; J. Briscoe 2-4 0-1 5; K. Sherrill 0-0 0-0 0; T. Williams 1-1 3-5 5; I. Ivankovic 0-0 0-0 0; C. Lewis 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 29-56 17-25 84.
Three-point goals: DAV 8-24 (J. Kuhlman 2-7; N. Cochran 2-3; J. Cohen 0-1; D. Brooks 1-1; C. Czerapowicz 1-4; T. Kalinoski 2-8), CHAR 9-23 (J. Barnett 5-6; D. Green 0-5; C. Lewis 0-1; C. Braswell 1-1; D. Mayfield 0-2; J. Briscoe 1-2; L. Voncina 1-4; P. Henry 1-2); Rebounds: DAV 35 (J. Cohen 8), CHAR 30 (C. Braswell 10); Assists: DAV 12 (T. Droney 4), CHAR 16 (D. Mayfield 4); Total Fouls -- DAV 21, CHAR 14; Fouled Out: DAV-J. Cohen; CHAR-None.