In going to so many games this year I usually try to plan everything out well beforehand so I can make it to my game destination on time. This is probably only a tenth of what Kyle had to deal with when he was traveling since I generally stay within my 200 mile radius of Myrtle Beach. Working an 8 to 5 job aides in the planning process as I can get to 4 universities (Charleston, Charleston Southern, The Citadel, and UNCW) in 2 hours. I will usually leave work 15 to 20 minutes before 5pm on gameday just to play it safe in case of traffic. The car will be gassed up and I'll usually have a sizable lunch so no stops will be needed on the way down.
I was going through the same process on Thursday when I planned to go to The Citadel to see them take on 2-time defending SoCon champs Wofford. I remembered that downtown Charleston had turned into a construction mess the last time I had visited so I figured I should leave around 4:30 so as not to cut things close.
If only things worked out exactly how you want them to. I usually can get out of work a little bit early with no problem, but today wasn't that day. I have no one to blame but myself as I had to redo work that I already completed because I left out a crucial step. It wasn't a major error; it just needed to be redone, so I knew I wouldn't be able to duck out early.
I know missing the beginning of a game isn't a mortal sin, but it's the principle of the matter to be on time that always gets to me. Without any leeway time I was in a rush to get out the door, and as we all know when you rush, you usually forget something. I hadn't forgotten any key items, but I forgot to do one thing before I left. I didn't stop by the restroom as I didn't feel the need to at the time, but since I had just downed a 20oz of Coke Zero it probably would have been well advised. Well the need to go came when I was about 30 minutes away from my the Citadel campus. I thought surely I would be able to hold it, but really I knew better, when you have to go, you have to go. I stubbornly refused though and soldiered on to my destination.
I made my way over the Ravenel Bridge and into downtown Charleston, it looked like I would make it just on time, but I was getting agitated with the red lights which seemed as though they were taking forever. When I got to The Citadel I felt like I was in the homestretch, but finding parking was a bit problematic as this was the first Citadel game I had been to when classes were in session. I eventually found a spot and rushed out of the car and didn't learn my lesson with rushing things and had to make a u-turn as I forgot my ticket.
I didn't have a very far distance to get to McAlister Field House, but I turned it into a half jog half cross-legged power walk to get there because I was on the brink. I made it quickly through the entrance, got my ticket scanned and darted for the restrooms. RELIEF!
I made it to the stands just in time for the jump ball so other than being perilously close to an "embarrassing mishap" it all worked out in the end.
There weren't too many cadets on hand for the game as I'm guessing many are looking at this as a lost season for The Citadel who only has 4 wins on the season. Wofford had a strong contingent show up for the game as I'm guessing there may be a good amount of Wofford alumni in the Charleston area.
The first half seemed to fly by as there were very few dead balls throughout. The fact that only five free throws were attempted sped up the pace of the game as well. It was a competitive first 20 minutes, albeit low scoring as neither team shot the ball particularly well. I was a bit distracted at times as the section I sat in was slowly filling with Wofford fans including a young fan that had to be 3 or 4 years of age. The little guy was very enthusiastic in yelling "Let's Go Wofford!" as loud as he could, but unfortunately for me he was about 6 inches away from my ear. I was impressed such a little kid was so into the game since most usually lose interest after 10 minutes, but I made the move to a different seat at the half for the sake of my eardrum.
With a better view of the court and the ringing in my ear gone, I was ready for the rest of the game which was tied at 21 at the midway point. The Citadel came out much more confident and it paid off as they built a lead behind their big men Mike Groselle and Bo Holston, who had a career high of 16 on the night. The Terriers came roaring back, though, as they were heating up from 3. When The Citadel was up 43-40 the cadets were finally making some noise, mostly with an "Airball" chant directed at Brad Loesing, but Loesing was unfazed and drilled a silencer from deep to tie the game and start a 9-0 run.
Wofford would extend the lead to 9, but the Bulldogs had a little bit of fight left in them and scratched the lead down to 4 with 1:20 to go. Wofford had the ball and Citdael decided not to foul. The Terriers milked the shot clock down as much as they could, but were forced into a bad shot. The Bulldogs ran out and had a 4 on 2 break, but Karl Cochran had a huge block on Ashton Moore and in a matter of seconds a possible comeback was thwarted by Cochran, who was also the leading scorer on the night with 18. Wofford would go on to ice the game at the line and leave Charleston with their 11th straight victory over the Bulldogs.
As I walked down the steps and out of the field house one last thought crossed through my head... "Where's the men's room? I'm not going through that again on the way home."
WOFFORD 62, at THE CITADEL 55 01/26/2012
WOFFORD 13-8 (6-3) -- B. Loesing 4-11 0-0 10; K. Giltner 4-13 6-6 15; K. Cochran 7-13 0-0 18; D. Crowell 5-9 2-3 12; L. Skinner 1-2 1-2 3; A. Smith 2-4 0-0 4; J. Byrd 0-0 0-0 0; J. Tecklenburg 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 23-52 9-11 62. THE CITADEL 4-16 (1-8) -- M. Harris III 3-6 2-2 9; M. Groselle 4-10 2-2 10; D. Wright 2-7 0-1 4; B. Holston 5-8 3-3 14; C. Morabbi 2-5 4-6 8; C. Bray 1-4 0-0 2; A. Moore 3-4 0-0 8; L. Miller 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 20-46 11-14 55.
Three-point goals: WOFF 7-23 (K. Giltner 1-7; B. Loesing 2-8; K. Cochran 4-8), CITA 4-14 (C. Morabbi 0-1; B. Holston 1-2; D. Wright 0-1; C. Bray 0-3; M. Harris III 1-3; L. Miller 0-2; A. Moore 2-2); Rebounds: WOFF 26 (D. Crowell 7), CITA 26 (D. Wright 9); Assists: WOFF 14 (B. Loesing 4), CITA 11 (D. Wright 3); Total Fouls -- WOFF 16, CITA 15; Fouled Out: WOFF-None; CITA-None.