Game #9-035: Morehead State at Maryland TerrapinsNovember 12, 2012 8:00 pm
This essay is not about the University of Kentucky Wildcats.
Having grown up in the Commonwealth, I can tell you that in many parts of that state, the above sentence is almost a logical impossibility if you're writing about basketball. In the parts of Kentucky where most teams below the Red Line play, it can feel like Big Blue Brother is using up all the oxygen in the room. When Kyle asked Donnie Tyndall, then coach of the Morehead State University Golden Eagles, about this back in 2009, Coach Tyndall said
: "... Kentucky loves the Big Blue. We don't try to spin that into a negative or be anti-UK. We have a good product, we have our program heading in the right direction, and we're only in year four. It's an exciting time. But you're right ... I'd love to have Morehead schedules in the McDonald's next to the Kentucky schedules. We're trying to say, 'Look, you can be fans of both.'"
I reread this interview as I was getting ready to head out to the University of Maryland to see the Golden Eagles play on Monday night, and it left me wondering: is that true? Can you really be a fan of both?
I met up with fellow 800GP Editorial Board member John Willmott, who had kindly offered one of his season tickets so I could see the game, and we walked into the huge arena, built in the wake of Maryland's 2002 national championship. Naturally, John filled me in on the recent happenings in the Maryland program, from the excitement about their new coach, Mark Turgeon (last seen by many of us in the Sweet Sixteen with Wichita State, falling to George Mason during their magical Final Four run), to their most recent game in New York City against ... Kentucky.
When the teams finally took the floor, John commented that it was strange to see Morehead State out there without Coach Tyndall. It occurred to me then that I didn't really know who the new Morehead State coach was. When I got home, I confirmed what I thought the PA announcer had said - the new Morehead State coach is Sean Woods.
Sean Woods was a member of one of the most famous and beloved University of Kentucky teams in recent memory: the Unforgettables. Richie Farmer is probably the most well-known member of the group these days, having parlayed his degree (and maybe his last name?) into a position as the state's Commissioner of Agriculture, followed by an unsuccessful run for Lieutenant Governor. Farmer, along with Woods, Deron Feldhaus and John Pelphrey, were credited with bringing the team back after the early-nineties postseason ban, reaching the NCAA tournament regional final in their senior season, 1992. A twelve-year-old newly-minted Duke fan in Louisville, Kentucky watched the game with her extended family of Kentucky fans, and hid from the television after Sean Woods hit a 10-foot jumper over Christian Laettner in overtime to give Kentucky a one-point lead with two seconds left on the clock. You know the rest.
That's when I realized it: Morehead State went from a coach who was trying to tell the folks in his area they can be fans of both Morehead State and UK to a coach who literally embodies it. Clearly, it's too early to say if the external realities will overwhelm the memories as they seem to have for Richie Farmer. But in Kentucky, you've got to think it's worth a try. at MARYLAND 67, MOREHEAD STATE 45
MOREHEAD STATE 1-1 (0-0) -- D. Atkinson 3-13 0-0 6; M. Chavis 5-11 0-1 10; A. Warner 3-6 0-0 7; K. Owens 2-5 2-2 6; J. Holmes 3-8 1-1 7; D. Kelly 1-5 0-0 2; M. Lewis-Briggs 1-2 2-2 4; B. Turner 1-3 1-2 3; J. Stokes 0-5 0-0 0; B. Reed 0-0 0-0 0; C. James 0-1 0-0 0; C. Posthumus 0-1 0-0 0; J. Percell 0-0 0-0 0; J. Stickler 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 19-60 6-8 45.
MARYLAND 1-1 (0-0) -- A. Len 3-5 5-6 11; P. Howard 0-0 0-0 0; N. Faust 4-6 3-4 12; C. Mitchell 1-5 0-2 2; D. Wells 3-6 1-2 8; J. Layman 3-6 0-0 7; S. Allen 3-7 0-0 6; S. Cleare 1-2 6-8 8; J. Padgett 4-7 1-3 9; L. Aronhalt 1-3 0-0 3; J. Auslander 0-0 0-0 0; S. Barks 0-0 1-2 1; J. Susskind 0-0 0-0 0; C. Lipinski 0-0 0-2 0. Totals 23-47 17-29 67.
Three-point goals: MORE 1-14 (D. Kelly 0-1; J. Holmes 0-3; D. Atkinson 0-2; A. Warner 1-2; M. Chavis 0-2; C. James 0-1; M. Lewis-Briggs 0-1; J. Stokes 0-1; B. Turner 0-1), UMD 4-12 (L. Aronhalt 1-3; D. Wells 1-2; N. Faust 1-1; S. Allen 0-2; J. Layman 1-4); Rebounds: MORE 25 (K. Owens 7), UMD 37 (C. Mitchell 9); Assists: MORE 4 (D. Atkinson 2), UMD 14 (P. Howard 7); Total Fouls -- MORE 26, UMD 11; Fouled Out: MORE-None; UMD-None.