Game #9-078: William & Mary at High Point PanthersNovember 17, 2012 7:00 pm
I really wish I could go into every basketball arena with a blank slate. I try to do it a lot of times, but I always have this preconceived notion that I know how a game, or a player, or a team, is about to perform. It would be bliss if I could just watch the game as it unfolds and enjoy it instead of in the back of my mind thinking, "what the hell is going on? That's not supposed to happen."
I have become a fan of all the Big South schools. I want all of them to do well in the non-conference portion of the season, no matter how much of an uphill climb they schedule themselves into. I try to follow all the schools closely and tried to get a general idea of how each team would perform in the upcoming season. In my mind, I already had High Point dead-to-rights. They had lost their star guards Shay Shine and Nick Barbour, and were going to rely on Florida/Virginia Tech transfer Allan Chaney, who had not played since 2009 because of a heart condition
I figured there was a good chance they could be one of the worst teams in the league. Who would score the ball? Could this Chaney kid even play the whole year?
Then High Point went out and beat a pretty good UNC-Greensboro
team on opening night. Chaney has a solid game and true freshman John Brown poured in 28. Then they go up to Boone and crush Appalachian St
. with Brown and Chaney leading the way. Without laying eyes on either game, I could not help but think that this Panthers squad I thought would be terrible a few days ago might be a force in the Big South this year.
I saw that High Point would be hosting William & Mary on Saturday night and knew I had to catch that game to see this team in person. One small problem was I would be in Elon watching a game that would probably end around 6:30 p.m. The HPU game started at 7 p.m., and it is about a 30 to 40 minute drive from Elon to High Point. I said to hell with it and bought my ticket online, meaning I'd be seeing three games in one day.
I figured this would be an easy game for HPU. While William & Mary is in the CAA which is a much better league than the Big South, they had not impressed me too much from what I had seen last year.
The game in Elon did end at 6:30, but catching a train crossing when I was trying to get out of town did not help matters. I did miss the start, but from what I was listening to on the radio it was some poor shooting to start things off.
I arrived at the Millis Center with around 10 minutes left in the half and the Tribe had an 11-10 lead. I had not missed too much and it was fairly even. The crowd was the biggest I had seen before at a High Point game, so a lot of the fans had bought into the optimism that the Panthers had. It would only be a matter of time for the Panthers to start running away with the game.
Except none of that happened. William & Mary's Tim Rusthoven and Marcus Thornton decided to teach everyone a lesson in teamwork and efficiency. From the point that I sat down, the game belonged to the Tribe. William & Mary went on a 21-3 run, displaying great ball movement and finding the open man along with perfect passes on backdoor cuts. The Panther offense was stagnant and they settled for threes that weren't finding their mark, leading to a 37-20 halftime deficit.
I did not get to see much of Brown in the first half since he was in foul trouble, limiting his minutes. In the second half, I thought there might be a chance with him and Chaney on the floor together to make this a competitive game. Once again, I was way off as Rusthoven and Thornton were essentially unstoppable and extended the lead. High Point's offense consisted of no movement, launching threes and hoping super-athletes Chaney and Brown could go hit the boards and clean up the mess. That offense would only get the Panthers within 18, as the Tribe were solid all night exploiting the lapses in the High Point defense.
You would think games like this would teach me a lesson in what to expect when walking into an arena, but it probably will not since it is hard to shake those thoughts. Chaney and Brown are very good athletes, but there was no sense of team tonight as they were routed. High Point were still without their two best returning players in Corey Law and Devante Wallace, but when they return they should take a look at how William & Mary executed as a unit to cruise to a win. WILLIAM & MARY 83, at HIGH POINT 61
WILLIAM & MARY 3-0 (0-0) -- M. Thornton 8-14 2-2 21; B. Britt 4-9 5-8 13; K. Gaillard 2-4 0-0 5; T. Rusthoven 8-9 6-9 23; M. Rum 0-2 4-5 4; T. Tarpey 0-3 4-4 4; F. Heldring 3-4 0-0 6; T. Schalk 1-1 0-0 3; J. Boatner 0-0 4-4 4; B. Goodloe 0-1 0-0 0; A. Pavloff 0-0 0-0 0; S. Sheldon 0-0 0-0 0; B. Whitlatch 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 26-47 25-32 83.
HIGH POINT 2-1 (0-0) -- D. Edwards 1-8 0-0 2; A. Chaney 7-14 8-8 22; A. Weary 3-9 4-4 11; D. McGaughy 2-11 0-0 4; L. Cugini 1-4 0-0 2; J. Brown 2-9 3-7 7; J. Simms 2-3 0-0 4; J. Cheek 3-6 0-0 7; B. Mikulic 0-3 0-0 0; H. McIntyre 0-0 0-0 0; Q. Drye 0-1 0-0 0; T. Duncan 1-3 0-0 2; L. Harris 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 22-71 15-19 61.
Three-point goals: CWM 6-16 (K. Gaillard 1-1; M. Rum 0-2; B. Britt 0-3; F. Heldring 0-1; T. Rusthoven 1-1; T. Schalk 1-1; M. Thornton 3-7), HP 2-22 (A. Chaney 0-5; J. Cheek 1-3; Q. Drye 0-1; B. Mikulic 0-3; L. Cugini 0-3; D. Edwards 0-2; D. McGaughy 0-4; A. Weary 1-1); Rebounds: CWM 34 (T. Rusthoven 9), HP 36 (A. Chaney 10); Assists: CWM 15 (M. Thornton 5), HP 7 (H. McIntyre 2); Total Fouls -- CWM 15, HP 24; Fouled Out: CWM-None; HP-J. Brown.