Meeting someone over the internet is nothing new these days. Ten or 15 years ago it could almost be thought of as taboo or scandalous in some circles, but with the invention of social media it has become essentially commonplace. I have run into several people who have followed me first on Twitter.
Most of the people I have met are followers of the happy hour site I run and they will often want to meet and buy me a beer for helping them find some good deals. Since I am lazy and never wanted to create a separate personal account, I have just used my @ account for all purposes, including this website. I am sure it has led to many people wondering why I am tweeting about Big South and SoCon basketball when all they want is to find out where they can get a $1 beer.
Conversely, this has led to me getting several followers from the TMM community. While I am sure these people could care less when the local Myrtle Beach bar is running a free pour, they still follow nonetheless. I had the chance to meet Ian McCormick
several times last year in our travels to cover as many mid-major games in the Carolinas that we could.
I also follow several others amongst the TMM community including Gary Moore
. Gary is in the process of moving himself and his family down to South Carolina, meaning the top three from the games attended list for the 800GP were now all in the Palmetto state. Between myself, Gary and Ian, we went to 179 games that were recapped for TMM8.
With the big move though, Gary would not be able to participate in TMM9, but that was not going to prevent him from going to games in his new stomping grounds. I discovered I was in the same arena as him during halftime of the Central Michigan-Charlotte contest, so I went over and watched the rest of that game with him.
During the course of our conversation, I mentioned that I was pulling a doubleheader that day and seeing Wofford at Davidson later that night. He inquired on where Davidson was and I told him while I had never been, my map directions said it was 20-30 minutes. It took Gary about five seconds to mull that over before I convinced him to head over to Davidson as well.
With around three hours to waste before game time, we figured we would meet up again in Davidson and get some food. After referring to TripAdvisor we decided the Brickhouse Tavern would be our best option. It ended up being the right choice as it seems to be the Davidson Wildcats headquarters, as it is a sponsor of the team and also where the call-in show is located. There are over 50 beers on tap, the prices are cheap, the bartenders and waitresses are good looking and the food is good. We both went for the bleu cheese burger and were happy with our choice.
Ok, stepped into my happy hour reviewer shoes there for a second, but back to the task at hand of enjoying mid-major basketball. The Davidson Wildcats and their success have been well documented throughout the years on this very site along with others. I regretted not getting a chance to see a Davidson home game last year, but glad I finally had a chance to check out this quaint college town. We decided to hoof it to Belk Arena and make the mile long walk to check out the area.
I was able to get my ticket ahead of time using the half-off deal on Living Social while Gary was able to snag a ticket at a discounted price from a gentleman near the front door. While I had seen Belk Arena in pictures before I was still impressed when I walked in as it has a very old school mid-major feel. I could tell this would be a very daunting place to play when it was filled to capacity.
On this night, there was a decent sized crowd, but nowhere near jam-packed. I figured the lower attendance was due to finals approaching and winter break nearly upon us. There was still a very vocal student section strategically placed right behind the Wofford bench that spent the whole evening chanting and roaring for their Wildcats. They even busted out a Swedish flag every time Swede Chris Czerwapowicz scored and I noticed they had a Tunisian flag just in case little-used Youssef Mejri were to enter the game.
Davidson was returning pretty much their entire team from a squad that gave Louisville a battle in the NCAA Tournament and is one of the favorites in the SoCon. Wofford on the other hand was trying to replace a bunch of talent as they lost solid contributors that had wrestled away SoCon dominance from the Wildcats in the two previous years. I did notice the Terriers did have a player with one of the best names for a college basketball player in Indiana Faithfull.
Davidson was favored in this conference fight and they looked the part from the start. A barrage of Wildcat threes had Wofford down big early. The Wildcats' first 18 points came off of six threes with three of those sunk by Tyler Kalinoski. De'Mon Brooks would add a three-point play to make it 21 and he could have made it 24 after he was fouled after another make, but ended up missing the free throw. The damage was already done though as the Terriers were already down 23-6.
The long distance shooting cooled down for Davidson, but the lead continued to grow as Wofford could not get any shots to fall. After the final media timeout of the first half, Jake Cohen sank two free throws to push it up to 31-10. Wofford needed to get something before the half and they did when the Terriers rattled off the last 12 points to finally get some sort of emotion from the Terrier bench.
Faithfull would make it a 14-0 run by getting the first bucket of the second half, but the Terrier momentum was stopped after a five-point possession from Davidson. Czerwapowicz was fouled on a made superhoop and missed the free throw, but a Davidson rebound and long jumper had the lead at double digits again.
at DAVIDSON 63, WOFFORD 56
The rest of the half saw Wofford trying hard to come back, but Davidson pushing the lead back up. When Karl Cochran hit a made the score 53-50, it looked like Wofford would come back from the large deficit. But consecutive baskets from Jake Cohen would mean three points is the closest the Terriers would get.
Davidson would seal the game at the free throw line and while it was no back and forth thriller, it was at least a lot more entertaining than what it looked like it would be early on. As Gary and I walked back to our respective cars, he gave me a crash course in the history of CAA and Hofstra basketball. I was glad to run into Gary earlier in the day as it is always easier to watch a game with a knowledgeable fan and it makes me look forward to the possibility of running into anyone else out there in Hoops Nation.
WOFFORD 4-6 (0-1) -- L. Skinner 1-7 0-0 2; S. Collins 3-12 0-2 7; C. Neumann 0-3 0-0 0; J. Byrd 3-8 0-0 6; K. Cochran 2-10 1-2 6; A. Smith 0-1 0-0 0; I. Faithfull 3-6 4-4 10; J. Swinton 3-4 2-2 9; T. Wagener 4-4 2-3 14; J. Gordon 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 20-56 9-13 56.
DAVIDSON 5-4 (2-0) -- N. Cochran 2-4 10-11 15; J. Kuhlman 2-8 1-2 5; J. Cohen 3-9 2-2 8; T. Kalinoski 4-7 0-0 11; C. Czerapowicz 3-5 0-0 8; D. Brooks 3-7 2-3 8; T. Droney 3-6 1-2 8; C. Mann 0-2 0-0 0; J. Barham 0-1 0-0 0; A. Mackay 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 20-49 16-20 63.
Three-point goals: WOFF 7-21 (T. Wagener 4-4; K. Cochran 1-7; J. Swinton 1-1; J. Byrd 0-4; I. Faithfull 0-1; L. Skinner 0-1; S. Collins 1-2; C. Neumann 0-1), DAV 7-20 (C. Mann 0-1; J. Kuhlman 0-3; N. Cochran 1-3; J. Cohen 0-1; D. Brooks 0-1; C. Czerapowicz 2-4; T. Droney 1-1; T. Kalinoski 3-6); Rebounds: WOFF 28 (A. Smith 5), DAV 36 (N. Cochran 10); Assists: WOFF 8 (I. Faithfull 5), DAV 9 (N. Cochran 3); Total Fouls -- WOFF 21, DAV 13; Fouled Out: WOFF-None; DAV-None.