I. Topper fans were feeling good. WKU was 5-1 with just one loss on Danny Rumph memorial night to a Georgia team that is kicking butt and taking names. The Tops had played poor halves on the road at Eastern Kentucky and at home against Evansville, but had managed to get wins. Now, a solid opponent was coming to town, and the Tops were ready to put two halves of good basketball together. So, when the Pacific Tigers (6-3) jumped out to a 10-0 lead, the situation did not seem all that dire. This Tiger team is no EKU or E-ville, however. Bob Thomason's club kept their cool when the Tops made a mid-first half run and kept Darrin Horn's crew at bay for the duration of the second half. And they did it in convincing fashion.
Senior F Christian Maraker went for 34 points and 12 boards and F Anthony Esparza made critical slashes and cuts to the goal for easy buckets all night long. I know Pacific lost Guillaume Yango, David Doubley, and others from last year's group, but Pacific sure looked like a tournament team to me. They were fundamentally solid on both ends, and they made a conscious effort to get the ball to Maraker and force someone to stop him. WKU never found a player or a scheme that could do that. PU has big guys that hustle and position themselves well, and quick perimeter players who make good decisions. Star WKU G Anthony Winchester never really got it going (1-6 from Three), which is another credit to the Tiger defense. The combination of these factors resulted in a 16-point loss that dropped the Tops to 5-2.
II. I successfully completed my first marathon on Saturday at the Rocket City Marathon in Huntsville, AL. I was hoping to keep my time under 3:30, so I was elated with my 3:19.42 finish. Aside from a sore knee and a deep purple second toe on my left foot (both of which are healing nicely), I seem to be no worse for the wear. I was in good enough shape to ride in a car for 3 hours, then go to the Pacific/WKU game that evening. Click here to view my results (I'm #111).
Tonight's GOI (it's a light night in Hooptown)
Boston U at UMass. Another in-state throwdown.
UNC-Wilmington at Wisconsin. Both teams are 7-1.