Work was pretty not busy today, which I guess is be expected at the end of the week before the weekend of Christmas. What I was looking forward to all day though was a certain basketball that came on at 9:00. Duke versus Gonzaga.
This was the first ever meeting of Duke and Gonzaga. Since 2000, Duke has the most wins of any basketball team (with a pretty good margin) and Gonzaga has the third most. (Of course Duke has accomplished this in the ACC while Gonzaga has been beating up on the WCC.) I remember watching the NCAA tournament in college and wondering who the hell this Gonzaga team was, but Gonzaga has been getting a lot more respect over the last few years. Of course, everyone really wanted to see them match up last year, when both teams had the players of the year; JJ Redick and Adam Morrison.
I was very excited about watching this game. I really thought it could go either way, but I figured it’d be good whoever won. I was fidgety waiting for it to start. Unfortunately, Pittsburgh and Oklahoma State (ranked 7th and 14th respectively I think) thought this would be a good night to go into double overtime. (Oklahoma State pulled off the win.) I missed the first five minutes of the game, but I was lucky. According to the www.scout.com message board a lot of people missed the whole first half. Even people who had like fifteen ESPNs couldn’t catch it because they were showing the Pitt-Ok State on all of their lower tier (ESPN News, etc) stations as well. I was pretty pissed that I missed five minutes, it really sucks for the people outside of North Carolina (and I guess Washington State) who were amped up for the game.
Anyway, on to the game. Duke started with the lead but then went on a drought for a big chunk of the first half. Towards the end of it though, Duke came back from a nine point deficit and capped it with a 10-2 run. At the half they were down one point. Greg Paulus was looking good. In the second half Duke played with a lot more intensity. Paulus was really impressive and scored a career-high twenty points. At one point he jumped out of bounds to deflect a pass and slid into one of the tables lining the court and cut his chin pretty good. He was out for a few minutes but was back in pretty soon thereafter.
Gonzaga averages around 80 points per game (according to one of the announcers of the game, I forget which one), but Duke held them to a season low 54 points. Gonzaga’s highest scorers didn’t do a whole lot either. The lead changed a few times in the second half, but Duke was able to hold onto it for about half of the half and pulled out the win with a score of 61-54.
The great thing about this, of course, is that Gonzaga beat the Tar Heels on the very same court (at Madison Square Garden) just a couple weeks ago. I checked the UNC message board and many of them were, as usual, complaining that Duke got a bunch of unfair calls go their way and that Gonzaga just wasn’t playing as well and that, since their defense is better than it was a few weeks ago they’d beat them now. The level-headed ones admit that Duke should be watched out for this year. As much as a Duke team can, they’re sort of flying under the radar this year.
Yes, it was fun to watch. I really got into it. Amanda (who was getting ready for bed by the time the second half started) asked me to not make so much noise, so I ended up making ridiculous-looking wildly animated moves when I was happy. Whatever, it was a good exciting game, Paulus came alive and Duke pulled a win over a good team who holds a win over the Tar Heels. Satisfaction.
Oh yeah, besides all that, Jason and I tried to play Age of Empires II today, but for some reason couldn’t get the game to connect, so we started a StarCraft game. We were doing well when one of Amanda’s co-workers stopped by so we saved the game and will finish it later.