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 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.

Zach Dotsey