As I sat in one of the suites in GIA, above the commoners, sipping my whiskey and being fed grapes by non-pregnant Natalie Portman, I wondered out loud "Could this night get any better?" So I clapped my hands twice and Nat (we have cute pet names) brought me over a telephone that calls down directly to the OSU bench. Head coach Travis Ford immediately answered and asked "What can I do for you, Royal?" I replied, "Trav-meister, grab the seniors and put me on speaker. I need each of them to put together an amazing effort for their last game in this historic arena."
So after my rousing speech that was comparable to Mel Gibson's in Braveheart, Marshall Moses, Matt Pilgrim, and Nick Sidorakis all played with championship effort and led their team to a victory over the cheater led Baylor Bears. Why do I say "cheater led?" Because their head coach Scott Drew is a cheater. Easy enough.
Back to the topic at hand. Since this was the seniors' night, I thought I would highlight their contributions in this game...with a little extra at the end.
Click the jump button...or if you are in a suite like I was last night, have one of your servants do it for you.
16 points, 10 rebounds, 2 blocks. Not a bad way to finish your last home game in GIA. But what he did (and all the seniors for that matter) on defense was just as important. For most of the game, he absolutely shut down Baylor's Perry Jones III. And he did so while only committing three fouls (say whaaaat?!). Jones ended up finishing 2 for 8 from the field with only 10 points. That's a guy that will be an NBA lottery pick next year. Not too shabby. Moses also knocked down key free throws down the stretch that kept Baylor's hopes of a comeback out of reach.
10 points, 6 rebounds, 3 steals. Not a bad stat line at all. And besides those numbers, Matty from the Natti brought something even more important to the floor: Presence. Want to intimidate a front court consisting of three starters that are 6'10" or taller? Put Pilgrim in the game. He was relentless and played physical every single possession of that game. He never let his man take position on him down low in the post, his help defense was tremendous, and best of all, he did all of this while keeping his cool. He also finished with only three fouls (double say whaaaa?!).
Both big men were also instrumental in breaking down Baylor's zone. They played with patience and found the gaps to sit in when the guards were passing around the perimeter. This was also the best game these two had working as a two man team all season.
His contribution won't show up on the statline (3 points, 2 rebounds, 1 assist, 1 steal) but make no mistake, he probably had the most important role in this win. It was his job to contain
Wifebeater LaceDarius Dunn and he did exactly that. Dunn's final numbers? 2 for 16 from the field, 1 for 9 from beyond the arc, 7 total points. Awww, sorry Lace. Looks like you'll have to wait another game before breaking that scoring record. A white kid from Jenks wasn't about to have a future NBA player claim that crown on his senior night. Sidorakis had help from Jean-Paul Olukemi who played a great game in his own right, but Sidorakis definitely got the ball rolling. His defense on Dunn for most of the first half absolutely put the freeze on his shooting and that set the tone for the rest of the game. On top of that, Sidorakis's three point basket near the beginning of the game got the offense going and really helped spread out Baylor's zone.
First of all, anytime a team has five players finish in double figures in the scoring column, odds are that you've had a good night. OSU got exactly that and shot nearly 60% in the second half of the game.
Second of all, Markel Brown was an athletic machine in that game. 10 points, 6 boards (two of which he nearly hit his head on the gym ceiling while grabbing), 4 assists, FIVE blocks. Um, what? Yeah. Five blocks for a two guard who happens to be a freshman! If anyone still doubts how special this kid is going to be they need to see me immediately so that I can uppercut their babymaker.
Finally, welcome back Keiton Page. What do you do when your defender is six inches taller than you? Shoot the three from nearly halfcourt, apparently. It worked for him as all three of his baskets coming from beyond the arc were of the super long range variety.