Tonight was a night we’ll remember for quite some time. Not only did we sweep the Arch Baron Cup (again), but our senior boys grabbed their 98th win. This puts them atop the Dayton Basketball ladder with the most wins by a class in school history. To put the cherry on top, Archie took home some records of his own: seven straight Arch Baron Cup victories and his fourth straight 20-win season. Maybe the most historic night any of us will see in our lifetimes.
But sadly, glory doesn’t come free of charge:
In the first half we found our rhythm early (for once) and watched tonight’s Harewood Horse winner Charles Cooke go 3-for-3 from behind the arc. A couple other surprising events: Josh played 10 minutes and scored 4 points (along with a nice block), and Crosby didn’t commit a single turnover in the 5 minutes he played. The Magic of the Cup was shining bright tonight, as the young backup point guard drained his only shot from the field. The Fliers went into the locker room up 41-17 after shooting a nice little 60.9 percent.
Look, Arch Baron nights aren’t meant for statistical analyses or long blogs, they’re meant for us to come together and celebrate one of the country’s longest and scariest rivalries. Tonight was fun to watch on both ends of the court regardless of our opponent. We were making shots. The X-Man earned his first start. Josh played some good minutes and finished with 12 points. Cooke led the squad with 18 points and I’m thoroughly excited that he’s starting to shoot the ball again. We shot 50 percent from three-point land (9 of 18), 57 percent from the field, and added another 20 points from the charity stripe.
But with all that said, far be it from me to knock our rival when they’re down. You see what Travis Ford has sitting at the end of his bench?
Adonys Henriquez (Central Florida), Ty Graves (Boston College), Javon Bess (Michigan State), and D.J. Foreman (Rutgers). Four transfers sitting out who all started multiple games at their former Division I programs. This platoon, combined with a healthy Jermaine Bishop, will most likely makeup their starting squad next season. SLU will be a very different team indeed.
But that’s in the future; tonight is the present. Hats off to Cooke for taking home the coveted MVP hardware. Congratulations to Sam Miller for bleeding like a stuck pig at the end – you can’t buy grit like that these days. And cheers to you, Joey Gruden, for being called upon to take Miller’s final free throw and deafening all 217 fans in the crowd with the swish of the net.
One final note – Trey Landers came off the bench like a Goddamn pit bull tonight. It would be easy for a kid who hasn’t found his place yet to be a complete stiff, but he had the whole bench on their feet with his effort. Trying to guess what next year’s squad will look like is going to give us all strokes this summer, believe that.
All tied up with VCU. Few landmine games coming up, but March 1st is a big big big big game.