Digital Headbutt

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Duke vs. VCU Live Blog: 2007 NCAA Tournament

Posted by Mike on March 15, 2007

Tonight Duke plays Virginia Commonwealth in the first game of the nightcap of the NCAA Tournament Day 1. VCU comes in as the champions of the Colonial Athletic Association, and are a monster that Duke created. Until this season, the head coach for the Rams was Duke grad Jeff Capel, who bolted for Oklahoma, so the entire roster is composed of his recruits. They are led by their three guards, B.A. Walker, Eric Maynor, and Jesse Pellot-Rossa, all of whom average over 13 points per game. Like Davidson, the Rams want to keep the game at a fast pace, which should pose a problem for the thin Blue Devils. Duke will need a big game out of their guards, Greg Paulus, Jon Scheyer and (boo!) Gerald Henderson.

7:12 pm: 3-2, Duke. Paulus hits the three for the first basket of the game. Maynor hits a midrange jumper on the next possession.

VCU head coach Anthony Grant looks like he can still play. He is dressed to impress.

7:14 pm: 5-5. Pellot-Rossa hits a three, but Henderson dunks over two guys to tie the game, The Dookies would be up, but Henderson missed two free throws.

7:16 pm: 7-5, Duke. Josh McRoberts makes a good block on defense, and then he is fed the dunk on offense. Dook now has the lead.

7:17 pm: Duke is drawing fouls the same way soccer players do.

Henderson is replaced by a much less controversial Lance Thomas.

7:19 pm: 11-5, Duke, as we go to our first TV timeout.

B.A. is certainly not playing like a deserving member of “the V-Team”. You just knew someone was going to make that horrendous joke.

7:23 pm: 12-5, Duke. The Blue Devils are playing very good defense right now; no shot is unchallenged.

McRoberts makes another emphatic dunk. 14-5, Duke.

7:24 pm: 16-7, Duke. VCU finally makes their first shot in nine tries. They have to shoot better if they want a chance in this game, but Duke hasn’t given them many good opportunities.

2nd timeout.

7:30 pm: Duke is outshooting VCU 67% to 20%. This is unacceptable. They need to get good shots.

7:31 pm: 20-9, Duke. VCU hits a floater, but Paulus immediately responds.

7:32 pm: 22-9, Duke. Give credit to Duke, but it looks like VCU is completely out of focus on the court. They need to make an adjustment now before this gets out of hand.

halfway through the first half, another timeout.

7:38 pm: 24-12, Duke. Just as VCU does something good (hit a three), they do something bad (allow another easy McRoberts basket).

7:39 pm: 24-15, Duke. Michael Anderson gets three the hard way.

7:40 pm: 28-19, Duke. You simply can’t let Henderson get an open shot like that. At least the Rams’ offense is heating up, as they’ve hit their last four shots.

Yet another TV timeout.

7:45 pm: 28-22, Duke. VCU seems solidly back in this game as Pellot Rossa hits a three to cut the lead to six.

7:47 pm: VCU is finally running their defensive gameplan; Duke is starting to make mistakes on the offensive end.

28-23, Duke as we have another timeout.

7:49 pm: How long will it be before announcers say things like, “rob a jewelry store and tell ’em ‘make ne a grill!'”? Ewww, that sounds so weird when you say it.

7:51 pm: 28-25, Duke. Paulus is tired already. He just threw up an airball when he was wide open.

7:55 pm: 30-27, Duke. VCU’s pressure is really affecting the Dookies. Fouls are the only thing keeping them on top right now.

7:57 pm: 35-29, Duke. Do NOT tell me that Duke is going to win this game because of Martinys f—ing Pocius!

Our final TV Timeout of the first half.

8:01 pm: I’m getting concerned about all of these fouls. You have to believe at least a few VCU players are in trouble now.

8:03 pm: 36-32, Duke. Jamal Shuler hits a three to cut the lead to four with two and a half minutes left in the first half.

8:04 pm: 38-35, Duke. Hannibal says, “good work, B.A.”

8:05 pm: 38-38. Shuler completes the comeback with another three.

8:06 pm: Greg Pauls is the Fabio Grosso of college basketball. He flops like a salmon in a boat.

8:10 pm: We go into halftime with Duke leading 40-38 because of bull—- call that gave Paulus three FT shots. But they did a very good job of coming back by applying pressure and finally hitting the threes when they needed them. They will need to continue applying pressure and wearing down Duke’s starters to win, while Duke will need to bring the game into the paint, on offense and defense, to hold on.

UPDATE: Michigan State leads Marquette, 30-18. The Golden Eagle shave yet to hit a any baskets not “from the Bonusphere”. You have to love Cliff Ellis for coining that one.

8:28 pm: Golden Corral says “Bacon makes everything taste better!” Who wants some bacon ice cream?

8:31 pm: I;ve said it before, and I’ll say it again as we begin the second half: Anthony Grant has the look of a coach who wants to (and can) get out there and play himself.

8:32 pm: 43-42, Duke. Will Fameni has been the focal point of VCU’s offense so far in the second half.

8:33 pm: 44-43, VCU. Anderson gets a tough basket inside to give VCU their first lead since 5-3 in the first half.

8:34 pm: 45-44, Duke. McRoberts gives the lead back to Duke, but ono one has come to help him inside.

VCU has already missed seven shots in the second half as Paulus hits a three to make it 50-44, Duke. The Blue devils have scored seven unanswered points.

8:36 pm: 50-48, Duke. The Rams cut the lead to two as Maynor swipes the ball clean from Paulus.

8:37 pm: 52-50, Duke. The momentum clearly belongs to the Rams right now. As we go the the first TV timeout of the second half, the Dookies will need all of the energy they have to hold on to win this game.

8:42 pm: 55-50, Duke. McRoberts gets three the hard way off a great inbound pass.

I can’t help but wonder if the Rams are in foul trouble.

8:43 pm: 57-50, Duke. I’ve always given Josh McRoberts a hard time, but he;s a very talented guy. Few players can make that kind of a “touchdown pass”. But with that skill set, you would think that he would play like one of the best players in the conference; he has yet to do so.

8:46 pm: Christian Laettner is in the building. I will give you sufficient time to boo.

BOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!!!!

Okay, I think we all feel better now.

8:49 pm: Great defense by VCU, but I don;t care what kind of rebuilding year it is for Duke, you just can’t miss those kinds of opportunities and expect to win.

Scheyer scores to make it 59-50, Duke as we hit another TV timeout.

8:56 pm: The VCU defense is playing very well against Duke, but their shooting has gone cold again, and it could not have come at a worse time.

8:58 pm: 61-52, Duke. Fameni finally gets a basket for the Rams, but he’s shaken up after getting the basket and the foul.

9:01 pm: VCU sends an 87% free throw shooter to the line, and he still misses. It’s been that kind of shooting streak in the second half for the Rams.

9:02 pm: 64-55, Duke. Shuler gets three the easy way for VCU, their first of the half, but Paulus gets three the hard way on the next possession. He has 18 points in the game.

9:03 pm: 64-58, Duke. Shuler hits another three, and the deficit is back to six.

9:04 pm: 66-58, Duke. Paulus is playing as hard as anyone on the court right now. I don’t know how he’s kept his energy level, he’s been dogged all night.

9:07 pm: 67-60, Duke. McRoberts commits the worst flop I’ve seen today.

9:08 pm: 67-63, Duke. VCU gets another steal, and B.A. Walker hits another three to cut the deficit to four.

9:10 pm: 67-66, Duke. Pellot Rossa hits another three to make it a one point game. The Rams are now 9 of 15 from three. VCU definitely has the momentum as we go to the second-to-last TV timeout with ~6 minutes left.

9:14 pm: Duke turns the ball over again, and VCU has the ball with a chance to take the lead.

9:15 pm: 68-67, VCU. The Rams take the lead as Anderson hits two free throws.

9:17 pm: 69-68, Duke. NOOOOO!!! Paulus hits a midrange jumper after the Dookies get about three offensive rebounds, and they have the lead back.

9:21 pm: 70-68, Duke. We go to our final TV timeout, as Maynor will shoot two free throws to tie it.

9:24 pm: 70-70. Maynor hits both free throws. Three and a half minutes left in the game, and VCU forces another turnover.

9:28 pm: 72-71, VCU. Fameni gets a great offensive rebound and sets up a screen for Pellot Rossa to hit a midrange jumper to give the Rams the lead with just under two minutes left.

9:29 pm: How can they give Duke the jump ball? Anderson clearly had it. He;s been one of VCU’s best defensive players.

Well, I figured this was going to happen eventually. Fameni fouls out, and the Rams are seriously undersized. Duke will do all that it takes to give McRoberts the ball.

9:32 pm: 74-72, VCU. Maynor hits a floater inside to give VCU the lead.

9:33 pm: 74-74. Paulus steps up again. One minute left.

76-74, VCU. With 45 seconds left, Maynor hits another basket to give the lead back to the Rams.

9:34 pm: 76-75, VCU. McRoberts misses a free throw shot, and with 16 seconds left they’re forced to foul Pellot Rossa.

9:36 pm: 79-77, VCU, 1.8 seconds left. YEEESSSSS!!!! YEEEEEEAAHHHHHH!!!!! YYYYYYYYYYYYEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!!!! Eric Maynor hits a midrange shot to give VCU a 79-77 lead with 1.8 seconds left! WHHHHHHHOOOOOO!!!!!

9:40 pm: Sorry, I just spent the last 3 minutes cheering my lungs out for VCU slaying the evil Dookies in the first round of the NCAA Tournament, proving their mediocrity this year. VCU played a great game today, and Eric Maynor has become a household name to Tar Heel fans everywhere. My bracket remains intact, but what’s even more important is that someone ended Duke’s Tournament run before it began. I will forever love Virginia Commonwealth for what they have done today. Read Make Us Love…UNC if you think I’m crazy.

Don’t feel bad for the Dookies. They’ll be back next year to wreak havoc and pillage the hardwood once again. I’ll be at Tar Heel Mania to live blog UNC vs. Eastern Kentucky.

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