It was coming. We knew it was coming. Eventually the magic carpet ride of the ten game winning streak was going to come to an end. We all knew it.
We just didn't expect it to end quite that hard.
The Mocs came out and were simply too tight and not ready for the moment. Yes, the Wildcats had a lot to do with it. The Mocs didn't make a three pointer. They made very few shots. They did not rebound well. And the Mocs old bugaboo (terrible defense leading to a lot of layups) came back to bite them for the first time since the Northern Kentucky game.
DeMon Brooks made a statement that he deseved the Player of the Year and that Z Mason did not. Mason had his worst game of the year and Brooks was brilliant. Mason was 0 for 4 from the field and 0 for 3 from three point range. That is not Mason's game. He likes to shoot the three occassionally, but not at that frequency. Barieka was a terrible 1 of 9 from the floor.
Casey Jones lead the Mocs with 20 points and eight rebounds. Jones has shown that he is a pretty good player. He continues to make a case to be on an All SoCon team.
The critical thing all along for the Mocs was to rebound from this game (win or lose) and come out and beat Furman on Saturday in McKenzie Arena. This is an important game for the Mocs, possibly made more important by the margin in this contest. The Mocs are a critical junction of the season. Do the Mocs respond by playing a great game and coming away with a big win on Saturday night? Or do they wilt and show that they were not ready for the spotlight?
Saturday is all about responding.
But tonight was all about proving that they were not ready for this kind of game. It was very difficult in Belk Arena. The Mocs were not ready for that atmosphere. Just like last weekend Elon wasn't ready for the atmosphere in Chattanooga and ran into a buzzsaw. I'll quote Kentucky coach John Calipari- nobody is playing true road games in March. That's very true. It's all about being able to win on a neutral floor. We'll see if the Mocs can do anything different in Asheville if they get the chance.
In the mean time, the Mocs need to get back to winning. They are still up by two and a half games on the third seed and are up 3.5 games for the bye. So they are still in great shape for all of those things. The road to winning the regular season SoCon Championship just got a whole lot tougher.
It all starts again on Saturday.
Better nights are still coming.....