Looking Back, But Moving Forward
Dec. 28, 2010
Looking Back, But Moving Forward
I am always extremely envious of the creativity exhibited by some of my fellow Hoya Hoop Club Bloggers when I start to pen my first post for the season. I mean, it’s not often that someone can relate a 1990’s top rated serial drama to a formidable opponent on the basketball court (see The Owls Are Not What They Seem). When it comes to my blog approach, I generally tend to think about the past, and what has happened to our Hoyas around this date during previous seasons. This reflective nature may be a result of the continuous swapping of old stories that typically occurs over the holidays, or it could simply be because I can’t think outside the box. Whatever the reason, I like to look back and provide a little re-cap, whether good or bad, of a prior contest for the Hoyas however many years ago.
Well, I lucked out with my strategy this time around, as it enables me to discuss what I would argue to be one of the best Hoya victories of the past 5 years. December 29th, 2008 – Leonardo DiCaprio traded his Toyota Prius Hybrid for a $147,000 Tesla Roadster, Ted Danson turned 61, and Ireland celebrated Constitution Day (in case you were wondering, the U.S. celebrates the same holiday on September 17th). While all of the above facts are certainly important (especially Leo’s purchase), we Hoya fans were likely more focused on the matchup that would occur in Hartford, Connecticut that evening between the #2 Huskies and our #11 Hoyas. The Lady Huskies had just earned their 11th victory of their current 89 game win streak (it’s probably 90 now…they played Pacific last night) and were seeded #1, and their male comrades were on a mission to get to the same place. Leading the way for the Hoyas was senior guard Jessie Sapp (We love you Jessie!), along with junior DaJuan Summers, and our current backbone, the Freeman-Wright combo. While we certainly miss him, we can’t forget the 5th man on the floor - freshman Greg Monroe, who was making his Big East season debut.
Facing a #2 seed as your conference opener is no easy feat, but it didn’t faze us. The Hoyas opened up a 15 – 1 lead and really never looked back. Our boys led by 9 points at the break, 36 – 27, and extended the margin to 12 points when Monroe hit the second of his two three-pointers. Despite the Huskies coming close on a few occasions, we responded each time, and then used the free throw line to seal the deal – The Hoyas shot 86% from the charity stripe (shout out to Rich Chvotkin) hitting 18-of-19 in the second half. Summers scored 18 points, grabbed four rebounds and had three assists to lead the way, while Monroe and Freeman added 16 points each, along with Wright’s 13. We rounded out the evening shooting 47% from the field (46% from behind the arc) and improved to 10 – 1 overall. Jimmy Calhoun and the 16,294 XL Center fans didn’t know what hit ‘em. Happy New Year J.
So on the Eve of this year’s Big East opener, I am curious about the team we will be facing two years after the triumphant performance described above. We have had a tremendous start through our first six weeks, boasting the second best field goal percentage in the nation at 52.8%, and wins over two quality Top 25 teams at their houses. But the Fighting Irish have something to talk about as well – their five senior starters. The group is led by Tim Abromaitis, who is coming off a 21 point, 11 rebound show against UMBC a week ago, has an overall game that is considered “very efficient”. He is one of the top perimeter shooters in the country and is currently averaging a solid 16.1 per game, along with 7.5 rebounds. Then we have Ben Hansbrough, the lesser known of the two brothers, who brings toughness and strength to the Irish backcourt. His is considered pretty fearless on the court (guess it runs in the family) and has an attacking mindset. While the Notre Dame squad is averaging just above 81 points per game, their lack of depth could pose a problem. Additionally, the motivation our Hoyas have by the loss at home last year is something the Irish should take into account. It’s payback time J.
Wherever you are watching tomorrow (all you Chicago Hoyas that are making the trip to South Bend, I salute you), I truly hope you don’t forget to reflect on what our Hoyas have done, are currently doing, and will do in the New Year. Tune in to ESPN2 at 7:00pm EST. In the words of the Black Eyed Peas, I got a feelin’…that tonight’s gonna be a good night.
Christina Besozzi, COL ‘05
Proud Member of Generation Wallace