Editor's Note: UNC Asheville Athletics Communications Director Mike Gore will be blogging as the men's basketball is on the road for the next eight days as the Bulldogs play Ohio State, Northeastern and St. John's. Here is the second blog after Asheville's game at Ohio State.
It's not often we play a game at Noon but now we're going to do it two games in a row. First, today's game with Ohio State and then Tuesday's game at Northeastern.
We get to Value City Arena a little earlier than we normally do. Because we didn't get a chance to practice in the arena yesterday, Coach Biedenbach wants to get as many shots as we can prior to the game.
A great crowd comes to the game. The noon start is because the Ohio State hockey team will be playing later that night against Miami of Ohio. The teams played last night with Miami upsetting the Buckeyes 2-1 in a shootout. It's pretty amazing the way they can flip an arena from hockey to basketball back to hockey in a 24-hour period. What's also amazing is that it's not cold in the arena like other arenas that have hockey.
I'm doing play-by-play on this road trip as Brian Hall, our normal voice of the Bulldogs, is busy with his full-time job at ClearChannel. Brian does a great job with our play-by-play and I'll do color with him. What's even better about this arrangement is that Brian gets everything done technically that we need done. To broadcast the games on WWNC Radio, we use an Ethernet connection. Most radio stations that do games need a phone line. At Kimmel Arena and other arena in the Big South and Southern Conference, radio crews are situated on the floor. Not so at Ohio State and other big-time schools. Press Row is in one of the end-zones and radio stations are placed up high in the stands. People pay a lot of money to sit courtside.
However, Ohio State's excellent Athletics Communications Staff has agreed to make an exception for me. They're letting me do the game next to our bench and they're getting me an Ethernet connection. However, when I get to my location, the Ethernet is not working. We go on the air at 11:30 and now its 11:15. Thankfully at 11:22, the connection finally works, and we can safely go on the air. Our AD Janet Cone joins me to do color and at 11:30, we're on the air. Tank Spencer is back in the studios at WWNC and does a great job working with us to make everything go smooth.
While panicking and worrying about whether we're going to be on the air, Ohio State is practicing right in front of us. They're big, strong and athletic. They look scary good.
Once the game starts, the Bulldogs battle hard and get good shots. But any mistake, turnover or bad shot, Ohio State quickly gets down the floor and scores in transition. However, Keith Hornsby is a huge bright spot. Whenever he gets open on offense, he knocks a shot down. Keith scores 18 points in the first half and hits on four 3-pointers. We're down 50-35 at halftime. Asheville competes hard but any mistake has the Buckeyes scoring in transition.
In the second half, its obvious Ohio State has made a real emphasis on stopping Keith. And he handles it pretty well. He doesn't force any shots and works to get other Bulldogs involved. When he does get open, he knocks down two more treys and scores on a lay-up to finish with 26 points.
Ohio State builds the lead to 29 and I'm worried that it's going to be a real blowout. But the Bulldogs keep battling. Will Weeks scores eight of his 14 points in the final six minutes to allow Asheville to make a little run before falling 90-72.
No one is ever happy with a loss but there's some pride in the way we've competed today. Ohio State had the first 10 rebounds of the game, but Asheville fights back and ends up with as many rebounds as the Buckeyes with 32 each. In the end, Ohio State is simply good on this day. Hopefully, this game makes the Bulldogs better like it has in the past.
Following the game, Coach Biedenbach joins me for the post-game show. We have to hurry. Not so much to catch a plane which leaves Columbus at 6:10. No the clean-up crew is trying to get set up for the hockey game. They leave us alone but break down everything else around us. We get the message and the post-game show is a little shorter today.
Back to the hotel and on to the airport. We'll fly from Columbus to Philadelphia and then on to Boston.
We get to Philadelphia but we're not there long as we have to take buses to another terminal to catch the flight. The airlines do a good job for the Bulldogs on this day as we get to Boston right on schedule at 9:30. It's a little chilly in Beantown as the temperature is 31 degrees with a pretty good wind blowing. No snow however.
I've been to Boston several times but this is the first time a Bulldog basketball team has ever played in the "Hub." I look forward to catching up with Matt McDonald who handles media relations for Northeastern. Matt was an assistant women's basketball coach at UNC Asheville a little more than 10 years ago (wow it can't be that long) and helped me out some during baseball season. A great guy and look forward to seeing him.
Once again we have to work around hockey. Hockey is huge in Boston, especially college hockey. The arena we will play in won't be available due to Northeastern's hockey team playing. We will practice both Sunday and Monday at another facility.
Thanks for your interest in the Bulldogs. We'll try to have another blog Sunday night. Go Bulldogs!!!