If there was ever a must-win game, this was it. Home, against a foe that we led by
17 (oops - 14 -ed.) on the road only to let it slip away, with the peril of 3-5 in the conference at the halfway mark if we didn't come through. Fortunately, the guys answered the bell today and delivered the kind of win we thought would be routine this year (and might have been if we didn't keep catching one career day after another from our foes).
The Big Three all delivered the goods - John Jenkins leading the way with 18 and Festus and JT delivering 17 apiece - but special credit to Rod Odom, who went 3-3 from behind the arc for his 9 points, including a buzzer-dagger to finish the first half that send the 'Dores to the locker room up 7 and nursing momentum at halftime for the first time in ages. Injury has made the forward spots a weakness in recent weeks, and Odom has had to grow up fast - and his development is a hopeful sign for games to come. Brad Tinsley chipped in with 13 points off the hot hand, even if he did go for the ill-advised free-throw-line dunk down the stretch (to the high amusement of Joe Fisher).
16-6, and 4-4 in the conference. It's a disappointment, given what we thought we'd get this year, but if this is the turnaround point, big things are still possible. We get another crack at Florida and Tennessee, both at home, and have the two Alabama schools yet to play (even if they have stepped it up a little, you have to think we're going to be favorites there). This isn't the best year for the SEC, so 20 wins and .500 in conference probably won't be enough to punch a ticket in March, but after today there's little doubt that this team has it in them to turn things around.
Next up: home against the Crimson Tide on Thursday, possibly with Andre Walker back in action. Time to start a new and better streak.