The Byrd Cage

Belmont Byrd Cage Running Diary: Richmond Edition

In Features on January 28, 2013 at 12:01 am


Jono’s first Bill Simmons impression went so well that we asked him to do another!

And we’re back, by popular demand, I was told to, with the now annual Belmont Byrd Cage Running Diary. Tonight the Bruins are in Richmond, Virginia Kentucky for an Eastern Division clash ripe with the pungent odor of postseason implications. Apparently I’ve driven through Richmond before on a road trip to Indianapolis and I just didn’t realize it. My experience with central/eastern Kentucky is limited and mostly hinges on one experience: while standing in line at a Subway/gas station for a sandwich, I witnessed a teenage son open mouth kiss his mother. I left. Other than that, I don’t know much about the place.

Both teams come into the contest with a 16-4 record. The difference lies in the conference tally where the Bruins remain undefeated while the Colonels come in at 6-1 with their only loss coming at the hands of the Bruins. This could be fun. Honestly, I’m freaking out and am not sure how my anxiety will be able to deal with watching and typing at the same time.

Can I just give a quick shout out to the OVC Digital Network? How else would I have been able to watch almost every Belmont game this year? It has done wonders for my ability to follow the Bruins from Atlanta, but has nearly slayed my marriage. You win some, you lose some.

With that said, we’ve got this bad boy pulled up and my initial reaction is; damn, this gym actually has lights, unlike the infamous Bison Dome. That will be nothing but helpful. I’m also pumped about hearing the EKU radio broadcast. For example, they’re talking during a commercial right now and if only I could transcribe word for word. I could listen to this all night. Let’s just say it’s fodder for Mort and Hugs, but I digress.

Starters for Belmont are no different. Thank God. If anyone has seen our bench, let me know, I’m interested in watching them. OK. Maybe a little harsh, but this is not the bench Belmont fans have grown accustom to over the years.

Starters for EKU: Walden, DiNunno, Johnson, Knipp, and Stutz. Who cares? This is apparently their 3rd different starting line-up this year. People are injured? Quick comment here though. For those who watched the first game, you’re likely terrified of DiNunno. I have never ever seen one player completely dominate a half like DiNunno did in Nashville. He’s quick, can handle, and shoots it well, but for the love of Rick, please say we have a game plan today!!!

20:00 Tip off!!! And EKU controls.

19:43 Quick travel by Stutz on a basic post move. Deep down inside, the Hay Bailer is laughing at how pathetic the footwork was there.

19:20 Early turnover for the Mont. Go figure. We hate the basketball.

18:21 Another turnover for Belmont. We hate the basketball. I feel like I’ve said that already.
17:42 Have I mentioned that we turn the ball over? We just did again. I’m going to take this moment to partially blame the Bruins for my ever increasing hair loss. This team can carelessly give up the ball like no team I’ve seen. These aren’t even hustle turnovers where they’re trying to make a play. They just don’t value the ball.

17:24 Good lord Ian is good. Nice 10 footer to pull us within 1. 5-4. If there’s one thing that Ian has brought to the table that we haven’t seen in the past, it’s the mid range game. He’s been money.

16:44 Kerron for three???? Ok. I will take it.

16:19 Pretty impressive ‘and 1’ by Johnson for EKU. Our crappy defense was helpful. JJ lost his man on a trap. He and Baker tend to do that more often than other players. They go to trap and their guy ends up either scoring or getting the assist. Speaking of the devil…

Chamberlain and Baker are already in. And Baker scores!!!! That’s just gravy. Any points from the Baker/Chamberlain/Craig/Adam/blah blah blah combination is a cherry on top.

15:39 And Baker again!!! Like he recently told Kevin Ingram, the lack of student teaching this month means he’s in the gym more practicing more Baker things. TBD if this is good or not.

15:10 First TV timeout. Belmont holding an 11-8 lead. Not as much pressure from EKU early as I thought we would see. They harassed us to death in Nashville. Of course we’ve just handed them the ball on multiple possessions already so it hasn’t exactly been necessary for them to play defense.

14:45 Big swat by Blake and then an awesome turnover by Craig after leaving his feet. Why? Why do we hate the basketball?

14:06 Baker for three on some sweet ball movement. Baker with 7 early points? That cherry is getting bigger.

13:45 DiNunno just hit from 68 feet. And then probably promptly started talking trash to Ingram and Sage. In my imagination Sage gave him the Byrd.

12:58 That was interesting. I swear the ball must have the opposite of stick em on it when we have the ball. Like olive oil or something.

12:15 Holden is in?

11:10 Please finish that play Trevor. Please. That was an interesting unit by the way. Holden, Reece, Kerron, JJ and Trev. Rick has been going with some weird combos lately. Oh… We’re at the second TV timeout. This live crap is hard. Tied at 16.

10:27 Reece! Airball! At least he hustles and works hard in practice and stuff.

10:10 Another 90 footer by DiNunno. Started talking trash to his own student section after that one.

9:55 JJ answers. Has anyone else noticed that he hates shooting at the Curb? Went to my stat man/brother on this one and let these numbers punch you in the face real quick. JJ’s 3-point % at home? 22%. Away? 45.7%. In the words of Kyle Williams… “Whattt?!?!?”

General point here, how awesome is OVC officiating?

9:11 Great ‘and 1’ by Blake after a nice steal by Kerron. We are seeing the good Kerron tonight. And don’t act like you don’t know what I mean by that.

8:28 EKU timeout after another 3 by JJ. Bruins up 24-19. They look good so far. Active on D and the ball movement has been solid. Thinking back, those turnovers are going to happen against an active D? No. They were still dumb.

8:03 Ahhhhhhhh!!!!!! Turnover!!!!! Ahhhhhhh!!!!!!!!! Ian tried to connect with Kerron there and the EKU color man proudly proclaimed that the Bruin backcourt “bromance” is not in sync tonight. He had to have had that in his back pocket, waiting for the right moment.

7:35 Second foul on Blake. Whatever he gives us is a bonus based on some recent studies by our stat man (may have been a premature plug for a future column), but I would like it if he was in the game.  3rd media timeout.

Apparently Jacksonville State is taking Murray to the wire. Can we all just be OK with the fact that Murray is just not that good this year? I think it’s OK to say that. Don’t make me cite evidence. There is a lot.

7:26 Eastern in a 1-3-1 zone … and an easy lay-in for Trevor… Great ball movement!!!!!

Seeing more shades of the EKU offense from the first half in Nashville. At what point do they go back to the DiNunno clear out offense? It has to be soon right?

5:58 Reece for three. Does that mean I have to forgive the air ball? However, JJ did have to lay out after a bad pass by Reece to save the possession. Can you see why I’m confused?

5:35 Nine fouls on the Mont. And that will bring Laidig into the game. My brother-in-law knows him.

What? I just noticed…. NO vest for Rick tonight? AHHHH!!!!! Does anyone else feel that their world is caving in?

5:08 And the refs are now calling EKU for every little thing. You work ‘em Rick. You work ‘em.

EKU radio guys just mentioned the Bruins in-bound play efficiency. We knew this. Their coach should’ve known this too.

4:47 I realize OVC TV is less than one-dimensional, but Kerron’s shot looks extra flat. Just made 2 free throws though. Bruins up 10.

3:25 Sweet lord. Ian is good. What a sweet base line floater. His chances have been more than limited tonight, but whenever he gets shot off it feels like it’s going in.

2:54 Laidig for 3!!!!!! What?!?!?! Way to get off that 2-19 streak. Radio guys making fun of how hard that hit the rim. It did look like it broke the rim and backboard simultaneously.

Murray lost. I keep seeing all these tweets about how the refs screwed them over. Get over it/see one of my previous diary entries. @Prohmschapstick is pissed.

2:02 1-3-1 zone again. The Bruins move it like a dream and JJ hits another 3. Hey Neubauer, you’re 0 for 2 when trying to use that zone. Just an observation.

1:21 Just called an illegal screen on Blake. That’s his third. Not his best game outside of that fastbreak lay-up where he drew the foul.

1:07 Timmy Knipp Timmy sucks… Haha… I thought that was funny. Played the game of his life against us in Nashville. Let’s just say he’s rapidly regressing to his mean. Whatever that is.

:55 JJ feeling it… Haha… He hates the Curb, but I won’t get stuck on this again.

:32 Bad turnover by Kerron. I will say that’s his first bad one tonight. He’s been solid.

:23 Ahhhhhh… stupid fouls!!!! Why!!! Free throws for EKU. Good news… we get the last shot.

Halftime… Belmont up 11. Missed jumper by JJ near the end. That’s OK. He was probably just throwing up a heat check at the end of the half.

Actually quite a half by the Mont. 16-23 from the field including 7-8 from downtown. I wonder if we can keep that up. Also, 14 assists on 16 field goals. However, 8 turnovers and every single one of them felt costly. They come at the dumbest times with this team. Should EKU feel lucky to only be down 11? Probably. But they’re shooting 50% from 3 so it’s not like they’re cold. They haven’t unleashed the full-fledged DiNunno offense yet, but expect to see it soon. No 3 attempts for Ian yet.

Notable non entries for Belmont so far. Chad and Johnny Rice 2.0. The #freespencer campaign hits a wall nightly.

Second half here we go. One change for the Mont. Baker in for Blake to start. Arguably not a bad thing. I guess. Right? Ok…

19:50 JJ missed. Guess you can’t make them all.

19:11 Splash for Ian. There’s his first 3 of the game. You cannot leave him open. It’s unreal.

18:00 Where was that going? We hate the basketball. I need to just make that a macro on my computer. Reece in for Baker after that pass. Good idea. Did I just say that?

We’re committing fouls like it’s our job. And the computer audio is out. Man down! Man down!

17:35 The Mont gives up 16 offensive rebounds on one possession and it leads to 2 free throws. Classic. Lead down to 8.

17:23 Ian. That’s all. So, so, so, so good. And lethal.

16:20 Finally a foul call against EKU. Play by play guy calls it an anticipation foul. Partner disagrees with him. I love radio guys.

16:06 Ian with another 3. Good lord. I think I’ve said ‘Good lord’ 22 times.

15:27 First media timeout. Mont still up 11 and shooting 9-11 from downtown.

Butler won… I’m watching TV too. Is my wife still here?

15:05 Adam is in for Craig who was in and committed a foul before the break. Freshman benching. I think most people understand that Craig is Rick’s favorite whipping boy outside of Blake.

15:00 Ian with ANOTHER 3 and Belmont gets the ball back after an off the ball foul. The radio guys are just anticipating Ian baskets every time he lets the ball go.

Kerron scores for the 5-point possession.

14:36 Another stinking foul. EKU living at the line already in the half. That’s the only way they can score right now.

14:03 Kerron with a nice floater after some of our standard clogged toilet offense. Seems poetic.

13:43 Blake picks up his fourth foul. Wouldn’t be surprised if Rick leaves him in and just lets him foul out. Nevermind. He’s out. Back in comes Trev to join JJ, Kerron, Ian, and Adam.

13:25 The Hay Bailer is so money. Comes up with scores when you need him all the time.

12:27 Haha… Awkward JJ draws a lucky foul. We’ll take it. He is going to dominate old man ball some day. I think they’re just trying to even up the foul calls.

12:24 That was a sweet play in-bounds play. Lob to Trev, tip back to Kerron. Draws a foul. Makes both. Up 14.

Radio guys just called the ASUN a weaker league. Really? Is it? Pomeroy has the OVC as the 23rd rated conference and the ASUN as the 26th best. Feel like those would be flipped if the Mont was in the ASUN.

11:55 Third foul on Kerron. Pretty sure EKU is in the bonus already. Refs taking control of this game like all refs should. Under 12 timeout.

10:30 EKU presses and what do you know… forces a turnover. Walden then dribbles through 7 guys and scores.

10:10 Ian misses the front end of a one and one. He just rearranged reality for EKU’s radio guys. They are flabbergasted that he missed.

9:40 Nice D and transition lay-in by Ian.

9:00 OK. I was bumming on Reece earlier, but he actually just created some nice offense for himself. Pump faked from 3, took two dribbles in and hit a sweet 17 footer. Nicely done.

8:25 They finally just called a carry on DiNunno. About damn time in my estimation.

Action is fast… typing is hard. Hard to enjoy this game like this.

8:08 Trev with another tip in off of an Ian miss. We are answering everything they throw at us. The parts I have been able to watch have been enjoyable. Timeout EKU. Mont currently up 11.

Radio guys just said it’s a dead even game except that the Mont refuses to miss a shot. They forgot to mention the fact that the Bruins are just better.

6:54 Under 8 timeout. Mont up 10.

Side note: EKU’s Lewis is 3-3 from downtown after being 4-28 for the season. I realize Laidig’s 3 was a little flukish, but come on, you should only be able to trade one for one. This is the second guy from Eastern that has gone mysteriously bonkers on the Bruins. Maybe that’s what is keeping you in the game homer radio guys!!!

Observation: EKU starting to go to the DiNunno one on one. I’ve been waiting patiently for this.

6:00 Ian from the baseline… he’s ridiculous. Just ridiculous.

5:27 JJ has some hands. Classic old man ball steal. Classic.

4:55 Ball movement. Poise. Shot selection. Precision. It’s great to watch right now. Ian to JJ for an easy 2. Even the EKU radio guys are impressed. They’re gushing. Too bad the audio cuts out at the timeouts. I wanted to hear that. EKU took a timeout by the way. Mont up 12.

We come back and they’re talking about a Ferris wheel being involved in their craziest night ever. It was at a football game? I only got half the story. Like I said, wish the audio wouldn’t cut out.

4:02 5 quick points and EKU within 7. EKU to the full court press.

3:40 Kerron going into his patented ‘Panic, I don’t like the ball’ mode. Turnover going into the media timeout.

3:25 Walden goes baseline and throws it down. He has scored all their points in this recent 7-0 run.

2:54 Remember all that nice stuff I said 20 seconds ago about poise, precision and other crap. Forget it. We’ve gone into full fledged panic mode. Another turnover and now 2 free throws for DiNunno with the Mont up 5.

Big sequence… DiNunno missed the second free throw. They get an offensive rebound and DiNunno chucks up a three point attempt. The Bruins recover.

2:15 What just happened?!?! Kerron hit a 3 with no time on the shot clock after he never passed the ball. Absolute dagger.

1:45 Uhhhh!!!! Holden is in? As a defensive sub? Have we seen this yet this year? Rick!!! You’re not the same without your sweater vest.

Timeout by somebody and now I’ve got double audio during the timeout. I have no idea what is happening. Not a timeout. Just trying to get the shot clock right I guess.

1:36 Steal for the Mont and we get a timeout. Good defense. That’s the second or ninth time that EKU has tried a lob and we’ve stolen it. Help me figure out why they keep doing that.

1:17 Ian with a lay in after breaking the pressure. Wouldn’t that have been a good point for EKU to start fouling? Can’t extend the game while the clock is running. Rick needs to take these guys to late game situation school.

1:03 Kerron just drew a sweet charge. Nicely done.

:52 JJ extends the lead to 11 with 2 free throws.

:36 rebound JJ and EKU fouls again. I think we can call this a wrap.

Side story: JJ just missed his first free throw of the year.

:21 Another steal by the Mont and a timeout to preserve possession. They started fouling just a little too late. I think that’s safe to say.

:10 Nothing like one last Belmont turnover just for fun. I guess.

Mont with the 11 point win. Radio guys impressed. I was too. Belmont withstood some punches. Time to listen to Rick post game with boss man Ingram.

Good radio interview with Kerron. Sounds like he understands the game. Sometimes he just doesn’t play like it.

Rick just called it Kerron’s best game he’s seen. Ok. Ok Rick. Ok. He was pretty good tonight, but I don’t know about that.

Thanks for saying that Rick. They did make some dumb shots in this game (everyone points to Lewis).

This game is huge in the big picture. Two game lead in the loss column for the Mont and a tiebreaker against each of their closest challengers give them effectively a 3 game lead at the top of the OVC.

That was good fun. These are better when we win. Keeps my stress level from being doubled.

-Jono Broadhead


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