Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Williams Wows , Tourney Turns

While current Big South players battle it out on the hardwoods for the Big Dance, a former Conference star has made it to The it's hoops-a-lot for today's SHOUT.

Let's start with the well-deserved SHOUT-out to former VMI Keydet Reggie Williams. Reggie reigns as the all-time leading scorer for VMI and the Big South, but his accomplishments have continued to grow after that stellar collegiate career for the Keydets.

Recently we drew your attention in this space to Williams hooking on--and then dominating--the NBA Developmental League. He led the "D-League" in scoring as a member of the Sioux Falls Sky Force (26.4 ppg). Now Williams has gone another step: the NBA.

First came the word that yes indeed, Reggie Williams had inked a ten-day agreement with the Golden State Warriors...before knowing anything else, that itself is good news--a shot at the highest level of the game, a live audition for his pro prospects against the best in the business--but it's only the start of this story.

He was in uniform right away, for the Warriors' game against the Miami Heat. He sums the experience up like this: "Coming in your first night and the first guy you guard is Dwyane Wade, it’s kind of different but it was a good experience. It was fun. I had a good time. I’m upset we lost but just have to move onto the next one tomorrow night.

That's a modest summary from Mr. W, whose "good time" included the impressive debut numbers of 10 points, 5 rebounds, and 5 assists. Read more about that performance from our colleagues at VMI. But wait, there's more--you can catch Reggie Williams wearing his number 55 (the same he wore when he finished with VMI) for Golden State on national TV tonight: TNT has the Warriors visiting the Orlando Magic at 7pm, Wednesday, March 3rd.

Could there be more good things in store for Reggie? Coach Don Nelson praised his passing and lack of fear, adding, "In just one game he has gotten the respect of his teammates." Sounds promising. (Pictures courtesy NBAE/Getty Images, with thanks to VMI)


Okay, okay, so what about the Big South basketball happening NOW, right?
Gotcha...on it.

Quarterfinal night for the Advance Auto Parts Big South Conference Basketball Championship provided some drama, but in the end, little in the way of real surprises: in short, the favorites won.

So the top four seeds earned those positions and the first round home games that went with them...and all four will advance to the semis. Some games had more drama than others, even though the eventual winners all had double-digit leads at some point in their respective games.

HPU at UNC Asheville -- I was there for this one myself, and I can tell you the difference was settled quickly: the Bulldogs jumped to a 9-1 start and paced ahead of the Panthers for the duration. High Point had its moments, but Asheville generally controlled the game and got the 84-73 win.

VMI at Coastal Carolina -- the 1v8 game pretty much played like one, with the Chants jumping up early 21-9 and maintaining a healthy lead throughout much of the contest, ending in CCU's favor 82-73.

Liberty at Winthrop -- Liberty had an early run, but the Eagles grabbed and then held onto a lead the rest of the way (one with its shares of dramatic ups and downs, even closing within one point)...the margin was eight at the half and was back to eight at the end: WU 80-72.

CSU at Radford -- now here's the biggest drama of the night...RU's 16 point lead at the break withered until it had disappeared altogether, resulting in overtime for this 2v7 game. The Highlanders got the slim 9-6 edge in the extra five minutes to survive and advance.

Now it's on to Thursday night and the semifinals from Kimbel Arena at Coastal Carolina University, both games on ESPNU (at 6pm & 8pm):

Radford (2) vs. Winthrop (3), a rematch of last Saturday's two-point game.
Asheville (4) vs. Coastal (1), with the host hoping to earn another home game.

Saturday's final will be at 4pm on ESPN2.

The Big South Network will have free live streaming coverage of the postgame coach and player interviews after the semifinal and final games.

Look for more updates on the tournament here, as well as our Twitter and Facebook pages, and always get the official word at Enjoy the games...SHOUT--out!

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