Xavier gave Duke a strong challenge yesterday, matching Duke's intensity but not quite their athleticism. The game's pivotal moment was Anthony Myles' little push on Sheldon Williams, fouling out Xavier's best player with twelve minutes remaining. George Vecsey suggests the Gremlins were at work again:
Anthony Myles looked to see his replacement scampering up to the scorer's table, but Coach Thad Matta had summoned the sub a moment too late to get him into the game...... Just don't foul.
Six ticks of the clock later, the great deus ex machina of sport struck again. The same practical joker who allowed Christian Laettner to catch an unobstructed pass and turn and shoot against Kentucky a decade ago was back. The same prankster who used to favor Notre Dame and the Boston Celtics back in the old days was pulling the strings once again.
The same mischief-maker who flicked Derek Jeter's fly ball into a home run, the same sadist who made some poor boob in Wrigley Field stick out his hands and deflect a foul fly, was in midseason form.
Before Myles could get out of the game for a rest, he made contact with Duke's Shelden Williams under the Blue Devils' basket. This was not some blatant collision that made the Georgia Dome shake, but rather two large and determined athletes grappling for the same little corner of this crazy universe.
One tweet of the whistle and Myles was out of the game for good, with 16 points and 10 rebounds, with 12 momentous minutes and 27 significant seconds left in the game.