Louis Chestnut wrote in The News and Courier of Charleston that "the Bulldogs will be led into the game by seniors Danny Mohr and Pat Conroy, who will be tasting their final competition. Mohr is a top re-bounder who sports a 13.3 scoring average and Conroy, who has not been a starter until this year, has shot for an 11.8 average. The top scorer all season has been junior John DeBrosse. The small (5'10") floor leader has a 14-4 average." Mr. Chestnut agreed that our team was peaking and could do some damage in the tournament.
When The Citadel was warming up in the Charlotte Coliseum, the place that represented the big time for any Southern guy, I noted something in the layup line that had been peculiarly absent for most of the year: forward Doug Bridges snorting and clapping and dunking with authority, if not fury. When Bridges was lit up to play his best game, he could score 30 against any team in the country. He was the best athlete on our squad. He had as beautiful a body as I have ever seen. That night Bridges's eyes looked like the place where madness was born. I felt my team coming together at last.
Richmond's captain, Johnny Moates, was the 11th-leading scorer in the nation, with an average of 25 points per game. He had the same look that I had spotted in Bridges's eyes, and I took that to be a bad omen for me. I shook hands with the five Richmond players. Moates regarded me with contempt.
I met him as he crossed half-court each time, his four teammates lining up to pick for him in endless combinations. "Pick left!" I'd hear Bridges cry out behind me. "Pick right, Pat!" DeBrosse screamed. "Double pick!" Mohr cried out as Richmond center Buster Batts came out to set a high-post screen. Moates, 6'1", lean and long and flowing, dribbled toward me. I went into my defensive crouch, slapped both hands on the shining floor and motioned for Moates to come and get it. Unfortunately, he accepted my invitation.
Sometimes Moates would dribble toward forward Tom Green, who would set a devastating pick, driving his bladelike knee into my left thigh. Fighting over the top of that pick, I would lose one step on Moates and he would go into the air, his eccentric-looking shot held high behind his head.
In one agonizing three-minute stretch in the first half, Moates came at me four times in a row, took me over a series of 10 picks and hit four long-range jumpers and, when I fouled him out of frustration on the last shot, a free throw. My teammates shouted encouragement. "Get 'em, Pat! Fight him, Pat! Fight your ass off!"
After Moates made the nine straight points, I changed my tactics. I realized he was planning to score 60 against me and was fully capable of doing it. I started taunting him: "Hey, Moates, don't you have some other guys on this team? Hey, Green, don't you like to shoot every now and then? I've seen ball hogs in my life, but this guy thinks he's the only guy out here."
"Shut up, Conroy," Moates said as he passed to Green for the first time.
"Wow, give him an assist," I screamed. "Nice pass, Moates. You're not a virgin anymore."
I looked like I knew what I was doing whenever I got the ball to Bridges or Mohr. Bridges played in a special realm that day, as though not subject to laws of physics. Every time I threw the ball to him I simply got out of his way. He made spinning, wheeling jump shots as he faded back toward the out-of-bounds lines, off-balance, uncontrolled.