With so many Davidson basketball fans now reading this blog, many of whom are coming to the Conference Tournament, I thought I would make a quick "Charleston tours" post.
While basketball fans may not have too much time to be a tourist, the late start on Friday and afternoon start on Saturday give opportunities for day activities and a few night dining excursions. I hope that those making the trip will stay through Sunday even if we lose early.
First off, I will list a few "don'ts" for Davidson fans:
-Don't eat at Hyman's Seafood. The restaurant has bought out every tour guide to get its name out there, but they won't publish this statistic. There are no returning diners, ever.
-Don't take a Ghost Tour. Although it might seem obvious, you won't actually see any ghosts on a ghost tour. Instead you spend gobs of money for a twilight walking tour with stupid stories.
-I wouldn't suggest going to Fort Sumter. It's a long process to get tickets, boat ride and all, and it's really just an island with a few walls on it. Go to the National Ft. Sumter Monument on Concord St. for a better feel of what happened for free.
-If you are staying downtown, don't drive. If you are staying at the Sheraton, drive in, park in a lot, and get out. You really can't see much driving, and there are no places to stop, get out for a look and move on. So commit to walking around a general area, then go someplace else.
And here are some good tips.
-Go to the Aquarium complex at Liberty Square off of Calhoun and E. Bay. There's the nice aquarium, Fort Sumter monument, IMAX theater, Food Court, and spectacular views of the harbor and new bridge all together.
-Check out the Wreck in the old village of Mt. Pleasant for great seafood, cheap dining, and a unique experience. The restaurant is literally the wreck of two shrimp boats that crashed into a storage locker in Hurricane Hugo. The tablecloths are made of paper and they don't take debit cards. This place is cool. Plus you can watch them take the shrimp off the boat, carry it to the kitchen, and have it on your plate before you know it. Beat that, Red Lobster!
-Make sure to check out the King St./Calhoun St. intersection. This is the heart of the College of Charleston, and I felt absolute bliss as I walked through there yesterday with my Davidson Wildcats shirt. They don't like being swept and they know this won't be the year where they win a Conference tournament in their own city. Plus, the shopping is good here too!
-Finally, here's a word of advice for first-time tournament goers. Davidson ticket-holders are able to get a seat in the two sections behind the Davidson bench. In order to get in here, you should come before the Elon game ends and wait out in the concourse. When they clear out the previous games' fans, it will be a mad rush for the best seats as they are general admission and no one wants to end up in the upper deck. If you are coming from downtown, take I-26 to I-526, then get off at the Coliseum exit. This will be a 15-20 minute drive, and leave time to park. If coming from the Sheraton, just travel one exit North and you are there. There will be Davidson tailgating going on in Lot C. Make sure to wear your red and cheer on the Cats.
Tuesday, February 28, 2006
With so many Davidson basketball fans now reading this blog, many of whom are coming to the Conference Tournament, I thought I would make a quick "Charleston tours" post.
Posted by Will Bryan at 11:31 PM
As February ends today, anticipation is mounting for the Southern Conference tournament. As I returned to church on Sunday, all of the parish members that talked to me all asked what Davidson's chances were. College basketball fever has swept this city.
Davidson finished the season as the 3 seed, meaning that they play on Friday at around 8:30 against the winner of the Furman/Citadel game.
While Furman was the team that ended the Wildcats' spectacular conference run, they also match up quite well with us. They are a team that loves to power the post with Moussa Diagne and then swing the perimeter to find shooters like Eric Webb and Robby Bostain. In our home victory against them a week and a half ago, we were able to hold Webb and Bostain to just two three-pointers and we got Moussa in foul trouble. I feel like our defense is smart enough to be able to double down on Diagne while closing out on outside shooters when the ball goes back to them. If the referees actually call fouls, Sander should be able to get Diagne in foul trouble again, and our defense can stay in the face of Webb and Bostain.
I'm really not worried about the Citadel beating Furman in the first round, but in case they do, we just need to run a Box and 1 defense on Donny McLendon and the rest of the team will fold. McLendon opened up for several three-pointers against us in Charleston, and we had trouble sticking to our gameplan when an inferior team was beating us. The strategy against the Citadel? Stick to your gameplan and don't let them beat you. Very simple.
If we were to win that Friday night game, we would play the winner of the Elon vs WCU/UNCG game. I really think that right now Elon is vulnerable and Western could sneak up on them. The Phoenix nearly lost to the Spartans last week in a game with first place implications. I could see us playing a Catamount team that nearly shut down our entire offensive team a month ago on the road to our first loss in Belk Arena in a year. The key to this matchup, and in large extent to all matchups, is effective defense. I don't think that we do well in shoot-out games where teams just trade baskets (eg. Wofford #2). We have to hold our opponents under 40% shooting, and we cannot allow Western (or Elon) to get easy points in the paint like last time.
If everything works out to plan, we should be facing Georgia Southern in the championship game on Sunday afternoon. Despite their no. 1 seeding, we are clearly a better team than the Eagles as evidenced by our double-digit home win and mere three-point loss in a game where we turned the ball over 28 times on the road.
Certainly anything can happen in this tournament, but this year we get to demonstrate why a conference tournament is a good thing. After last year's disappointing loss in the semis, everyone was asking why the tournament held so much ground if the regular-season champ didn't get anything for losing. I think that Davidson will prove this weekend that they are the best SoCon representative for the field of 65, and that March really is redemption time for all of those struggles back in February.
Posted by Will Bryan at 11:05 AM
Sunday, February 26, 2006
Incredible victory for the Wildcats today as they pulled out a 2 point win over the College of Charleston. Down by 1 with under a minute to play, Kenny Grant spotted up from the top of the key and hit a three pointer, his only points of the night. The last time we hit a game-winning shot against the College, it was Jason Morton who had also been scoreless on the night. The Cougars had several chances to win it in the end but several shots hit iron and Davidson breathed a sigh of relief.
Looking at my keys to the game, I really felt that Charleston played the game they wanted, but they couldn't make their shots fall. The Cougs outrebounded Davidson and secured 19 offensive rebounds to Davidson's 9. Every board turned into a loose ball, the Cougars method to keep the Wildcats from developing any sort of flow. Fortunately, College of Charleston was inept at hitting close shots and Davidson's cold spurt did not hurt them immensely.
I felt like we played as under control offensively and most of the stat's sheets turnovers could be chalked up to full-court scrambles where anything went. Sometimes I get scared when Jason Morton feels the need to throw up off-balance threes from the sideline, but as long as he continues to hit them, he's the closest thing that we've got to J.J. Redick. And he's taken more pressure off of Brendan Winters, allowing him to play looser.
Boris came out strong in the second half and if we can get Thomas to find a little more touch on his jump hook, then our frontcourt will be untouchable. I was impressed with our aggressiveness on their drives to the hoop as we recorded 6 blocks, a phenomenal number.
Of course, the technical aspects could not overshadow the raw emotion as 7 Seniors played their last game in Belk Arena. Coach McKillop cried as stood with his wife and son at midcourt honoring the player that he'd gotten 4 years to coach into a better player and a better man. Chris Clunie got the first start of his career and Kenny Grant wrote the final chapter as his three-pointer swished through the nets and into history.
Tomorrow we will find out definitively which game seed we will have and I will lay out a full preview of the Conference Tournament.
Posted by Will Bryan at 12:16 AM
Friday, February 24, 2006
Although most Davidson fans feel confident that the 'Cats will pull out a win on Saturday against the division rival Cougars, here is a point-counterpoint analysis of the matchups for the big game.
Importance: Both teams share the same record, and although College of Charleston cannot capture a share of first place, they certainly don't want to fall into the fourth slot. However, the last several years that the tournament has been in Charleston, they have been beaten in that quarterfinal night game that the three seed must play. Davidson will be playing for a chance at first place and a final home win for a remarkable Senior class. Advantage: Davidson.
Frontcourt: With the emergence of Andrew Lovedale supplementing the always tough duo of Ian Johnson and Thomas Sander, the Cats will look to secure the rebounds and play clean ball. Boris has shown greater strength with the ball as of late and Davidson hopes that it will carry over to this game. Jermaine Johnson and Josh Jackson have the potential to be solid big men, but an inability to hit inside shots has hurt them all season. As long as Davidson doesn't let the Cougar rebounders leap over them, they should be fine. Advantage: Davidson
Backcourt: Davidson committed a season-high 28 turnovers against Georgia Southern last Monday, 18 of which came from their backcourt. Kenny Grant has emerged into relatively solid floor leader, however he can get flustered sometimes and play out of control. The Wildcats will need to be more patient with their shot selection and hit the open shots that they get. The Cougars' Dontaye Draper might be one of the most underrated players in the conference. Averaging 19.0 ppg, he has an ability to create off the dribble and take any defender to the lane. He caused problems for Davidson's slower defenders in the first game in Charleston but the Cougars were unable to get inside floaters and shots to fall. If the Cougars start getting points in the paint off of Draper's drives, Jason Morton will have to play more as he is the only Wildcat guard quick enough to guard him. Advantage: Cougars
Coaching: Bob McKillop is the conference's winningest coach and there's a reason for that: vision. Coach McKillop always sees where he wants to take his team and he imparts that to his players very well. This season he has had to conform to the needs of his starters, trying to take pressure off of them in practice and game situations. Tom Herrion, on the other hand, has no idea who his team is and it seems they don't seem to care either. Altercation after altercation has left several players suspended for different stretches of games. Herrion has a tendency to lose himself and his team doesn't seem to respond well to that. Advantage: Davidson
Keys to the game
Davidson: The Cats need to stick to their home winning formula. Jump out to a quick lead with easy shots inside, transition run-outs and one shot opportunities on the defensive end. If they establish Ian inside and play a clean game of ball security and smart shots they should win it.
College of Charleston: They need to get on top of Davidson from the beginning. Using pressure defense they can fluster Kenny into committing turnovers and keeping Davidson from getting many shot opportunities. Offensively, the Cougars should exploit their team speed and work to slash into the lane, getting Thomas in foul trouble and shooting high-percentage shots. If they make it a game of attrition and take the crowd out of it, the Cougars can take advantage of Davidson's struggles with close games.
Final Prediction: Davidson 81 College of Charleston 74
Posted by Will Bryan at 12:20 AM
Thursday, February 23, 2006
Welcome all you newcomers to this blog. I will try to provide you with the best in-depth analysis of the Conference Tournament and other postseason options that I can. For those interested in tournament seeding let me map out our options going into this Saturday's game against the College of Charleston.
If WE LOSE:
-We play either Furman (if they win on Sat.) or the winner of WCU/UTC (if Furman loses on Sat.)
-This game would be around 3ish on Friday afternoon next week.
If WE WIN:
And Elon/GSU wins: We get third place and play Friday evening against a Thursday winner.
And Elon wins/GSU loses: We get second place and play early evening against a Thursday winner.
And Elon loses/GSU loses: We are tied for first place and will get the number 1 seed because we hold the tie-breaker with the Eagles (as of now). If this happens, we are guaranteed a berth in the NIT, no matter what happens in the tournament.
If we lose any game in the tournament, then it is over for us. We would have to win three games in a row (Friday, Sat afternon, and Sunday afternoon) to win the Championship which will be televised on ESPN2.
We are looking strong heading into this Saturday's game with only 1 home conference loss in our last 24 tries. If you are near a TV it will be shown on ESPN2 at noon. If you are still in Davidson, please make an effort to come out, as it is Senior Day for 7 special guys.
Posted by Will Bryan at 9:36 AM
Wednesday, February 22, 2006
Davidson couldn't do it. Again. They give up a 7 point lead in the final minutes to lose to Georgia Southern, 76-73. Down just two with under a minute, they were unable to get off a good shot as the shot clock wound down, and two three pointers went awry as the final buzzer sounded.
The stat line of the game was 28 turnovers. Yes 28. They committed 19 in the first half, averaging nearly a turnover a minute.
Making the whole experience that much worse was that the radio feed kept going in and out during the second half, leaving listeners perilously wondering whether Brendan Winters tying shot would go in. It didn't.
We now need Furman and UNCG to win this weekend for a chance at a first place seed. But if we lose to CofC, we could finish as low as fifth in the conference.
Posted by Will Bryan at 9:20 AM
Tuesday, February 21, 2006
I did an interview with Coach McKillop recently and the thing that really stood out to me is the way in which he has really been tweeking things this season.
If you've read the Observer articles about funky practices, then you might have some idea about what I am talking about. Coach McKillop has realized the invaluable asset of coaching teams individually instead of just coaching to a recruited system. While he certainly finds players who have good shots, toughness inside and intelligence, he has also realized that every player cannot be coached the same way.
This group of seniors could very well be deemed the most prolific class in recent memory with outstanding records to their honor. However, they also might be the most sensitive and thinking class in a while.
Every day, Brendan Winters must face himself and realize that he is not his father and does not have an obligation to match his father's accomplishments. He cannot allow himself to take full blame for every Wildcat loss, and so coach has played him less to make him feel less like the franchise player. Brendan performs better as one of the cogs in the wheel, not the mule pulling the truck (like J.J. Redick).
At the end of warmups, Matt McKillop always secures a ball to shoot a spot-up three-pointer right before he joins his team on the bench. While there is no statistical correlation between his hitting a shot and a strong performance, the fact that he always has take a meaningful chance is a sports psychologist's wonderland.
In key situations in losses this year, Kenny Grant has always unilaterally driven the lane in the hopes of a defensive foul after saving the Princeton game in 2005. However, his lack of vision for a pass created charges against Charlotte, Western and Wofford and turned the momentum over to the opponent.
Coach McKillop has done several things to try to "take the pressure off" and help the players where they are. From the tip to 17 minute mark of the Wofford road game, he sat at the end of the bench and didn't say a word. He has used props in practice to lighten the tone and keep the players loose. He has been more visible on campus, joking with the guys and their friends in the Union.
On this last week of the regular season, everyone realizes that Coach McKillop is not a monolithic source of strategy and yelling. He has been touched by the integrity and intensity of the Davidson fan base. He relishes the remaining weeks of coaching his son and other special Seniors. And he knows that every player has a real life. Basketball is life, and yet it isn't. So whether or not we hit the last shot to win the tournament, life will go on for very special people; and coach McKillop has let them know that. Now hopefully they can finally hit that shot.
Posted by Will Bryan at 6:28 PM
This 2005-2006 basketball season has been a tale of two teams. Or has it? One could look at Davidson's conference leading margin of victory and home wins over the likes of Missouri and St. Joe's and be convinced that this is one of the best Wildcat squads in recent history. One also might argue that inconsistency has plagued a team that has lost four out of seven conference road games, and has not been able to come back from a halftime deficit. However, this team has continued to claw through every opponent they have faced this season and have not relinquished until the final buzzer sounded.
Last Saturday, the Wildcats epitomized Coach McKillop's philosophy of playing one game at a time, enjoying the moment, and moving on to the next play.
Taking on the team that broke the Wildcats' remarkable record for conference victories, the Wildcats (16-9, 9-4) gave the Furman Paladins a lesson in aggressive, fundamental basketball. Davidson jumped out to a 28-9 lead in the first half that was capped off by a Jason Morton '06 three-pointer, his eleventh in a row dating back to the Wofford game. That mark set a new team and conference record for consecutive three-point baskets. Like so many opponents before them this year, Furman seemed stunned in the first half and they were never able to claw their way closer than 15 points, falling by a final margin of 77-59.
The Wildcats were paced by a double-double from Thomas Sander '08 who finished with 10 points and 11 rebounds and Ian Johnson '06 who finished with a game-high 20 points. The Wildcats finished with 34 points in the paint, showing the interior dominance that makes Davidson foes continually have to double down when the ball goes down low. Davidson's seemingly newfound aggressive style found the Wildcats picking up unprecedented amounts of offensive boards and second chance points. Morton and Matt McKillop '06 sparked a defensive effort worthy of praise as they resoundingly shut down the Paladin perimeter game, holding shooters Eric Webb and Robby Bostain to just 10 total points, and 1-4 from three point range.
"I really thought Matt showed some grit out there today," said head coach Bob McKillop. "We played with high energy and I'm really proud of our guys."
Apart from the College of Charleston, Davidson has faced all of the top five teams in the Southern Conference at Belk Arena and come away with resounding victories. In a great departure from last year's heart-stopping close thrillers, Davidson has opened up games in the first half this season, holding a 9.5 average margin of victory that leads the Southern Conference.
Kenny Grant '06 continued to direct the floor as he dished out a game-high nine assists, helping to maintain Davidson's top assist mark in the conference and ranking of sixth in the nation.
"Our hallmark is unselfish play that opens up the floor," said coach McKillop. "And Kenny has really developed into the floor leader that keeps that together."
The victory over Furman also marked a pivotal performance by the Davidson fan base. After consecutive home games with underwhelming attendance, the Wildcat supporters showed up in droves and waved their white towels in an impressive display for the TV cameras.
"People don't realize how much the crowd can affect the outcome of a game," said coach McKillop. "Our players thrive off of their energy which makes it louder. It is a mutual relationship."
Sitting tied for first place with Elon and Georgia Southern, Davidson's trip to Statesboro this Tuesday will be a pivotal game in the outcome of the season. If the Wildcats win, they are guaranteed their fifth straight division title and an automatic berth the NIT if they were to lose in the conference tournament. With a loss the Wildcats would have to beat the College of Charleston on Saturday and hope that the Eagles lose.
Posted by Will Bryan at 6:28 PM
Monday, February 20, 2006
Friday, February 17, 2006
Just another random thought:
My sister set up this thing that counts how many hits I get on my blog. It ranks me amongst all blogspot members and in my category which is sports. Apparently I am 212 right now in my category. I found that interesting and decided to click on that ranking to see who was ahead of me...Apparently 17 of the top 20 sports blogs are entitled, Sexy Sports Chicks. That is really sad. Of course the only other one in the top 10 was a blog teaching people how to juggle. Cmon, are you serious?
Posted by Will Bryan at 3:53 PM
It seems that I'm getting famous. A Davidson basketball blog run by a former Alum picked up my Davidsonian article and has posted it on his blog. You can find it under the link for Davidson Basketball blog on the right.
We are certainly hoping that we get a big crowd out for tomorrow's Furman game. It will essentially be the last student game of the year.
I don't have too many more things to write about right now, mostly because I am feeling under the weather and cannot seem to formulate any cogent thoughts. Let's hope that this nice weather will cure me of my ills.
In other news, I shaved my head again. Yeah!
Posted by Will Bryan at 3:23 PM
Tuesday, February 14, 2006
There’s something about Charleston. Coming off their fourth Southern Conference road loss at Wofford last Saturday, Davidson (15-9, 8-4) faced a must-win situation against the Citadel on Monday. The Citadel was looking for their first Southern Conference victory of the season and came out firing, making Davidson look vulnerable throughout the entire first half. But there’s something about Charleston. Davidson had picked up its only tough road win against the College of Charleston back in January, and they proved to everyone that they wouldn’t fade against the Citadel this time, building an 11-point lead with over a minute remaining and holding on for a 81-77 victory. Hopefully this confidence will extend to the Southern Conference tournament, which will be held in Charleston in a little over two weeks.
This crazy week started last Wednesday as fans filed into Belk Arena looking to bounce back from the home upset to Western Carolina. The Wildcats came out firing against UNC-Greensboro, hitting six first half threes en route to a 46-31 halftime lead. The Wildcats combined an aggressive, trapping defense and hot-shooting offense to bury the Spartans before they realized the game had started. Brendan Winters ’06 finished with 24 points, and Davidson looked to be back on the winning track as they cruised to a 92-73 victory.
Unfortunately, the Wildcats were forced to go back on the road on Saturday when they traveled to Wofford. Sporting a 2-7 road record at that point, the men in red knew that they would get a fight from the Terriers in a gym where Davidson had only won once in the last 5 years. The Wildcats seem to take the challenge in stride as they found an offensive rhythm inside with Ian Johnson ’06, who finished with a game-high 23 points on 11-20 FG shooting. Davidson had no trouble finding proficient scoring, but that wasn’t enough to overcome the two-headed monster of Wofford’s three-point shooting and a knee injury to reserve guard Jason Morton ’06. Morton’s injury came early in the first half, and his hot shooting and quick defense went to the bench with him. Unable to mount a successful charge against Wofford eight second-half three-pointers, the Wildcats again proved unable to win a game when not leading at halftime, falling 84-71.
On Monday night, it looked like Davidson finally found a formula for winning on the road. Playing against an inspired Citadel team whose guards continued to hit fantastic shots, Davidson established a philosophy of team toughness. When the Bulldogs hit a shot, the Wildcats would go on the attack and got points on the offensive end, instead of playing flustered like they had in the past. Davidson’s hard work defensively paid off near the end of the game as they went on a 14-2 run to build an 11-point lead with just over a minute to play. “They hit some big shots, but we responded every time instead of getting knocked to the mat,” said Coach McKillop. “We got down, but we did not relent. And we have made that a point of emphasis when playing on the road.”
The Wildcats also made it a team effort on Monday as the Wildcat bench made up for a 3-15 FG performance by captains Winters, Kenny Grant ’06, and Matt McKillop ’06. Jason Morton ’06 showed excellent resiliency by coming off a knee injury and one day’s rest to contribute 27 points and set a team record for 100% three-point shooting, going 6-6 from beyond the arc. The Wildcats also got key minutes from Andrew Lovedale ’09 and Eric Blancett ’06 who combined for nine rebounds, four of them offensive, in an average of just 10.5 minutes between them. “Jason Morton played spectacularly and I think that Lovedale had his best game in a Davidson uniform,” said McKillop. “When you get your bench making those contributions, you are going to be successful.”
Johnson continued to be strong inside as he racked up 19 points and 10 rebounds for his fourth double-double of the season. The Wildcats performed well on the boards as a team as they out-rebounded the Citadel 44-27 and picked 16 offensive rebounds, giving them second chances and providing psychological daggers to the defense.
The story of this game, however, is the emergence of a team leader that has been sorely lacking all season. Jason Morton has demonstrated that despite not being a starter, he will emotionally and physically lead this Wildcat squad with hot shooting, unrelenting defense, and contagious hustling. Perhaps one of the keys of Davidson’s struggles this season has been the inability to take pressure off of the shots of Winters and McKillop and allow them to play wide open basketball. Morton has stepped into that role now and defenses can no longer focus on a single outside or inside threat, but rather must contend with a slasher whose ability to shoot and spread the ball around makes the Wildcat offense all the more dangerous. He has also provided the defensive spark to pressure opponents on the ball and create transition opportunities.
On Monday, the Wildcats showed that despite the toughness of their opponents, they can overcome a deficit and pick up a win in a hostile environment. Perhaps it is no coincidence that the Wildcats have only been able to do that on the road in Charleston, SC. The Southern Conference tournament looms large on the horizon and the Wildcats want to establish momentum and good play in the historic Southern city.
Despite their four conference losses, Davidson remains in the thick of the Southern Conference race for first place as they are one game behind Georgia Southern and Elon who sit at 9-3. Facing fourth-place Furman on Saturday at Belk Arena, Davidson will look to exact revenge from their January road loss to the Paladins.
Posted by Will Bryan at 3:18 PM
Sunday, February 05, 2006
When the Wildcats went into halftime trailing by six with a 19-game home winning streak on the line and 0-7 when trailing or tied at the half, they knew that something had to give. Unfortunately, it wasn’t the Western Carolina Catamounts. After falling behind 7-0 only 24 seconds into the game, the Davidson Wildcats never seemed to be able to climb back in it, the closest margin being 3 points at 9-6 just four minutes into the game. The Catamounts stymied every Wildcat run with a forced turnover or a big shot of their own en route to 77-70 victory at Belk Arena.
Coming off a big win against Furman, Western Carolina got out of the blocks fast and employed a 1-3-1 zone defense to keep Davidson on its heels. Many times in the first half, it seemed like Davidson didn’t know where to take the ball and the result was many a contested three-point shot and miss. Jason Morton ’06 did his best to keep the Wildcats in the game as he hit four threes in the first half to keep the Wildcats within six at the intermission. But Western Carolina forced the issue to begin the second half, getting open looks in the paint and rotating their defensive looks between the man-to-man and zone.
Perhaps the greatest indicator of Wildcat success this season has been Ian Johnson ’06, who has only averaged 5.6 ppg in the Wildcats’ three conference losses, while he has averaged 15.6 ppg on the season. Johnson was not able to find himself open in the paint often because of the Catamount zone. “I felt like we didn’t work hard enough to get the ball inside,” said head coach Bob McKillop. “They tried to take away the inside and we didn’t work hard enough to take it back.” Western Carolina, on the other hand, had no trouble finding their inside shots as they doubled the Wildcats’ interior scoring totals, 32-16.
Despite being outplayed in many aspects of the game, the Wildcats continued to claw their way back, and found themselves only down by four with forty seconds to play after Jason Morton racked up three of his game-high 22 points. But the Catamounts broke the Davidson trap on the inbounds and sprinted down-court where Ian Johnson was forced to intentionally foul in order to stop the clock. Western Carolina hit both free throws and got the ball back for another potential trip to the line. There were no last second heroics for the Wildcats on this night.
In several Wildcat losses this season, they have not seemed to respond well when trailing their opponents. Only once in November against Massachusetts have the Wildcats rallied to win from behind. “I feel like we get impatient when we get down,” said McKillop. “Our offense seems to lose its focus and we begin to attempt bad-looking shots and take ourselves out of the game.” Perhaps in this game, however, it was the Wildcat defense that let them down in the end. Every time that Davidson made a run, Western Carolina was able to find a way to score and maintain their lead. Davidson allowed Western Carolina to shoot 50.0% from the field and only had three steals. Conversely, the Wildcats were held to 38.3% from the field and they committed 11 turnovers, resulting in 13 Catamount points.
Throughout the entire game, it seemed that Western Carolina was a step ahead of the Wildcats as they would switch up their defense from zone to man to zone again as soon Davidson would find weaknesses. “We took a terrific shot from this team,” said coach McKillop. “They were very ready to play us.” Southern Conference teams have learned the importance of trying to get up early on Davidson, and the Wildcats will have to either neutralize the opening onslaughts or be patient enough to come from behind. Despite having a record that puts them in the midst of the race for the number 1 seed, Davidson still has a big target on their back and every club wants to beat them.
After every loss, fans and supporters always try to look for a form of silver lining. Many Davidson fans have speculated that it’s good for this team to not have the pressure of conference and home winning streaks continually piling up. They postulate that Davidson will do better in the conference tournament if the team doesn’t have to worry about winning streaks. Coach McKillop seems to be the first one to refute this claim: “I don’t believe that breaking a streak is something to see as a positive. There’s no pressure relief whatsoever.”
Heading into Wednesday’s matchup with UNC-Greensboro, Davidson will have revenge on its mind after the Spartans ended the Wildcats’ tournament hopes last season with a tough game in the conference semifinals. Davidson will hope to gain ground on Elon who maintains a one-game lead over the ’Cats for first place in the conference standings.
Posted by Will Bryan at 3:04 PM
Friday, February 03, 2006
As you might have noticed, I added several new links to my links section on the right of the page. While most of them center around Davidson basketball, I hope to be able to expand them in the future.
I have a weekly radio show through the Davidson College Student Station. It is podcasted each week, and covers my thoughts about the week in Sports, including highlights and interviews with Davidson basketball players and coaches.
The Davidson Message Board is merely that, a formidable forum where Wildcat wackos gather to sensibly share their rugged rhetoric. (hmmm).
The Wildcat Report is the bimonthly newsletter of Davidson basketball that just happens to be edited by yours truly. The new January issue is now up.
The basketball blogs are by a '94 Davidson grad and an '02 grad who happen to like basketball a lot. Will Roberson (02) was the Director of Basketball Operations at Davidson for several years and now coaches high school basketball in Georgia.
Finally, my sister's blog who lives in Prague is a fun assortment of multimedia immersion and the thoughts of an ex-pat young, professional mother.
There will be more links a-coming.
Posted by Will Bryan at 10:30 AM
Thursday, February 02, 2006
On the eve of this Super Bowl weekend, I figured that I would enumerate several of my best sports moments and conquests in the short 19 year period of my earthly existence. These will range from the extraordinary to the desirable to the banal.
-I saw the NBA finals MVP Tim Duncan when he played for Wake Forest in a game at The Citadel.
-I saw Sammy Sosa and Barry Bonds both play games during their legendary 66 HR and 73 HR respective seasons. The irony was that it wasn't Sammy that hit a homer for the Cubs, rather their pitcher who hit a grand slam.
-I've cheered amongst 83,500 fans at a Clemson football game as they beat the snot out of the rival USC Gamecocks. The Tigers proved their mettel in the game and the 4th quarter brawl that made national headlines as it was the day after the Artest fiasco.
-I've met sports legends like Mike Krzyzewski, Frank Howard (the winningest Clemson football coach), Roy Williams, John Madden, Al Davis, John Kresse, and of course Bob McKillop.
-I've been to sporting events in major sporting events in 8 states, including MLB, NCAA basketball, baseball, football, wrestling, lacrosse, field hockey, tennis, and track, NFL, AFL, NBA, Olympics
-I have a Kobe Bryant rookie card. (those 81 points raised its value, I'm sure)
-I've been to such famous arenas as Fenway Park, Durham Bulls park, Cameron Indoor Stadium, Death Valley, the "Black hole" in Network Associates, and of course Belk Arena.
-I had backstage passes to the NCAA and NIT tournaments.
That's about it for now. Not too impressive I know. But I'm working on it.
Posted by Will Bryan at 12:31 PM