Friday, March 03, 2006

"Never say Die" (79-73)

"I felt like we really just chipped away, chipped away, and never got desperate. This team never died and never went for home runs."
Bob McKillop

Down by 7 at the half, Davidson went on 10-3 run to begin the second half. Emboldened by several defensive stops, the Davidson offense was able to light fire as Matt McKillop ripped off 4 second half threes en route to a season-high 21 points. Davidson shot 10-18 from the 3 point line, and outrebounded The Citadel 43-19 to get 14 second chance points. The Wildcats chipped away at the Bulldog lead and a McKillop three finally gave them a one point lead. Davidson never looked back as Grant, Morton and Winters continued to drive the lane and cause fouls. The Citadel had several opportunities to tie the game at the end, but Johnson and Meno came up with big-time defensive rebounds, and Morton was able to knock down the free throws.

Simply, this game was exactly what Davidson needed to get through the tournament. As Coach McKillop said, "we were forced to recollect the small instances of comebacks this season [St. Joe's, CofC, Citadel, UMass]. We used those memories as a catalyst for confidence." Davidson seemed to put it all together in the second half, combining toughness inside, strong drives to the hoop, crisp passing and lights-out shooting, and tenacious defense and rebounding. It is a testament to a group of players and coach who have been dogged as too uptight and self-critical. The Wildcats believed in themselves tonight, and their play reflected it.

"We knew going into the half that we had a chance. We just never thought about the season ending, but making the next shot."
Matt McKillop

Davidson will make their way home tonight and sleep heavily as they tip off against Elon tomorrow at 2:30pm.

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