Monday, December 18, 2006

Davidson wins big conference road game

When analyzing a big win like this one, it is always helpful to look at the pre-game points of emphasis and rate Davidson's performance in those areas. Regardless of the opponent, Coach McKillop always stresses the need to rebound and take care of the basketball.

Quantitatively, Davidson won the game in all aspects of the stat sheet. They outrebounded the Mocs 44-42, and the team assist/turnover ratio of nearly 1.5:1 completely outdid Chattanooga's 1:1 performance.

The Cats benefitted from a scoring outburst from Max Paulhus Gosselin who put in 22 points on 9-15 shooting, including 4-5 from behind the arc. They were led by the unflappable freshman Stephen Curry who finished with 30 points, 11 rebounds, and six assists. The second half also saw Jason Richards heat up, as he hit 3 second half treys along with 8-9 FT shooting to end with 19 points.

But, this victory cannot be summed up in quantitative measurement. The Wildcats mostly played without one of their captains in Thomas Sander, and went for a stretch without either Sander or Meno in the game because of foul trouble. They withstood several offensive runs by the home team and continued to mature in their "trial by fire." It is not often that the term is associated with a winning team, but I would contend that these wins are just as torturous and educational for these young players. McKillop has let his young guys take some lumps and they are maturing quickly as a result.

On the ride back to North Carolina, this group needs to think a little bit about some places for improvement:

They need to be a little more aware with offensive time management and game situation. Veteran teams don't fire first-look three-pointers with a single digit lead in the final minutes of a road game.

They are going to need work on communicating on defense and calling out screens. This is usually a plus for the Wildcats, but sometimes the Mocs would get ridiculously open as Davidson players were caught out of position.

Finally, although Thomas and Boris were both in foul trouble a lot, Davidson needs to not abandon the inside game. When a team can score from the perimeter and from the block, they are very difficult to stop. If a few of those second half threes hadn't fallen, we could have been in trouble.

Overall, though, you always take a conference win on the road. Davidson has already vanquished two North division opponents early in the season and we will be very happy about those victories come February.

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