Saturday, January 20, 2007

Streaks prove hazardous to Wildcats

Back on February 4, 2006, Coach McKillop walked into the post-game media conference after Davidson lost to Western Carolina at home. The loss snapped Davidson's 19-game home winning streak. The first question from the press asked McKillop whether ending the streak helped release some pressure on the players. McKillop quickly answered that ending a winning streak is never a good thing.

Ending a winning streak is never a good thing. You play the game to win the game. But on Saturday afternoon, Davidson did not win the game. Their 81-74 loss to Appalachian State ended the nation's second-longest winning streak and dropped the Wildcats to 7-1 in the conference. Although many fans of the Black and Red left Belk Arena feeling legitimately dejected, I assure you that this game is not a complete loss. Last year's seniors, to a man, pointed at the home loss to Western Carolina as the turning point in their season. They realized that, despite their accomplishments and talent, more was expected of them. It is time now for this young group to get a little bit older and the rest of the season will defined, one way or another, by this game.

A hard-fought game throughout, Davidson was unable to hit the big shots in the end and Appalachian State was accurate from the free-throw line. Davidson shot 29-69 from the field and 7-27 from 3-point range. Both teams forced double digits in turnovers, and Appalachian State had four players score in double figures. Davidson was led by Jason Richards and Stephen Curry with 15 points. Richards kept his outrageous pace for assists going as he had eight on the day.

With an attendance of 5,580, Davidson put up another record-setting day as they now have two of the top 3 attendance records in Belk Arena in one season. It seemed like there wasn't an empty seat in the building. I know that there were more students in the section behind the basket than seats allotted.

The game was emotional. The crowd was into it. The refs were not on their game and allowed the game to get out of hand in many instances. I don't think that they were unfair, I just thought that there were too many bad calls against both teams. Overall, I think the game exhibited everything that the Southern Conference hopes to accomplish: great crowds, intense play, close competition, and great basketball being showcased. Davidson basketball is an experience that should be envied around the Southeast. I am glad that Appalachian State added to the experience this afternoon, and I know that the Wildcats will be ready for the rematch in the Conference Tournament.

Throw out all the conjectures on at-larges and RPI's, this team has three days in March as its ultimate focal point. It is time to pick up the broken streaks and prepare for Georgia Southern.

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