Sunday, February 25, 2007

Wildcats finish season 17-1 in conference

As Davidson rolled over The Citadel by 17 points on Saturday afternoon, they secured a league record of 17 conference wins in a season. These 'Cats have done some incredible things in the last several years. Here are some quick thoughts from my trip down to Charleston:

-The Citadel seniors were honored before the afternoon game and in the morning paper. Several quotes from the paper talked about how these players had enjoyed success a lot when they were in high school, and they have since played four hard years at The Citadel. They said that it's just been really hard, period. During the presentations, the Davidson fans were louder in their applause than The Citadel fans.

-Stephen Curry started off the game with three straight three pointers. All of his family, mixed in among the Davidson contingency were hysterical as they counted down to the NCAA record with each trey: 8! 7! 6! Unfortunately, Curry would not hit another three-pointer after the first media timoeout of the game.

-Davidson did a pretty good job beating The Citadel press. The Bulldogs had used their relentless press to outscore College of Charleston in the second half of their Thursday night game. At one point when the Bulldogs were trying to set it up, coach Ed Conroy yelled to Kevin Hammack who was guarding Jason Richards: "He's just like Draper. Think about guarding Draper!" I'm not sure if that is a complement or an insult.

-At one point, Thomas Sander got a run-out opportunity with absolutely no player near him. The entire stadium watched him slow down to think about how he was going to finish the play. Most of the Davidson faithful murmured: "not a layup, not a layup!" To our grateful admiration, Sander slammed the ball home with two hands and Davidson fans everywhere sighed relief.

-Bryant Barr loves to shoot. As you know, he went 7-9 from three-point range for 21 points. One Charleston friend sitting behind me asked me why he doesn't start over Stephen Curry. I took a few minutes to laugh about that one.

-Once again, the referees don't seem to know what to do when Davidson gets together with a scrappy team trying to stay close. The Citadel initiated contact throughout the entire game, and the referees were having a hard time drawing a consistent line between letting the game progress and maintaining order. For the second time this week, I witnessed a double foul as both a charge and a blocking foul were called on opposite teams in the same play. The repetition of this means that these refs really have no idea what is going on on their court, so they just hedge their bets. As a result, Will Archambault finished the game with four fouls for the first time in his career.

-Everyone in the conference talks about the talent of Dontaye Draper, the quickness of D.J. Thompson, or the playmaking ability of Stephen Curry. However, I believe that two of the most underrated guards in the league are Kevin Hammack and Donnie McClendon. Neither players has a consistent jumper which leads to lower scoring totals, but both players were routinely able to take Davidson defenders off the dribble with their incredible speed. Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, neither player was able to find a teammate when the double-team came. The Bulldog frontcourt vastly underperformed and the two starting guards were often left out to dry.

-Kevin Cary loves his message board. All of the fans could nearly see everything that he wrote as we watched over his shoulder. We could always tell when graveline posted as Kevin's computer would be filled with an orange glow.

Davidson will next play on Thursday afternoon at 2 p.m. in the Southern Conference tournament. They should play the winner of the UTC-Wofford game. This blogger will be live at the tournament with up-to-date postings of analysis, quotes, and insider content.

No comments: