Thursday, March 01, 2007

Wildcats advance with 10 point victory

After the game, Coach McKillop said he didn’t have to remind his players about last year’s SoCon quarterfinal game against The Citadel. “That memory was refreshed for these guys several times before today’s game.”

In last season’s game, Davidson came back from 18 points down in the first half to overcome The Citadel on the way to winning the Southern Conference tournament championship. Although the deficit was never larger than eight against Chattanooga today, Davidson looked like a team in the headlights for most of the game. Their 78-68 victory came as a sigh of relief for the Davidson corps that made the drive down to Charleston, expecting a weekend stay.

The Wildcats shot only 34% in the first half, and led by two at the break. Although Davidson had beaten Chattanooga twice this season, the Mocs refused to relent in this meeting. They continually drove hard to the lane and tried to keep the Wildcat frontcourt on their heels. The strategy nearly worked as Boris Meno ’08, Thomas Sander ’08, Andrew Lovedale ’09 and Steve Rossiter ’10 combined for 12 fouls on the game. The Mocs also held a 46-34 advantage in rebounding, including 21 offensive boards.

The Wildcats relaxed in the second half as the veteran poise of Meno, Sander, and Jason Richards ’08 kept the Davidson offense in sync. Richards finished with 20 points along with five assists and five steals. Stephen Curry ’10 also found his poise in the second half as he poured in 20 points and three steals.

“In the second half, I used defensive intensity to give myself some offensive touches,” Curry said. “It is tough to play in this environment for the first time, my teammates helped me gain my confidence.”

With his three treys in the game, Curry moved to within three three-pointers of the NCAA record for three-point shots in one season.

Davidson sealed the win in the final minutes with some dramatic plays from Meno. The forward from Paris, France found himself on a fast break one-on-one and he was able to slam the ball home over a Chattanooga defender. The play all but ended any hopes of a Moc comeback.

With the Wildcats victory, they advance to the tournament semifinals for the sixth time in the last seven years. They will face Furman tomorrow night at 6 p.m.

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