Friday, March 02, 2007

Wildcats set new mark for wins, advance convincingly

With their 91-68 victory of Furman in today’s SoCon semifinals, Davidson’s magical run continues. This team was never expected to do anything more than push the conference’s top teams, and yet now they find themselves in another tournament title game and sporting a new program record for most wins in a season with 29.

This game started out slow for both teams as Davidson’s Stephen Curry ’10 sat out most of the first half with foul trouble and Furman’s Eric Webb and Robby Bostain could not find their touches from behind the arc. The Paladins only hit five field goals in the entire first half and they trailed 30-15 at the break.

When Curry returned for Davidson in the second stanza, the horses were unleashed. Curry hit six three-pointers en route to a game-high thirty points while corralling four rebounds and a steal. The Davidson attack did not stop with Curry, however, as Jason Richards ’08 continued to attack the basket and put the Paladin defenders on their heels. Richards finished with a very impressive stat line of 20 points, five rebounds and seven assists against only one turnover.

While the Wildcats’ offensive attack might have been the most notable aspect of this game, it was Davidson’s defense that won it. Davidson forced 13 turnovers and outrebounded Furman by seven. More importantly, they did not allow many open shots and the Furman shooters did not find their touch until it was too late.

Davidson’s physicality also shined through as the Paladins repeatedly found themselves on the wrong end of rebounding and loose ball scrums. That frustration resulted in a total of two technical fouls on Furman’s Moussa Diagne and 27 personal fouls on the Paladins.

“Our defense has been phenomenal all year,” said McKillop afterwards. “When you have a nine-man rotation that can defend, rebound and run, that is really hard to stop.”

With his six three-pointers, Curry became the NCAA’s most proficient freshman three-point shooter ever. His continued excellence has wowed everyone, including his coach.

“He makes a lot of ‘wow’ plays. Stephen Curry is just a remarkably gifted young man.”

Davidson will advance to the Southern Conference tournament final for the sixteenth time in their history, a mark that is matched only by Duke and Chattanooga. They will face the winner of the College of Charleston/Appalachian State game being played tonight.

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