Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Wildcats fall to top-ranked Tar Heels 72-68

Photo by Tim Cowie

Once upon a time, Charlotte was the home away from home for the North Carolina Tar Heels. But if tonight's local news coverage was any indication, Charlotte now belongs to the hometown heroes who live right up I-77. Judging from the news segments from CBS, ABC and NBC, this was Davidson's game to win, to lose and to show the country how good they really are. And by the way, they happened to have been playing a really good team from another county. But we don't care about them.

The Wildcats were within one or two shots of beating the top-ranked Tar Heels. But once again, Davidson couldn't break through to the other side and beat one of the giants.

The Wildcats led North Carolina for most of the second half despite shooting 4-22 from three point land. Curry finished with 24 points on 8-22 shooting. The sophomore had two or three drives that will be making Davidson highlight videos for decades to come.

After the game, Coach McKillop presented a different face than the one at the NCAA Tournament last March.

"When you have exciting games like this in November, it's great for college athletics," McKillop said. "I was proud that our team played 40 minutes of basketball tonight."

The Wildats' losses against Ohio State and Maryland in their last three NCAA tournament appearances all came after various runs from their opponents to stretch their leads. On this night, North Carolina had to play catch up as they tried to weather Davidson's storm.

Tyler Hansbrough finished with only 14 points on 3-5 shooting (his lowest shot attempt mark since last year's contest against Gonzaga). His play was limited in the second half due to foul trouble. After drawing an off-the-ball foul, Andrew Lovedale did not back down in a confrontation with Hansbrough and Psycho T was called for a technical.

Ellington proved to be the hero for North Carolina, however. He finished with 20 points including the clinching field goal with under a minute remaining.

Although this game might leave many Wildcats' fans with deep wells of emptiness in their stomachs, Coach McKillop wasn't so quick to denote this game as another failure to break through.

"We fulfilled all of our three goals for each game," McKillop said. "We want to get better, have fun, and play to win. We did all three things tonight."

Davidson certainly made a statement with its fan attendance tonight. The official number was recorded as 19,299, only 701 short of capacity.

"It was definitely a pro-Davidson crowd tonight," Hansbrough said afterward. "They made it pretty intense."

In other notes, Davidson fans should know that Boris Meno was playing with an injured shoulder. He received a cortizone shot before the game.

"When he missed that dunk, I knew it was because of his injury," McKillop said. "I'm not making excuses but we'll look back at that and realize how close we would've been."

1 comment:

Lil' Mike said...

Good game--i actually got to watch it! Class got cancelled!