Sunday, March 09, 2008

Cats muscle their way into SoCon finals, 82-52

Davidson gets yet another 30-point victory in the Southern Conference Tournament, beating UNC-Greensboro 82-52.

Davidson scored 44 (that's right, 44!) points in the paint and held Greensboro to 8. Hines finished with just 10 points on 3-9 shooting. Davidson's defense forced five turnovers on Hines. On the flip side, Hines' shot blocking did not stifle Davidson's big men as Meno finished 6-6 from the field while Lovedale and Sander both hit several field goals.

"Hines is a great player," Thomas Sander said. "We did a great job as a team getting a quick double, and he got a little frustrated early on. Any time you hold him to 10 points, you can be pretty successful."

The Wildcats recorded 21 second chance points on 13 offensive rebounds. Many of those plays came as a result of double teams on guard penetration that left the forwards open for easy putbacks.

Stephen Curry continued to drive the Davidson bus with 10-17 shooting and 26 points, despite being bodied around for the whole game. Curry continually hit the deck and yet his shot attempts kept going in. Curry passed the 1500-point mark for his career with little fanfare ("I didn't even know about it to be honest.")

The Wildcats did not need to rely on the three pointer throughout the game as they shot 28-46 from two-point land. The Wildcats' physicality shined forth defensively and offensively and the vastly underrated Wildcat frontcourt got their time in the sun on this semifinal night. Rossiter had a strong performance, coming down with seven rebounds and several big forced turnovers on Hines.

"Davidson probably played us harder tonight than they did during the regular season," said UNC-G coach Mike Dement. "Sander did a great job of denying the ball to Kyle [Hines]. They had more to do with the final score than we did. This whole league can learn a lot from how hard they play, especially in the paint."

Davidson's win is their 21st consecutive, a streak that is tops in the country. The Wildcats will look to move up in tomorrow's polls which come out before the championship game begins. Davidson was ranked 25th and 27th in the national AP and Coaches' Polls, respectively. They were also given a nine seed in the latest version of Joe Lunardi's Bracketology.

Davidson will enter their third straight tournament final in Charleston tomorrow night at 9 p.m. and will face seventh-seeded Elon. The Phoenix gave Davidson problems in their game at Alumni Gym earlier in the season. Although this same Greensboro team had Davidson down twenty at one point. These Wildcats are rolling and it will take a few miracles from Elon to stop them.

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