Monday, March 10, 2008

Davidson 65 Elon 49

Davidson marched into its third straight conference title game with a convincing 30-point blowout of UNC-Greensboro in yesterday's semifinal. Elon comes to the final by virtue of a tough win over a soul-less College of Charleston squad and an upset of UT-Chattanooga in the quarterfinals.

The Wildcats pulled rankings in both the AP and Coaches Poll this afternoon, making it the first time in decades that they have been ranked in consecutive weeks. Davidson sports the country's longest winning streak at 21 straight games and the Wildcats were projected as a 7 seed in Joe Lunardi's recent ESPN.com Bracketology.

During yesterday's game, Stephen Curry scored his 1500th career point yesterday and will likely pass Ian Johnson for 10th all-time on the Davidson scoring list after just two years. His 134 three-pointers this season puts him right outside the Top 10 for most threes in one season in NCAA history, the record set at 158 by Darrin Fitzgerald in 1987. Curry is currently third in the nation for three-pointers per game (4.3).

Davidson's Jason Richards continues to lead the country in assists with 7.9 per game.

Keep it here for up-to-the-minute coverage of tonight's championship game, including an exclusive blog entry from Michael Kruse.
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Davidson fans outnumber the maroon of Elon about 4-to-1 but Elon is outcheering the red and black in the warmups. Davidson fans sound more like a deep roaring wave that's far away while Elon sounds more like a siren right in your ear (the large numbers of girls in their section probably has something to do with that).

Davidson players have a smiling confidence in shootaround while Elon is much more stoic.

I just grabbed a Coke from the press fridge (yes, there still some left) and Pat Forde is absolutely huge. Kevin Cary says that he wouldn't be surprised if Forde ended up writing about Elon in this one. They really do have a great story and sentiment going into this one. I did tell myself before the tournament that Elon was the only team I didn't want to face. Well, here we go boys.
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Wildcat fans now loud
Know the boys will make us proud
Bring home the prize now!
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17:50 D 2 E 0
Max Paulhus Gosselin opens the scoring with a nice runner in the paint. The ball was just out of bounds in front of us and Kevin Cary mouthed Hi Mom to the baseline camera. Elon's defense is very good.
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15:57 D 4 E 2
But Davidson's defense might be better. The Cats know they won't score as much tonight but they are limiting Elon's chances with some great rebounding. Curry is going to have to get his points in the paint until the three pointer comes back to him (Remember that he was 1-10 going into the final minutes of that road game).
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11:58 D 10 E 6
I apologize for the delay, my computer is unbearably slow right now. Curry getting going in the lane and Archambault hit a nice jumper on the baseline. During one double team on Curry, Valentine yelled out "that's enough." Elon is only shooting 2-12 from the field right now.
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7:41 D 20 E 14
Sander with two big shots in the paint as Elon overpursues defensively. TJ Douglas made my "I wish I had him in a Davidson uni team." Ya'll are seeing why. Richards on the bench with a charge foul. This is so hard to type when the cursor won't keep up with you. Curry doing a great job of directing things.
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7:24 D 20 E 14
"This is Davidson's pace right now," says KC. Yeah it is, I just wish that my computer could keep up. Wildcats 2-7 from three (7-12 from two) and Curry is still off in terms of percentage. He finally hit one so there's no worry that he will stop shooting. But Elon better not get in a gun-slinging fest with Davidson. They will lose.
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5:00 D 23 E 18
Elon only now has as many twos as threes (3)...now four twos. Davidson has defended the paint very well so far. But Elon can shoot threes fine. Wildcats running and gunning as Sander was inches from a full court alley oop. And Elon finds an answer for the Richards drive. How are these guys a seven seed?
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3:55 D 26 E 20
Elon chants air ball every time Jason touches it now...Richards says that's ok, I will just feed it to Sander for a three-point play. Sander really aggressive with his dribble tonight. He gets called for a charge and that's two fouls...Davidson fans a little red in the face with that one. Really could have gone either way. Elon's shooting is now out of the 20% range and they are making this tough.
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2:26 D 28 E 22
And the five second inbound call rears it ugly head for Elon. We hadn't seen as many of those in the first two rounds, but Davidson's in-bound defense is back tonight. Lovedale eating some little Phoenix birds on the offensive boards. Arrr. Elon playing strong and emotional and mostly in control by all accounts. Valentine's making a living calling offensive fouls on both teams.
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55 ssc D 28 E 22
Elon slowing it down and dirtying it up now, which is more their pace. Richards not having his best game offensively (0-4, several TOs). Elon has five steals and Davidson only has 1 (really? not sure about that official stats people).
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Half D 30 E 22
Wildcats before-the-half play works like a charm as Elon keys on Curry and Lovedale comes wide open under the basket. Richards with his fifth assist of the game. 25 more to the Davidson record.

Curry has 12 points in the first half and Sander has seven. Lovedale, Meno and Sander all have three boards. TJ Douglas disappeared after his first three shots which is good for the Wildcats. He could be a giant-killer down the stretch with that height and pure release.
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18:02 D 34 E 23
Set to go in the second half. They just handed us the ballots for All Tournament team. Any suggestions for my votes. I can be bought.

Constantine picks up his third foul early here and Ola (Ola Ola Ola Ola) is back in the game.

That was a crazy weird posession for Davidson. Curry didn't touch the ball...Thomas forced a shot that hit the backboard and Max beat the shot clock with an ugly floater off the front of the rim.

But Lovedale finishes the fast break after a steal and hits a free throw for the slap. This is judgment time for Elon. But Thomas just picked up number three...Drama.
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16:55 D 36 E 26
Sander stays in the game...and puts back a Steph miss for two. Powerful, very powerful.

And there's a rogue whistler in the building who is making a sound that is unhuman. Curry is offfffffff.
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15:55 D 39 E 26
Well, not for long. Curry from DEEEEP. He's got 3 threes and 15 points.

And yes, anonymous, Biggers is in the building.
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12:51 D 45 E 34
Max shows some length and a half going for that high Jason pass as he cut down the baseline. Max reeled it in and put it in for two. Richards with seven assists. Elon is getting looks closer to the basket too. But Davidson just keeps coming. Archambault to Richards.

"Here it comes..." says KC.

Not yet, Elon with a bucket, steal, another bucket and a timeout. Hold on, Kevin.
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12:50 D 45 E 34
Elon's really not going to go home until the turn the lights off in this place, and I think that this Chris Long kid might keep playing in the dark. Hats off to them for answering the Davidson run. They have shown for the third time that they are the only team in the Southern Conference that have any clue what it takes to beat Davidson. Not saying that they will at all, but they have a clue on how to do it.
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11:00 D 45 E 34
Sander picks up his fourth foul and his nine points and five rebounds go to the bench. The call was a good one as Sander hit the guy's head on the rebound. Wildcats can't buy a jump shot right now (5 or 6 missed in a row). This is the formula for Elon. This is the only way to do it. Let's see Curry do something off the dribble.

Nervous?
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8:30 D 45 E 39
Curry driving to shut Elon up. They are loud and excited now. McKillop with a timeout. Davidson hasn't scored in at least four minutes. Wildcats are 4-17 from three. They are hunting it now and forgetting everything that they learned in this whole stretch. Go inside. Don't fall in love with the three.
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6:31 D 49 E 39
Curry does it and you had to feel it was coming even if I doubted a little. Curry came off the screen and daggered it home falling backwards to the floor. Huge three-pointer for his 20th point of the game. Richards continues to struggle.

The Wildcats are so close now...they can't fall short of perfection. Not here, not tonight.
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5:24 D 51 E 41
Boris Meno called for a pretty bad foul at the end of the shot clock as he reached from behind and squarely held the ball back on the shot. But he is wide open on the other end and the clock keeps ticking on Elon.
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4:22 D 51 E 46
The Phoenix are going with a double team/trap outside the perimeter and Richards draws a foul. But Douglas again! He has fifteen points on 5-8 shooting from the perimeter. He is a great shooter.

Sander back in the game and we are at five poitts again.
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2:21 D 58 E 46
Meno, Meno, Meno. I'm telling you that he loves this building. And then Lovedale with a lay-in. Twos, twos and more twos...

Stephen Curry grabs a championship round defensive board right there...skying between two big forwards and .....

BAAAAAAAAAAAAARRRRRRRRRRRRRRR!!!!!!!!!!!

An excited hush fell over the place as Barr caught it and then it just collapsed with a wall of sound as it swooshed for three.
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2:05 D 58 E 46
Haha Jason Richards. He goes 1-8 from the field with too many turnovers and still has 11 assists. 11!

Wildcats going nuts with Sweet Caroline in a way that they haven't done since Duke. The emotion is back.

They continue the refrain into the ensuing Elon inbound and the Phoenix are called for five seconds. Davidson's students were so busy singing that they were a little slow on their reaction to the call. It takes a Max fist pump back to the huddle for them to realize it and go nuts again.
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56 sec D 62 E 49
There's the keep away and there's the requisite "dunk Davidson back into the NCAA Tournament." This time Thomas takes the honors from Boris.
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Final D 65 E 49

Curry with a three from the top of the key and...well...that's the message he's sending to everyone in the NCAA Tournament. Watch out! Here comes Davidson!

Jason Richards, Thomas Sander and Boris Meno become the second class ever to go for three in a row and the first class to get to the postseason every year in their Wildcat careers.

3 comments:

Waitress said...

This seems like Elon's pace.

Anonymous said...

Hey Will, did Lauren BIggers make the trip down? She's super hot!

Anonymous said...

The person making the irritating sounds was Max's Dad! He makes the sound from whistling with fingers!

Awesome job JPG!