Friday, January 19, 2007

Article from Charlotte Observer

Wildcats worried about Applalachian matchup
The two teams are battling for Southern Conference supremacy

DAVIDSON - Davidson men's basketball coach Bob McKillop couldn't watch.

His wife Cathy turned on Appalachian State's televised game with Western Carolina on Monday night to get a glimpse of the Mountaineers before Davidson hosts Appalachian State on Saturday.

Bob McKillop locked his door and listened to Frank Sinatra on his iPod.

It might be a good thing McKillop managed to stay away. Appalachian State won its game 100-91, and showed why it is battling Davidson for the top spot in the conference. The Mountaineers feature guard D.J. Thompson and forward Donte Minter, who scored 22 points and blocked six shots despite playing only 21 minutes Saturday.

Those players have helped the Mountaineers (13-4) beat teams such as Virginia and Vanderbilt this season and post a 5-1 record in conference play.

"We know it is a big game," Davidson guard Will Archambault said. "We know we have to come out and play hard to earn it."

As good as Appalachian State has played, Davidson has been even better. The Wildcats (16-3) have won 12 straight games and lead the Southern Conference with a 7-0 record. They also beat the Mountaineers 102-69 last season, and have lost only one game at Belk Arena since the 2005-06 season.

Point guard Jason Richards leads the NCAA in total assists, and Davidson has five players averaging at least 10 points a game. More than 5,000 people are expected for the game, and the winner will emerge as the front-runner in the Southern Conference. The regular-season champion in the conference will earn a NIT berth if it is not selected for the NCAA tournament.

All that shows how pivotal the game is, but Bob McKillop wasn't ready to focus on it Monday night. "Every game in this conference is vital," he said. "We know Appalachian State is a good team, but we couldn't start looking toward them until after we played The Citadel. You can't afford to look ahead." (Davidson beat The Citadel 79-54 on Tuesday.)

Davidson will induct four new members into its Hall of Fame during halftime of the men's basketball game. Former basketball player Brandon Williams, former women's soccer player Claudia Lombard, former men's soccer coach Charlie Slagle and former cross country runner and athletic team doctor Angus McBryde will be in this year's class.

Fans can learn about the other 76 members at a new interactive kiosk installed in Davidson's Hall of Fame room. Biographical information and a portrait on each of the other members is available. Visitors can look up members by sport, name, year inducted or class year.

• Women's basketball: Davidson (15-3, 6-1 Southern) still leads the Southern Conference, but the Wildcats face two home games in the coming days. Davidson hosts Wofford on Saturday, then hosts Appalachian State on Monday. Davidson defeated Elon 68-49 Tuesday behind 16 points from Danielle Hemerka.

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