Wednesday, January 31, 2007

Observer article on Elon game

Wildcats outhustle Elon, run up a rout
Rebounding effort for Davidson offsets tough night shooting

ELON - Davidson's 88-58 win against Elon featured a lesson in effort Tuesday.

The win wasn't artistic -- Davidson shot 42 percent -- but the effort overcame the errant shots.

Davidson (19-4, 10-1 Southern) leaped, scrambled and hustled for 60 rebounds, including 21 offensive, while Elon eased up. Forward Thomas Sander, who finished with 18 points and 13 rebounds, recalled a telling sequence in the game.

"I got fouled, and missed three free throws (with a lane violation)," he said. "But then I grabbed the rebound and kicked it out to (point guard) Jason (Richards), who hit a 3-pointer.

"When that happens for you, it's like `all right, here we go.' But that kills the other team."
Richards' shot gave Davidson a 44-25 lead in the second half, but the game had been decided from the outset. Davidson never trailed, and opened the game with a 13-2 run.

Elon never got closer than eight points the rest of the way.

Davidson's rebounding effort came from more than Sander. Richards and Stephen Curry each had eight rebounds, and forward Boris Meno had 10.

"You have to miss a lot of shots to get 60 rebounds," Wildcats coach Bob McKillop said, smiling. "But I was really pleased with our energy. We really came after them."

Elon (5-15, 3-7) didn't respond. The Phoenix had offense from guard LeVonn Jordan (24 points), but little else.

"You have to compete, and we didn't do that," Elon coach Ernie Nestor said. "You find out, when you don't do that, you get pounded."

Davidson looked sharp from the start as Curry scored 10 of the Wildcats' first 20 points. Nestor tried an unusual strategy -- double-teaming Sander when he caught the ball in the post. Few opponents had tried that, because it opens up shots for Davidson's outside shooters.

Sander had burned the Phoenix for 30 points and 14 rebounds in their first meeting, but his passing stopped Elon in the first half. He had five of his six assists before halftime, after never having more than three in any game.

"Maybe I should play point guard," said Sander, who had one turnover.

He laughed after that, but the Wildcats had a lot to smile about. Davidson dominated Elon for
the second straight game and has won 15 of its past 16 games.

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