Sunday, November 25, 2007

From The Observer

Wildcats regroup, then roll
Communication keys dominating victory

DAVIDSON --Davidson coach Bob McKillop credited his team's 98-50 win against N.C. Central Saturday to a return to family.

Davidson players spent much of Thanksgiving Day together, but this wasn't about turkey and cranberry sauce. It was about talking and communicating.

McKillop's team watched more than two hours of film from Wednesday's 83-76 loss to Western Michigan, and realized what it didn't do defensively.

They didn't help each other out the way a family does.

"When you're a family and you don't talk, you get a divorce," McKillop said. "When you are a basketball team, you break up."

McKillop said his team played like a dysfunctional family Wednesday, when Western Michigan made 59 percent from the field thanks to open shots.

"It looked like we were getting complacent when we watched the film," forward Thomas Sander said. "We saw how we were just going through the motions."

That changed at the start Saturday, when Sander -- called the "General" by McKillop for his defensive leadership -- started telling teammates where to be. Max Paulhus Gosselin returned to his disruptive ways, flailing his arms in front of entry passes and refusing to allow penetration. Guards Jason Richards and Stephen Curry stepped in front of passing lanes, and forward Boris Meno blocked three shots.

All that created 27 turnovers by N.C. Central (1-6), and revived the Wildcats (2-2), who had five players score in double figures.

Three of those players were reserves: Stephen Rossiter (13 points, 10 rebounds), Bryant Barr (12 points) and Will Archambault (10).

"We turned it up a notch defensively," said Paulhus Gosselin, who had three steals. "We were just a step quicker."

That helped Davidson at a crucial time. The Wildcats open Southern Conference play Monday at Appalachian State, and then face No. 10 Duke Saturday at Charlotte Bobcats Arena.

"Today we played like a family at the dinner table," McKillop said. "These guys really care about each other, and they finally used that connection today."

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