Broncos' shooting wounds Wildcats
First national ranking in years can't lift Davidson
KALAMAZOO, Mich. --Davidson's 83-76 loss to Western Michigan on Wednesday night taught the Wildcats a tough lesson.
A basketball engine runs much smoother when all five parts are firing smoothly instead of just two.
Western Michigan spoiled the Wildcats' first national ranking in 37 years by hitting clutch shots, finding the open man and scrambling to guard shooters.
The Broncos shot 59 percent from the field, going 12-of-22 from 3-point range, to hold off Davidson and beat a ranked opponent for the first time since 1984.
"They hit every shot they took in the last five minutes," Davidson coach Bob McKillop said. "We didn't defend as well as we can. That's the defining line for this team. When you let someone shoot it that well, you are not going to win."
The Wildcats (1-2) hung in behind a stirring display from guards Jason Richards and Stephen Curry. Richards cajoled his teammates in huddles before free throws to stick together, and the senior combined with Curry to keep Davidson afloat.
Curry and Richards combined to score 32 of Davidson's first 36 points in the second half, mixing in drives with 3-pointers. Richards had 15 points and Curry had 17 in the stretch, and Curry's 3-pointer with 2 minutes, 33 seconds left cut the Western Michigan lead to 71-70.
But all five Western Michigan starters scored in double figures, and the Broncos had one more answer. David Kool hit a 3-pointer to push the lead to four, and Curry missed a 3-pointer. The Davidson sophomore fouled out on Western Michigan's next possession on a reach-in, putting his hands to the top of his head and saying "Oh no!" as the referee pointed at him.
Western Michigan guard Michael Redell hit two free throws to push the lead to six, and Davidson had to scramble again. Curry and Richards had kept Davidson in the game even though Western Michigan hit three shots with less than five seconds left on the shot clock in the second half, but Davidson went cold.
The Broncos (3-2) contested Davidson shots from the perimeter. Davidson made only 9 of 31 3-point attempts in the game and missed five of its last six shots overall.
"What we learned is that we haven't done anything yet," Curry said. "We wanted to get ranked, but we realize that people have a bull's-eye for us. We have to learn from this and not let it happen again."