Friday, January 04, 2008

From The Observer

Wildcats' fast start fuels romp against Eagles
Davidson scores game's first 11 points to remain unbeaten in conference
Kevin Cary

DAVIDSON --Davidson's 92-67 win against Georgia Southern did more than keep the Wildcats undefeated in the Southern Conference. It also helped them get their spark back.

This season hasn't gone the way Davidson had hoped -- an early national ranking has long faded and the Wildcats lost six of their first 10 games. Coach Bob McKillop talked to his team about getting some of that missing mojo and using it to regain energy.

"It's like a fire without a spark," he said. "Our spirit had dissipated a little bit because of the losses, and I knew a good start (Thursday) would help them overcome that."

Davidson scored the first 11 points Thursday night and never let the Eagles get off the ground. Forward Max Paulhus Gosselin punctuated the surge with a dunk that came after point guard Jason Richards crashed into press row to save a steal.

Davidson (5-6, 3-0 Southern) delivered that kind of effort all night, diving after loose balls and outscrapping the Eagles (9-4, 2-1) for rebounds. Paulhus Gosselin and forward Thomas Sander (18 points) led the defensive charge, and Davidson erased the memories of its sluggish season start.

Those memories could have lingered for a while, because Davidson hadn't played since a 66-65 loss to N.C. State on Dec. 21. But Paulhus Gosselin said McKillop wouldn't let Davidson dwell on it.

"He put us through a boot camp for the first few days after Christmas, but that helped us get into better shape and get more focused," Paulhus Gosselin said. "Whatever Georgia Southern was going to take to us, we were going to give it back to them."

The Eagles didn't have a lot of fight. Georgia Southern flung wild shots to the rim and made sloppy passes. The Eagles had 19 turnovers and shot 41 percent from the field, and their lack of focus resonated at the free throw line. Georgia Southern made only 8-of-21 free throws and did not look like a conference leader.

Davidson does now, because the Wildcats went back to basics. Guard Stephen Curry had 24 points and 10 rebounds, and Richards had 16 points and 11 assists. Davidson led by as many as 32 points.

"These guys had that sense of urgency tonight," McKillop said

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