Tuesday, January 15, 2008

From Spartanburg Herald-Journal

Wildcats gouge Terriers
By Todd Shanesy

Davidson is at the top of the mountain. Wofford is still in the foothills somewhere.

That much was evident Saturday night at the Benjamin Johnson Arena, where the defending Southern Conference champion Wildcats blistered the Terriers, 85-50.

Davidson (8-6, 6-0) has won 16 straight league games and 29 of its past 30. For Wofford (8-7, 1-4), a fourth straight SoCon defeat showed there is a considerable climb ahead.

The Wildcats never even let Wofford in the game. They immediately went up 10-0, made their first eight shots from the floor (including a pair of 3-pointers) for a 21-5 lead and were up by 33 with 6:40 to go before halftime.

"My gosh. It was like a race horse being set loose," Wofford coach Mike Young said. "They were dialed in. They were ready to go. They did not give us a blink. I've seen them play a lot and I thought that was as good as I've ever seen them."

Wofford scored on just one of its initital nine possessions and by then it was 16-2.

"I think we did that on the defensive end to start off," Davidson all-conference sophomore guard Stephen Curry said. "We didn't let them get easy shots. We set the tone. They were at home, so we didn't want them to get any kind of energy from the crowd."

Curry led Davidson with 26 points (10-for-13 shooting) and had all but two of those by the opening minutes of the second half. Will Archambault scored 15 and Jason Richards had 12 to go with six assists. The Wildcats were coming off a close call, a 59-57 win on Tuesday at Elon, and were swinging at the opening bell against Wofford.

"Elon hit us right away and we thought Wofford was going to try to do the same thing," Archambault said. "So we were the first ones to initiate contact. I guess we never looked back from there."

Wofford opened the SoCon season by knocking off North Division favorite UNC Greensboro and went on to go 3-1 in the Las Vegas Classic, including an upset of Purdue. But after coming back from the winter break, the Terriers blew a double-digit lead at home against Chattanooga and earlier this week, dropped a 52-49 game to Appalachian State.

"I think their gas tank was a little bit drained," Davidson coach Bob McKillop said, "from the tough loss they just had against App State and when they completely had command over Chattanooga and lost that big lead.

"And I look at their schedule right before Christmas. It was tough. They go from the road at Elon to Alabama to Purdue to Las Vegas. That catches up with you. It really does. Then to have two emotional losses just further empties your tank."

Senior shooting guard Shane Nichols led the Terriers with 14 points, three rebounds and two assists. Senior point Drew Gibson had eight points and a team-high five rebounds. Wofford's forwards and centers combined for just eight boards (four by Tim Johnson) as Davidson dominated the glass, 36-19.

The Wildcats didn't have many rebounds on their offensive end, though. They shot 63 percent (36-for-57). In the first half, they were 7-for-11 on 3-pointers.

"They are exceptionally well-coached. They have great pieces," Young said. "They make you consider a lot of things. I expected us to be right there, but they were certainly the better team tonight."

Davidson was up by as many as 43 points on a couple of occasions in the second half.

"I am devasted that it wasn't a nail-biter that went down to the last possessions," Young said. "We could have handled things better. Not a good night for the home team."

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