Sunday, March 23, 2008

From the Charlotte Observer

Wildcats will try to fluster Hibbert
Davidson plans to deny post space to 7-2 center


RALEIGH --Davidson's defensive philosophy against Roy Hibbert today boils down to a simple physics question: Can an irresistible force overtake an immovable object?

Hibbert is the Georgetown anchor that won't budge in the post. He's 7-foot-2, 275 pounds. That's 6 inches taller and almost 50 pounds heavier than every Davidson defender he'll face. The senior averages almost 14 points, shoots 60 percent and is the catalyst to the Hoyas' offense.

The key, Davidson players say, is not letting Hibbert set up where he wants. To do that, they say they must lean on him to nudge him out of position, or deny entry passes to keep the ball from him.

"You can't stop his height," said Davidson senior Thomas Sander, one of four Davidson players expected to take turns against Hibbert. "But you can stop where he catches the ball."

Sander, Boris Meno, Stephen Rossiter and Andrew Lovedale are expected to dig in against Hibbert. The quartet has had success against bigger players this season, holding North Carolina's Tyler Hansbrough and UCLA's Kevin Love under their averages.

"We have to do it as a big guy by committee," Sander said. "Everyone has to give all their energy to stopping him."

Hibbert's defenders will have help. Davidson typically double teams players after they catch the ball close to the basket, sometimes with another big defender and other times with a guard. But Hibbert is a better passer than most big men -- he averages two assists -- and that could give Georgetown (28-5) open outside shots.

"I know they are going to try to wear me down," Hibbert said. "But I know what I need to do. I have to read the double teams, and find the open man."

If he can, Davidson (27-6) could be in trouble. The Hoyas shoot 38 percent on 3-pointers . They hit 17 in a game against Villanova when Hibbert was held scoreless.

Davidson coach Bob McKillop said his players must be alert, and they have to be tough. Hibbert reportedly shouted "I'm a monster!" after scoring in the Big East tournament, but Lovedale isn't backing down.

"It is going to be a challenge," Lovedale said. "But we aren't surrendering that space."

Slowing down the stars

How All-Americans Tyler Hansbrough and Kevin Love fared against Davidson this season:

Tyler Hansbrough
Points vs. Davidson: 14
Shot attempts: 6
Season Averages: 22.9 ppg, 13 shot attempts

Kevin Love
Points vs. Davidson: 12
Shot attempts: 5
Season Averages: 17.2 ppg, 10 attempts

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