Saturday, March 9, 2013

Davidson rolls into tourney semifinal

I'm here in Asheville, where Davidson advanced in routine fashion to the Southern Conference semifinals Saturday, whipping Georgia Southern, 86-59, at the U.S. Cellular Center.

The No.1-seeded Wildcats (24-7) will face No.4 seed Appalachian State Sunday at 6 p.m. in Asheville. The Mountaineers dispatched Furman, 74-60, Saturday. If Davidson wins that one, they will play the Monday final at 7 p.m., with the winner going to the NCAA tournament. Most likely matchup in that game in my estimation: Davidson-Elon. But it's tournament time, so who knows?

Davidson has won 15 games in a row, last losing Jan.14th against the same Georgia Southern team. But this one was never in doubt, as Davidson ripped apart a Georgia Southern zone with 10 first-half three-pointers on the way to a 45-22 halftime lead.

Nik Cochran led the Wildcats with 18 points (although the nation's free-throw percentage leader did miss one of his four free-throw attempts, drawing a gasp from the crowd). Tyler Kalinoski had 14 points, De'Mon Brooks 13 and Jake Cohen 12. Davidson shot 56 percent as a team and had 20 assists on 28 made baskets.

Appalachian State lost its two previous matchups to Davidson by 23 and 35 points this season, but the Mountaineers talked bravely about a possible upset Saturday night. "Nobody's invincible," Appalachian State's Nathan Healy said.

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