Monday, March 31, 2008

Davidson in the Elite 8

Hard to believe that I'd ever hear Davidson spoken out of so many mouths this past couple of weeks. First, defeating Gonzaga in the first round. Second, Georgetown. Third, Wisconsin (a route, I might add). Then, Kansas on Sunday. I thought about going to Sharkey's and watching the game. Or the Metro Grill, where they were having an alumni viewing party. But, superstition set in and I headed home to watch the game with the dogs. They gave it their all, but lost by two points to Kansas. The closest game in the elite 8.

And then, unlike the other three rounds, my cell phone wasn't buzzing with text messages and phone calls. Everyone knows I like to suffer alone, and not hear "sorry."

Go Davidson. There is always next year.

From Davidson watches storybook run come to an end
By Kevin Allen, USA TODAY
DETROIT — The only regret Davidson Coach Bob McKillop had after a two-point loss to Kansas Sunday is that his players will dwell on the disheartening finish instead of their wondrous journey at the NCAA tournament.

"The sadness is that we can't celebrate the four months of greatness because we will reflect upon what finished the season," McKillop said after his team fell 59-57 in the Midwest Regional final.
"My father was a New York City cop. He used to always tell me to polish the backs of your shoes because that's the last thing people will see of you."

Holding Kansas 23 points under its season average, Cinderella team Davidson gave itself a chance for a storybook ending when it had the ball in the hands of the nation's hottest shooter for a possible game-winning three-point shot in the closing seconds.

But Stephen Curry, voted the Regional's Most Valuable Player, was too well defended by a Kansas double-team and was forced to dish to point guard Jason Richards who forced a long-range three-pointer that was off the mark.

"I thought it was a good look," Richards said. "Felt like it was in. Unfortunately it missed. Emotions through my body. It's tough to describe them."

McKillop clearly liked Curry's decision under pressure, noting that Richards has a history of success in big game. "He's the guy you want with the ball in his hands in that situation," McKillop.

McKillop blamed himself for not telling his players exactly what player he wanted to set the screen against.

"They had four guards out there and they just switched," Curry said. "That kind of defeated the purpose of the play. I gave them a pump fake to try to get a look, but I was off balance when (Kansas defender Brandon Rush) fell down. So I saw Jay open at the top of the key."

Kansas had harrassed Curry more effectively than other teams have in the tournament, evidenced by the fact that he was only four-for-16 on three-point attempts. He finished with 25 points, but Kansas hurried him enough that he had some important misses. "They did make me work hard," Curry said.

Richards said Davidson players were exhausted in the second half, but he believed they had enough energy left at the end to get it done. "Maybe you can say we could have got a better shot," Richards said. "At that point it seemed like the best shot. I felt comfortable taking that shot."

Said McKillop: "The agony of this is that we've come so far, smelled and touched and seen our dream, but haven't fully embraced it."

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