Who watches, and why

Stephen Brunt of the Globe and Mail of Toronto:

Sport is part spectacle, part escape, part religion, part communal experience. Without a rooting interest, it doesn’t mean much, and a rooting interest detached from hearth and home and life experience isn’t the same as one with organic roots. The foundation of the business is that people care, that they attach themselves to a city, to a uniform, to a history, and often hang on to it for their entire lives, through championship dynasties and long, long walks in the desert.

There is still appeal and value in that, in immersion in something larger, in simply being part of a crowd in an arena or stadium, caring about the same thing at the same time ...

Was reading for something else, came across this, made me think of here.

On Stephen’s decision last spring

Matt: “I really thought he would stay. The fact that he left and he was drafted seventh ... the decision he made is going to be good for him.”

Davidson 67, The Citadel 63


DAVIDSON -- Jake Cohen scored 18 points and Brendan McKillop had 17 as Davidson overcame an early 15-point deficit to beat The Citadel 67-63 in overtime on Saturday night.

The Wildcats (11-11, 6-4 Southern Conference) trailed 27-12 with 8:05 left in the first half, then used a 21-6 run, capped by a McKillop 3-pointer, to tie the game at 33 at the break.

The second half went back and forth, with the Bulldogs (10-12, 4-6) leading by six and Davidson by four. A McKillop layup with 58 seconds left was the last score in regulation.

The Observer: Whenever time grew short Saturday, point guard Brendan McKillop was there for Davidson’s Wildcats. For starters, McKillop hit Davidson’s go-ahead basket -- a 3-pointer with 55 seconds left in overtime -- in the Wildcats’ 67-63 Southern Conference victory against The Citadel. Ed Conroy: “Brendan McKillop is a heck of a shooter,” Conroy said. “Of his four 3-pointers, three of them were really clutch.” DavidsonWildcats.com: The ‘Cats have won nine of their last 13 games. DavidsonNews.net: Will Archambault, who had a big night last Thursday against College of Charleston, had 8 points and 8 rebounds on Saturday night. His point total brought within 13 points of 1,000 for his 4-year career as a Wildcats. Still: The Wildcats entered the game as the Southern Conference’s home attendance leaders, averaging 3,917 in the 5,223 arena.


Big win

Brendan made ’em when they mattered the most. Gotta go.

Those that braved the snow

After the Charleston win

Claire off Thursday night:

The battle cry of the evening became “AR-CHAM-BAULT! AR-CHAM-BAULT!” Deservedly so. Will has upped his game and hustled more than I’ve ever seen this year, and even though I love it when he hits those slanting threes, I think I love it even more when he drives to the basket or is there to tip it in. Singles, little things. Every time we chanted his name, I grinned a little wider, thinking -- he has EARNED this.

Also: THIS is Davidson basketball, loud and sacred, blurry and hilarious and electric, lifting-up, brim-full. In moments like this it’s almost like pride is reverberating back and forth and back and forth, crowd to team and team to crowd until there is no separation. I cannot comprehend that I ever have to leave it.

With Dell there watching

For Stephen, 22 and nine in a loss, after which he said this: “We talk a lot about offense. But defensively, we were just terrible.Highlights.

Snow in Davidson

Tonight at Belk

Game notes: The Wildcats played the first contest of each of their two-game series against SoCon South Division opponents on the road and went 3-2. ... After Thursday’s 86-71 win over College of Charleston, the ‘Cats are 4-2 against South Division foes. ... Davidson will play five of its final nine regular-season games at home. All remaining games are SoCon contests. Earlier this year down there in the Lowcountry. Last year in Charleston. Last year in Davidson.


Up to Exit 30

Jordan: “He said I can come in and make a great impact my freshman year. Definitely.”

(More) last night at Belk

A couple things

Here are the third and fourth paragraphs of the Observer’s game story off last night.

“When you’re having fun, it’s the result of the brain sending signals to the rest of your body,” McKillop said. “It’s emitting chemicals to allow your body to be relaxed. I talk to my guys about stuff like that.”

Of course he does. The question is whether that’s true. Really? Having fun makes your brain send signals which then allow your body to emit chemicals that make you more relaxed? I kind of hope it’s true. It’s time for some Googlin’.

It’s been a season of some fun and some, well, unease for the Wildcats (10-11, 5-4 Southern), who won for a second straight time and are still struggling to find themselves as they enter the second half of the conference season. They avenged an early season loss against North Division leader Charleston, which dropped to 10-11, 8-2.
Charleston is the leader of the South Division. And those guys aren’t 10-11. They’re 13-8. Mistakes are made. The good news, though, is that in the Internet era, or whatever you want to call it, they don’t have to stay there, and shouldn’t.

On Stephen’s passing

The Observer’s Rick Bonnell:

Casual fans viewed Stephen as Dell’s clone, but NBA execs knew better. As good a shooter as Stephen was, he might have been the best passer in college basketball last season.

That’s what former Indiana coach Bob Knight said ...

No. It’s not. What Bob Knight said, on ESPN last year, was that Stephen was “as good a passer as has ever played college basketball.”

Last night at Belk


McKillop on Ben

Brits Abroad: “He showed his versatility, but you know the enigma of Ben is that he shows that brilliance, and then he’ll fall asleep and put his hands on a guy, on a cutter, and get a silly foul, and that’s been his nemesis all year long.”

Davidson 86, Charleston 71


DAVIDSON -- Will Archambault scored 24 points, freshman JP Kuhlman matched a career-high with 19 and Davidson rallied to beat College of Charleston 86-71 on Thursday night to send the Southern Conference-leading Cougars to their second straight loss.

Charleston’s seven-game winning streak, which included its stunning victory over North Carolina, was snapped Monday at Western Carolina. Despite 22 points apiece from backcourt mates Andrew Goudelock and Tony White Jr., the Cougars (13-8, 8-2) faded down the stretch as they played without center Jeremy Simmons (knee) for a third straight game.

After trailing 23-9 early and by five points early in the second half, Davidson (10-11, 5-4) broke up a close game with an 8-1 spurt behind Archambault. His bucket with 2:56 left put the Wildcats ahead 78-71 and his 3-pointer with 1:22 left made it 82-71.

Jake Cohen added 15 points for the Wildcats.

DavidsonWildcats.com: Archambault scored a season-high 24 points for Davidson (10-11, 5-4 SoCon) on 8-of-9 shooting from the field, including 4-of-5 3-point attempts and 4-of-5 free throw attempts, while adding five rebounds, three assists and a block. Freshman JP Kuhlman matched his career-best scoring total of 19 points by going 8-for-14 from the field and 3-of-5 from behind the arc, while adding three rebounds and three assists. McKillop: “This is one game. The challenge that any teams have in college basketball is endurance and consistency.” More: “This was a team that lost Stephen Curry, Andrew Lovedale, Max Paulhus-Gosselin, and a team that no longer had any of the majors players in that Elite 8 run. For us to think that we could stay with Big Ten and A-10 and Big East teams, I thought that was a good statement for where we were headed. But it really impacted our confidence.” Cremins: “They’re tough. Stephen Curry may be in the NBA, but they’re still a good basketball team.” Live 5. Highlights. After the game.

Charleston this year

Charleston last year

Friday out in Oakland

Dell: “I’ll be as professional and unbiased as I can, but he is my son.”


Just because

The Observer asks ...

This question:

Curry’s absence good for the Southern Conference?

Says Cremins: “Our conference is more balanced now.”

Says McKillop: “With Stephen last year, we had ESPN and Dick Vitale doing the game. That quite clearly was something that was good for college basketball, the Davidson community and our conference as a whole. There are two sides of that coin. You can have balance and parity, but also a team that’s the king of the hill. There’s an argument for both sides.”

7th-best game of the decade

Davidson-Georgetown: “I forget what timeout it was, but we were down 16 and Coach is asking us if we’re having fun,” Davidson guard Jason Richards would later tell reporters. “We got to smiling a little bit ... and this kid started getting on fire again, like he did the other day, and when that happens it’s tough to stop him.”

Tomorrow night at Belk

Game notes: The Wildcats open a three-game homestand with a 7 p.m. contest against South Division leader College of Charleston Thursday. ... The concept behind BlackOut Belk is to flood Belk Arena with black T-shirts, showing a unified home crowd and also Davidson’s commitment to the community as proceeds from the event are donated to a local charity each year. ... The Cougars own a 4-6 road record and a 5-7 mark in games away from home. Last season in Charleston. Last season in Davidson. Last season in Chattanooga. Earlier this season.

Talking about Stephen

Off the Schneid: Curry is a quarterback trapped in a basketball jersey. WarriorsWorld.net: Curry pulls the shot trigger faster than frogs snatch flies. Maurice Brooks on ESPN.com: It looks as if he is playing at Davidson again. Headed to Dallas for the Rookie Challenge. The team. Press release. Says The Big Lead: Stephen Curry Has Exceeded All Expectations. Except, of course, his own, and those of his coaches in the NBA, and those of his coaches in college, and those of the rest of us who watched him play more than once or twice before this past November.

The Lobster writes

In the Davidsonian:

Hello student body!

The Wildcats have their spurts where they ball outrageously.



On the lists of Beaver County athletes of the week and also McDonald’s All-American nominees. Last night: 18 points, 8 rebounds and 6 assists.

Coming along

A. Sherrod Blakeley via Yahoo! Sports: The Warriors see rookie Stephen Curry as the face of the franchise moving forward. One league source said the Warriors believe that Curry won't develop at the rate they would like as long as Ellis is around. Golden State saw flashes of just how talented Curry can be against New Jersey earlier this week when playing without Ellis. With Ellis out with a sprained right ankle, Curry went off for a career-high 32 points. Also watched by sign-holding math professors.

Media guide of destiny

Via Kyle.


Warriors fan blog

Adam Lauridsen:

This morning I drove by Davidson College, tucked away in the placid lakes and rolling hills of suburban Charlotte. A year ago, this was Stephen Curry country -- already energized by the school’s miraculous tournament run and enjoying Curry’s rise to the top echelon of college prospects. Although this corner of the world has seen a lot of quality basketball, Curry made a lasting impression. He went from being a great college player at a small school, to a great college player, period. Starting Saturday night against Phoenix, the Warriors will look for Curry to make a similar jump -- from an impressive rookie point guard, to an impressive point guard, period. With Ellis out for an unknown period, the training wheels are about to come off. The Warriors are now Stephen Curry’s team to run, for better or worse. If the faith placed in him by those who followed Davidson basketball is any indication, underestimate Curry at your own risk.

Last night: 25 in Phoenix.


Jarvis Holliday

On his blog: Watching college basketball this season just isn’t the same without Stephen Curry.

Davidson 91, Georgia Southern 87


STATESBORO, Ga. -- JP Kuhlman scored 18 points as all five Davidson starters scored in double figures in a 91-87 win over Georgia Southern on Saturday.

Steve Rossiter and Brendan McKillop each added 15 points for the Wildcats (9-11, 4-4 Southern Conference). Will Archambault had a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds, Jake Cohen added 11 points and Ben Allison came off the bench to score 12 for the Wildcats.

Davidson led by nine points at halftime and built a 21-point lead at 82-61 on a 3-pointer by Archambault with 6:46 remaining.

The guys shot 59 percent from the floor and 58 percent from three, which is great, and 55 percent from the free throw line, which is not. First double-double for Will in his career. Brendan was really good today. JP had 18 points on seven shots. Observer. Savannah: “We knew going into the game that 45 percent of their shots are from 3-point range.” DavidsonWildcats.com: Rossiter became the 30th player in school history to record over 500 career points and rebounds.

What Bob McKellar saw

Two years ago here in Statesboro, the Davidson man came to his first Wildcat basketball game in 40 years; on Saturday afternoon here in Statesboro, he sat in the front row, right behind the team bench. He came to say hello. I asked him what he thought of the view. They werent just numbers on jerseys anymore, he said. He could see their faces, he said. “They turned into real human beings,” he said.

Because I like it

Eddie on Cats.com:

Its really difficult to tell whether a team such as this one is progressing, and sometimes its difficult to agree on how one defines the concept of progress.

This team is a collection of players who are one or more of the following: long time role players being asked to do more, guys playing hurt at one time or another, and guys who are green (in the sense of experience as opposed to carbon footprint). Two steps forward and one step back, or (the less happy reverse of that), is just going to happen. And this happens in a relative world in which other teams, some of which might have fewer variables with which to contend, are
progressing on more of a straight line progression. So slight progression looks an awful lot like regression in the relative world of competing against conference opponents.

Bob McKillop likes to withhold information about lots of things, but when he actually does talk about something, history indicates that he
s being truthful. When he describes the team (paraphrasing the WCU postgame comments) as far away but not that far away, hes probably telling us that the team needs to be a whole lot better, but getting there" is actually doable and requires execution of all the steps to make a play or a defensive stop successful, and not just most of them. Obviously, he thinks these guys are capable of the offensive and defensive assignments theyve been given, and that they are not so physically/athletically/mentally overmatched that they have got to go to a zone or some other solution that people are talking about. If he in fact installs such a thing, it will be an objective commentary that I personally wont be happy to hear. [I know reasonable minds are disagreeing about this.]

02 identified things that are improving; we
ve all seen the types of things that arent. Its tough for us, and even tougher for the players and coaches, to know that this hasnt come together yet, especially when we also know that, absent a collapse by Wofford, were nearing a point at which it might come together too late to avoid a play-in game. So anxiety gets added onto the mental and physical slip-ups that have been costing them games. Bob analogized to the home loss to WCU in 06, which fanatics will recall to be the kind of gut check/crisis of confidence moment from which a team can pivot in either direction. The 06 team righted the ship, though mixed in there were losses at Ga So and Wofford, and they trailed The Citadel by something like 17 points in the SoCon quarterfinals before blowing through that tournament and putting Ohio State to a severe test in Dayton.

My view

More No. 30

Claire points out something I somehow missed last month. From Stephen’s GQ diary:

Our game against Detroit marked the first time I was back in the city since Davidson’s NCAA tournament run in 2008, which ended in the Elite Eight at Ford Field. A lot of the fans at the game remembered when we played Wisconsin and Kansas that year to end our magical story of a small D-1 school getting so close to the Final Four. I thought about pulling out the same shoes I wore during that tournament and wearing them during the Pistons game, even though they didn't match at all.

From yesterday: In other news, I just bought a dog. It’s a black Yorkie poo.


On going to Maryland for $14,000 a year: “It was a five-year contract. I was making 12 at Davidson. He told me I’d be the highest-paid coach in the ACC.”

Career high for Stephen


This quote

Here: “Jamie Dixon came to the gym last year when we played Sewickley Academy to see Droney. I don’t know why he picked that game, but he did and he was one of the folks standing in the doorway watching. Naturally, the place was packed.”


Jeff Hartsell on the SCT in the Queen City:

Well, Curry will be in Charlotte all right -- with Golden State on Saturday, March 6, against the Bobcats at Time Warner Cable Arena, competing directly for fans and media attention with the SoCon quarterfinals on the same night at Bojangles Arena.

Wait, there's more -- the Lakers and Kobe Bryant will be in Charlotte on March 5, just in time for the SoCon's opening night.

At least in Chattanooga, the SoCon was only competing with Mr. Belding.

Just put it, and leave it, in Charleston.

Can’t be real

With the name on the back.

Saturday in Statesboro

Savannah Morning News: Georgia Southern has lost its last five games to Davidson, but the Wildcats no longer have Stephen Curry, a 2009 first-round pick of the Golden State Warriors. The Eagles get a shot at payback in Hanner Fieldhouse at 2 p.m. Saturday in a game that will be televised on SportSouth. Game notes: Georgia Southern is coming off a 68-65 home league win over Appalachian State. Last year. The year before that.


McKillop on the radio

“We are gonna get this done. We are gonna get this done.”

Western 77, Davidson 67


DAVIDSON -- Jake Robinson came off the bench to score 20 points, including 4-for-5 on 3-pointers, as Western Carolina hung on to beat Davidson 77-67 Wednesday night after losing most of a 24-point lead.

The Catamounts (15-3, 5-1 Southern Conference), who had lost their last five games against the Wildcats (8-11, 3-4), led 44-22 after a first half in which they shot 63 percent (17-for-27) to Davidson’s 14.8 percent (4-for-27).

The game changed in the second half, when Brendan McKillop scored all 13 of his points to lead the Wildcats’ comeback.

DavidsonNews.net: Davidson dug itself a big hole in the first half, trailing 44-22 at the break. But they battled back in the second half, coming as close as 4 points (60-56) with 5:43 left. But they couldn’t get any closer. DavidsonWildcats.com: Down 48-24 1:49 into the second half, Davidson used a 16-2 run to cut the lead to 10 by the 14:11 mark. Western Carolina maintained the double-digit cushion, taking a 60-47 lead after Robinson sank a 3-pointer with 7:36 to go until Davidson went on a 9-0 spurt to cut the lead to just four with 5:43 remaining. That was as close as the ‘Cats would come as they turned the ball over four times in the final three minutes of play. Asheville: WCU regrouped and won for just the third time against Davidson since 2001. More. Western’s Jake Robinson: “Coach walked by us in the pre-game warm-ups and said, 'Huh, 21-point margin the last three years.’ He has a way of delivering a message.”

A keeper

Thorpe on Stephen: A month ago, it seemed unlikely that he would make the Rookie Challenge during All-Star Weekend. But now, if he fails to make it, the game will not be as good.

Tonight at Belk

Game notes for Western: It will be the first home game with students on campus as the previous seven were during a holiday break. Last year.


Waveland, Miss.

Hard to believe it’ll be five years come August.

Tough for Jason


Richards was waived due to injury.

Jason on Facebook: tore my left acl again in our last game ...

What it is


Sports are a here-today, gone-tomorrow proposition, and perhaps none of them is more ephemeral than college basketball. Florida (12) goes from giant of the sport to NIT pip-squeak overnight. UCLA (13) makes three straight Final Fours under Ben Howland, but now is 7-10 and cannot come within 27 points of Portland. Davidson (14) is just another academic school with a sub-.500 basketball team.

Better that than the opposite. But you know. Cycles and whatnot.

Nelson on Stephen

After last night’s win over Chicago, in which the kid went for 26, 10 and 6: “He’s turned into quite a defender, actually. He was not very good when he first arrived. But he’s worked hard on it, followed our game plan and he’s a pretty darn good defensive point guard right now. ... (Curry is the) total package.”

I was thinking today ...


... most unexpectedly, most delightfully, a warm bright 5000 smushedseat basketball arena always with a friend (you,you,you) by my side. I learned on a long journey, maybe the strongest way I’ve ever felt it, that joy can come from seventeen down, that it creates and recreates itself, manifestations that don’t end with buzzers and opportunities(the shot that was)taken(so much given). The smallest moment (could be the four-point play) leads to the next and the next and it’s new, stages phases months and years, but it’s the same. Transformation jubilation flowing from the same source.
Love it.

BlackOut Belk

A week from Thursday with Charleston in the village.


(Not) shocking (at all)

Seth Landman on ESPN.com:

Keeping in mind that Curry is a rookie playing on the most volatile team in the league, it stands to reason that he might not be a bad guy to sell high on, but Curry has been everything anyone could have hoped for as a rookie so far, and I don’t think that’s about to change any time soon. Amazingly, if you look at Curry’s rankings based on per-game averages, he provides positive value on the Player Rater in every category, save blocks. What that seems to mean is that he’s not just a shooter like many of us assumed.

None of us, though, who’d watched him play more than, like, twice.

Bourbon Street


On Jordan Downing

Hopewell coach Eric Davis: “He always tends to throw that dagger in people.”

Wofford 68, Davidson 62


SPARTANBURG, S.C. -- Noah Dahlman scored 13 of his 17 points in the second half and Wofford defeated Davidson 68-62 on Saturday night.

The Terriers (12-7, 4-2 Southern Conference) trailed 50-48 with 8:07 remaining before going on an 8-1 run. Wofford led 56-51 on Noah Dahlman’s three-point play with 5:46 to go.

The Wildcats (7-10, 2-3) tied the score for the seventh time on JP Kuhlmans three-point play with 1:36 left. But Jamar Diggs hit a free throw and Dahlman had a steal and a layup to make it 63-60 with 1:07 left as Wofford pulled away.

Physical? McKillop: “Yes. They shot 44 free throws and we shot 22.” Spartanburg Herald Journal: The Terriers, down nine points in the second half when Young was slapped with a technical for arguing with an official about a call, went on a 14-0 run Saturday night and held on to beat Davidson in the Benjamin Johnson Arena. Wofford (12-7, 4-2 Southern Conference) has won eight of its last nine games. The Terriers had lost seven straight to Davidson (8-10, 3-3) and 11 of 12. Blog: Happy Stephen’s gone.


Anthony Morrow on Stephen

To Marcus Thompson: “Any given night, Stephs flirting around with a triple-double. Everybody knows he can score. I think hes surprising a lot of people. He makes shots off the dribble, passes, rebounds. Hes a little better defender, he's a little better in every category than people think. I think hes right up there with Tyreke Evans and Brandon Jennings.

Tomorrow night at Wofford

Game notes: Rossiter needs four rebounds and 18 points to become the 30th player in Davidson history to reach 500 in each category for his career. ... Kuhlman has scored in double figures in each of the last four games. ... The Wildcats have won 31 of their last 32 regular season Southern Conference games on the road.


Davidson 86, Furman 81


GREENVILLE, S.C. -- Will Archambault scored 15 points, including four in the final 14 seconds, helping Davidson hold off Furman 86-81 on Wednesday night.

The Wildcats were up 11 points with just over 1 minute remaining when Amu Saaka almost single-handedly put the Paladins back in the game. He hit two 3s and a free throw in the span of about 30 seconds, sparking a 13-2 Furman run in less than a minute to pull within 82-80.

But Archambault dunked it home to put Davidson up 84-80, grabbed a rebound and hit both free throws after being fouled to seal it in the final seconds.

JP Kuhlman added 14 points for the Wildcats (8-9, 3-2 Southern Conference), Steve Rossiter had 13 and Jake Cohen 11.

McKillop: “I’m going to look at the bright side. They made terrific 3-pointers. We missed free throws. We could have hung our heads, but we didn’t. With the crowd pressure, all of that, it could have been 'poor us.’ We could have had a pity party. But we stayed within the system.” Davidson. Furman.


Wednesday in Greenville

Game notes: Steve Rossiter needs 31 points and 10 rebounds to become the 30th Davidson player to tally 500 points and 500 rebounds. Furman. TSN.

McKillop on the SoCon

And its recent spate of upsets: “I think the success that other teams in the conference have had against, whether its an SEC team or a Big East team, that gets everybody’s attention.”


Thinking out loud

On a thread over on Cats.com:

Man, I wish he played for an East Coast team.

Me too. One that plays at the Belk Arener.

What he said.

So I said:
I dont know. For the most part I think Stephen at this point is where he wants to be and where he should be.

Which led to ...

Wants? Yes. Should? Not in my book.

How does one conclude with certainty he SHOULD be playing for a woeful team with a selfish point guard, without a prayer of making the playoffs, instead of adding to his incredible legacy and experiencing a senior year that he will never have a chance to re-live.

He should be a senior at Davidson.

Certainly I wouldn
t have minded, either, had Stephen stayed for his senior season and graduated with his class. But this conversation at this point always makes me uncomfortable. Part of me thinks its selfish almost by definition. We wanted him to stay because we wanted to watch him play. Not only play. Play for us.

Stephen was, and is, a Davidson person, and we understand that. But Stephen is, and was, a basketball person, too, and not all of us understand that. Last spring he took a long time to make a hard decision. I think the process took so long because it was in essence those two different Stephens having with each other a difficult conversation that had no easy answer. For basketball Stephen to make a wise business decision it had to come at the expense of Davidson Stephen. I watched that unfold more empathetic than anxious. In the end, though, he did make the right business decision.

What does he think now? Who knows? I haven
t talked to him in months. I wouldnt ask him about it even if I did. I would imagine hes some kind of version of what a lot of the rest of us are if were lucky: Sometimes hes real happy with where he is, sometimes hes alone and gets to thinking, and sometimes he just gets up and goes to work.

The other thing is
that still talking about this also makes it seem like we arent paying attention to the interesting exercise this season has been and will continue to be. One of the things we learned right away about Stephen when he was at Davidson was that he had an unusual ability to “forget” previous missed shots so that the next shot might be made. That maybe is a gift greater than some of his considerable physical skills, more elusive, and something that obviously is easier said than done: Be here now.

Keith Smart on Stephen

The Warriors assistant: “He watches film all the time ... and he applies it to the game. There are things now that he still remembers from training camp and you don’t have to keep going over with him. He’s one of the better guys I’ve ever worked with for a young player.” Staying Stephen: It was as if Stephen listened to what he was told, painted a picture of the movements in his head, then channeled those movements onto the court, at full speed, the very next play.


Appalachian 78, Davidson 68


DAVIDSON -- Donald Sims scored 44 points and Appalachian State snapped a three-game losing streak with a 78-68 win over Davidson on Saturday.

Isaac Butts added 13 points and Kellen Brand had 12 for the Mountaineers (8-7, 2-2 Southern Conference).

Sims made 13 of 19 field goal attempts, including 5 of 7 from 3-point range. He also was 13-for-13 at the foul line. The Mountaineers shot 53.2 percent from the field (25-for-47).

DavidsonWildcats.com: Sims was 13-for-19 from the field, 5-for-7 from 3-point range and 13-for-13 from the free-throw line. His point total set a new Belk Arena record, topping Stephen Curry’s 41 points against Chattanooga last season. It was also the second-most individual points against Davidson in school history, besting the 43 points NC State’s David Thompson netted Dec. 21, 1974. The Observer: Steve Rossiter-13 from the free-throw line. His point total set a new Belk Arena record, topping Stephen Curry’s layup gave Davidson its first lead of the second half, 62-61, with 6:59 to go, but Appalachian State closed the game on a 17-6 run, including 13 points from Sims. McKillop: “They earned this victory. They played very well. They came back from a deficit with superb execution. … At key moments, they made key baskets, and at key moments, we missed key baskets.” Buzz: “I was just trying to get some defensive stops and run when we could, and if not then bring it out and try to use Sims on some ball screens.”

The rookie wall?

Don Nelson on Stephen: He “is one of the guys who has gotten better every game, and he’s playing at the best level he has all year.” Last night: a comeback win against the Kings. Next up: his buddy Bron.



Little look at Jake

Ron Green Jr.:

In some ways, the long-term effects of Davidson’s storybook run in the 2008 NCAA men’s basketball tournament are difficult to measure.

In other ways, it’s simple.

Jake Cohen stands 6-foot-10 and weighs 220 pounds. A freshman center from Berwyn, Pa., he leads the Wildcats (7-8, 2-1 in Southern) in scoring, averaging 13.4 points.

Jake: “It hasn’t been anything like what I expected. I wasn’t expecting much.”

Tomorrow at Belk

Game notes: The Mountaineers’ last win over the Wildcats came in Belk Arena when Appalachian posted an 81-74 victory Jan. 20, 2007. That ended a 12-game winning streak for Davidson and was the ‘Cats’ only SoCon loss in the 2006-07 season. Appalachian.


The Observer: Davidson coach Bob McKillop brought his team to watch Hopewell recruit Jordan Downing and the Titans play Mooresville this week. Downing had 14 points, nine rebounds and six assists in the win. Bryant: Jordan Downing is gonna look really good in that Davidson uniform next year.

How people talk

Andy Katz: This Cornell team is Davidson-like and could go on a run come March.

An oddity?

In some SoCon notes:

Davidson’s recent three-game winning streak -- between Dec. 21-30 -- came with a bit of an oddity. Three Wildcats led the team in scoring in those three games. In the first, against Hofstra, Jake Cohen had 18 points. Brendan McKillop’s 19 points led the way against Pennsylvania. And J.P. Kuhlman scored a team-high 18 against UMass.

More like a necessary part of the plan. (Also, note to AP, ESPN, etc.: It’s not J.P. It’s JP. JP JP JP.)


The Davidson treatment?

Jameson Fleming:

Despite the not-so-great profile, most pundits argued Stephen Curry should go dancing no matter what if Davidson were to lose in its conference tournament. The argument never came to fruition as the Wildcats didn’t lose in their tournament.

Fast-forward to this season. Cornell, the preseason Ivy League favorite is following the same path as Stephen Curry’s Wildcats.

Not really. That year’s Davidson team lost their “big games” in the regular season. This year’s Cornell team has won some of them. The similarity: Davidson ’08 wouldn't have gotten an at-large, and neither will Cornell ’10. Sorry. If you’re Davidson, if you’re Cornell, win your league or else. The difference: The Southern Conference gives its bid to its best team over a weekend. The Ivy League gives its bid to its best team over a season.

See what Cornell did at No. 1 KU?

This. Self: “That’s the best team we’ve played this year.” Just saying.


In the best basketball league in the world ...

In the last two games, on back to back nights, Stephen’s made 17 of his 24 shots from the floor. Stephen: “The last two games, I tried to get in the middle and tried to make plays, dishing to the wings and get guys shots. The more aggressive I am, I think the more plays Ill be able to make and help my team instead of being that fifth man out there just running around in the lane and not being involved in the offense. In Minneapolis: Curry was smooth in the open court, in the half-court and with his famous shooting stroke. Bonnell’s blog.

Good for the SoCon

Matt on Charleston’s big win: “When our teams win or are competitive in games like that, it’s going to help us. Wins like that will maybe allow our champion -- instead of being a 14 seed to be a 13 or a 12 seed in the NCAA tournament, heaven forbid maybe a 10 or 11.”

Stephen’s best game yet?

Marcus Thompson on his blog:

Curry’s performance, to my eye, was more impressive that Maggette’s because of the way he integrated his shots with finding opportunities for the rest of the team. If Curry is going to play with Ellis, he’s going to need to know when to feed the shooters and when to look for his own shots. He did a really nice job balancing the two in the first half. His second half disappearance until the final stretch is probably equal parts Denver defense and Warriors’ lack of sharing the ball. But even without touches for nearly 20 minutes, Curry came up big in the clutch. There are still some lazy passes and blown defensive assignments that translate into lost opportunities, turnovers and easy points, but he’s progressing nicely as a rookie. He’s got a steady hand when it counts, and that matters more than any box score can convey.

Monta: “If it wasn’t for Curry hitting the shots he hit and playing the way he played, we probably wouldn’t have had a chance to win tonight. He was awesome at both ends.” FanHouse: Stephen Curry played like he was back at Davidson.


Davidson 66, Samford 56


DAVIDSON -- Brendan McKillop scored 20 points and Davidson rallied to defeat Samford 66-56 on Monday night.

The Wildcats (7-8, 2-1 Southern Conference) trailed 41-37 with 11:33 left but scored nine unanswered points to lead 46-41 on JP Kuhlman’s 3-pointer with 7:18 remaining.

The Observer: Utter embraces the confusion, and adds to it. Observations. DavidsonWildcats.com: Brendan McKillop scored a career-high 20 points, and Davidson held Samford to 23.5 percent shooting from the field in the second half to post a 66-56 Southern Conference victory over the Bulldogs in Belk Arena Monday night. On DavidsonNews.net: “I’ve very, very pleased with the victory. We played great offense.”


Samford thoughts from snowy New England

1. Samford’s been in the league long enough now, all of a year and change, to know how they play. It’s excruciating. Against those guys, a win is a win is a win, and then get the hell out of there.

2. Davidson basketball is a better, more enjoyable thing when a McKillop is doing well, and right now Brendan is doing very, very well. Since the Gonzaga game, McKillop the father said postgame on the radio, McKillop the son has shot “as well as any player we’ve had.” As well. As any player. We’ve had.

3. Loved Ben’s game tonight. Who didn’t? This group is more than capable when Ben does stuff like 13 and 9. It was mostly just how he looked before the numbers started to catch up. Alert and energetic. With it. McKillop: “He’s just getting better and better and better.”

4. That’s a tight little stat sheet. The slower the game, the more mistakes cost, and the number that jumps off the page tonight is seven turnovers. You’ll only give us 46 shots? Fine. We’ll do this then. Goodwingoodwingoodwin.

5. Get well Jake.

First half at Belk

Nellie on Stephen

After the Portland loss the other night: “He’s gotta toughen up.” Chronicle. And now on DavidsonNews.net: CurryNet.

Samford tonight at Belk

Game notes: Davidson’s bench has outscored its opponent in all but two games and owns a 329-202 cumulative edge on the season. Players coming off the projected bench for today’s game are averaging a combined 20.6 points a contest. ... As of Jan. 2, the non-conference opponents that defeated the Wildcats have a combined record of 68-23, and all seven have a winning record. ... Steve Rossiter needs 42 points and 19 rebounds to become the 30th Davidson player to tally 500 points and 500 rebounds. Stephen: Headed to Denver. Gonna grab some food then sit on the laptop and watch the Davidson Wildcats take on Samford. Not HD but itll do. Last year at Belk. Last year down there.

Reading the Sunday NYT II

Here’s something I sometimes think about: March 2008 wouldn’t have been what it was had it happened in March 1998. That’s because it couldn’t have been shared the way it was shared.

I’m not talking about general sporting fandom. I’m talking about us. We experienced those 10 days not as taken entertainment but as shared experience, and it happened not only in Raleigh, Detroit and Davidson, but also in e-mails and texts and on DavidsonCats.com.

So here’s Harvey Araton looking ahead to the next decade in sports:

Digitalization is the watch word for sports industry power brokers and planners, seducing and scaring them as they stampede into the great electronic unknown. Some worry that a fast-changing home viewing experience -- 3D television, in particular -- could make pro sports more of a studio event than a public spectacle. Others wonder if sports could be the new decade’s print news media, reconditioning consumers with online alternatives that diminish traditional revenue streams.

The teenager in the basement -- torn between home-team loyalty and fantasy-league reality, monitoring the televised game with laptop humming and cellphone vibrating -- is the face of a multifaceted future.

Digitization means niche-i-fication, exactly what you want, exactly when you want it. How We Watch is changing, TV, movies, sports, everything. Over the last 10-plus years, with Davidson basketball, that’s meant going from watching the ticker on Headline News to watching the score on ESPN.com to listening on Teamline to watching on DavidsonWildcats.com. It’s never been easier to follow Davidson basketball from wherever you happen to be. This is especially useful within this community, I think, a relatively small group of people, many of whom at some point came to Davidson, from somewhere else, stayed for four years, and then for the most part left and went, again to somewhere else.

It’s gotten to the point where I’d almost rather not have the game on TV because then I can’t watch it on the Web. Then that game belongs to, literally has been bought by, someone other than Davidson College. If it’s on ESPN, or ESPN2, or ESPNU -- fine, I’ll go find a TV and I’ll watch the game like that. But if it’s on some more regional and less available outlet, like SportSouth or Fox Sports South or MASN or something, and I’m still down in Florida, it’s that much harder for me to watch the game. I either end up watching it on some sketchy Web platform -- like many folks here, I think, I watched the Cornell game on my laptop screen thanks only to some Cornell student in Ithaca pointing a camera at his TV and then streaming the image onto justintv.com -- or I end up not being able to watch it all. A TV network is a middle man that’s increasingly unnecessary.

More than that: The reason I follow Davidson basketball the way I do is tied up tight with my relationship with the place, by which I mean the actual place, yes, 28036 and 28035, Belk and the Brickhouse, but also the people within the wider community. And I sort of look at a TV network, any TV network, as a third party, a foreign entity, infringing on that relationship. Granted, TV brings other advantages, direct and indirect, i.e. exposure, i.e. recruiting, i.e. some measure of mass media seal of approval, i.e. now you, the wider you, has seen us, or at least the simple TV representation of us, which undeniably somehow makes us feel good, validated, there. I’m thinking here also of Ricky from Michigan. He came to DavidsonCats.com because he saw the team on CBS. He stays at DavidsonCats.com presumably because of the community he’s found.

I guess it comes down to a question of: Is the point to share it with just each other or with so many others?


No. 2 NBA rookie so far

Thorpe on Stephen: “If I were ranking the rookies based on 'game smarts’ he’d likely be my No. 1 guy right now.”

Reading the Sunday NYT

Pete on the Gators:

Meyer identified a fundamental tension of what he was facing when a reporter asked him why the pain from a loss outweighed the joy of a victory.

“That’s a great question,” he said. “That’s one I’ve got to figure out.”

Don’t we all. Expectations.

McKillop on Hofstra

In the NYP: “They have tough kids, New York City kids and that’s where they get their edge. I don’t see that going away anytime soon. I expect them to respond.”