Friday, January 25, 2008

Improved foul shooting, inside play take Davidson to another level

Davidson takes an eight-game winning streak into the College of Charleston Saturday, and the Wildcats have raised their level of play since the New Year. Davidson has won those games by an average of 20 points, but that margin isn't what excites coach Bob McKillop.

"Did you see our inside-out play," he said after Thursday's 87-70 win against The Citadel. "And our free throw shooting is coming around too."

Davidson's four inside players - Andrew Lovedale, Boris Meno, Thomas Sander, and Stephen Rossiter - have changed their games during the streak, and it has paid dividends.

Meno and Sander have shied away from 3-point shots, after starting the season struggling. They had combined to shoot 5-of-31 before the New Year, but have only taken three (all by Sander) since.

Rossiter and Lovedale have become better screeners to set up shots - Rossiter freed Stephen Curry for two 3-pointers in the first half Thursday - and are getting more aggressive with the ball.

But the best news for Davidson might be its improved free throw shooting. Last season, Davidson shot 75 percent as a team, but this year - even though its lineup remained intact - the Wildcats were in the low 60s most of the year. But Davidson has made 33 of its last 39 free throws as a team (85 percent) over its last three games.

That could be a pivotal development in the Southern Conference tournament and beyond, when Davidson will have to finish strong in close games.

- Kevin Cary


Anonymous said...

Davidson looks like what they were projected to be this year. That non-conference schedule was grueling. But don't over look Appalachian, seven wins in a row respectfully and tied for the North Division lead and poised to overtake it Saturday against a free-falling UTC team. Appalachian beat Davidson last year on the road and while they lost earlier in the season to Davidson at home ask any coach in the SoCon and they will tell you this App St. team is completely different and is playing their best ball at the right time.