'Cats prepare for Bracketbuster
Published: Wednesday, February 20, 2013
Updated: Wednesday, February 20, 2013 19:02
The Davidson men’s basketball team continued its winning streak and appears to be reaching the potential so many people believed this team had coming into the season. The Wildcats came into the week winning eight straight with conference foes College of Charleston and The Citadel up next, and the ‘Cats went on to beat both teams handily, asserting their dominance as the team to beat in the SoCon.
The ‘Cats showed why they are such a threat on Thursday night in Charleston, as they have entered each game with a balanced attack along with a number of players who have the ability to take over. On Thursday, that player was Jake Cohen ’13. Cohen had a dominant game in which he scored a career high 32 points on 13-24 from the field including three from long range, while also adding four blocks. The ’Cats shot 50% from the field for the game and a scintillating 59.3% in the second half.
Cohen was able to succeed with the help of his fellow seniors in the backcourt, Nik Cochran ’13 and JP Kuhlman ’13, who both had solid all-around games. Cochran was able to score 14 points along with five assists, while Kuhlman had a complete box score with nine points, five assists, and five rebounds. The ability of Cochran and Kuhlman to handle the ball and run the offense allowed Cohen to succeed but gave other players the opportunity to get open, quality shots as the team shot a very good 10-24 from 3-point range.
The ‘Cats were able to win handily, with the final score ending 75-59, but College of Charleston was no slouch of an opponent. While Davidson has been able to dominant conference play, College of Charleston actually came into the game with a better overall record than the ‘Cats. In addition, the ‘Cats were only up two points going into halftime.
Davidson followed up the big win by heading into The Citadel Saturday night with a ton of confidence, and showed again why they are the best team in the SoCon by winning 72-57. With the victory, the ‘Cats won their tenth straight, and in doing so, clinched the Southern Conference South Division Crown, the ninth in twelve years for Davidson.
The game was a classic Davidson offensive effort, as they had five scorers in double figures. They were all led by Cochran, who had a team high 18 points on an efficient 5-9 from the field. Cohen finished with 13, while Chris Czerapowicz ’14 had 14, and Kuhlman and Tyler Kalinoski ’15 had ten apiece.
While the offensive consistency was important to victory, the real key was the ‘Cats defense. The Citadel jumped to an 11-3 lead to start the game before Davidson put down the defensive clamps, going on an 18-2 run and holding The Citadel without a basket for ten minutes. While The Citadel did shoot 58.3% from the field in the second half, the game was in hand after that initial run, as the closest The Citadel came within Davidson was 11 points.
Cochran, the leading scorer versus The Citadel and one of the teams key facilitators, said that despite being the leading scorer, “I’m actually scoring less than last year. But (sic) I try to attack the same way every game and put the other team on their heels and make them make the mistake.” Cochran also believes that having this kind of momentum is important at this moment in the season, “We want to be at our best when the SoCon tournament comes around.” In any sport, to have this kind of momentum heading into postseason play is a big factor for teams hoping to make a run. Hopefully the ‘Cats will be able to take this momentum and make some noise in the SoCon and NCAA tournaments.
The ‘Cats have two home games this week, first a conference match against Furman Wednesday at 7:00 PM, and a nationally televised ESPN BracketBusters game on Saturday at 3:00 PM (televised on ESPNU).