DAVIDSON Davidson threw a pre-game surprise at Wildcats coach Bob McKillop by naming the basketball court at Belk Arena after him on Saturday.
However, The Citadel nearly spoiled the celebration.
After a slow start in the first half, Davidson turned things around over the final 20 minutes to pull away from the Bulldogs for a 62-43 victory over the Southern Conferences last-place team.
DeMon Brooks scored 23 points and Jake Belford came off the bench to add 11 during a key stretch in the second half as the Wildcats (12-11, 8-1) won their fifth straight.
Im very pleased with the way our guys fought out of a very challenging situation, said McKillop, who has compiled a school-record 464 wins in 25 seasons as Davidson's coach most of those coming on the now-renamed McKillop Court.
At halftime, I told our guys to look at this game like it was the first round of the Southern Conference tournament. I said Now, its going to be tight; lets see how we handle tight. Our guys were absolutely superb.
The Wildcats shot 50 percent (23 of 46) from the field the fourth straight game theyve been at 50 percent or better and hit 9 of 22 3-pointers. They also outrebounded The Citadel 31-21.
Yet less than 48 hours after a dominating 43-point win over SoCon frontrunner Chattanooga, Davidson looked anything but superb against the Bulldogs (4-20, 0-9), who have now lost 12 straight.
The Wildcats shot just 39.1 percent (9 of 23) in the first half, and were 3 of 12 on 3-pointers. That along with 43.5 percent shooting (10 of 23) by The Citadel kept the game close.
The Bulldogs even led five times in the period, the last at 18-17 on P.J. Horgans layup with 3:57 left.
Davidson eventually broke away in the final 2 minutes, with Brooks buzzer-beating jumper capping a 7-2 run to put the Wildcats ahead 24-20 at the break their lowest-scoring first half this season.
They tried to slow us down and mixed up a couple different defenses on us, Brooks said. We came out a little hesitant, trying to read those defenses, but we made the adjustments.
We came out in the second half playing more aggressive, more our style of game.
Ahead 36-34 with 9:02 left, Belford kicked off a 24-6 run with a 3-pointer. He added two more 3-pointers the last giving Davidson its first double-digit lead and a pair of free throws before Brian Sullivan's 3-pointer put the Wildcats ahead 60-40 with 2:01 remaining.
They were stopping us from doing everything we wanted to do, Belford said. Once we relaxed and started taking things step by step, shot by shot, we started putting it together.
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