CHARLESTON, S.C. Davidson visited The Citadel’s McAlister Field House for the final time as a Southern Conference member Monday night, and had to work hard to escape with a victory against the SoCon’s last-place team.
De’Mon Brooks scored 21 points – 17 from the free-throw line – and the Wildcats made 11 of 21 shots from 3-point range to repel two Citadel rallies and hold on for an 83-76 victory.
Davidson (16-11, 12-1) won its ninth straight game as the Wildcats make their final tour of the SoCon before heading to the Atlantic 10 next season. The Bulldogs (4-24, 0-13) lost their 16th straight, a
single-season school record set in 1952-53. However, The Citadel’s two games against Davidson were both competitive; a 62-43 loss on Feb. 1 at Belk Arena was close until the final five minutes.
“Not surprised they gave us a run in both games,” said Davidson coach Bob McKillop. “You look at their record, they’ve had some chances to win, including two overtime losses. They are well-coached and play as hard as heck.”
Brooks, who hit 9-of-10 shots for 23 points in the first game against The Citadel, made only 2-of-8 from the floor Monday. But the 6-foot-7 senior went to the foul line a career-high 20 times, making 17.
“The last time we played Davidson, we doubled Brooks in the post,” said Citadel coach Chuck Driesell. “He picked us apart and and they hit some 3s, too. So we tried to play him one-on-one and see if we could handle him that way. But he’s a talented player and it’s hard to stay in front of him and not foul him.”
The Bulldogs had no better luck limiting the Wildcats from the 3-point line. Guard Brian Sullivan made four for 15 points, and Tom Droney (15 points) and Tyler Kalinoski (13 points) made three each as the Wildcats hit at least 10 3-pointers for the fourth straight game.
Reserve guard Jack Gibbs hit one trey and Kalinoski two after the Bulldogs had slashed a 17-point deficit to two at 46-44 with 12:33 lead. Those shots keyed a 24-9 run for the Wildcats to stretch the lead back to 17.
“Those were pivotal at a point where the game was really nip and tuck,” McKillop said.
Behind a throng of boisterous cadets, the Bulldogs got the lead back down to five points in the final minute. But Davidson hit 7 of 8 free throws in the final 33 seconds to ice the game.
“The Citadel had a lot riding on this game,” McKillop said, “with a losing streak they wanted to end. There was an article in the paper last week, challenging the cadets to come out, and there were a number here that had not been here in the past. We had to take this game.”
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