Davidson 64, W. Kentucky 51

Jordan Downing has already earned a nickname from his coach: The

Microwave.

”He heats up pretty quick,” Davidson coach Bob McKillop

said.

JP Kuhlman had 16 points and nine rebounds, and Downing scored

big baskets off the bench to lead Davidson to a 64-51 win over

Western Kentucky on Sunday in the Puerto Rico Tip-Off

tournament.

”I’m just trying to do my best, keep my confidence up,” said

Downing, a freshman guard. ”I know it’s a slow process for me to

get used to. I think the most the important thing for me is just to

keep my head up and do what the coaches ask me to do.”

Downing, who didn’t play in the first half, came off the bench

in the second and surprised the Hilltoppers with three successive

long jumpers that gave Davidson a 49-36 lead.

Steffphon Pettigrew and Sergio Kerusch put a brief stop to the

run with 3-pointers that made it a seven-point game.

Downing, though, wasn’t finished with shooting like former

Davidson star Stephen Curry. His fourth straight jumper made it

55-47 and had his bench going wild. He hit his first four shots and

scored eight points.

”He’s a great shotmaker,” McKillop said. ”We know he can

produce points for us.”

Downing was subbed out soon after and was greeted at the bench

by high-fives from McKillop and appreciative pats on the head from

his teammates. Brendan McKillop, the coach’s son, nailed a 3 that

made it 60-47 and gave them the cushion needed to win their second

straight game in the tournament.

Downing had nine points coming into the game.

”I know he wants to be a great player,” coach McKillop said.

”The struggles that he’s had have been the typical freshman

struggles, learning a new language, understanding the dynamics of

team defense. He watched film last night to get better.”

Jake Cohen and De’Mon Brooks each scored 10 points for the

Wildcats (2-2).

Juan Patillo had 15 points and 11 rebounds for Western Kentucky

(3-2). Pettigrew added 11 points.

Davidson went 2-1 in the tournament and the Hilltoppers went

1-2.

Davidson outhustled Western Kentucky in the second half, flying

and diving for loose balls and going hard for rebounds. Kuhlman was

a perfect example of that when he missed a long jumper, crashed the

boards and put back his miss to make it 43-34. Kuhlman was 7 for 10

overall. Clint Mann had nine points and nine rebounds.

The Wildcats had a 45-34 edge on the boards.

Led by Downing, the Wildcats shot 57 percent in the second

half.

”He made two really, tough contested ones and got the hot hand

a little bit,” Western Kentucky coach Ken McDonald said. ”He

didn’t look like a normal Davidson guy. He kind of went and got his

own shot. He was impressive.”

Davidson raced to a 15-point lead, then didn’t score a field

goal the final 7:53 of the first half. That let the Hilltoppers

close to 28-22 at halftime.

”Some guys just didn’t bring it today,” Pettigrew said. ”If

one or two of them don’t bring it, it kind of spreads around the

whole team.”