Wildcats depart after 69-62 loss to Louisville
Louisville’s relentless defensive pressure was too much for
The Wildcats (25-8) were unable to play the up-tempo offense
they’re used to, or slow down Cardinals point guard Peyton Siva,
and fourth -seeded Louisville went on to a 69-62 win Thursday in
the NCAA West Regional.
”I think it was a combination of Louisville’s great defense and
us missing shots,” Davidson coach Bob McKillup said. ”There were
several times when we had wide open looks and just didn’t knock
Davidson, the No. 13 seed, hit only four of 19 3-point attempts
and ended up shooing 35 percent from the floor (21-of-60), well off
its average of 44 percent. . , off their average of 44 percent.
Jake Cohen had 24 points and 10 rebounds for Davidson, which
made the tournament for the 11th time but first since 2008 when
Stephen Curry led long-shot Wildcats to the round of eight.
Cohen found openings, but it wasn’t easy.
”It’s something that’s always in the back of your head,” he
said. ”When you get the ball out you’ve got to be worrying about
their pressure and how you’re going to break it.”
Siva, who masterfully worked off screens, had 17 points and six
assists for the Cardinals (27-9), who made it through their opening
round game for the first time in three years.
Chane Behanan added 14 points and 11 rebounds for the Cardinals,
who led by as many as 14. Louisville will play Saturday against the
winner of Thursday’s game between New Mexico and Long Beach
The Cardinals jumped out to the early lead but Nic Cochran hit a
3-pointer to give Davidson a 13-12 advantage. Kyle Kuric’s layup
put Louisville back in front.
Louisville’s 6-foot-11 center, Gorgui Dieng, got into foul
trouble, picking up three midway through the first half. But the
Cardinals began to inch away, pulling ahead 20-16 after Behanan’s
layup and Kuric’s jumper.
Davidson fought off Louisville’s defensive pressure and narrowed
it to 26-24 on 6-10 junior Cohen’s turnaround jumper with 3:20 left
in the half. But the Cardinals slowed down the Wildcats and went up
31-25 after Russ Smith’s 3-pointer with 1:09 left.
Cochran made a free throw before Elisha Justice’s layup with 21
seconds left that made it 33-25 at the break.
Siva opened the second half with a dunk to stretch the
Cardinals’ lead to 10 points. His jumper with 14:20 left extended
the lead to 43-31.
Behanan’s layup put Louisville up 58-44 with 3:37 left. Davidson
got to within 59-51 when Chris Czerapowicz made a 3-pointer with
1:57 left. Cochran made three straight free throws to make it 67-60
with 22.6 seconds left.
Tyler Kalinoski’s layup got the Wildcats within 67-62, but time
ran out for Davidson.
McKillup said the lack of tournament experience hurt the
”The hardest thing I felt in terms of this team for this
particular game was the lack of NCAA experience,” he said. ”I
think they showed themselves very well. For being their first time
in the NCAA tournament, I was incredibly pleased with the way they
handled themselves. They were superb.
”You saw there at the end, we didn’t quit. We didn’t give up.
We used every ounce of energy to make every play count and try to
stay in the game.”
The Cardinals were ranked as high as No. 4 earlier this season,
but a spate of injuries and a stretch with five losses in seven
games dropped them out of the rankings. They came into the Big East
tournament with losses in three of their four final games.
But they rolled through the conference tourney with four wins in
four days, beating Seton Hall, Marquette, Notre Dame and, finally,
Cincinnati in the championship game to take some momentum going
into the NCAA tournament.
Davidson got a tournament berth this year with a dramatic,
double-overtime victory over Western Carolina last Friday in the
championship game of the Southern Conference tournament. The
Wildcats led by 12 with 2 minutes left in regulation but needed two
overtimes to put it away.