GAME NOTES: Two teams with very different streaks will meet up at Belk Arena, as the Davidson Wildcats host the Furman Paladins in Southern Conference play.
Furman is in the midst of a six-game losing streak. The latest of those setbacks came at home this past Saturday against Samford in a 64-53 final. Tonight's contest begins a three-game road trip for the Paladins, who have managed only one road victory in 12 tries so far this season.
Davidson clinched its ninth SoCon South Division title in the last 12 years with Saturday night's 72-57 win over the Citadel. It also marked the 10th straight win for the Wildcats. Opponents have had a tough time inside Belk Arena, where the Wildcats are 9-1 on the season.
The 'Cats have dominated the head-to-head series, which they lead, 98-62, thanks to victories in 31 of the last 33 meetings with the Paladins.
Furman took a 40-39 lead over Samford on Bobby Austin's 3-pointer with just under 14 minutes to play in regulation. However, the Paladins were held to only two field goals over the next 11 minutes, as Samford used an 18-8 run to pull away. Furman was outrebounded by a 37-23 margin for the game, and that compounded the team's 37.8-percent shooting effort from the floor. Colin Reddick led the way with 14 points and eight rebounds in defeat, while Bryant Irwin and Kendrec Ferrara added 13 and 10 points, respectively. On the season, the Paladins are -8.5 in scoring margin, -3.0 in turnovers, and -2.9 in rebounding differential. Reddick is the only player averaging double figures with 12.7 points per game, as he is shooting 51.5 percent from the floor, while also pulling down a team-best 6.4 rebounds.
Leading the way for Davidson is Jake Cohen with 14.6 ppg and 5.5 rpg, while De'Mon Brooks (13.1 ppg, 6.2 rpg) and Nik Cochran (10.2 ppg) are also in double figures. The Wildcats are the SoCon's most dangerous 3-point shooting team (.368), and they lead the country in free-throw shooting (.813). In its win over Citadel, Davidson went 16-of-18 at the charity stripe in addition to shooting a healthy 51.1 percent from the floor and 44.4 percent from the perimeter (8-of-18). The Wildcats grabbed a 17-point halftime lead after shooting 57.1 percent from the floor and going 4-of-5 from beyond the arc in the opening frame, as they also held the Citadel without a bucket for a span of more than 10 minutes. Cochran paced five 'Cats in double figures with 18 points, while J.P. Kuhlman (10 points, seven assists) led the team in assists for the fourth straight game.
Barring a massive letdown after clinching yet another division title, Davidson should be able to put this one away without much of a problem.
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