Upset crushes Davidson College’s basketball season
DAVIDSON – Davidson College’s dreams of reaching the NCAA basketball tournament took a wicked detour March 8.
The top-seeded Wildcats were upset 99-97 in overtime by Western Carolina in the semifinals of the Southern Conference tournament in Asheville. Davidson missed out on the automatic NCAA bid that goes to the tournament winner, the prize it had snagged the past two seasons.
Instead, Davidson will settle for a berth in the National Invitational Tournament, which it earned by being the conference’s regular-season champion. Davidson (20-12) had its 13-game winning streak snapped, despite shooting 55 percent from the field.
Chris Czerapowicz led Davidson with a season-high 22 points. De’Mon Brooks, limited to 26 minutes due to foul trouble, finished with 17 points. Jake Belford and Tyler Kalinoski added 15 points each.
Davidson women reach final
Davidson advanced to the championship game of the Southern Conference tournament, but was eliminated in a 71-45 loss to Chattanooga on March 10 in Asheville. It was a rematch of last season’s final, which Chattanooga also won.
Senior guard Laura Murray capped her career by setting the Davidson record for career points, finishing with a team-high 17 to give her 1,880 points for her career. She surpassed former teammate Sophia Aleksandravicius, who set the record last year at 1,878 points.
Murray also set the season record for points (617), and her 19.3 scoring average was second-best in Davidson history. Murray made the conference all-tournament team for the third year in a row. Davidson’s Dakota Dukes joined her on the team.
Davidson reached the tournament final by beating Samford 55-42 in the quarterfinals and Western Carolina 74-67 in the semifinals.
Wildcat wins top award
Brooks, a senior forward and Hopewell High alum, was named Southern Conference Player of the Year for the second time.
Davidson teammates Brian Sullivan (second team) and Tyler Kalinoski (third team) were named all-conference by the media, while Jack Gibbs was voted to the coaches’ all-freshman team.
Brooks finished the regular season averaging 18.4 points and seven rebounds, which ranked third and sixth among league leaders, respectively. In league play, the three-time first-team selection led the conference in scoring (20.5) and field-goal percentage (65.7).
Brooks joined Fred Hetzel (1963-65), Mike Maloy (1969, 1970), Stephen Curry (2008, 2009) and Jake Cohen (2012, 2013) as Wildcats that earned multiple player-of-the-year honors.
Murray leads women’s honorees
Murray, junior Hannah Early and Dukes earned Southern Conference all-league honors.
Murray capped her senior campaign by being named first-team on the coaches’ and media teams. It’s the second time she made both first-team squads and the third straight year she was named to the coaches’ first team. Murray joins Aleksandravicius (2011-13) as the only Wildcats to earn first-team honors three times.
Dukes was named to the coaches’ first team and the media’s second team. Early, a Hopewell High graduate, has had a breakout junior season, ranking third on the team at 14.1 points a game. She shot 44 percent on 3-pointers, which was 10th in the nation.