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Western Michigan spoils Davidson's ranked week

Nov 22, 2007 - 5:44 AM KALAMAZOO, Michigan (Ticker) -- Western Michigan apparently was not intimidated by Davidson's lofty ranking.

Derek Drews scored 18 points and Shawntes Gary added 17 as the Broncos held on for an 83-76 victory over the 25th-ranked Wildcats.

Western Michigan (4-2) shot 59 percent (26-of-44) as a team, including 12-of-22 on 3-point attempts, and forced its way to the free-throw line 29 times - converting on 19 chances - en route to the home upset.

"I just take my shots when they are there," Drews said. "They went down and doubled (center) Joe (Reitz) and they kicked out and I was able to see some wide open shots and fortunate enough to knock them down tonight."

Playing as a ranked team for the first time in 37 years, Davidson (1-2) failed to get much production from anyone but star guards Stephen Curry and Jason Richards and managed just 9-of-30 shooting from the arc.

The Wildcats, who played top-ranked North Carolina tough in a loss at home last week to earn its spot in the Top 25, were playing away from home for the first time this season and started out sluggish.

The Broncos converted six of their first seven field goal attempts to jump out to a 15-6 lead with 15:10 remaining in the opening half. Conversely, Davidson made only 3-of-12 shots over that same span as Curry and Richards combined to miss five shots.

"First of all, obviously the one thing that jumps out is the offensive statistics, having five guys in double figures," Western Michigan coach Steve Hawkins said. "We seemed to have an answer offensively every time Davidson made a run and they made plenty of them as good a basketball team as they are."

The Wildcats climbed back into the game and pulled as close 25-24 on Andrew Lovedale's layup with 7:39 remaining in the first, but Western Michigan pushed back and went into the locker room with a 40-34 advantage.

Richards and Curry nailed back-to-back 3-pointers to open the second half and even the score at 40-40, and Davidson tied the score three more times over the next five minutes.

But the Broncos responded to the final tie - at 47-47 - with a 7-0 run capped by Drews' 3-pointer that put them on top for good at 54-47 with 11:37 remaining in the game.

David Kool scored seven of his 13 points in the final 2:05 for Western Michigan to help seal the win.

"More importantly, the last two and a half minutes," Hawkins said. "...We got some big stops defensively and executed offensively and did what you have to do to win close ballgames against a very good basketball team. I was really proud of our kids defensive effort tonight."

Curry finished with 25 points and Richards added 23 for Davidson.

"This was a great, great win for us," said Reitz, who finished with 10 points and six rebounds. "There's a reason Davidson's the 25th-ranked team in the country. They are very, very good and they are going to win a lot of basketball games.

"I think a win like this, in front of our home crowd, shows what this team is capable of doing. I thought we played very well tonight and we still have a lot of room for improvement. When we finally play the whole game, we might of played 28-30 minutes of what we really think is good basketball, when we play 40 we'll be a scary team to deal with. I thought our guys all showed tremendous fortitude down the stretch."

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    DAVIDSON (25) 34 42 76

    Nov 21 9:03 PM
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    RUWTbot Added 22 roots (Close Finish)

    Davidson vs. Western MichiganNov 21 8:58 PM
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    Davidson vs. Western MichiganNov 21 8:47 PM

    (25) DAVIDSON 34

    Nov 21 7:46 PM