Recap: Davidson vs. Western Carolina
Asheville, NC (Sports Network) - Clint Mann slammed home the game-winning bucket with just over a minute to play in double-overtime as top-seeded Davidson outlasted Western Carolina, 93-91, on Monday to claim the Southern Conference title for the 11th time in program history.
Holding the ball at the top of the key, JP Kuhlman sent it to Mann on the right wing. Mann took a look and realized that Western Carolina's defense had not rotated over and he had a free romp to the basket for the eventual winner.
The Catamounts had one last shot to steal the victory with eight seconds left, but Keaton Cole's heave from way beyond the arc fell short and Mann collected the rebound to seal the win.
Kuhlman and De'Mon Brooks led the Wildcats (25-7) with 19 points and eight rebounds apiece, while Jake Cohen had 17 points and seven boards and Nik Cochran contributed 16 points, six rebounds and six assists.
"It shows the character of our team," Brooks said. "Hats off to Western Carolina because they came out and still fought and came back. When they made their run, it was all about ourselves. We knew that if we had each other's backs, we'd come out with a win."
Mann finished with 10 points for Davidson, which punched its ticket to the NCAA Tournament with the victory.
Cole poured in a game-high 21 points for the resilient Catamounts, while Tawaski King had 20 points and 10 rebounds. Harouna Mutombo donated 20 points and seven rebounds and Trey Sumler ended with 18 and five boards.
"It was a tough game...our guys battled for 45-plus minutes and congratulations to Davidson and we spilled our guts out there," Mutombo said.
Trailing, 74-61 with under three minutes to play, Western Carolina began its furious comeback, as the Catamounts closed the second half on a 17-4 run to tie the game at 78 and send it into overtime.
Chris Czerapowicz drained a trey and Brooks followed with a three-point play to put Davidson up 84-80 with 2:16 left in the first OT
King's two free throws and Mutombo's bucket locked it back up at 84. After a Cohen jumper and two Mutombo free throws, Brooks had the final shot, but his jumper as time expired fell short.
Czerapowicz nailed another trey to open the second overtime, but James Sinclair answered with a three at the other end for Western Carolina to knot it at 89 with just over three minutes left.
Cochran dropped a jumper on the Wildcats' next touch to make it 91-89, but after Czerapowicz missed a three-pointer with under two minutes to go, Mutombo pulled down the rebound and got the ball to King, who was fouled.
King calmly sank both shots to tie it yet again with 1:24 left, setting the stage for Mann's winning flush.
Western Carolina jumped on top early, opening the contest with an 11-4 burst, but Davidson responded with a 12-4 flurry of its own to grab a 16-15 lead with 11:17 to go before halftime.
Following a media timeout, the Catamounts used a quick 10-0 run to go back on top, 25-16, with less than nine minutes to play.
Trey Sumler put home a layup to put Western Carolina up 32-20, but the Wildcats rallied to take the lead again, 36-32, with a 16-0 outburst and they led by one, 36-35, at the break.
Cole hit a three-pointer midway through the second half to pull Western Carolina within five, 60-55, but Kuhlman put home a jumper to extend the Davidson lead to 67-57 with 7 1/2 to go.
Cohen then hit a three and another jumper around two free throws from Cole to make it 74-63.Game Notes
Davidson and Western Carolina played just once in the regular season, and the Wildcats earned an 88-67 victory back on Jan. 12...The Wildcats improved to 3-4 against Western Carolina in the Southern Conference Tournament, and the Catamounts earned an 82-77 victory in the last meeting, the quarterfinal round of the 1999 tournament in Greensboro...It was Davidson's 18th appearance in the Southern Conference Championship game...Davidson improved to 11-7 overall in the finals and 2-2 in title games played in Asheville...Davidson shot 52.9 percent from the floor, while Western Carolina shot 41 percent.