Davidson falls to No. 24 Wichita State 91-74

Associated Press  |  Last updated February 18, 2012
Davidson had played the role of giant slayer against one ranked powerhouse from Kansas this season. They couldn't do it again Saturday. The Wildcats, who knocked off then-No.12 Kansas in December, fell short in their upset bid against No. 24 Wichita State, falling 91-74. Davidson (20-7) was competitive for about 26 minutes but fell apart during a 6-minute stretch midway through the second half as a one-point game quickly turned into a 23-point rout after the Wildcats allowed too many easy points in transition after hurrying some shots on the other end. It's something Davidson needs to correct before heading into the Southern Conference tournament next month in Asheville, N.C. The conference is only likely to send one team to the NCAA tournament - the conference champion - so the Wildcats can't afford any bad lapses again. ''That 8-minute stretch would kill us come conference tournament time,'' said center Jake Cohen, who led Davidson with 25 points. ''We can't have a stretch like that when we go to Asheville. We have to go back and see what we did wrong on tape.'' Of course the Wildcats aren't likely to see a player like Joe Ragland in the Southern Conference tournament either. The Shockers senior guard turned in one of the best games of his college career scoring 30 points on 11-of-14 shooting as Wichita State shot 80 percent from the field in the second half to break open a tight game. Ragland hit all but one of his four 3-point attempts and made all five free throws, finishing one point shy of his career-high set earlier this season against UNLV. ''How about 30 points on 14 shots?'' Wichita State coach Gregg Marshall asked. ''You talk about efficiency. That was one of our keys - being efficient on offense. I guess the only thing he could do better was be absolutely perfect. But 30 points? I should have played him more, I guess.'' Ragland said his effort was a result of feeding off his teammates. ''Those guys demand a lot of attention from the defense and I'm able to get open,'' Ragland said. ''I've worked on my game enough to make the defense pay every time I'm wide open. I had a lot of wide open opportunities tonight. I was able to get into the lane.'' Davidson coach Bob McKillop said Ragland ''didn't miss too many shots. He threatened you from 3-point land. He threatened you from the drive. He threatened you in transition and in half court. He did a nice job of controlling the offense. He was sensational.'' It was Marshall's 300th career victory as a head coach. He won 194 of those about 35 miles down the road at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, S.C. But Marshall didn't want to talk about that milestone, instead wanting to focus on what the win meant for his team. Wichita State came into the game ranked for the first time since 2006 and it is likely to move up in the polls with a few teams in the lower half of the top 25 losing this week. ''This gives us a quality win and will enable us to move up ... if not the top 15, then the top 20,'' Williams said. ''Hopefully this gets us into the (NCAA) tournament.'' Toure' Murry scored 16 points and reserve Carl Hall added 13 points for the Shockers (24-4), who have won 22 of 24. Seven-foot center Garrett Stutz, the Shockers' leading scorer this season, had eight points. Despite persistent foul trouble that only allowed him to play 19 minutes, Cohen scored 25 points on 10-of-14 shooting to lead Davidson (20-7). Chris Czerapowicz had 17 points and Nic Cochran finished with 16 for the Wildcats. Wichita State only led 39-38 at halftime but hit 20 of 25 shots from the field in the second half, many of those coming on easy transition baskets and drives to the lane. The more athletic Shockers scored 58 points in the paint compared to Davidson's 28. The turning point came 6 minutes into the second half. With Wichita State leading 51-50, Hall hit a shot in the lane and the Wildcats seemed to fall apart on offense the next few times down the court with some premature shots. The Shockers got three easy transition baskets by Murry, David Kyles and Demetric Williams allowing the Shockers to open a nine-point lead. About a minute later Cohen, who played only 7 minutes in the first half, picked up his fourth foul. The Shockers soon their lead, going up by 23 points. Davidson did make a run to get it down to 11, but it was too late. ''We got out of sync and we took some bad shots and that leads to easy run-outs and bad defense during about that 8-minute stretch,'' Cohen said. ''So that is something we have to look at going forward. Our consistency in that 8-minute stretch. They are a good transition team.'' Wichita State was certainly aware coming in that Davidson was capable of pulling an upset, even though they were 1-9 against their last 10 ranked opponents. Davidson was fairly competitive with Duke before falling at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Cohen, who came in averaging 13.5 points, scored Davidson's first 12 points of the game to keep the Wildcats close early. But he was forced to sit most of the first half after picking up his second foul with 12:12 left and Davidson trailing 16-14. However, Cochran picked up the slack scoring 13 points first-half points and Czerapowicz hit two 3-pointers to keep the Wildcats within one at the break.
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