Photos of the Day: Little Davidson Wins Again in NCAA Tourney

Little Davidson College Keeps Winning in the NCAA Tourney

Little Davidson College has always fought hard amidst some of the perennial giants of college basketball, but it invariably has had to play outside of the spotlight that consistently shines upon North Carolina, Duke and other power basketball programs in the Atlantic Coast Conference and the SEC. Davidson is a member of The Southern Conference, a conference comprised mostly of small colleges. Nevertheless, Southern Conference teams are known to pull off real sports-world shockers. For example, who can forget tiny Wofford College, the country’s smallest college playing NCAA Division-I sports, and its 69-66 basketball upset of Purdue University in the Las Vegas Classic earlier this year.

Wofford Stuns Purdue in Last 2 Seconds, Wins 69-66

Tiny Wofford College Upsets Purdue, 69-66

Nevertheless, it really does take a lot for a Southern Conference team to get noticed around ACC country. But this year, Stephen Curry and the Davidson Wildcats have certainly earned their wonderful moment on the greatest stage in the game. They are swinging into the NCAA tournament’s Round of 16, singing the team’s theme song, Sweet Caroline, all the way to Detroit.

Little Davidson College Upsets Georgetown University, 74-70

Davidson earlier had posted a first-round win against seventh-seeded Gonzaga, with Stephen Curry pouring in 40 points during that game. On Sunday night, in a true David vs. Goliath matchup, Curry scored 30 points, including 25 in the second half, as No. 10-seeded Davidson College rallied to stun No. 2 Georgetown, 74-70. In the second-round game at the RBC Center in the Midwest Region, it was Curry’s stunning scoop layup with 3 minutes 51 seconds remaining that broke a 60-60 tie and gave Davidson the lead for good. The Wildcats, who now have won an NCAA-best 24 games in a row, will face third-seeded Wisconsin in the regional semifinals in Detroit on Friday.

Davidson College: Honor and Excellence

Read more about Davidson College’s amazing upset win over Georgetown University in The Washington Post, here.

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Tiny Wofford Upsets Purdue 69-66 in the Las Vegas Classic

Tiny Wofford Tops Purdue University, 69-66

As the fourth-smallest school in the nation that plays NCAA Division I basketball, Wofford College, from The Southern Conference, knows that going on the road into tough environments is unavoidable.  But after seeing what has happened the past three seasons, the Terriers like that just fine.  Shane Nichols hit a running layup with 2.1 seconds remaining as Wofford upset Purdue 69-66 Wednesday night in a second-round game of the Las Vegas Classic.

Its a big win, no doubt, but we know we are capable of going into a place like this and winning,” Nichols said.  “We are used to playing a tough non-conference schedule.”  Two seasons ago the Wofford won at Cincinnati and last year host Auburn University fell victim.

Wofford was on the verge of losing to a major-conference opponent when Purdue took a 55-48 lead with 9:24 remaining in the game.  That six-point deficit didn’t concern Wofford coach Mike Young, whose team had yet to win a road game this season.  “They’re not gonna surprise us,” he said.  “Wisconsin had a sellout with 17,000 people and we werent at full strength there.  Now this may not have been the biggest Mackey (Arena) crowd, but when they had those six straight points in a row you could feel the place shake a little bit.”

Using a quick 9-0 spurt that turned into a 15-6 run, the Terriers led 63-60 on four straight points from Junior Salters with 2:30 to go.  A pair of free throws from Scott Martin and a one-handed dunk from Keaton Grant helped Purdue (7-3) regain the lead at 64-63 with 1:48 left.  Chris Kramer’s layup put the Boilermakers up by three with 1:26 remaining.

With where we have played and what we have gone through, we knew that being down by three points with time left on the clock was something we could overcome,” Nichols said.  Nichols is a big reason why.  The senior guard drained a deep three-pointer with 50 seconds left and then, after Purdue’s Terrance Crump committed a turnover, cut through traffic and somehow managed to get off a shot despite being hounded by several Boilermakers defenders.  “There was a lot of confidence, because I knew either the game would go into overtime or we would win,” Nichols said of the final play.  “I glanced at the clock, put my head down and drove to the basket. Only after I got knocked to the floor and looked up did I know it went in.”

What was Young’s message to his team during a timeout he called with 24.3 seconds left?  “We were looking for me to get out of the way and for (Drew) Gibson or Nichols to make a play,” he said.  Purdue coach Matt Painter was not surprised to see Wofford hang around after falling behind by 10 points in the first half and then by six midway through the second half.  “They made the necessary offensive and defensive plays,” he said.  “We had a few good plays and some defensive stops, but there were some lapses (with) four missed free throws. You have a tendency that when you lose games, you only look at breakdownsWofford made the plays necessary to win.  Down the stretch, they made some big three-pointers.  Give them creditThey were well-prepared,” Grant said.  “We think we are invincible in Mackey and we thought that would carry us through tonight.  It didn’t.”

Both teams travel to Las Vegas for two more games in the Classic.  Purdue (7-3) plays Iowa State and Wofford meets Texas Southern on Saturday.  The tournament finishes play on Sunday.

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