Davidson holds on to upend homestanding Vikings

Published 12:00 am Friday, December 31, 2004

VIDALIA, La. &045; For head coach K.G. Watkins and the Davidson Warriors, this was a game they just had to have.

&uot;We needed this one,&uot; Watkins said. &uot;We needed a victory to give us some confidence heading into district next week.&uot;

The Warriors got the victory they needed Tuesday night with a 62-54 defeat of Vidalia.

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Vidalia had cut the Davidson lead to 57-54 with 43 seconds remaining when the Vikings’ Marvin Warner scored off an offensive rebound. But the Warriors’ Karry Washington drove the length of the floor and was fouled going up for a layup.

He hit one of his two free throws, making it a four-point game with 38 seconds to go. Vidalia was unable to convert on any of several 3-point attempts and gave up four more points to the Warriors in the closing seconds.

Vidalia’s big men Josh Upchurch, Jeremy Riggs, Ramon Harris and Cortland Johnson were all in serious foul trouble for most of the game, with all but Johnson fouling out in the fourth quarter.

That put the Vikings at a decided disadvantage down the stretch on the boards. Davidson took advantage, grabbing several offensive rebounds for easy scores and slicing to the basket frequently in the final period.

Moreover, the Warriors took advantage of Vidalia’s propensity to foul, scoring 12 points from the free-throw line in the fourth quarter.

&uot;We just got too deep into foul trouble, and they were hitting their free throws down the stretch,&uot; Vidalia head coach Robert Sanders said.

Vidalia almost climbed back into the game on the strength of its defense. The Vikings trailed 39-31 at the end of the third quarter, but Jarvis Whitley got four easy baskets early in the fourth quarter off of Davidson turnovers.

Whitley’s final score narrowed the Warriors lead to 44-42, the closest Vidalia would come in the game. Then Davidson began taking advantage of its opportunities at the line and pulled away for the win.

But the problems for Vidalia started much earlier in the game. With the frontcourt in foul trouble, Vidalia struggled to score in the second and third quarters as Davidson outscored the Vikings 28-16 over that stretch. Vidalia managed just four points in the second quarter and Davidson took a 24-19 lead into halftime.

None of the Viking guards are great outside shooters, so the lack of inside help hurt Vidalia’s offense considerably. Ramon Harris scored the only three-point shot of the game for Vidalia in the third quarter.

&uot;We’re still working on consistency and trying to find someone who can score from outside,&uot; Sanders said. &uot;They found out when we play defense aggressively, we can get some scores that way.&uot;

Davidson’s win came despite a decided lack of depth. Only four Warriors scored in the game and Watkins went with his starters for most of the game.

&uot;We’re so shallow, we just don’t have many guys,&uot; Watkins said. &uot;But the guys we have played hard.&uot;

Davidson point guard Mark Winston led the way with 29 points and was also key in breaking the Vidalia press.