GAME NOTES: With a trip to the championship game at stake, the fourth-seeded Appalachian State Mountaineers will try to upset the top-seeded Davidson Wildcats in the semifinals of the 2013 Southern Conference Tournament at the U.S. Cellular Center.
The winner will advance to take on either the College of Charleston or Elon in the title game on Monday.
Appalachian State has now won at least one SoCon Tournament game in each of the past five years after its 74-60 victory over Furman in the quarterfinal round on Saturday. It has not played in the championship round since 2010 and it has not won the SoCon Tournament since 2000.
Davidson completed an 86-59 rout of Georgia Southern in its quarterfinal round bout. It was the 450th career win for coach Bob McKillop and the 15th-straight for the team. The Wildcats' winning streak is tied for the second longest in the nation.
The trio of Nathan Healy, Jay Canty and Tevin Baskin will be instrumental in the return to title game for the Mountaineers if they manage to do so. Healy is the leader of the team in many statistical categories including points per game (14.6), rebounds per game (7.9), steals per game (2.0) and blocks per game (1.4). Canty is close behind in both the scoring (14.3) and rebounding (6.2) columns while Baskin adds 10 ppg with 40.9 percent efficiency from 3- point range. Canty and Healy both scored 13 points on Saturday to help the team get by the Paladins. The three-headed attack helped ASU finish the regular season ranked third in scoring offense at 71.6 ppg. However, there is plenty of room for improvement on the other end where it surrenders 72.3 ppg.
Davidson is outscoring opponents by 19.4 points per game during its current winning streak, while holding its opposition to 39.1 percent shooting from the floor.
Davidson forward Jake Cohen was named SoCon Player of the Year last week after posting 14.9 points and 5.7 rebounds per game this season. His outside shooting ability, combined with the slashing of De'Mon Brooks (13.4 ppg, 6.3 rpg) helped make Davidson the highest scoring team in the conference this season at 73.6 ppg. Nik Cochran, a Third-Team All-SoCon selection, finished first in the nation at 95.5 percent from the charity stripe. Cochran tallied 18 points on 5-of-7 shooting on Saturday while Brooks (13 points) and Cohen (12 points) both joined him in double figures.
McKillop has already acquired seven SoCon Tournament championships. It seems like his trophy case is going to have another addition shortly. The Wildcats are playing at an unbelievably high level that could ultimately translate into an NCAA Tournament win or two.
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