|Poof: Magical ride for Davidson ends - barely - against Kansas|
|Written by Admin|
|Sunday, 30 March 2008 16:32|
The Wildcats' magical run in March was over. Barely.
The tiny school that captivated the nation fell just short of pulling off one of the most stunning upsets in NCAA tournament history, missing a last-second 3-pointer in a 59-57 loss to top-seeded Kansas in the Midwest Regional final on Sunday.
After sending Gonzaga, Georgetown and Wisconsin packing, Davidson lost for the first time since Dec. 21 - snapping a 25-game winning streak.
``The sadness of this whole situation is that we can't celebrate the four months of greatness because now we'll reflect upon what finished the season,'' Davidson coach Bob McKillop said.
The Wildcats had the ball with 16 seconds left and a chance to be the third double-digit seed to reach the Final Four, but the Jayhawks refused to let Stephen Curry beat them.
Kansas forced Curry to dish to a teammate and Jason Richards long 3-pointer with a second off was off the mark.
But forever, Davidson is on the map.
The school is in a North Carolina town so small - population less than 9,000 - it's named after the institution.
The Southern Conference school is so quaint about a third of its 1,700 students accepted the board of trustees' offer to go to the Motor City on the institution's dime.
Busses were filled and so was a red-clad section behind Davidson's bench, where everyone stood throughout the game, creating a buzz in a huge, sterile stadium that needed it.
LeBron James even jumped on the bandwagon.
The Cleveland Cavaliers' star, who became a fan of Curry, was in the stands for Friday night's win over third-seeded Wisconsin.
Curry, who might have the quickest release on the planet, made the final basket with 55 seconds left and finished with 25 points to earn the Most Outstanding Player award for the Midwest Regional.
With his first 3-pointer, he broke an NCAA single-season record - surpassing the 158 Butler's Darrin Fitzgerald made during the 1986-87 season.
``Stephen is a great player,'' Kansas assistant Danny Manning said. ``He was on display for the world.''
The rest of the Wildcats were, too.
Davidson hadn't beaten a ranked team in McKillop's first 18 seasons until knocking off Gonzaga in the first round and following that win up by shocking the second-seeded Hoyas and routing the Badgers.
``It's been a fantastic journey,'' Max Paulhus Gosselin said. ``Being in front of all of our friends and families, and doing this for (the seniors) was a great experience.''
It was an experience that ended a little earlier than the Wildcats wanted.