March 5, 2006
NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) - Brendan Winters scored a career-high 33 points and Davidson routed Chattanooga 80-55 in the Southern Conference tournament championship game Sunday, sending the Wildcats to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 2002.
Winters, the son of former South Carolina and NBA star Brian Winters, had two of his six 3-pointers in the decisive first half. He was honored as the tournament's outstanding player.
The Wildcats (20-10) were helped by dismal shooting from Chattanooga, the defending conference tournament champs. Chattanooga shot 25 percent and was 1-for-11 from behind the arc during the first half, which ended with Davidson up 35-20.
Chattanooga (19-13) improved its shooting in the second half, but the outcome was never in doubt. Chattanooga shot 35 percent for the game and 26 percent from 3-point range.
Boris Meno added 12 points for the Wildcats while Ian Johnson had 10. Keddric Mays led Chattanooga with 13 while Ricky Hood had 10.
The Wildcats avenged a 65-59 loss to Chattanooga during the regular season. The also victory helped them atone for last year's tournament. They entered with a 16-0 conference record but lost to North Carolina Greensboro in the semifinals and settled for an NIT bid.
Davidson coach Bob McKillop now has three Southern Conference tournament championships. Lefty Driesell is the only other Davidson coach with as many. The loss spoiled Chattanooga coach John Shulman's perfect Southern Conference tournament record, leaving him 5-1 over two seasons in the tourney.