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Brooks leads Davidson to SoCon championship

ASHEVILLE, N.C. — De'Mon Brooks had 24 points and eight rebounds, and the DavidsonWildcats defended their Southern Conference championship with a wire-to-wire 74-55 victory over the College of Charleston on Monday night.

With two-time conference player of the year Jake Cohen in foul trouble most of the game, Brooks turned in a dominating inside performance showing a variety of moves the Cougars simply couldn't defend and was selected the tournament MVP.

JP Kuhlman chipped in with 14 points and Nick Cochran had 10. Cohen had 12 points despite playing less than half of the game.

Andrew Lawrence led College of Charleston with 19 points.

Unlike a year ago when Davidson blew a 13-point lead with 2:47 left in the title game and needed double overtime to defeat Western Carolina, the Wildcats left no doubt about the outcome of this one. They outscored the Cougars 21-12 in the game's final 12 minutes.

Davidson (26-7) entered the game with the nation's third-longest winning streak at 16 games and wasted little time setting the tone.

The Wildcats jumped out to a 10-3 lead behind the shooting of Kuhlman and the inside play of Brooks, who combined for 22 first-half points.

Davidson took a 35-26 lead into the locker room after shooting 47 percent and committing just one turnover. Meanwhile, the Wildcats' defense limited to College of Charleston to 31 percent shooting in the first half.

About the only thing Davidson didn't do right in the first 20 minutes was make its free throws. The nation's top free-throw shooting team converted just five of nine attempts.

They would finish just 14 of 21 for the game.

Cohen, who became the first player since former Davidson star Stephen Curry to be named Southern Conference player of the year in back-to-back seasons, had a career-high 32 points in his last game against Charleston. But fell into foul trouble early and played only 10 minutes in the first half.

The second half opened in rough fashion for Davidson as Cohen picked up his third foul in the opening minute and Brooks hobbled to the bench with a leg injury, although he did return about a minute later after the Cougars cut Davidson's 12-point lead in half.

However, Brooks would return and the Wildcats would build a double-digit lead and take control of the game.

Throughout the second half, Davidson fans chanted "you can't stop him" every time Brooks scored and they were right.

The Cougars even tried doubling down on Brooks, but he kept spinning and pivoting using ball fakes while maneuvering free for makeable 5-footes near the basket.

The Wildcats pushed their lead to 20 when Cohen made a spinning move to the basket with 2:44 left in the game.

College of Charleston, playing in the Southern Conference for the last season, was looking for its first NCAA tournament berth since 1999, the first year it entered the conference. The Cougars (24-10) will play in the Colonial Athletic Association beginning next season.

 

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