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Eagles host red-hot Davidson tonight
Game tips off at 7:30 p.m. in Hanner Fieldhouse
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    After another dominating season and a trip to the NCAA tournament last year, Davidson graduated seven seniors. And silently, the rest of the Southern Conference hoped the Wildcats were due for a down year.
    The Wildcats (16-4, 7-1) haven’t missed a beat and visit Hanner Fieldhouse for tonight’s 7:30 game as one of the hottest teams in the conference.
    “I don’t think there’s any question they are the surprise of the league right now,” Eagle coach Jeff Price said. “I thought Coach (Bob) McKillop made a great point — a lot of people don’t realize the (benefit) those guys playing now had when they had seven seniors, guys who were in the program and practiced everyday. The guys they have playing right now actually played quite a bit last year, they just weren’t starters.”
    Despite five newcomers and just one three-year letterwinner, the Wildcats lead the conference in nine different team categories, including scoring offense (80.8 points per game) and scoring margin (plus 10.9). Davidson sported the second longest winning streak in the nation until a few days ago when Appalachian State abruptly halted the 12-game run with an 81-74 victory Saturday in Davidson, N.C. It was the Wildcat’s first league loss this season.
    “They know how to play basketball and their coach is really good,” GSU forward Louis Graham said. “They are very smart and kind of counteract what you do, so if you overplay them, they are going to backdoor you and if you play them up straight, they are going to head-fake you and drive past you. They really have the fundamentals of the game down pat.”
    The Wildcats are one of the best 3-point shooting teams in the league, hitting 36.4 percent from behind the arc and averaging 9.4 3s a game.
    “You have to defend their whole team from the 3-point line,” Price said. “That’s what makes them so dangerous — they have so many guys that can shoot the basketball; they run a great motion offense and they’re so physical defensively. There are so many things you have to prepare for.”
    Freshman guard Stephen Curry has splashed onto the SoCon scene and is the league’s second leading scorer with 18.8 points a game. Son of longtime NBA veteran Dell Curry, Stephen is shooting 84.5 percent from the free-throw line and averages 2.05 steals, both third-best in the SoCon.
    “You never know when you are going to sign a freshman that’s as good as Stephen Curry is,” Price said. “You just don’t know when a guy like that is going to jump up. It’s kind of the way Julius Jenkins did here. He’s an awfully good freshman.”
    The Eagles (9-9, 2-5) will be looking to reverse a three-game skid, which included road losses at Chattanooga, The Citadel and the College of Charleston. Georgia Southern hasn’t played in eight days, and while the Eagles are well-rested, Price hopes they won’t be rusty.
    “I won’t know until (tonight) whether I like taking that many days off,” Price said. “We are beat up a little bit, but I think more than anything, it’ll be interesting to see how we come out mentally. We’ve lost four road games in the last 30 seconds. That can really hurt a team mentally and get your confidence down, so it’s definitely going to be good to be back home.”
    Key reserve Matt Fields, who has been out since mid-December with a broken foot, has worked out recently and although he’s still not in game-shape, Price hopes to get him a few minutes tonight.