DAVIDSON, N.C. Davidson basketball coach Bob McKillop was denied his school record-breaking 177th career victory in the waning seconds for the second straight game as East Tennessee State (7-7, 2-1) won a 59-55 game over the Wildcats (7-9, 1-2) that was riddled with miserable free throw shooting.
A smothering Davidson defense wasn't enough to hold off the Bucs in this game. ETSU managed to shoot just 32.3 percent from the field, and not much better from the free throw line at 44.4 percent. But with the game on the line, the Bucs hit the free throws that counted the most. D.J. McDuffie, who missed all eight shots he took from the field and shooting just .453 from the line for the season, drained two free throws with 15 seconds left to give ETSU a 58-55 lead.
A desperation three by Wildcat sophomore Peter Anderer with seven ticks on the clock fell short, and Buc guard Ryan Lawson grabbed his ninth rebound of the game. With three seconds left, he hit the first of two free throws to seal the game.
A jumper by Wildcat junior Martin Ides with 4:52 left gave Davidson a 53-49 lead. But on the 'Cats next six possessions, the Bucs' forced four turnovers and Davidson missed the front end of one-and-one situations to allow ETSU to take a 56-53 lead. The Wildcats, who hit just 3-of-10 foul shots themselves, managed to hit one of a pair of free throws twice to cut the deficit to one with 1:30 remaining. But that was as close as they would get.
Davidson had an opportunity to take command of the ball game at the start of the second half as the Wildcats held ETSU scoreless for the first 5:25 of the second period. But they barely took advantage of the Bucs' drought, scoring just six points during that span.
The two teams battled to a 31-31 deadlock at the intermission. Lawson led all scorers at the half with 13 points, including a couple of three-pointers.
Meanwhile, Davidson featured a balanced scoring attack as five players scored at least four points, with sophomore Jason Dickens leading the 'Cats with six. For the game, Lawson had 17 points, and Renaldo Johnson pitched in 15 for ETSU. Lawson, a 6-2 sophomore guard, also had nine rebounds to pace the Bucs.
Ides led the Wildcats with 11 points, with Dickens contributing 10 in the losing effort. On the boards, sophomore Chris Pearson had 12 rebounds, giving him three straight games of 10 or more boards.
Davidson goes back on the road to continue its Southern Conference schedule, playing at Georgia Southern (4-10, 0-3) on Saturday. The Eagles have lost six straight, including Monday night's 83-76 loss at home to Chattanooga. The game is scheduled to start at 7:30 p.m. East Tennessee State also plays next Saturday, playing at Western Carolina (2-13, 0-3), who lost to The Citadel in overtime this evening, 56-54.