College Hoops: Storm reach century mark for third straight game
Matt Ridge is a big picture kind of coach. He desires every ounce of energy from his players for 40 minutes no matter the score.
While it may have seemed ridiculous to fans in the stands that he would call timeouts late in Tuesday's 112-78 flogging of Mount Zion Prep's postgraduate squad, in reality it is not. He wants that elusive national championship, and when he sees the effort in his players slipping, he lets them know about it.
“We have tougher games ahead and we need to continue to improve,” said Ridge. “At the end of the year when we go to Wytheville for the regional tournament, we have got to be mentally and physically prepared to win two or three games so we can advance on. That is what this is all about.”
Compared to its first two opponents, the Storm did face a tougher task in dealing with the Warriors. With comparable size and athleticism, Mount Zion kept the game tight, down just 22-16 midway through the first half. Like they have done countless times the last six years, though, Davidson went on one of its patented monster runs to sink its opponent. Over the final 10 minutes of the first half, DCCC scored 40 points, turning a close game into another early-season snoozer.
Ace Chalmers tallied 16 of his game-high 21 points in the first half. He has blossomed into the kind of floor general it takes to operate Ridge's high-speed offense.
“He is explosive. Ace has gotten better and better since last year. What he has improved most on is decision making. He is talented and you saw tonight why he was the player of the year in his conference his senior year.”
Gerry Hairston also had a big half getting his first start of the season. He went for 12 of his 20 points, knocking down a pair of 3-pointers.
With its third straight game no longer in doubt after a half, Davidson played a little more loosely than coach Ridge would prefer. Though not making a significant dent in the deficit, the Warriors did perform much better, being outscored 50-47. Ridge called two timeouts late in the game to voice his displeasure of the effort being given by his 3-0 club.
“I want us to play with the mentality of not looking at the scoreboard,” said Ridge. “It's like playing a golf course. You play the course, not your opponent. We didn't play the course well in the second half. We didn't expand our lead.”
Others reaching double figures for the Storm included Daniel Lawson (17 points), Robert Story (15), Marquel Newkirk (12) and C.J. Woodberry (10).
Sports Editor Zach Kepley can be reached at 888-3631, or firstname.lastname@example.org.