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March 10, 2008

Southern: No. 23 Davidson clinches bid

NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. — Another stellar performance by Stephen Curry, another Southern Conference title for No. 23 Davidson. Curry scored 23 points to lead the Wildcats back into the NCAA tournament with their third straight league crown and fourth since 2002, beating Elon 65-49 on Monday night.

Besides extending the country's longest winning streak to 22 games, Davidson (26-6) continued its SoCon dominance. It has won 36 straight against league opponents, including all 23 games this season.

Curry's been a large reason why.

The Southern Conference player of the year hit three of his team's first four baskets. The stylish sophomore's 3-pointer early in second period gave Davidson a 39-26 lead, then he followed with two foul shots.

Elon (14-19) saw its surprising run to the title game end. The seventh-seeded Phoenix put together a three-game tournament surge, knocking off league heavyweights Chattanooga and College of Charleston to try for their first NCAA bid.

T.J. Douglas led the Phoenix with 18 points, all on 3-pointers.

And Elon gave its fans a thrill, cutting a 15-point lead to 51-46 on Douglas' fifth long-range basket with 4:22 left.

This time, Curry's teammates helped out. Boris Meno and Andrew Lovedale had inside baskets and Bryant Barr stroked a 3-pointer from the right side to push Davidson's edge to 58-46 with 2:21 to go.

Davidson's fans chanted "Let's go dancing," as time ran down.

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