After an opening-round loss to Clemson, Davidson got as much out of the eight-team Tire Pros Invitational as it could get.
Jack Gibbs tied a tournament scoring record and led the Wildcats to a 68-80 victory over Arizona State in Sunday’s fifth-place game.
“As a team, we think that we can play with anybody in the country, and it’s taken steps to get that in our mind that we actually can,” said Gibbs, who scored 28 points on Sunday and 71 in the tournament.
“I’m just glad we got a couple of wins in the process,” he said.
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Davidson (3-1) held Arizona State to 22 points on 29 percent shooting in the first half and led by double digits throughout most of the second half.
Peyton Aldridge finished with 12 points, 11 rebounds and two blocks.
Tra Holder led Arizona State (3-2) with 18 points.
Davidson coach Bob McKillop proclaimed the tournament experience a big step forward.
“It’s sort of an NCAA kind of preparation because you play on a neutral site and you’re playing against teams that arguably are going to be in the NCAA Tournament,” McKillop said. “So it gives you a November experience of what you hope is going to happen in March.”
Three Who Mattered
▪ Jack Gibbs, Davidson: He scored 18 and 25 points in the first two games, and 16 of his 28 points Sunday came from the foul line. He also had six rebounds and four assists.
▪ Rusty Reigel, Davidson: The junior guard had nine points and five rebounds, and his man-to-man coverage of ASU’s Torian Graham set the tone for the game.
▪ Tra Holder, Arizona St.: The junior guard had 18 points and eight rebounds before fouling out with 1:45 left.
▪ Gibbs probably has the quickest free throw of anyone in the country. He gets the ball from the official, takes one step forward and shoots without dribbling. “Junior year of high school I shot like 65 percent from the free-throw line so I figured I’d change something up,” he explained. “My thinking was that the quicker you shoot it, the less you’re thinking about it.”
▪ McKillop’s priorities as the Wildcats resume their regular season next Saturday: “They’ve got to learn the inside/outside game. They’ve become a better team of defenders. And I’ve got to get the bench to be able to contribute more than they’ve contributed to date. Those are three things that jump out dramatically.”
▪ For the second straight game Davidson took its opponent’s leading scorer out of the game completely. Missouri’s Frankie Hughes scored two points Friday on 1-of-11 shooting. Torian Graham, who averaged 20.5 points on 62 percent shooting in Arizona State’s first four games, shot 1-for-12 and scored three points.
▪ Gibbs’ 28-point game was tied for ninth highest in the 10-year-old Tire Pros Invitational.
▪ Davidson had a 44-35 rebounding edge.