Davidson’s Wildcats found just enough offense in the second half to salvage a 54-51 Atlantic 10 victory Wednesday against Saint Louis at Belk Arena.
Davidson (6-7, 1-1 A-10) trailed 33-22 at halftime and missed all 12 of its 3-pointers in the first half. But consecutive 3s by Jon Axel Gudmundsson and Oskar Michelsen to open the second half spurred a charge that brought the Wildcats all the way back. Defensively, the Wildcats held the Billikens without a field goal over the final 11 minutes, 15 seconds.
Forward Peyton Aldridge had 21 points and seven rebounds for the Wildcats, while freshman guard Kellan Grady added 14. Davidson, which is eighth nationally in 3-pointers made per game, ended up making 4-of-23 from long range.
Guard Davell Roby had 11 points for the Billikens (7-8, 0-2), who used a zone trap that confused the Wildcats in the first half. The Wildcats, who lead the nation in assist-turnover ratio, committed seven turnovers in the first half as the Billikens jumped to their 11-point halftime lead.
The Wildcats took the lead for good on a 3-pointer by Will Magarity with 6:32 left. The Billikens had a chance to tie it on their final possession, but 3-pointers by Roby and Aaron Hines missed.
Three who mattered
Aldridge, Davidson: Davidson’s senior forward was the only Wildcat who played with much offensive consistency, scoring 21 points on 7-of-12 shooting.
KiShawn Pritchett, Davidson: Davidson’s sophomore guard didn’t score -- but he made up for it with 10 assists.
Hasahn French, Saint Louis: Billikens burly 6-foot-7 freshman forward hurt the Wildcats down low, scoring eight points and grabbing six rebounds.
▪ Grady was named the Atlantic 10’s rookie of the week. Grady scored 30 points in a victory against Akron and 25 in a loss against Richmond to earn the honor.
▪ Davidson plays again Sunday at George Mason. Saint Louis is at home against Richmond on Saturday.
▪ Matt Doherty, a former North Carolina player and coach and Davidson assistant, is now an Atlantic 10 association commissioner and attended the game. Doherty, who lives in Mooresville, played for Davidson’s Bob McKillop in high school on Long Island was an assistant under McKillop from 1989-92 at Davidson.
▪ Gudmundsson showed great hustle late in the game to sprint halfway up the court and poke the ball away from a Billikens player, eventually forcing a turnover after a scramble.
▪ The Wildcats turned the ball over on two straight possessions in the first half, leading to consecutive fastbreak layups by the Billikens and a 13-10 Saint Louis lead, its first of the game.
▪ The Wildcats missed all 12 of their 3-pointers in the first half and trailed 33-22 at the intermission. For the record, the last time Davidson didn’t make a 3 in a game was in 1994 (now a streak of 750 games) in a 65-63 victory at East Tennessee. Davidson didn’t attempt a 3 in that game.
▪ Only four Wildcats scored in the first half -- Aldridge (12 points), Grady (four), Gundmundsson (four) and Will Magarity (two). The Wildcats, who entered the game leading the nation in assist-turnover ratio (1.93), had five assists and seven turnovers in the first half.
They said it
“I was a joyful coach to my team at halftime. Joyful because we could not have played any worse and we were still in the game.” – McKillop.
“In the first half, we looked like a quarterback chased out of the pocket on his heels. (Saint Louis) made some pick 6’s on us.” – McKillop, on his team’s seven first-half turnovers.
“They helped a lot. Just seeing them go in, for our confidence.” – Pritchett, on the 3-pointers made by Gundmundsson and Michelsen to open the second half -- Davidson’s first made 3s of the game.
David Scott: @davidscott14