Davidson’s Wildcats made more than their share of 3-pointers and played lockdown defense in the second half on the way to an 83-73 victory Friday against St. Bonaventure at Belk Arena.
It was the fifth consecutive victory for the Wildcats (10-7, 5-1 Atlantic 10), who solidified their hold on second place in the league behind Rhode Island (14-3, 6-0).
The Wildcats led 41-37 at halftime and were having trouble shaking the Bonnies (12-6, 2-4), who had nonconference victories against Syracuse and Maryland before starting conference play. But Davidson, which entered the game leading the Atlantic 10 in scoring defense in league games (50.8) and second in field-goal percentage (39.0 percent), clamped down on the Bonnies.
St. Bonaventure shot just 29.4 percent in the second half as the Wildcats pulled away late. Davidson put the game away at the free-throw line, making 11-of-12 down the stretch.
The Wildcats entered the game 18th in the country in 3-pointers made per game (10.7). They were 14-of-33 against the Bonnies.
Three who mattered
Peyton Aldridge, Davidson: The Wildcats’ senior forward played all 40 minutes, scoring 25 points and grabbing nine rebounds. He made all eight of his free throws.
Jon Axel Gudmundsson, Davidson: The Wildcats’ sophomore guard scored 21 points, had nine assists and grabbed four rebounds.
Matt Mobley, St. Bonaventure: Mobley, half of the Bonnies’ talented backcourt (along with NBA prospect Jaylen Adams) scored 25 points (on 9-of-19 shooting) and had four assists and four rebounds.
▪ Davidson led 41-17 at halftime, but there were a few statistical oddities during the first 20 minutes. Both teams were 15-of-28 from the field, both teams were 2-for-2 from the free-throw line, both teams had 13 rebounds (three offensive, 10 defensive). The difference was Davidson’s 9-of-19 3-point shooting to St. Bonaventure’s 5-of-12.
▪ Twelve NBA scouts attended the game, mostly to watch St. Bonaventure’s Adams. They might have had their heads turned by Davidson freshman Kellan Grady, however. Grady scored 16 points on 6-of-12 shooting, including 4-of-10 from 3-point range.
▪ St. Bonaventure starting forward Josh Ayeni didn’t make the trip for undisclosed reasons.
▪ St. Bonaventure has a sizable alumni group in the Charlotte area and had what appeared to be a few hundred noisy fans at the game.
▪ Davidson hits the road for a game Tuesday against Dayton. St. Bonaventure is home against Saint Joseph’s on Wednesday.
“The great thing about our 3-point shooting tonight was we weren’t just open, but we were prepared to shoot. Just being open doesn’t mean it’s the right thing to do.” – Davidson coach Bob McKillop.
“Coach said they were going to hit us, and we needed to keep coming back and not buckle back and not give in.” – Aldridge.
“There were plays tonight you could get frustrated and not go on to the next play. We answered a lot of knocks to the mat tonight and that’s a very encouraging sign.” – McKillop.
David Scott: @davidscott14