Davidson’s Wildcats scored the final nine points of the game and stunned 17th-ranked Rhode Island 63-61 in their Atlantic 10 regular-season finale Friday at Belk Arena.
Jon Axel Gudmundsson’s three-point play with 3.1 seconds won it for Davidson (18-11, 13-5). Rhode Island (23-6, 15-3) led 61-54 before going the final 2½ minutes scoreless. The Rams also hurt themselves at the free-throw line, missing three straight foul shots down the stretch.
Rhode Island led 61-55 after Davidson’s Kellan Grady hit a free throw with 1:42 left. But the Rams came up empty on their next three possessions – with E.C. Matthews and Jared Terrell missing from the line.
After Terrell missed with 14.8 seconds left and Rhode Island leading 61-60, the Wildcats got the ball upcourt before a Rams player knocked the ball out of bounds in front of the Davidson bench with 6.8 seconds left.
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With Terrell gambling on a steal, Peyton Aldridge inbounded the ball to Gudmundsson, who drove to the basket, hitting the winning basket and getting fouled.
Fatts Russell’s long shot as the buzzer sounded bounced off the rim for the Rams.
The Wildcats can be the second seed in next week’s Atlantic 10 tournament in Washington if St. Bonaventure loses Saturday at Saint Louis and various tiebreakers fall Davidson’s way.
Three who mattered
Aldridge: Had his sixth consecutive double-double with 18 points and 12 rebounds.
Grady: Davidson’s freshman guard had 16 points, including five down the stretch.
Terrell: Rhode Island’s guard scored 22 points, but missed two free throws in the final 27 seconds that could have iced it for the Rams.
▪ The Wildcats, who returned to campus at 3:45 a.m. Wednesday after losing in triple-overtime at St. Bonaventure on Tuesday, looked tired late in the game before finding the energy to rally and win.
▪ A conspicuous absence from pregame Senior Night ceremonies was forward Nathan Ekwu, who has been out all season with a knee injury. Ekwu is a pretty strong candidate to redshirt and play a final season.
▪ Rhode Island, which has been the A-10’s dominant team for much of the season, has gone 2-3 in its last five games entering the tournament.
▪ A few leftover notes from Davidson’s triple-overtime loss Tuesday at St. Bonaventure:
Aldridge’s 45 points were the fifth-most in school history and the most in a road game. Aldridge moved into third place on the school’s career scoring list (2,069 going into Friday’s game), behind Stephen Curry and John Gerdy.
Freshman guard Kellan Grady’s 16-for-16 performance from the free-throw line against St. Bonaventure was the most without a miss in school history. But Bill Jarman’s 23 free throws made in 1961 against George Washington is the program record.
“I got the ball and Terrell went for the steal. I saw the basket so I went to it. I laid it up and it went in. It felt good, but there were still three seconds left.” – Gudmundsson.
“It certainly took a lot out of us. We were all aching Wednesday. But we weren’t going to make any excuses, regardless. Yes, we were beat up, but we were going to put up a fight.” – Grady, on the physical challenges of coming back after the St. Bonaventure game.
“These guys have a sense of resiliency. The gas tank can sometimes look like it’s on ‘E,’, but it’s never on ‘E.’ – Davidson coach Bob McKillop
“Yeah, up six with 40 seconds left, at the line with an older team. As good as they are and as great as the environment was, you have to close that game out. It was missed free throws and then things you can’t do at the end of the game. You can’t give up 3s and then obviously going for a steal on that last possession was probably a mistake.” -- Rhode Island coach Dan Hurley.
David Scott: @davidscott14
DAVIDSON 63, No. 17 RHODE ISLAND 61
RHODE ISLAND (23-6): Berry 1-3 0-0 2, Matthews 3-9 0-1 6, Terrell 8-16 2-6 22, Dowtin 2-6 0-0 4, Robinson 5-10 0-0 11, Langevine 5-6 1-2 11, Akele 0-1 0-0 0, Garrett 0-3 0-0 0, Russell 1-8 2-2 5. Totals 25-62 5-11 61.
DAVIDSON (18-11): Magarity 4-7 0-0 9, Michelsen 2-6 0-0 5, Aldridge 6-14 4-4 18, Gudmundsson 2-6 6-7 11, Reigel 1-2 0-0 2, Wynter 0-0 0-0 0, Grady 6-12 2-3 16, Pritchett 1-9 0-0 2. Totals 22-56 12-14 63.
Halftime—Rhode Island 35-29. 3-Point Goals—Rhode Island 6-24 (Terrell 4-9, Robinson 1-3, Russell 1-5, Garrett 0-2, Matthews 0-5), Davidson 7-28 (Grady 2-5, Aldridge 2-6, Magarity 1-2, Gudmundsson 1-3, Michelsen 1-5, Reigel 0-1, Pritchett 0-6). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Rhode Island 39 (Langevine 11), Davidson 34 (Aldridge 12). Assists—Rhode Island 10 (Matthews 4), Davidson 10 (Gudmundsson 6). Total Fouls—Rhode Island 13, Davidson 11. A—4,442 (5,295).