The Hornet’s Nest Trophy will remain in Davidson for another year.
Thanks to a blistering night from beyond the 3-point arc, the Wildcats beat the Charlotte 49ers 92-86 Wednesday at Belk Arena, the second consecutive season Davidson has won the game for Division I college basketball supremacy in Mecklenburg County.
“This was huge for us,” said Wildcats senior guard Tyler Kalinoski, who scored all 19 of his team-leading points in the second half.
Davidson (5-1), which entered the game making 11.4 3-pointers per game, outdid itself against the 49ers (4-3). The Wildcats were 14-of-30, led by Kalinoski’s five-of-eight, Jack Gibbs’ three-of-five (12 points) and Brian Sullivan’s three-of-eight (15 points).
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“We got in a rhythm offensively,” said Wildcats coach Bob McKillop, whose team shot 58.2 percent overall. “But we were like clockwork out there for a few stretches.”
That’s what was needed for Davidson, which overcame a strong offensive game by Charlotte. The 49ers shot 50.8 percent from the field and committed just eight turnovers, nearly seven below their season average. They also forced Davidson into 18 turnovers.
“(The 49ers) are very good at creating chaos defensively,” said McKillop. “They showed that with our turnovers.”
Davidson, which beat the 49ers 87-78 in overtime last season at Halton Arena, also outrebounded the bigger 49ers 37-31.
But it was Davidson’s shooting that was the difference.
“We didn’t defend at the level we’re capable of,” said 49ers coach Alan Major. “We did in pockets, but we didn’t have the traction where we were stringing together multiple stops.”
The Wildcats took control in the first half, taking advantage of 49ers foul problems that had point guard Pierria Henry, forward Terrence Williams and forward Willie Clayton on the bench for 15 minutes with two fouls apiece.
Davidson got a boost in the first half from Jordan Barham, who scored 13 points, including nine in a row at one point. Davidson led 45-38 at halftime.
The second half belonged to Kalinoski, who scored 21 points in the second half of a victory against Central Florida last week.
“He’s the heart of our team,” said McKillop of Kalinoski, one of two seniors on Davidson’s roster. “He’s played every role for us and without a doubt he’s the one who makes us go.”
Although the 49ers were effective offensively, they were again plagued by spotty free-throw shooting, hitting 57.1 percent (16-of-28).
Clayton led Charlotte with 17 points, while freshman guard Torin Dorn added 16.
And despite the six-point final margin, Charlotte was never really in it after opening the second half with a traveling call against Clayton. Kalinoski made the 49ers pay with a 3-pointer and the lead was 10.
“They played well on their homecourt, they were comfortable with their rims,” said Henry. “When we’d make a run, they never put their heads down. They kept attacking.”