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Davidson wins with defense, 72-49

Davidson didn’t play its best game of its early season schedule Saturday against UNC Wilmington.

The Wildcats had problems finding their range, and their big men got into a little foul trouble against the bigger Seahawks.

Yet Davidson did enough things right with its inside game and defense and got help from its bench to take a 72-49 victory over UNC Wilmington at Belk Arena.

Peyton Aldridge scored 17 points, and Jack Gibbs added 13 points for the Wildcats (4-1), who take a two-game winning streak into their annual Hornets Nest Trophy game on Wednesday against Charlotte.

“We just focused on attacking in space, and getting the open shot,” said Aldridge, who also had nine rebounds. “Yeah, some of the shots weren’t falling, but we kept at it. We got some second-chance opportunities and opportunities at the free throw line we were able to capitalize on.”

Davidson shot just 34.3 percent from the field (23 of 67), its second-worst game this season, and made a season-low eight 3-pointers in 23 attempts.

However, the Wildcats more than made up for that with their play on the other end of the floor.

Davidson held the Seahawks (2-2) to season lows of 30.4 percent shooting (17 of 56) and 20 percent on 3-pointers (3 of 15), forced them into 20 turnovers and outrebounded Wilmington 50-45.

That gave the Wildcats a 27-16 advantage in points in the paint – and against a Seahawks team that started a 7-foot center and 6-9 forward – and a 16-11 edge in points off turnovers.

Davidson also made 18 of 25 from the free throw line and had a 20-6 advantage in points from its reserves.

Addison Spruill had 17 points and 10 rebounds, and Cedrick Williams added 15 points and 12 boards for Wilmington. But only four other players scored for the Seahawks and made just 12 of 20 from the line.

“Offensively, it was a contrast from what we had Wednesday night,” said Wildcats coach Bob McKillop, referring to Davidson’s 95-69 win over Central Florida. “We were completely in sync Wednesday night, but we weren’t quite as fluid tonight as we needed to be.

“But we used a deep bench and we defended them very well. The defensive principles the guys are picking up are allowing us to become a better defensive team.”

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