With star Jack Gibbs bottled up, the Davidson men’s basketball team had to find another way to keep up with George Washington on Thursday night. The Wildcats couldn’t quite get there in a 73-69 loss at Charles E. Smith Center.
The Colonials made life difficult for Gibbs, shadowing the 6-foot-guard with 6-9 Yuta Watanabe much of the night. Davidson’s star closed with a flurry to get to 16 points but still ended up a handful below his Atlantic 10-leading average. He finished 7-of-19 from the floor.
“I think (Yutanabe) was disruptive to Jack,” Davidson coach Bob McKillop said. “I think that’s the best word to use. He was disruptive. And Jack’s response to that has to be to let the game come to him instead of trying to force the issue.”
The Colonials (9-6, 1-1 A-10) found just enough offense to keep Davidson (7-6, 0-2) chasing. An 11-of-18 effort from 3-point range certainly helped. Four free throws from Jaren Sina in the final 26 seconds sealed the victory.
Davidson trailed almost the whole way. Its only lead of the second half lasted just 20 seconds.
After the Wildcats went ahead 50-49 on a 3-pointer from Jon Axel Gudmundsson with 13 minutes, 27 seconds left, George Washington answered with a layup on the other end. The Colonials would push the advantage back out to nine points before the visitors mustered a final charge.
Gibbs scored nine points in the final three minutes. The final bucket – a 3-pointer with 20 seconds left – pulled the Wildcats within 71-69. It wasn’t enough, though. George Washington managed to break the Wildcat press and get Sina to the line to clinch it.
Three who mattered
Yuta Watanabe: He did more than lock down Gibbs. He also provided an offensive spark with 14 points on 6-of-10 shooting.
Will Magarity: He helped pick up the offensive slack for Davidson, finding room around the rim. He equaled his career high with 12 points and added seven rebounds.
Tyler Cavanaugh: GW’s leading scorer created a matchup problem for the Wildcats, scoring inside and out. The result was a team-high 20 points.
▪ Davidson was able to fight through some cold shooting early with aggressive rebounding. The Wildcats – boosted by Magarity, in particular – earned 12 second-chance points and held George Washington to six.
▪ Everybody had a hand in George Washington’s hot shooting. Five different Colonials connected from 3-point range. A deep ball from reserve Matt Hart coming out of the final media timeout provided a gut punch to Davidson’s hopes.
▪ Peyton Aldridge provided his usual steady production, even with his running mate slowed. He led the team in points (20) and rebounds (9).
▪ Davidson stays on the road with a Sunday afternoon matchup at St. Louis. The Billikens sit at the bottom of the A-10 standings at 4-10 overall.
He said it
“We’ve been through this before. Richmond was a game in which we got knocked to the mat, and we came back. Tonight, we got knocked to the mat … and came back. There’s a lot of fight in this team. We’ve got to just make sure we don’t get knocked to the mat.” – McKillop on a second straight narrow loss to start A-10 play.