Jack Gibbs wanted the ball in his hands late during the Atlantic 10 quarterfinals Friday, and that’s what happened. The senior guard sank back-to-back contested 3-pointers to push Davidson to a dramatic 73-67 upset win over Dayton.
Dayton, the tournament’s No. 1 seed, had erased a 37-25 halftime deficit to make a game of its matchup with the ninth-seeded Wildcats, tying the score twice with under four minutes remaining before taking its first lead with 2 minutes, 17 seconds left. It was the first time Davidson had trailed since the game’s opening minute.
Enter Gibbs, stage center. After freshman teammate Jon Axel Gudmundsson tied the score with a 3-pointer soon afterward, Gibbs followed by canning a pair of step-back 3-pointers in the final minute.
“Wow,” said Davidson coach Bob McKillop. “Two big plays down the stretch by Jack Gibbs. No surprise. Four years of big plays by Jack Gibbs.”
Davidson (17-14) will face No. 4 Rhode Island (22-9) Saturday at 1 p.m in the semifinals.
Three who mattered
Gibbs: Pushed Davidson to initial, early lead before late-game heroics. He finished with game-high and arena-record 34 points, and surpassed the 2,000-point career milestone.
Peyton Aldridge, Davidson: Aldridge, a junior forward, scored 14 points and grabbed nine boards, a day after notching 33 points and 10 rebounds.
Charles Cooke, Dayton: Helped key Dayton’s second-half charge with nine of his 14 points, including a 3-pointer to give the Flyers their brief lead late.
▪ Davidson has learned how to play with a lead. This was the second straight game in which the Wildcats held a big advantage, fell off and then rebounded.
▪ A little scene in the second half occurred when Gibbs reacted intensely to a no-call on play that sent him to floor. He threw his face mask to the floor in frustration.
▪ With Friday’s win, Davidson has advanced to the A-10 tournament semifinals in each of its three seasons as a league member.
▪ Davidson shot 12 of 13 from free-throw line, marking the first time it finished 90 percent or better at the stripe since Nov. 26.
▪ The Wildcats avenged an 89-82 overtime defeat two and a half weeks ago at home to Flyers.
They said it
“We are just going to make sure we're ready, wherever the NCAA places us next week. It ain't going to end up like this.” — Dayton's Scoochie Smith on dealing with extended layoffs before playoff games.
“We pride ourselves in being a team that learns its lessons because there is focus and there is a sense of care about listening to what they are told, following the script.”— McKillop on the team’s solid play since tight losses to Dayton and Rhode Island to end the regular season.