Davidson’s Wildcats entered their Atlantic 10 game Sunday against Richmond as perhaps the most efficient offensive team in college basketball, leading the country in assist-turnover ratio.
But the Spiders turned that strength into a liability on the way to a 66-63 victory at Belk Arena.
In handing the Wildcats (10-9, 5-3 A-10) their second straight loss in a row, the Spiders (8-13, 6-3) flipped the script on Davidson, which came in with a 1.9 assist-turnover ratio.
Richmond, using a pesky matchup zone, forced 17 turnovers and limited the Wildcats to nine assists. That kind of unwanted havoc in Davidson’s normally precise offense led to 19 Spiders points from those turnovers, something the Wildcats couldn’t overcome.
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“That’s the dramatic stat,” said Wildcats coach Bob McKillop. “Richmond sped us up. We panicked a bit. But that was the story of the game.”
The Wildcats were never able to find any kind of offensive consistency, making 46 percent of their shots and 7-of-22 3-pointers (about four fewer than their average). Leading scorer Peyton Aldridge had 18 points on 7-of-13 shooting, but 13 of those points came in the second half.
Still, the Wildcats had their chances at the end against the Spiders, who got 24 points from freshman Grant Golden. But, trailing 65-61 with 30 seconds left after Richmond point guard Jacob Gilyard missed a free throw, an unforced turnover gave the ball back to the Spiders. After another missed Richmond free throw, the Wildcats had another chance to get closer, but Aldridge missed a 3-pointer from the corner with 13 seconds left.
Three who mattered
Golden: The Spiders’ 6-foot-10 freshman forward, scored 24 points on 11-of-15 shooting and had five rebounds. Included was a stretch during which he scored 10 of Richmond’s first 15 points of the second half.
Jon Axel Gudmundsson: Davidson’s sophomore guard scored 21 points, had six rebounds, four assists, a block and a steal. But he also turned it over four times.
Aldridge: Worked hard for every one of those 18 points, about two under his season average. The Spiders double-teamed him constantly.
▪ The game included three of the Atlantic 10’s top freshmen players – Davidson guard Kellan Grady (14 points) and Richmond’s Golden and Gilyard (14 points, four assists, three steals).
▪ Richmond’s Golden is playing this season after he collapsed during a game in December 2016 due to an accelerated heart rate. Golden had corrective surgery, was granted a medical redshirt and has been a key performer for the Spiders.
▪ The Wildcats, who entered the game averaging 8.6 turnovers, had four in a row during one first-half stretch.
▪ Davidson inducted five into its athletics hall of fame Saturday: Megan Hollar Jenkins (swimming and diving), John Latting (soccer), Dan Simonds (baseball), David Sprinkle (football) and Brendan Winters (basketball.)
▪ The Wildcats had won five consecutive games since an A-10 opening loss at Richmond on Dec. 28. Davidson has now lost two straight – by one point at Dayton and to Richmond again – and plays La Salle at home Wednesday. The Spiders, who moved into a tie for second in the league with Virginia Commonwealth, are home against George Mason on Saturday. Davidson has lost four in a row against Richmond over the past two seasons.
“We spent an enormous amount of time making cuts against their defense, but they weren’t coming at the right time. We almost wore ourselves out.” – McKillop.
“They played really aggressive on defense. We were prepared, but they seemed to get to us today.” -- Aldridge.
“We are ever so close. After these last two games, we’re 5-3 but we could just as easily be 7-1. Our margin for error is so small.” – McKillop.