College Sports

Davidson knocks out St. Bonaventure for A-10 tourney breakthrough

Davidson forward Peyton Aldridge, left, looks to pass in Saturday’s Atlantic 10 Conference tournament game, an 82-70 win against St. Bonaventure. Aldridge finished with a game-high 24 points and added seven rebounds to lead the Wildcats into the tournament championship game.
Davidson forward Peyton Aldridge, left, looks to pass in Saturday’s Atlantic 10 Conference tournament game, an 82-70 win against St. Bonaventure. Aldridge finished with a game-high 24 points and added seven rebounds to lead the Wildcats into the tournament championship game. AP

Davidson is headed to the Atlantic 10 Championship tournament title game for the first time. The No. 3 seed Wildcats, who led by eight at halftime, got 24 points from senior forward Peyton Aldridge and 23 from freshman guard Kellan Grady to overcome No. 2 seed St. Bonaventure 82-70 Saturday at Capital One Arena.

Davidson (20-11) will now face No. 1 seed Rhode Island, ranked No. 25 in the country, in the title game Sunday at 1 p.m. (TV: CBS Sports). “The last three years, we got to the semifinals and were unable to pull it out,” Aldridge said. “We knew we had to finish it. It’s a good feeling.”

St. Bonaventure (25-7) entered the game having won 13 games in a row but now has to sweat out Selection Sunday and a possible at-large berth to the NCAA tourney.

Aldridge hit a 3-pointer with 6 minutes, 40 seconds left to give the Wildcats a 63-59 lead. His dunk with 6:00 left made it 65-59.

Grady made a lefty layup and was fouled with 2:50 left and his free throw built the margin to 73-65. Then his off-balance 3-pointer in front of the Davidson bench made it 76-65 with 1:50 to go for the clincher.

Three who mattered

Peyton Aldridge: The senior from Ohio also had seven rebounds and three assists on Saturday. He made 6-of-7 3-pointers.

Kellan Grady: The Wildcats freshman guard and the A-10 Rookie of the Year scored 13 of his points the first half. He ended the day with three assists and just one turnovers.

Jon Axel Gudmundsson: The Davidson guard had eight turnovers and no assists. Davidson has 23 assists on 28 baskets and just five turnovers.

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Davidson head coach Bob McKillop encourages his team during the second half of Saturday’s Atlantic 10 Conference tournament game in Washington. Davidson beat St. Bonaventure, 82-70. Alex Brandon AP

Observations

▪  The Wildcats have now won seven of their last eight games, picking a good time to get hot. They made 16 3-pointers Saturday and hit 56 percent of their shots from the field.

▪  Davidson has made the conference semifinals the first four years in the league. So much for those that wondered whether the Wildcats could compete after leaving the Southern Conference.

▪  The Wildcats beat No. 1 seed Rhode Island in the regular-season finale 63-61 on March 2.

Celebrate
Members of the Davidson team cheer the fans after Saturday’s Atlantic 10 Conference tournament game in Washington. Davidson beat St. Bonaventure, 82-70 to advance to the finals, where they will face Rhode Island on Sunday. Alex Brandon AP

Worth mentioning

▪  It has been 10 years since the memorable NCAA tourney run by the Wildcats and Steph Curry. Now Davidson most likely will need a win over Rhode Island to gain a spot in March Madness.

▪  Davidson lost 117-113 in triple overtime at St. Bonaventure on Feb. 27 in one of the best games of the season.

▪  The Bonnies’ Jaylen Adams was held to five points in a win on Friday over Richmond but had a strong second half against Davidson. He ended up with a team-high 20 points.

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St. Bonaventure center Amadi Ikpeze (32), Davidson guard Kellan Grady (31) and St. Bonaventure guard Jaylen Adams (3) go for the rebound during the first half of Saturday’s Atlantic 10 Conference tournament game in Washington. Alex Brandon AP

They said it

“I have not even thought about that at this point. I will spend the next two or three hours putting my thoughts together. At this point I am a jumbled mess in terms of my mind.” Davidson coach Bob McKillop, on his message to his team for the title game

“I was just trying to stay active out there on the floor. On the offensive end, I was just trying to continue to crash the glass.” Davidson senior guard Peyton Aldridge

“When they shoot the ball the way they shot it today, they are hard to beat.” Bonnies head coach Mark Schmidt

DAVIDSON 82, ST. BONAVENTURE 70

DAVIDSON (20-11): Michelsen 3-7 0-0 9, Aldridge 8-14 2-2 24, Pritchett 0-0 0-0 0, Grady 8-14 3-3 23, Gudmundsson 3-7 3-5 9, Jones 0-0 0-0 0, Magarity 3-4 0-0 7, Wynter 0-0 0-0 0, Brown 0-0 0-0 0, Collins 0-0 0-0 0, Reigel 3-4 2-2 10, Freundlich 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 28-50 10-12 82.

ST. BONAVENTURE (25-7): Griffin 1-6 0-0 2, Ikpeze 6-9 0-4 12, Adams 6-15 6-6 20, Taqqee 5-6 1-2 11, Mobley 6-17 0-0 17, Ayeni 1-2 0-0 2, Ngalakulondi 2-3 0-0 4, Brockington 1-3 0-1 2, Kaputo 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 28-61 7-13 70.

Halftime—Davidson 37-31. 3-Point Goals—Davidson 16-29 (Aldridge 6-7, Grady 4-7, Michelsen 3-7, Reigel 2-3, Magarity 1-2, Gudmundsson 0-3), St. Bonaventure 7-24 (Mobley 5-16, Adams 2-7, Brockington 0-1). Fouled Out—None. Rebounds—Davidson 22 (Aldridge 7), St. Bonaventure 32 (Taqqee 9). Assists—Davidson 23 (Gudmundsson, Reigel 8), St. Bonaventure 16 (Adams 8). Total Fouls—Davidson 14, St. Bonaventure 14. A—8,756 (20,356).

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