College Sports

Down big in 2nd half, how Davidson rallied past VCU

Davidson freshman Luke Frampton celebrates after his 3-pointer with 1:09 left gave the Wildcats a 61-55 lead over VCU in Saturday’s Atlantic 10 men’s basketball game at Belk Arena. Davidson won 64-57 to improve to 3-0 in the league.
Davidson freshman Luke Frampton celebrates after his 3-pointer with 1:09 left gave the Wildcats a 61-55 lead over VCU in Saturday’s Atlantic 10 men’s basketball game at Belk Arena. Davidson won 64-57 to improve to 3-0 in the league. TIM COWIE-DavidsonPhotos.com

Davidson’s Wildcats had to rely on what coach Bob McKillop describes as his team’s “principles” during their 64-57 comeback victory against Virginia Commonwealth on Saturday at Belk Arena.

“It’s not plays, it’s principles,” McKillop said after the Wildcats (12-4, 3-0 A-10) overcame a 12-point deficit with 10 minutes, 58 seconds remaining. “They were instinctive and disciplined themselves to use their habits. It was a combination of their talent, skill and principles and it paid a big dividend for us.”

The Wildcats were forced to use everything they had to overcome the Rams (11-5, 2-1), who along with Davidson entered Saturday as one of four teams unbeaten in Atlantic 10 play.

CLT_BKC1-12-19-009
Davidson sophomore guard Kellan Grady knocks down a pull-up jumper against VCU late in the first half of Saturday’s Atlantic 10 men’s basketball game at Belk Arena. Grady finished with a game high 21 points as Davidson won 64-57. TIM COWIE-DavidsonPhotos.com

VCU’s vaunted high-pressure defense, which led the league in field-goal percentage and 3-point shooting, shut down the Wildcats for much of the game. And when the Rams opened the second half on a 22-5 run to take a 45-33 lead, Davidson seemed out of options.

But with sophomore guard Kellan Grady (21 points) providing a spark, the Wildcats rallied.

Holding VCU to two points over the final four minutes, Davidson charged back, tying it 55-55 on a 3-pointer from the corner by KiShawn Pritchett with 2 minutes, 29 seconds left. The Wildcats then took the lead on a tip by Luka Brajkovic with 1:39 left. A 3-pointer by Luke Frampton with 1:09 remaining made it 61-55 and the Rams had nothing left.

The Wildcats survived despite shooting 38.2 percent from the field (they held VCU to 37.3).

The first half was close close, but Davidson got some separation when Grady got going. He scored seven consecutive points, helping the Wildcats break out of an early shooting slump.

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Davidson freshman Luka Brajkovic, right, drops a hook shot over VCU’s Michael Gilmore late in the first half of Saturday’s Atlantic 10 men’s basketball game at Belk Arena. Brajkovic finished with 14 points in Davidson’s 64-57 victory. TIM COWIE-DavidsonPhotos.com

Brajkovic followed his own miss with 42 seconds left in the half, giving the Wildcats a 28-23 lead at intermission.

VCU, however, came out hot in the second half and seemed ready to bury the Wildcats before the rally began.

Three who mattered

Grady: Davidson sophomore guard was electrifying at times, scoring 21 points on 7-of-10 shooting (3-of-4 on 3-pointers). He also had six rebounds, all defensive, including two on two late possessions by VCU.

Marcus Evans, VCU: Rams guard scored 16 points, including seven during VCU’s 16-0 run early in the second half.

Brajkovic: Despite injuring his ankle during the game, Davidson’s freshman forward scored 14 points, had seven rebounds and had a career-high five assists.

Worth mentioning

▪ Davidson had nine turnovers against a VCU defense that forced an average of 18.5 per game. Four of those turnovers came in the first five minutes of the game.

▪ Wildcats guard Jon Axel Gudmundsson played sparingly down the stretch and for a total of just 29 minutes. McKillop said Gudmundsson, who averaged 35.5 minutes per game before Saturday, was weak after being sick and missing practice Thursday and Friday.

▪ Davidson senior forward Nathan Ekwu didn’t play because of a sore knee. Ekwu, who missed last season with a knee injury, hasn’t played in five games this season.

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Davidson coach Bob McKillop shouts instructions to sophomore guard Kellan Grady and the Wildcats in the second half of Saturday’s Atlantic 10 men’s basketball game against VCU at Belk Arena. Davidson won 64-57. TIM COWIE-DavidsonPhotos.com

▪ The Wildcats play again Tuesday at Saint Joseph’s. VCU continues a tough stretch of its schedule against Dayton at home on Wednesday.

They said it

“A will to win and toughness.” – Grady, describing how Davidson was able to rally.

“We really worked this week on the concept of having five quarterbacks. Everyone has to be a dribbler, passer, catcher, cutter and screener. We talk not only having five quarterbacks, but we also need tight ends and an offensive line, because we need to get our teammates open.” – McKillop, using football terms to describe his team’s offense.

“Luke has the ability to hit anything in the halfcourt. I have the utmost confidence in him.” – Grady, on Frampton’s 3-pointer that helped seal the victory.

DAVIDSON 64, VCU 57

Vcu

Min

FG-A

FT-A

R

F

Pt

Mobley

18

1-5

0-0

1

2

3

Santos-Silva

19

2-2

1-4

6

3

5

Vann

22

1-7

2-2

1

3

4

Evans

32

6-13

3-5

7

4

16

Jenkins

31

3-10

2-2

4

1

10

Williams

22

1-5

5-5

6

1

7

Douglas

17

2-2

2-2

1

2

6

Simms

15

1-2

0-0

1

1

2

Crowfield

12

0-2

0-0

4

0

0

Byrd

8

1-2

0-0

1

1

2

Gilmore

4

1-1

0-0

0

1

2

Totals

200

19-51

15-20

32

19

57

Percentages: FG .373, FT .750. 3-Point Goals: 4-24, .167 (Jenkins 2-7, Mobley 1-3, Evans 1-7, Simms 0-1, Crowfield 0-2, Vann 0-2, Williams 0-2). Team Rebounds: 5. Team Turnovers: 13 (7 PTS). Blocked Shots: 4 (Douglas, Jenkins, Santos-Silva, Williams). Turnovers: 13 (Vann 4, Jenkins 2, Santos-Silva 2, Williams 2, Byrd, Douglas, Mobley). Steals: 5 (Douglas, Evans, Mobley, Vann, Williams). Technical Fouls: None.

Davidson

Min

FG-A

FT-A

R

F

Pt

Brajkovic

31

6-15

2-2

7

1

14

Frampton

33

2-10

2-2

2

2

8

Grady

37

7-10

4-5

6

2

21

Gudmundsson

29

2-8

0-2

4

2

4

Pritchett

29

2-6

0-0

3

3

6

Collins

30

2-4

3-4

5

3

7

B.Jones

5

0-0

4-4

1

0

4

Kovacevic

3

0-2

0-0

1

2

0

Czerapowicz

3

0-0

0-0

0

0

0

Totals

200

21-55

15-19

29

15

64

Percentages: FG .382, FT .789. 3-Point Goals: 7-20, .350 (Grady 3-4, Pritchett 2-5, Frampton 2-9, Brajkovic 0-1, Kovacevic 0-1). Team Rebounds: 4. Team Turnovers: 9 (14 PTS). Blocked Shots: 1 (Brajkovic). Turnovers: 9 (Gudmundsson 3, Brajkovic 2, Pritchett 2, Frampton, Grady). Steals: 3 (Frampton, Gudmundsson, Pritchett). Technical Fouls: None.

VCU

23

34

57

Davidson

28

36

64

A—4,556 (5,295).

David Scott: @davidscott14

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