College Basketball

Davidson Wildcats finish strong to beat La Salle

La Salle led Davidson for 38 minutes, 42 seconds of their Atlantic 10 quarterfinal game Friday at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center.

That wasn’t enough time for the 11th-seeded Explorers, who lost to the top-seeded Wildcats 67-66 on a last-second layup by Tyler Kalinoski.

“I was surprised the shot went in,” said La Salle coach John Giannini. “I expected them to do what they normally do, and that’s take the best shot they can get and be aggressive.”

Giannini also said he wasn’t taken aback that Wildcats coach Bob McKillop didn’t call a timeout to set up the final play after La Salle’s Jordan Price missed a 3-pointer with 16 seconds left and the Explorers leading 66-65, and was confident his team could get one final stop.

“(We) were getting back on defense the whole game,” said Giannini. “They took a very difficult shot. It’s not like they didn’t get a great shot because they didn’t call a timeout.”

Said La Salle center Steve Zack, who had a career-high 24 points: “We weren’t even thinking about them calling a timeout. We were thinking about getting back in transition.”

Notes

▪ McKillop said he was happy his team cut what was an 18-point deficit to nine at halftime after guard Brian Sullivan hit a 3-pointer from the corner as the buzzer sounded. His players, however, were upset at their overall performance.

“I walk in the locker room and I (say) ‘Yay!’” said McKillop. “And (the players) walk in the locker room and … ”

McKillop made some noises that sounded like grumblings of frustration.

“What kind of halftime talk are you going to have?” said McKillop. “Well, mine was pretty uplifting. What’s theirs going to be like?”

More grumbling noises from McKillop.

“That’s our whole theory,” he said.

▪ Davidson freshman forward Peyton Aldridge continues to struggle offensively. Aldridge, who scored three points on one-of-six shooting against La Salle, is averaging 4.7 points over Davidson’s last nine games, about half of his season average of 9.6 per game.

Maybe it’s the freshman “wall,” but Aldridge is making up for it elsewhere. He continues to defend well and averages 1.1 block per game (including two against La Salle). Aldridge also had eight rebounds against the Explorers and averages 5.2 per game.

▪ Davidson and VCU split their two games in the regular season, the Rams winning 71-66 in Richmond, Va., and the Wildcats winning 82-55 at Belk Arena. The major difference in those games was the absence at Davidson of VCU guard Briante Weber, who is out for the season with a knee injury.”

▪ Although it seemed like Davidson was suffering from an off-day shooting the 3-pointer, the Wildcats actually made more (14) than they average per game (10.6) and at a slightly higher percentage (40.0 to 39.4). Many of the Wildcats’ 19 misses were open looks.

▪ Richmond got a strong effort from guard Kendall Anthony in its loss against VCU. Anthony, who is 5-foot-8, 140 pounds, played just shy of all 40 minutes, scoring 26 points, with six assists and four steals. Anthony made 12-of-16 shots and both his 3-pointers.

Quoting

“Not really. They only have one center. If you look at the roster, that’s the game they play.” – La Salle center Steve Zack, after being asked if he was surprised Davidson stuck with a “small” lineup.

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