Davidson’s Wildcats couldn’t overcome off nights by their foul-plagued top players in a season-opening 76-66 loss Friday against Auburn in the Veterans Classic at the Naval Academy.
The 24th-ranked Tigers held down Davidson guards Jon Axel Gudmoundsson and Kellan Grady and forward Luka Brajkovic for much of the night. Gundmundsson, last season’s Player of the Year in the Atlantic 10, scored seven points on 2-of-7 shooting. Grady, a preseason All-Conference selection, scored six on 2-of-10 shooting. Brajkovic, who picked up his fourth foul midway through the second half, was held scoreless, missing his only shot.
Auburn never trailed and led by as many as 13 points. The Wildcats cut the Tigers’ lead to four points late in the game but that was as close as they would come.
Junior guard Carter Collins and sophomore guard Luke Frampton both scored 18 to lead the Wildcats. Junior forward Bates Jones came off the bench to grab seven rebounds.
Isaac Okoro had 18 points for Auburn, a national semifinalist last season.
Davidson redshirt freshman guard Mike Jones suffered a season-ending knee injury in an exhibition before the 2018-19 season. So Friday was Jones’ first regular-season game in a Davidson uniform, and he made it count. Playing with a brace on his right knee, the sharp-shooting Jones scored 14 points (all in the first half) on 4-of-8 shooting from 3-point range.
Davidson forward Luka Brajkovic never got untracked, mostly due to foul trouble. He picked up his fourth foul with 11:24 remaining.
In case you missed it
Davidson senior guard KiShawn Pritchett missed the game with recurring knee soreness. Pritchett has had trouble with the knee for much of his career and missed his true freshman season because of it.
Making sense of the numbers
Davidson was able to keep Auburn’s lead manageable by making 20-of-23 free throws.