College Basketball

Shorthanded Davidson squad tops Lenoir-Rhyne in exhibition at home

While Davidson was shorthanded in Saturday’s exhibition game against Lenoir-Rhyne, it was no problem for the reigning Atlantic 10 regular season champs.

The remaining players stepped up in the Wildcats’ 96-64 victory over the Bears at Belk Arena.

Jack Gibbs scored 30 points and Brian Sullivan added 22 for the Davidson, who were without two key players from last season’s championship team.

Senior Jordan Barham (hamstring and knee) and sophomore Jordan Watkins (shoulder) were in street clothes on the bench Saturday, as were freshmen Dusan Kovacevic and KiShawn Pritchett, who are both out for the season recovering from knee operations.

That gave the Wildcats only 11 players to dress out for the home exhibition, with eight players getting most of the playing time.

Three who mattered

Jack Gibbs: Shot 10 of 21 from the field, including 4 of 8 on 3-pointers, and 6 of 7 on free throws. He also pulled down seven rebounds, had five assists and two steals.

Brian Sullivan: Hit 4 of 9 from the field, including 3 of 7 3-pointers, and 11 of 13 from the free throw line. The senior also had three assists and four rebounds.

Peyton Aldridge: Had a double-double with a game-high 14 rebounds and 13 points for the Wildcats.

Observations

▪  Sophomore forward Aldridge was “Mr. Versatile” for Davidson, spending time playing at all five positions – even point guard, bringing the ball up court during the closing minutes of Saturday’s exhibition.

▪  Davidson twice had an injury scare in the second half, when Sullivan came up limping after getting knocked to the floor with 16:35 left, and when Jake Belford – who missed most of last season with a knee injury – grabbed his right leg two minutes later. Sullivan stayed in the game, and Belford returned soon after heading to the sidelines to be treated for a cramp.

▪  The Bears didn’t make their first 3-pointer until late in the first half, missing 13 straight. JacQues Chambers finally connected with 2:38 left. He finished the game 3 of 5 on 3-pointers; the rest of Lenoir-Rhyne’s lineup shot a combined 4 of 27 from behind the arc.

Worth mentioning

▪  First-year Lenoir-Rhyne coach Ryan Odom is the son of former Wake Forest and South Carolina coach Dave Odom, and he served as Charlotte’s interim coach last season when 49ers head coach Alan Major was sidelined with medical issues.

▪ Davidson opens its season at Belk Arena Nov. 14 against Central Florida, and will play four consecutive home games before its annual Hornets’ Nest Trophy game at Charlotte on Dec. 1.

They said it

“There were a lot of positives to take out of this game, a lot of encouraging signs. There were some guys who filled in some very important roles, and gave us some rhythm and flow.” – Davidson coach Bob McKillop.

“Everyone on the bench needs to be ready to step up if they’re ever needed. The people who came in and played minutes … did a great job. They moved the offense, attacked when they could. We really didn’t miss a beat.” – Gibbs.

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