College Basketball

Davidson’s Jack Gibbs leads Wildcats past Charlotte 49ers

Davidson guard Jack Gibbs (12) breaks past Charlotte's Braxton Ogbueze (1) to score two of his 41 points as the Wildcats take on the 49ers' in the Battle of the Hornets' Nest annual non-conference basketball game at Halton Arena on Tuesday, December 01, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Gibbs 41 points was a career high as Davidson won 109-74.
Davidson guard Jack Gibbs (12) breaks past Charlotte's Braxton Ogbueze (1) to score two of his 41 points as the Wildcats take on the 49ers' in the Battle of the Hornets' Nest annual non-conference basketball game at Halton Arena on Tuesday, December 01, 2015 in Charlotte, North Carolina. Gibbs 41 points was a career high as Davidson won 109-74. Tim Cowie - DavidsonPhotos.com

Davidson guard Jack Gibbs torched the Charlotte 49ers for a career-high 41 points Tuesday, leading the Wildcats past the 49ers 109-74 in front of a crowd of 7,571 at Halton Arena.

With former Davidson star Stephen Curry watching from behind the Wildcats bench, Gibbs made his first 14 shots and went 6-of-7 from 3-point range. The Wildcats handed the 49ers their most lopsided defeat in the 42 games played between the two Mecklenburg County rivals.

“Sometimes a shooter gets in a zone and with Baryshnikov in the stands there, Jack had a little bit of inspiration,” said Davidson coach Bob McKillop of the effect of having Curry in the building. “The players knew he was there. That kind of inspiration can be magical.”

In keeping the Hornets Nest Trophy for a third consecutive year, Davidson improved to 5-0 (its best start since 1968) as they now prepare to play at ninth-ranked North Carolina on Sunday.

Five days after losing by 55 points to Michigan – the worst loss in Charlotte’s Division I history – the 49ers dropped to 1-6. It’s the 49ers slowest start since the 2008-09 season.

The Wildcats, who were one of the country’s top 3-point shooting teams last season, were only making 31.9 percent of their long-range shots entering Tuesday’s game. But they broke out of the slump in a big way against the 49ers, making 15 of 29 3-pointers.

“It wasn’t like we weren’t planning for (Gibbs),” said 49ers coach Mark Price. “We knew who their best player was. But we didn’t show up with any heart and fire. You can’t let guys like that get going.”

3 who mattered

Jack Gibbs: Wildcats guard picked apart Charlotte’s defense with a variety of moves, scoring 41 points on 14-of-17 shooting (including 6-of-7 from 3-point range).

Brian Sullivan: Davidson guard was actually overshadowed by Gibbs but shook off an early-season shooting slump by making 6-of-10 3-pointers and scoring 23 points. Also had four assists.

Bernard Sullivan: 49ers forward worked hard for his 20 points, also grabbing seven rebounds.

Observations

▪ Three of the NBA’s best-ever 3-point shooters were in Halton Arena – two behind the Davidson bench (Stephen and dad Dell Curry) and one on Charlotte’s bench (Price).

▪ The game was originally scheduled for Wednesday, but the 49ers agreed to move it to Tuesday to avoid a conflict with Wednesday’s Hornets-Warriors game at Time Warner Cable Arena.

“I would like to say a special thank you to Mark Price, who as graciously and as gentlemanly as anyone could do, (agreed) to move the game,” said McKillop. “I don’t know many people in Division I coaching who would do something as gracious and as kind as that.”

▪ It will be fascinating to see how Gibbs matches up Sunday with North Carolina’s Marcus Paige.

Worth mentioning

▪  Davidson looked like it would put a Michigan-esque hurting on the 49ers midway through the first half, when the Wildcats stretched their lead to 26 points. But a late 14-2 run allowed Charlotte to cut the Davidson lead 59-43 at halftime.

▪  49ers freshman Ridell Camidge isn’t shy about shooting. He put up 14 shots in 23 minutes (making five).

They said it

“I’m a great believer that the two greatest gifts we have are time and love. He gave us those two gifts tonight. How lucky are we?” – McKillop on Curry’s presence at the game.

“Last year did great job of playing free, with no expectations. This year we let that get to us a little bit. But we’re getting it back and that showed tonight.” – Davidson’s Brian Sullivan.

“If this doesn’t spark something in our team, if this doesn’t get our minds right, I don’t know what will.” – Charlotte’s Bernard Sullivan.

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