Davidson entered Saturday afternoon’s road game at Duquesne with a 2-6 record on the road and had lost four of its first five Atlantic 10 games away from home. But after weeks of struggles, the Wildcats finally found the right recipe in their 93-82 victory over the Dukes at the Palumbo Center.
The Wildcats pounded the Dukes on the boards, winning the rebounding margin, 52-40. Twenty one of those 52 rebounds were on offense and led to 21 second-chance points.
Davidson used a 20-7 run over the final 5 minutes, 41 seconds of the first half to take a 48-35 halftime lead. The Dukes trimmed the lead to eight midway through the second half, but the Wildcats scored eight of the next nine points to restore the lead to 15.
“For 40 minutes, we rebounded,” coach Bob McKillop said. “For 40 minutes, we made the extra pass. For 40 minutes, when they responded, we answered. It was decisive basketball with details and discipline. The story of the game tonight was the discipline, the details and the effort.”
Davidson improved to 13-8 and evened its conference record at 5-5. Now the Wildcats get to play five of their final eight at home, where they are 10-1.
Three who mattered
Jack Gibbs: The junior guard scored 9 of his game-high 25 points in the final 5:41 of the first half when the Wildcats took command of the game.
Nathan Ekwu: The sophomore forward scored a career-high 14 points on 6-of-9 shooting and pulled down six rebounds.
Rusty Reigel: The sophomore guard entered the game averaging just 1.4 points per game, but in his first start of the season he tied his career high with 10 points, making two of his three attempts from behind the 3-point line.
▪ Sophomore forward Peyton Aldridge had a large cheering section in the stands behind Davidson’s bench. He is from Leavittsburg, Ohio, which is 85 miles northwest of Pittsburgh. The team’s second-leading scorer was held to 4 points, but he got 11 rebounds.
▪ The 21 offensive rebounds were a season high for the Wildcats, who entered the game among the worst rebounding teams in the conference.
▪ After making 12 of their 26 3-pointers on Saturday, the Wildcats are 32 for 60 from the 3-point line in games at Duquesne the past two seasons.
▪ Senior guard Brian Sullivan was 5 for 8 from 3-point range and finished with 22 points and six rebounds.
They said it
“The 21 offensive rebounds, with the size we have, that’s a pretty big statement about the heart of our guys. The size isn’t that overwhelming but the size of their heart is.” – McKillop on the team’s rebounding effort.
“This was a big win for us. We wanted to come out and fight and that’s what we did.”— Gibbs