College Basketball

Davidson upsets St. Bonaventure 90-86 in OT to reach A-10 Tournament semifinals

Davidson guard Rusty Reigel, right, battles for the ball along with Wildcats teammates Peyton Aldridge, lower left, and Andrew McAuliffe against the St. Bonaventure Bonnies during Friday’s quarterfinals game in the Atlantic 10 basketball tournament at the Barclays Center in New York.
Davidson guard Rusty Reigel, right, battles for the ball along with Wildcats teammates Peyton Aldridge, lower left, and Andrew McAuliffe against the St. Bonaventure Bonnies during Friday’s quarterfinals game in the Atlantic 10 basketball tournament at the Barclays Center in New York. Getty Images

Davidson looked finished Friday night, trailing by 12 points to one of the hottest teams in the conference.

Shots weren’t falling, and the Wildcats were having problems matching St. Bonaventure’s athleticism. But Davidson didn’t get flustered, stuck with it, dug deep within and found itself in overtime after Peyton Aldridge sank three huge free throws with 10.9 left in regulation.

The Wildcats made sure they didn’t waste their spirited comeback.

Sixth-seeded Davidson jumped out to an early lead in overtime and never relinquished it, holding on for a wild 90-86 victory over third-seeded St. Bonaventure in an Atlantic 10 Tournament quarterfinal at the Barclays Center.

Davidson (20-11) advanced to Saturday’s 4 p.m. semifinal to take on second-seeded Virginia Commonwealth (23-9).

“It was just a collective thought of we’ve been here before, we’ve been down,” Jack Gibbs said. “Just take it one play at a time, one shot at a time and obviously get defensive stops. Everybody on the team believed that we could get back in the game. We fought as hard as we could, and I thought we did a very good job with that.”

Three who mattered

▪  Jack Gibbs: After an ice-cold shooting night against LaSalle on Thursday and missing his first three shots against the Bonnies, he found his stroke somewhat. Gibbs had 29 points and seven assists, and his two free throws with 4.4 seconds left iced in overtime.

▪  Peyton Aldridge: Recorded a double-double with 17 points and 10 rebounds, but those three free throws he drained near the end of regulation were crucial.

▪  Brian Sullivan: He hit sank 5 of 10 three-pointers, including a clutch one from way out with 1:09 remaining in overtime, and posted 15 points.

Observations

▪  Davidson simply couldn’t get anything easy inside and mostly bombed away from the perimeter. Nearly half (17) of their 37 first-half field goals attempts came beyond the arc, and the Wildcats finished 11 of 32 from three-point range.

▪  Jordan Barham came off the bench and provided a nice spark for Davidson, hitting 6 of 9 shots and giving the Wildcats a lift with 13 points.

▪  Davidson was unable to contain Dion Wright on the interior. The 6-7, 220-pound forward put up 27 shots, connecting on 14, and totaled 32 points and 15 rebounds..

Worth mentioning

▪  Brian Sullivan kept his three-point steak going. He sank at least one for the 48th straight game, which is the second-longest streak in the nation behind the 59 of Troy’s Wesley Person Jr.

▪  St. Bonaventure senior guard Marcus Posley, who had 32 points, hit a tough runner in the lane with just over 30 seconds remaining to put the Bonnies ahead 75-72 but missed a potential game-winning floater at the buzzer.

They said it

▪  “I exaggerated in the huddle. I said we were down 14 points to LaSalle at this time last year. I don’t remember, really. I know we were down 16 at one point, but it resonated with them and they felt they could get back in it. And it was exhilarating to me to hear their conversation on the bench. … There was a positive confidence that permeated on every player on that bench.” — Davidson coach Bob McKillop

Related stories from Charlotte Observer

  Comments