College Basketball

Davidson works to rebounf from season’s worst loss

Coach Bob McKillop didn’t wait long to break down the game tape for his players from Davidson’s Atlantic 10 basketball loss to Richmond on Saturday night.

Now he wants to see how the Wildcats respond when they host No. 22-ranked Dayton at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Belk Arena. CBS Sports Network will broadcast the game.

Davidson (12-4, 3-2) is coming off an 89-63 loss to the Spiders, the Wildcats’ worst loss this season and their worst conference loss in McKillop’s 26 seasons as coach.

“Oh yeah, that was taken care of (Sunday),” McKillop said about breaking down the Richmond loss. “The preparation for Dayton began as soon as that film session ended.

“It will depend on how we respond to it. I don’t think we can figure that out until we take the court the next time. We certainly have gone onto the practice court with the intent of making it a springboard instead of a setback.”

Davidson – which had won two straight before the Richmond loss – must bounce back quickly against the Flyers (15-2, 5-0), who share the conference lead with No. 16 Virginia Commonwealth.

Dayton leads the Atlantic 10 in scoring defense (58.1 points per game) and field goal defense (38.7 percent). In league games, the Flyers have been even better, holding opponents to 53.8 points .

But they will be going against a Davidson team that, despite Saturday’s loss, still leads the conference in a dozen offensive categories, including scoring (82.4 points per game, good for eighth in the nation), free-throw shooting (74.7 percent), field-goal shooting (47.4 percent) and 3-point shooting (39.4 percent).

“It’s the best offense we’ll see this year,” said Dayton coach Archie Miller, the former N.C. State point guard. “Going there and playing them for the first time, it’ll be a funny feeling very early in the game. We’ll have to take a couple punches and find a way to defend the 3-point line. It’s going to be a heck of a challenge.”

The Wildcats also face a challenge in taking on the Flyers, who returned eight players (including two starters) from a team that advanced to the NCAA tournament’s Elite Eight last year.

Dayton enters Tuesday’s game riding an eight-game winning streak and holding its first national ranking since December 2013. Before Saturday’s loss to the Spiders, Davidson’s three previous losses came against top 25 teams – then-No. 6 North Carolina, then-No. 3 Virginia and then-No. 22 VCU.

“Y’know, it might be a little step back, just in the way we played,” senior Tyler Kalinoski said after the loss to Richmond. “But I don’t want to look at it like a step back. If we do that, then we start thinking ‘Where are we at now?’ going into the Dayton game.

“We had a bad game, and we didn’t play very well. We’ve just got to come out against Dayton ready to play.”