After suffering its worst conference loss of the season three days ago, Davidson bounced back Tuesday night with one of its biggest wins ever.
Behind Peyton Aldridge and Tyler Kalinoski, the Wildcats stunned No. 22 Dayton 77-60, their first victory against a Top 25 team at Belk Arena.
Aldridge scored 22 points and Kalinoski 21 for Davidson (13-4, 4-2 Atlantic 10), which also snapped a 12-game losing streak against Top 25 teams by knocking off one of the A-10’s frontrunners.
“We weren’t on our heels at all in this game,” Kalinoski said. “To come out like we did, with the toughness and attitude to attack … it was a huge win for us. It kind of reaffirmed our confidence in ourselves.”
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The Wildcats – who lost to Richmond by 26 points Saturday – shot 51.7 percent (30-of-58) and hit 12 of 23 3-pointers in extending their home winning streak to 15 games.
“This was a 40-minute performance, both on the offensive end and defensive end,” Davidson coach Bob McKillop said.
“We had great moments against Virginia Commonwealth and great moments against Virginia, but this is the first time we’ve had a full 40-minute performance on both ends.”
Jordan Sibert and Kendall Pollard had 23 points each for Dayton (15-3, 5-1), which had won eight straight games – all by double digits – and shared the A-10 lead with Virginia Commonwealth.
But Sibert, who scored 18 of the Flyers’ first 29 points, was held to five points the rest of the way. That allowed the Wildcats to extend a 12-point halftime lead to as many as 17 over the final 20 minutes.
Dayton shot 48.9 percent (22-of-45), but hit just 3 of 11 3-pointers and were forced into 16 turnovers.
“We weren’t good enough, sharp enough, to beat them in here tonight,” Flyers coach Archie Miller said. “They really moved the ball offensively and really kept their foot on the pedal.”
The Wildcats played without sophomore guard Jack Gibbs, who injured his knee during the loss to Richmond. His status will be determined Wednesday.
Yet even without Gibbs – the A-10 leader in assists (4.9 per game) and free-throw shooting (90.8 percent) – Davidson pulled ahead by double digits in the first eight minutes and led 45-33 at halftime.
Dayton would pull no closer than 11 points early in the second half. The Wildcats would extend their lead to 17 points five times in the final 81/2 minutes, the last on Kalinoski’s 3-pointer with 18.5 seconds left.
“This might be one of our bigger wins this year,” Kalinoski said. “We overcame the adversity of getting blown out on Saturday and not really knowing where we were, but we didn’t hesitate tonight.
“The coaches kept telling us ‘Attack – don’t hesitate,’ and that’s what we did tonight.”