latest headlines

Davidson stars run out of gas against Dayton Flyers

Published: Saturday, February 25, 2017 @ 9:07 AM
By: David Jablonski

Davidson stars Jack Gibbs and Peyton Aldridge, the second highest-scoring tandem in the country with 42.5 points per game between them, were great for about the first 32 minutes Friday night against the Dayton Flyers at Belk Arena. They were so-so for the last 13.

It’s not easy playing every minute of a basketball game, especially when you did the same thing three days earlier in the case of Aldridge. Gibbs did get a one-minute break Tuesday against Richmond. He played Friday with a protective mask on his face.

There’s no doubt Gibbs and Aldridge, who each scored 27 points, had little left for the overtime period when Dayton rallied from a 70-57 deficit in the final eight minutes. That’s a big reason Dayton won 89-82.

“We definitely wore them down,” said Dayton senior Kendall Pollard, who had to guard Aldridge for a good chunk of the game. “I don’t think Aldridge scored for the last ... I don’t know the time frame. I did a good job on him. Charles did a good job on Gibbs. Collectively, we played defense and we locked down.”

PHOTOS: 23 pics for 23 wins

Aldridge made 11 of 19 shots from the field, including 4 of 9 3-pointers. He scored two points in the final 11 minutes of the second half and none in overtime. His last basket put Davidson ahead 74-72 with 44 seconds to play. Xeyrius Williams tied the game 12 seconds later with a layup.

Gibbs made 9 of 21 shots from the field, including 4 of 12 3-pointers. He had six assists but also six turnovers.

“Jack played 45 minutes,” Davidson coach Bob McKillop said. “Peyton played 45 minutes. They emptied their tank.”

RELATED: Dayton seniors ready for ‘the last March’

Dayton’s starters played big minutes, too. Charles Cooke saw 39 minutes of action. Pollard played 35. Dayton had enough depth, however, to take fresher bodies into overtime.

Scoochie Smith had better legs than most of the players in the game because he rested on the bench with foul trouble for three of the last six minutes of the second half. That break paid off when he hit three 3-pointers in the first three minutes of overtime.

Davidson (14-13, 7-9) still could have won the game in the final seconds of regulation. Gibbs missed a shot over the outstretched arms of Cooke with seconds to play. Pollard got the rebound and dribbled over halfcourt before throwing up a prayer that almost banked in at the buzzer.

After the game, McKillop explained Davidson’s final play.

“We had two options,” McKillop said. “The one option was to get Jack a shot. They played it pretty well. The second option was to get a down screen for Peyton and then to play off Peyton. We got Jack a great look. I thought Jack’s look at the basket was terrific. I thought they executed incredibly well. We shot it at the time we wanted to shoot it. (Dayton) had three seconds left to do anything with it. I thought that shot was down.”

Davidson shot 49.2 percent from the field against Dayton. That’s the best any team has done against the Flyers in Atlantic 10 play. Nebraska (56.9 percent) remains the only team to top 50 percent against UD. The Flyers lead the A-10 in field-goal percentage defense (40.9).

“Dayton is superb as a defensive team,” McKillop said. “Their quickness at five spots, their length at five spots and they bring three, four, five guys off the bench that have that same quickness and length. They’re aggressive and tough, and they certainly play that way. It was a combination of us putting it on the floor when we shouldn’t have or going to places we shouldn’t have and them being very good defensively.”