Last evening, I had no such luxury of time. Yesterday had been a baseball bonanza of a day. First I had Little League Coach Pitch Baseball evaluations. Over one hundred kids, including my younger son, Jonny, came out to evaluate at Trenholm Park, which happened to be on the same day of a volleyball tournament in the rec center of Trenholm Park. Thus an overwhelmed parking lot. Then a group of coaches, consisting of nine teams went into a room at the rec center building and drafted those one hundred players. That took four hours of my day.
Nope, Matthew and I had tickets to see one of my favorite teams to watch live, the Wildcats. Wasn't missing that. But the result was that we got to the University a few minutes after the game started. We walked through the beautiful campus of Davidson College and made to our seats at Belk Arena ten minutes in the first half with Davidson leading Duquesne 24-13.
Those three NCAA Elite Eight appearances are still just a sample of the long history of success of the program. When you look up in the rafters of the arena, you can't help but notice all the banners; all the Southern Conference championships, the NIT appearances and the twelve NCAA appearances. Seven of those twelve appearances are a result largely of one man and it's not Steph Curry. It's Bob McKillop, the man who recruited Curry to Davidson.
McKillop's teams pride themselves on movement, both with the ball and without the ball. You will screens, picks, back door cuts, nice post passes and most importantly, good shooters. Davidson's offense is truly fun to watch and McKillop is the mastermind behind it.
When we got to our seats, freshman Peyton Aldridge drilled a three to put the Wildcats up 27-15. With the three pointer, Aldridge already had ten points in ten minutes of action. The Dukes would respond scoring five of the next six points to cut the lead to eight, 28-20. Jordan Watkins put Davidson up by ten 30-20.
Then things got really wild. Six of the next seven baskets scored were three pointers; three by Davidson and three by Duquesne. Tyler Kalinoski assisted on two of the Wildcats' three pointers, and hit the other three pointer. L.G. Gill capped the three point barrage for the Dukes, banking in a three pointer to cut the Davidson lead to eight once again, 39-31. Everyone thought it was a one time fluke, but Gill would later bank another three pointer at the end of the first half. Whether it was a fluke or not, that's for Gill to know and us likely to never find out.
Duquesne did their best to hang in there, shooting 48 percent from the field in the first half, including shooting fifty percent from three (five of ten), Yet they were down fourteen points at the half.
Starting the second half, considering probability, you would figure that the Wildcats would slow down scoring wise in the second half . And at least for the first minute and a half, the Wildcats did exactly that, as they went scoreless. The problem was that the Dukes couldn't take advantage and missed on all four of their field goal attempts and turned the ball over once during those first ninety seconds.
Gill buried another three pointer and TySean Powell added a three point play to cut the deficit to fifteen, 67-52 with fourteen minutes left in the game. But that's as close as the Dukes got the rest of the way as Duquesne simply could not keep up with the Davidson offense. The Dukes went ice cold from beyond the arc in the second half, shooting one of twelve from three in the last twenty minutes of the game.
The barrage on the Dukes was relentless as the Wildcats extended the lead to eventually twenty six, 95-69 with two minutes left. That's when McKillop cleared his bench and that would be the final score.
What was scary about this is that the Wildcats second best player, Jack Gibbs is still indefinitely out with a slight meniscus tear in his knee. What might even be more scary is that Kalinoski is the only senior that plays significant minutes for Davidson.
As we headed out, I took a picture of the Wildcat statute, which is directly across from the Belk Arena entrance. At a night, it's an ominous sight. And if Davidson keeps playing like they did last night, the Wildcats will be an ominous sight for A-10 opponents for seasons to come.