Davidson got its first win over a ranked team Tuesday, beating No. 22 Dayton, 77-60. The Wildcats shot 51.7 percent from the floor, including 52.2 percent from deep, to turn a 45-33 halftime lead into a runaway 17-point victory.
“Tonight was a terrific night for us,” Davidson coach Bob McKillop said on Ferrall on the Bench. “We shot the ball very well. We executed. We had great energy. We had a crowd that really inspired us. And our cuts were sharp. Our energy was good. I thought we carried it down to the defensive end of the floor very well. The Dayton team reminds me of those great teams that Digger Phelps had at Fordham in the late ’60s and early ’70s. They had five interchangeable parts, and they could just play. So interchangeable, so versatile.”
And yet, they had no answer for forward Peyton Aldridge and guard Tyler Kalinoski, who each shot 9-of-14 from the floor and combined to shoot 7-of-12 from long distance.
“Peyton is only a freshman,” McKillop said. “When we recruited him, we felt we got a steal. He certainly has proved that all year long. He played 40 minutes tonight. Tyler Kalinoski, not many people recruited him out of Kansas City. He has been here for four years. Two NCAA bids, an NIT bid, and now he’s put his imprint on this program. Just a great leader of our program and just a terrific player as well.”
Aldridge, who is from Warren, Ohio, is one of four Ohio players on the roster. It helps that McKillop’s son, Matt, who is an assistant coach, married a girl from Ohio.
“That’s why he’s a good recruiter,” McKillop joked.
Davidson, of course, rose to national prominence in 2008, when Stephen Curry led the Wildcats to within a three-pointer of the Final Four. Scott Ferrall said that watching Curry, who is sixth in the NBA with 23.2 points per game, is the “greatest thing I do on a nightly basis.”
“Well, he came in with great genes,” McKillop said. “His mom and dad were terrific athletes. Dell and Sonya are salt of the earth in terms of people. He’s two years old and he’s going to shoot-arounds for the Toronto Raptors and Charlotte Hornets. He grew up in the game. I’m a great believer that when you grow up watching the game – and really watching it – you understand the game. I think that’s Stephen’s greatest asset: his ability to see the game. He sees the game. He’s one stop ahead of everybody on a screen. He’s one step ahead of everybody on a steal. He’s one step ahead of everybody on a pass. Because he has such great vision.”
With the win over Dayton, Davidson (13-4, 4-2) improved to fourth in the Atlantic-10 standings and got back in the groove after losing by 26 at Richmond this past Saturday.
“We got out butts handed to us,” McKillop said. “This is a situation in which anybody can knock anybody off. We’re delighted to be where we are at this point. The expectations weren’t very high, but they’re continuing to grow. I’m just thrilled with the way our players have responded to this challenge.”
Davidson, which ranks eighth in the country in scoring (82.1 points per game) and sixth in assists (17.6), plays at George Mason (6-11, 1-4) this Saturday. Tip-off is at 7 p.m. ET.