Wildcats Boise Bound After Capturing First-Ever A-10 Tournament Title
WASHINGTON, D.C. – Kellan Grady’s baseline floater with 1:14 remaining ended a lengthy field-goal drought, and lifted Davidson to its first-ever Atlantic 10 Conference Tournament Championship, with a 58-57 victory over top-seeded Rhode Island on Sundayafternoon at Capital One Arena.
In addition to receiving the league’s automatic bid, the Wildcats advance to their 14th NCAA Tournament and ninth under head coach Bob McKillop.
Peyton Aldridge, the A-10 Co-Player of the Year, was named the championship’s Most Outstanding Player, while Grady, the conference’s Rookie of the Year, joined him on the all-tournament team.
Davidson (21-11) will face Kentucky in the first round of the South Regional NCAA Tournament in Boise, Idaho. The game is scheduled for Thursday, March 15.
After pushing the margin to as many as eight on separate occasions, the Wildcats would go 12 minutes and 50 seconds between field goals. Rhode Island (25-7) took advantage of the lengthy dry spell, reeling off 11 straight points capped off by an E.C. Matthews trey to grab its largest lead, 56-52, with 3:41 left.
Trailing 57-54 with just under 2 minutes to play, Grady made it a one-point game with a pair of free throws and hit the game-winner on the very next possession.
Jeff Dowtin had a chance to win it for the defending tournament champs, but Davidson’s defense forced a long fall away 3-pointer that missed short.
Grady paced the Wildcats with 17 points, while Aldridge added 13 to go along with 7 rebounds. Jon Axel Gudmundsson and backcourt mate KiShawn Pritchett finished with 9 points each for Davidson, which converted 14-of-16 from the charity stripe.
Matthews was the lone Rhode Island player in double figures, scoring a game-high 20 points.
Davidson jumped out to an 11-4 advantage, however the Rams responded with a spurt of their own to go in front, 18-16. From there, the two teams went back and forth the remainder of the opening period before Rhode Island carried a 33-32 lead into the half.
In a game that featured 10 lead changes and 4 ties, both teams shot 38 percent from the floor, while the Rams made just 9-of-17 free throws.