Davidson Men’s Basketball Rallies Past Hot-Shooting Dartmouth, 79-76
DAVIDSON, N.C. – Kellan Grady’s three free throws with 4.7 seconds left gave Davidson the lead it needed, and Carter Collins’ blocked shot just before the final horn sealed a 79-76 Wildcats’ win over Dartmouth Friday night in Belk Arena.
Grady, a preseason first-team Atlantic 10 pick, said he was confident as he headed to the line with the score tied after attempting a 3-pointer from the left wing and being fouled by Chris Knight.
“I always am confident in myself, especially in the last two or three minutes,” said Grady, a 6-5 sophomore from Boston. “I was excited for that opportunity and confident I was going to make all three.”
He did, and it pushed the Wildcats ahead in a game they trailed for more than 25 minutes.
Davidson (2-0) had to rally from a 12-point second-half deficit as Dartmouth (1-1) built its lead by shooting 46 percent from 3-point range, connecting on 15 of 33 attempts. The Wildcats, meanwhile, struggled from beyond the arc, shooting 4-of-18, but a Collins trey from the left corner tied it at 76-all with 54 seconds to play.
With Davidson needing a three to pull even in the final minute, junior guard Jon Axel Gudmundsson fed Collins in the corner after an offensive rebound by Luka Brajkovic. Gudmundsson was open himself at the top of the key, but Collins had an even better look off the extra pass.
“Throwing that pass is one of the growing virtues and character traits that Jon is starting to demonstrate, where he doesn’t feel he has to make the shot or make the play,” said coach Bob McKillop. “He’s got trust in his teammates, and Carter’s been shooting it really well.”
Dartmouth had a chance to retake the lead, but Knight missed a jumper, and Davidson drained the clock before Grady fired a step-back three and drew a foul. After his three free throws put the Wildcats ahead for the first time since it was 26-24, Davidson needed to make one final stop to win. And Collins reacted to contest a 3-point attempt by Big Green guard Brendan Barry. He got a piece of the shot and the ball was well short as the buzzer sounded.
“I was in the right position,” said Collins, who came off the bench to play 25 minutes. “All I had to do was make a play on the ball.”
Trailing 40-33 at the half, Davidson made a concerted effort to get the ball inside and the result was a 52-14 advantage in points in the paint. Most of that production came from freshman forward Brajkovic, who finished with 18 points in his second college game.
“Our guys have confidence in Luka, and they went to him, and he answered,” said McKillop.
Gudmundsson matched his career-high with 24 points and had a team-high eight rebounds, while Grady scored 23 and Collins finished with a career-high nine points.
The Big Green had five players in double figures, led by Adrease Jackson’s 16 and the 15 of Ian Sistare, a former high school teammate of Grady’s who shot 5-of-6 from 3-point range.
Davidson will play in the Charleston Classic Nov. 15-18. The Wildcats will open against Wichita State at 7 p.m. next Thursday.