LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. — The Atlantic 10 conference season should be entertaining.
By fending off a late Arizona State charge, Davidson finished off the 2016 Tire Pros Invitational with a pair of victories, defeating the Sun Devils, 68-60 on Sunday afternoon.
“We are certainly delighted to come down here to Orlando and get two very good wins against two very well-coached and very good teams,” said Davidson head coach Bob McKillop. “It’s a great statement about our guys.”
A back-and-forth contest early, neither team led by more than a possession for the first fourteen minutes.
The Wildcats broke the low-scoring monotony with a 10-2 spurt, spurred forward by back-to-back triples from Rusty Reigel, to seize a 26-18 lead. An old-fashioned three-pointer by Reigel pushed Davidson to a half-high 11-point advantage.
In the second half, Davidson star Jack Gibbs stole the show, scoring 23 of his game-high 28 points. The senior produced primarily from the charity stripe as he had 21 free throw attempts, 16 of which he made.
Jon Axel Gudmundsson’s three-pointer at the 14:58 mark ran the Wildcats’ lead to a game-high 18.
Bobby Hurley’s Sun Devils persisted in keeping the score close. 9 consecutive Arizona State points drew the PAC-12 representative into a 53-45 game with 6:55 remaining in regulation.
Although Gibbs had Davidson leading 59-45, Arizona State guard Tra Holder, swollen eye and all, scored seven straight points to pace his offense. Holder was the high scorer for his team with 18 points total (8 rebounds).
“He (Tra Holder) is good, he’s quick, he knows how to get to the basket and get into your body and draw fouls,” stated Gibbs.
The closest the Sun Devils would inch within was four, and that occurred inside the final minute. Four made Gibbs free throws sealed the victory for the Wildcats.
“I thought that it would translate to a win if you told me we would hold them to 68,” said Arizona State head coach Bobby Hurley. “The guys who had been scoring for us just had poor shooting nights.”
While Jack Gibbs tied the three-game Tire Pros Invitational record with 71 total points, Peyton Aldridge, Will Magarity, and Rusty Reigel provided a potent supporting cast. Aldridge, in a performance that broke his streak of 20+ point games, posted a double-double of 12 points and 11 rebounds. Magarity was two rebounds shy of a double-double with 10 points and 8 rebounds. Reigel netted 9 points.
Including Holder, four Sun Devils finished in double-figures. Shannon Evans II made 4 three-pointers in a 13-point, 7-rebound effort. Sam Cunliffe and Obinna Oleka had 11 points apiece.
3-1 Davidson hosts Former Atlantic 10 rival Charlotte on Saturday, November 26.
– P. Wesner