(Legendary coaches Bob McKillop of Davidson (top right) and Phil Martelli of Saint Joseph’s squared off in this one – Photo by Jason Schott)
In the night session of the Atlantic 10 Quarterfinals on Friday at Barclays Center, second-seeded Davidson outlasted #10 Saint Joseph’s 70-60, while #6 Saint Louis upset third-seeded Dayton, 64-55. They will face off in the Semifinals on Saturday afternoon around 3:30 p.m.
Davidson 70, Saint Joseph’s 60:
This game was pretty even throughout, with a 27-26 halftime lead for Davidson, who then opened up a seven-point edge early in the second half. That would be short-lived, as St. Joseph’s kept chipping away and tied it at 52 the 7:15 mark on a Lamarr Kimble layup, and a couple minutes later, another Kimble layup put them up four, at 56-52.
Davidson then went on an 8-0 run, and St. Joe’s came right back to tie it at 60 with 2:21 left, which was fitting that this battle of amazing coaches – Davidson’s Bob McKillop and St. Joe’s Phil Martelli – would go the distance.
Incredibly, Davidson’s Jon Alex Gudmundsson reeled off eight straight points, the start of a 10-0 run to close out the game.
Gudmundsson finished with 18 points on 6-13 shooting, with 11 rebounds, 6 assists, 2 steals, and a block to lead the Wildcats. Kellan Grady also had 18 points (7-18 FG, 2-4 threes), with 6 rebounds and an assist. Luka Brajkovic had 15 points (6-15 FG), with 4 rebounds, 2 assists, a block, and a steal. Carter Collins had 10 points off the bench on 3-6 from the field, with 6 rebounds and 2 assists.
St. Joe’s was led by Charlie Brown, who had a double-double with 16 points (4-13 FG, 0-3 threes, 8-8 FT), with 12 rebounds, 4 steals, and a block. Lamarr Kimble finished with 15 points on 7-14 shooting, with 4 assists, 3 rebounds, a block, and a steal. Chris Clover had 12 points on 5-10 shooting, with 3 rebounds, 2 steals, an assist, and a block.
McKillop said of the win, “We know how good a team Saint Joe’s is and how incredibly well-coached they are. We played two very difficult, challenging games during the season and they added Lamarr Kimble, who was not there in those two games.
“We realized the challenge that was in front of us, and I was absolutely thrilled with the way our guys fought from the opening tap. Never got down when they were down 9-2 early, and it looked like we got knocked on our heels, but we never played on our heels throughout the entire game. That’s a tremendous credit to this particular group of guys who have worked very hard to get to this point in the season.”
Gudmundsson said of his personal 8-0 run late, which included a rare dunk, “I had not been playing well up to that point. I had been rushing some shots and taking shots early off the shot clock, and at that part of the game, it was just — it was just letting the game come to me. And I saw they switched on a ball screen and put, I think it was 21 on me, and I knew — I had an awareness of him on him. I just took it to the rim and it went in.”
Martelli said of the game, ” The people that regularly follow know it’s always the same with me. It’s a numeric game, and it’s not shooting percentages, but it’s the other numbers. The numbers scream at you. So we had 11 turnovers; we just don’t turn the ball over like that. And they had 17 offensive rebounds; they don’t offensive rebound like that.
“So those two numbers, in kind of, you know, that was a grinding game. It was just a little bit rough around the edges and unfortunately, like just those couple of plays, I think it was 60-60, we got caught in a switch. Then they had an offensive rebound, I think when it was three, and then they had an offensive rebound in the last stretch of time.
“These guys were really tight over this stretch of time, and they just talked about playing till your exhausted and that’s what I think every guy that played for us played till they were exhausted. Just didn’t play well enough.”
Martelli was asked about some of the highs and lows in this one, including if fatigue played a factor considering they had to play Thursday night (a 92-86 win over Duquesne), and Davidson did not, “No. I actually think the high for us in the game was we started out the second half slow. They back-cut us. We turned the ball over inbounding the ball to start the half. Then they back-cut us. They had three lay-ups. That was on top of the two lay-ups to finish the half. We took a time-out.
“We were down seven, and that would be the time when fatigue could enter in and all of the sudden we’re breaking balls loose. We created a lot of — we created a lot with defensive hands, and then we went too fast. It’s not a game for the fast; it’s a game for the quick, and we had a couple of transition plays that were not fulfilled. And I think in at least two of the cases, had the ball going in the basket; that would have given us the lead, but unfortunately we didn’t — we didn’t do that.
“You know, I’ll go back and look, and I’m wondering if the offensive rebounds had anything to do with just that beat off. We had a sharp day. We did our scouting report at nine o’clock. We did our walk through at one o’clock. We came to the building. I thought — I’m always looking at body language, and I thought we would be ready to compete. We just weren’t — we just weren’t good enough for 40 minutes. We were good for a long stretch of time but not for 40 minutes.”