KELLAN GRADY SCORES 25 TO POWER DAVID­SON PAST FORD­HAM 77-52

The Charlotte Observer (Sunday) - - Sports - BY DAVID SCOTT [email protected]­lot­teob­server.com David Scott: @david­scott14

The David­son Wild­cats took an early lead against Ford­ham on Sat­ur­day af­ter­noon and never let up.

“We have an ex­pres­sion we use that we don’t give any­body a life­line,” coach Bob McKil­lop said af­ter his team blitzed the Rams 77-52 in an At­lantic 10 game at Belk Arena. “Too of­ten (we’ve let) teams get go­ing. (To­day) we didn’t al­low that.”

The Wild­cats (21-8, 12-4) outscored the Rams (11-18, 2-14) 17-2 to open the game. Af­ter tak­ing a 34-24 lead into half­time, David­son went on a 15-2 run to open the sec­ond half. Ford­ham, ba­si­cally, was never in it.

Be­hind sopho­more guard Kellan Grady’s 25 points, David­son bounced back from a dis­heart­en­ing loss Wed­nes­day at La Salle, one that knocked the Wild­cats out of a first­place tie in the league with Vir­ginia Com­mon­wealth. The Wild­cats clinched a top-four spot in the con­fer­ence tour­na­ment (and the dou­ble-bye that comes with it) af­ter Ge­orge Ma­son lost Sat­ur­day against Saint Louis.

“Coach said we don’t want to ex­pe­ri­ence the mis­ery we ex­pe­ri­enced af­ter La Salle,” Grady said. “We played a com- plete game.”

A “bub­ble” team be­fore the loss to La Salle, David­son’s chances at earn­ing a bid to the NCAA tour­na­ment likely hinge on the Wild­cats win­ning the A-10 tour­na­ment. That’s the path David­son took last sea­son.

“It’s pretty tricky for us now,” Grady said.

In never trail­ing against Ford­ham, the Wild­cats held the Rams to 33.3 per­cent shoot­ing from the floor and 4-of-24 from 3-point range. The Wild­cats out­re­bounded Ford­ham 39-31, in­clud­ing a 33-25 edge on the de­fen­sive boards.

THREE WHO MAT­TERED

Grady: Had what McKil­lop said was his best game of the sea­son, mak­ing 10 of 19 shots (in­clud­ing 3-of-5 from 3point range) and also grab­bing six re­bounds. Was a force de­fen­sively, too. Grady went over the 1,000-point mark for his ca­reer dur­ing the game.

Luka Bra­jkovic, David­son: Fresh­man for­ward made 7 of 8 shots for 15 points and has now hit 19 of his last 23 shots. Made a 3-pointer from the top of the key for good mea­sure.

Nick Honor, Ford­ham: Fresh­man guard was the only player who was able to keep his team in the game for a while, scor­ing 17 points.

WORTH MEN­TION­ING

Wild­cats guard Jon Axel Gud­munds­son, who had a triple-dou­ble against Rhode Is­land on Feb. 22, flirted with an­other, with 17 points, 11 re­bounds and eight as­sists. As it was, it was his eighth dou­ble­dou­ble of the sea­son.

Grady is the 50th Wild­cats player to hit the 1,000-point plateau.

Wild­cats se­nior for­ward Nathan Ekwu, who has been trou­bled by a knee in­jury for much of his ca­reer, missed his 17th game of the sea­son. McKil­lop said he’s hope­ful Ekwu can play a few min­utes on Se­nior Night, David­son’s reg­u­lar-sea­son home fi­nale on Wed­nes­day against St. Bon­aven­ture.

David­son went 31of-61 from the field (50.8 per­cent) and made 13 of 31 3-point­ers (41.9).

THEY SAID IT

“We al­ways talk about be­ing our best in March and to­day we showed we are im­prov­ing.” — Gud­munds­son.

“We like to go to (Bra­jkovic), but some­times we get mes­mer­ized by that. Some­times we for­get the other parts of our game. We like an in­side-out­side at­tack, and Luka is cer­tainly a cat­a­lyst for that.” — McKil­lop.

“I wish we could take back a few of those losses.” — Grady, on the team’s hopes of earn­ing an NCAA tour­na­ment at-large bid.

JEFF SOCHKO/David­sonPho­tos.com

David­son's Kellan Grady drives to the bas­ket Sat­ur­day against Ford­ham at Belk Arena. Be­hind Grady’s 25 points, David­son bounced back from a loss Wed­nes­day at La Salle.

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