Friday, 10 November 2017 23:49

Davidson threatens NCAA 3-point record in win

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Kellan Grady hit seven 3-pointers and scored 23 points in his Davidson debut. Kellan Grady hit seven 3-pointers and scored 23 points in his Davidson debut. Tim Cowie

It didn’t take Kellan Grady long to get comfortable in a college uniform, and it didn’t take the Davidson Wildcats very long to fill up the stat sheet, set some records and raise some eyebrows in 2017-18.

Davidson flirted with an NCAA record by hitting a program-best 26 3-pointers and had 29 assists to just one turnover, another program record, in a 110-62 season-opening win over Charleston Southern in Belk Arena Friday night.

“We found ourselves really in a flow and a rhythm,” said Davidson coach Bob McKillop.

The first 12 shots the Wildcats made were 3-pointers, as they set a program record for threes in a half, shooting 16-of-27 (59.3 percent) en route to a 58-23 halftime lead. The Wildcats finished 26-of-53 (49.1 percent) from 3-point range, hitting one more three than Charleston Southern did field goals (25-of-62).

“Everybody got involved,” said Grady. “It seemed like everybody had a hot hand at some point during the game.”

Grady, a highly regarded freshman from Massachusetts, hit the Wildcats’ first trey on his first college shot, connected on 7-of-10 3-pointers and finished with 23 points in 18 minutes. He said he was more excited than nervous to make his Davidson debut.

“My hands were sweating a little bit, but once the first one went down, that’s always big for me,” he said.

In one stretch, Grady hit three straight treys, then fed guard Jon Axel Gudmundsson for two more to make it 24-0 barely five minutes into the game.

“Kellan Grady was sensational in lighting our fire tonight,” said McKillop.

Sophomore Gudmundsson shot 5-of-8 from the arc and narrowly missed a triple-double with a career-high 24 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.

“I just do whatever the team needs me to do,” he said.

Forward Oskar Michelsen scored 18 on 6-of-9 shooting from 3-point range. Fellow senior Peyton Aldridge also had 18 points, connecting on 4-of-9 3-point shots, and pulled down eight rebounds on his birthday.

Jordan Watkins shot 3-of-6 from beyond the arc to finish with nine points.

Ultimately, Davidson finished two 3-pointers shy of the NCAA mark set by Troy, which hit 28 treys against George Mason in 1994.

McKillop said it’s normal for a hot shooting team to press the issue and turn the ball over, so he was especially proud of the efficiency on offense, with 28 more assists than turnovers.

“I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a stat like that,” he said.

The previous program record was 20 threes, set on a memorable day for the Wildcats in their first Atlantic 10 season. That day, Tyler Kalinoski scored 32 points and shot 8-of-10 from 3-point range, and Jack Gibbs hit all five of his 3-point attempts in a 107-78 win at Duquesne on Jan. 7, 2015, which clinched the A-10 regular season title.

Friday’s 110 points is more than the Wildcats scored in any game a year ago, as the 105 points in a 30-point win over Hartford marked the only time Davidson scored more than 100 last season.

Aldridge, Michelsen, Gudmundsson and Grady started, along with redshirt sophomore guard KiShawn Pritchett, who hit one three and scored eight points. Senior forwards Will Magarity and Nathan Ekwu did not play. Both continue to nurse knee injuries.

Charleston Southern missed its first nine shots and was led by Travis McConico’s 17 points.

Davidson is back in action Tuesday when it hosts UNC Wilmington at 7 p.m.

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