By Ken Cross
Davidson’s Peyton Aldridge was playing in another ionosphere as he scored 29 of his 34 points in the first half of Davidson’s 91-62 win over Saint Joseph’s on Tuesday night. He displayed classic marksmanship as he netted 13-of-22 field goals with five triples, and even outscored the Hawks in the first half as Davidson led 51-28 at the break.
“I shoot the ball well in practice and it doesn’t necessarily translate well to the games,” said Aldridge, “My teammates got me easy, open looks, early on, and when you get those, it is easy to get going. That hoop seemed a little bit bigger than it is.”
Aldridge, who is the Wildcats’ leading scorer and the third leading scorer in the Atlantic 10 at 19.7 ppg., used his patented inside-outside game which caused a myriad of matchup problems for the Hawks with his quick release in the paint and his spot-up ability on the perimeter.
“What a half did Peyton Aldridge have and what an unselfish performance did our guys have in making the extra pass and finding the open man,” said Wildcats coach Bob McKillop.
Stephen Curry is the only player in Wildcats history to have a better half as he had 31 at Chattanooga in 2008 and then a 30-point effort in the first half of the Wildcats’ NCAA Tournament win over Georgetown a year later.
The Wildcats finished this game early as Aldridge scored 10 quick points over the game’s first 6:19 by going outside and scoring the three-ball and then patrolling the lane. He later added seven in a late 11-2 run that allowed the Wildcats to move to a 40-18 advantage before making the buzzer beater before halftime for the 51-28 margin at the break.
Davidson’s shooters, beside of Aldridge, lit up the shot chart from behind the arc. Davidson made 20-of-29 triples as KiShawn Pritchett nailed four and Kellan Grady hit three. The 20 makes were only second this season to the 26 that the Wildcats made in their opening night win over Charleston Southern.
Davidson rose to 8-3, good for second in the A-10, as the Wildcats travel to 11-0 Rhode Island on Friday night.
Saint Joseph’s continued to struggle as the loss was the Hawks’ fifth in a row and seventh in their last nine outings. Five of those seven losses were by three-points or less. Shavar Newkirk scored 16 points to lead Saint Joesph’s.