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Freshmen, consistency key to Davidson Wildcats' chances
Late-season hopes depend on playing together
 
Published Saturday, February 17, 2018 10:10 pm
by Ashley Mahoney

DAVIDSON—The Davidson Wildcats are playing for tomorrow.

Five factors need to be implemented by the Wildcats (15-10 overall, 10-4 Atlantic 10) during the final four games of the regular season to achieve postseason success at the conference tournament in Washington, D.C.

1) More playing time from freshman guard Carter Collins.

Coach Bob McKillop emphasized the importance of assimilating freshmen during preseason. Collins saw less than a minute in the Wildcats 83-78 win against the Massachusetts Minutemen Saturday. He averages 1.7 points per game in 19 appearances.

“Get [freshman guard] Carter Collins playing time, and I’d hoped to do that tonight, and I just did not,” McKillop said. “That’s No. 1.”

Said senior forward Will Magarity: “Playing in Europe and being able to bond as a team really let the freshmen get comfortable quicker than usual. You have Collins coming off the bench, and Kellan [Grady, a freshman guard], he’s a key piece. Every single night we need him to come out and play.”

2) Consistency from Magarity

Magarity connected on 5-of-6 from the field against the Minutemen for 11 points to go with six rebounds. He averages 5.7 points per game and four rebounds. McKillop stressed the significance of Magarity’s presence on the glass during preseason, which reflects in his ranking on the team for rebounds—third.

“No. 2, we’ve got to get Will Magarity playing like he played tonight,” McKillop said.

3) Sophomore Jon Axel Gudmmundsson’s ball distribution

Gudmmundsson finished with nine assists, seven points and six boards against Massachusetts. He leads the Wildcats with 129 assists (more than double the next closest player).

“We’ve also got to get Jon Axel to perform the way he did tonight,” McKillop said. “Jon was superb tonight. Jon used the dribble very effectively. It’s been a challenge for him all year long using the dribble. He sometimes overuses it. Tonight he was sensational. That’s why he had nine assists.”

4) Senior forward Peyton Aldridge dominating both sides of the ball

Aldridge led the Wildcats with a career-high 38 points and 14 boards against the Minutemen. He leads the Wildcats in scoring and on the glass with an average 20.8 points and 7.2 boards per game.

“We need Peyton doing what he did tonight,” McKillop said.

5) Foul shots

The Wildcats made 21-of-28 from the free throw line Saturday. Davidson outshoots their opponents 78.2 percent (251-321) from the free throw line to 67.5 percent (264-391).

“We’re a great foul shooting team,” McKillop said. “We had a chance to salt this away with double digits if we had made foul shots, and we didn’t make those foul shots. That’s good for us to experience that, to understand. We tell our players when they shoot their foul shots in practice: get the lead. Build the lead. Win the game. You’re going to get those opportunities every time you step to the foul line in a game. Get the lead. Build the lead. Win the game.’ Every one of our guys who went to the foul line tonight had that opportunity.”

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