WILMINGTON, North Carolina – Spurred by 25-point efforts from junior guard Jon Axel Gudmunsson and sophomore guard Kellan Grady, Davidson shot a blistering 65.2 percent in the second half to push past UNCW, 91-85, in the first December test for both clubs on Saturday night at Trask Coliseum.
The Wildcats won their fourth consecutive game to increase their record to 7-1 this season. The Seahawks had their two-game winning streak halted and carry a 4-5 mark into Wednesday’s clash at North Carolina.
Gudmunsson and Grady combined for 50 of Davidson’s 91 points as the Wildcats rallied from a 10-point deficit with 10 minutes remaining to escape with the victory. Redshirt freshman guard Luke Frampton added 15 points and freshman forward Luka Brajkovic chipped in 13 points to give the Wildcats four in double figures.
Senior forward Devontae Cacok scored a team-high 19 points and grabbed 12 boards for his 41st career double-double. Redshirt junior forward Jeantal Cylla collected 18 points, redshirt junior guard Ty Taylor scored 14 off the bench and sophomore guard Ty Gadsden finished with 12. Freshman point guard Kai Toews registered his third consecutive game with 10 or more assists when he finished with 10 helpers.
In a game that featured seven ties and 12 lead changes, the Seahawks jumped ahead, 61-54, on a Taylor three-pointer with 9:59 remaining before the Wildcats stormed back to pull even, 67-all, on a Gudmunsson layup at 5:51.
The score was still knotted at 73-all when Grady connected on a spinning shot in the paint and then knocked down a three-pointer to give the Wildcats breathing room, 78-73. Davidson sank 10-of-12 free throws in the final two minutes to seal its sixth victory in the 11-game series.
Davidson forged out to a 39-34 lead at halftime following a late-half surge that was aided by a flagrant foul in the final minute, allowing the Wildcats to build a slight edge at the break.
After the Seahawks used a 14-2 run to grab their first lead of the game, 24-23, and added a three-pointer by Taylor for a 27-23 advantage with just over seven minutes left, the Wildcats still trailed, 33-32, with just over two minutes remaining in the opening period.
But reserve guard Carter Collins sank a three-ball and Gudmunsson converted both free throws on the flagrant foul and Brajkovic tacked on another free throw to increase the margin to 38-33. The Wildcats then took a 39-34 advantage into the break.
CACOK UPDATE: Senior forward Devontae Cacok’s 19 points and 13 rebounds gave him six double-doubles in nine games this season and raised his career totals to 1,236 points (11th all-time) and 968 rebounds (3rd all-time).
STATE OF THE UNION: The Seahawks now stand 1-4 against state opponents this season, with three more games on the docket for state foes (North Carolina, Elon 2x).
TAKING CARE OF THE BALL: After entering the contest averaging 16.1 turnovers per outing, the Seahawks committed just nine miscues in the 40 minutes.
SOUND SMART WITH YOUR FRIENDS: The Seahawks owned the offensive glass, building a 17-5 advantage against the Wildcats.
KEY MOMENT: With 2:47 left in the contest and clinging to a 75-73 lead, Davidson’s Kellan Grady buried a trifecta on the left side to extend the margin to 78-73.
QUOTABLE: “Davidson was just a little too good offensively for us tonight. They got into a rhythm tonight. We knew they were going to run their stuff and it’s hard to take them out of what they do. They made some tough shots. They deserve credit for the win.” – UNCW Head Coach C.B. McGrath
NEXT UP: The Seahawks travel up Interstate 40 for only their second true road game of the season on Wednesday when C.B. McGrath’s club visits North Carolina’s Dean E. Smith Center to battle the Tar Heels.