(Written for The Davidsonian in my capacity as sports editor. I will post everything I write on this blog as well as on Davidsonian.com)
Davidson beat Campbell handily in the second contest of the year at Belk Arena, winning by a score of 86-51. It was the first time the two schools had met since the Wildcats’ days in the Big South Conference (1992).
Davidson worked the ball inside with a lot more efficiency tonight, utilizing the screen to great success, both on and off the ball to free cutters near the basket. Davidson’s bigs got on the board early, and that opened up the three point shot as the game wore on. Davidson grabbed a 26-8 lead midway through the first half and never looked back.
Jake Belford ’16 was the offensive star for Davidson today, showing off his arsenal of post moves against the smaller Campbell front court. Belford scored a career high 20 points on 9-12 shooting. The rest of the scoring was balanced. All nine players that saw the floor in the first half got on the board by halftime, and all nine of those scored at least five.
Davidson had a scare when Jordan Barham ’16 went down grabbing his surgically repaired knee after a basket midway through the second half. He soon returned to the court after a quick trip to the locker room for treatment, so it appears he avoided serious injury. He even threw down an alley-oop quickly followed by a fast-break slam soon after he got back on the court, finishing 7-7 from the field for 14 points in limited action. Barham has been bringing sparks of energy of the bench and would be dearly missed if he had to miss any significant amount of time.
In most impressive fashion, Davidson’s first turnover came more than 18 minutes into the game on an offensive foul. At that point, the Wildcats had 10 assists. Campbell on the other hand had 8 turnovers and was 0-6 at the free throw line in the first half (they missed their first 9 overall). That made for a 43-23 ballgame at the break.
Nathan Ekwu ’18 and Oskar Michelsen ’18 continued their fast track to fan favorite status with more big plays today. Ekwu was efficient on offense and was a monster on defense when he came from the weak side. His blocks are sent back emphatically. Michelsen continued lighting it up from deep, knocking down three more threes. It’s worth noting that he hit eight of his first nine shots in his career, which all were behind the arc. Michelsen has already earned the “Feed the Finn” chant from the student section, that had been vacated by Swedish forward Chris Czerapowicz ’14.
Kyre’ Hamer led Campbell with 14 points and 6 rebounds. D.J. Mason also chipped in 15 points for the Camels, although he was a mere 1-6 from the free throw line.
UNC looms on Saturday, and the Wildcats will certainly be in for a tough test. The #6 Tar Heels will be an entirely different beast from what the Wildcats have faced thus far. National player of the year candidate Marcus Paige leads UNC, who also are also blessed with tremendous size that the Wildcats have not yet seen. The game is Saturday afternoon at Time Warner Cable Arena.