DAVIDSON, N.C. (AP) — Dayton coach Archie Miller said he was concerned about Davidson’s 3-point shooting coming into Tuesday night’s game.
It didn’t take long for those worries to become a reality.
Davidson finished 12 of 23 from 3-point range and knocked off the 22nd-ranked Flyers 77-60 for their first win against a top 25 team since beating No. 12 Kansas in 2011.
Dayton had just entered the poll this week after winning eight straight games.
Davidson freshman Peyton Aldridge had 22 points and senior Tyler Kalinoski added 21, helping the Wildcats bounce back from a 26-point loss to Richmond three days earlier.
Aldridge and Kalinoski were both 9 of 14 from the field and combined to shoot 7 of 9 from beyond the arc.
“It’s very difficult to defend their 3-point shooting,” Miller said. “They have a tremendous system and guys who really execute. In general, with the pace they play at, if you aren’t used to it they can really knock you on your heels. Early on they were sharp. They were getting clean looks — and we didn’t really have an answer at any point in the game to slow them down.”
Oskar Michelsen had 11 points for the Wildcats (13-4, 4-2 Atlantic-10), who won despite playing without their second-leading scorer Jack Gibbs.
Davidson coach Bob McKillop said after the game that Gibbs, who came in averaging 15.8 points per game, injured his knee and will be reevaluated on Wednesday. He is optimistic Gibbs will return this season.
Davidson, which left the Southern Conference to join the Atlantic-10 this year, was picked to finish 12th in the conference in the preseason. They’re currently in fourth place one-third of the way through the conference schedule.
McKillop said the leadership provided co-captains by Kalinoski, Gibbs and Brian Sullivan has made the transition easier. He said all three have tremendous work ethic and high basketball IQ.
“It’s like (having) three Russell Wilsons,” McKillop said.
It helps to have a scorer like Aldridge, too.
“For a freshman to play like this is an extraordinary performance for him,” McKillop said.
Kalinoski was solid throughout, providing patience when the Wildcats needed to slow the pace down and get under control, and aggressiveness when they needed to attack the rim.
He said it was probably the team’s best performance of the season.
“It might be with the adversity we had to overcome,” Kalinoski said. “We had Jack (Gibbs) out and we also had the adversity of getting blown out on Saturday.”
Jordan Sibert and Kendall Pollard each had 23 points to pace Dayton (15-3, 5-1), which entered the regular season top 25 this week for the first time since Dec. 7, 2013.
Leading 47-39 midway through the second quarter, the Wildcats went on an 8-0 spurt to build a 16-point lead behind 3-pointers from Aldridge and Sullivan and were never seriously challenged after that point.
Kalinoski finished off the Flyers when he buried a turnaround jumper in the lane to beat the shot clock and give Davidson a 14-point lead with 57 seconds left.
“That was about as good of 40 minutes that we have put together,” McKillop said.
Dayton’s only led for 31 seconds, that coming at 7-4.
That is about when Davidson started to get hot from the field. Using their motion offense to get open looks against Dayton’s man-to-man defense, the Wildcats connected on 8 of 13 3-pointers in the first half to build a 45-33 lead at the break against a Flyers team known for its defense.
Sibert single-handedly kept the Flyers in the game in the first half with 18 points on 7 of 10 shooting.
Dayton: The Flyers had held 15 of its previous 17 opponents to under 70 points.
Davidson: Three of Davidson’s four losses this season have come against ranked teams — North Carolina, Virginia and VCU.
DISTRACTION CITY: Davidson students came up with a unique way to distract the opposition’s foul shooters in the second half. Members of the swim team stripped down to their Speedos before each time the Flyers shot from the charity stripe. Dayton was 9 of 13 from the foul line while shooting at that end of the floor.
Dayton: Hosts Richmond on Saturday night.
Davidson: At George Mason on Saturday night.