Explorers seek upset of Wildcats in A-10 Tournament

Mar 13, 2015 - 2:44 PM Brooklyn, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - After winning the Atlantic 10 Conference regular-season title and earning a spot in the Top-25, the now 24th-ranked and top-seeded Davidson Wildcats finally get their postseason underway as they take on the ninth-seeded La Salle Explorers in quarterfinal action at the Barclays Center on Friday.

The winner of this game will play either VCU or Richmond in Saturday's semifinal round.

The Wildcats completed a clean sweep of the major awards in their first season in the A-10, capturing the conference crown, while boasting of the A-10 Player of the Year and Coach of the Year. Bob McKillop's squad finished up with a 23-6 overall record and 14-4 conference mark. The team enters the postseason with a nine-game win streak in tow.

La Salle had an up and down season in 2014-15 and entered the postseason with a 16-15 overall record, with an 8-10 mark in the A-10. The team picked up win No. 17 on the year with Thursday's 76-69 besting of eighth-seeded Massachusetts. The Explorers' A-10 Tournament resume' isn't stellar. La Salle has never won this event and is 10-17 in tournament play all-time.

These two teams met just once in the regular season, with Davidson earning a 77-69 road victory back on Feb. 14.

Sophomore guard Jordan Price proved to be a potent offensive threat for La Salle this season, finishing second in the A-10 in scoring at 17.3 ppg. Senior forward Jerrell Wright (12.0 ppg, 6.6 rpg) gave the team frontcourt balance this year. Others that played vital roles for La Salle include sophomore guard Cleon Roberts (8.7 ppg) an junior center Steve Zack (8.9 ppg), who ranked fourth in the league in rebounding (8.9 rpg). La Salle was near the bottom of the A-10 in scoring (62.7 ppg) and field-goal percentage (.418) this season, while ranking near the top in scoring defense (61.9 ppg) and field- goal percentage defense (.413).

In Thursday's seven-point win over the Minutemen, La Salle got another superior effort from Price, who tied a school-record for points in an A-10 Tournament, finishing with 28 points, powered by a 14-of-18 effort from the free-throw line. Roberts poured in 16 points, while Zack completed a double- double with 12 points and 13 rebounds for the Explorers.

Senior guard Tyler Kalinoski highlights an extremely talented Davidson squad. The 6-4 veteran had a great season culminating in being named the Player of the Year. A master of many trades, Kalinoski tops Davidson in both scoring (16.9 ppg) and assists (4.2 apg) and ranks second in rebounding (5.7 rpg). A deep backcourt also features sophomore Jack Gibbs (16.0 ppg) and junior Brian Sullivan (13.1 ppg), who earned All-A-10 Second-Team honors. Junior Jordan Barham (11.7 ppg) and Peyton Aldridge (9.6 ppg) add even more depth. Aldridge was named to the conference's all-rookie squad.

Davidson is as dangerous an offensive team as there is in the country. The Wildcats have three players with over 100 assists on the year and average 17.4 assists per outing. McKillop's crew shoots a steady .476 from the floor, including .401 from behind the arc, where Davidson averages 10.9 makes per game. The result is an impressive 80.6 ppg, good for fourth nationally.

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