by Chris McManes
DAVIDSON, N.C. – Name a spot on the court beyond the arc – left corner, right corner, left wing, right wing, top of the key – and Davidson used it to splash a 3-pointer.
The Division I Wildcats made 15 of 29 3-pointers (51.7 percent) en route to a 102-66 victory over Catholic University at John M. Belk Arena on Saturday afternoon.
It was the season opener for both teams.
Tyler Kalinowski (5 of 8 on 3's) led Davidson with 19 points, and rookie Oskar Michelsen made 6 of 7 treys off the bench for 18 points. Jack Gibbs hit 7 of 9 field goals and finished with 17 points.
The Wildcats outrebounded CUA, 43-28. Peyton Aldridge led the way with 11.
"No. 5, Bryson, did a terrific job; he created problems for us," Davidson Coach Bob McKillop said. "Jay Howard was very good, and Khouri, we knew he could shoot the ball and he certainly proved it today."
The Wildcats, in their first game as a member of the Atlantic 10 Conference, sank 5 of their first 11 triples to lead 27-13. They were 7 of 15 at halftime and led 47-23. Their 3-point barrage continued in the second half when they dropped in 8 of 14.
Davidson spaced the floor well and often used skip passes (passing from one side of the floor to the other) to find the open man. And whether guarded or not, they elevated well and found the bottom of the net more often than not. They assisted on 20 of their 33 field goals.
Gibbs and Brian Sullivan had seven assists apiece.
"They've always been very unselfish and well-spaced," Cardinal Coach Steve Howes said. "I remember when we played down here in , it was the same – physical, unselfish, move the ball."
The Cards, who missed all four of their triples in the opening half, sank 6 of 10 after the break, with Kevin Phanord, Billy Barnes, Chris Biddle, Khouri, Howard and Fonville connecting. The Cards were only outscored 55-43 in the final 20 minutes.
"We shot 50 percent in the second half," Howes said. "There's never any let up in a Bob McKillop team, so we earned what we did in the second half. I'm very pleased with that."
McKillop, who coached NBA All-Star Stephen Curry, complimented the Cardinals' second-period defense.
"I give Steve Howes credit for getting his guys to switch defenses the way they did, as efficiently as they did," he said. "That's one of the things that we were exposed to today. We were playing against a team that changes defenses on the fly, or after a miss, [on the] sideline or a baseline.
"That was a great thing for us to have to experience because we're going to see that as we go through the coming season. You know darn well you're going to see that from North Carolina.." on Nov. 22.
The Wildcats' long-range assault was impressive. Kalinowski got it started with a 3 from the left corner to make it 9-3, Davidson. It was followed in quick succession with an Aldridge trey from the top of the key and a pair of Michelsen burners from both corners.
Michelsen added one from the right wing and Gibbs one from the right corner with 2:50 left in the first half to give the Wildcats a 27-point lead.
Howard, making his college debut, was 7 of 12 from the field and 6 of 9 from the line. He and Fonville combined on two layups in transition late in the game. On the first one, Fonville found him with a bounce pass. The next one came after Fonville stole the ball underneath, got it back and threw ahead to Howard for a three-point play.
"We got good production from Bryson," Howes said, "and Jay really became aggressive in the second half, which we need him to be."
CUA plays at Frostburg State on Tuesday night at 7 p.m.