BIRMINGHAM, Ala. — Davidson made the most of an unexpected crack at a Top 10 team.
Luka Brajkovic scored 22 points and hit a late 3-pointer and Michael Jones scored 21 points to help lift the Wildcats to a 79-78 victory over No. 10 Alabama on Tuesday night.
The Wildcats (9-2) rolled to a 13-point lead early in the second half and held on for their eighth straight win in a game scheduled to fill sudden voids in their respective schedules because of COVID-19. The Crimson Tide (9-3) have dropped two of three games but stayed in this one until Jahvon Quinerly missed a potential tying free throw with four seconds left.
“The craziness of this last 48 hours, it’s magical really,” longtime Davidson coach Bob McKillop said. The last couple of minutes was fairly crazy, too.”
Alabama scored the final nine points after Brajkovic’s 3-pointer with 2:01 left pushed it back to 79-69. But Davidson was able to run out the final seconds and ended up getting a huge win in the unexpected matchup.
It wasn’t how the Tide wanted to head into a weeklong break for Christmas before going into Southeastern Conference games.
“Our offense wasn’t bad, but we really lost the game on the defensive end,” Alabama coach Nate Oats said. “Not exactly what you want going into Christmas break.
“I don’t know how many wake-up calls we’re going to need to pick up the defense, but we’re not going to be able to win games in the SEC on a high level until we decide we’re going to guard much better than we did tonight.”
Jones made 8 of 11 shots, including all three 3-point attempts, for the Wildcats. Hyunjung Lee scored 17 points and made four 3s. Foster Loyer scored 11 points after totaling 59 the previous two games.
Loyer also had eight assists and just one turnover.
Jaden Shackelford led Alabama with 20 points. Juwan Gary had 15 points and eight rebounds, while making 3 of 4 3-pointers. Quinerly scored 13.
McKillop was grateful for the chance — and the win.
“We play a style of basketball that people don’t like to play against, as you see why,” he said. “A lot of teams at the high major level won’t play us, and Nate graciously pursued playing us. I want to say thanks to him for that.”
The Tide answered Brajkovic’s ultimately decisive shot with eight points in 80 seconds. Shackelford hit a 3-pointer and Keon Ellis rebounded a missed shot, put it back, was fouled and made the subsequent free throw.
Ellis then stole the ball and fired it to Darius Miles for a dunk to make it 79-77 with 34 seconds left. Brajkovic stepped on the line after receiving the inbounds pass.
Quinerly made the first of two free throws with 4.4 seconds left, then Sam Mennenga rebounded the miss and the Wildcats called time out, forcing Alabama to foul twice.
The matchup was set after both teams had other games canceled because of COVID issues within other programs. Alabama had been set to face No. 21 Colorado State, and Davidson’s game with Loyola-Chicago was also called off.
UNC 70, Appalachian State 50
CHAPEL HILL — Armando Bacot and Brady Manek each had a double-double, RJ Davis added 15 points and UNC pulled away in the second half to beat Appalachian State 70-50 on Tuesday night.
Bacot made 7 of 9 from the field and finished with 16 points, 10 rebounds, four assists, two steals and two blocks. The 6-foot-10 junior has eight double-doubles this season. Manek added 11 points and 11 rebounds.
North Carolina (9-3) bounced back after the Tar Heels had a five-game win streak snapped last Saturday when they scored a season-low 69 points in a 29-point loss to Kentucky.
Appalachian State made its first three field-goal attempts and took a 7-3 lead after Adrian Delph made a layup and then a 3-pointer off back-to-back UNC turnovers but the Mountaineers missed their next nine shots. Bacot, amid a 10-0 run by North Carolina, threw down a dunk and then made a layup with 15:33 left before halftime to give the Tar Heels the lead for good.
Donovan Gregory led the Mountaineers with 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting and grabbed nine rebounds.
High Point 55, FAU 52
HIGH POINT — Jaden House scored 14 points and made a pair of foul shots with 15 seconds to go and High Point beat Florida Atlantic 55-52 on Tuesday night.
Alijah Martin missed a 3-point attempt at the horn for the Owls.
Zach Austin scored 12 for High Point (6-6).
Bryan Greenlee scored 14 points for the Owls (7-6), Martin 13 points and Vladislav Goldin 10.
East Carolina 68, Southern Miss 67
GREENVILLE — Tristen Newton scored 22 points, Vance Jackson made a go-ahead basket with 1:44 left and East Carolina beat Southern Miss 68-67 on Tuesday.
Newton hit 10 of 11 foul shots and Jackson had 15 points and seven rebounds for East Carolina (9-3). Brandon Suggs added 11 points.
Jaron Pierre Jr. scored a season-high 20 points for the Golden Eagles (4-8), whose losing streak reached six games. Tyler Stevenson added 16 points and eight rebounds. Rashad Bolden had 12 points.
UNC Asheville 114, Milligan 54
ASHEVILLE — Tajion Jones scored 19 points as UNC Asheville easily beat Milligan 114-54 on Tuesday night.
LJ Thorpe and Quay Kimble added 16 points each for the Bulldogs. Luke Lawson added 14 points for UNC Asheville (8-5).
UNC Asheville is undefeated (3-0) when scoring at least 100 points this season, and the 114 points were a season best for UNC Asheville.
Flynn Carlson had 10 points for the Buffaloes.
NC A&T 88, Mid-Atlantic Christian 63
GREENSBORO — Milton Matthews had 19 points off the bench to carry North Carolina A&T to an 88-63 win over Mid-Atlantic Christian on Tuesday.
Matthews made 5 of 7 3-pointers. He added seven rebounds. Jaylen Jackson had 17 points and 12 rebounds for North Carolina A&T (5-9). Marcus Watson added 13 points. Collin Smith had 10 points and three blocks.
Kevin Fletcher had 20 points for the Mustangs. Jajour Lambert added 13 points. Jahiem Hinton had 11 points.
Arkansas 81, Elon 55
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Chris Lykes scored 21 points to lead four in double figures and Arkansas defeated Elon 81-55 on Tuesday night.
Lykes made only four field goals but was 12 for 12 from the free-throw line and the Razorbacks cashed in on 29 of 35 from the line. JD Notae and Kamani Johnson added 15 points each and Jaxson Robinson scored 14 for the Razorbacks (10-2).
Michael Graham led the Phoenix (3-10) with 14 points and Darius Burford added 12. Elon shot 36% from the field and attempted only nine free throws, making five.
The Razorbacks led 38-26 at halftime and gradually extended their lead through the first 13 minutes of the second half. Jaylin Williaims’ 3-point play extended the lead to 30 with 7:08 to go. Elon’s Kris Wooten, Torrence Watson and Burford made 3-pointers as the Phoenix scored the next 13 points, but it was of little consequence.
The Razorbacks, ranked No. 12 in the AP poll two weeks ago, dropped out this week after losing to Hofstra 89-81 last Saturday. The loss came on the heels of an 88-66 setback against Oklahoma on Dec. 11.
UTEP 70, NC Central 61
EL PASO, Texas — Keonte Kennedy had a career-high 27 points as UTEP defeated North Carolina Central 70-61 on Tuesday night.
Christian Agnew had 16 points for UTEP (7-4). Jorell Saterfield added 13 points.
Randy Miller Jr. had 15 points for the Eagles (6-8). Dontavius King added 13 points. Justin Wright had 12 points.