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Down Goes Bradley: Davidson snaps Bradley's 31-game home winning streak in 2OT thriller

By Zach Fleer, 02/09/19, 10:35PM EST


Hilliard Davidson handed Hilliard Bradley a loss for the second-straight year

HILLIARD, Ohio -- 1,079 days. 25,896 hours. 1,553,760 minutes. 93,225,600 seconds.

February 26, 2016 was a long time ago. It was also the last time Hilliard Bradley lost a home game.

Until tonight.

Meeting its match in district rival Hilliard Davidson (16-4), Bradley (18-1) fell in a double overtime thriller to the Wildcats, 44-43.

Sometimes the ball just bounces your way and on Saturday, that was the case for Davidson.

Facing a 38-33 deficit with 53 seconds to go in overtime, Davidson was in a dire situation against a Bradley team that is as hard to beat as anyone in Ohio.

A highly disciplined team that values each possession, Bradley is less likely than anyone in the area to miss free throws, turn the ball over or allow second chance points on the defensive end.

In a span of less than a minute, all of that happened.

With junior Chris Mayfield making the first of a one-and-one to put the Jags up 38-33 with 53.5 seconds remaining, Bradley seemed like a sure bet to grind out its hated rivals Davidson.

As Mayfield's second attempt missed, Davidson took advantage with senior guard Carson Felicetty draining a mid-range pull up jumper to trim the lead to 38-35 with 36.3 seconds to go.

On the following Bradley possession, the Jags looked to have an open layup on a home run pass to junior guard Matt Allocco. However, Allocco stopped in his tracks and pulled the ball back, allowing Davidson to trap him near midcourt. With Allocco losing the ball off his leg, Davidson was first to the floor which led to a critical jump ball possession with the arrow favoring the Wildcats.

With 30.2 seconds left on the clock and facing the area's best defense, Davidson was in need of a big-time shot.

That's exactly what the Wildcats got.

Holding for the final possession, Davidson struggled to find a good look for nearly 24 seconds. With senior Jacob Drees pulling up from the left wing with six seconds remaining, Drees' attempt clanked off the right side of the rim.

With 6-foot-7 senior Christian Gillilan skying for an offensive rebound, the lanky forward had the presence of mind to save the game. With his side of the floor completely cleared out, the lanky senior took one dribble and covered nearly seven feet, as he gathered for a cold-blooded three with less than a second remaining.

Pulling up and draining the shot over the outstretched arms of Bradley senior Zach Hummel, Gillilan's game-tying shot gave Davidson new life and sent Saturday's big-time showdown into double overtime.

In the second overtime period, Davidson turned up its intensity and out-Bradley'd Bradley. Holding the Jags without a field goal until the buzzer, Davidson commanded the entire period. Winning the tip and going directly to Drees, the 6-foto-7 forward completed a tough score just 20 seconds into the quarter.

Shutting Bradley down, Davidson made up for poor free throw shooting with its excellent defense. With its massive front court suffocating Allocco around the rim, Davidson turned off the faucet for Bradley's offense.

Sending senior guard Joey Maynard to the line for two critical shots holding a 42-40 lead, Davidson needed a free throw more than ever after missing back-to-back front end of one and ones. 

As Maynard hit one of two at the stripe, Davidson had to play tough defense one last time with a 43-40 lead and 32 seconds to go.

Bradley had three chances to tie the game, as Mayfield pulled down two critical offensive rebounds. However, sophomore AJ Mirgon, Allocco and sophomore Keaton Norris were unable to knock down game-tying three-point field goals.

Junior forward Gage Keys put the game away at the free throw line, extending Davidson's lead to 44-40 with four seconds to go. Adding insult to injury, Bradley's final three-point attempt finally went down, as Allocco nailed a 60 foot bank shot at the buzzer to trim the final score to 44-43.

In an all-out thriller of a game, Davidson never gave up. Despite falling behind 7-0 and scoring just three points in the first quarter, Davidson was not rattled.

Feeling Bradley out and getting into a rhythm, Davidson was hugely aided by a buzzer-beating three from Maynard to end the first half, heading into the break trailing 16-15.

With momentum and confidence, Davidson wasted no time in taking its first lead of the game as Keys scored a tough inside look on the Wildcats' opening possession of the second half to take a 17-16 lead.

Batting back and forth for the next three minutes, Bradley broke through as a Mirgon triple put the Jags ahead 24-19 with 4:50 to go in the third quarter. 

Unfortunately for Bradley, Mirgon quickly picked up his third foul seconds later. With the two-way Bradley stud off the floor, Davidson made its run.

Going on a 7-0 spree to end the period, Davidson got back-to-back post scores from Keys and Drees before an ice-cold pull up three from senior Caleb Stimmel put the Wildcats ahead 26-24 with 2:52 in the period.

Holding Bradley without a bucket in the final 4:50, Davidson took a 26-24 lead into the fourth quarter.

In the fourth quarter, no team held more than a two-point lead, as multiple lead changes held Saturday's game in the balance. After Keys tied the game at 33 with a free throw with 1:36 remaining, neither team scored for the rest of regulation.

Much like Bradley's dry spell in overtime, Davidson did not make a field goal from the 2:25 mark of the fourth quarter until Felicetty's pull up jumper with 36 seconds to go in overtime.

While Davidson was shut down by Bradley in the first overtime, the Wildcats returned the favor, as the Jags went without a field goal from the 1:55 mark of the first overtime period until Allocco's buzzer-beating three to end the game, a total span of nearly six minutes. 

Knocking off the Jags for the second-straight year, Davidson is the only team to have beaten Bradley in the last two regular seasons after taking down the Jaguars 37-35 on Dec. 29, 2017.

Leading the way for Davidson was Keys with 12 points. A strong 6-foot-5 post who battled with Hummel underneath, Keys was the inside presence Davidson needed to pull off the upset. While foul trouble kept him out of the entire second quarter, Keys entered the game in the second half and never came out.

The hero Gillilan added eight points on two three-point field goals, none bigger than his game-tying attempt. The 6-foot-7 forward played an excellent two-way game, as his on-ball defense on Mirgon was extremely impressive. Gillilan added six rebounds, as his 6-foot-10 wingspan made an impact on the glass and on the defensive interior.

Drees added seven points, 10 rebounds and two blocks, scoring six in the second half on all post up attempts on smaller Bradley guards. Drees' leadership has been outstanding this season, as he made several key defensive plays in both overtime periods to seal the win.

The Davidson backcourt of Maynard, Stimmel and Felicetty combined for 15 points, all knocking down key shots. Senior glue guy Ethan Royer finished with two points and four assists, as the strong 6-foot-3 guard was Allocco's primary defender for the entire game and did an excellent job on the area's best junior wing guard.

Royer's toughness gives Davidson an edge, as he was able to bump Allocco and make everything tough. While Royer isn't much of an offensive threat, he did flash some good footwork in the post with a go-ahead score in the fourth quarter. Royer may have fouled out late in double overtime, but his on-ball defense on Allocco changed the course of the game and disrupted the flow of Bradley's offense.

Allocco led the Jags with a game-high 19 points. Despite a difficult matchup against Royer, Allocco did a great job of creating space off the bounce, knocking down a handful of mid-range jumpers. The 6-foot-4 guard is as good as they come in the half court and in transition, as he had several blow bys to get to the rim, where he finished at a high rate. While Allocco isn't much of a threat from the three-point line at this stage, he has a reliable mid-range game that he used at will on Saturday.

Mirgon added 10 points and seven rebounds, playing a great two-way game. With Mirgon off the floor, Bradley was not the same, as he takes the Jags to the next level with his playmaking ability at the point guard spot, in addition to several smart defensive plays off ball that led to steals.

Mayfield pitched in eight points and seven rebounds, creating a few second chance opportunities on the fateful possession in double overtime where Bradley was not able to tie the game. Norris rounded out the scoring with six points on two free throws and two field goals, but was run off the three-point line by Davidson's guards.

Bradley knocked down just three triples in the game, as Davidson did an outstanding job of getting through Bradley's screens and pressuring the ball far outside the three-point line.

Suffering its first loss since last year's regional final against Pickerington Central, Bradley enters Sunday's tournament draw as a lock to be a top two seed.

It would not be a shock to see Davidson go after Bradley one more time, as you could see these two tough Hilliard programs matching up for a district final exactly a month from tonight. 

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