First Impression: Austin Peay SG Khalil Davis

The Governors of Austin Peay kicked off their 2014-2015 exhibition season Saturday evening.  A return to relevance in the Ohio Valley Conference West division requires tighter defense and impact newcomers.

In junior college transfer Khalil Davis, Head Coach Dave Loos might just have found both.  Lead by Davis’ seventeen points Austin Peay pummeled Webster University, 82-48.

“If I am a fan watching this game I think people would notice that Khalil is a good basketball player,” said Coach Loos.  “He has a really good feel for how to play.  I thought he was good.”

Offensively Davis creates many problems starting with his length.  Very few OVC teams feature a 6’5″ shooting guard.  Twice Saturday Davis nailed an outside shot over extended arms.  The second bomb was against an aggressive 3-2 zone.  Webster opened the second half in a new look and Davis was having none of it.

That is just part of my game.  I am a scorer and I defend and I rebound.  If I am feeling hot and it comes to me I feel like I can make a lot of shots.

“It would be nice if Davis elevated his release point a touch as his shot is very, very low off the hands,” said Davis.  “For obvious reasons this becomes a problem against scrappy guards.”

Possibly the most electric play of the night involved Davis and junior Zavion Williams.

Williams scooped an alley-oop to Khalil and it didn’t last long in the air.  As if vaulted by a trampoline Davis popped up high, instantly stuffing the ball through the untended tin.  This particular play invigorated the curious fan base.  Unsure how to take this new signee they realized, at this moment, he was a leaper and worth cheering loudly.

“Obviously I just let the game come to me,” said Davis.  “I tried to fit into the offense, just like I was playing anywhere else.  But I thought it was going to be maybe hard for me to get on so quick, but I got used to it real quick and I know how to play with this team.”

Davis finished with 17 points, six rebounds, three assists, two steals, and one turnover.  He lead the Governors with 29 minutes played in his excellent debut performance.

“It feels good,” said Davis.  “It feels like a family.”

Defensive End

Last year Austin Peay was not a good defensive unit.

“It is going to have to be a significant improvement,” said Coach Loos at OVC Media Day.  “We gave up 79 points a game overall and 80 points in the conference games. You have no chance to win consistently, but the encouraging thing is that this group has really been willing participants on the defensive end. They are getting after it pretty good and we have changed our plan too. We are not going to be in the pack. We are extending it…stretching it out.”

Saturday night unveiled hints of fullcourt pressure.  Williams and substitute guard, Tre’ Ivory created havoc in what appeared to be a 2-1-2 press.  Davis can also extend because he retreats efficiently.

Early in the game Davis appeared to be rotating his head haphazardly in the halfcourt defense.  Like an owl Davis swiveled without constraints.  For some unknown reason he frequently had his back to the ball, necessitating wild neck-craning.

“In the first half our denial defense was really outstanding,” said Coach Loos.  “Our on-ball defense we couldn’t keep them in front of us.  They got a lot of dribble penetration.”

Davis was decent on the ball.  He has good lateral movement though Webster’s guards didn’t belong on the same floor.  OVC play will test Davis’ defensive discipline.

Considering it was his first game with Austin Peay the transfer has to be pleased.  Leading scorer has a pleasant ring to it.

“The best newcomers tonight were obviously KD and Tre’,” said Coach Loos.

(Featured image via The Leaf-Chronicle)

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