Curry makes all the difference in Davidson win at UTC

Stephen Curry needed a few minutes to get into the game, but he eventually took over in Davidson’s Wednesday night road win over UTC.  Although the Mocs played a close game at Davidson in December, they had no answer for arguably the nation’s most dominant player, who scored 32 points and handed out 8 impressive assists in the Wildcats’ 92-70.

Davidson, which has now won 46 consecutive Southern Conference games (including postseason) dating back to 2007, was in control from the very beginning, hitting seemingly every shot in the opening minutes and staking out a 22-8 advantage with over 10 minutes left in the first half.  They stretched the lead to 18 at the 6:16 mark, but the Mocs remained in the game until the end of the half, when madness ensued.

The Mocs turned the ball over with just under a minute to play, giving Davidson a 2-for-1 opportunity.  Curry drove down the floor, just inside the three-point line, and missed a quick jumper, leaving enough time for the Wildcats to get the ball back.  UTC scored on the following possession, cutting Davidson’s lead to 10 with 44 seconds left.  Curry then turned it over and gave the Mocs a chance to make it a single digit lead, but Nicchaeus Doaks missed a layup with four seconds on the clock.

Then, Curry did this (watch until about the 1:20 mark):

I was at the game with frequent commenter Jay, and I think he and I would agree that it was the most incredible shot either of us had seen live – a 75-foot buzzer beater that took the momentum the Mocs were building and completely turned everything around.

Nothing else really mattered after that.  Davidson stretched the lead to 19 by the 18-minute mark in the second half, and UTC was never closer than 15 the rest of the way.  Curry finished with 32 points in a game where (aside from the ridiculous shot) he didn’t really seem to be firing on all cylinders.  He was just 9-for-21 from the field, but it was clear in the second half who was getting all the defensive attention.

It must be nice to be one of Curry’s teammates and get 2-3 open layups every game.  Several of those were on no-look or otherwise impressive passes from Curry, who handled the ball a lot but wasn’t really a “point guard,” per se.

Andrew Lovedale had 17 points and 11 rebounds for Davidson on the inside, making it clear that Davidson probably could have won this game even without Curry.  Stephen McDowell was the Mocs’ leading scorer with 17, although he was mostly invisible until the game was clearly out of reach in the second half.

The Mocs shot under 40% from the field and just 60% at the line, which was especially important because Davidson reached the bonus very early in both halves.  The Mocs attempted 35 free throws to Davidson’s 15 (9 of which belonged to Curry).  Rebounding was pretty even, but UTC also lost the turnover battle.

This was certainly a fun game, and I appreciated Jay getting us some good seats in the lower section.  If you’re in the Chattanooga area for the first full weekend in March, you should consider getting a ticket book to the SoCon tourney.  That should give you 3 chances to see Curry in action, as well as the chance to see if Davidson will get to relive their tourney run from a year ago.

Oh and Duke lost (on a play that resulted from a questionable call, of all things!).  SportsCenter had a nice graphic about the last five times a new #1-ranked team has lost to the previous #1 team.  Duke was the team that lost on four of those five occasions.  At least they’ve been ranked #1 a lot, I guess.


8 thoughts on “Curry makes all the difference in Davidson win at UTC

  1. the curse of the #1 ranking strikes again. It’s happened a lot this season. It also shows how tough the ACC is.

    I imagine the seeds are going to be pretty interesting when it’s time to dance.

    I feel very weird saying this…especially since I love college basketball much, much more than the NBA. But this is obviously what they mean when you hear the college football people talk about the integrity (for lack of a better word) of the regular season.

    I kinda feel like, “Duke lost. whoopdie doo. So when does the tourney start?” I can’t say for certain, but I imagine I’d probably feel the same way if UNC had lost yesterday as well. March is when these games are going to matter!

    One other thing…this is just my opinion, but I thought it was kind of ridiculous that the Wake Forest fans stormed the court after beating you guys. I mean, it’s not like the 7-11 Norfolk St. Spartans beat you. Nope, it was #4 Wake Forest (previously a #1) beating #1 Duke. It wasn’t even the first time they beat a #1 this year!

    I probably lost a few points for being a UNC guys defending Duke there, but that just didn’t make sense.

  2. For teams like Duke and UNC, I guess the regular season is all about getting that high seed, thereby increasing their chances of advancing deep into the tournament. The NBA is pretty much the same way, minus the mid- and low-majors who have to win their conferences to make it in. So you’re right. For the high-majors, especially highly-ranked teams like Duke and UNC, having a great regular season isn’t absolutely necessary.

    On the Wake thing…their fans really need to get their act together on storming the floor etiquette. If Davidson knocked off both Duke and UNC when they were #1, they could get away with it. But not Wake. What’s next? Storming the floor after a win over 0-6 Georgia Tech?

  3. Yeah, I agree with you about the regular season. Unless you are a bubble team there isn’t much reason to cry over a loss.

    The only thing though, I’m not entirely convinced that the high seed makes the path to the final four that much easier. I understand that that is what they attempt to do, but I recall times when the high seed was in a pretty tough region.

  4. Wake’s fans have stormed the court twice now in games they were ranked #4 and #6.

    First time I can understand, but act like you’ve been there before guys and gals – especially in a game where you were just +1.5 point underdogs.

  5. Yep, regular season college basketball is completely and totally irrelevant.

    Or at least that’s what I’m trying to tell myself after last night’s debacle in Knoxville.

    Seriously, though, I agree that the regular season is pretty meaningless for the elite teams that are guaranteed high seeds in the tournament and plan to compete for the national championship. But for teams a notch or two below that, like your Floridas and Tennessees and Kentuckys this year, a conference championship is still a goal worth caring about. That still gets a banner hung in the rafters.

  6. And Lord knows Florida needs another banner hung in the rafters. :p

    By the way, I’m storming the court regardless of who wins the Southern Conference Tournament. Who’s with me?

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