49 - 65 Final
  for this game

Curry helps Davidson earn NCAA berth, extend streak to 22 games

Mar 11, 2008 - 6:10 AM CHARLESTON, South Carolina (Ticker) -- The nation will once again get a chance to see how good Stephen Curry can be in the "Big Dance."

Curry scored 23 points and Andrew Lovedale chipped in 10 to help 25th-ranked Davidson capture the Southern Conference tournament title with Monday's 65-49 victory over Elon.

With the win, the Wildcats (26-6) punched their ticket for the 2008 NCAA Tournament which ends at the National Championships game in San Antonio on April 7.

"As a coach this is the most challenging, taxing, trying but exhilarating situation you can have," Davidson coach Bob McKillop said. "This is the Cyclone, the Wile Mouse, the Funhouse and the Parachute Jump at Coney Island when you're six and seven years old."

"When you play in a conference tournament everyone is out to get because it's everyone's last chance to get to the NCAA Tournament," Davidson's Jason Richards said. What it comes down to was we executed our plays and got defensive stops."

It also marks the third consecutive NCAA Tournament berth and 10th in school history for Davidson, which pushed its winning streak to 22 games - longest in the nation.

Curry hopes to get the Wildcats out of the round of 64 this time.

We played a pretty good 34-minute game last year," he said. "If we can build on that and play 40 minutes, I think we can pull one out if we take it play-by-play."

Elon coach Ernie Nestor thinks Davidson has what it take to advance to the "Sweet 16."

"They are a very confident basketball team," Nestor said. "I think they can advance to the Round of 16."

Considered one of the elite shooters in the college ranks, Curry connected on 8-of-18 shots, including 5-of-14 from 3-point range, and grabbed six rebounds.

Jason Richards' layup capped an impressive 14-6 surge to open the second half, giving the Wildcats a 45-30 advantage at the 13:24 mark.

However, Elon (14-19) didn't go way easy as T.J. Douglas nailed a 3-pointer and Montell Watson added an easy layup during a 9-0 run to make it a six-point deficit.

Curry's shot from the arc pushed Davidson's lead back to double figures, 49-39, with 7:35 remaining. The Phoenix battled back again when Douglas connected from long range to slice it to five two minutes later.

"That 3-pointer gave us some hope there and it leaves a bad taste to come so far only to come up shot," said Douglas, who finished with 18 points. "Like Brett (James) said, we didn't give them our best shot but we did fight."

But the Wildcats closed the door for good behind a 14-3 burst to finish the game, highlighted by Curry's high-arcing 3-pointer with 24 seconds left.

The opening 20 minutes belonged to the 6-3 Curry, who poured in 12 of Davidson's first 23 points to help forge a 30-22 lead at intermission.