Curry impresses once again as Davidson rollsMar 29, 2008 - 4:52 AM
Curry scored 22 of his 33 points in the second half as Davidson toppled another league champion with a 73-56 victory over third-seeded Wisconsin in the semifinals of the Midwest Regional on Friday.
Getting to the point were he is nearly overshadowing the entire NCAA Tournament, the sophomore guard made a handful of memorable shots as the 10th seed Wildcats (29-6) booked a spot in the regional finals.
Davidson, which has won a nation's-best 25 straight games, will face top seed Kansas on Sunday in its first trip to a regional final since the second of back-to-back trips under legendary coach "Lefty" Driesell in 1969.
"It's definitely a big win for Davidson," said point guard Jason Richards, who had 11 points and 13 assists. "To make it to the 'Elite Eight,' something that hasn't been done for a while, since Lefty was here.
"Yeah, there's a lot of emotions running through our body right now. I think we were just plain-old exhausted after the game."
Curry had six 3-pointers for the game and outscored the Big Ten champion Badgers by himself in the second half, 22-20.
"I stopped being amazed by (Stephen) Curry in December of last year," Davidson coach Bob McKillop said. "What he did today is what I expect from him. He does that so consistently and that's a measure of the confidence that I alluded to. We've got Steph Curry. That's pretty good stuff."
In all, it was the fourth straight effort of 30 or more points in the tournament dating to last year for Curry, who became just the fourth player in NCAA history to accomplish that. The other three to do it were Purdue's Glenn Robinson, Utah's Jerry Chambers and Kansas' Clyde Lovellette.
Overall, the son of NBA sharpshooter Dell Curry has scored 103 points and shot 53 percent (19-of-36) on 3-pointers in the NCAAs, including upsets over Big East champion Georgetown and Gonzaga, the winner of the West Coast tournament.
With his latest offensive outburst, Curry made a Wisconsin squad that entered the contest as the nation's leader in scoring defense at 53.9 points appear helpless.
The performance came five days after Curry had 30 points in a 74-70 upset of No. 2 Georgetown, which was the top team in the country in field goal defense at 36.6 percent.
Doing the majority of his damage in the second halves of wins over Gonzaga and Georgetown, Curry continued that trend against the Badgers.
Shooting 7-of-13 after intermission, Curry believes that getting good looks in the second half is only inevitable as defenses begin the tire.
"I try not to force anything. It's hard for a defense to sustain themselves for a whole 40 minutes," Curry said. "Eventually you'll find yourself open. If you're patient, stick to the system that we've worked on all year. When guys slip up, you find yourself open, we know where each other is."
Despite having Wisconsin and stellar defender Michael Flowers chase him around throughout the game, the 6-2 Curry had no trouble coming up with memorable shots.
"It wasn't a matter of just guarding him," Flowers said. "They did a great job of running him off double screens and even some triple screens. He doesn't need much time to get the ball and release it, and they were giving him that time."
"You know, Michael did a pretty good job of chasing Curry and trying to force some things," Badgers coach Bo Ryan said. "And Curry had to make the shots. He made some tough shots."
Curry knocked down the second of consecutive 3-pointers in transition for a 54-45 lead with 13:04 to play, waiting for the 6-7 Joe Krabbenhoft to go flying past him on the left wing before burying the shot.
Curry also had a circus-like reverse layup against the 6-11 Greg Stiemsma en route to a three-point play, making it 63-46 with 9:10 remaining.
Sitting behind the Wildcats' bench, Cleveland Cavaliers superstar LeBron James rose to his feet in excitement following Curry's layup.
"It's just really cool to have a guy like LeBron James, one of the best players in the NBA right now, coming out and supporting Davidson," Curry said. "I don't know if he's supporting us, but definitely to make plays and have fun out there (is great)."
That breathtaking shot capped a span where Curry scored 12 of his team's 15 points to blow open the game.
While Curry was knocking down big shot after big shot in the second half, Davidson also dialed it up on the defensive end, holding Wisconsin to 5-of-21 shooting (24 percent).
"We played Wisconsin basketball in the second half," Ryan said. "We got to the line and we moved guys around. We just couldn't put it in the hole."
Andrew Lovedale added 12 points for the Wildcats, who had failed to record a win in their previous six appearances in the NCAAs dating to 1970.
Flowers scored 12 points and Brian Butch added 11 for Wisconsin (31-5), which allowed an opponent to score 70 or more points for just the fourth time this season and first in its last 13 games.
The Badgers did get just limited minutes from Trevon Hughes, who suffered a foot injury in the first half and ended up failing to score. The sophomore had 25 points in Wisconsin's second-round win over Kansas State on Saturday.
"I just wish Trevon was healthy. It would have been a better game," Ryan said. "I don't know who would have won, but it is a shame that our seniors didn't get that chance. We had to play without one of our key parts."
- MIDWEST REGIONAL
NCAA BB MIDWEST REGIONAL
FINAL 1ST 2ND TOTAL
--- --- -----
DAVIDSON (23) 36 37 73
WISCONSIN (5) 36 20 56 FINAL
Mar 28 9:18 PM
- MIDWEST REGIONAL
NCAA BB (10) DAVIDSON 36
(3) WISCONSIN 36 HALFTIME
Mar 28 7:56 PM
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