Having come up short in its first true test of the season, Davidson shouldn’t have much trouble regrouping on its upcoming stretch of home games.
The No. 21 Wildcats look for their 18th consecutive home victory when they face Winthrop on Friday night.
Despite another remarkable effort from preseason All-American guard Stephen Curry, Davidson (2-1) lost 82-78 at No. 12 Oklahoma in the second round of the NIT Season Tip-Off on Tuesday.
Curry scored 44 points on 12-for-29 shooting, including 6-for-15 from 3-point range, and almost rallied the Wildcats all the way back from a 21-point deficit.
“It’s a disappointing game,” said Curry, who sparked a 13-4 run that broke Davidson within six with 1:41 remaining. “We came out and played to win. We played hard all the way to the finish. We were down big and we made it a game, so I am proud of how we played.”
While Davidson likely won’t fall out of the Top 25 after that loss unless it is upset in this contest, the Wildcats dropped into the tournament’s loser’s bracket where it will pick up play hosting Florida Atlantic on Monday and Loyola (Md.) the following night to conclude the event.
A junior, Curry has lived up to his preseason accolades, averaging 35.5 points on 51.5 percent shooting (35-for-68). He’s 13-for-30 from 3-point range and is averaging 7.3 assists in three games playing point guard for the time in his collegiate career.
“He’s special. You’re looking at a guy that’s one of the best guys out there,” Oklahoma coach Jeff Capel said of Curry, who has scored 25 or more points in his last seven games dating to the 2007-08 season. “That’s certainly one of the best performances I’ve ever seen.”
Curry, though is not alone, as 6-foot-8 senior Andrew Lovedale is averaging 12.0 points and 8.0 rebounds and will try to lead Davidson to a third straight win over Winthrop. Curry had just 12 points on 4-for-14 shooting in the Wildcats’ 60-57 road victory over Winthrop on Feb. 22. Lovedale added nine points and 10 rebounds in that contest.
Though Winthrop finished 22-12 and is coming off its fourth consecutive NCAA tournament appearance, the Eagles (1-2) lost their top three scorers from last season’s squad.
Playing the third of four consecutive road games, Winthrop lost 72-58 at Akron on Tuesday, two nights after losing by 23 at South Carolina.
Cameron Stanley scored 17 points while Justin Burton added 14 for the Eagles, who improved some shooting the ball, finishing 44.2 percent from the field. They are shooting 41.9 for the season.
Burton is the only player averaging in double figures at 11.3 for Winthrop, which shot 30.0 percent (15-for-30) in last season’s loss to Davidson.
The Eagles look to upset a ranked opponent for the second consecutive season after beating No. 19 Miami 76-70 on Dec. 29.