Although Davidson has lost 36 of its last 37 games against N.C. State, its most recent defeat to the Wolfpack led to last season’s incredible run to the Final Four and helped build momentum that has continued into this season.
Stephen Curry and the No. 22 Wildcats take on N.C. State on Saturday, when the preseason All-American looks to rebound from the first scoreless game of his collegiate career.
Davidson (5-1) returns to the court after a 10-day layoff following a strange outing the last time out. Curry, who leads the nation in scoring with 29.2 points per game, was held to 0-for-3 shooting and didn’t attempt a free throw in a 78-48 win over Loyola, Md. on Nov. 25.
The Greyhounds double-teamed Curry almost the entire game, allowing the remaining Davidson players to take advantage of a 4-on-3 setup. Loyola coach Jimmy Patsos defended the move to focus on Curry, which he stuck with even after the game was in hand for Davidson.
“We had to play against an NBA player tonight,” Patsos explained. “Anybody else ever hold him scoreless? I’m a history major. They’re going to remember that we held him scoreless or we lost by 30?”
While Loyola focused on Curry, his teammates broke out. Andrew Lovedale scored a career-high 20 points and Bryant Barr added a season-high 18. The Wildcats went 14-of-27 from 3-point range and held the Greyhounds to 17 points in the first half and 34.0 percent shooting for the game.
“It would have been easy for me and my teammates to fall in love with the offensive end with how many open looks we had and not play defense,” said Curry, whose team is off to its best start since opening 6-1 in 2002-03. “It showed how focused we were to play both ends regardless of the coach’s style on the other side.”
The win was Davidson’s third straight since a four-point loss to then-No. 12 Oklahoma on Nov. 18. It’s won by an average of 24.3 points since then, but will face some increased competition this month, beginning with the Wolfpack (4-0).
The Wildcats lost 66-65 to N.C. State last Dec. 21, but went on to win their next 25 games before falling to Kansas in the Final Four.
Curry scored 29 points and shot 7-of-15 from 3-point range last season against N.C. State. The Wolfpack, though, have kept their opponents in check this season, holding them to just 53.8 points. They are coming off a 79-52 win over UNC Greensboro on Sunday.
Courtney Fells scored 22 points and Ben McCauley added 17 points and 15 rebounds for his second consecutive double-double. N.C. State went on a 16-4 run in the second half to pull away after taking an 11-point lead into halftime.
The Wolfpack outrebounded the Spartans 49-37 and outscored them 40-24 in the second half.
“I thought we did a real nice job on the boards,” coach Sidney Lowe told the Wolfpack’s official Web site. “I thought our whole team played with good energy.”
N.C. State is 69-13 all-time against Davidson.