Stephen Curry and Davidson might have struggled early before rebounding to win their last game, but they have had a much easier time in the Southern Conference and on their home floor.
The 23rd-ranked Wildcats (7-1) open league play Saturday at Belk Arena against Chattanooga (1-5), having won 30 straight regular-season conference games and 21 in a row in their home building.
With Curry on the roster, Davidson is 43-1 in Southern Conference games - including the last two conference tournaments, with its only defeat coming Jan. 20, 2007, to Appalachian State.
That game also marked the Wildcats’ last loss at Belk Arena, and the nation’s leading scorer has helped Davidson to a 30-1 record on its home floor since 2006-07.
Curry went 1-for-13 from 3-point range to start Tuesday night’s Jimmy V Classic game against West Virginia. However, he bounced back to make his final three attempts, including the game-winner with 39 seconds left, and scored 13 of the Wildcats’ final 15 points in a 68-65 victory. He finished with 27 points, shooting 9-for-27 from the field and 4-for-16 from 3-point range.
“He is never flustered or frustrated by any adversity that faces him,” Wildcats coach Bob McKillop said. “I don’t know how he does it, but that prevents him from having many shooting nights like he did tonight.”
His only performance worse than that one this season came on Nov. 25 when Loyola (Md.) held him scoreless - he only had three field-goal attempts - by putting two players on him at all times. Averaging 30.8 points after Tuesday’s game, Curry maintained his 3.9-point lead nationally into the weekend.
Curry has averaged 27.0 points in five meetings with Chattanooga, scoring at least 20 in each. In his last game against the Mocs at Belk Arena, an 85-58 win on Jan. 19, he scored 37 points and made eight 3-pointers.
Despite having Curry and senior forward Andrew Lovedale as the only players averaging in double figures, Davidson is one of the nation’s top offensive teams at 84.4 points per game. Lovedale has scored 14.5 per game and also averages a team-best 9.8 rebounds.
Davidson will get starting guard Max Paulhus Gosselin back for Saturday’s game. After being ejected for a flagrant foul Dec. 6 against North Carolina State, Gosselin was suspended for the West Virginia game by the Southern Conference.
Without Paulhus Gosselin in the lineup, Curry ended up playing the entire game Tuesday.
“We missed Max because with him in the rotation I usually don’t play 40 minutes,” Curry said. “This was a special situation, but I worked on my endurance over the summer.”
The Mocs haven’t played since Nov. 29, when they broke a five-game losing streak with a 108-67 win over NAIA opponent Tennessee Temple.
Chattanooga lost all of its previous games by double digits but faced three ranked opponents - Memphis, Tennessee and Southern California. The Mocs averaged 61.8 points in those contests and gave up 86.8.
For the second straight season, senior guard Stephen McDowell leads Chattanooga in scoring (16.0 ppg) and senior forward Nicchaeus Doaks is the top rebounder (11.7 rpg). Doaks also averages 15.0 points.
Davidson has won six straight over Chattanooga, but the Mocs lead the overall series 31-18.
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