Curry’s 19 points lead No. 25 Davidson to 20th straight win, 82-49 over Wofford
NORTH CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP)—The first ranking in nearly 40 years. A perfect Southern Conference season. A week to soak up the attention.
No. 25 Davidson shook off all of that Saturday, running the nation’s longest winning streak to 20 games with an 82-49 victory over Wofford to advance to the Southern Conference tournament semifinals.
“We’ve been taking it one step at a time all year,” Davidson guard Stephen Curry said. “We’re not looking forward, we’re not looking behind, we’re only looking at what’s in front of us.”
And that could be a third straight conference title.
Curry had 19 points and Bryant Barr added 17 for the Wildcats (24-6), who will take on UNC Greensboro—the last team to beat Davidson in this tournament three years ago—on Sunday
Davidson will be a strong favorite to continue a run that’s several years old.
They Wildcats have won their past 34 games against SoCon opponents, including a 20-0 mark this regular season.
It’s no coincidence Curry’s been there the whole time.
The smooth-shooting sophomore was the Southern Conference’s player of the year after leading the league in scoring with a 25.3-point average.
Curry, the son of former NBA guard Dell Curry, scored 79 points last season as Davidson swept to its second straight tournament title.
He got off to a strong start in his bid to win a second straight tournament MVP.
Curry had two 3-pointers as Davidson took control with a 26-8 first-half run.
Barr hit three from behind the arc during the surge but when Curry stroked a 3 from the top of the key to close things, Davidson led 43-21.
Curry kept it up after halftime, nailing two rainbow 3s to start the period.
About the only drama left was whether Curry would crack the 20-point mark. Coach Bob McKillop chose to give his star a rest as Curry sat out the last 6 minutes.
McKillop, who has taken Davidson to the NCAA tournament four times in 18 seasons, said his latest group has a single-mindedness born from disappointment. The Wildcats’ senior class, including point guard Jason Richards, remember all too well how as freshmen they came to the 2005 conference tournament off a 16-0 regular season and lost in the semifinals.
Davidson has dominated the Southern Conference the past four seasons, posting a 63-6 mark against league opponents in regular-season play.
Since then, Davidson has won its past seven SoCon tournament games.
“To come in with what would be perceived as a lot of pressure, and they motor along like it’s another day,” Wofford coach Mike Young said of the Wildcats. “They are exceptional, to state the obvious.”
Drew Gibson led Wofford (16-16) with 24 points.
The Terriers came in as the No. 8 seed and were mildly excited that they won their opening-round game on Friday for the first time in four seasons. But toppling red-hot Davidson? That was too much to ask as Wofford lost its fifth straight to the Wildcats.
It had been a heady week for Davidson. The school got its first national ranking since the 1969-70 season when Lefty Driesell was the coach.
Maybe the extra attention, the perfect record and a weeklong layoff might catch up to the Southern Conference’s top seed.
After a so-so start, Davidson put those fears to rest.
“I’m thrilled with our team. I’m thrilled with the consistency,” McKillop said.
Gibson’s free throw drew Wofford within 17-13 midway through the first half. That’s when Curry, Barr and the Wildcats showed off their long-range shooting.
Gibson said Barr’s play only makes Davidson more dangerous.
“It’s going to be that much harder to beat them,” he said.
Andrew Lovedale’s basket started the run and Barr kept it going with two straight 3s. Curry’s 3-pointer extended the lead to 30-19. Barr’s next 3 made it 40-21 before Curry finished it off with his third 3-pointer of the half.
The Terriers were 1-for-8 on 3-pointers in the first half. Wofford’s top two scorers, Shane Nichols and Gibson, combined to go 1-of-13 in the first half.