College hoops: Davidson 99, James Madison 64
By Murray Evans
NORMAN, Okla. ó Most everyone else is talking about Stephen Curry’s switch to point guard this season. Davidson coach Bob McKillop wants to discuss the Wildcats’ defense.
Curry had 33 points and nine assists Monday as the 21st-ranked Wildcats beat James Madison 99-64 in the first round of the NIT Season Tip-Off, a rout that began with an 11-0 start fueled by defense.
“Our defense set the tone for this night,” McKillop said. “The defensive capacity of this team grows day by day, practice by practice, and I think it can become a major foundation upon which we build this season.”
Davidson’s win helped set up tonight’s showdown of preseason All-Americans, as the Wildcats advanced to play No. 12 Oklahoma, led by sophomore Blake Griffin. The Sooners beat Mississippi Valley State 94-53.
Curry’s outing against JMU (0-1) marked the 16th time in his career he’s scored 30 or more points for Davidson (2-0).
Curry left the game for good with five minutes left, missing what would have been his fourth career double-double by one assist. Curry was 14-for-19 from the field, including 4-for-6 from 3-point range, and he committed four turnovers.
“Every game we try to get better as a team, and I’m getting more comfortable with the ball in my hands,” Curry said. “It’s a different challenge. I enjoy challenges, and I enjoy playing this game. Me and my teammates try to have fun every time we step on the court as a team.”
Curry also contributed four steals to Davidson’s total of 10, the second time in as many games this season the Wildcats have reached double figures in that statistical category.
“You can see him continue to grow and get better as a point guard in his decision-making and leadership, two challenges that point guards and quarterbacks always have to master,” McKillop said. “He’s got the technical skills. We know that.”
Andrew Lovedale had 10 points and 11 rebounds for Davidson, while Bryant Barr scored 12 points. Brendan McKillop and Steve Rossiter had 10 each.
“It’s hard to simulate their level of defense,” said first-year JMU coach Matt Brady, who came from Marist. “This is my 22nd year in this business … and that defense is as good as I’ve seen, ever, with their understanding of how to play together and switch and to be physical and all those kinds of things.”