College basketball: Davidson ends skid, beats UNCG 70-48
By Mike Cranston
DAVIDSON ó Stephen Curry’s shot was falling again, but that’s not what convinced Davidson coach Bob McKillop that his star guard had regained his form in his second game back from a sprained ankle.
It was Curry’s rebounds ó 10 of them ó to go along with 20 points in the Wildcats’ 70-49 win against overmatched UNC Greensboro that had McKillop smiling Wednesday.
“I think he made a pretty good statement about the ankle for him to go up in traffic and grab rebounds in traffic,” McKillop said. “He showed no fear at all, and that kind of fearlessness is indicative of the toughness that he has.”
After missing the first game of his career last week, Curry spent Saturday clanging shots off the rim during a miserable 6-for-23 performance in a loss to No. 24 Butler.
The defeat ó and McKillop’s message that he needed to do more than shoot ó ate at Curry for days. It’s why McKillop spotted him in the gym shooting jumpers late into the night Tuesday.
Curry responded by going 7-for-15 from the field Wednesday, including 3 of 5 from 3-point range. But he also recorded a season high for rebounds and had five assists as the Wildcats (23-6, 16-2 Southern) snapped a three-game home losing streak.
“I’m not there yet ó I’m still a little out of shape from the week off,” Curry said. “But Coach challenged me, if my shot’s not going, I still have the ability to rebound and play defense. So it’s not all about my shooting. I think if I did that last Saturday we would have had a different outcome. I was a little lazy out there.”
Andrew Lovedale added 13 points as Davidson completed a season sweep of the Spartans (4-24, 3-16).
“As much as Stephen hurt us, it was good to see him back healthy because he’s such a great representative of our league,” UNCG coach Mike Dement said. “He looked good and looked smooth.”
Curry, again wearing a brace around his ankle, missed his first shot. But he then made five of his next eight, including a driving layup and 3-pointer in the final minute of the first half, as Davidson raced to a 36-18 lead.Curry hit two free throws and a foul-line jumper in the first 90 seconds of the second half to help make it a rout. His exclamation point came when he drilled a step-back 3 from the right wing as Montel Smith fouled him with 11:56 left.
Curry made the ensuing free throw for a four-point play and soon watched the rest of the game from the bench along with a sellout crowd that included NASCAR team owner and former Washington Redskins coach Joe Gibbs.
“He’s a man on a mission,” McKillop said of Curry. “He certainly understands last week is over, and this is a new challenge in front of him.”Having already set a school record for losses in a season, Dement started walk-ons Mike Hardiman and Sean Spooner and benched top scorers Mikko Koivisto and Ben Stywall.
Koivisto and Stywall checked in early but combined for only eight points on 3-for-11 shooting. It was Dement’s 19th different starting lineup this season.
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