College Baksetball: Davidson 99, Georgia Southern 56: Curry breaks Gerdy’s scoring record
By Mike Cranston
DAVIDSON ó Stephen Curry scooped up a loose ball and drilled a 15-footer early in the second half to become Davidson’s all-time leading scorer, and the man whose record he broke was one of the first fans to lead the ensuing standing ovation.
Then after Curry had scored 34 points and led the Wildcats to a 99-56 win over undermanned Georgia Southern Saturday, a gracious John Gerdy embraced Curry in a ceremony at midcourt ó before offering a little advice.
“Whether he leaves next year or not, hopefully he will come back and graduate,” Gerdy said. “Because Davidson basketball at its core, that’s what it’s about. It’s more than just playing ball and points you scored. It’s about coming here and being part of a campus community.”
While Curry has not announced if he’ll return for his senior season, he secured another spot in Davidson lore on the day the Wildcats (24-6, 17-2) clinched the top seed for next week’s Southern Conference tournament.
Curry shot 11-of-19 from the field, including 5-of-9 from 3-point range, scoring 30 or more points for the 28th time in a remarkable career.
Now the dynamic, youthful-looking guard that the big schools didn’t want has scored more 2,488 points, more than Gerdy or any other player from the glory days when Lefty Driesell roamed the sidelines here in the 1960s.
And it took him only three years.
“It’s pretty special,” Curry said. “The legacy of the people who have gone through this program, all the big-time names. … It’s truly an honor.”
Curry’s bucket with 16:16 left gave him 30 points and the record. The fans, who were following Curry’s point total on the scoreboard, erupted in an ovation that lasted until Curry committed a foul at the other end.
After hugging Gerdy following the game, Curry took the game ball and ran to his teammates in a celebration full of smiles and chest bumps.
“It’s incredibly fulfilling for me to be here today and have all of this history, to be a part of all of this history,” said Davidson coach Bob McKillop, who was an assistant in Gerdy’s final season in 1978-79. “The crowd is going to leave here today knowing that they were there when Steph broke the record. That’s a pretty special feeling to have.”
Georgia Southern proved to be no match. Freshman Ben Drayton scored 18 points, but also had 10 turnovers, for the Eagles (8-20, 5-14) in their 10th loss in 11 games.
“With (Curry), you just have to hope that he’s not having one of those nights,” Georgia So. coach Jeff Price said.
Playing without the black brace he had worn since missing a game with a sprained left ankle, Curry hit a 3-pointer and a mid-range jumper and had a rare dunk as Davidson built a 16-0 lead.
Having trouble just getting ball across the midcourt against the Wildcats’ swarming defense, Georgia Southern missed its first three shots and committed seven turnovers ó five by Drayton ó before his 3-pointer with 14:28 left ended the drought.
Curry had 20 points at halftime thanks to a three-point play and four other free throws as Davidson built a 50-24 lead. He exited for good with just under 8 minutes left to another rousing ovation in Davidson’s 11th consecutive sellout.
Andrew Lovedale added 14 points in his final home game and was honored before the game along with fellow seniors Max Paulhus Gosselin and Can Civi.
A year after winning 20 games, Georgia Southern secured its first 20-loss season since 1995-96 with only seven scholarship players dressed. Willie Powers (14.5 points per game) was lost for the season with a knee injury, then Julian Allen, Antoine Johnson and Trumaine Pearson were suspended for violating unspecified school policy.
“Whether or not they’ll be back I don’t know,” Price said. “It’s been tough on our guys. We’ve never had a season like this.”
While the victory secured an NIT bid for Davidson thanks to its regular-season conference crowd, the Wildcats are hoping for a return trip to the NCAA tournament and a chance for Curry to shine again.
“His feel for the game is really extraordinary,” said Gerdy, who traveled from his home near Lancaster, Pa., with his family to watch his record fall. “He has a real sense of when a big moment is and when he needs to make a big play. And he usually rises to the occasion.”