Closing Curry flurry netsSweet 16 finish for Davidson
Guard finds range in time as stirring rally sweetens Wildcats' tournament run
RALEIGH --Moments after Davidson's 74-70 win against Georgetown on Sunday, Stephen Curry and his mom Sonya shrugged at each other, smiled and said "What is this?"
This NCAA tournament win left Wildcats players mobbing each other on the court and Davidson fans hugging. Davidson, seeded 10th, had trailed the second-seeded Hoyas by 17 during the second half, but then Curry made a former Davidson coach look like a prophet.
The sophomore guard scored 25 of his 30 points after halftime, mixing in a flurry of drives with deep 3-point shots. It was the second straight spectacular performance for Curry, who had 40 Friday against seventh-seeded Gonzaga.
"I'm speechless about the kid," teammate Thomas Sander said. "What else can you say? You just want the ball in his hands."
Sunday, Lefty Driesell -- who coached the Wildcats to their last Sweet 16 appearance in 1969 -- sat 60 feet from where Curry made the decisive 3-pointer in Friday's 82-76 win.
"Any time you have someone like Curry, you have a chance," Driesell said before Sunday's game.
Few gave Davidson (28-6) a chance after the first half. Georgetown (28-6) had punished Davidson, and the Wildcats were fortunate to trail by only 11. The Hoyas were bigger and stronger, and shot 63 percent in the game.
Davidson looked doomed, until Curry caught fire. He made a four-point play to start closing the gap, before coach Bob McKillop took a halftime suggestion from assistant Matt Matheny.
Georgetown likes to slow the game, but Matheny recommended Davidson use a trapping, pressure defense to speed things up. The plan worked as the Hoyas scored only two points on their next 11 possessions. The 16-2 run got Davidson to within 50-48 with nine minutes left.
McKillop implored his team to have fun and to trust each other, but it took a little more Curry charisma to make this happen.
He scored 17 points during the final seven minutes, including a scoop shot underneath a defender that gave Davidson the lead for good, 62-60, with just under four minutes left.
"Is he ever off?" teammate Stephen Rossiter said of Curry. "He does something every game that makes you go `wow.' "
Curry added one more at the end. With a boisterous crowd screaming for the Wildcats on every possession, Curry added a 3-pointer between two defenders at the top of the key.
Baskets by Andrew Lovedale and Jason Richards kept Davidson in the lead, before Curry tried to seal Davidson's 24th straight win from the free-throw line.
Sonya Curry stood and swayed with all of her son's final shots. "C'mon baby, c'mon baby," she said, clasping her hands. She flexed her arms after one make, and then prayed to herself as Curry approached the line for a final attempt.
Davidson led 73-70, but after a rare miss, he had to make another free throw to seal the victory with nine seconds left.
He took a deep breath while his mom looked skyward. Curry then swished the final shot that allowed the Wildcats to chest bump their way to a Friday date in Detroit against third-seeded Wisconsin.
"We were a school no one knew about, and now we are going to a Sweet 16," Stephen Curry said. "This is just unbelievable."