I had a chance to go to the Garden last night for the Jimmy V Classic. Unfortunately, its that Toys R Us time of year for me known as computer exams and basically I have to be near the Law School and on call (in fact I did get called last night and solved a quick problem). But the Jimmy V Classic was of course being broadcasted on ESPN. And I got to a see another episode of the Stephen Curry show as Curry and Davidson pulled out another game late, beating West Virginia 68-65.
Curry struggled for most of the game as the Mountaineers kept switching off screens to guard him and kept putting 6-7, 6-8 guards/forwards on him. At one time he was 1 of 14 from three. However, Curry had 10 assists in the game and he was able to find open teammates such as Andrew Lovedale (15 points) and Ben Allison (10 points). The Wildcats led for most of the game, in fact up seven at half and as much as eleven in the game. However, the Mountaineers size overwhelmed the Wildcats on the boards as West Virginia outrebounded Davidson 51-28. This led to many second and third chance opportunities for West Virginia and they climbed back and took a 62-58 lead with 1:32 left.
During the game, I was texting my friend Mal who was at the game. He noted to me that Curry was struggling but I noted to him "Don't worry, he will pick it up". And Curry did. During West Virginia's run, he kept the Wildcats in the game with a three and then an absolutely sick step back jumper to tie the game at 58. Then after West Virginia went up four, Curry then did his best work. He first hit a three pointer to cut it to one with 1:14 left. Then after a Lovedale block, Curry buried another three to put Davidson up two, 64-62 with 37 seconds left. After helping to force a turnover, Curry hit two more free throws and the Wildcats held the lead to win. Curry would score 13 of the final 15 points for Davidson.
But to be fair to Davidson, they played well while Curry struggled. Lovedale and Allison showed the MSG crowd they have some game. Bryant Barr (9 points) can bury a three if left open. Jay Bilas, who was analyzing the game for ESPN, noted that Brent McKillop had "active hands" on defense. They forced 17 Mountaineer turnovers, had six blocks (three by Lovedale) and held West Virginia 33 percent shooting from the field. Curry, though he had 27 points, was only 9 of 27 from the field. The more the Wildcats play well when Curry doesn't, the more dangerous they become.
But there is even more Curry news. Did you know that there is another Curry, Stephen's little brother Seth? He is a freshman at...Liberty! Yes that's the Curry who buried George Mason in overtime. That's the Curry who helped the Flames beat Virginia at Charlottesville. And Curry had 24 points as the Flames gave Clemson fits, before the Tigers came from behind late and won 80-75. Oh yeah, that was a home game for Clemson. Remember, this is an undefeated Clemson team I saw impressively win twice at the Charleston Classic. And Liberty nearly beat them (in fact the Flames led most the game, were up by as many as ten points and were up four with four minutes left in the game). No wonder the Flames are in my Baker's Dozen. But here's the thing. How come Seth is at Liberty? If you are a major conference school, and you know how good Stephen turned out to be (and lets not forget dad Dell played in the NBA for 16 years), how do you not offer Seth a scholarship. By the way, it was noted last night on ESPN that Stephen said Seth is more developed as a freshman than he was. EEk! Well, Davidson did offer Seth a scholarship, but Seth decided to go his own way and went to Liberty (imagine Davidson if Seth was on the Wildcats..wow). Its amazing, the big boys goofed up twice. Hey, better for us mid major fans.
Well, unfortunately, us mid major fans won't get to see Brandon Johnson the rest of the year. Johnson, San Diego's star player and all West Conference First Team player last season, ruptured his achilles tendon in a game vs. San Diego State over the weekend. He is out for the season and most likely the Toreros chances to make the NCAA tournament went with him (they lost to San Diego State, then lost to San Jose State). I saw a lot of the UConn game vs San Diego in March and I was really impressed with Johnson.
One last mid major note. After struggling a little bit to start the year, Drake has won five in a row including a 66-63 win at Iowa State last night. Two remmants from last year's NCAA tournament team, Josh Young (19 points) and Jonathan Cox (14 points and 14 rebounds) led the way. Here's hoping the Bulldogs make the Missouri Valley a three team bid conference again this season along with Illinois State and Creighton.