Friday, March 21, 2008

Curry like a star on Broadway

Leave it to a New York guy to come up with a New York way to describe a virtuoso performance.

Stephen Curry scored 40 points, setting a school record for points in a half with 30 in the second half of an 82-76 defeat of Gonzaga in a first-round NCAA tournament game Friday at the RBC Center.

“It was like an opening-night, star performance on Broadway,” said Davidson coach Bob McKillop, who was born in Queens.

Curry made six second-half 3-pointers as Davidson rallied from an 11-point deficit for its first NCAA tournament win since 1969. The national media were enthralled with the performance.

But it was the ninth time Curry has scored more than 30 this season, and one short of his career high.

“He’s averaging 25 points,” teammate Jason Richards said. “He’s done it all year for us. This game he kind of showed the nation even more what he’s capable of doing.”

Ex-Gonzaga standout and current Charlotte Bobcat Adam Morrison’s somber face, captured on the scoreboard video screen in the closing seconds, told the story from Gonzaga’s point of view.

Incredibly, Gonzaga coach Mark Few said his team did a decent job guarding Curry. Few cited Curry’s go-ahead 3-pointer with 1:05 to play, which came after teammate Andrew Lovedale chased down an offensive rebound, as an example of the kind of play Curry scored on.“A lot of his points come off plays like this,” Few said. “. . .They are trained to find him in a scramble situation. . . .They find him. They know their roles.”

Amid all the superlative talk about Curry, McKillop also called attention to the screens his teammates set for him. But Curry’s ability to run off those screens to an open spot and hit 3-pointers while pivoting in either direction was what made this a performance worthy of Broadway.

“He is one of a kind when it comes to using screens and getting shots off,” McKillop said.

The rave reviews in newspapers large and small Saturday will attest to that. – Ken Tysiac