Saturday, February 21, 2009

Curry Returns for Davisdon, but Butler Proves Too Tough

Stephen Curry returned from a one-game absence to for Davidson, but his sub-par shooting led to a runaway win for visiting Butler.

Curry played what was probably the worst half of his career in the opening frame against Horizon League powerhouse Butler, but nearing the break, he began to shake off the aftereffects of the sprained ankle which sidelined him in Davidson's 64-46 loss to Citadel on Thursday.

With 1:31 left in the first half, Davidson was trailing 31-23, when Garrett Butcher fouled Curry (who had hit just 1 of 10 shots from the field for a measly 3 points) and sent him to the line for a pair of free throws, which he canned.

At 1:14 remaining, Max Paulhus Gosselin added a deuce on a layup, cutting the lead to 4 points. After a Butler free throw and basket, Curry dropped in an 11-foot jumper, leaving the Wildcats down just 5 at the half, 34-29. Curry, despite the poor start, finished with 7 points at intermission, on 2-12 shooting (0-9 on 3's), and 3-3 from the foul line.

Curry regained his stroke somewhat in the second half, but by then it was too late, with Butler quickly establishing a double digit lead. The Bulldogs breezed to an unchallenged 75-63 road win. Propelled by freshman Gordon Hayward, who victimized the Wildcats with a game-high and career-high 27 points, the Bulldogs notched their 23rd win against just four losses.

Despite losing their last two conference games, Butler needs only to hold court at home against Youngstown St. and Cleveland St., Thursday, Feb 26 and Saturday, Feb 28, to capture the Horizon League regular season title.

Hayward, a 6'8" frosh, hit 6 of 12 from the field, including 4 of 7 on threes and 11-12 from the foul line. He also collected 10 boards for his fourth double-double of the season.

Curry finished with 20, but was just 6-23 from the field, hitting just 2-13 from outside the arc. 22-6 Davidson still should wrap up the Southern Conference South division, as they close out the season against three of the weakest teams in the conference, NC Greensboro, Georgia Southern and Elon.

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