- The Washington Times - Sunday, March 23, 2008

RALEIGH, N.C. Davidson slew Goliath.

Georgetown is going to spend a restless offseason hearing quick whistles and seeing Stephen Curry in its sleep.

Davidson’s baby-faced assassin gunned down the mighty Hoyas in the second round of the NCAA tournament yesterday, rallying the Wildcats from the depths of a 17-point second-half hole to a stunning 74-70 upset of the second-seeded Hoyas.

What can I say? That kid is just unbelievable, said Georgetown sophomore Jeremiah Rivers, the defensive specialist who spent the bulk of the game chasing Curry around RBC Center. He’s not just the best player we’ve faced this season. He’s the best player anyone at this level has faced this season.

In spite of a halting, foul-plagued pace in which Georgetown center Roy Hibbert fouled out with just six points and one rebound in 16 minutes of playing time, the Hoyas (28-6) had both Curry and the game firmly in hand when sophomore forward DaJuan Summers hit a 3-pointer to extend Georgetown’s lead to 46-29 with 17:56 left.

With Rivers and a constantly rotating cast of Hoyas challenging Curry’s every breath, the slender, 6-foot-3 Davidson star had just five points on 2-for-8 shooting at that point.

Even with Hibbert, the team’s leading scorer, mired on the bench with three fouls (two offensive), Georgetown’s offense was producing points almost at will. When Summers (10 points) hit that 3-pointer, the Hoyas edged over the 70 percent shooting mark for the game (17-for-24).

But something strange happened on Georgetown’s way to a third consecutive Sweet 16 appearance. Coach John Thompson III’s worst nightmare materialized. Given a slight crack in Georgetown’s intensity and focus the Hoyas committed 12 turnovers in the second half Curry caught fire to author what Davidson fans are likely to dub the Raleigh Resurrection. The son of Virginia Tech alum and longtime NBA sniper Dell Curry, Davidson’s elusive scorer found his fuse when he parlayed a transition look and foul on Rivers into a four-point play with 14:24 left. Over the final 15 minutes of the game, the nation’s fifth-leading scorer and Southern Conference player of the year scored 25 points with defenders draped all over him, connecting on a staggering array of circus shots and contested 3-pointers that left even the UNC-centric crowd wondering aloud whether they were witnessing the exploits of the nation’s best player. Once this kid starts getting on fire like he did the other day, it’s tough to stop him, Jason Richards (20 points, five assists) said of the 40 points Curry scored on Gonzaga in Davidson’s first-round win. As 10th-seeded Davidson (28-6) surged back behind Curry, the partisan sellout crowd of 19,477 fans roared its approval, with the massive contingent of Tar Heels in attendance sensing instate revenge for Georgetown’s ouster of North Carolina in last season’s East Region finale. And the veteran Hoyas, so sturdy in close games all season, cracked under the 3-point pressures of Curry, a hostile crowd and one-and-done reality. The Wildcats parlayed a series of Georgetown turnovers, forced shots, point-blank misses and free throw woes (8-for-17 for the game) into a 19-4 run to trim the Hoyas’ lead to two points at 52-50 on a pair of free throws by Richards with 7:56 left. Curry then scored 18 of the team’s final 22 points, pushing the Wildcats ahead for good on a circus layup amid the trees with 3:52 left. I guess I was a little short growing up, so I had to find creative ways of getting off my shot, said Curry, who finished with 30 points, five assists, three steals and no turnovers against the team that led the nation in field goal percentage defense. I think [Rivers] and their whole team did a great job defending me the entire game. I just never lost my confidence. The Hoyas mounted one last push before yielding to Cinderella, pulling within 69-67 on a dunk by Summers along the baseline with 25.3 seconds left. But after Curry converted two free throws to extend the lead back to four with 23.6 seconds, the Wildcats snuffed a reckless shot in the lane by Georgetown freshman Chris Wright effectively to cement the upset.

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