Having gorged on turkey, stuffing, and mashed potatoes, what better digestif than to reflect on Davidson’s odd victory against Loyola Maryland on Tuesday night? In a game that should’ve been forgotten as soon as the final buzzer sounded, Loyola Coach Jimmy Patsos decided to use this inevitable blowout as a chance to make a name for himself. As has now been publicly documented, Coach Patsos deployed a self-sacrificing and inexplicable variation on the triangle and 2 defense that placed 2 defenders on Stephen Curry at all times, holding the star shooter to 0 points on 3 shots. The strategy proved to be utterly devastating. Davidson smashed Loyola MD 78-48 in a rout that brought public derision to Coach Patsos and overwhelming praise for Curry. When Steph wins player of the year, which is looking more and more likely, this game will be talked about as much or more than the Socon game later this season when he scores 60 points.
Davidson fans should be thanking Patsos for this opportunity. After Steph scored 39 on Monday night in a 76-60 win over Florida Atlantic, there was worry that the Curry show, while effective against middling opponents, could be troublesome against more powerful adversaries. This game did a lot to put those fears to rest. With Curry out of the game, others stepped up. Lovedale continued his streak of double-doubles with 20 points and 10 rebounds, Barr rediscovered his shot with 6 three-pointers, and Archambault continued his offensive (and psychological) development with 13 points and 4 assists.
Obviously Davidson will never face such a pointless defensive scheme again, but there is little doubt that Curry will receive the majority of attention from opposing teams in coming months. While Curry himself can keep this team in the Top 25, consistent contributions from others can make this team one of the very best in the nation.
Davidson’s next game is against NC State, a team who eeked out a 1-point win against the Wildcats last year in a game that left Davidson’s players and fans in tears. Davidson is 0-5 against ACC opponents with Curry, but I really don’t expect this game to be close. I think that we’ll see three or four Davidson players in double figures, and Curry will likely drain 35 points as well. Sure, Tuesday’s performance was a class act by Curry, but there’s no doubt that he’s a little annoyed that his scoring average has dipped to 29 points per game. Arch goes for 18 and Rossiter fouls out in Davidson’s 77-62 victory against the Wolfpack.