Curry prepares for the Cameron’s crazies

Published 8:24 pm Wednesday, January 7, 2009

By By JOEDY McCREARY, AP Sports Writer
DURHAM — Stephen Curry has more to worry about than just keeping No. 2 Duke’s defenders out of his face. Like keeping the Blue Devils’ rowdy student section out of his head.
Curry ‘‘probably isn’t thinking just about what kind of defense we’re going to throw at them,’’ Duke guard Nolan Smith said Tuesday. ‘‘I’m sure he’s thinking, ‘What are the Crazies going to say to me? How can I get them quiet?’ That’s an advantage already.’’
They reserve a special level of that kind of treatment at Duke for those marquee players leading winning teams into Cameron Indoor Stadium, and Curry certainly qualifies.
The nation’s leading scorer made a meteoric, feel-good rise to stardom last season during Davidson’s NCAA tournament run, put on a showstopping performance last month that had Madison Square Garden buzzing and is out to prove the Wildcats (10-2) are more than just a mid-major darling.
Next up on Wednesday night: Silencing Duke’s Cameron Crazies.
Easier said than done.
Not many visitors walk out of 9,314-seat Cameron with a smile these days, not after Duke began piling up two long winning streaks inside the notoriously noisy building.
The Blue Devils (12-1) haven’t lost a nonconference home game in nearly nine full years. The last time they were beaten at Cameron by an instate, non-ACC team was in 1981 — back before Mike Krzyzewski became known as Coach K and he was just a second-year coach at Duke with a hard-to-spell last name.
Then again, that loss came against — you guessed it — Davidson.
Curry is plenty familiar with the Cameron mystique. The Charlotte native and son of NBA sharpshooter Dell Curry experienced it firsthand two seasons ago when Duke held him to five points in a 75-47 loss that still rankles him.
But that came well before Curry blossomed onto the national scene as the most compelling story of last season’s NCAA tournament, leading 10th-seeded Davidson to within a missed 3-pointer of a win over eventual national champion Kansas and a most unlikely spot in the Final Four.
So far, Curry is showing no signs of slowing down.
He leads Division I in scoring despite a pair of mitigating factors — his shift to point guard, and relentless attention from both opposing defenses and student sections. His 29.2-point average includes a scoreless outing against a Loyola of Maryland team that stuck two defenders on Curry at all times and gave the other Wildcats a 4-on-3 power play for 40 minutes.
And, under the bright lights at the ‘‘World’s Most Famous Arena,’’ Curry came up biggest when it counted most last month, in the process dazzling an awestruck crowd that oohed seemingly each of his 27 shots at the Jimmy V Classic. After missing 12 of his first 13 3-pointers, he knocked down a pair of huge 3s while scoring 13 of Davidson’s final 15 points in a 68-65 victory over West Virginia.
Now, he’ll surely provide a formidable measuring stick for an improved Duke defense that in its last game allowed only 13 points in the second half of a 69-44 win over Virginia Tech.
AP Sports Writer Mike Cranston in Davidson, N.C., contributed to this report.