Curry, Men's Basketball Shoot Past Goucher

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Austin Curry
Curry's seven threes (one short of the school record) came in 10 attempts and put him into fifth place on the Mules' all-time list with 132 in his career.
With temperatures in the low 80s and humidity in the mid 70s in San Juan, it was an appropriate time to turn on the AC. And that’s just what the Muhlenberg men’s basketball team did in its game against Goucher.

Junior Austin Curry, known as “AC” to his teammates, tied a career high with 26 points, and the Mules rode his incredible early shooting to an 81-66 win. The victory gave Muhlenberg a split of its two games in Puerto Rico.

The Mules (7-4) made their first six three-point attempts, with Curry nailing four in a row and sophomore Malique Killing and junior James Albano each sinking one, to take a 19-9 lead just five minutes into the game. Later in the half, Curry hit back-to-back threes as Muhlenberg widened its margin to 31-16 with 7:14 on the clock.

At that point, the Mules had yet to make a two-point field goal, scoring their 31 points on 10 threes and a foul shot. They didn’t make their first two-pointer until Killing scored in transition on the next possession, after which freshman Alec Stavetski drained a three, one of three he had in the first half.

Muhlenberg ended the half 11-of-17 from three-point range and only 3-for-8 on two-pointers.

Alec Stavetski
Stavetski was 9-of-15 from three-point range in the Mules' two games in Puerto Rico.
“We knew from the scouting report that they press with a 2-2-1 and drop back into a 2-3,” explained Curry of the Mules’ success from behind the arc. “They press the ball on the sidelines and tend to leave the shooters open. Their defense forced us to move the ball quickly, and that’s how we got open shots.”

Of his performance, Curry, who had 19 points in the first half, had a less defined explanation. “Maybe we’re going to have to bring some Puerto Rican food back with us,” he joked. “It was just one of those things.”

Muhlenberg led by as many as 21 in the first half, but the Gophers (3-7) whittled the lead to 12 by halftime. They got it down to eight in the first minute of the second half, but the Mules responded with a 7-0 run that featured a noticeably different approach: Five of the seven points were scored down low by junior big man Kevin Hargrove.

“Our shooting got them out of what they normally do, and they changed their defense,” said Curry. “As soon as they went man-to-man we knew we had mismatches inside, so we went to Chief [Hargrove].”

Despite making only two three-pointers in the second half, Muhlenberg remained comfortably ahead the whole time. Contributing to the effort were three drawn charges, two by Stavetski and one by freshman Nick Melosky, in a span of four Goucher possessions midway through the second half.

Hargrove later added a dunk and finished with 15 points for the Mules, who placed four players in double figures. In addition to Curry’s 26, Stavetski scored 17 and Killing added 13. It was another balanced effort by Muhlenberg, which is averaging more than 77 points in its last seven games.

“We’ve been playing well for a while,” said Curry. “One game Malique could be the high scorer, another game it could be Alec, and the next game it could be Chief. Whoever has the hot hand, we’re going to get them the ball.”

Curry had the hottest hand against Goucher, helping the Mules successfully wrap up a whirlwind four days that included three games and two plane flights.

“It’s nice to get a win,” concluded Curry. “Now we can enjoy the rest of our trip.”
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