Curry Shoots Men's Basketball to Win at DeSales

Saturday, December 14, 2013

Women’s basketball

Austin Curry’s scoring touch had been in hibernation for a few games. On a chilly afternoon at DeSales, he woke up in a big way. And after a sluggish finish to the first half, so did the Muhlenberg men’s basketball team.

Curry scored a season-high 24 points on 7-of-11 shooting to lead the Mules to an 83-64 victory against a DeSales team five days removed from a win at ninth-ranked St. Mary’s (Md.). The senior co-captain made five of his eight three-point attempts, falling just two points shy of his career high in sparking the Mules to their fourth straight win and first 7-1 start in 29 years.

Austin Curry “It was nice to hit some shots, because I had been struggling,” said Curry, who had gone 2-of-13 from the field in his last three games. “It just goes to show that anybody can have a big game at any time. As long as we play team defense and hold teams down, somebody is going to have a big night.”

To Curry’s point, three Mules joined him in double figures, with junior Malique Killing and sophomore Alec Stavetski chipping in 15 points apiece and senior co-captain Kevin Hargrove adding 12. Still, this one was all about Curry, who had scored in double figures only once coming into the weekend.

The senior had eight points in the first half for the Mules, who led wire to wire. They scored the game’s first 10 points and led by as many as 18 (28-10) with just under eight minutes before intermission. The Bulldogs (7-3), however, ended the half on a 24-6 spurt to close to within four. After that, it was all Muhlenberg.

DeSales scored on its first possession to cut the lead to two, but Muhlenberg made its next nine shots after that, starting with a three-pointer by Stavetski and layup by Killing that pushed the lead right back to seven. Killing helped the Mules regain a double-digit advantage with another deep three, making it 44-33, but the Bulldogs answered with a basket. That’s when Curry took over.

Curry hit jumpers on back-to-back possessions, then sandwiched a pair of three-pointers around one by Killing, the last putting the Mules ahead, 59-41, with 13:18 remaining.

The Mules shot 58 percent (14-of-24) from the field in the second half, including 6-of-10 from beyond the arc, and led by as many as 22.

Muhlenberg’s first victory over the Bulldogs since 2006 was an all-around effort. The Mules matched a season high with 11 three-pointers and finished 22-of-25 (88 percent) at the line. They also took excellent care of the ball, dishing out 14 assists and equaling a season low with just seven turnovers. The Bulldogs, who packed in their defense in an effort to protect the paint, found themselves continually trying in vain to close out on Muhlenberg’s perimeter shooters.

“Whenever our bigs would seal off their side, they would draw so much attention,” Curry said. “They doubled the post on every catch the entire game, even though we were hitting our outside shots. It left the shooters wide open.”

Defensively, the Mules held DeSales, which came in averaging just shy of 80 points a game, to 32-percent shooting from the field. After the Bulldogs hit six three-pointers in the first half, Muhlenberg limited them to just two (on 11 attempts) after intermission.

“Our focus recently has been playing better team defense and communicating,’ said Curry, who added four rebounds and three assists. “I think we did that at the start, and then we had a big lead and the communication started to drop off and they started to hit shots. When we got into halftime, our heads were hanging a bit, but we just had to realize that we were still up, and we had to play like how we started the game. We did, and we were able to stick with it.”

Senior co-captain Brandon Bovino scored four points and grabbed six rebounds in his first game back after missing the last two with an injury. Stavetski stuffed the stat sheet with four rebounds, four assists and a block, while freshman Jon Schreer finished with seven points, three assists and two steals for the Mules, who are on a roll with a trip to Scranton for a two-day tournament on tap before the holiday break.

“We just want to keep improving so that by the end of the season we’re where we want to be,” Curry said. “We’re playing really well right now.”
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