DETROIT – After all those Davidson students came all that way, the least Stephen Curry and Co. could do was give them a good game.
Did they ever.
And now the Wildcats' band of merry travelers gets to see another before climbing back on the buses.
Curry went over the 30-point mark for a third straight game, and 10th-seeded Davidson extended its wonderful ride for at least another game with a 73-56 romp over Wisconsin on Friday night. The Wildcats will play top-seeded Kansas for a trip to the Final Four.
"I couldn't be more pleased," Davidson coach Bob McKillop said. "So many guys contributed in so many ways to make this a very special victory for Davidson College."
In pushing the nation's longest winning streak to 25 games, Davidson also represented for the little guys. Of the three double-digit seeds that reached the regional semifinals, the Wildcats are the only one left.
And they are by far the lowest seed standing, with the four No. 1s, one 2 and two 3s advancing.
"We've said it all season long, that if we stick together as a team, it's a recipe for success," Max Paulhus Gosselin said. "We aren't intimidated by anyone. Why should we be?"
Why should they be, indeed. They have Curry, while everybody else is still trying to figure out a way to stop him.
Curry, the son of former NBA sharpshooter Dell Curry, outscored the Badgers all by himself in the second half, 22-20. He finished with 33 points on 11-for-22 shooting, including six 3-pointers.
Add in his 30-point effort against Maryland in last year's NCAA tournament, and Curry joins Clyde Lovellette of Kansas, Jerry Chambers of Utah and Glenn Robinson of Purdue as the only players to score 30 or more in their first four NCAA tournament games.
"In the NBA, I never experienced this as a player. I don't think even in all my playoff games in my career that I've felt like this," said Dell Curry, who was getting congratulatory high-fives at the end of the game. "To see your son succeed and have fun on a national stage is great."
Even LeBron James was impressed. The Cleveland Cavaliers star had praised Curry earlier this week and, on the eve of a game against the Detroit Pistons, found a seat a few rows behind the Davidson bench.
"It just shows what we're doing here at Davidson," Curry said. "We got guys that are in the spotlight and they're coming to our game and watching us play. It's pretty cool to give him something to be happy about and cheer about and just entertain him."
The nation got an idea of what Curry can do last weekend, when he scored 40 against Gonzaga and added 30 against Georgetown.
But big, brawny Wisconsin (31-5) was supposed to be different. Badgers defensive specialist Michael Flowers has made many a perimeter player ineffective, and Wisconsin was holding opponents to 53.9 points, best in the nation. Their 3-point defense was even stingier; in the second round last weekend, Kansas State didn't manage a single bucket from long range.
Instead of being intimidated by the big stage — not to mention the monstrous Ford Field venue — Curry and Davidson played with such ease and attitude they may as well have been in their cozy little gym back home. The Wildcats shot 49 percent from the floor, and were 12-for-24 from 3-point range. Jason Richards had 11 points and 13 assists, and Andrew Lovedale added 12 points.
"Michael did a pretty good job of chasing Curry and trying to force some things," Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan said. "He made some tough shots. But so did some of the other guys. I thought they got a lot of contributions when they needed them. And that's how you get to keep playing in the NCAA tournament."
Flowers led the Badgers with 12 and three others finished in double figures, but the Badgers never found their rhythm offensively. And the defense that was so fearsome all season never materialized. Wisconsin prides itself on making opponents work the shot clock in search of a decent — heck, any — shot. But time and again, Wisconsin would score only to have Davidson race down the court and make a basket a mere seconds later.
"I felt like we were always in it," Brian Butch said. "I felt like we needed to make some plays and we didn't make any plays."
Curry, on the other hand, made plenty.
After Marcus Landry pulled the Badgers within 48-45 with a jumper with 13:48 to play, he took over the game.
He made a 3, and Richards stole the ball on the other end. Racing upcourt, Richards found Curry camped in the corner all by himself and dished off. Joe Krabbenhoft — a member of the Big Ten's all-defensive team — sprinted toward Curry and jumped, hoping to block the shot.
But Curry calmly waited until Krabbenhoft flew by him and then, with that silky smooth shot that's becoming a signature of this year's tournament, made another 3 to put Davidson up 54-45 with 13:03 to play.
As his teammates cheered, Curry thumped his chest and pointed skyward.
"It's hard for a defense to sustain themselves for a whole 40 minutes. Eventually, you'll find yourself open," Curry said. "It's just being patient and sticking to the system that we have at Davidson."
He wasn't done yet, either. After making another 3, he scored on a sweet inside reverse that drew a foul and the admiration of everybody in the arena — James included.
"We got Steph Curry," McKillop said. "That's pretty good stuff."