Curry wins it from the line

GRAHAM, N.C. -- On a night when the outside shot wouldn't go down for UNC signee JamsOn Curry, aggressive drives to the basket led to 37 points, 23 free throw attempts, and a win for Eastern Alamance.

"I didn't play that well, but last year I took way too many outside shots so now I'm taking it in and drawing fouls and getting my teammates involved," Curry said after his team's season-opening 87-81 victory Monday night over 3-A Southern Alamance.

The game was tight throughout, and Curry was matched up for much of the contest with Lenoir-Rhyne signee Josh Rudder, a solid pickup for that program. After a flurry of four consecutive threes to open the contest, Curry held Rudder mostly in check throughout the rest of the game.

While Curry is still the obvious focal point of Eastern Alamance's offense, his newfound dedication to taking the ball to the basket and finding the open teammate (he had seven assists) was crucial to the team's success. He was consistently able to get past whomever was in front of him and get to the rim for a lay-up—or a hard foul, which on several occasions had UNC and Eastern fans in attendance up in arms.

"I've just got to take care of my body and play hard in order to deal with all of the contact. Teams are going to come at me, I guess I just have to eat right," Curry said with a laugh.

His coach, John Moon, agrees with his marquee player that he can't become tentative.

"If teams have to do that, he's going to get to the line. Tonight he went what, 17-23 from the line? That's going to be a lot of teams' tendency, to try to stop him in that way. He's got to make his free throws, continue to go hard to the basket and make them pay when they foul him."

To taunts of "Overrated" from the large and involved Southern crowd, Curry took over the game in the last minute to break an extremely tight game open. After Southern cut Eastern's 4-point lead to one with a minute on the clock, Curry made seven of eight free throws to ice the game. The crowd won't get a rise out of the local celebrity, however.

"That's something I'm going to have to deal with, and just step up and make the big shots and also hit at the line like tonight," Curry said. "I won't respond or let it bother me."

Moon, while unhappy with the treatment Curry receives, puts it in perspective.

"I just told him he's going into Wake Forest, Duke, N.C. State, this is nice. This is nice compared to what he'll see when he moves on. The only thing that really bothers me is you should respect a player's ability. If it is an opponent, you should appreciate what you are seeing."

The highlight of the game was without doubt a first quarter alley-oop that seemed destined to find the bleachers. Curry, despite an attempt to force him away from the play, swooped in from the right and threw in a one handed slam that belied his height.

With the season's onset, rest will be a precious commodity for Curry and the Eagles. They play Walter Williams High School tomorrow at home in Mebane. Inside Carolina will once again be present to bring you first hand coverage.

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