CHARLOTTE, N.C. -- Stephen Curry scored 44 points in a dazzling performance that couldn't keep his buddy LeBron James in his seat, leading No. 22 Davidson to a 72-67 victory over North Carolina State on Saturday.
With James cheering on from the front row, the nation's leading scorer drilled a 30-footer just over a minute left, then hit two clinching free throws with 4.1 seconds remaining to match his career high.
Curry's deep 3-pointer, which came after Davidson's second straight offensive rebound, put Davidson ahead 70-66. It led a stunned James to leap from his seat, take several steps and put his arms up in the air as if he was surrendering to the nation's top scorer.
After being held scoreless for the first time his career 11 days ago thanks to a bizarre double-team strategy by Loyola (Md.) coach
Jimmy Patsos, Curry scored Davidson's final 10 points in his fourth game of 40 or more points in his career.
Andrew Lovedale added 12 points and nine rebounds as Davidson (6-1) beat their Atlantic Coast Conference neighbors for only the second time in the past 38 meetings.
Brandon Costner had 18 points and 11 rebounds and Ben McCauley added 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Wolfpack (4-1), who couldn't overcome the dynamic Curry despite a big advantage in the paint.
James, in town for the Cleveland Cavaliers' game against Charlotte later Saturday on the same court, befriended Curry during Davidson's dramatic run through the NCAA tournament last season.
James was on hand in Detroit for Curry's 33-point performance in a win over Wisconsin, and the two met up again a week later when James was in Charlotte for a game against the Bobcats.
When James made his way to his courtside seat with just over 14 minutes remaining in the first half, N.C. State had a 16-7 lead.
Curry soon led a comeback, even after Davidson lost its top defender after an ugly foul 2 minutes later.
Trevor Ferguson drove in for a layup when Max Paulhus Gosselin came in from behind and swiped his arm against Ferguson's neck. Ferguson crashed to the floor back-first, and his head slammed against the court. Referee Jamie Luckie immediately ejected Paulhus Gosselin, leaving Davidson without its top defender. Ferguson left the game, but returned 2 minutes later. His 3-pointer with 4:11 left tied the game at 62.
Curry then took over, outscoring N.C. State himself 10-5 the rest of the way as James looked on in amazement.
Unlike Loyola's strategy of constantly double-teaming Curry and leaving a 4-on-3 on the rest of the court, Wolfpack coach Sidney Lowe tried a variety of defenders.
Hardly anything worked. Save for a stretch where Curry missed seven of eight shots midway through the game, the skinny guard overcame suspect shooting from 3-point range (4-for-14) by hitting a variety of mid-range shots and running bank shots.
Curry finished 15-of-33 from the field and 10-of-13 at the line.