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The Daily Tar Heel

Curry Sets Example At Point

Ronald Curry officially threw his name in the hat to be North Carolina's point guard Monday night.

It landed at the top of the pile.

Curry got his first call of the season about one minute after Brian Morrison entered the game against Miami. Morrison threw an errant lob out of bounds, prompting UNC coach Matt Doherty to point in Curry's direction on the bench.

When Curry stepped on the floor for the sluggish Tar Heels, up 7-4 after 8:29 of action, his presence seemed natural.

"For me, especially, as soon as he came in there my feelings went through the roof," guard Joseph Forte said. "Because here's a guy, he has a lot of pride, and he's not going to just let anybody take the ball from him. He's an athlete, and we get the job done with him back there."

Whatever Curry was doing to help get the job done, it was just what UNC needed to snap itself out of a two-game slump.

North Carolina outscored the Hurricanes 40-19 in his 17:30 of action. It held a 27-26 advantage without him. Curry finished the evening with three points, three rebounds, three assists, two turnovers and a steal.

His competitors for playing time, Morrison and starter Adam Boone, had two points, three rebounds, two assists and 10 turnovers combined.

"It just felt good being out there and not having to look over my shoulder, not feeling that I'm out there only because Ed (Cota) is tired or someone else is tired," Curry said. "I was out there because Coach felt I could contribute to the team. I was comfortable playing, and I just played the way I was capable of playing."

The athleticism Curry injected into the lineup showed up most on the defensive end of the court, where the Tar Heels held Miami to 23.4 percent shooting - the lowest such mark in Smith Center history.

His man-to-man defense, coupled with center Brendan Haywood's 10 blocked shots, seemed to inspire his teammates.

"I think when Ronald went in there that really set the tone because he really can get after you defensively," Doherty said. "The point guard sets the tone offensively and defensively. The energy I think our players and the fans got off Ronald's defense helped."

In his first basketball game action since March 11, 1999, Curry did the things that were asked of him: He took care of the ball and kept it simple. He also set an example for the freshmen Boone and Morrison.

"I think that was key for us. I think we have to build on that," Forte said. "We have to understand that right now it looks like Ron Curry is the future as far as our point guard situation.

"I'm definitely with Ron Curry."

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