Mid Continent 1, ACC 0
Don’t look now, but the Mid Continent Conference has a winning record over that perennial powerhouse conference known as the ACC. The Jags of IUPUI went down to Georgia Tech and stunned everyone by beating the Yellowjackets 98-92. IUPUI wouldn’t let a power outage that delayed the game for almost half an hour keep them from lighting the Jackets up with their long range shooting. Leading the IUPUI three-point barrage was Brian Buchanon, who scored a career high 28 points, including eight three-pointers. Josh Mullins also improved on his personal best with 24 points, and Dannorriss Harvey contributed 19.
“They can shoot it,” commented Tech coach Paul Hewitt, “They’re one of the best 3-point shooting teams we’re going to see all year.” Hewitt wasn’t just whistling Dixie, as the Jags actually lead the nation in 3-point field goal percentage with a staggering 46.1 percentage from beyond the arc.
Valpo Falls After Valiant Effort
IUPUI wasn’t the only MCC team turning heads last week. Valparaiso followed a 76-57 drumming of West Virginia with a very respectable 74-70 loss to Arizona in the Fiesta Bowl Classic championship game. The game was close throughout as the lead changed hands nine times in the second half alone. Valpo held a three-point lead with less than three minutes left in the game but couldn’t hold on as the Wildcats finished the game with a 9-2 run.
The Crusader’s had their second chance at beating a Top 25 team Wednesday night in Lawrence against the second-ranked Jayhawks. The top team in the Big 12 was held to twelve points less than their average total by Valpo and had to scramble to avoid the upset. With under twelve minutes to play in the game, Valpo had a chance to take the lead on five different occasions, but were stymied by the Kansas defense each possession. Although the Crusaders weren’t able to come up with the big win, the experience of playing the powerhouse teams will definitely be to Valpo’s advantage when tournament time comes in March.
Helms Gets Player of the Week Honor Again
Oakland sophomore guard Mike Helms became the first Mid-Continent player to record Player of the Week honors twice as he exploded against Western Michigan University. The Golden Grizzlies’ star pumped in an astonishing 45 points against the Broncos in a 100-94 overtime victory. Helms shot 16 of 20 from the floor, with 5 of 6 coming in the form of three-pointers. Western Michigan wasn’t the only MAC team to feel Helm’s wrath last week however. In a game earlier in the week, Helms scored 15 points as the Griz blew out the Rockets from Toledo 93-68.