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December 5, 2002 Conference Notes No Comments

The Morning Dish – Friday, December 6th, 2002

by Jonathan Gonzalez

It was a cold, cold night of college basketball.

A light docket of college basketball action became even lighter when a slew of games were canceled due to a winter storm that has gripped a large portion of the east coast (In a related story, the inclement weather hit yours truly close to home as my girlfriend is without power at her apartment, but anyway, back to the hoops). James Madison at Davidson, St. Peter’s at Seton Hall, Centenary at Lafayette, Towson at Morgan State and Elon at North Carolina A&T were all called due to the weather. The make up dates for these match-ups have yet to be announced (It’s a shame, I was really looking forward to the tobacco road clash of the Elon Fighting Chr . . . er . . .Phoenix versus the Aggies of NC A&T . . . oh well).

As far as games that did tip, the more interesting match-ups of the night included Georgetown against South Carolina, Gonzaga vs. Montana and Nebraska at South Florida.

Georgetown remained unbeaten at 5-0 and gave South Carolina (4-1) its first setback of the year in a 67-59 win. The Hoyas’ Mike Sweetney scored a game high 27 points in the win. The game was back and forth until Georgetown went on an 11-0 run late in the second half to put the game away. Carlos Powell lead the Gamecocks with 18 points.

The Grizzles of Montana gave Gonzaga all it could handle, but proved to be no match for the superior Bulldogs. Blake Stepp led the Bulldogs (4-2) with 22 points as Gonzaga battled back from a three point halftime deficit to outscore Montana (1-5) 38-24 in the second half en route to a 75-64 victory. Kevin Criswell was the high scorer for Montana with 29 points.

Finally, in my final notable matchup from last night, South Florida slipped by Nebraska 65-60. Why was this match-up so notable you ask? It was on ESPN, that’s why. I have come to find that any game ESPN puts on is at least in some respect important. I mean, the Big 12 vs. Conference USA, inter-conference bragging rights at stake there. And if that game wasn’t important enough, you had a critical college football game on ESPN 2 with Louisiana Tech taking on Fresno State.

A lot of questions about that game, first and foremost, why is Louisiana Tech in the WAC? Oh, because it’s west of Florida, I guess. Also, why didn’t they cancel that game? An ice storm wasn’t a good enough reason? I digress. Anyway, back to the basketball game. You really know it’s a slow night of hoops when USF vs. Nebraska is on the tube, no disrespect to those schools. But I guess its good to get a jump on watching an early season match-up of two bubble teams…for the NIT.

Other winners from last night include: Air Force, Birmingham Southern, Fairfield, Alabama State, Butler, Lipscomb, Niagara, Mercer, New Orleans, Oklahoma State, Marist, Yale, Saint Joe’s, Tennessee-Martin, The Citadel, UMBC, VA Commonwealth and Virginia Tech.

Side Dishes

He’s In: San Diego State frosh Evan Burns was declared eligible by the NCAA Thursday. Burns, a former McDonalds All-American and UCLA signee, will give the Aztecs a much-needed boost. SDSU is 2-2. Burns is regarded as one of the better freshmen in the country.

He’s Out: LSU reserve Shawnson Johnson went out in style, or a lack thereof, on Wednesday night during the Tiger’s game against Delaware State in which the Tigers won. Johnson, apparently upset over not playing in the first half, went to the locker room with his teammates for halftime and promptly put on his street clothes and left without saying a word to coach John Brady.

I wonder if anyone stopped for a second and said, “Dude, what are you doing…are you serious?” Probably not. He probably just slipped to the back of the locker room, threw on his gear and eased out of the gym unnoticed and undetected in true benchwarmer fashion.

Coach Brady told the press the team played its best 20 minutes of ball after Johnson left.
Brady probably didn’t even notice that Johnson left in the first place, but had to offer up something to the media for credibility’s sake.

Tonight’s Menu

• No.7 Florida at Florida State, 7 p.m.: It doesn’t get much bigger than this as Steve Spurrier and his . . . wait a minute…wrong sport . . .heck, wrong year for that matter! Anyway, the ‘Noles, fresh off their Big Ten/ACC win over Iowa look to take down in state rival Florida.

• Bethune Cookman at No. 17 Minnesota, 8 p.m.: I am predicting a huge upset here as Minnesota will not win…by more than 40 points. That’s right, the Wildcats are going to keep this one respectable.

Have a good one and be sure to keep an eye on Army at Columbia, also on Friday. It’s gonna be a big one. I am out like Shawnson Johnson.

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