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December 9, 2002 Conference Notes No Comments

The Morning Dish – Monday, December 9th, 2002

by Andrew Flynn

Of course everyone’s talking about how far Notre Dame will jump and Texas will fall in tomorrow’s Hoopville Top 25 poll. And unless you were entertaining out-of-town guests all weekend like I was, you probably got to see this week’s “upset of the year”, where streaking Notre Dame, winner of two straight over ranked opponents – No. 14 Marquette last Monday and No. 10 Maryland on Saturday, yesterday downed No. 2 Texas 98-92 to win the BB&T Classic in Washington, D.C.

The Longhorns rallied from 13 back in the final minutes, and for a while it was a back-and-forth contest. But with some key perimeter shooting from Chris Thomas at the two-minute mark, Notre Dame pulled into the lead for good. Thomas came up large with 19 points and 8 assists, and freshman forward Torin Francis came close to a triple-double, with a 21/10 split with 8 blocks.

Thomas’ teammate on last season’s All-Freshman Squad, T.J. Ford of Texas, was named Tournament MVP, buckled like a belt down the stretch. Ford had a 21 points and 11 assists, but had turnovers and missed shots in the final minutes. Ford’s passes went to Sydmill Harris, who scored 25, and Brian Boddicker. Both made 30 points worth of threes, missing only once from the arc.

Notre Dame’s only loss was to Top 25 wait-listed Creighton a few weeks back, and have since been on a tear. Texas has their momentum broken, and maybe their television payout, as they face No. 1 Arizona next weekend. That would have been the first 1 vs. 2 matchup of the year. The Longhorns probably won’t drop out of the Top 10, however.

Side Dishes

Win Some: Most other ranked squads prevailed yesterday. No. 7 Florida downed the hot South Florida Bulls, 68-52. Freshman Anthony Roberson notched 19 points. In the consolation game of the aforementioned BB&T Classic, No. 10 Maryland came back from an early deficit to down George Washington, 93-82. Steve Blake and Drew Nichols paced the Terps with 27 points each. Chris Monroe had 19 for the Colonials, and two others, Omar Williams and T.J. Thompson, had double digits. Thompson had 10 boards for the double-double. No. 21 Michigan State is starting to gel, as they stomped on Cleveland State 79-47. Spartan freshman Erazem Lorbek, a reserve center from Slovenia, stepped up to drain all of his free throws. And all of his field goals. He ended up with 16 points. That effort, along with an 18-point run late in the first half sealed the deal over the Vikings.

Lose Some: No. 17 Minnesota lost ugly to a Big 12 power 80-60. Which isn’t bad, except that it wasn’t Kansas, Oklahoma, or Texas. It was Nebraska, who’s top three sports are football, football offense, and football defense. Followed by baseball. So it’s certainly a boost to Huskers coach Barry Collier and his program. So before we announce another Big 12 power, we need to keep things in perspective. Truth be told, however, this is the same Nebraska that lost to Alaska-Anchorage, and a Minnesota program that was playing its third game in five days. D-2 transfer Andrew Drevo led the Huskers with a 27-point, 14-board performance.

Tonight’s Menu:

• The surprising 5-1 Vanderbilt Commodores, whose only loss was to No. 9 Uconn, visits unbeaten No. 12 Indiana. And No. 15 Mizzou puts their unbeaten record on the line tonight against Wisconsin-Green Bay.

• The up and down RedHawks of Miami (Ohio) drive down US-27 to play No. 16 Xavier in Cincinnati in another Queen City area matchup. The Musketeers are coming off a six-point win over previously-ranked Cincinnati Bearcats Saturday.

• With limited action tonight, the other feature may be the 1-6 Brown Bears squaring off against their cross-bay rival – the Rhode Island Rams. Boise State at Wyoming should be an entertaining matchup as well.

That’s it for this Monday. Enjoy!

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