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December 12, 2002 Conference Notes No Comments

The Morning Dish – Thursday, December 12th, 2002

by Andrew Flynn

Oh, we could discuss the Kansas-Tulsa game, but that’s not really an entrée. Instead, let’s talk about the Missouri Valley’s Drake Bulldogs, who put up 162 on the board last night, coming within 30 of the all-time scoring record for a team, set by – you guessed it – 1991’s Loyola-Marymount squad, the year after Hank Gathers and Bo Kimble. Who was the woe-begotten opponent that received such a smiting? It was Grinnell, of course.

Iowa’s D-III Grinnell Pioneers, who have made a name for themselves this season with their high-scoring, defense-is-not-an-option style of play, had been averaging 140 points up to last night’s contest. However, Drake is not quite the caliber of opponent that they are used to playing, competing mainly with the likes of Ripon, Lake Forest, Beloit, and St. Norbert. Indeed, Grinnell seems to relish in the notoriety of being downed by 52 by their nearby D-1 brethren. Now in the interest of disclosure, I must admit to being a Grinnell fan. They have a great little campus, with a single railroad track running right through the quad. And, I own an Albert Einstein “Grinnell” t-shirt, and a baseball cap as well (though that’s hardly an exclusive club), and my Aunt Joyce and Uncle Don attended and met there during WWII. So it warms my heart to see the Pioneers get this kind of national exposure, even if they did get stomped upon.

So here are the particulars of the game: Drake set some school and conference records for scoring with their output. Not that the Pioneers play much D, but when they tried, they were no match for the better athleticism of the Bulldogs, as Drake scored easily with many uncontested dunks and layups. Drake zoomed past their previous scoring high of 130 from 1971 (against the UMKC Kangaroos), and then passed the Missouri Valley mark of 141 set by then-member Tulsa in 1995 over Prairie View (though not the football team).

Not only was the score a product of the style of offense, but Drake also was assisted by hot shooting, nailing 68% of their field goals (though many were high-percentage shots). The Bulldogs even heated up in the second half, scoring 89 points, and on the night had 41 free throw points, and incredibly, only one three-pointer (out of 4 attempts). Conversely, Grinnell was 23-of-73 from the arc. Eight Bulldogs scored in double figures, led by J.J. Sola’s 36, along with 25 each from Greg Danielson and Quantel Murphy. Drake faces Western Illinois this weekend, while Grinnell gets back to some D-3 opponents and faces Mt. Mercy.

Side Dishes

Back in the Saddle: The No. 18 Kansas Jayhawks are back to their winning ways, downing No. 19 Tulsa Golden Hurricane 89-80 on the road in a physical matchup. Tulsa took the lead at the half with a 15-2 run, but Kansas pulled away at the end with a 10-1 run of their own. Nick Collison notched a 26/12 double-double for Kansas, which helped offset and off-night from teammate Kirk Hinrich, who sputtered on 2-of-11 shooting for a whopping 4 points. Tulsa was led by Kevin Johnson’s 23 points, who was in foul trouble for a good portion of the contest.

Off the Schnide – Part 1: Tommy Amaker and his Michigan Wolverines notched their first win of the season last night, as the Blue downed Bowling Green, 83-57, to avenge last season’s loss to the Falcons. Three Wolverines scored 20 points – freshman guard sensation Daniel Horton (26), LaVell Blanchard (23/10 double), and Bernard Robinson, Jr. (20) – to get Michigan a win in their worst start in school history. Falcon center Kevin Netter notched 20 in the loss, while freshman Ronald Lewis had 14.

Off the Schnide – Part 2: Temple also got their first win of the season last night, as the Owls downed the Nittany Lions of Penn State 65-63 on two final second free throws. Of course, something had to give, as Penn State is now still winless on the season. Temple coach John Chaney wasn’t present for the victory, however, as he was released later from a Philadelphia hospital, where he had been since Sunday with pneumonia. The Owl’s Alex Wesby and David Hawkins led with 19 points each, while Penn State was led by Sharif Chambliss’ 18 points, though he wasn’t able to sink the trey at the end that would have won it for the Lions. Penn State isn’t helped by the announcement that junior forward Jamaal Tate has left the team, taking a leave of absence for health reasons. Tate is the second Penn State forward to depart the squad this season, as Daren Tielsch left just prior to the start of the season due to personal reasons.

Off the Schnide – Part 3: And congratulations to Division-II’s Minnesota-Morris women’s hoops team, who finally won, beating Crown College 56-40. Why is this such a big deal? This is the first win for Cougars since January of 2000 – a span of 72 games. Last Friday the Morris squad set the NCAA all-division futility mark for women with a loss to Central Missouri State. First-year coach Jim Hall’s record improved to 1-6, but he still has some work to do.

Tonight’s Menu

Tonight’s Menu is rather limited. Mostly, it’s geographic rivalries that are in the wind:

• In the closest thing to quasi-ranked action, the undefeated College of Charleston puts their 6-0 record on the line as they face the 4-2 University of Central Florida in Orlando.

• 4-2 Wyoming host Indiana-Purdue Ft. Wayne, in the only matchup tonight that will require an airplane. The Mastodons are 2-7 on the season.

• In a Big West – Big Sky tilt, the 3-2 Idaho Vandals face the 2-6 Montana Grizzlies. Other road trips include Holy Cross driving down to Hartford, Army cruising over to Stony Brook, Maryland-Eastern Shore taking the Chesapeake Bay Bridge to Towson, Monmouth hitting the Turnpike to play Seton Hall, and Yale angling up the Merritt Parkway to face Central Connecticut.

That’s it for this Thursday. Enjoy!

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