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Mid-Continent Notebook

December 31, 2002 Conference Notes No Comments

Mid-Continent Notebook

by Matt Amis

Oakland falls short

After shooting nearly 70 percent one night prior in a 91-88 victory over Texas Southern, Oakland (5-3) could not keep up the offensive magic against Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, falling to the Islanders by an 80-72 score in the finals of the Flint Hills Resources Islander Classic.

After a 9-1 Islander run to start the game, the Golden Grizzlies were never able to mount a comeback for the rest of the evening. Trailing by 14 points with five minutes to play in the half, Oakland scored nine straight points and cut the deficit to 28-23 on a jumper by Cortney Scott with 1:52 left.

TAMCC, however, hit a trey to finish the half to take a 31-23 lead into the locker room. OU could only manage a 35 percent shooting effort in the first half, and were also plagued by 11 turnovers.

Texas A&M-Corpus Christi got things going early in the second half, starting the final 20 minutes on a 14-4 run. Oakland fought back midway through the half, going on a 9-0 run to cut the lead to 51-45 on a pair of free throws from Rawle Marshall with eight minutes left.

The Mid-Con’s leading scorer — Mike Helms — picked up his fifth foul at that point and the Islanders were able to take advantage, canning 15 of 16 free throws down the stretch to hold on to the win.

Marshall led Oakland with 21 points and 12 rebounds while Scott added 16 points and eight boards. Helms was held to under 20 points for the first time this season with 11. Kelly Williams was also in double figures in rebounds, snaring 10 boards for the Golden Grizzlies. Bailey led five Texas A&M-Corpus Christi players in double figures with 26 points while adding five assists.

Helms and Marshall were both named to the all-tournament team, with Helms getting tournament MVP honors after setting a tournament and Memorial Center record with 43 points Friday.

Back to reality for UMKC

After collecting their first win of the season last week, the Kangaroos promptly got back to their losing ways this weekend with consecutive losses in Utah State’s holiday tournament. Michael Watson had 21 points and Javon Clark had 13, but it wasn’t enough for UMKC (1-9) in its 71-56 loss to Arkansas State in the consolation game of the Gossner Foods Classic in Logan, Utah.

Watson, among the nation’s leaders in scoring, built on his own UMKC record by scoring at least 20 points in 10 consecutive games for the Kangaroos. Meanwhile, Clark, a junior transfer, had his best performance since scoring 16 against Loyola-Chicago on Dec. 10.

UMKC led 12-8 after a Watson 10-footer with 9:24 to play in the first half, but the Kangaroos didn’t get another field goal until Randall Atchison’s 3-pointer with 2:45 remaining in the period. Atchison’s bomb snapped a 14-4 ASU run, but the Kangaroos still trailed 28-24 at the break.

James Williams scored two of his nine points early in the second half to pull UMKC within 33-29, but the Indians went on a 9-0 run over the next 2:40 to take a 42-29 lead with 14:51 left in the game. Clark nailed the third of his four 3-pointers with 12:35 remaining to make it 44-36, but UMKC couldn’t mount a comeback down the stretch.

UMKC returns home to face Monmouth on New Year’s Eve. Tipoff is set for 1 p.m. CST at Municipal Auditorium in Kansas City, Mo.

Big Ten bullies bring Valpo back to .500

Just when it seemed rookie head coach Scott Drew was about to climb out of his early season hole, a Big Ten bully came around and stole his shovel.

Kenneth Lowe scored 21 points, including a career-high five 3-pointers, and freshman David Teague added 17 as Purdue dominated Valparaiso 87-55 on Saturday. Purdue tied a Mackey Arena record with 14 3-pointers, the second time this season the Boilermakers have hit that mark.

Purdue had runs of 12-0 and 16-0 to open up a commanding 52-17 halftime lead over Valparaiso. Teague made a season-high five 3-pointers, including four in the first half as the Boilermakers made 51.9 percent (14-of-27) from 3-point range.

The Boilermakers committed only two turnovers in the first half and finished with 11 for the game. Valparaiso had 11 first-half turnovers and 23 for the game. The Crusaders were already trailing by double digits when Raitis Grafs, the team’s leading scorer and rebounder, picked up three first-half fouls.

Grafs, who entered Saturday averaging 19.3 points and 6.8 rebounds, was whistled for a pair of fouls in a span of 15 seconds, forcing the 6-foot-5 senior to the bench for the remainder of the first half. Grafs finished with 15 points and five rebounds.

Stalin Ortiz and Miguel Ali Berdiel each had 10 points for the Crusaders, who saw their three-game winning streak snapped.

Three-game win streak not in the cards for CSU

After accomplishing the unthinkable — turning the nation’s longest losing streak (24 games) into a two-game win streak — Chicago State coach Bo Ellis took his Cougars (2-7) on a tropical Hawaiian vacation.

Well, maybe it was to play in the Rainbow Classic, but who’s keeping track?

However, out to spoil CSU’s euphoria was Western Kentucky, which tripped up the Cougars in the opening round of the Classic, 63-56.

Chicago State gave Western Kentucky (6-4) all it could handle in Honolulu as the Cougars led 49-46 with five minutes remaining before WKU guard Patrick Sparks scored eight points down the stretch to lead the Hilltoppers. Craig Franklin’s 16 points and Kelvin Smallwood’s 15 points led CSU.


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