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January 6, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments

The Morning Dish – Monday, January 6th, 2003

by Andrew Flynn

While the majority of talk this Monday morning will be football related, considering the remarkable comebacks in the NFL Playoffs yesterday, the college basketball world remained stable and un-outraged. Which is a good thing. There were no upsets. You really couldn’t say that there were two of the six biggest comebacks. No. 25 LSU’s coach John Brady isn’t suddenly considering retirement after a tough loss. Irate fans aren’t using their cell phone minutes to berate and degrade officiating and the use of instant replay in the Duke-Clemson matchup. Peace and tranquility. Sometimes, it’s nice. That pretty much sets the theme for today’s dish.

For instance, No. 1 Duke had a showcase Sunday, facing also-unbeaten Clemson in the opener of the Tiger’s newly remodeled Littlejohn Coliseum. Duke prevailed in the chippy game 89-71, which “featured” 5 technical fouls in the Blue Devils’ 14th consecutive defeat of Clemson. Blue Devil freshmen J. J. Redick shook-off pre-game jitters (this was, after all, his first ACC Conference game) to notch 22 points, including 4 of Duke’s 11 treys. Edward Scott led the Tigers with 28 points.

As mentioned above, Georgia, who was coming off last week’s upset of No. 3 Pittsburgh, defeated No. 25 LSU in Athens, 89-63. Georgia, which had been in the Top 15 in preseason polls before early season losses to then No. 3 Texas, Georgia Tech, and Minnesota scuttled their confidence, started off the second half hot and never let up on the Tigers. Ezra Williams tallied 25 and Jarvis Hayes notched 20 in the “upset”, while the Tigers were led by Jaime Lloreda’s and Ronald Dupree’s 16.

No. 9 Texas also had an afternoon matchup, though the stakes were lower, as the Longhorns’ opponent, Mount St. Mary’s, wasn’t really setting the stage for a Big 12 conference cliffhanger. As a side note, what’s with Texas playing these New Jersey schools in non-conference action? Seton Hall, Princeton, and now Mount St. Mary’s? Anyhow, the Longhorns shot poorly from the field (38%) and still managed to ring up an 80-64 win over the Mountaineers, who held on for the majority of the first half. The Mount’s offense couldn’t penetrate against a staunch Longhorn D, which converted 24 MSM turnovers into 22 Texas points. Sydmill Harris and Brian Boddicker each notched 14 for Texas, and Jamion Christian led the Mountaineers with 12.

Side Dishes

No Comeback Here: No. 17 Creighton held off a second-half run by Drake to stay at 11-1 and undefeated in the Missouri Valley Conference, winning 84-63. Though the score doesn’t reflect, the Bulldogs managed a spurt the brought the once-21 point lead down to six, causing the Bluejays to get serious again. But Kyle Korver nailed a trey to jump-start a 17-0 run in the final ten minutes to seal the deal. Korver ended up with 23 points, and Greg Danielson led the Bulldogs with a 14/11 effort.

More ACC Openers: Formerly-ranked squads Virginia and NC State faced off in Raleigh yesterday for the opportunity to improve their situation in both team’s ACC opener. It was the Wolfpack that prevailed, winning 75-63, thus ending the Cavalier six-game win streak. Julius Hodge led the ‘Pack with a 21/11 double-double, and Levi Watkins added some key three-pointers to pull away from the Cavs early in the second half. Virginia couldn’t recover, and wound up losing their eighth-straight conference opener on the strength of 4-for-22 shooting from behind the arc.

Pain in Columbia: For the second time in 4 days, the South Carolina Gamecocks were awaiting the doctors prognosis. Again, it wasn’t good, as senior forward Chris Warren suffered a broken ankle during practice. He’s expected to miss up to three weeks. Last week center Marius Petravicius partially tore a knee ligament and is expected to miss a minimum of three weeks as well. Keep in mind, the Gamecocks just got Tony Kitchings back from hand surgery, so coach Dave Odom hasn’t had his lineup stable yet this season.

Tonight’s Menu:

• The marquee matchup is in the Big East, as No.6 Notre Dame heads over to Pennsylvania, to face No. 3 Pittsburgh in the Big East opener for both squads. The Panthers will hope to extend their 15-game home win streak, and recover from last week’s upset at the hands of Georgia. Notre Dame is looking to bounce back – from a win, mind you – against Valpo Saturday, 55-53.

• No. 16 Kansas opens their Big 12 Conference season on the road in Ames against Iowa State. No. 22 Texas Tech travels to San Diego to face Steve Fisher’s Aztecs in a late-night battle (Midnight, Eastern).

That’s it for this Monday. Enjoy!

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