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January 7, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments

The Morning Dish – Tuesday, January 7, 2003

by Adam Shandler

It was a clash of titans, without Harry Hamlin or Sir Laurence Olivier.

In one of the most anticipated matchups since Notre Dame cracked the Top 25, No. 7 Pitt blew away the fifth ranked Fighting Irish, 72-55. Both teams volleyed the lead in the first half and headed to the intermission tied at 30. But down 42-38 in the second half, the Panthers opened up an unused package of run n’ gun and a half-opened box of bump and grind, and shot out on a 16-0 run. That run was highlighted by three Brevin Knight fast break buckets, accounting for six of his twelve points.

Pittsburgh’s Ontario Lett was also crucial in the win, scoring 10 straight points to start a Panther comeback in the first half. But his 8 rebounds, denial of the interior and sure-footedness on fast breaks really helped make this one official. Lett finished with 20 points, leading four players in double figures.

The Irish could not find that kind of balance. Matt Carroll had 31 points but no other player on Mike Brey’s club had more than 6 points. Guard Chris Thomas, usually good for 17.5 ppg, was straightjacketed, hitting on only 2-of-15 for five points.

In Ames, Iowa, the Jayhawks took care of bid’ness.

Jumping out to a 22-2 lead at the Hilton Center last night, Kansas made it two straight over Iowa State at the Hilton Center. The No. 14 Jayhawks will want to post this one up on their refrigerators – they handed the Cyclones their worst loss ever at home, 83-54.

The score shouldn’t be the surprise. It’s how Kansas did it that’s mind-boggling. KU was without Wayne Simien (dislocated shoulder) and Kirk Hinrich had a cold night on 2-of-11 shooting. But Nick Collison proved he can take over a game by scoring a career best 31 points on 11-of-15 from the floor.

Larry Eustachy’s club were stifled by Kansas’s man-to-man pressure and couldn’t score a basket until Marcus Jefferson banked a layup with 11:22 to go in the first half. Guard Jake Sullivan was held to an uneventful 13 points.

Side Dishes

Texas Tech Hangs On: Bobby Knight’s Red Raiders, No. 22 in our Hoopville poll, proved they were a second-half ballclub last night, putting together a 16-4 run for 75-63 win over San Diego State. Kasib Powell led the Raiders with 22. Andre Emmet, the team’s leading scorer finished with 16, including the basket that started the decisive run.

It’s Not About The Free Education…Really: Arizona has agreed to let unhappy point guard Will Bynum out of his scholarship commitment. He will be able to transfer to another program without having to sit out a year. With Freshman point guard Chris Rogers proving that he is a capable backcourt threat, Bynum’s playing time has diminished. Bynum has his eye on Cincinnati, Depaul, Mississippi State and Oklahoma State.

Winston Cleared: In another case from the Oops, I-Didn’t-Know-I-Wasn’t-Allowed-to-Take-Gifts File, Alabama freshman forward Kennedy Winston was cleared to play after an investigation of alleged fund funneling came up negative. The NCAA said that the money had nothing to do with Alabama, but with a summer league in which Winston participated. Winston should make his college debut against Arkansas on Wednesday.

Jaw-ja – On Our Minds and In Our Poll: The Georgia Bulldogs return to the Hoopville Top 25 since the first two weeks of the season. Wins over LSU and Pitt last week were just too much to overlook, so we bring Jim Harrick’s team in at No. 23. After defeating Kentucky and Ohio State, 8-1 Louisville makes its debut on our charts with a 25 ranking. Duke is in the top spot for the second straight week.

Tonight’s Menu:

• No. 3 UConn and ninth-ranked Oklahoma headline tonight’s main event. The Huskies are coming off a drubbing of St. Bonaventure, OU barely got by Michigan State.

• In SEC action, Mississippi State, which jumped four spots No. 6 this week, faces another Top 25 challenger in No. 11 Florida. The Gators have been idle for a week.

• Two teams do the goodwill thing by scheduling out-of-conference opponents tonight: 13th ranked Missouri is challenged by Centenary; No. 19 Wake Forest hosts in-state rival Elon.

• Rounding out Top 25 action, Xavier, No. 16 in our poll, hopes to rebound from their Alabama loss against always feisty Richmond. No. 24 Marquette is hanging on to a Top 25 ranking by the skin of their teeth. They face St. Louis is a C-USA battle.

That’s the dish for your first Tuesday in 2003. Enjoy!

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