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Mid-Continent Notebook

January 14, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments

Mid-Continent Notebook

by Matt Amis

After the opening weekend of conference play in the Mid-Con, things have been shaken up quite a bit, with the unassuming Thunderbirds of Southern Utah coming out on top so far.

In the first night of league play, the Thunderbirds managed to edge previously first-place Oral Roberts 73-58. Southern Utah also ended a three-game losing skid, as the Thunderbirds hit 24-of-54 shots from the floor, while out-rebounding the Golden Eagles, 45-27.

David Palmer scored a career-high 19 points for Southern Utah in the win, while Kevin Henry and Jay Collins each posted seven rebounds. Reigning Player of the Week Tyrone Tiggs finished with 14 points to lead Oral Roberts, while Kendrick Moore totaled ten rebounds and three blocks.

The very next night, Southern Utah (7-7, 2-0 Mid-Con) notched a 82-78 comeback win over UMKC (2-12, 1-1 Mid-Con).

A sizzling second half from the field by the Thunderbirds offset a near-perfect first half by the Kangaroos as the Thunderbirds eeked out the victory at Cedar City, Utah.

It was Southern Utah who heated up after halftime though, hitting 18-of-24 shots, while the Kangaroos cooled down considerably to 40 percent (11-of-29), helping Southern Utah erased an 11-point halftime deficit. David Palmer scored a career-high 22 points in the win, while Michael Watson netted 24 points in the loss for UMKC.

UMKC returns home for a two-game homestand, which opens Thursday against Oakland at Hale Arena. Tipoff is scheduled for 7 p.m.

IUPUI gets offensive in opening win

IUPUI (7-9, 1-0 Mid-Con) snapped a four-game losing streak by defeating visiting Oakland (6-7, 0-1 Mid-Con) by a count of 96-82. The Jaguars knocked down 25-of-54 field goals en route to the win, while holding the rebounding edge, 31-28.

Antoine Lewis led IUPUI with 19 points off the bench and Josh Murray and Josh Mullins added 17 and 16 points respectively. Josh Crenshaw and Odell Bradley also contributed 14 points apiece. Oakland, still winless this season on the road, was led by four players in double figures. Mid-Con leading scorer Mike Helms put on his usual scoring clinic, pacing everyone with 28, while Cortney Scott added 21 points, nine rebounds and five assists.

With its 96 points, IUPUI its their highest total in a Mid-Continent Conference game in their brief Division I history.

Chicago State struggles after Ellis suspension

Chicago State assistant coach Kevin Jones couldn’t have liked what he saw in preparing to temporarily replace suspended head coach Bo Ellis.

Jones was pitted against the 10-5 Golden Eagles and mercilessly, Oral Roberts handed Jones and Chicago State (3-11, 0-2 Mid-Con) its fourth straight loss Saturday in Chicago 77-66. Luke Spencer-Gardner scored a season-high 25 points and Reggie Borges added 23 to lead the Golden Eagles. Kendrick Moore also contributed his first career double-double with 10 points and 13 rebounds.

Ellis was suspended for two games by the school after he conducted a practice following the conference-opening loss to UMKC. The violation was self-reported by the school and Ellis will also miss Tuesday’s contest against Wisconsin-Milwaukee.

Oral Roberts out-rebounded the Cougars 41-38 in the win, while shooting 27-of-63 from the field. Clark Bone scored 11 points and grabbed a team-high eight rebounds for the Chicago State in the loss.

Valpo on the way back

Very quietly climbing its way back to respectability, Valparaiso (6-7, 1-0 Mid-Con) remained perfect at home and broke a three-game losing streak in the process as the Crusaders dispatched Western Illinois (3-9, 0-1 Mid-Con) 74-57.

The Crusaders opened the game with a 10-0 run and raced to a 38-28 lead at the half. Roberto Nieves scored a career-high 16 points and Raitis Grafs also tallied 16 in the win. Valparaiso drained a season-high 11 three-pointers on 26 attempts in the win.

Shawn Mason led Western Illinois with 14 points and eight rebounds off the bench.


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