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January 20, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments


The Morning Dish – Monday, January 20th, 2003

by Andrew Flynn

Today’s dish is really a buffet of news and notes. Hopefully more upscale than some hotels idea of a complimentary “Continental” breakfast, but not quite the deluxe made-to-order omelet station you see at some swanky places, either.

What is really appetizing however will be tomorrow’s Hoopville Top 25 Poll. With over half of the Top 25 losing in the past week, there should be plenty of movement in the rankings. Now that Duke is no longer undefeated, what is the true measure of Coach K’s youngsters? How have the brutal conference matchups in the Big Ten and SEC affected the voters’ appreciation for their bottom line: victories? Tomorrow will tell.

Side Dishes

Piece of Cake for Wake: The Wake Forest Demon Deacons have rebounded nicely from their defeat last weekend at Duke, notching a victory against No. 17 Maryland (who bounced Duke Saturday), and then by downing the visiting Yellowjackets of Georgia Tech 73-66 yesterday. Coming up large for the Deacons was Josh Howard, who tallied 30 points, including 3 treys and 11-for-12 from the stripe, with five blocks and three assists in an All-Star performance. Howard more than compensated for missing guard Justin Gray, who is still out from breaking his jaw last week against Duke. Tech was led by Chris Bosch, who had 22 points and 10 boards, and BJ Elder added 18 points, but Tech’s leading scorer, Marvin Lewis, was held to seven points on seven shots. The Deacons have defeated the ‘Jackets five straight times at Lawrence Joel Coliseum, and are 15-5 all time at the facility.

Ram Tough: St. Joe’s was the next up-and-comer in the A-10, with only one loss and a smattering of attention in the Top 25 poll. Then came Rhode Island. The Rams hung around the Hawks the majority of the afternoon in yesterday’s match, and then there was the run. While St. Joe’s didn’t score for the final four minutes, the Rams rolled off a 7-0 run, capped by Brian Woodward’s steal-dribble-layup as the clock expired. Woodward finished the game with 12 points. The Hawk’s goat was Jameer Nelson, who helped the Rams by missing the front of a one-and-one at the 11-second mark, and then chipped in two turnovers in the final minute. Delonte West led the Hawks with 26 points, including 11 down the stretch.

“C” the USA!: With Hollywood overtones, in the topsy-turvy world of Conference USA, any team can step up on Any Given Sunday. And like that sports-themed bad movie, the reviews were thumbs-down to the East Carolina, as the Pirates lost to a struggling DePaul squad, 55-42. The plot line was “former giant killer shoots 31% from the field as they face the new rags-to-riches darling of the conference.” That being said, the Pirates did indeed miss many a shot, missing all field goals during the final nine minutes of the first half, and the final seven of the game. Put that coffee down – coffee’s for closers, pal. Meanwhile, back at the Daily Planet, the Blue Demons are this week’s “It” team, with as many wins in conference this season (two) as last season – already. The Blue Demons were led by Marlon Brooks’ 11 points, who came off the bench and nailed all four of his free throw attempts down the stretch. DePaul was 19-of-24 from the stripe to help seal the deal.

Yale Student Remembered: The first of four memorial services for the Yale accident victims was held yesterday at the campus’ Battell Chapel for 20-year-old Sean Fenton. Fenton, a junior from Newport Beach, California, was a computer science major who had been on the football team for his first two years. The accident, in which Fenton’s SUV collided with a jack-knifed truck on I-95 near Fairfield, Connecticut, claimed the lives of four students and injured five others, and was the reason for Yale’s school-wide postponement of athletics events on Friday. Two other students died at the scene, sophomore Kyle Burnat, 19, of Atlanta; and sophomore Andrew Dwyer, 19, of Hobe Sound, Florida, and sophomore Nicholas Grass, 19, of Holyoke, Massachusetts succumbed to injuries the following day. Two students remained in critical condition and one in stable condition in area hospitals. All students were members or pledges of the Delta Kappa Epsilon fraternity, popular among Yale athletes (including both former President George H. W. Bush and current President George W. Bush). Services for the other crash victims are scheduled later in the week. Hoopville extends its condolences to the families of the victims and the Yale community.

Tonight’s Menu:

As usual, there’s a full slate of Northeast, Big South, MEAC, A-Sun and Mountain West matchups.

• The hot ticket is in Norman, as the General rides his Red Raiders up to face the No. 4 Sooners in a Big 12 Conference tilt. Coach Sampson needs to get Ebi Ere off the schnide, as he’s managed a whopping eleven points in the last two games. Meanwhile, coach Knight is looking for win career win No. 799 tonight. The teams split last season’s games.

• No. 6 Connecticut hasn’t experienced the success of their women’s squad (winners of 55-straight), but the Huskies will try to win on the road in Miami against the Hurricanes. While UConn started out at 9-0, they are just 2-and-2 since, and have lost both road games. Miami has won the last two home matches between the two squads, and four of the last five in Florida.

• Looking for their first Mountain West Conference win, the 9-6 Air Force Falcons fly into Laramie to face the 13-3 Wyoming Cowboys, who are exhibiting the level of performance we’ve come to expect from coach Steve McClain. I know there are at least five or six folks out there that can provide Mountain West staff writer Bob Thurman detailed analysis, and I certainly hope they enjoy the game.

That’s it for this Monday. Enjoy!

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