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January 21, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments

The Morning Dish – Tuesday, January 21, 2003

by Adam Shandler

It’s a good week to be a Rice. On Sunday, Jerry Rice and his Oakland Raiders earned a berth in the Super Bowl and last night Darius Rice, Jerry’s nephew, propelled the Miami Hurricanes to an upset of No. 6 UConn.

Proving his candidacy for Mr. Stamina, Rice (Darius, not Jerry) played the full 40 minutes, dropping 43 on the Huskies and draining a game-winning, buzzer-beating three-pointer for a 77-76 win in Coral Gables. UConn lost to North Carolina on Saturday, so this marks Jim Calhoun’s second straight loss since February of last season. This game was simply a post-script to what was a topsy-turvy weekend of college hoops in which most of the Top 25 fell like a house of cards.

The Huskies nearly staved off the upset when Ben Gordon’s pair of free throws gave his squad a 76-72 lead with 8.9 seconds left. But with 4 seconds left, UConn let Hurricanes guard Armando Surratt prance down the lane for an uncontested layup and, on the ensuing in-bounds, Rice stole the pass and nailed his fateful three.

With his 43 points, Rice tied the third highest one-game point total in Big East history. The junior forward was 16-of-27 from the floor, including 7-of-12 from Threesville (a suburb of Hoopville). Ben Gordon finished with 32 for 11-2, 2-1 Connecticut.

Miami advances to 8-7 overall, 1-3 in the Big East and breaks a three-game losing streak in the process.

Now we go from Rice to Price.

The fourth-ranked Sooners needed a rally to upend a feisty Texas Tech club, and Hollis Price, whose status became uncertain early in the game, led the charge. Price left the game early after being knocked to the ground by the Raiders’ Nick Valdez, but the senior point guard returned to score 23 points, including a jumper at the buzzer to force overtime, in a 69-64 victory.

Bobby Knight’s club put together an 11-5 run to earn a 52-50 lead midway through the second half, and after trading buckets for awhile, Price exploded in the final 22 seconds, scoring 5 points.

The Sooners up their mark to 12-3, 3-1 in Big 12 play, and notched their 32nd straight home win. Tech falls to 11-3, 1-2 in the conference.

Side Dishes

Creighton Keeps On Keepin’ On: One of the more efficient teams this past weekend was the Creighton Blue Jays, who knocked off their conference nemesis, Southern Illinois. Last night, the boys from Omaha showed their depth in a 95-82 win over Illinois State. The Redbirds did a nice job holding Kyle Korver in check, so Larry House took advantage, scoring 23 points and bringing down 8 boards. The 16-1 Jays may have earned themselves a Top 10 ranking in our Hoopville Top 25 poll with all the upsets this weekend, but this bodes the question: Is Creighton this year’s Gonzaga? Meaning, are they the mid-major darling picked to upset everybody only to fold to a lower seed in the NCAAs? Stay tuned.

Mizzou Gets Clemons Back: The Missouri Tigers were one of those teams that took a lump this weekend, falling to No. 25 Oklahoma State. But yesterday, Quin Snyder’s team was informed that junior guard Ricky Clemons will return to the team after a one-game suspension for choking a 20-year-old woman in his apartment. The suspension was school-enforced and will be handed over to the Columbia Police Department for further investigation.

Also on the Blotter: Texas A&M 7-footer Andy Slocum was arrested with steroid possession outside a fraternity party late Saturday night but was released on a $30,000 bond, according to the Bryan-College Station Eagle. No word yet on how long Slocum will be away from basketball, but A&M coach Melvin Watkins suggested his oft-injured big man take some time away from the game.

At Least One Team In Connecticut is Winning: Central Connecticut, living deep within the shadows of their Storrs brethren, tallied their third-straight victory over Robert Morris, 80-74. The Blue Devils shot 50 percent from the floor and had three players in double figures.

Top 25 Scramble:The new Hoopville poll comes out today. Did Arizona replace the Dookies for the Top spot? Will Pitt finally get its due? Did Creighton jump into the Top 10? Click the link in the upper right hand corner of your screen to find out.

Tonight’s Menu:

• No. 17 Indiana looks to continue its winning ways against a dangerous Ohio State club tonight in Big Ten action. The Hoosiers beat ninth-ranked Illinois on Saturday but were manhandled by the Buckeyes last week, 81-69.

• After two-straight wins over ranked opponents, can No. 25 Oklahoma State avoid a letdown against Baylor? Tipoff is 8 PM (ET) in Waco.

• As mentioned earlier, Ricky Clemons will return to the Tiger lineup tonight as No. 12 Missouri faces Iowa State.

• No. 10 Alabama, another team bitten by Old Man Upset (lost to Auburn on Saturday), looks to regroup against Ole Miss.

That’s your Tuesday Dish. Enjoy!

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