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D-1 Independent Notebook

January 22, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments

D-1 Independents Notebook

by Stephen Murphy

Do you remember the days when it wasn’t necessarily a bad thing to be an independent? Do you remember David Robinson, Kelly Tripucka, Bill Laimbeer, and David Rivers? Colleges such as Notre Dame, Navy and Air Force were free to schedule whomever they chose. If an independent team were to go the NCAA tournament they would not be obligated to share their profits with anyone. That was then, and unfortunately for these teams this is now.

Birmingham Southern

We still consider BSU an Independent, the NCAA for now considers the Panthers provisionally independent. We have informed you of their official transfer to the Big South Conference, which happens next season.

Josiah James tallied 22 points, and 10 boards, and BSC withheld a season low in scoring by Jacob Siguardson as they held off Elon 64-52 for BSC’s 11th win of the season. The Panthers were riding high in High Point, NC a few days ago. Derrick Williams made four free throws in the final 35 seconds to seal the deal in a 64-60 win over High Point Saturday. The win is noteworthy due to High Point being a future Big South Conference rival.

James led BSC, 10-6, with 17 points, followed by Corey Watkins with 11 and Williams with 10. BSC is now 4-2 against future league opponents this season; the Panthers have won four of their last five. Danny Gathings led High Point with a game-high 22 points and had 11 rebounds. BSC shot 58 percent in the first half on the way to a 35-26 half-time lead. High Point would come out hot in the second half to take a 45-42 lead, but BSC was able to hold down the fort. A one-handed dunk by James six minutes into the contest sparked Birmingham-Southern on a 14-3 run.


The Centenary Gents forced 32 turnovers by Texas-Dallas while committing only seven of their own and breezed to a 98-57 victory. Four players scored in double figures for Centenary led by Andrew Wisniewski’s 24 points. Wisniewski also dished out ten assists for his second consecutive double-double and earned six steals. Rickey Evans came off the bench to score 19 points, while Michael Gale had 18 points, including four electrifying dunks in the second half. Paul Buettner earned his first points at Centenary, going 2-for-4 at the free throw line, while Derek Sallis hit his first career shot from the field, a three-pointer with 44 seconds left in the game.

In a close Independent match-up, the Gents fell short against the Islanders of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi. The game was a typical see-saw battle reminiscent of every game played between the two teams. The Islanders came back from an eight-point second-half deficit and then held on to defeat the Centenary Gents, 93-92. Centenary took a 58-50 lead with 11:16 remaining in the second half, Texas A&M-Corpus Christi went on a 24-9 run over the next six minutes to take a seven-point lead of its own. The Islanders led by seven with one minute left to play before the Gents made a final push. Wisniewski scored four points to bring the Gents within three with 39 seconds left to play. The Islanders go to guard Brian Evans made one of two free throws, Michael Gale was fouled and hit both of his shots from the free throw line to make it a 92-90 game. Wisniewski led all scorers with 35 points and ten assists. He shot 12-of-26 from the field, including 5-of-10 from the three-point line, and 6-of-6 from the free throw line. Gale also notched a double-double for the Gents, scoring 18 points and grabbing ten rebounds. Centenary finishes the Month of January with two games at home against Lipscomb, and Texas College.

Lets take a dip into the realm of the rest of the independent world.

Texas Pan-American looks to avoid their 10th Straight loss against Southern at home as are struggling with a 4-16 record. We stay in Texas momentarily as Texas A&M-Corpus Christi is working toward a .500 record. The Islanders are 7-10 after a 100-73 loss to Arkansas State after their thriller over Centenary. A&M prepares for their in-state rival UTPA on the 25th. IPFW men’s basketball team used a 13-0 run in the second half, sparked by David Simon and Brad Noll (Coach Doug Noll’s son) to beat Chicago State 67-63 to improve to 4-15. Chicago State started out with a nine point run at the 10:50 mark when Rubeen Perry stole the ball from IPFW’s Noll and connected on a jumper giving the Cougars a 20-9 lead. The Mastodons would battle back heading into the locker room at the half trailing by a point 36-35. IPFW returns home to play Loyola University January 25th.

David Lipscomb fell to 4-15 after a loss to Derek Thompson’s Morris Brown squad. Lipscomb also dropped their contest to Savannah State (enough said) on Jan. 11th. The Bisons’ wins this season have come at Tennessee State (with the knucklehead coach Nolan Richardson III), Campbell, Milligan, and New Orleans.

Morris Brown has actually picked up the pace since the last time we checked in. This was a team that had to recruit players off their football team last year due to lack of depth, and still was out-rebounded by their opponents by more than five per game. The Wolverines have won two of their last three and already have one less win that all of last season. Coach Derek Thompson is a realist; he preaches a hard work ethic. Things will take time, and the Wolverines have to go out and seek their fortunes because no big name team will go to play them in Atlanta. This is not a risk factor; it’s a matter of worth to some big name schools who find no benefit unfortunately in playing MB in Atlanta.

And last but not least . . . at least we hope one day . . . Savannah State won their first game of the season against Lipscomb on January 11th. Coach Edward Daniels’ like Morris Brown is one win away from matching last seasons total.


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