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January 26, 2003 Columns No Comments




The Morning Dish – Sunday, January 26th, 2003

by Phil Kasiecki

There are several cliches that could be applied to Saturday’s prime matchup in Lawrence between No. 1 Arizona and No. 6 Kansas, but instead, we’ll cut to the chase.

After a turnover-filled first half where they also allowed Kansas to shoot nearly 65% from the field, Arizona came out on fire in the second half. They scored the first 10 points as part of a 23-5 run, then wore down the Jayhawks en route to a 91-74 win to snap a six-game losing streak against Kansas. The win should keep the Wildcats in the top spot in the rankings.

It was all Jayhawks in the first half, as they led 44-24 at one point and 52-39 at the break. In the early minutes, Jeff Graves looked to be filling in more than admirably for the injured Wayne Simien, as he scored several baskets on the post and teamed with Nick Collison for an unstoppable post combination. Later, sophomore guard Keith Langford came alive as they had no trouble scoring on Arizona’s 1-3-1 zone, and the Wildcats made one bad play after another at the offensive end, turning the ball over 10 times. Langford had 22 points in the first half on 9-12 shooting.

It was another sophomore who got the Wildcats going, as Salim Stoudamire hit two baskets to key the opening run, then was hot the remainder of the game. Stoudamire would finish with a career-high 32 points on 12-18 shooting, including 6-9 on three-pointers. It was quite a difference from last season’s matchup between the two teams, where he shot just 2-19 from the field. In the second half, Arizona (15-1) held the Jayhawks to just 29% shooting even though they continued to use the 1-3-1 zone for most of the half.

The game featured four preseason All-Americans (Collison and senior guard Kirk Hinrich of Kansas and seniors Jason Gardner and Luke Walton of Arizona), but the stars of the game were two sophomores, Stoudamire and Langford. Langford loves playing Arizona, as he has had two of his best games against them. Last season, he had 19 points on 7-11 shooting off the bench; on Saturday, despite being silenced in the second half, he had a career-high 27 points on 11-19 shooting, including 3-5 on three-pointers. Gardner continued to play like the great senior leader he is, scoring 23 points, grabbing 7 rebounds and handing out 6 assists, all in between making several clutch plays and continuing to compete despite committing 5 turnovers. Hinrich and Collison had 15 points each, and Collison added 9 rebounds and 4 blocks, but the normally very accurate Hinrich shot just 6-17 from the field and 2-10 on three-pointers despite getting some good looks.

Arizona’s great depth did not win the game by itself, but it certainly helped thwart any late runs that Kansas (13-5) may have had left later in the game, as the Jayhawks looked tired during the latter part of the second half. The Wildcats got just 8 points and 10 rebounds off the bench, but they played a combined 45 minutes compared to the 27 from the Jayhawks’ bench.

Side Dishes

Wild Day In The Big East: The first game of the day saw Georgetown (10-5, 2-3 Big East) bid to knock off No. 2 Pittsburgh, but a free throw by Julius Page with four-tenths of a second left lifted the Panthers (15-1, 5-0 Big East) past the Hoyas, 65-64. Boston College (8-8, 1-4 Big East) took No. 11 Notre Dame (16-3, 4-1 Big East) to overtime and had their chances, but the Fighting Irish made the plays in the extra session in a 101-96 win. And No. 8 Connecticut (12-3, 3-1 Big East) got a career game from freshman guard Rashad Anderson in handing Villanova (12-6, 5-1 Big East) its first Big East loss, 74-65.

Upset Special: On a day that was long on upset bids and short on results, Purdue pulled one off with a big 69-47 win over No. 16 Indiana in West Lafayette. In getting their first win over a Top 25 team in over a year, the Boilermakers improve to 12-4 overall and 4-1 in the Big Ten with a perfect home record. It also snapped a five-game losing streak to the Hoosiers, who drop to 14-4 overall and 4-2 in Big Ten play.

Close Calls: No. 13 Maryland (12-4, 5-1 ACC) struggled mightily in shooting under 34% from the field, but Clemson (11-4, 1-4 ACC) was even worse as the Terrapins pulled out a 52-47 win. No. 14 Louisville (14-1) extended its winning streak to 13 games as Reece Gaines (22 points, 6 assists) helped them rally to knock off Tennessee, 72-69. Five double-digit scorers led No. 19 Georgia (12-4, 4-1 SEC) to an 85-79 win over upstart visitor Auburn (15-4, 4-2 SEC). No. 21 Mississippi State (12-4, 2-3 SEC) endured a long field goal drought and held off a late charge by LSU (12-5, 1-4 SEC) in their 67-64 win.

Not-So Close Calls: A few games involving Top 25 teams looked like mismatches from the final score. No. 3 Duke (13-2, 4-2 ACC) shot 58% from the field in blowing out visiting Georgia Tech (9-7, 2-3 ACC) by a 91-71 count. No. 4 Texas (13-2, 4-0 Big 12) won its eighth straight, a 76-55 decision over No. 23 Missouri (11-4, 2-2 Big 12) in Austin. No. 20 Marquette (13-3, 5-1 C-USA) had no trouble with DePaul (10-6, 2-3 C-USA) in a 72-51 rout.

Let Me Show You How It’s Done: No. 12 Alabama spent some time atop the polls earlier this season, but No. 9 Kentucky showed that they’re still a national power and the Tide might not be there just yet. The Wildcats recorded a 63-46 win in Tuscaloosa that wasn’t even as close as the score suggests. It was the ninth straight win for Kentucky (15-3, 5-0 SEC) and the third straight loss for Alabama (12-5, 2-4 SEC).

Stating Their Case: A few teams have stated their case for the Top 25 as they finished the week with perfect conference records. California (14-2, 7-0 Pac Ten) got its eighth straight win, an 80-69 decision over UCLA that marks the first time in 55 years that the Bruins have lost six straight games. Cincinnati (13-3, 6-0 C-USA) won its eighth straight and continued its home dominance of Charlotte with an 83-79 win. Dayton (13-3, 5-0 Atlantic Ten) won its sixth straight in their 57-49 win over host Temple. Wyoming (15-3, 3-0 Mountain West) held off Colorado State (13-5, 2-1 Mountain West) by a 79-77 score in a game involving two previously undefeated teams.

The 600 Club: Jacksonville head coach Hugh Durham became the 32nd Division I head coach to win 600 games as the Dolphins beat Gardner-Webb 87-75 on Saturday night behind a career-high 35 points from Calvin Warner. Durham is also the 10th active head coach to reach 600 wins.

Tonight’s Menu:

• Super Bowl Sunday is a busy day on the hardwood, as 18 games are on tap and all should finish before the big game unless overtime plays a part in the late games. The ACC slate features No. 17 Wake Forest (12-2, 2-2 ACC) hosting Florida State (10-6, 1-4 ACC), and a battle in the Triangle as North Carolina (11-6, 2-2 ACC) heads to Raleigh to take on North Carolina State (10-4, 3-1 ACC).

• The Big 12 has a good matchup with No. 15 Oklahoma State (15-1, 4-0 Big 12) visiting Texas Tech (11-3, 1-2 Big 12).

• The Big East has two games, notably No. 25 Syracuse (12-2, 3-1 Big East) heading south to visit slumping Miami (8-7, 1-3 Big East) at the new on-campus Convocation Center.

• Michigan (12-6, 5-0 Big Ten) rides a 12-game winning streak as they welcome slumping Michigan State (10-7, 2-3 Big Ten) in a big state school battle.

• The Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference and the Patriot League have the busiest slates with four games each.

That’s it for this Super Bowl Sunday. Before I forget: Bucs 23, Raiders 20.

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