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January 27, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments

The Morning Dish – Monday, January 27th, 2003

by Andrew Flynn

The lead story from yesterday – save for that football game in San Diego, was continued streaking. No, I’m not talking about the Nike Soccer commercial with the streaker, I’m referring instead to the Cowboys and Wolverines.

No. 15 Oklahoma State’s coach Eddie Sutton led his talented group of players to their 14th consecutive win on the season, this time downing the Bobby Knight’s Texas Tech Red Raiders, 79-70 in Lubbock. The Cowboys’ Melvin Sanders drained 3 treys early on to set the temp for OSU, who also pulled away on a 14-0 run to start the second half. Sanders finished with 17 points, and Victor Williams led the Cowboys with 24 points, including personally notching half of the aforementioned 14-0 run.

The Red Raiders persisted, in the second half, to pull within one on the strength of a 21-11 run of their own. Leading the fast break attack was Kasib Powell, who tallied several of his 26 points down the stretch, and Andre Emmett, who had 23. That run “featured” five straight turnovers by the Cowboys, who had suddenly lost their concentration. After regrouping his squad, coach Sutton’s charges ran off a 10-1 run inside the final minutes to seal the deal, led by Tony Allen’s layups. Allen finished with 21 points on the afternoon.

The victory was the 14th consecutive for the Cowboys, who last notched an “L” on November 29th in the Great Alaska Shootout to the College of Charleston. OSU is now 16-1 on the season. The Red Raiders fall to 11-4, and are in the midst of a 1-3 skid. Texas Tech lost their first game at home this season, and coach Knight is still sitting on career win 798.

The other streaking squad is Tommy Amaker’s Michigan Wolverines. Michigan, a team that was in need of some good news after the distraction of the de-frocking of the Fab Five era and self-imposed sanctions, hasn’t lost since Amaker faced his mentor, Coach K, with a visit to Cameron Indoor in early December. Since then, when Michigan was 0-6 with losses to both Western Michigan (second consecutive loss) and Central Michigan (first loss to the Chippewas since 1951), the Wolverines have been a dynamic winning machine, rolling of twelve straight.

Yesterday, they faced their cross-state rival Michigan State, who have been disappointing of late, falling from a pre-season No. 10 to losing six of their last eight, starting with a disappointing loss (at the Breslin Center, no less) to the Toledo Rockets in late December. Streaks were on the line, as Michigan State had defeated the Wolverines in eight-consecutive contests.

So what happened? In a tight, physical, back-and-forth game, the Wolverines prevailed 60-58. Tommy Amaker’s freshmen, including Daniel Horton and Lester Abram, didn’t have the four-year losing streak weighing on them, as the stepped up large with 17 and 14 points, respectively. Michigan State, who was scoreless for over six minutes late in the second stanza, overcame a late 11-0 run by the Wolverines with two quick treys with less than a minute to pull close.

However, Michigan’s leading scorer on the season, LaVell Blanchard, was able to score his first two points on the day when they counted – at the line with ten seconds remaining to seal the deal for the home team. The Spartans were led by Chris Hill’s 20 points and Alan Anderson’s 13. Michigan State needs to bounce back from this loss, as their next three games are against Illinois and a home-and-home against Indiana. Michigan looks to make it 14 against Illinois on the road, followed by Minnesota and Iowa.

Side Dishes

Frozen Beaches? No. 25 Syracuse escaped from Miami (no, not Snake Plissken’s next movie) with an ugly 54-49 victory over the Hurricanes yesterday. The lowlight came for Miami with 8:30 remaining in the second half, as that would be the last point for the Hurricanes, who went a frigid 0-for-15 for the duration. The Orangemen were led by Hakim Warrick’s 18 points, including the lead-taker at the six-minute mark, and Kueth Duany added 17. Top freshman Carmelo Anthony had a 12/14 double-double in the effort. Darius Rice still scored more than his uncle Jerry in the Super Bowl, with 13, but it was a far cry from his breakout performance last week (43) against UConn. It was Miami’s first home loss this season (in eight attempts). Syracuse is now 13-2, and has won 12 of their last 13, with the only blemish being to No. 2 Pittsburgh.

Not Again . . . : A few days after Creighton lost to Evansville, thus scuttling their ascent to the top of the polls, the Bluejays were facing uncertainty again yesterday, down 12 at the half to the TCU Horned Frogs. TCU came out of the gates and exploded with a 20-2 run in front of the shocked Omaha crowd. But the halftime speech from Bluejay head coach Dana Altman, as Creighton outscored the Frogs 53-31 in the second half. Kyle Korver drained 4 treys and scored 23 points on the day and Larry House added 18 points, while Corey Santee led the Horned Frogs with 27 points and Bingo Merriex and Junior Blount each had 17.

They needed 40 minutes: Florida State came up 4 minutes short in their matchup against No. 17 Wake Forest in Winston-Salem yesterday, as the Demon Deacons pulled away in the final minutes to defeat the Seminoles 71-60. Wake, who is undefeated at home this year, needed their star senior Josh Howard to step it up as the game wound down. Howard, the Deacon’s leading scorer on the season, notched 9 free throws and 3 treys in two late runs to overcome a surprising Seminole effort. Tim Pickett led FSU with 27 points, while Howard ended up with 24 for the Deacons.

Trouble in West Texas: Rookie coach Billy Gillispie made headlines with his acceptance of the UTEP head coaching opening just three weeks prior to the start of the season, following Jason Rabedeaux, who resigned for personal reasons. Now Gillispie made headlines again, but not the positive kind. Gillispie was arrested Sunday in El Paso for driving while intoxicated, pulled over for driving the wrong way on a one-way street. While he was released on a $750 bond, the misdemeanor charge carries a possible penalty of six months in jail and up to $2,000 in fines for this, his first offense.

Tonight’s Menu:

• The big matchup comes in a Big 12 tilt at 9 PM Eastern, as No. 4 Texas visits No. 6 Kansas. Texas is looking to pull away in the Big 12 standings, while Roy Williams’ Jayhawks are looking to avenge Saturday’s loss to No. 1 Arizona.

• No. 8 Connecticut travels to the city to face St. John’s in a Big East Conference matchup at the Garden. The Red Storm have won 5 of the last 6 against the Huskies at MSG, so it should be interesting to see how Mike Jarvis’ squad welcomes UConn, especially with the Huskies only having one road win (at Vanderbilt) on the season.

That’s it for this Monday. Enjoy!

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