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Mid-Continent Notebook

January 28, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments

Mid-Continent Conference Notebook

by Matt Amis

Hate to say I told you so, but — look out for Valpo.

The Crusaders pushed their current winning streak to five while staying perfect in conference, defeating Oakland, 72-70 Saturday in Rochester, Mich.

Joaquim Gomes hit two free throws with four seconds left in the game to give Valpo (10-7, 5-0 Mid-Con) a razor-thin win over the Golden Grizzlies (8-9, 2-3 Mid-Con). Raitis Grafs led Valpo with 22 points, with Stalin Ortiz adding 18 points and a team-best five rebounds.

Gomes’ heroics were set up by a steal by Greg Tonagel, who passed the ball to Gomes with four seconds remaining. Mike Helms immediately fouled the 6-9 junior, who calmly drained both free throws in the collective grill of the Oakland student section.

Helms led Oakland with a game-high 37 points, while Cortney Scott finished with a double-double of 11 points and 12 rebounds.

Valpo pushed its all-time record against Oakland to 9-0 in comeback fashion, as it overcame a 25-10 Grizzlies run in the second half.

Oral Roberts stays hot

Not to be outdone, Oral Roberts won its fourth straight game, defeating UMKC, 76-62.

ORU (13-5, 4-1 Mid-Con) used a 21-6 run late in the second half to defeat the Kangaroos (2-16, 1-4 Mid-Con) in Kansas City.

In the second half, ORU’s guards finally solved UMKC’s zone defense and proceeded to hit 6-of-9 from 3-point range over the final 20 minutes.

Reggie Borges led the Golden Eagles scoring 15 of his team-high 25 points in the first half, while Tyrone Tiggs finished with 14. UMKC was, as usual, led by Michael Watson, who netted 25 points and went 11-of-15 from the charity stripe.

This ought to be a good one – Oral Roberts heads to Valpo Thursday night to scrap over first place.

IUPUI heads north of .500

In other exciting Mid-Con action, IUPUI knocked off visiting Western Illinois, 76-62, pushing its conference record over .500.

IUPUI (9-11, 3-2 Mid-Con) drilled 15-of-24 from the floor in the second half en route to the 10-point win over the reeling Leathernecks (6-11, 2-3 Mid-Con).

IUPUI ran the floor in the second half and the Leathernecks got no closer than 13 down the stretch and opted against fouling to stop the clock over the final minutes of the game.

Josh Mullins led four Jaguars in double-figures with 17, while Josh Murray and Odell Bradley had 16 each. Murray also grabbed a game-high 12 rebounds.

J.D. Summers and Will Lewis led the Leathernecks with 16 and ten points respectively in the loss. The duo also tied for the team lead in rebounds with six apiece.

TV audience gets surprise treat

The first of seven games that will be televised as part of the Mid-Con’s television package kicked off this past weekend. However, it remains doubtful that anyone expected this doozie of a premier.

Mid-Con enthusiasts across the Midwest were treated to a surprisingly entertaining meeting between Southern Utah and Chicago State, with the Thunderbirds topping the Cougars 65-64 in Cedar City, Utah.

CSU’s comeback attempt fell one point short as Derrick Wimmer’s driving shot in the lane at the buzzer was blocked clean by Southern Utah’s David Palmer.

Wimmer’s two three-pointers and two free throws in the final five minutes helped the comeback become reality – from double digit points down to within one (65-64 with 10.8 seconds remaining). The Cougars trailed by as many as 19 in the second half.

CSU fouled SUU’s Jay Collins and he missed a one-and-one free throw with 8.5 seconds left, setting up Wimmer’s final shot in the lane.

Craig Franklin led the Cougars (3-16, 0-5, Mid-Con) with 18 points. Wimmer totaled 12 and Clark Bone had 15 points for CSU.

David Palmer scored 13 points and Donnie Jackson and Jay Collins each had 12 to lead the Thunderbirds. Craig Franklin led all scorers with 20 points for the Cougars in the loss, while Clark Bone added 15 points and a game-high eight rebounds.

The loss spoiled the debut of interim head coach Kevin Jones, who takes over for the fired Bo Ellis. Ellis’ five-year record with the Cougars – 23-104.



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