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January 28, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments

The Morning Dish – Tuesday, January 28, 2003

by Adam Shandler

Okay, here’s one of those SAT type word problems for ya.

A bunch of Longhorns are stampeding into Lawrence, Kansas, with a ranking of No. 4 in the nation. A flock of Jayhawks, ranked sixth but mostly defeathered after a horrible loss to some Wildcats over the weekend, await them. Which Big 12 team wins?

The use of scrap paper and calculators is permitted.

It could have been ugly for KU. Keith Langford missed two free throws with 10 seconds left, but Sydmill Harris and T.J. Ford couldn’t hit game-tying three-pointers for Texas, and Kansas scrapped by, 90-87.

Nick Collison, who fouled out with a buck-eighteen on the clock, had 24 points and a personal best 23 boards for Kansas, who stumped a three-game losing streak and jumped to 4-1 in the Big 12. Kirk Hinrich added 25.

Said Collison, “I just made up my mind that I was going to be very aggressive. We really needed a win. We really needed a lot of rebounds against a big physical Texas team.”

Texas led by as many as 11, but Kansas went on a 7-2 run late in the second half and traded buckets until about three minutes left in the contest. Michael Lee’s two free throws with 29 seconds left would be just enough to give the Jayhawks the W.

T.J. Ford had 25 points, 10 rebounds and seven assists for the 13-3 Longhorns, whose win streak ends at eight. The Horns are now 4-1 in the conference.

After the game, students rushed the floor as if they had just won the national championship and mobbed anyone in a white tank top. Roy Williams told the media that he wanted to escape the frenzy and do his dancing in the locker room.

Play that funky music, Coach.

Meanwhile the eighth-ranked Huskies were looking to finally win one on the road. The St. John’s Red Storm was not the kind of team you’d want to play if you were hoping to regain some confidence. The Johnnies had won two straight games and five of their last seven. Sore from a three-game losing streak themselves, UConn went into Madison Square Garden and fended off St. John’s for a 74-68 win.

Marcus Hatten got it as close as 57-55 with a pair of free throws with 7:41 remaining, but the combo of Ben Gordon and Emeka Okafor were just two much. Gordon, the most diminutive dude on the floor, finished with 23, six assists and six rebounds, including two big ones, which were turned into pivotal Husky scoring conversions. Okafor muscled his way to 21 points, 13 boards and six (count ‘em), six blocks.

Hatten was no slouch, but his 26 points were scored in a losing effort.

Side Dishes

Manhattan 2-0 Versus Big East: First St. John’s, now Seton Hall. Are the Jaspers trying to tell us something? Bobby Gonzalez’s club scored a 74-70 victory over the Pirates at the Continental Airlines Arena. Luis Flores netted 29 for Manhattan, the top team in the MAAC.

Something Had to Give: Bethune-Cookman College had not won a game at home all season. Morgan State hadn’t won one on the road. This gripping war of attrition was taken by the B-CC Wildcats, 79-71, in MEAC action.

MVSU Player Shot, Paralyzed: Michael Archie, a Mississippi Valley State guard was shot at a bar early Sunday morning. Local authorities announced that the bullet punctured Archie’s spleen and paralyzed him from the waist down. One other reveler was shot dead, two others were wounded. A club security guard was already arrested for the murder of another shooter. Pending lab tests, this same person may be charged with aggravated assault.

Gillispie Claims He Wasn’t Dizzy: UTEP head coach Billy Gillispie made a statement yesterday, insisting his innocence after being picked up for DWI after driving the wrong way down a one-way street on Sunday. “What I want to say is I was not driving while intoxicated,” said the Miners coach. Gillispie was released on a $750 bond.

Poll Position:What will happen to Creighton after their loss to Evansville and win over TCU? How bad will KU fall after Saturday’s thumping by Arizona? Will Batman escape King Tut’s Coffin of Doom? (Sorry, wrong show.) Check out this week’s updated Hoopville Top 25. It’s the link in the upper right hand corner of your screen.

Tonight’s Menu:

• Wake Forest is coming off a decisive win over Florida State. Tonight, the Deacon Demons take on 11-4 Clemson on the road.

• The Indiana Hoosiers, a team hanging tough in the Hoopville Top 25, face a team looking to…well, save face – 10-8 Michigan State, in East Lansing.

• Kansas and Texas aren’t the only Big 12 powerhouses making headlines. Oklahoma takes the stage tonight against Texas A&M.

• In a phase where all the biggies took a fall, the Florida Gators just kept on winning…and moving up the Top 25 ladder. Billy Donovan’s boys battle LSU in Baton Rouge, where the Tigers are 11-1.

• It’s a heavy night in the MAC tonight. In what could be a preview of the MAC Tournament final, Toledo hosts 12-4 Western Michigan. But 9-7 Bowling Green also looks to push the respect-o-meter needles. The Falcons visit Ohio.

Happy Tuesday. Enjoy!

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