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Big 12 Notebook

January 29, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments

Big 12 Conference Notebook

by Mitch Schneider

Rocky Mountain high

In case you missed it, the Colorado Buffaloes pulled off one of the biggest wins in school history last Wednesday night, as CU edged Kansas, 60-59 in Boulder.

CU’s narrow victory put an end to the Jayhawks’ 27-game winning streak over the Buffs (12-5, 2-2) – a streak that began more than a decade ago.

“We hadn’t beaten Kansas in something like 11 years and 11 months,” Colorado forward Stephane Pelle told the Associated Press after the game. “To do what people say is impossible is great.”

Just as legendary soccer star Pele was known for hitting the back of the net with tremendous precision, CU’s own Pelle also made like a sharpshooter against KU. Pelle scored a game-high 27 points on 10 of 16 shooting, and added eight boards in the win.

Pelle also contributed the game-clinching score – a ten-footer with 25.3 seconds left – that represented the final bucket of the night. That shot not only gave Colorado coach Ricardo Patton his first-ever win over Kansas (1-16), but helped secure Big 12 Player of the Week honors for Mr. Pelle.

As for the Jayhawks, the Buffs’ last-minute victory snapped KU’s 23-game winning streak in conference play (a Big 12 record)… not to mention Kansas’ 10-game winning streak this season.

After the game, hundreds of CU students piled onto the floor at the Coors Events Center. Onlookers are still debating whether or not the Buffalo faithful were celebrating the win, or trying to find a misplaced ski pass.

Cowboys ahead of the pack

Oklahoma State, ranked No. 10 in this week’s Hoopville poll, may be the hottest team in America.

The Cowboys (16-1) are riding a 14-game winning streak (including wins over Oklahoma, Missouri and Texas Tech), and are sitting atop the Big 12 standings with a 5-0 conference mark.

What’s really interesting about O-kie State’s emergence as a national contender is the fact the Cowboys are playing superb ball despite ranking seventh in the Big 12 in scoring (73.9 points per game), tenth in rebounding (37.1) and eleventh in turnovers (15.2).

Oklahoma State does not have a single player in the conference’s top ten in scoring, and does not feature a starter taller than 6-foot-8.

So, how have the Cowboys done it?

Here are three reasons:

1. Deep bench: On top of O-kie State’s talented starting five, Eddie Sutton’s squad has a trio of bench players – Cheyne Gadson, Jason Miller and Janavor Weatherspoon – who are all workhorses and are capable of playing well off the pine.

2. Home court advantage: The Cowboys are 11-0 this season in Stillwater at Gallagher-Iba Arena. Oklahoma State is outscoring its opponents by an average margin of 16.3 points at home, and hasn’t lost there in nearly a year.

3. Tony Allen: The 6-4 JuCo transfer has quickly adapted to Big 12 play, and has made the ‘Boys a contender in the early going. Allen leads O-kie State in scoring (16.3 PPG) and minutes played, and has also posted solid numbers in rebounds (5.2) and assists (3.0) per game.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: ‘How ’bout ‘dem Cowboys!’

Baylor bottoms out

The Baylor Bears have fallen back down to Earth.

After opening the season with eight wins in ten games, Baylor has dropped its last five – all in Big 12 play.

Over their recent slide, the Bears (8-7, 0-5) have had trouble scoring (64.4 PPG) and defending (74.6 PPG), and have been out-rebounded 171-135. They have dropped 12 straight Big 12 contests dating back to last season, and have not won a conference road game in the last two years.

To make matters worse for Dave Bliss and company, Baylor has yet to tackle the meatiest part of its 2003 schedule. The Bears still have Oklahoma, Kansas, Oklahoma State and Texas to play in February… assuming they manage to survive a cold January.

Don’t bears usually hibernate this time of year…? Guess so.

Collison collars Texas

Did you happen to catch Kansas forward Nick Collison’s monster game against Texas on Monday?

The 6-9 forward poured in 24 points and 23 boards (nine offensive) in KU’s 90-87 win over the Longhorns.

“I don’t know if I’ve ever seen a person be so relentless on the backboard as Nick Collison was,” Jayhawks’ coach Roy Williams told the AP after the game. “If those NBA scouts sitting over there tonight say there’s anybody in the world with a bigger heart, then they’re just blind.”

Collison also added three blocks to his stat sheet before fouling out in the game’s closing minutes.

Kansas (14-5, 4-1) needed Collison’s gigantic effort as the short-handed ‘Hawks put an abrupt end to their two-game losing streak (Colorado, Arizona). The win also created a three-way tie for second place in the Big 12 standings between KU, Oklahoma and Texas.

Collison’s heroics kept Kansas from dropping its third straight game for the first time in nine years.

Not one three-game skid in almost a decade…? Not one U.S. President can even boast such a record.

Intriguing match-ups of the week:

Wednesday, Jan. 29 – Iowa State at Oklahoma State
Wednesday, Jan. 29 – Colorado at Texas Tech
Saturday, Feb. 1 – Oklahoma at Kansas State
Saturday, Feb. 1 – Oklahoma State at Texas


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