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Mid-Continent Notebook

February 3, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments

Mid-Continent Conference Notebook

by Matt Amis

There were some high velocity twists and turns to go along with the impactful drama.

And no, I’m not talking about “The Recruit,” but rather this weekend’s Mid-Con action. For starters, Valparaiso (11-8, 6-1 Mid-Con) suffered its first conference loss, dropping a 71-68 overtime decision to lowly UMKC Saturday. The defeat snapped a 20-game home-court winning streak for the Crusaders, the sixth longest in the nation.

UMKC (4-16, 3-4 Mid-Con) shocked the 4,932 fans inside the ARC, as the Kangaroos made four free throws in the final 22 seconds of the extra session and survived a last-second 3-point miss in the victory.

The always dangerous Michael Watson led UMKC with 24 points, while Marc Stricker (14) and Carlton Aaron (13) also netted double figures. Raitis Grafs paced the Crusaders with 24 points, while Stalin Ortiz posted a double-double with 14 points and 12 rebounds. Ali Berdiel added 11 points and eight assists. Valparaiso shot 50 percent in the loss, while UMKC sank 28-of-64 (.460).

ORU holds off WIU

In other strange happenings, Western Illinois nearly upset visiting Oral Roberts, but the Golden Eagles held on to a share of second place in the Mid-Con standings with an 87-77 win.

Oral Roberts (14-6, 5-2 Mid-Con) found itself in a tie game (61-61) in the final seven minutes, but Tyrone Tiggs’ conventional 3-point play put the Golden Eagles ahead for good. The Golden Eagles continued to build the lead in the last few minutes.

Luke Spencer-Gardner led the Golden Eagles with 18 points, while Cameron Tragardh had 17 points and eight boards off the bench. With Reggie Borges (who scored 12 points) in foul trouble much of the game, Matt Gastel chipped in 14 points.

J.D. Summers scored a game-high 20 points for Western Illinois (6-13, 2-5 Mid-Con), while Luis Rivas posted a double-double with 16 points and 13 boards off the bench. Matt Robins, starting his second consecutive game for the Leathernecks, recorded seven assists, matching a season-high for the third time this year.

Grizzlies pick up road win

Oakland (11-9, 4-3 Mid-Con) held off Southern Utah’s (8-12, 3-4 Mid-Con) comeback attempts Saturday in Cedar City to pick up its fourth Mid-Con win with an 85-83 decision.

After falling behind by as many as 10 points in the first half and trailing by eight with two minutes to play, Southern Utah scratched back to within 84-83, but couldn’t pull out the win.

A pair of freshmen then stepped up in a major way for OU – Pierre Dukes and John Floyd. Floyd hit a pair of treys around one by Dukes in the span of a minute, and when Floyd’s second shot floated through the net with 8:01 showing, Oakland had opened up a 34-19 lead.

As usual, the Golden Grizzlies’ Mike Helms led all scorers with 28, 18 in the second half, while Jay Collins tied his season-high with 20 to lead the Thunderbirds. Donnie Jackson pulled down a career-high in rebounds for the second straight game for Southern Utah with 12, while teammate David Palmer had a career-high 11 boards.

CSU’s woes continue

IUPUI posted its third straight win at Chicago State 89-69, as the Jags (11-11, 5-1 Mid-Con) outscored the Cougars (3-18, 0-7 Mid-Con) 21-7 in the first seven minutes of the second half to open up a 40-36 halftime lead into a 61-43 advantage with 13:06 to play in the game.

The Jaguars hit 74 percent from the field in the second stanza, while sinking 28-of-49 for the game.

Josh Murray posted a double-for IUPUI in the win, with 22 points and ten rebounds, Derrick Wimmer netted a career-high 20 for the Cougars in the loss. Murray’s double-double gave him a share of the Mid-Continent Conference lead in the category with six, as he is tied with former Ball State teammate and current Oakland standout Rawle Marshall.


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