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Mid-Continent Notebook

February 11, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments

Mid-Continent Conference Notebook

by Matt Amis

Is it safe to call the Mid-Con Conference the streakiest conference in the country?

No, probably not.

Either way, quite a few streaks were kept alive this weekend.

Suddenly explosive UMKC captured its fourth straight game by outlasting visiting Chicago State Saturday night, by a 59-56 tally. The Kangaroos (6-16, 5-4 Mid-Con) trailed at the half to the Cougars (3-20, 0-9 Mid-Con), but used a 14-2 run — capped by a Michael Watson 3-pointer — to take a 47-37 lead.

Chicago State answered back with its own 13-1 run, taking the lead on Craig Franklin’s layup with just more than four minutes left in the game. Marc Stricker gave the host Kangaroos the lead for good on a 3-pointer with 2:09 left.

Watson led all scorers with 19 points while Stricker added 14 and Carlton Aaron added 13. Chicago State was led by Clark Bone’s double-double of 16 points and 13 rebounds, while Franklin chipped in 15 points.

Four straight for OU

Oakland won its fourth consecutive contest by tipping IUPUI 79-78. The Golden Grizzles (12-9, 5-3 Mid-Con) kept its win streak alive by avenging a loss earlier in the year to IUPUI (12-12, 5-3 Mid-Con). Oakland extended their halftime lead to eight points early in the second half before IUPUI knotted the game at 38-38. Oakland went on a 9-2 run before IUPUI came back to tie the game at 47-47.

The second half saw five lead changes and six ties. Mike Helms, the nation’s leading scorer, scored six of his game-high 36 points in a 13-5 run that gave Oakland the lead for good. IUPUI closed Oakland’s advantage to one (74-73) on a 3-pointer from Chris Sanders, but Oakland’s Cortney Scott scored on a tip-in and a pair of free throws to extend the lead back out to five. Pierre Dukes’ free throw with four seconds left ended up being the difference in the game, as the Jaguars’ Ryan Osborn knocked down a 3-pointer at the buzzer.

Helms’ 36 points marked his 12th 30-point game of the season. Rawle Marshall and Scott added 12 and 10 points, respectively, in the win. Six IUPUI players scored in double figures, led by Sanders’ 15 points.

Oakland continues its three-game home stand at the ‘O’rena on Thursday, Feb. 13 when it hosts Oral Roberts at 7 p.m. (EST)

14 straight at home for ORU

In other streaky happenings, Oral Roberts won its 14th straight home game by smooshing Southern Utah 86-73 in ORU’s Homecoming game. Oral Roberts (15-6, 7-2 Mid-Con) stayed perfect at home this season by beating the Thunderbirds (8-12, 3-6 Mid-Con). The host Golden Eagles never trailed in the game, jumping out to a 10-1 lead from the tip. Oral Roberts made 8-of-13 treys in the first half, and led by as many as 17 in the first 20 minutes.

Southern Utah stormed back in the second half, coming to within three points on a James Ball trey with 8:22 left. Oral Roberts pushed the lead back out to nine points before Al Williams got the Thunderbirds to within six (72-66). However, that would as close as they would get, as Oral Roberts made 9-of-12 free throws down the stretch to wrap up the win.

Reggie Borges had 28 points (23 in the second half) and 10 rebounds to pace the victors, while Luke Spencer-Gardner added 22. Jay Collins had a terrific game for Southern Utah in defeat, with 20 points, seven rebounds and nine assists.

A crowd of 7,853 watched the Golden Eagles improve to 10-0 at the Mabee Center this season, where they haven’t lost at home since Southern Utah captured a 71-70 decision on Jan. 24, 2002.

5 straight losses for WIU

While most of the talk in Valpo recently has been about Michael Essany, the 19-year-old student who will star in his own upcoming reality TV show, the Crusaders basketball team has continued to play some Emmy-worthy ball.

Valparaiso sent Western Illinois to its fifth straight loss, with a 74-62 count. The Crusaders (13-8, 7-1 Mid-Con) won for the second straight game, using a 10-0 run to close the first half to propel itself to the win at Western Illinois (6-14, 2-6 Mid-Con).

The visiting Crusaders also scored the first five points of the second half, and built their lead to as many as 23 (67-44) in the final 20 minutes. Valpo outscored the host Leathernecks by a 38-20 margin in the paint.

Stalin Ortiz led Valpo with 18 points, while Raitis Grafs added 13 points and seven rebounds. Joaquim Gomes and Ali Berdiel also each had 10. J.D. Summers led Western Illinois with 20 points, while Shawn Mason added 10.


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