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Missouri Valley Notebook

February 11, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments

Missouri Valley Notebook

by Alan Rubenstein

Southern Illinois and Creighton continue to Pace Valley

Southern Illinois and Creighton concluded 2-0 weeks as the defending Valley Co-Champions again sit atop the Valley with matching 11-1 records.

The Salukis’ week was very impressive with road wins at Drake and Southwest Missouri State. The win in Springfield came in front of the Bears first sellout crowd in three years.

Kent Williams leaner in the lane with 1.9 seconds remaining provided the winning 76-75 margin. Southwest Missouri almost pulled off a miracle victory. Junior forward Monwell Randle had his shot from the top of the key hit the rim and backboard as time expired after a long in-bounds pass. Williams led SIU with 19 points, while Randle contributed his fourth double-double of the season with 10 points and 12 rebounds. The Salukis’ victory was their sixth in a row and ended a seven-game Bear winning streak. Terrance Mc Gee led SMS with 22 points. SIU came away with another one point victory earlier in the week as they defeated Drake, 65-64.

SIU has a chance to match their longest winning streak in eight years and their longest Valley winning steak ever with a victory Thursday night against Northern Iowa. The 22 game home court winning streak is the sixth longest current streak nationally. The six game winning streak that SIU presently has can be contributed in large part to the Salukis’ turnover margin. SIU is at plus 35 in turnover margin during that span. Amazingly, they were also out rebounded in each game.

Williams needs just 48 points to pass Mike Glenn for second all time in SIU scoring.

Creighton had a pair of relatively easy wins this week with an 88-65 victory over Bradley and a 84-75 win over Northern Iowa. Creighton Junior Michael Lindeman led the way and was rewarded for his efforts with the conference player of the week. Lindeman completed the week by shooting 70 percent from the field, hitting on eight of his ten three point shots and scored 41 points in two games as the Bluejays needed to win to keep pace with SIU. He set his career high for points in both games, scoring 20 against Bradley and 21 over Northern Iowa.

The Bluejays have a pair of big match-ups this week. They will host the Valley’s third place team Southwest Missouri State (13-7, 9-2) and then travel to fourth place Wichita State (12-8, 7-4) over the weekend. The game at WSU will be key, life at the top of the valley is directly related to how well you fair on the road. Creighton, Southern Illinois and Southwest Missouri, the Valley’s top three teams, are the only Valley teams with winning records on the road.

The game with the Bears should be intriguing. Creighton leads with Valley with 83.0 points per game, while SMS tops the Valley in points allowed with an average of 61.8 PPG and amazing 55.0 PPG in league contests. Many have mentioned Korver as a possible national player of the year candidate.

With a 21-2 start to the season, the Bluejays are on pace to break many school records for wins. No Creighton team has ever won more than 24 games in a season or 14 in the Valley. When he concludes one of the most storied careers in Creighton history next month, Korver will also establish his name in the Creighton record book. The Bluejays home record in the Korver Era is a remarkable 48-5 in games Korver has played in. Korver needs just 17 more three-point field goals to move into the NCAA career top ten for treys. Korver has made 331 career three balls. Curtis Staples of Virginia has the all time record with 413.

Barry Hinton’s Southwest Missouri Sate Bears have been the surprise of the Valley this season. Their 9-2 MVC record trails only defending conference Co-Champions SIU and Creighton. Senior guard Terrance Mc Gee capped an outstanding week by averaging 21.0 PPG, 4.5 RPG, 3.0 APG and 2.5 SPG as the Bears finished last week 1-1 after a win against Evansville and a home loss to Southern Illinois.

The sellout against SIU marked the first sellout in Springfield in three years, and was the Bears largest home crowd since 1999. The Bears defense has played a large role in their success. They rank first in the Valley in points allowed with an amazing 55 point average against in Valley play. They have also forced their opponents to shoot only 38.4 percent from the field while holding seven of their 11 Valley opponents to 53 points or less. The Bears will play the Valley’s best and worst this week with a trip to Creighton followed by a weekend visit from Indiana State.

Drake continues to be led by senior center Greg Danielson. He recorded his conference best eleventh double-double of the season with a 12 point, 12 rebound effort against Evansville. The performance against the Aces put Danielson into ninth place all-time on the Bulldog rebounding list. With 13 points, Danielson will join teammate Luke Mc Donald in the 1,000 point club. He will become only the seventeenth Drake player to accomplish the feat.

Drake’s inability to shoot hurt them in a pair of losses last week. Against Southern Illinois, Drake made only 1-6 from the free throw line in the last two minutes of a 65-64 loss and shot only 33 percent from the field in a loss to Evansville. The Valley’s top two active coaches meet this week when Drake and Indiana State get together. ISU’s Royce Walton has 270 career victories while Kurt Kanaskie of Drake has 266. Indiana State freshman David Moss, a high school teammate of Chicago Bull Eddy Curry has set the Sycamore freshman record with 16.

Northern Iowa lost sophomore Matt Bennett for the season with an Achilles tendon injury. He will face 4-6 month rehabilitation. After missing nine weeks with a broken bone in his foot Wichita State Jerome Holman returned to the lineup. The junior guard was averaging nine assists and seven points per game prior to the injury.

Bradley and Illinois State will resume their rivalry with the 94th match-up in the series this week. The Braves hold a 50-43 lead, with ISU having won the last three meetings. Injuries and defections have hindered Bradley tremendously this season. With the short bench, Jim Les has had to rely on Marcello Robinson, Philip Gilbert and James Gillingham to play thirty minutes a night. The Redbirds meanwhile are second in the nation in three point shooting with a 42.6 percentage from beyond the arc. The Redbirds Gregg Alexander recently passed the century mark in his career for treys. The 100 three point field goals currently ranks tenth on the all time career list in Bloomington.

Evansville has the strange distinction of giving first place Creighton it’s only conference loss and last place Indiana State its only conference win. The Purple Aces will attempt to record their ninth straight home victory over Northern Iowa. Evansville has not lost at home to the Panthers since they joined the Valley.

This should be an interesting week in the Valley. Southwest Missouri State has a chance to narrow the gap when they travel to Creighton Wednesday night. The Bluejays will also face a tough road contest when they visit Wichita Sate on Saturday. Southern Illinois will travel to Bradley after hosting Northern Iowa. Fox Sports Net will air the Indiana State-Southwest Missouri State game Saturday and the Northern Iowa-Evansville game Sunday.


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