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Missouri Valley Notebook

February 20, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments



Missouri Valley Notebook

by Alan Rubenstein

Bradley and Wichita State pull Shockers

Creighton and Southern Illinois both took detours on their way to repeating as Valley Co-Champions. The Blue Jays were not able to overcome 27 points from Wichita State’s Aaron Hogg and Bradley rode the emotion of Homecoming to upset the Salukis.

Along with Southwest Missouri State, Wichita State has been the surprise of the Valley this season. Saturday in Wichita, the Shockers lived up to their nickname with an 80-74 upset over Creighton. Hogg’s lay-up with 52 seconds remaining put the Shockers in front to stay.

Creighton opened the game by taking a 10-4 lead. Wichita State fought back and took their first lead at 11:41 when Hogg put the Shockers in front. Hogg’s 27 points were supported by Jamar Howard with 18, Randy Burns 13 and Fridge Holman with 10. Howard and Holman also had four assists. Kyle Korver paced the Creighton attack with 15 before fouling out in the last 30 seconds.

In Peoria, the hometown boys made good. In front of 10,061 homecoming fans, the Braves pulled away in overtime for a 77-73 victory. Bradley’s win denied their intrastate rivals a chance to claim sole possession of first place in the Valley. James Gillingham and Mike Suggs each scored 20 points as Bradley gained its biggest victory at the inception of the Jim Les era. James Gilbert also came up big by scoring seven of his 17 points in overtime.

Jason Faulknor who has battled injury problems made three key defensive plays down the stretch to get the Braves to the extra session. With 27 seconds remaining in regulation, Faulknor’s two free throws put the Braves in front by two. Jermaine Dearman then hit two free throws of his own with 13 seconds remaining to send the game to overtime.

The pair of losses by the conference co-leaders opened the door for Southwest Missouri State to get back in the race for the Valley title. Racing to a 33-22 halftime lead, the Bears used a 10-2 run to begin the second half and put Indiana State out of reach. Southwest Missouri State’s win brought them within a game of Creighton and Southern Illinois. Monwell Randle’s 5th double-double led the Bears to victory. Randle finished with 11 points and 12 rebounds, Terrance McGee finished with 19 point to lead the Bears in scoring for the fourth consecutive game.

The Marquee match-up took place earlier in the week as Creighton rallied from a 15 point deficit to trip Southwest Missouri State in overtime. Brody Deren’s basket with 11 seconds left in the extra session as the Blue Jays escaped with a key victory.

Korver struggled most of the night before scoring eight points down the stretch to help fuel the Blue Jays comeback. Creighton held a two point lead late in regulation before Southwest Missouri’s Tamarr Maclin hit an inside shot with 4 seconds remaining to send the game to overtime tied at 59.

Valley Notes

Creighton, Southern Illinois, Illinois State and Northern Iowa will participate in ESPN’s Bracket Buster Saturday. Creighton will host Fresno State, the Salukis will welcome Wisconsin-Milwaukee, Illinois State will travel to Louisiana Tech. Kent Williams of SIU moved into the top ten all time in Valley three point shooting. Luke McDonald of Drake needs two more to pass Troy Hudson who played at SIU from 1995-97 for tenth place with 227 three pointers. Williams is ninth with 231 and Kyle Korver of Creighton is first all time with 338.

Creighton – Korver needs four more three point field goals to reach the school record of 100 for a season that he set in 2001. The Blue Jays Bracket Buster match-up with Fresno State on ESPN Saturday at 11 CST boded well for Creighton this weekend. The Jays have won eight straight games on ESPN and ESPN2 including Valley tournament titles from 1999-2001. With four conference games remaining, Dana Altman needs three wins to become the first Creighton coach to reach the century mark in Valley wins.

Southern Illinois – The Salukis will host Wisconsin-Milwaukee in ESPN’s Bracket Buster this Saturday at 2pm on ESPN2. SIU’s loss to Bradley snapped a seven game winning, their longest since 1995. The Salukis’ 23-game homecourt winning streak trails only Oklahoma and Western Kentucky’s 34 and Duke’s 25 for the nation’s longest homecourt winning streaks. Kent Williams has saved the best for last as a senior in Carbondale. Serving as the team’s floor general, his assist to turnover ratio is 2.4-1, his 14.8 PPG leads the team and he is shooting an astounding 49.1 percent from three point range.

Southwest Missouri State – The Bears outstanding defense continues to lead the way to their success. Valley opponents are averaging only 55.8 PPG. Eight of his 13 conference opponents have scored 53 points or less.

Wichita State – The Shockers upset of Creighton was their first of a ranked opponent in 12 years. The win snapped a nine game losing streak against ranked opponents, including a loss to number 19 Tulsa earlier this season. With 12 wins at home, the Shockers are a win shy of matching their best season at home since 1989. Hogg capped off a great week by averaging 23 points and 8 rebounds in the Shockers wins over Evansville and Creighton.

Bradley – The Braves continue to improve under Jim Les. Junior James Gillingham was named Valley player of the week and needs 11 points and 15 rebounds to become only the second player in Bradley history to record 400 points, 100 rebounds, 100 assists and 50 steals in the same season. The tenth win of the season meant that Les is only the fourth first year head coach in school history to improve the team’s record from the previous season.

Drake – After poor free throw shooting cost the Bulldogs victories recently, they hit 9-12 down the stretch in a 59-48 victory over Illinois State. Drake has also turned up the ‘D’ during its last three games. The Bulldogs last three opponents have shot only 41.2 percent from the field and averaged only 57.6 PPG. Greg Danielson continues to shine in the post in his final year in Des Moines. With 694 rebounds, Danielson is six boards shy of becoming only the third player in Drake history to post 1000 career points and 700 rebounds.

Evansville – Clint Cuffle capped another great week. After learning he received the James Ha outstanding Engineering Student award, the junior went out and scored 45 points in the Aces two games. Their eighth home victory of the season assured Evansville of a winning record at home for the 22nd time in the last 24 years.

Indiana State – The Sycamores have gotten outstanding play from freshman Ted Morris, David Moss and Darron Evansville. The three first year men combined to score all 29 Sycamore points in a 63-62 victory over Drake. Moss currently ranks third on freshman on ISU’s freshman lists for double figure scoring games and points. He is averaging 12.9 PPG and has scored in double figures in 18 out of the 24 Sycamore contests.

     

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