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February 25, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments

The Morning Dish – Tuesday, February 25th, 2003

by Andrew Flynn

Well here we are again. This time it’s a Tuesday, so of course we’re chock full of goodness with regards to last night’s Big Monday. We start off with the high-nutrition No. 12 Fighting Irish of Notre Dame hosting the No. 25 Connecticut Huskies in a Big East entree. Sorry, got carried away.

In Connecticut’s second game with coach Jim Calhoun on the sidelines after prostate cancer surgery, the Huskies dominated the Irish 87-79. The Irish, which have been rock-solid at home, started hot out of the gate and led 17-10 on the strength of 7-for-12 shooting from the field. Then, UConn placed a Lucite lid on the bucket, as Notre Dame only went 4-for-27 from the field for the rest of the half (a mind-numbing 15 percent). Not coincidentally, the Huskies heated up about this time, shooting 50 percent with Rashad Anderson leading the way with a career-high 22 points, making 5-of-7 treys in the stanza.

In the second half, UConn almost allowed the Irish to come back twice, once from down 17 points, to within two points, but they could never overcome the fast-paced Huskies. Ben Gordon led the Huskies with 25 points and eight assists, while Emeka Okafor added 19 points and 10 rebounds. Matt Carroll led Notre Dame with 28 points and seven rebounds, while Chris Thomas added 19 points and 9 assists, but was disciplined by UND coach Mike Brey for getting a T for complaining about an no-call against Okafor.

The loss was the first in 15 games at home for Notre Dame and ended its home winning streak at 16 games, its longest in 19 seasons. Notre Dame travels to Rutgers on Saturday, while UConn faces No. 8 Pittsburgh on the road on Sunday.

Meanwhile, the Cowboys experienced a bit of a hangover last night. Two days after toppling No. 3 Texas, No. 17 Oklahoma State allowed formerly ranked Texas Tech in the back door, as the Red Raiders rallied to win in Stillwater, 62-57. OSU, who led by margins of 13 early and 12 in the second half, faded late, while allowing the Raiders to come back from their season-low 18 points at intermission. Tech mounted a 16-3 run to take the lead at the eight-minute mark for good on the strength of Andre Emmett’s 30 points and Kasib Powell’s 17. Melvin Sanders led Oklahoma State with 17 points and Tony Allen had 13.

Texas Tech, whose bubble was reinforced with the win, hosts the Texas Longhorns this weekend, while the Cowboys travel to Lawrence to face the Kansas Jayhawks Saturday.

Side Dishes

Utes Stay on Top: The No. 22 Utah Utes ended up sweeping the season series (and their ninth straight) with the up-and-coming BYU Cougars late last night in a Beehive showdown, winning 71-64. The Utes, who hadn’t swept BYU in three years, were led by Nick Jacobson’s 23 points and Tim Frost’s 21. Travis Hansen and Rafael Araujo led the Cougars with 13, but they couldn’t topple the Utes from the charity stripe, as the Utes shot 23-for-25, which sealed the deal for Utah.

VH-1: Behind the Sweet Sixteen?: CBS Sports president Sean McManus has indicated that in the event of major war news in the Persian Gulf, the NCAA Tournament may be pre-empted and moved to Viacom’s other properties. Those other properties? Well, for starters, TNN, which actually aired the 2001 Play-In game. But the others are M-TV and VH-1. No word yet at to whether Ken Ober or Martha Quinn will come out of retirement for extended coverage.

2 Overtimes, Bubbles?: The nearly-ranked Butler Bulldogs had to take Cleveland State to double-OT to get the “W” last night, winning 79-75. Butler was cruising until a 14-0 Viking run late in the second half turned the tables. Bulldog Brandon Miller nailed a game-winning trey with 1:11 left in the second overtime and sealed the deal with two free throws with one second remaining. Miller wound up with 23 on the night, while Cleveland State’s Modibo Niakate led Cleveland State with 22 points.

Streak Ended: The Quinnipiac Bobcats ended a 17-game losing streak to cross-state rival Central Connecticut State last night with a solid 68-66 win. The “Q” came out of halftime on a tear, scoring 13 points unopposed, and never looked back. Kason Mims scored 22 points and Rob Monroe added 21 for the Bobcats, who downed the Blue Devils for the first time since 1982, when both teams were D-2. Justin Chiera led the Devils with 15 points.

Tonight’s Menu:

• In SEC action, the No. 7 Florida Gators look to stay near the top of the conference standings by hosting the South Carolina Gamecocks in Gainesville tonight. SC, who gave the Gators a battle earlier this season, has had issues on the road having lost 9 of 10 away from campus. Florida leads the all-times series 24-17.

• The Terrapins have one more in their shell, as No. 14 Maryland hosts Clemson in their final game in the Comcast Center this year. The Terps, who are a half-game behind Wake Forest in the ACC standings, are looking to give head coach Gary Williams his 499th career victory. Clemson has lost ten straight to Maryland.

• In what would have been a marquee matchup a month ago, the Indiana Hoosiers try to salvage part of their season (and look for the series sweep) when they travel to Champaign-Urbana to face the No. 20 Illinois Fightin Illini. Indiana leads the all-time series 78-70.

That’s it for this Tuesday. Enjoy!

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