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Mid-Continent Notebook

February 26, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments

Mid-Continent Conference Notebook

by Matt Amis

Call the police. It’s official — Valpo has taken the league and ran away with it. Valparaiso extended its winning streak to six Saturday, defeating way-distant second-place IUPUI, 77-71. The Crusaders also sealed the Mid-Continent Conference regular season championship title with the win, marking the eighth time in nine years Valpo has accomplished that feat.

Valparaiso (17-8, 11-1 Mid-Con) defeated the second-place Jaguars (15-13, 8-4 Mid-Con) after increasing a 35-26 halftime lead to as many as 17 (68-51) with 6:06 remaining and secured its win by making 8-of-10 free throws in the final 50 seconds.

Stalin Ortiz led the Crusaders with 21 points, six rebounds and four steals in the home finale. Joaquim Gomes added 12 points and Raitis Grafs totaled 10 points and four blocked shots. Matt Crenshaw led IUPUI netting a career-high 24 points, while Odell Bradley scored 12 points and Chris Sanders and Josh Mullins added 12 and ten points, respectively.

Valparaiso finished shooting 48 percent (24-of-50), including 43 percent (6-of-14) from 3-point range. IUPUI shot 36 percent (21-of-59) for the game, including 26 percent (5-of-9) from beyond the arc. The win marked the earliest clinching of a Mid-Con regular season title in Crusader history, while the loss snapped a three-game winning streak for the Jaguars.

ORU’s struggles continue

Ah, on the other side of the coin there’s Oral Roberts. The once mighty Golden Eagles started off the season like gangbusters, gaining national recognition along the way. And how did they spend this weekend? Try losing to Kangaroos in double overtime 91-86.

UMKC (7-18, 6-6 Mid-Con) defeated Oral Roberts (16-9, 7-5 Mid-Con) Saturday snapping the Golden Eagles 10-game home-court winning streak. The loss was the third in a row for Oral Roberts, while the win marked the Kangaroos second straight. The Golden Eagles held the advantage on the glass, outrebounding the Kangaroos 55-28, but committed 14 turnovers to UMKC’s nine.

Michael Watson netted a career-high 54 points to lead UMKC to the victory. The senior hit 19-of-35 (.543) from the floor, including 45 percent (10-of-22) from long range. Javon Clark and Carlton Aaron also netted double figures. Aaron netted 15, while Clark added 11. Oral Roberts was led by Luke Spencer-Gardner with 30, while Reggie Borges (16), Tyrone Tiggs (15) and Kendrick Moore (10) also scored in double digits. Moore posted a double-double, also grabbing 14 rebounds.

Oakland stays in race for second

Even though the conference schedule has seemingly separated Valpo from –well — everyone else, Oakland seems to be in the best position to prove this conference isn’t a one-trick pony. The Golden Grizzles defeated Western Illinois Saturday, 89-79 to stay within striking distance.

Oakland’s (15-10, 8-4 Mid-Con) Mike Helms netted 27 points to lead the Grizzlies past Western Illinois (7-18, 3-9 Mid-Con) Saturday in Macomb, Ill. Oakland led 30-19 with 8:10 left in the first half, and went into the locker room with a 45-34 halftime advantage.

The Leathernecks opened the second half with an 8-3 run that brought them to within six with 17:49 to play, but Western couldn’t hold on. The difference came at the line, Oakland hitting 29-of-41 from the charity stripe for the game, including 10-of-12 in the final two minutes, while the Leathernecks made eight of just 15 free throws.

Rawle Marshall posted a double-double with 23 points and 13 rebounds, and Cortney Scott netted 20 points and grabbed ten boards. Five Leathernecks reached double digits led by J.D. Summers 18 points. Matt Robins scored a season-high 15 points, while Luis Rivas and Ray Harris added 13 points each.

Another ugly CSU loss

And then there’s Chicago State.

What can you really say about the Cougars? They’re winless in conference play (0-12) and are riding a blistering 0-17 streak. Southern Utah added to Chicago State’s sad state Saturday, downing them 70-54.

The Thunderbirds hit their first seven field goals, en route to a 30-25 halftime advantage. David Palmer led Southern Utah with 19 points, while James Ball and Donnie Jackson scored 11 apiece. Chicago State posted one player in double figures, Kelvin Smallwood with 20 points. Southern Utah hit 56 percent (24-of-43) shots from the floor in the win.


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