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November 26, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments

The Morning Dish – Wednesday, November 26th

Jayhawks make early statement: In the first big game of the college basketball season, Kansas was able to hold off Michigan State in Lawrence. The Jayhawks jumped out to an early lead by hitting its first six shots. It was able to build that lead up to 15 points in the second half by taking advantage of Michigan State’s poor ball handling. But Izzo teams rarely go silently and the Spartans mounted a comeback behind freshman Shannon Brown and sophmore Paul Davis. Brown hit three straight hoops late in the half and Davis scored inside to cut the Jayhawk lead to four. That was the closest the Spartans would get, however, in an 81-74 loss. Wayne Simien scored a game-high 28 points in the win. This was the first in a brutal preseason stretch for Michigan State. The Spartans still meet UCLA, Kentucky, Syracuse, Duke and Oklahoma prior to the Big Ten schedule.

Sooners holds off pesky Tulsa: It was a game Tulsa fans have wanted for years – against rival Oklahoma. And at the beginning of the contest, it looked like the Golden Hurricane was going to take every advantage of its opportunity to play the Big 12 powerhouse, building an early 11-point lead. But the Sooners responded in front of the home crowd and it was their depth that finally won out. Oklahoma put four players in double figures, including Jaison Williams and Lawrence Mackenzie. Both Williams and McKenzie hit four three-pointers each en route to the 81-73 victory. Tulsa also used the three-point shot to its advantage, connecting on seven of twelve long-range shots. The two schools have met just three times in the last twenty years, but are scheduled to meet each of the next two seasons.

You can’t go home again: Dr. Tom Davis, who coached the Iowa Hawkeyes for 13 years, returned to Carver-Hawkeye arena last night, but as the head coach of Drake. Davis and his Bulldogs were not given a warm welcome, losing to the more-talented Hawkeyes, 74-56. The Hawkeyes were led by Pierre Pierce who scored 17 points and grabbed five rebounds. Jared Reiner and Greg Brunner added 13 points apiece. While the score was rather lopsided, Iowa did struggle a bit in this game against Davis’ scrappy squad. The Bulldogs forced 23 Iowa turnovers, including nine by leading point man Pierce. Iowa coach Steve Alford presented Davis with a ball in recognition of Davis’ 269 victories as coach of the Hawkeyes, the most in school history.

Harricks looking to clear name: In the current landscape of college basketball, the name Harrick is synanomous with scandal. But Jim Harrick and Jim Harrick Jr. believe the University of Georgia is at fault for that. The pair have requested a “name-clearing” hearing from the school that fired them in March. The duo’s attorney said that the pair were robbed of “the jewels of their souls” when the University ousted the coaches. Jim Harrick Jr. was fired because he was suspected of giving money and improper academic help to student-athletes. Jim Harrick Sr. later resigned amid an investigation into the same matters. Their attorney further contends that the stigma attached to the Harricks has prevented them from finding employment and that he feels that there could be a libel lawsuit. My question for the Harricks and their lawyer is are you going to sue UCLA and the University of Rhode Island after both schools reported wrongdoing upon Harrick Sr. leaving as coach? So while the stigma of “cheater” follows Harrick wherever he goes, it seems as though in this case, the stigma fits the man.

No charges levied against Illini trio: Three University of Illinois basketball players will escape criminal charges following a break-in on campus. Champaign County State’s Attorney John Piland said that the victims in the crime did not want to press charges. While Piland did not name the players invovled in the break-in, it is known that coach Bruce Weber suspended Luther Head, Aaron Spears and Richard McBride for four games each. The father of one of the victims has indicated that Head and Spears were involved, but it is unclear if McBride was an accomplice. This whole situation has tested Weber as the new head coach of the Illini. Certainly he is struggling between the fine line of properly punishing his players for a wrongdoing and winning enough basketball games to satisfy the Illini’s significant fan base.

Hokie to redshirt: Virginia Tech’s third-leading scorer from last season, guard Carlos Dixon, will redshirt this season. The senior suffered a broken bone in his foot last February, which has not healed properly. He averaged 13.8 points per game last season.

Tonight’s Menu

• In tonight’s action, the Preseason NIT resumes with two semifinal matchups in New York. The first game pits Utah against Texas Tech. It’ll be a classic battle of styles as the high-powered Red Raiders will try and blow past the defensive-minded Utes. In the second game, top-ranked UConn takes on Georgia Tech.

• In other games, defending champion Syracuse opens the season at home against Charlotte while Illinois and Pittsburgh are also in action.

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