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Big Ten Notebook

November 28, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments



Big Ten Notebook

by Alan Rubenstein

Without further ado, on to the Big Ten news of the week:

Illinois – Champaign County State’s Attorney John Piland announced that three Illini players will not be prosecuted for their roles in a November 2nd break-in off campus. Piland would not release the names of the players involved. The five victims of the burglary declined to press charges. Reportedly, $3000 in clothing, electronics and cash was taken. Aaron Spears and Luther Head served two of their four game suspensions in the exhibition season and will sit the other two games to begin the season. Freshman Richard McBride will sit out the first four games of the season. The three players had also been instructed to not discuss the issue with the media. The case will next go to the University’s conduct committee to determine if any violations of the school’s conduct code have occurred. The penalties range from probation to expulsion.

Wisconsin’s first in state Mc Donald’s All-American, Brian Butch, has decided to redshirt. Badger coach Bo Ryan left the decision up to the freshman center from Appleton. Butch cited that he wanted to take the year off to gain strength and become acclimated to the college lifestyle. Butch has already gained ten pounds since landing in Madison.

Butch was expected to be the starting center. The curious decision did not leave the Badgers depleted in the post. Dave Mader, Andreas Helmigk, Mike Wilkinson and Alando Tucker, when he returns from the injury, give the Badgers a strong frontcourt. “This is the best thing for me right now and I think it is the best way I can help the team in the long run,” Butch said when announcing the decision. “I will do everything I can to help this program and the university during the time that I am sitting out.”

Game of the week – Michigan State at Kansas

Michigan State struggled in its season-opening victory over Bucknell. Only the Bisons’ dismal 1-17 performance from the free throw line saved MSU. Michigan State was led by Paul Davis with 21 points and eight rebounds and Chris Hill with 17 points and seven assists. Senior leader Alan Anderson was blunt when asked about his team’s performance against a team they should’ve beaten handily. “They should’ve beat us and they would have if they made more free throws.” Tom Izzo was not pleased with his team’s performance either. “Teams that play hard usually win and this is the softest team we’ve had in the nine years I’ve been here. This team needs a toughness transfusion.” Which doesn’t bode well for the Kansas game.

And Izzo was right. In the season’s first big matchup between ranked teams, No. 5 Kansas hosted No. 7 Michigan State Tuesday night. Unfortunately for the Spartans, who face several more ranked non-conference opponents, Kansas proved the victor, with a 81-74 win. Kansas’ Wayne Simien notched 28, and the Jayhawks were able to hold off a late Spartan rally. After leading 54-39 out of halftime, the Spartans shook off the effects of the chippy first half, with Shannon Brown igniting a 12-2 MSU run, nailing three consecutive buckets. The Spartans’ only lead of the game was early, 4-2. Maurice Ager had 17 points and Alan Anderson had 16, while Paul Davis had 13. Guard Chris Hill was in foul trouble most of the second half and only managed nine points. The Spartans also failed to block a shot, and had six more turnovers than the Jayhawks. This game was a test for Tom Izzo’s youngsters, as they still must face Duke, UCLA, Kentucky, Oklahoma and defending champion Syracuse, before starting the tough Big Ten Conference schedule.

Other Action

After a sluggish first half, Indiana righted its offense, scoring 44 points in the second half on its way to a 71-64 victory over North Carolina-Greensboro. Bracey Wright led IU with 23 points and Marshall Strickland scored 12 of his 17 points in the second half. Freshman Pat Ewing jr. was impressive in his debut scoring five points and pulling down four rebounds in 13 minutes.

During the Mike Davis era, Indiana has lived and died by the three. IU’s 73-60 loss to Vanderbilt definitely illustrated that point. The Hoosiers shot 3-15 from beyond the arc. With George Leach as the only experienced postman, look for the boys from Bloomington to experience some growing pains inside this season.

A 13-0 run by Vandy halfway through the first half put the Commodores in front to stay 22-9. IU was unable to match the inside presence of Vanderbilt’s Matt Freije. The 6-9 senior finished the night with 32 points and 13 rebounds. The Hoosiers were able to force Freije into shooting 6-19 from the floor, but he compensated by hitting all 18 of his free throws.

Wright accomplished his second career double-double with 18 points and 11 rebounds and Leach contributed 11 points and six blocked shots.

Illinois won its season opener, 94-66, over Western Illinois. The suspension meant that Illinois had only nine players available for the match up with the Leathernecks. Dee Brown topped five Illini players in double figures with 23 points and five assists. Illinois sprinted to a 37-9 lead after 14 minutes and held a 49-28 lead at the half. James Augustine finished with 12 points and thirteen rebounds and Deron Williams just missed a triple double with 11 points nine rebounds and eight assists.

Ohio State has struggled to an 0-2 start. Guards J.J. Sullinger and Tony Stockman have lived up to the hype after sitting out a year after transferring from Arkansas and Clemson, respectively. Sullinger scored 24 points and hit 4-5 from three-point range and Stockman had 22 (3-7 from three) in a 76-65 season opening loss at San Francisco. The Buckeyes were out rebounded 38-31.

Ohio State played poor perimeter defense giving up 13 three- point field goals in an 83-61 loss to San Diego State in the opening round at the Maui invitational. The Buckeyes were led by Stockman and freshman Ivan Harris with 13 each. The Aztecs dominated the second half after the game was tied at 32 at halftime.

Iowa began its season by smashing North Carolina-Ashville, 107-80. Pierre Pierce returned to the Hawkeye lineup in grand fashion. The sophomore from Westmont, Ill., stung the Hornets with 26 points, six assists and five rebounds. He also held UNCA’s leading scorer Bryan McCullough to eight points on 2-15 from the floor. Iowa placed four other players in double figures. Brunner finished with 11 points and five rebounds. Jared Reiner had 14 and 11 and Brody Boyd got the Hawks going in the first half and finished with 14.

Wisconsin opened its season with a 64-53 victory at perennial Ivy League power Penn. The Badgers were able to close out the victory with a 14-5 run to end the game. Preseason Big Ten player of the year Devin Harris finished with 16 and Freddie Owens and Zach Morley both finished with 12. Jeff Schiffner, the nation’s leading three-point shooter in 2003, led the Quakers with 20 points.

Minnesota – Kris Humphries began his collegiate career with a bang. The McDonald’s All-American scorched Missouri-Kansas City for 26 points and 15 rebounds in the Gophers 78-67 season-opening victory in the first round of the Preseason NIT. A 20-6 run by Minnesota halfway through the second half pushed a 48-40 lead to 68-46 and the Gophers were able to cruise from there. Maurice Hargrow finished with 18 and held the Kangaroo’s Michael Watson, the nation’s fourth leading scorer in 2003, to eight points on 3-19 shooting.

Minnesota was unable to overcome Utah’s prized recruit, Aussie Andrew Bogut, in a 66-54 loss. Bogut finished with 19 points and 18 rebounds on 8-9 shooting. Humphries finished with 20 points and 10 boards, but only hit nine of 21 shots. The Gophers only connected on 33 percent of their shots, while the Utes shot 52 percent. Humphries did become the first freshman in Big Ten history to capture the player of the week honors in his first week in college.

Northwestern was unable to overcome David Harrison and Michel Morandis as Colorado defeated Northwestern, 67-56, in Evanston to open the season. Morandis finished with 21 points and Harrison had 10. Blair Wilson had 16 for the Buffaloes. The Wildcats were held to three field goals over the final 13 minutes. Jitim Young’s 18 was supported by Vedran Vukusic with 13 points and T.J. Parker’s 12 points for NU. The Cats offense struggled in the second half, when Parker’s minutes were limited because of cramps.

Young posted the Big Ten’s performance of the week as Northwestern upended Chicago State, 76-60. Young hit all seven of his shots from the floor and made 7-8 from the line on his way to 21 points and ten rebounds in the victory over the Cougars. The Cats had a balanced offense. Vukusic finished with 11 and Parker and Duvancic each had ten.

Purdue opened its season with a 66-50 win over Samford at Mackey arena. Kenneth Lowe is expected to take over as the Boilermakers go to player and finished with 20 points. An 18-2 run to close the first half and 11 straight by Lowe in the second half sealed the victory. David Teague backed up Lowe with 10 points.

Purdue will spend the Thanksgiving weekend in Anchorage competing in the Great Alaska Shootout. A possible meeting with Duke looms if they can advance to the championship game.

Michigan’s season got off to a good start with an impressive 84-58 victory over Oakland. The Grizzlies had beaten Illinois-Chicago on their way to a second place finish at the Black Coaches Association classic in Cincinnati. Mike Helms, the nation’s third leading scorer in 2003, was held to 15 points on 6-17 shooting. Michigan was led by Bernard Robinson jr. as he had 21 points and eight rebounds. Lester Abram with 19 and freshman Dion Harris added 15 points and six assists.

Penn State – The Ed DeChellis era began in heart breaking fashion as Georgetown’s Ashanti Cook hit two free throws with 1.1 seconds remaining to give the Hoyas a 79-78 victory in Happy Valley. The Nittany Lions were unable to hold on to a nine-point halftime lead. Jan Jagla led Penn State with 23 points and 11 rebounds.

     

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