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December 1, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments

The Morning Dish – Monday, December 1st

Coach K States Obvious: In the wake of No. 2 Duke’s loss to Purdue in Alaska, Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said the team struggled because the offense didn’t execute. With all respect to one of college basketball’s best coaches, that’s a great diagnosis but does not hint at an accessible cure. Duke failed to hint shots consistently but dominated the offensive boards. Duke has a lineup full of young players, so the more experienced leaders like senior guard Chris Duhon and junior guard Daniel Ewing must carry the team when the youngsters struggle. Duke is too good to struggle offensively for long.

Syracuse Sluggish: No. 6 Syracuse lost its opening game, at home no less, to Charlotte, so odds were pretty good the Orangemen would not be in the mood to let Rhode Island hang around, right? But the Orangemen again struggled to find any offensive rhythm and trailed the Rams at halftime. Then junior forward Hakim Warrick took over. He scored a career-high 30 points to rally Syracuse to a 69-65 victory.

Spartan Victory: No. 7 Michigan State allowed DePaul to flirt with an upset for awhile in the championship game of the Coca-Cola Spartan Classic. DePaul senior forward Delonte Holland poured in 27 points in an attempt to single-handedly slay a giant. But the Spartans fought off Holland and the Blue Demons to win 89-81. Junior guard Kelvin Torbert led the way with nineteen points.

Cardinal Rule: No. 18 Stanford survived an ambush by Rice in Houston. The Owls came out hot and built a six-point halftime lead over the Cardinal. Sophomore guard Chris Hernandez and junior center Rob Little each had seventeen points for Stanford, which took over the game in the second half with intense defensive pressure, en route to a 60-56 victory. Stanford played without junior guard and team leader Josh Childress, who sat out with a stress fracture in his foot.

The lesson from this game should not be that Stanford is overrated so much as Rice is underrated. The Owls are probably one of the better teams in the WAC and do not be surprised if they pull off a couple of upsets this season.

Wolverines Beat Butler: No, it’s not another scandal from Ann Arbor involving abuse against domestic servants. Michigan and Butler went back and forth all game and needed a session of overtime for the Wolverines to pull out a 61-60 win. Sophomore guard Daniel Horton gave Michigan the lead in overtime by hitting two free throws with under seven seconds remaining. Butler could not make a final buzzer beater, but the effort alone is noteworthy. Butler has become the epitome of a dangerous mid-major team in recent years and can upset any program nationwide if the game remains close. Horton led Michigan with sixteen points.

Furman Frightens Gophers: Minnesota needed overtime and a career-high performance from senior guard Ben Johnson to beat Furman, 91-84. Johnson scored 32 points and grabbed nine rebounds to guide the Gophers through a surprisingly tough game at home. Senior forward Malaye Ndoye also scored 32 in a losing effort for Furman. Both teams shot better than 50 percent for the game, and Minnesota needed 50 percent shooting from beyond the arc to get past Furman. Freshman forward Kris Humphries looked solid with 26 points and seven rebounds.

Quaker On Fire: Penn has always forced opponents to respect the outside shot, using deadly accuracy to make up for size disadvantages against many opponents. But Penn’s Charlie Copp exceeded even any expectations he could have had for himself by draining the first six three-point shots he attempted against Indiana State in the consolation game of the Spartain Classic. Copp’s previous career high had been eleven points before dropping eighteen in the opening minutes of Penn’s 86-48 thumping of Indiana State.

Offense On Life Support: Air Force appears ready and willing to continue its slow-down game, which produced some of the lowest scoring games last season. Belmont defeated Air Force 46-38, which is a total of 84 points. The two teams managed just 27 points in the first half. In comparison, Troy State and San Diego State combined for 91 points in the first half of Troy State’s 93-84 victory. Just imagine what Air Force would do if it weren’t for the shot clock.

Golden Bear With Golden Fans: Although he may not receive much playing time, senior forward Conor Famulener is a popular man. According to an Internet fan club devoted to Famulener and run by two Cal students, the Golden Bear’s fans include John Madden, a Ghostbuster, Oprah and Gen. Tommy Franks. Famulener averaged just over three points and rebounds per game last season, but apparently he touches the hearts of at least two Cal students more than his statistics will ever indicate.

Tonight’s Menu:

• Of our ranked teams in play tonight, the best game will pit No. 17 Notre Dame against No. 24 Marquette at 9 p.m. It’s the first real test for both teams. No. 1 Connecticut will probably play its last game with a number one ranking before the new polls come out. The Huskies take on Lehigh at 7 p.m.

• In other action, Northwestern travels to Tallahassee, Fla., to take on Florida State in the first game of the annual ACC/Big Ten challenge.

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