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Pac-10 Notebook

December 1, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments



Pac-10 Conference Notebook

by Scott Allen

The first two weeks of the season left Washington wondering just how far it’s come from a year ago. Some Pac-10 teams turned in predictably predictable performances, with Oregon State losing to a non-conference opponent at home and USC underachieving on the road. Okay, underachieving period.

Other teams provided early answers to critics who questioned how they’d handle the loss of marquee players (doing just fine in Eugene, thank you) and a bevy of starters (don’t worry, Ike’s holding it down in Tempe).

The boys in Berkeley must’ve missed the memo that the exhibition season is over. Rival Stanford survived two games without their ‘Fro-sporting star and Arizona, well, let’s just say the ‘Cats don’t appear to be missing Walton and Co. too much. Washington State players – and I’d venture to say fans – seem to have taken an early liking to the new boss in town, Dick Bennett, after the Cougars took two of three in the Top of the World Classic.

The Westwood faithful have reason to celebrate – but not too much – after the Bruins survived a scare in their first game under new head coach Ben Howland.

Half way to 1,000

Arizona head coach Lute Olson notched his 500th victory at Arizona as the No. 3 Wildcats ran away from Northern Arizona 107-73 in their season opener in Tucson. Olson, who has 692 career victories, is 500-147 (.733) in 20 seasons as coach of the Wildcats. If his team plays like it did against the Lumberjacks, come April, Olson could be up to 530 wins – and perhaps add some more hardware to his storied career in Tucson.

Poly wanna upset

Heralded freshman Leon Powe impressed in his California debut (recording a double-double with 12 points and 10 rebounds) but the effort was not enough to prevent visiting Cal Poly from shocking the Bears last week at Berkeley. The loss was only Cal’s second to a non-conference opponent since Haas Pavilion opened in 1999, a span of 32 games. The loss broke Cal’s 25-game home winning streak against non-conference opponents ( Cal lost to Penn, 74-71, in the 1999 Golden Bear Classic final). Nick Enzweiller tipped in a missed shot with 4.8 seconds left to give the Mustangs the shocking win.

Please sir, can I have some Moore?

Sophomore sensation Ike Diogu, who is the first player in Arizona State history named to the preseason All-American team, had 25 points, eight rebounds and a career-high five blocks in ASU’s season opening win over Arkansas-Little Rock. As good as Ike was, guard Steve Moore, a transfer from Santa Ana College, was even better. Moore, nicknamed Smore by his teammates, melted Little Rock’s upset-bid by shooting 6-for-10 from the field including 4-for-7 from beyond the arc, and 10-for-10 from the line for a game-high 26 points.

Inside the Pac-10

Arizona Wildcats (1-1)

Junior forward Channing Frye led the way with 20 points and eight rebounds while sophomore forward Andre Iguodola added 18 points and senior Isaiah Fox recorded a double-double with 15 points and 11 boards in the Wildcats’ season-opening victory over Northern Arizona.

On Friday, Arizona dropped a thrilling game to Florida, 78-77, in the MassMutual Tip Off Classic. Sophomore guard Chris Rodgers (17 points off the bench) led five ‘Cats in double-figures in the loss.

Arizona State Sun Devils (3-0)

The Sun Devils opened their season with an aforementioned 89-72 victory over Arkansas-Little Rock in Tempe, pulling away in the second half with a 23-8 run after leading by just one at the half.

Arizona State survived a scare from Cal-State Fullerton with an 83-76 victory Monday night, as Diogu scored 16 of his 22 points in the second half. Moore finished with 14 points and nine rebounds for his second straight strong outing and senior forward Jamal Hill added 13 points off the bench.

ASU garnered its third victory, 77-68, over UC-Riverside on Saturday, behind much of the same from Diogu (a game-high 31 points) and a surprising double-double from freshman forward Wilfired Fameni (16 points, 13 rebounds).

California Bears (1-2)

Versatile forward Amit Tamir, the young man anointed to lead Ben Braun’s squad in the first year of the post-Joe Shipp era, tallied 13 points and six boards in the season-opening loss to Cal Poly. Tamir saved the Bears from an embarrassing second straight loss at home with a tip-in with 5.8 seconds remaining to defeat Brigham Young, 47-46, Wednesday night. Tamir finished only 2-for-13 from the field, including 0-for-7 from beyond the arc. He is 0-for-11 from long range this season.

Powe had his second consecutive double-double, finishing with 18 points and 11 rebounds. Cal shot just 24.1 percent in the second half and the 47 points was their lowest point output since a 43-41 double overtime victory over Stanford in 1985.

On Saturday, the Bears dropped a heartbreaker in Sin City, as UNLV held off a frantic Cal rally for a 59-57 victory. The Bears trailed by 20 with 14 minutes remaining before going on a 16-0 run and eventually pulling within one with 1:55 remaining. Powe had 13 points and 11 rebounds in the losing cause.

Stanford Cardinal (2-0)

With first team All-Pac 10 selection Josh Childress sidelined with a stress reaction (the precursor to a stress fracture) in his left foot, Stanford rolled to a pair of comfortable victories last week, knocking off Sacramento State 77-59 at home on Saturday and defeating UC-Irvine 72-59 on the road Tuesday night.

Senior forward Justin Davis managed to stay out of foul trouble to record 17 points and 10 boards in the opener for his 13th career double-double on the Farm. Sophomore guard Chris Hernandez, who knows a little something about being sidelined due to injury, led the Cardinal against the Anteaters with a career-high 22 points, including a scorching 6-for-7 from long range. Stanford jumped out to a 24-5 lead in the first eight minutes of the game and never looked back.

Oregon Ducks (1-0)

One Luke was enough for Oregon in its season opener, as the Ducks defeated Fresno State 80-67. The loss of Luke Ridnour to the NBA was more than offset by the 14 treys Oregon drilled, including five by senior do-everything forward Luke Jackson, who poured in a game-high 20 points to go along with eight rebounds and six assists. Andre Joseph added 15 for the Ducks, who set the Pac-10 record for triples in a season with 304 last year.

Oregon State Beavers (2-1)

Coming off a season-opening 70-53 victory over Prairie View A&M, Oregon State dropped a heart-breaking double-overtime affair to visiting Portland this week despite a career-high 22 points from David Lucas. Freshman Tyrone Nelson shined in his collegiate debut against A&M, recording a game-high 22 points and 13 rebounds, as head coach John Jay and the Beavers try to cope with the loss of All-Pac-10 selection Philip Ricci to graduation.

Lucas shined again with 25 points in a 59-57 victory over IPFW on Saturday, shooting 9-for-18 from the field to help the Beavers avoid yet another disappointing loss at home.

UCLA Bruins (1-0)

It wasn’t pretty, especially in the first half, but the Ben Howland Era kicked off with a win over Vermont. The Bruins rallied from an 11-point halftime deficit behind 20 points from Michael Fey, and Ryan Hollins knocked down one of two free throws with 4.8 seconds left as the Bruins toppled the Catamounts 68-67 at Pauley Pavilion. Bruins’ guard Dijon Thompson contributed 18 points and 9 boards in the victory.

Freshman Trevor Ariza, who was slated to start at forward for the Bruins, will miss at least two weeks with a collapsed lung.

USC Trojans (0-1)

Yours truly predicted the experienced Trojans would be the surprise team in the conference this year. Saturday’s 83-65 season opening loss to Western Michigan isn’t promising for fans in SoCal, to say the least, but with the start of conference play still over a month away, I’m not ready to eat my words just yet.

The Stewart twins (freshman Lodrick and Rodrick) started and combined for 22 points while senior twins Errick and Derrick Craven came off the bench to total just three. Junior center Rory O’Neill had 15 points and eight boards for the Trojans, who fell victim to a 31-point outburst on 12-of-16 shooting by the Broncos’ Mike Williams. USC senior guard Desmon Farmer, who suffered a hip pointer earlier this month, played in the opener and tallied 12 points.

Washington Huskies (3-0)

Washington dispatched of UC-Riverside 91-78 and Portland State 73-65 earlier this week as the Huskies open their season with a four-game homestand. UW jumped out to big leads in both games and shot 56 percent from the field against the Highlanders.

Sophomore guard Brandon Roy has led the Huskies in scoring thus far and transfer Hakeem Rollins has provided much-needed help down low, averaging 10 points and seven boards in the early going. Roy and junior guard Tre Simmons tallied 19 points apiece as the Huskies had four players in double figures in their 104-91 triumph over Eastern Washington on Saturday.

Washington State Cougars (2-1)

WSU senior guard Marcus Moore — who nearly jumped to the NBA this spring –averaged 16.7 points in three games at the Top of the World Classic in Alaska, as the Cougars (under first-year head coach Dick Bennett) went 2-1 for a runner-up finish. Moore’s consistent strong play was complemented by junior forward Shami Gil, who received All-Tournament honors by averaging 6.7 points and 8.2 rebounds per game. The Cougars defeated VMI and Alaska Fairbanks before falling to Rice, 64-49, in the championship game.

Player of the Week:
Ike Diogu, Arizona State
Sophomore center had 77 points, 26 boards in three Sun Devil victories.

Newcomer(s) of the Week:
Steve Moore, Arizona State
The transfer is averaging close to 20 points per game as a solid outside threat to complement Diogu’s always-steady inside play.

Leon Powe, California
Three double-doubles isn’t a bad way to start your collegiate career.

     

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