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December 4, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments

The Morning Dish – Thursday, December 4th

Fox Won’t Hunt: Arizona forward Isaiah Fox is likely done for the season after undergoing knee surgery on Tuesday. Fox, a 6-9 forward, tore his left meniscus in the ‘Cats loss to Florida last Friday. The junior showed early promise by recording his first career double-double (15 points, 11 boards) in the team’s season-opening win over Northern Arizona. But his year ended quickly after going down with the knee injury in the first half against the Gators. The expected recovery time for this procedure is 3-4 months, meaning the earliest Fox could return would be March. This scenario is highly unlikely, however, and Arizona is expected to seek a medical research for Fox, giving him two more seasons of eligibility.

Pulley Eligible: Missouri announced its JuCo transfer, Randy Pulley, has been cleared to play and he will join the Tigers in action beginning next semester. The 6-2 point guard had originally been declared ineligible after his academic credits were called into question following his transfer from Barton County Community College in Kansas. But Mizzou’s certifying officer OK’d Pulley’s credits, and he’ll greatly assist a Tigers’ backcourt that is not very deep. At Barton, Pulley had averaged 13 points and six assists per game, and led the team in steals with 53 in 26 games. His first game will likely come on Dec. 21 when Missouri takes on NC Greensboro at home. That game will also mark the first game for VMI transfer and former national scoring leader Jason Conley.

Major scores from last night:

• Duke 72, Michigan State 50 – The Blue Devils (4-1) cruised to a 14-point halftime lead and never looked back as they beat up on a very good Spartans’ (3-2) team in the supposed marquee match-up of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge. Duke’s Shelden Williams led all scorers with 16 points (MSU did not have a player in double-digits) and the Devils shot a blistering 59% from the floor as they handed the Spartans their worst home loss since 1997.

• Georgia Tech 73, Ohio State 53 – The Yellow Jackets (6-0) proved they are for real as they destroyed the Buckeyes (2-3) in Columbus in a game that was never really close. Tech guard B.J. Elder has another superb night as he scored a game-high 18 points, helping the Jackets achieve their best start since 1994-95. Georgia Tech held Ohio State to under 33% shooting for the game, which includes guard Tony Stockman’s miserable 1-11 performance.

• Purdue 76, Clemson 64 – The Boilermakers picked up the conference’s second win of the ACC-Big Ten Challenge (the ACC won 7 of 9 games), downing the Tigers at home. Purdue senior Kenneth Lowe poured in 24 in helping the Boilermakers (5-0) to their fifth straight win to start the season. Sharrod Ford (12 points) paced a Clemson team that connected on only 1-12 three-point shots.

High School Bliss: Former Baylor head man, Dave Bliss, is back in the coaching ranks. The embattled coach, who recently resigned his post amid numerous NCAA violations, is now assisting his son’s high school team in a Denver, Colo. suburb. Bliss is volunteering at Green Mountain High, where his son, Jeff, is a standout junior guard. Before landing on the prep scene, Bliss had spent 28 seasons as a Division I coach, with time spent at Oklahoma, SMU, New Mexico, and of course, Baylor.

Football Forward: In more Baylor-related news, Joe Simmons, BU’s defensive end on the football team, has joined the hoops squad. The 6-5, 250-pound forward was cleared to play before the Bears’ Wednesday night game against SMU. Simmons is no stranger to the hardwood, having averaged 15 points and 12 rebounds per game as a senior at Wyatt High School in Texas. Simmons becomes the first Baylor athlete to letter in two sports the same year since Rodney Smith accomplished the feat back in 1996.

Bond, Erik Bond, to transfer: Cal forward Erik Bonds has asked for and will receive a transfer that will take effect next semester. The 6-7 sophomore, who started in the Bears’ season-opening loss to Cal-Poly, was averaging less than two points and one board a game after three contests. It’s not clear why Bond intends to leave Cal or where he will play next, but he will be forced to sit out a year should he go to another Division I school.

Woods cut down: Fresno State forward Jonathan Woods has been suspended indefinitely after violating unspecified team rules. The junior had been averaging 12.5 points and 5.5 boards through the Bulldogs first two games. The Illinois native has been a consistent performer for coach Ray Lopes’ squad the this season and last, and his absence will certainly hamstring Fresno State.

Murphy to hang it up: Division III coach Tom Murphy has announced he will retire at the end of the season, capping one of the great coaching careers in small school history. Murphy has coached the Hamilton (N.Y.) Continentals for 34 years, and has posted a 587-284 (.674) mark over that span. The 64-year old coach has not experienced a losing season in 30 years, and he’ll leave the game one of the winningest coaches in Division III history. Murphy was inducted into the New York State Basketball Hall of Fame in 1998, and he also served as Hamilton’s athletic director for 25 years.

Tonight’s Menu

• No. 2 Florida at Central Florida: The Florida Gators (3-0) hit the road to take on a scrappy Central Florida (2-1) squad that is averaging a healthy line of 76.3 points per night. Roberto Morentin (14.7 PPG) and Josh Bodden (13.0 PPG) lead a balanced scoring attack that could give the talented Gators a scare depending on how the cards fall. However, Florida coach Billy Donovan doesn’t appear all that worried, especially since he has Matt Walsh, Anthony Roberson and David Lee (a combined 52.5 PPG) at his disposal.

• Wofford at No. 16 Texas: The Longhorns will look to make it a perfect 4-0 start with Wofford (2-2) coming to town, and if Texas forward Brad Buckman (11.5 PPG, 11.0 RPG in 19.0 minutes per contest) has his way inside, this game will be over before you can say “capital punishment.” Wofford did score 102 points in its last outing against Toccoa Falls, but it’s a safe bet that the ‘Horns will prove to be a tad tougher all around than Wofford’s last opponent. Despite this enormous mismatch on paper, UT might want to get a hand up on Wofford’s perimeter shooters, as they combined to nail 14 of 31 (.452) three-point shots in their last outing.

• Western Kentucky at Louisville: Both the Hilltoppers (0-3) and the Cardinals (0-1) will be looking to notch their first wins of the season tonight, as the state of Kentucky will be looking on. If Louisville can get Luke Whitehead (18 points, 14 rebounds in loss to Iowa) going early, Western Kentucky might be in for a long night. But don’t rule out the ‘Toppers just yet, as they played Auburn pretty tough before losing in their opener and gave Mississippi State a run for its money, as well.

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