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December 7, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments

The Morning Dish – Sunday, December 7th

Not On Top For Long: Kansas took over the No. 1 spot in the Hoopville Top 25 this week, but won’t have it when the new one comes out. They headed west to take on No. 17 Stanford in the John Wooden Classic, which broke a 54-all tie with a 10-1 run in the final minutes en route to a 64-58 win. Matt Lottich led Stanford (4-0) with 18 points, making several clutch shots among his five three-pointers. Aaron Miles led Kansas (3-1) with 11 points.

In the opener of the doubleheader, No. 9 Kentucky (4-0) was the better of two teams that shot very poorly in a 52-50 win over UCLA (2-1). The Wildcats shot just 27%, while holding UCLA to 34% shooting.

Stating Their Case: With Kansas losing, No. 2 Missouri stated their case for the top spot with a 63-58 win over Indiana in Bloomington. It didn’t come easy for the Tigers (3-0), who had to rally from a 14-point deficit in the final seven minutes of the game and needed a big game from freshman forward Linas Kleiza, who had 15 points and 13 rebounds.

Meanwhile, No. 3 Florida (5-0) stated their case with a 74-61 win over Stetson in Gainesville. The Gators shot 49% from the field and got 18 points from Anthony Roberson and 16 points and 9 rebounds from David Lee.

Sooner Or Later: It took overtime, but No. 13 Oklahoma pulled out an 80-77 victory over No. 8 Michigan State to hand the Spartans their third loss within 12 days. The Sooners (5-0) got 26 points from Jason Detrick and a career-high 16 points from Jabahri Brown. Paul Davis and Alan Anderson led Michigan State (3-3) with 17 points apiece.

If Only He Didn’t Have Such Big Feet: Call it a “shoestring win”. No. 5 Arizona beat St. Louis, 68-67, as a jumper by Reggie Bryant with 3.1 seconds left was ruled a two-point shot instead of a game-tying three-pointer, and the Wildcats ran out the clock. The Billikens (3-2) didn’t argue the call, but this has to be among the strangest game endings to occur in some time. Andre Iguodala paced the Wildcats (2-1) with 16 points, 13 rebounds and 5 assists, while Salim Stoudamire led in scoring with 19 points. Bryant led all scorers with 24 points, but needed 25.

Dominating: The game between No. 7 Duke and St. John’s has been one to look forward to in recent years, with St. John’s pulling out wins when they weren’t expected to in some dandy ballgames. But Saturday was not one of those games, as Duke sent the Red Storm to its worst start in 81 seasons with a 79-58 win in Durham. The Blue Devils (5-1) dominated in every category, while the Red Storm is now 1-4.

Welcome To College Basketball: No. 4 Connecticut (6-1) blew out Army, 74-46 in the debut of Charlie Villanueva, whom the NCAA cleared to play on Friday. Villanueva had 16 points, while Emeka Okafor recorded the fourth triple-double in school history with 18 points, 15 rebounds and 10 blocks.

Ho-Hum: Several other Top 25 teams won in blowouts on Saturday as well. No. 10 Illinois (4-1) handed Arkansas (4-1) its first loss of the season, an 84-61 home win as Deron Williams led five scorers in double figures with 17 points and 10 assists. No. 14 Wisconsin (4-1) crushed Detroit at home, 68-41 by shooting 49% from the floor. No. 15 Georgia Tech (7-0) thrashed Tennessee State, 94-43 behind six players who scored in double figures. No. 22 Pittsburgh (6-0) held Penn State to 28% shooting and easily handled the Nittany Lions, 64-37. No. 23 Purdue (6-0) handled Chicago State, 75-57.

Senior Leadership: Jameer Nelson came through like a senior leader should, making key plays later in the game as part of a 23-point, 8-steal effort to lead No. 11 St. Joseph’s (5-0) to a 67-59 win over Pennsylvania at the Palestra in the middle game of the Big 5 Classic.

Upset: Joe Carr hit a three-pointer as time expired to give Central Michigan a shocking 69-68 win over No. 21 Notre Dame. The Irish (2-2) looked to have the game locked up, as they led 64-59 with 27 seconds left, but the Chippewas finished the comeback. Notre Dame allowed them to stay in the game by shooting under 36% from the field, losing despite 24 points from Chris Thomas.

Getting Ugly: No. 19 Wake Forest (5-0) managed to pull out an 81-66 win over Richmond, shooting 55% in the second half after things got ugly in the first half. Two technical fouls and two ejections occurred when Richmond freshman Daon Merritt was called for traveling, then elbowed Wake Forest’s Josh Levy. Levy then hip-checked Merritt, which knocked down the solidly-built guard. Merritt and Levy each got a technical foul, then Trent Strickland and Todd Hendley were ejected for leaving the Wake Forest bench.

BB&T Classic: No. 18 Gonzaga needed their hot strokes behind the three-point arc on Saturday, as they overcame 24 turnovers to beat Maryland, 82-68. The Bulldogs (5-1) made 14 of 25 three-pointers and got 27 points and 11 assists from Blake Stepp, while the Terrapins (4-1) shot 35.7% in their first loss of the season.

In the other game, host George Washington (6-1) advanced to the championship game with a 70-64 win over West Virginia (2-2).

Weather Concerns: Due to the snowstorm that hit the northeast, a host of games on Saturday were postponed. East Carolina’s flight to New Jersey on Friday was cancelled, so their game against Seton Hall was postponed. Seton Hall’s web site reported that they are currently trying to determine a makeup date for the game. Also, the game between Northeastern and Fordham in the Bronx was postponed to Sunday. Other games postponed, with no makeup date announced, were Monmouth at Rutgers and Quinnipiac at Central Connecticut State.

Tonight’s Menu

• It’s a relatively quiet day in college basketball, with just three ranked teams in action. No. 6 North Carolina hosts George Mason in one of them.

• The second day of the BB&T Classic features the championship game and consolation game. The consolation game pits Maryland against West Virginia, while the championship game has No. 18 Gonzaga against host George Washington.

• Holy Cross travels to No. 25 Louisville for an important early-season challenge.

• In a good matchup of Illinois schools, DePaul hosts Bradley in Chicago.

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