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Big Ten Notebook

December 10, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments



Big Ten Notebook

by Alan Rubenstein

Big Ten not up to the Challenge

The Big Ten-ACC challenge was not much of a challenge from the ACC’s perspective. The ACC dominated this year’s challenge by a 7-2 margin. An old sports axiom is to win the predominance of your games at home and to go .500 on the road. The ACC used that formula to perfection by winning all five games its teams hosted and splitting its four road contests. If not for a steam locomotive that hailed to the victors, the Big Ten would have been shut-out.

Purdue kept its train going in the right direction. The Boilermakers took control of the game with a 15-2 run midway through the first half and held Clemson scoreless during a six-minute stretch of the opening stanza in a 76-64 victory. The win was Purdue’s first in three challenge appearances and its 5-0 start is its best in six years. The Boilermakers three-point defense and offense was a big factor in the Boilermakers’ win. Purdue hit 9-16 from beyond the arc while holding the Tigers to 1-12 shooting. Kenneth Lowe is making an early season push for Big Ten player of the year. The senior guard once again led the Boilers with 24 points. Lowe used an efficient game by hitting 10-13 from the line and 4-6 from three.

Michigan was the only other Big Ten team to post a victory in this year’s challenge. Tommy Amaker has received unbelievable balance from his young Wolverines early in the season. Michigan’s 68-61 victory over North Carolina State in Ann Arbor emphatically proved that the Maize and Blue will be a force for this year and seasons beyond.

Michigan was able to conquer an abysmal night from beyond the arc. The Wolverines finished only 2-17 from three-point land. Daniel Horton led four Wolverines in double figures with 16, but also contributed to their three-point woes by hitting only 1-7 from beyond the arc. With the win, Michigan captured the Big Ten’s first win in the 2003 Big Ten-ACC challenge.

Florida State and Northwestern kicked off this year’s ACC-Big Ten challenge in Tallahassee on Monday night. Northwestern held an eight-point lead early into the second half and it appeared as if the Wildcats might pull off the upset. The Seminoles then seized control, dominating the final period, 45-22. After the Wildcats closed a seven point ‘Nole lead to two, FSU went on an 18-3 run putting the game out of reach.

Anthony Richardson exploded for 25 of his 27 points in the second half for Florida State. Richardson was very efficient in getting there. He hit 10-13 from the floor and 4-5 from three-point range. Tim Pickett also topped 20, finishing with 21. Jitim Young matched Pickett’s performance, leading the Wildcats with 21.

Wisconsin appeared to be on its way to victory until Maryland’s Nick Caner-Medley was fouled with 2.4 seconds remaining in regulation and hit 1-2 from the line to necessitate an extra session. The Badgers rallied from seven down with three minutes left to take the lead on a Mike Wilkinson three-point field goal with 21 seconds left before Caner-Medley’s free throw. After Wisconsin took a two-point lead in overtime, the Terrapins closed the game out with a 10-2 run.

Devin Harris continued to play outstanding by posting 24 points, five rebounds and seven assists. Wilkinson was the only other Badgers in double figures with 14 points to go along with ten rebounds.

Maryland received outstanding balance from players who have stepped up from role positions last season to become primary options this season. Jamar Smith led Maryland with 25 points and 12 rebounds and was supported by John Gilchrist with 12 points and nine assists, Chris McCray finished with 16 points.

The match-up of Bracey Wright versus Wake Forest’s balance proved to be prophetic, but the competitive game that was expected to come out of that match-up never materialized. Wake throttled, crushed and blew out Indiana in every way imaginable. The Demon Deacons held IU without a field goal during a five and half minute stretch in the first half and led 51-29 at halftime on their way to a 100-67 victory.

Wright finished the night with 27 but IU was unable to get anyone else going offensively. The Hoosiers significant reliance on Wright has plagued them throughout the early part of the schedule. Marshall Strickland added 11 and freshman Pat Ewing jr. had eight points and nine rebounds in his first collegiate start.

Wake dominated the game by smothering Indiana defensively. The Deacons had ten steals in the first half and forced Indiana into 22 turnovers, harassed the Hoosiers into 38 percent shooting and held them to 6-22 from three point range. Only a 19-22 performance from the free throw line kept the Hoosiers from complete annihilation.

Eric Williams led Wake with 25 points, and freshman point guard Chris Paul turned in the best performance of his young career with 20 points, eight assists, and five steals and made seven of nine shots from the floor. Paul’s performance in the first half set the tone. Jamal Levy continued to energize Wake with nine points and 12 rebounds. The win pushed Wake’s challenge record to 5-0. Only Duke and the Demon Deacons remain undefeated in Challenge play.

North Carolina and Illinois was the match-up most fans were waiting for on night two. North Carolina stifled Illini star Dee Brown and used outstanding balance on its way to an 88-81 victory over the Illini.

Brown suffered possibly the worst performance of his career. The sophomore from suburban Chicago finished with nine points on 3-17 shooting, seven below his season average. Ten of his 17 missed shots were from three-point range. Deron Williams continued to shine in another brilliant all around performance. Williams finished with 22 points, eight assists and five rebounds. Roger Powell turned in another stellar game with 20 points, connecting on 8-10 shots.

North Carolina’s defense and the Illini’s lack of touch ultimately keyed the Tar Heels’ victory. The Illini hit only 6-24 from three-point range and 7-18 from the line.

Seventy four of North Carolina’s 88 points came from the quartet of Sean May, Jawad Williams, Rashad McCants and Raymond Felton. May (23 points, 14 rebounds) and Williams (18 and 12) dominated the interior, while McCants with 20 and Felton with 13 points and five assists provided Williams and May the freedom to roam inside with a strong perimeter performance. Jackie Manuel played 21 minutes after being declared out the day before.

Georgia Tech was out to prove that their preseason NIT championship was no fluke. The Yellow Jackets thoroughly dominated Ohio State in Columbus, 71-51. The loss was the Buckeyes worst since Value City Arena opened six years ago.

A 13-0 run by Georgia Tech in the first half opened the game up and the Jackets were able to maintain that lead throughout the second half. Another well rounded performance from Paul Hewitt’s troops was led by B.J. Elder with 18, Marvin Lewis with 15 and Jarrett Jack with 14. Vladimir Radinovic and Ricardo Billings led Ohio State with 12 each. Twenty turnovers, 32.7 percent shooting and a poor performance from its star backcourt of Tony Stockman and J.J. Sullinger ultimately ruined the Buckeyes evening. Stockman finished the evening with seven points on 1-11 from the field, while Sullinger only managed ten, while making only 1-2 from the free throw line.

Minnesota and Virginia took to the national spotlight with a chance to show that they are improved teams. Both the Gophers and Cavaliers have underachieved the past few years. In the end, it appeared that Virginia is the more improved team as the Cavaliers took better care of the ball in an 86-78 victory.

The lack of a true point guard has haunted the Gophers the past few seasons. Adam Boone was supposed to rectify that situation in 2003-04. Against Virginia, however, the Gopher sloppiness ultimately did them in. Minnesota had 18 turnovers to the Cavaliers’ nine. Boone did not commit a turnover, but finished the game 0-7 from the field.

Kris Humphries continues to play wise beyond his years. The Gophers’ freshman had his fourth 20-point effort in as many games and his third double-double. Humphries became the first Gopher in five years with four consecutive 20-point games, as he finished with 26 points and 13 rebounds on 10-16 shooting. Humphries led the Gophers domination on the boards as they finished with a 51-40 rebounding advantage.

In a game of runs, Virginia got the last word in with a 13-1 run late in the second half to secure the triumph. Michael Bauer backed up Humphries with 20 points and five rebounds with a 5-8 night from three-point range.

A tough night shooting from the Gophers backcourt was a tough pill to swallow. Maurice Hargrow added to Boone’s poor night from outside with a 3-15 performance. Hargrow was able to help his team with 11 points, 15 rebounds and six assists.

The Duke Michigan Sate contest was supposed to be an epic battle that would be remembered as one of the best in challenge history. Don’t expect this one to be an instant classic or on Classic Sports at any time. Duke used a 20-2 run late in the first half as the Blue Devils traveled to East Lansing, Michigan and controlled Michigan State, 72-50. The loss marked the Spartans biggest since a 25-point drubbing by Minnesota in 1997, and was only their fifth home loss in five years.

After entering the game with six players averaging at least 9.8 points per game, the Spartans failed to land any in double figures against Duke. Chris Hill and Kelvin Torbert finished with eight each.

Duke’s ability to turn up its defense keyed its last first half run. Michigan State committed 17 turnovers and shot only 41 percent from the floor in the opening stanza. The game was ugly for Michigan State in all aspects. They finished the night with 20 turnovers, 40 percent shooting, and let Duke shoot 59 percent. Shelden Williams led Duke with 16 points, eight rebounds and five blocks.

Choosing an all tournament team always generates a topic of conversation. This year’s ACC-Big Ten challenge is no different. The signature performance this year belongs to Jamar Smith of Maryland. The Senior center is ready for a breakout year. His 25-point, twelve rebound effort keyed Maryland’s overtime victory and he scored the Terrapins go-ahead basket.

The remainder of the All Challenge team: Purdue guard Kenneth Lowe finished with twenty points on 10-13 from the line and 4-6 from three point range to lead the Boilermakers over Clemson. Sean May helped North Carolina defeat Illinois with a 23-point 14-rebound outing, including making 9-10 from the free throw line. Chris Paul had announced his presence on the college basketball scene with a incredible performance in Wake Forest’s annihilation of Indiana. The freshman point guard had 20 points, eight assists, and made 7-9 field goals. Anthony Richardson showed why he was a McDonald’s All-American coming out of high school by scoring 25 of his 27 points in the second half as Florida State pulled away from Northwestern.

     

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