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Horizon League Notebook

December 10, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments

Horizon League Notebook

by Nick Dettmann

Continuing their very tough non-conference schedule, the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panthers traveled to Raleigh, N.C. for a showdown with the North Carolina State Wolfpack of the Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC).

The Panthers were led by Dylan Page as he, yet again, contributed with a double-double – 22 points and 11 rebounds. But what hurt the Panthers is what usually is a strength – free throw shooting.

The Wolfpack outscored UWM 25-9 from the charity stripe, which helped them overcome a 12-point 1st half deficit en route to a 77-71 win in front of a nationally televised audience.

“Our kids were attacking an ACC team on the road and that’s very good to see,” UWM head coach Bruce Pearl said. “There are no moral victories but I’m pleased we played an attractive style of basketball. We have a lot of pride in the Horizon League and we represented it very well.”

Marcus Melvin scored a career-high 27 points and grabbed 13 rebounds in the winning effort.

The Panthers jumped out to a 30-18 lead with seven minutes and change left in the first half and had the ACC powerhouse worried all night long.

“We just really dug down deep,” North Carolina State head coach Herb Sendek said of the early first half deficit. “It was a gut check. Guys really stepped up and I thought Marcus Melvin in particular really got us over the hump.”

UWM’s Ed McCants and Joah Tucker were also big contributors in the attempted upset. McCants slammed down 16 points and Tucker had 13.

UWM, who trailed by one at the break, jumped out to a 48-43 lead with 16:39 remaining and looked like they were ready to run away. But NC State hung in tough and surged back to take the lead on a Melvin three-point bucket with 13:13 left and never trailed the rest of the contest.

“It was a great test for us,” Pearl said. “NC State presents so many challenges, especially for us defensively because they run such a brilliant offense that’s so well spaced. I thought they did a good enough job executing it. We didn’t turn them over as much as we would have liked.”

Player of the Week:

Louis Smith, Loyola-Chicago.

Scored a career-high 22 points and equaled a personal best 10 rebounds in the Ramblers 83-75 overtime win over UMKC.

Newcomer of the Week:

Ed McCants, UW-Milwaukee.

Scored 16 points in 77-71 loss to North Carolina State.

Games of the Week:

Butler at Indiana, Saturday, Dec. 13; UW-Milwaukee at Wisconsin, Saturday, Dec. 13.

Illinois-Chicago (7-2):

In their second tournament of the season, the Flames headed to Iowa City, Iowa for the Gazette Hawkeye Challenge on the campus of the University of Iowa. In the opener, the Flames faced regional rival Northern Illinois on Friday. Cedrick Banks had his three-point buzzer beating shot rim out, allowing the Huskies to escape with a 54-53 win, snapping the Flames five-game winning streak. It also snapped a 10-game win streak for the Flames against in-state opponents. Banks scored 20-plus points for the sixth time this season as he led all scorers with 23 points, while Armond Williams contributed with his second consecutive double-double with 14 points and 13 rebounds.

In their second game of the challenge, the Flames bounced back in convincing fashion with a 67-52 win over Eastern Washington. Williams led three Flames to bring home double figures in the points column. Williams had 19 points to go along with five boards. Banks had 13, while his senior guard counterpart Martell Bailey fell just shy of his first double-double of the season with 11 points and nine assists. Bailey is fifth in the country in assists per game with eight per contest.

It was announced this past week that forward Josh Williams is out indefinitely due to eligibility reasons.

The Flames will get some much needed rest and time at home with finals coming up. UIC will host Illinois State on Saturday at 5 p.m. Then, will not play again until the following Saturday as Northwestern from the Big Ten visits the UIC Pavilion.

UW-Milwaukee (3-2):

The only game for the Panthers in the past week was their showdown against North Carolina State.

Upcoming for the Panthers are two more very big non-conference road games. The Panthers are 0-2 so far on teams that went to the NCAA tournament a year ago. UWM will travel to Valparaiso to take on the NCAA tournament regular Crusaders, led by Homer Drew, tonight. After that, the Panthers will close out a four-game road trip with a pivotal in-state match-up against the Wisconsin Badgers on Saturday.

Butler (3-2):

Trying to recover from a 63-61 setback to Ball State last Wednesday, the Bulldogs hosted Evansville on Saturday and pulled out a needed 65-64 win from the Hinkle Fieldhouse. Four players for the blue and white scored in double figures, led by Mike Monserez’s 17. After being down 32-25, Butler cruised on a 20-4 run early in the second half to take a 53-47 lead with 7:35 left. For the third straight game, the Bulldogs struggled from long-range shooting a dismal 29 percent (7-for-24) and just 53 percent from the line. What hurt Evansville from pulling out the upset win were the 19 turnovers they committed. Avery Sheets, Duane Lightfoot and Bruce Horan rounded out the double-digit scorers with 14, 13 and 12 respectively.

Butler has two road games this week. The first will be tonight in Peoria, Ill. as they take on Bradley. Their next trip will be to Bloomington to take on the Hoosiers. Butler won the last meeting against Indiana 66-64 on Dec. 29, 2001 in the Hoosier Classic.

Cleveland State (3-2):

In a slow start for the Vikings, CSU rolled to a 23-point lead in the second half on their way to a 66-48 win homecoming win over Utah Valley State on Saturday. Jermaine Robinson led the way with 22 points and last week’s player of the week Omari Westley scored 15. After trailing 17-10 with 13:44 left in the first half, the Vikings jumped onto a 19-1 run over the next 10-plus minutes to take a 29-18 lead. Robinson scored seven of his 22 during that spurt. From there, CSU would take an 11-point lead at the half and never led by less than 10 the rest of the game.

The Vikings will take this week off in order to concentrate on finals. Then it will be out on the road again for two more games. On Saturday, CSU will take on Norfolk State. Then, the Vikings will pay a visit to Elite Eight finalist of a few years ago Kent State a week from tonight.

Detroit (2-2):

The league’s worst offense struggled all night in a 68-42 loss to No. 21 Wisconsin in Madison on Saturday. Rulon Harris scored a career-high 18 points in the setback and was the only Titan to reach double digits in scoring. Detroit lead twice early on, but after the Titans took a 5-4 lead, the Badgers went on a 15-4 run to gain command.

The Titans return home for two games this week. The first will be on Saturday as nearby Toledo will come to Calihan Hall in a matinee match-up. Then, Detroit will entertain Chicago State on Monday night.

Loyola-Chicago (1-1):

The Ramblers, who have only played two games since Nov. 21, will have a tough schedule coming up. In a Saturday matinee, the Ramblers will head to Valparaiso as the Crusaders will take on their second Horizon opponent in two games as a part of a five-game home-stand. After their bout with the Crusaders, the Ramblers will head back home to the Gentile Center for a battle with another Mid-Continent Conference team, Oral Roberts, in a Monday night match-up.

UW-Green Bay (2-3):

Announced on Thursday, the Phoenix will be welcoming Utah freshman guard Ryan Werch as he will transfer after this semester. Werch, a guard from Ripon, Wis., said that he wants to be closer to home. “Some might say that after just a summer and one semester, I haven’t given things enough time here,” Werch told the Associated Press. “But I just wasn’t happy here, and felt like I needed to do what was best for me. He plans to enroll at UW-Green Bay next semester and will become eligible at the end of the fall 2004 semester.

As for the action on the court, junior guard Matt Rhode broke a 1-of-14 shooting slump from downtown as he scored 14 points, including three three-pointers in the Phoenix’s 70-65 win over Chicago State on Wednesday. Chicago State guard Craig Franklin scored a career-high and Resch Center record 28 points in the losing cause. Green Bay looked to have the game in control as they held a 36-28 lead at the break. But, with the help of Franklin, the Cougars charged back to score 11 points in the next 2:12. Phoenix head coach Tod Kowalczyk inserted freshman Ryan Evanochko to try and slow down the scoring machine of Franklin. It worked. Franklin was held to just one free throw in the final 11:29 of play.

The Phoenix will continue their Big Ten and Mid-Con rotation this week. Tonight, from Madison, the Phoenix will play two-time Big Ten champion Wisconsin. On Sunday, Green Bay will head to Macomb, Ill., where the St. Louis Rams have training camp, to play Western Illinois.

Youngstown State (2-4):

In their second attempt to start a win-streak, the Penguins could not slow down a stingy Buffalo defense in the Bulls 86-66 win over YSU on Saturday at Alumni Arena. Adam Baumann and Doug Underwood each scored 14 points for the Penguins. But five Bulls were in double figures, led by Mario Jordan’s 16. YSU started the game off right early with a 6-3 lead, but from there it was all Buffalo as the Bulls went on a 16-2 run and was never threatened the rest of the way. Buffalo would end the first half on a 13-4 run to build their lead to a commanding 23 points, 47-23, as part of a 44-18 burst.

Much like the rest of the conference, the Penguins have a few days off to help focus on finals. The Penguins will next take to the floor at 22nd-ranked Pittsburgh who are red-hot as they sit with a 6-0 record. Afterwards, YSU will return to the Beeghly Center to host the first conference game, league-wide, of the season as the Wright State Raiders come to town on the 18th.

Wright State (1-3):

It was announced this week that head coach Paul Biancardi will be without the services of forward Braden Bushman indefinitely as he sits with an injured sternum. Bushman has seen action in one game for 13 minutes so far this season.

Still looking for their win of the season and for Biancardi, the Raiders broke into the left-hand column with a solid 64-50 win over Ball State in ‘Jam the Gym Day’ at the Nutter Center on Saturday. Early on things did not look good as the Raiders fell behind by 15 late in the first half. But, from there, it was all WSU as they outscored the Cardinals 49-20 the rest of the way. The dynamic duo of Seth Doliboa and Vernard Hollins each had a double-double. Doliboa had 25 points, with 15 coming in the second half, and 10 rebounds. Hollins had 15 points to go along with 14 rebounds.

The Raiders have a pair of challenging games coming up this week. Up first, tomorrow night, WSU will travel to Oxford, Ohio to take on Miami of Ohio. Then, the Raiders will return home as Missouri Valley Conference favorite Southern Illinois comes to Dayton on Monday night.


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