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Big East Notebook

December 12, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments

Big East Conference Notebook

by Phil Kasiecki

Big Win For Providence

The Big East lost another undefeated team on Tuesday when Boston College fell to St. Joseph’s, but later that evening, Providence scored a big upset, knocking off Illinois 70-51. The Friars got off to a slow start, but then Ryan Gomes and his teammates got in gear and won the game going away.

The Friars were led by Gomes’ double-double of 24 points and 12 rebounds, while sophomore point guard Donnie McGrath scored all 15 of his points in the second half. More important was what their zone defense did to the Illini – 30% shooting in the second half and just 21 points, and 22 turnovers. They held the powerful backcourt of Dee Brown and Deron Williams – who average 32 points per game – to just seven points. For the Friars (4-1), it was a good rebound from Saturday’s loss at rival Rhode Island.

Player of the Week:

Gerald Riley, Georgetown

Riley averaged 22 points, seven rebounds and three assists in leading the undefeated Hoyas to victories over Norfolk State (76-53) and Davidson (71-53).

Rookies of the Week:

Guillermo Diaz, Miami and Quincy Douby, Rutgers

Diaz averaged 17 points and shot 60% from the field in helping Miami win both games last week. Douby gave Rutgers a big lift off the bench, hitting four three-pointers en route to 21 points in their 77-67 win over Temple and shooting nearly 64% from the field for the week.

Team Notes

Boston College (6-1)

Boston College continued its winning ways before falling to St. Joseph’s at the Palestra on Tuesday, 67-57. While the Eagles defended All-American guard Jameer Nelson well, they had no answer for Delonte West, who had 27 points. The Eagles beat Holy Cross last Tuesday, getting big games from the frontcourt of Craig Smith (14 points, 12 rebounds), freshman Jared Dudley (12 points, 10 rebounds) and Uka Agbai (15 points). The Eagles got to the foul line often and took full advantage of it. The Eagles are off until Sunday’s home contest with Sacred Heart.

Connecticut (6-1)

The Huskies coasted to two easy victories last week, 75-55 over Lafayette and 74-46 over Army. In the win over Army, freshman Charlie Villanueva made his debut, one day after being cleared by the NCAA to play. He scored 16 points in 22 minutes to give fans a taste of what he can do, while Emeka Okafor registered the fourth triple-double in school history with 18 points, 15 rebounds and 10 blocks. The Huskies next take to the floor against in-state rival Quinnipiac at home on Saturday.

Georgetown (6-0)

The Hoyas remained on a role last week with two more wins, 76-53 over Nortfolk State and 71-53 over Davidson. Gerald Riley led the charge against Norfolk State with 25 points. Against Davidson, Leading scorer Brandon Bowman had 20 points, 7 rebounds and 5 steals, and the Hoyas forced 26 turnovers. Georgetown’s next contest is at home against Elon on Saturday.

Miami (5-2)

The Hurricanes have begun December on a roll, winning all three games thus far at home. High-flying guards Robert Hite (20 points) and Guillermo Diaz (19) led their 91-70 win over Stetson. Then Darius Rice had a season-high 28 points and the Hurricanes shot over 57% in their 89-72 win over Florida International, before they had to rally past UMBC on Tuesday for a 61-52 win. Hite led the win over UMBC with 18 points. Miami hosts undefeated Florida State on Sunday.

Notre Dame (2-3)

Notre Dame has now lost three straight games after opening with two wins. After losing to Marquette to begin December, the Irish fell to Central Michigan in one of the shockers of last weekend, losing 69-68 at home on a buzzer-beating three-pointer by Central Michigan’s Joe Carr. They got 24 points from Chris Thomas and 13 from Chris Quinn, but it wasn’t enough. On Wednesday, Indiana continued its recent dominance over the Irish with a 66-63 win. Thomas had 24 points and Torin Francis, the Big East’s leading rebounder, had 13 points and 14 rebounds, but the Irish couldn’t dominate the Hoosiers’ patchwork frontcourt and allowed the Hoosiers to shoot just under 50% from the field. The Irish head to Chicago to take on DePaul on Sunday.

Pittsburgh (6-0)

One of just two undefeated teams left in the Big East, the Panthers continued to win last week as they knocked off Duquesne (59-45) and Penn State (64-47). Leading scorer Carl Krauser had 17 points to lead the way against Duquesne, while the defense held big gun Jimmy Tricco to just 6 points on 2-11 shooting. Against Penn State, the game was never in doubt, as they Panthers led 39-11 at the half en route to improving to 19-0 all-time at the Peterson Events Center. The Panthers host Youngstown State on Saturday.

Providence (4-1)

Providence started the week by knocking off South Florida, 84-60. They led 39-21 at the half, shooting over 55% from the field, but a 7-0 run by South Florida got the Bulls within 49-39 nearing the halfway point of the second half. The Friars then put the game away, with the 84-60 final matching their largest lead of the game. The Friars are now off for final exams, resuming play with a home game against Central Connecticut State one week from Sunday.

Rutgers (4-1)

Gary Waters’ team has rebounded nicely from its only loss of the season, picking up wins against Temple (77-67) and at Penn State (60-47). Against Temple, the Scarlet Knights dominated on the glass with a 42-26 advantage and got 21 points from freshman guard Quincy Douby off the bench. Against Penn State, Douby continued his solid play, as Ricky Shields and he scored 17 points apiece, and the Scarlet Knights held Penn State to 28% shooting from the field. The Scarlet Knights host Princeton on Saturday.

St. John’s (2-4)

Times remain bad at St. John’s, as the struggling Red Storm lost to Hofstra, 81-64 and were blown out at Duke, 79-58, before they rebounded with a 58-52 win against St. Francis (NY). Elijah Ingram led the way in the win with 16 points, while Andre Stanley added 15 for the Red Storm, who are last in the Big East in scoring and assist/turnover ratio. Off the court, Willie Shaw, who showed a lot of promise as a freshman before going downhill since, was dismissed from the team. He recently was arrested for possession of marijuana. The Red Storm are off until a week from Sunday, when they take on Georgia Tech in Atlanta.

Seton Hall (3-2)

After Saturday’s game against East Carolina was postponed due to the snow storm that hit the northeast (no makeup date has been announced), the Pirates traveled to Louisville and lost, 80-71. Andre Barrett led the way with 21 points and 7 assists, and Marcus Toney-El and J.R. Morris each had 15, but a goose egg from junior John Allen (0-12 from the floor before fouling out) really hurt the Pirates in this game. The Pirates host St. Peter’s on Saturday.

Syracuse (2-1)

As usual, the defending national champions are laying low for most of the non-conference schedule. The Orangemen beat St. Bonaventure, 87-78 last Wednesday in Rochester behind 27 points and 9 rebounds from Hakim Warrick, while Billy Edelin (20 points) and Gerry McNamara (19 points) were also key contributors. Syracuse has not left the state of New York yet, and will not until the middle of January. They next take on Binghamton on Saturday.

Villanova (5-2)

The Wildcats have managed to get through most of the remaining suspensions to be served. They won two games against Philadelphia Big 5 teams, knocking off La Salle (74-61) on Saturday and beating Pennsylvania (73-63) on Tuesday, both at the Palestra. Randy Foye scored all 19 of his points in the second half against La Salle, while freshman guard Mike Nardi led the way against Pennsylvania with 20 points. Curtis Sumpter had 18 points and 9 rebounds, while Foye had 16 points and Allan Ray added 13. The Wildcats have their first home contest of the season on Friday against Northeastern, before taking ten days off for final exams.

Virginia Tech (4-3)

The Hokies rebounded from losses against Old Dominion (94-92) and at Ohio State (62-57) with an 80-56 blowout of VMI on Wednesday. Against VMI, they used a 21-0 run and a big effort from Bryant Matthews (26 points on 11-16 shooting, 8 rebounds and 4 steals). Matthews had help from freshman Zabian Dowdell (18 points, 5 assists). The Hokies have lost guard Carlos Dixon for the year after he had surgery on his left foot; he will redshirt and return next season. Virginia Tech’s next game is a home contest with Radford on Saturday.

West Virginia (3-2)

The Mountaineers have alternated wins and losses this season, which resulted in taking third place at the BB&T Classic this past weekend after losing to host George Washington (70-64) and beating Maryland (78-77) in overtime. They beat Maryland on Sunday despite allowing them to shoot almost 50% from the field, getting 18 points from Drew Schifino. Of concern is that they were out-rebounded by double figures in both games. They host Duquesne on Saturday.


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