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December 12, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments

The Morning Dish – Friday, December 12th

Sooners Beat Buzzer: Freshman Drew Lavender hit a leaning shot in the lane with 1.1 seconds to go to give the No. 10 Oklahoma Sooners a thrilling 47-45 win over the No. 17 Purdue Boilermakers in Norman. Lavender scored 12 of his 14 points in the first half and Kevin Bookout had 12 more as the Sooners (6-0) beat their second straight top-20 team in as many games. Neither team was efficient from the field as Purdue shot just 30 percent on the night and Oklahoma was not that much better at 36 percent. Oklahoma led much of the low-scoring affair, but a pair of free throws by Purdue’s Chris Booker with 3:30 left gave them their first lead of the second half, 42-41. In what normally is a weakness for most teams, the two freshmen and two sophomores the Sooners had in their line-up came through in the clutch. “We’re a work in progress,” Oklahoma head coach Kelvin Sampson said postgame. “To be 6-0 with this group, I didn’t think we’d be 6-0.” Booker led the way for Purdue as he 13 points and 12 rebounds. Each team combined for 25 turnovers in the first half, 35 total. “People are going to talk about this game and how we only had 47 points,” Sampson said. “But I tell you what: I’d rather have 47 than 45.”

Mizzou Denial: University of Missouri senior guard Rickey Paulding and senior forward Arthur Johnson have denied allegations that they received cash from two assistant coaches, according to a jailhouse recording by ousted teammate Ricky Clemons. Head coach Quin Snyder said Wednesday that he had the ‘utmost confidence’ in his accused assistants, Lane Odom and Tony Harvey, and has said that each remains on the staff. No further comments were made, pending an investigation by school officials and the NCAA. According to telephone recording by Clemons last summer, as he was serving a sentence for assault, some of the comments made were that he told a friend that the wife of Missouri Associate Athletic Director Ed Stewart, that his former girlfriend, Jessica Bunge, deposited money into Clemons’ bank account that he had received during stops at the Hearnes Arena. Clemons also said in the recording that Paulding and Johnson received money from Odom and Harvey. “If they need money, they’d go to Harvey,” Clemons said. “He’d get it for ’em.” The attention of the tape has caused embarrassment for Elson Floyd, the president of the university and the first black chief executive. Floyd has said that he broke off contact with the former ex-athlete after he wrecked an all-terrain vehicle owned by Floyd’s wife during a July 4 party. It turned out that Clemons did not have permission to attend the party. “I certainly regret any undue stress,” Snyder said this week. Snyder has commended the Floyd’s for helping a student with problems.

Staying Put: University of Missouri school president Elson Floyd will stay with the university following the recent allegations by Ricky Clemons. Floyd is scheduled to meet in Kansas City to evaluate his job performance with the university’s governing board of curators. “I did nothing wrong that was inappropriate,” Floyd said on Thursday. “The engagement with Ricky Clemons has been candidly a nightmare and it continues to be so.” Clemons was thrown off the team after he assaulted former girlfriend Jessica Bunge last summer. He pleaded guilty and was release on Aug. 24 and was removed from the team.

Hilltopper to Transfer: Western Kentucky sophomore forward Jamaal Brown has decided to leave the program, following continuous issues with head coach Darrin Horn. “It’s always unfortunate when someone decides to depart the program, especially in the middle of the season,” Horn said in a press release. “We wish Jamaal the best as he moves forward.” Brown’s father, Barry, said that his son and Horn “clashed a little bit.” “They had some personality conflicts, but I think they could have worked them out if Horn had been a little more patient with him,” Barry Brown said. “It’s not all his fault, though, because I’m sure there were some things that Jamaal could’ve done better.” In his last action with the team, Jamaal had the best game of his career as he scored eight points and had seven rebounds in a loss to Murray State on Sunday. The departure of Jamaal leaves the Hilltoppers with a thin bench and only eight healthy scholarship players.

Terp to Transfer: University of Maryland junior point man Andre Collins announced that he is going to transfer. His next school is yet to be known. Collins will leave the Terrapins, who are coming off their upset win over top-ranked Florida Wednesday night, after this semester and will be eligible to play in January 2005. “Andre will leave the University of Maryland men’s basketball program in good academic standing,” Maryland head coach Gary Williams said in a statement. “We wish him all the best.” Collins, a 5-foot-10 guard, is averaging 2.5 points and 8.8 minutes as a back up to sophomore John Gilchrist. It appeared that Collins decided to transfer after learning that he was not going to see the playing time he thought he was at the beginning of the season. The opening of a scholarship allows the Terps to heavily pursue highly touted junior college guard Sterling Ledbetter from Allegany College.

New Aztec: Almost 12,000 alumni and students voted in favor of changing their mascot to an Aztec warrior, which is intended to be more respectful of pre-Columbian culture than the school’s “Monty Montezuma”. San Diego State abandoned its “Monty Montezuma” mascot in 2001 after a coalition of American Indian and Latino students complained it was degrading and offensive. The new mascot emerged from months of discussion among university officials, alumni, students and experts of the Aztec culture. Over the past 30 years, more than half of the nation’s schools with Indian mascots or nicknames have changed them, according to the Morning Star Institute, a non-profit American Indian civil rights organization.

More problems at Baylor: Baylor’s internal review committee plans to recommend further sanctions in the men’s basketball program after finding evidence of more NCAA rules violations under former coach Dave Bliss, who recently resigned his volunteer high school coach post in Colorado, according to an Associated Press report. Kirk Watson, outside legal counsel to the committee, said the panel has found instances of inappropriate payments for plane tickets and meals. He also added that there were secondary violations in which some players received excess tickets for games. One of those players believed to be involved was Patrick Dennehy, who was found shot to death in July. “We have, in fact, found other violations that would be considered to be major violations under NCAA regulations,” Watson told the Associated Press. “I do anticipate the committee will make additional recommendations to the president for further sanctions to be imposed on the university.”

Tonight’s Menu:

• No Top 25 teams are in action tonight. However, the Mid-Continent Conference’s Oral Roberts will head into the twin cities for a showdown with the Golden Gophers of Minnesota. Also, Harvard will look to break into the win column after a 0-6 start, as they will host the Patriot League’s Colgate.

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