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Big 10 Notebook

December 15, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments



Big Ten Notebook

by Alan Rubenstein

Under the Dome

The inaugural BasketBowl was a resounding success as Michigan State and Kentucky played before a raucous crowd in an NCAA tournament atmosphere at Ford Field in Detroit. After a first half played at a very quick pace, the Spartans and Wildcats played more deliberately in the second half as Kentucky grabbed a 79-74 victory.

Kentucky’s ability to make more big plays down the stretch proved to be the difference. After a Paul Davis lay-up with 28 seconds had cut the Wildcat lead to two, Gerald Fitch hit three of four free throws to ice the game. Fitch continued to be the man for Big Blue nation. He led the Wildcats with 25 points and hit 4-6 from three point range. Chuck Hayes’ 17 points and 12 rebounds, Cliff Hawkins with 13 and Eric Daniels also played well as the four combined to score all but eight UK’s points.

Both sides seemed impressed with BasketBowl I in the postgame. “The atmosphere today was great. I was really impressed with the setup. It had a really good basketball feel to it. Everyone involved did a really good job putting this together.” said Michigan State’s Alan Anderson. Tubby Smith seemed relieved that his side came out a win and with the tin of the crowd. “It was an unbelievable atmosphere and great that we could get this win”

Hayes explained how his team was motivated by the importance of the game yet play with confidence to post a key win. “I was more anxious and excited and now we are in the history books, it was a big time win in front of a record crowd. I don’t think it really affected us at all.”

Michigan State was led by Paul Davis with 24 points and eight rebounds, Shannon Brown with 14 and Chris Hill with 13. Davis finished with his career high and converted on all 14 of his free throw attempts. Brown and Hill combined to hit on six of 12 three point attempts.

Big Ten Notes

Illinois appears ready to put the burglary issue behind them. Aaron Spears, Luther Head and Richard Mc Bride must attend counseling, and perform community service in addition to being placed on probation for conduct detrimental to the team. They also have a meeting scheduled with Dean of Students Bill Riley and could face additional discipline for possible violations of the university’s conduct code.

Since the Big Ten has two more teams than the ACC, two of its members are required to sit out the Big Ten-ACC challenge. This year Penn State and Iowa were the bench warmers.

Ohio State exported its floor, baskets and shot clocks in one of two dry runs before the Buckeyes host the NCAA first and second round in March at Nationwide Arena. The game against Virginia Tech marked the Buckeyes first off-campus trip in Columbus in 47 years.

Indiana announced it will add a title sponsor to its annual clash with Kentucky. Three central Indiana Volkswagen dealers have reached an agreement with IU. The official title will be “The Indiana-Kentucky Rivalry game presented by Indianapolis Volkswagen dealers”.

Purdue announced that senior guard Kenneth Lowe has launched a website. KennethLowe.Com. The site will have articles, news and quotes, stats and photos and the ability to email the Big Ten player of the year.

Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan announced in his Monday teleconference that Alando Tucker and Jason Chappell have been cleared to return to practice. Tucker played Wednesday against Wisconsin-Green Bay, Chappell’s time table to return to game action has not been set.

Team Reports

With the their Big Ten brethren participating in the ACC-Big Ten challenge earlier in the week, Iowa hosted their own challenge. A pair of victories over Eastern Washington and Northern Illinois earned Iowa the title in the Gazette-Hawkeye challenge.

The Hawkeyes pounded Eastern Washington 70-54 in Friday night’s first round. The win against the Eagles send Iowa to the title game against Northern Illinois, a 54-53 winner over Illinois-Chicago in Friday’s other semifinal.

The championship game was not a foregone conclusion for Iowa. The Huskies who are one of the top contenders in the MAC this season brought game to Iowa City. NIU held a ten point lead with eight minutes left before Iowa rallied for a 65-57 victory. Northern Marcus Smallwood earned the tournament’s most valuable player award by averaging 16 points and 9.5 rebounds in two games. He led the Huskies with 19 points and nine rebounds against Iowa.

Penn State opened the week with a visit from Cleveland State. Fresh off a valiant effort against North Carolina, the Vikings seemed ripe for a let down against the Nittany Lions. Happy Valley did not live up to its name from the Cleveland State perspective.

Penn State jumped out of the box early and never trailed. The Lions took a 30-7 lead before Cleveland State was able to narrow the gap to 40-31 at halftime. A 15-2 run to start the second half all but put the game away as the Nittany Lions earned a 73-62 win. Jan Jagla continued a push for Big Ten’s most improved player, finishing with 25 points and 11 rebounds.

Young teams generally play inspired ball in front of their home crowd and struggle on the road. After breaking a 23 game road losing streak in their last trip at Buffalo, Penn State was not up to the challenge of playing at twenty-second ranked Pittsburgh.

Ed DeChellis’ team forgot to pack its offense in a 64-37 shellacking. The Lions did not reach double figures until 2:42 remained in the first half and trailed 38-11 at intermission. The shooting was so poor Penn State’s shooters could’ve been featured on an episode of Without A Trace.

Penn State made only four of 26 first half shots and finished the game at 28 percent.

Jan Jagla led Penn State with 11 points and seven rebounds. The long rivalry has been much of one the past few season. Pit has won the last three meetings by an average of 28 points.

Through Purdue’s first six games Kenneth Lowe has been their primary offensive option. Playing a box and one on the Boiler senior, Chicago State was able to hold Lowe to nine points. The Cougars are one of the NCAA perennial also-rans and even though they were able to control Lowe, they didn’t have the talent or firepower to keep up with Purdue.

Melvin Buckley scored 15 of his career high tying 20 points during a decisive first half run as Purdue blasted the Cougars 75-57. Fifteen of the Buckley’s twenty came on 5-9 from three point range. Purdue’s 6-0 start is its best in ten years when Purdue advanced to the Elite Eight behind Glenn Robinson. Chicago State was led by Rubeen Perry with 16 points and 12 rebounds. The loss was the Cougars twenty-fifth consecutive to a Division I opponent and their thirty-seventh in a row on the road.

Michigan State continued its brutal schedule with a bout with No. 13 Oklahoma the Palace of Auburn Hills, the Spartans third meeting this season with a top 25 team.

The Spartans and Sooners needed overtime in a bizarre game that featured a 73-85 combined free throw performance. In a fitting end, foul calls played an integral part in the outcome of the game. A Paul David three point play with 5.8 seconds remaining in regulation sent the game to overtime.

In the extra session, Spartan point guard Chris Hill was called for an offensive foul with 15 seconds remaining. Oklahoma’s Jaison Williams made one of two free throws with eight seconds left to put Oklahoma up two. Michigan State’s Maurice Ager appeared to tie the game with a runner in the lane with 2.4 seconds left. Ager was called with a charge, the basket was wiped out and OU wrapped up an 80-77 victory.

Oklahoma’s 46-13 advantage off the bench proved vital. The Spartans starters averaged ten more minutes than Oklahoma’s. Jason Detrick came off the bench to lead OU with 26 points, including 16-19 from the line. Paul Davis and Alan Anderson led MSU with 17. Anderson went 11-11 hit 11-11 on freebies.

Illinois continued to look good early in the season as they completely dominated Arkansas in an 84-61 victory. Dee Brown shooting slump continued finishing with only 13 points on 4-13 from the floor. Deron Williams spent the 2003 season playing in Brown’s shadow. The roles have reversed in early part of this season. Williams led the Illini with 17 points and 10 rebounds and was supported on the interior by James Augustine with 12 points and 12 rebounds.

Illinois’s defense was outstanding holding Arkansas to 35.2% from the floor and 18.8 percent from three point range. Jonathon Modica finished with 20 for Arkansas.

Indiana blew a golden opportunity to knock off a top five team in front of its home crowd when the Hoosiers squandered a late ten point lead in a 63-58 loss to Missouri.

Holding on to a 58-48 lead with 4:23 remaining, IU went ice cold. Missouri used a 15-0 run to close out the game as they escaped the Assembly Hall with the win. Indiana missed its last ten shots from the field with a chance the pull the upset. Indiana settled for too many outside shots. Six of the Hoosiers last ten shots came from beyond the arc.

Bracey Wright’s three point field goal at the 7:14 mark of the second half was the last shot from the floor Indiana would make.

IU earned the lead by hitting on their first five three point field goal attempts and taking a 23-8 lead with just under eight minutes elapsed in the game. The Hoosiers would hit seven threes overall in the opening half and took a 39-24 advantage into the locker room. IU’s collapse was punctuated by a thirty percent drop from the field in the second half. Their reliance on the three proved fatal with a 1-12 performance in the final 20 minutes.

Indiana’s lack of experienced big men was a hindrance once again. Missouri took advantage of its edge in muscle hammering the Hoosiers 46-28 on the boards with 21 caroms on the offensive end. Missouri star center exit with 4:23 remaining when he picked up his fifth foul did not even help. Johnson finished with 15 points and nine rebounds.

The Hoosiers did manage a balanced attack, landing four players in double figures. Donald Perry paced them with 13.

Northwestern redeemed itself after a lackluster performance against Florida State in the challenge. A 69-61 victory over Bucknell was the Wildcats second consecutive home victory by that score. NU began the game with a 15-5 spurt to begin the game and was able to keep the lead throughout the contest. Jitim Young sustained his push for all Big Ten honors with 20 points and 12 rebounds. Evan Seacat turned in another strong performance off the bench with nine points.

NU concluded a tough seven game in 15 day stretch to open the season with an impressive 77-60 at Bowling Green.

After taking a 6-3 lead five minutes into the game, the Wildcats never trailed again. Northwestern used an outstanding team shooting performance. The Cats connected on 53 percent of their shots and hit 12-24 from three point range. Young finished with 22 and Vedran Vukusic finished with 20 including three three pointers.

Ohio State turned in a much better effort against Virginia’s Tech, than they did against Georgia’s.

Tony Stockman and J.J. Sullinger returned the form expected of them. Stockman finished with 14 points, five assists and hit four three point field goals and Sullinger led the Buckeyes with 22 points and 11 rebounds as OSU posted a 62-57 win over the Hokies.

Defense also played a big role for the Bucks. Virginia Tech’s leading scorer Bryant Matthews, who entered averaging 27.4 points per game, was held to 15.

Wisconsin won its 16 consecutive home game 68-42 over Detroit-Mercy. Devin Harris and Freddie Owens paced the Badgers with 13 each, while Andreas Helmigk had a career high with 12. The Badgers got off to a hot start in the first half, shooting 60 percent. The finished at 48 percent, their best shooting performance of the season. Rulon Harris led the Titans with 18.

Vanderbilt capped its own version of the Big Ten challenge with an 83-63 victory over Michigan. Vandy had dominated Indiana earlier in the season. Matt Freije showed why he is one of the showed why he is one of the nation’s best kept secrets. The Commodores senior center scored 22 before exiting with a knee injury with 5:41 left.

Vandy used a decided size advantage to pound Michigan on the boards 42-24. JC Mathis turned in his best game as a Wolverine with 13 and Bernard Robinson led the Michigan attack with 14.

Minnesota received another stellar performance from Ben Johnson and Kris Humphries’ recorded his fifth double-double in six games as Minnesota thumped Western Illinois 86-64. Johnson had 23 and Humphries showed Minnesota will be a tougher team this season with 14 points and 14 rebounds. The Gophers out rebounded the Leathernecks 53-30.

     

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