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December 15, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments

The Morning Dish – Monday, December 15th

Columbus State Team Captain Dies: Senior guard Jed Bedford of Division II Columbus State (Columbus, Ga.) died of cardiac arrest yesterday after collapsing during practice. Bedford was team captain and a talented shooter. He led Division II last season with 135 three-pointers and averaged 21.4 points per game. Bedford was from Leesburg, Fla. Columbus State’s next game against North Carolina – Central has been postponed and has not been rescheduled. All thoughts and prayers go out to Bedford’s family, friends and teammates.

Golden Eagle Leaves the Nest: Marquette freshman forward James Matthews had been a great recruiting catch for the Golden Eagles. But Matthews could not meet Marquette’s apparently rigorous academic standards. He had been suspended from the team after the season opening game in hopes that focusing more on books than hoops would raise the grades. But the effort could not save Matthews’ abbreviated run with Marquette, and he will transfer to another school. In a world in which Marquette officials easily could have found a way to make Matthews pass by, it’s nice to see a school emphasize and enforce success in the classroom and not just success on the court.

DePaul Honors Former Coach Meyer: During halftime of DePaul’s 82-69 loss to Notre Dame, the Blue Demons dedicated their court to former coach Ray Meyer and his late wife. Meyer served the school for more than 50 years, including 42 years as coach. He compiled a 724-354 record, which included a 1979 run to the Final Four that ended with a loss to Larry Bird’s Indiana State team. Meyer, who is 90, waved to the crowd, which replied with an extended standing ovation. Despite the emotional ceremony, Notre Dame won the game as six players reached double-figures. DePaul could not stop Notre Dame, which finished with 11 three-points and nearly 60 percent shooting from the field. Senior forward Delonte Holland led DePaul with 23 points and eight rebounds.

Raining Three’s in Philly: While the weather outside in Philly was frightful, the No. 13 St. Joseph’s three-pointers were delightful. The Hawks buried Drexel 92-70 behind 13 three-pointers, including a perfect 4-for-4 by sophomore guard Chet Stachitas, who finished with a career-high 14 points. Senior superstar Jameer Nelson led St. Joe’s with 24 points and junior guard Delonte West added 20 points. Junior forward Sean Brooks led Drexel with 22 points and nine rebounds. Both teams shot better than 50 percent from the field, but Drexel could not match the Hawks’ long distance sharp-shooting.

Ice Cold in Chapel Hill: No. 2 North Carolina did not play like a team that could be ranked No. 1 in the upcoming poll with the two losses by currently top-ranked Florida. Against Akron, the Tar Heels shot 34 percent from the field and only 24 percent in the second half, which is the worst performance by any Tar Heel squad in a half in more than two decades. But North Carolina grabbed 17 more rebounds than Akron to fuel an ugly 64-53 victory. Sophomore forward Sean May grabbed 21 rebounds, including 10 offensive rebounds to match his 10 points. Sophomore guard Rashad McCants led the Tar Heels in scoring with 14 points. Only three Akron players reached double-figures, led by freshman forward Romeo Travis with 13 points.

Duke Destroys Portland: No. 6 Duke handled Portland in the first half, holding Portland to just 12 points in the half and building a 28-point lead. The Blue Devils then cruised to an 84-43 victory behind freshman forward Luol Deng’s team-high 15 points and nine rebounds. Duke had seven players score at least seven points while only allowing two Portland players to score more than six points. Duke held Portland under 25 percent shooting and won the battle of the boards by eight. Although Portland may not be a fearsome opponent for Duke, the Blue Devils’ defensive effort and balanced offensive attack resemble the type of dominating play that has been lacking from Duke in several games this season.

Longhorns Roll Over Privateers: No. 9 Texas bounced back from a tough loss to No. 8 Arizona by steamrolling New Orleans 89-55. Senior forward Brian Boddicker led Texas’ domination on the glass with 12 rebounds. The Longhorns outrebounded New Orleans at better than a two-to-one pace, finishing with 56 while New Orleans managed only 27. All those rebounds came from New Orleans’ terrible shooting performance. Texas held New Orleans to 29 percent shooting. Freshman forward P.J. Tucker led all scores with 17 points.

Terps Rising: Following a marvelous performance against No. 1 Florida earlier this week, Maryland avoided an emotional letdown at home against Pepperdine, winning 96-72. The Terrapins had career performances by sophomore guard John Gilchrist and freshman guard D.J. Strawberry. With the transfer of junior guard Andre Collins, Strawberry figures to play more minutes this season than coach Gary Williams may have originally planned. But Strawberry’s 17-point performance may be a sign of good times ahead in College Park, Md. With 24 points, five rebounds and seven assists, Gilchrist may be Maryland’s most lethal weapon. Gilchrist and Strawberry needed career performances to counter Pepperdine’s junior forward Glen McGowan, who scored at will against Maryland for a game-high 36 points. Despite McGowan’s dominating performance, Pepperdine managed to shoot just 39 percent, and Maryland outrebounded Pepperdine 40-31.

Eagles Limp Past Sacred Heart: Boston College has played well this season, with only one loss to St. Joseph’s. But the Eagles squandered a 17-point lead against the Pioneers and needed eight points by sophomore forward Craig Smith to deliver in clutch time to win 72-70. Smith finished with 16 points and seven rebounds to bail out Boston College. Senior guard Maurice Bailey nearly single-handedly led the Pioneers to victory with 27 points. Sacred Heart could not find other reliable scorers, however, which allowed Boston College’s more balanced attack to hold on for a tough win.

Rhode Island Not a Flash in the Pan: At 6-2, Rhode Island is quietly flying under the radar of national media but continues to play impressively. Despite shooting only 33 percent, the Rams held Kent State to an equally poor 34 percent but outrebounded the Golden Flashes, which facilitated a 60-49 victory for Rhode Island. Junior guard Dustin Hellenga led Rhode Island with 15 points and five rebounds. Senior center John Edwards, a rare 7-footer in the MAC, led Kent State with 18 points and seven rebounds, but he received no help from his teammates. No other Golden Flash scored more than seven points. Credit Rhode Island with solid defensive pressure and efficient offense during the team’s hot start to this season.

Tonight’s Menu:

• No. 22 Pittsburgh hosts Georgetown. Well, Georgetown, Ky., that is – a non-Division I school. No. 12 Stanford is the highest ranked team in action tonight as the Cardinal hosts Florida A&M. Also, No. 15 Wake Forest visits SMU, and No. 23 Marquette looks to bounce back from a tough loss to Arizona with a win against Canisius.

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