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December 22, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments

The Morning Dish – Monday, December 22nd

How the Mighty Have Fallen: No. 6 Kansas, one of the former No. 1 ranked teams, walked into a mountain ambush against Nevada in the Wolf Pack Holiday Classic last night. Nevada junior guard Kirk Snyder was unstoppable, scoring 29 points to carry the Wolf Pack to a 75-61 upset over the Jayhawks. Kansas struggled to find any offensive rhythm in the first half and fell behind 40-20 at halftime. Despite a second-half comeback, the Jayhawks fell short as Snyder hit too many crucial shots to put down any Kansas rallies. Junior guards Aaron Miles and Keith Langford each had 11 points to lead Kansas.

New Tiger Helps Mizzou Win: Much-heralded junior forward Jason Conley, a transfer from VMI, debuted for No. 13 Missouri against UNC-Greensboro last night and scored 19 points to help the Tigers win 106-98. Conley and senior center Arthur Johnson led Missouri with 19 to counter senior guard Jay Joseph and junior forward Ronnie Burrell, who each scored 22 points for UNC-G. Conley instantly becomes one of the most potent weapons for Missouri. He led the nation in scoring when he was a freshman at VMI. In addition to Johnson and senior guard Rickey Paulding, Conley gives Missouri one of the most talented lineups in the country. But the Tigers must play like champions and blow out teams like UNC-G rather than let opponents hang around for possible upsets.

New Coach, Same Old Results: St. John’s canned coach Mike Jarvis Friday and replaced him with interim coach Kevin Clark. Jarvis was fired after the Red Storm staggered to a 1-4 start. Despite the new coach, St. John’s could not find a way to slow down the No. 7 Georgia Tech juggernaut. The Yellow Jackets won 79-66 behind 15 points by junior guard B.J. Elder. Despite 21 points by sophomore guard Elijah Ingram, St. John’s could not slow down the more athletic and better shooting Yellow Jackets.

SMU Takes Down Purdue: The Mustangs spoiled No. 17 Purdue’s bid to win the Boilermaker Invitational when sophomore guard Bryan Hopkins hit only his second bucket of the night to give SMU a 60-59 victory. Purdue had managed to shut down Hopkins for the entire game, which is amazing considering that Hopkins torched Miami (OH) for 35 points in the first game of the invitational. Purdue’s superstar senior Kenneth Lowe fared well, scoring 19 points and grabbing seven rebounds, but Lowe missed two opportunities to win the game. Lowe might have won the statistical battle with Hopkins, but in clutch time, Hopkins came through to lift his team to victory.

Friars Exorcise Devils: Providence continued to play well by overcoming an upset-minded Central Connecticut squad to win 72-67. The Friars fell behind by a dozen late in the first half but rallied behind junior forward Rob Sanders, who finished with a career-high 21 points. Both teams shot better than 40 percent from three-point territory. The Blue Devils were led by Ron Robinson, who also posted a new career high with 29 points. Despite the fight by the Devils, the Friars mustered some Sunday magic to pull out another win.

Aggies Survive Tiger Scare: Texas A&M was supposed to be a force this year behind sophomore sensation Antoine Wright but has not lived up to expectations thus far. Wright, however, backed up his rep last night by leading the Aggies to victory with a career-high 32 points against Grambling. Texas A&M needed double overtime to beat the Tigers 103-101. Wright carried the team to victory in clutch time. With Grambling winning 101-100 and less than 10 seconds to go in the game, Wright took the ball and forced a shot despite getting fouled. On top of the foul, Grambling interfered with the shot on its way down, receiving a goaltending call. Wright nailed the ensuing free throw to give Texas A&M a two-point lead, which also was the victory margin.

Tonight’s Menu:

• What better way to enjoy the holidays than with several of college basketball’s best teams? The highest ranked teams in action tonight are No. 5 Arizona against San Diego State and No. 9 Stanford against Southern Utah. No. 14 Florida plays Northeastern in Gainsville, Fla., No. 19 Syracuse continues its traditional home stand against Colgate and No. 23 Marquette looks to rebound from a loss to No. 20 Wisconsin against Florida A&M. Perhaps the best game of the night, however, is a clash between undefeated, unranked and untested Florida State and No. 21 Pittsburgh.

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