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Big Ten Notebook

December 23, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments



Big Ten Notebook

by Alan Rubenstein

Minnesota’s Kris Humphries is trying to become the first freshman since 1959 to lead the Big Ten in scoring and rebounding. The 6-foot-8 freshman has posted averages of 24.4 points and 11.4 rebounds through seven games. Jerry Lucas of Ohio State was the last to accomplish the feat and was the last freshman to lead the league in rebounding. The Buckeyes Michael Redd captured the scoring title in 1998. Golden Gopher coach Dan Monson coached in his 200th game at Minnesota against Oral Roberts on December 12th.

Penn State’s Brandon Cameron has announced his intention to transfer. Cameron had started two of the Nittany Lions first five games and was playing 20 minutes per game. He did not give an indication of where he was moving on to.

Purdue lost a legend when longtime announcer and former Director of Public Relations and Promotions John DeCamp passed away December 10th. He started announcing for Purdue in 1940 and retired from the University in 1986.

The Boilermakers became the fourth Big Ten team to play in Indianapolis. The Boilers’ 80-39 victory over Central Michigan was the conference’s fourth win in as many tries at Conseco Fieldhouse this season. Iowa, Indiana, Michigan and Purdue will return to the Circle City in March for the Big Ten Tournament.

Wisconsin’s Bo Ryan tries for his 50th victory as Badger head coach when Marquette invades Madison on Saturday. A win would make him the fastest Wisconsin coach to reach that milestone.

Ohio State sophomore forward Charles Bass has decided to pursue opportunities at another university. He indicated more playing time as his reason to leave Columbus.

Illinois’ Deron Williams suffered a broken jaw after he collided with a Maryland-Eastern Shore player. Williams will be out for three weeks. UM-ES was a bit too confident for its own good and seemed to have it in for the Illini. The Hawks interrupted the Illini pregame stretching routine and predicted a victory.

Player of the Week

Bracey Wright earned the Big Ten’s player of the week award for the week ending December 14th. Wright finished with averages of 20.5 points and 6.5 rebounds in victories over Notre Dame and Butler.

Many of the Big Ten’s teams are spending the latter part of December playing traditional and in-state rivals. Two of the biggest are this weekend. Indiana will play Kentucky at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis and Wisconsin will host Marquette.

Indiana turned up the defense in the second half holding the Bulldogs to 28.6 percent. IU also improved on its three point defense in the final 20 minutes. After a blazing 3-5 from beyond the arc in the opening stanza, Butler managed only 3-13 in the second half.

Minnesota (5-2) scored a pair of impressive victories last week against teams they were expected to beat. The Gopher offense has been high octane at the Barn. Victories over Long Beach State (85-58) and Oral Roberts (100-80) has helped their 88.6 per game scoring average at Williams arena.

Kris Humphries has played the lead role for the Gophers this season. The 6-foot-8 freshman thumped the 49ers and Golden Eagles for 53 points and cleaned up 23 rebounds in the victories.

Maurice Hargrow appears to have jumped out of his shooting slump after averaging 17 points on 75 percent shooting last week. Five Gopher starters finished in double figures against Oral Roberts, Adam Boone’s 20 were his high-mark in a Minnesota uniform.

An all points bulletin is still needed for the Penn State (3-4) offense. They put up 51.5 points per game in losses to former Atlantic Ten rivals Rutgers and Temple.

Long scoring droughts plagued the Nittany Lions in both games. A 22-2 Rutgers run covering both halves did in Penn State. The Lions hit only 16 of 57 shots for the night. De Forrest Riley-Smith might as well have played one on five. The sophomore from Cincinnati scored 20 points and played all 40 minutes.

Temple took advantage of another dreadful Nittany Lion performance from the floor and an opportunistic defense to throttle Penn State, 67-56.

The Owls outscored the Nittany Lions 21-3 from the free throw line and forced 19 Penn State turnovers. Riley-Smith paced the way again for Penn State with 17 points, including five threes. Ben Luber posted his career high in assists with 11.

Iowa (6-1) might want to think twice about making the trip to Cedar Falls every other year. For the second consecutive time, Northern Iowa defeated a nationally ranked Hawkeyes team on its home court. The Panthers were able to pull away late for a 77-66 victory.

After a blazing 55 percent first half, Iowa’s offense was nearly cut in half in the second. The Hawk shot only 30 percent after the break. Pierre Pierce added mightily to the fallout with only one of his 15 points in the second half. Jared Reiner had 12 and Jeff Horner 11.

Wisconsin (6-1) warmed up for its nationally televised showdown with Marquette by defeating the dairy state’s other two division one teams, Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Wisconsin-Green Bay.

Devin Harris’ leadership and the return of superb sophomore Alando Tucker were the highlights of the Badger week. Harris finished the week with 31 points in the two games and had nine assists in the win over Wisconsin-Milwaukee. Tucker finished with five points in 12 minutes in his debut against Wisconsin- Green Bay and was extremely productive with 13 points and six rebounds in an additional 12-minute stint against the Panthers.

Tucker’s return has added firepower off the bench. Against Wisconsin-Milwaukee, the Badger bench held a 40-14 edge. Boo Wade was a sparkplug off the pine with a career-high 11 points.

After struggling with their shooting in the first three games, the Badgers have been hot lately. In its initial three outings of the season, Wisconsin shot only 9-51 from three point range. In their subsequent three games, the men from Madtown hit on 22-55.

Michigan (5-1) became the second Big Ten team in a week to beat up Bowling Green. The Wolverines used a 29-12 advantage at the free throw line to post a 74-57 victory.

The big story out of Ann Arbor was the shakeup of the Wolverines starting lineup. Lester Abram and Daniel Horton were sent to the bench and were replaced by Sherrod Harrell and Dion Harris. Tommy Amaker discussed the issue in the post game press conference. “We were not pleased with the play of Daniel Horton and Lester Abram. Daniel needed to run the team better and Lester needed to rebound better.”

The victory marked the third time this season that Michigan has held an opponent under 60 points. The Wolverines’ defense limited the Falcons without a field goal during an 8:14 stretch during the first half and led 39-24 at halftime.

Bernard Robinson jr. led Michigan with 15 points, Abram had 12 and Horton 11. J.C. Mathis has his best game in a Wolverine uniform with 11 points and six rebounds.

Purdue (7-1) became the latest Big Ten team to be stung by clutch Oklahoma plays down the stretch . After winning at Michigan State in overtime in their previous game, the Sooners used a runner by freshman Drew Lavender with 1.1 seconds remaining to post a 47-45 victory. A poor night by Kenneth Lowe derailed the Boilermakers. Lowe finished with only eight points on 2-8 from the floor. Chris Booker led Purdue with 13 points and seven rebounds.

Purdue continued its air tight defense in an 80-39 demolition of Central Michigan. The Chippewas were looking for their second straight upset of a top 25 opponent. They had defeated Notre Dame a week earlier. CMU’s 39 points were the lowest against Purdue in 19 years. The Boilermakers dominated the game in virtually every aspect. They out rebounded Central Michigan 47-28, held the Chips to 22 percent shooting for the game and only five points and ten percent from the floor in the first 16 minutes. A 21-0 Purdue run halfway through the second half extended the Boiler lead to 59-16 to certify the game as a Grade A blowout.

Kenneth Lowe and Brandon Mc Knight topped the scoring charts with 13. The game was memorable for walk-ons Chris Hartley and Andrew Ford. Hartley scored his first career points and Ford reached a career high with seven.

Illinois (6-2) had the Big Ten’s busiest week with three games on the docket. They began the week by honoring one of College Basketball’s legendary personalities by participating in the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden in New York.

The Illini looked sensational early by jumping out to a 12-0 lead on Providence, holding the Friars scoreless for the first seven and a half minutes. Providence staged a furious rally with an 11-0 run of its own to cut the lead to one. The Illini would weather the storm and enter halftime with a 30-24 lead.

The second half was all Providence. The Friars outscored Illinois 46-21 in the second half on their way to a 70-51 victory. Providence’s Donnie McGrath and Ryan Gomes did the most damage. Gomes finished with 24 points and 12 rebounds (eight on the offensive glass) and McGrath scored all 15 of his points after intermission, including four three pointers.

Illinois’ celebrated backcourt of Dee Brown and Deron Williams was a microcosm of the Illini evening. The sophomore duo shot 2-9 and 1-8, respectively. Their combined seven points was 25 below their season average. Illinois was also unable to find a rhythm from three-point range. The Illini finished the night 2-15, while Providence hit on 7-16. A 21-14 deficit in turnovers also led to their downfall. James Augustine paced Illinois with 16 points and 11 rebounds and Roger Powell had 13.

Maryland-Eastern Shore’s visit to Champaign might have been better suited for Halloween. For no apparent reason, the Hawks walked through Illinois pre-game stretching routine predicting victory. The Illini sprinted to a 16-0 lead seven minutes in and cruised to an 85-43 victory. Powell finished with 19 points and Luther Head 16.

Illinois played its second tough opponent of the week when Memphis visited Champaign. The Illini was able to overcome a poor shooting first half to post a 74-64 win. The Illini seemed to revert to its second half form against Providence to begin the bout with the Tigers. Illinois could only manage nine points on 4-25 shooting halfway through the first half before pulling within 28-27 at the break. Illinois was fortunate to be that close at the break as they improved late in the first half to a 9-32 performance from the floor in the opening stanza.

Dee Brown had another poor night with five points on 2-11 shooting. James Augustine’s 21 points and eight rebounds patrolled the interior and freshman Richard McBride had his break out game with 22 points and six three point field goals.

Ohio State (5-3) up and down season marched on as they hung on to defeat Furman 70-68. The Buckeyes trailed all evening before Tony Stockman scored the last six points to secure the victory. Stockman finished the night with 21 points.

The Buckeyes porous three point defense had another let down. The Paladins connected on 12 in 22 attempts.

     

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