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Horizon League Notebook

December 24, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments



Horizon League Notebook

by Nick Dettmann

In a very wild week for the Horizon League, none could be more proud of Detroit head coach Perry Watson as he picked up his 200th career win on Monday night. The Titans defeated Western Illinois 98-61 in front of 2,285 fans at Calihan Hall for the historic win.

Watson joins legend Bob Calihan as the lone Titan coaches to record 200 victories in any sport. In his 11th season, Watson now has a 200-116 record. Watson was recently honored by the high school he coached at, Southwestern High School, before accepting the job with the Titans in 1993. He was honored by naming their gymnasium after him, ‘The Perry Watson Athletic Complex’.

“When you look back at something like that, it’s a real nice accomplishment,” Watson said. “When I was a young coach at the high school level, I wondered if I would get to 100. I got to 300 and then there’s this, so this is 500 for me. It’s done now, so I can try to continue to go onward and upward.”

Junior guard James Thues scored a career-high 22 points in the historic night. He would also record six assists and matched his season-high of five steals. Jimmy Twyman and Torvoris Baker had career nights as well as they scored 20 and 18 points respectively.

Throughout much of the first half it was a tight game as the score was knotted at 34 all with 2:54 remaining in the opening frame. But, that is when Detroit took over. The Titans went on a 10-2 run to close out the half and would get out on a 22-4 burst at the start of the second frame.

“I thought we stayed with them defensively and then we were able to talk about it at the half,” Watson said. “We’re a team that really scores well off our defense. We have quickness and we can stretch you out with the three-ball. Still, we have to have our player’s value defense. It’s not a put-down to call someone a ‘defensive stopper’.”

Player of the Week:

Adam Baumann, Youngstown State.

He had 14 points and 21 rebounds, the most in 11 years by an YSU player, in a loss to Oakland.

Newcomer of the Week:

Blake Schilb, Loyola-Chicago.

He had consecutive 20-point performances in a loss to Western Michigan and a win over Central Michigan.

Games to watch:

UW-Green Bay hosts the annual Oneida Bingo/Casino Classic Dec. 29-30 from the Resch Center. Illinois-Chicago will play the University of Illinois at the United Center in downtown Chicago on Tuesday, Dec. 30.

UW-Milwaukee (5-3 overall, 1-0 Horizon):

The Panthers were the only team that was not in action in the past weekend and it was much needed. The Panthers have not played a home game since their 81-77 loss to Southern Illinois on Nov. 29. During their recent four-game road swing, the Panthers went an even 2-2 with wins coming at Prairie View A & M and Valparaiso and the losses coming at North Carolina State and Wisconsin.

But, in their final contest before the Christmas holiday, the Panthers opened the conference schedule with a relatively early big conference game. Last night, UWM hosted league-favorite Illinois-Chicago in the first meeting since the 75-73 thriller in last year’s league tournament semi-final game. Much of the same was to be expected last night, but when it was all said and done, that would not be the case. Paced by 25 points from Dylan Page and 21 more from Ed McCants, the Panthers steamrolled past UIC 78-62 in Milwaukee. Bruce Pearl said after that game that we was very proud of his team and pleased of the progress his team had made in the last 10 days. With 12:52 remaining in the first half, UIC would hold their last lead of the contest, courtesy of a Cedrick Banks three-point bucket. After that point, it was all UWM, as they would go on an 11-2 run in the next four minutes. Aiding the Panthers cause a career night from sophomore point guard Chris Hill as the Chicago native registered a career-high seven assists to go along with 10 points.

After Christmas, the Panthers will play their next three on the road. First up will be the Cable Car Classic in Santa Clara, Calif. Involved in the tournament is BYU, Idaho State and UC-Santa Clara. After that, the Panthers will head to Colorado to take on Air Force on Jan. 2.

UW-Green Bay (5-4, 1-0):

Head coach Tod Kowalczyk’s crew hit .500 for the first time this season, thanks to a 78-67 win over Minnesota-Duluth from the Resch Center on Saturday night. It was a special win for two members of UW-Green Bay’s coaching staff. It is the alma mater of Kowalczyk and assistant Dale Race made it his home for 14 years. “It is a special win,” Kowalczyk said. “I’d be lying if I didn’t say that it meant something for me to beat my alma mater.” The Phoenix built a comfortable 37-28 lead at the break. Terry Parker had a sparkling second half, as he would score all 16 of his points in the second stanza. For the third straight game and fourth overall, the Phoenix shot over 50 percent from the field.

If that was not enough for special wins for Green Bay, Monday’s 70-63 win over Butler at the historic Hinkle Fieldhouse could not be any better. “I have an unbelievable amount of respect for the Butler program,” Kowalczyk said. “I’d be kidding if I said this wasn’t a special win.” Kowalczyk has talked about special wins all week and this team could be special. The Phoenix snapped a 17-game road-losing streak against Western Illinois on Dec. 14. Now, they have won two in as many games, have a three-game winning streak and are over .500 for the first time since Jan. 6, 2001. What has helped the Phoenix get on their recent roll is unbelievable shooting. UWGB missed just four shots (13-of-17) in the second half over Butler, allowing them to shoot 51 percent on the night, the fourth straight game where Green Bay has shot better than 50 percent.

The Phoenix has a great opportunity to push themselves into great position as they host the Oneida Bingo & Casino Classic at the Resch Center in Green Bay. Savannah State, Troy State and, NCAA tournament qualifier from a year ago, Weber State will be coming to town for the classic Dec. 29 and 30.

Wright State (2-6, 1-0):

The Raiders got to open their conference schedule on Thursday night as they traveled to play Youngstown State. Looking to get going in the right direction, Wright State snapped a 15-game road-losing streak to propel themselves to a 69-59 win from the Beeghly Center in Youngstown, Ohio. The Raiders trailed 33-31 at the half, but would outscore the Penguins 38-26, including a 15-7 run over the final six-plus minutes, in the second half to pick up their first road win since beating UW-Green Bay February 17, 2002. Conference player of the year contender Seth Doliboa led all scorers on the night with 24 points will the other half of the Raiders high-scoring tandem, Vernard Hollins, scored 19 and had nine rebounds. Doug Underwood scored 22 for YSU, while no other Penguin scored more than nine.

After picking up an important league win on Thursday night, the Raiders traveled to made the 2-1/2-hour drive north to Toledo to take on the Rockets. Toledo would bury 13 of 17 three-pointers in the first half and would build up a 58-34 halftime lead, en route to a 103-66 win on Monday at Savage Hall. Toledo would hit 17 long-range shots overall, to help put away the Raiders. Four players were in double-figures for WSU. Hollins had 14, Vova Severovas had 12 and Doliboa and Drew Burleson each had 10.

Wright State will continue a three-game road trip, as they will take on the Ivy League’s Brown University on Sunday.

Detroit (6-3, 0-0):

The Titans were in action three times in five days this past week. On the front end was a trip to Bowling Green to play the Falcons. The Titans would be forced to play without one of their top scorers Elijah Warren as he was sidelined with the flu. His absence would prove costly, as the Titans would fall to Bowling Green 56-52, thanks to a 20-point night from Kevin Netter. The Titans left Bowling Green still seeking their first road win of the season and it was their fourth in five tries at Anderson Arena. With the win, the Falcons snapped a five-game losing streak. Syracuse transfer James Thues got his first start with the Titans because of Warren’s absence and he gave a very strong performance scoring 12 points, his highest as a Titan. Rulon Harris reached double figures for the fifth straight game as he had 10 points. Bowling Green would lead 29-21 at the break, but the Titans would come back in the second half and narrowed the gap to 42-39. The Falcons came back with consecutive two buckets to open up the five-point lead and would lead by no less than four the rest of the contest. Detroit pulled to within four with 10.4 seconds left on a Ben Green put-back and would get a break as John Reimold of Bowling Green missed both free throws at the other end. But, the Titans, who shot just 39 percent on the night, could not get a comeback shot to fall.

On Saturday night, the cream-filling of the Oreo cookie, the Titans were able to rebound get their first road win this season as they defeated Canisius 77-74 in Buffalo, N.Y. Whatever Warren caught before the game against Bowling Green, he should keep it as he returned to the line-up and scored a season-high 23 points, just three short of his career best. Thues stepped up his season best by scoring 18 points and Willie Wallace knocked down 12. Canisius would open up their largest lead, 25-18, late in the first half. From there, it was all Detroit. The Titans then reeled off 13 straight and finished the half on a blistering 20-3 run. In the second half, Detroit started out on the hot foot and pushed the lead to 13. But, back came the Golden Griffins, as they would narrow the lead to 67-64 with 1:11 left. Thues would score five points in the next 33 seconds to give the Titans a little cushion. But back came Canisius, as they would close the gap to 75-74, thanks to three missed free throws by Detroit. But Canisius would foul Warren after a Dewitt Doss three-pointer with 2.7 seconds left. Wallace would knock down both free throws to spread the lead to the final margin.

Finally, the other outside of the Oreo cookie, the Detroit Titans gave head coach Perry Watson his first chance to eclipse the 200-win plateau. What better place to do it than on the home floor? The Titans hosted Western Illinois on Monday night from Calihan Hall and was able to give Watson a great Christmas present, his 200th win, 68-51 over WIU.

Freshman guard Zach Everingham will be forced to sit out the rest of the season as he has a recurring wrist injury on his shooting hand. A medical redshirt is likely for the guard. The Michigan Class B All-State selection at Grosse Ile High School has seen action in three games, playing seven minutes and scoring two points. If he is granted the redshirt, he will retain four years of eligibility.

The Titans will conclude a brief two-game home stand with a contest against Kent State on Tuesday night before heading out for the next two on the road.

Cleveland State (4-5, 0-0):

The Vikings took part in the inaugural Medical Mutual Trophy Challenge last Wednesday night against Kent State. Kent State completely dominated the Vikings right from the opening tip and was never challenged as KSU rolled to a 116-66 win in Kent, Ohio. Kent State jumped out to a 61-31 halftime lead and would just be flawless in every aspect of the contest. KSU shot a sizzling 61 percent from the field, including 12-of-21 from long range, and 91 percent from the free throw line. John Edwards scored 17 points and swatted three shots and Matt Jakeway had 12 for the Golden Flashes. Jermaine Robinson had a game-high 24 points to lead a very inept Vikings squad.

In their second game of the week, the Vikings came back home for a match-up against in-state rival Akron at the Convocation Center. The Vikings continued their streaky season as Akron’s Derrick Tarver with five seconds left propelled the Zips to a 61-59 win on Saturday night. Jermaine Robinson scored 19 points on the night and would eclipse 1,000 career points, giving him 1,004. Robinson eclipsed the mark with 14:00 remaining in the game on a lay-up. He became the 16th player in school history to join the elite club. Omari Westley got his fourth double-double of the season for CSU as he had 19 points and 14 boards. The Vikings had the upper hand, 59-56, with 22 seconds left on the clock. But Tarver would hit a three to tie the game with 12 seconds remaining. A Walt Chavis turnover would lead to a scramble for the loose ball, before an outlet pass was made to Tarver for the go-ahead score. CSU would call a time-out and Robinson would get off a three-point shot, but fell short as the horn sounded.

In their third game of the week, CSU underwent some deja-vu on Monday night as Ryan Butt of Boston University sunk a pair of free throws with 2.7 seconds left to give Boston a 64-62 win in Boston. It was Boston’s fourth straight win, following a 0-3 start. Boston, who blew a nine-point lead, rallied late by going on a 10-3 run in the closing moments of the game. Tied at 62, Butt threw up a three-point mercy shot to try and win the game, but to only be fouled by Westley. He would hit the first two, but would miss the last attempt, giving CSU one desperation shot by Percell Coles, but came up short. Robinson led the Vikings with 23 points, while Westley would hit 11 of his 12 free throws en route to 17 points.

After their Christmas vacation, CSU will head south to Corpus Christi, Texas to take part in the Flint Hill Resources Islander Invitational Dec. 29-30.

Loyola-Chicago (3-4, 0-0):

Trying to rebound from a heart-breaking set back at home against Oral Roberts on Dec. 15, the Ramblers traveled to Peoria to take on Bradley. Bradley moved to 2-0 against the Horizon League with a 79-63 win over Loyola-Chicago in front of 8,705 last Wednesday night from the Carver Arena. Paul McMillan scored 20 points and pulled down 15 rebounds, but it would not be enough, as Loyola could not overcome a 19-point halftime lead. It was McMillan’s 11th consecutive double-double. Larry Farmer’s team fell behind by more than 20 early in the second half and went to a full court defense and riddled many Bradley attacks. With 5:24 remaining, the Ramblers got back into the game in earth-shattering fashion as Louis Smith slammed home a dunk to narrow the margin to 58-54. Unfortunately, the Braves had a plot in mind as they used the spark from Phillip Gilbert to go on an 11-1 run to holster a 69-55 lead. DaJuan Gouard added a career-high 16 points and Louis Smith also had a career night as he had 12 rebounds for the Ramblers. “This game was a tale of two halves,” Farmer said. “We played very uninspired in the first half and dug ourselves a huge hole. I was much prouder of our effort in the second half.”

After a 2-1 start, the Ramblers have now struggled to find a victory as they lost their third straight game on Saturday. This time, it came at the hands of Western Michigan from the Gentile Center in Chicago. In the second consecutive ‘tale of two halves’ game, the Ramblers suffered their worst set back at home since January 2000 with a 79-61 loss to the Broncos. “We started the game and the second half mentally flat,” Farmer said. “It seems like we haven’t had the same confidence since the loss to Oral Roberts. You have to give credit to Western Michigan. They got after us pretty good in the second half.” The first three minutes of the contest was a limp as neither team failed to put a point onto the board. To try and provide a spark, Farmer inserted freshman Blake Schilb and he electrified the floor. Schilb scored 18 of his season-high 21 points in the first half. The Ramblers would go into the locker room ahead 35-31, but it was all Western in the second half. With the scored knotted at 42, the Broncos jumped out to 13-5 run to take a lead they would never relinquish. After extending his double-double streak to 11, McMillan struggled, as he would score a career-low two points for Loyola-Chicago. Ben Reed led Western Michigan with 20 points.

In another battle with a team from Michigan, the Ramblers finally broke out of a three-game losing slide with a 90-83 win over Central Michigan last night. Loyola would bounce back from a 44-41 halftime deficit to defeat the Chippewas, who went to the NCAA Tournament a year ago. Upset with his teams’ performance against Western Michigan, Farmer decided to have a different starting line-up. Farmer went with freshmen Schilb and Andre Knox and sophomore Terrance Whiters, making his first start of the season. “I was very disappointed in our effort the last game,” Farmer said. “The players who gave their best effort in practice started today. We were looking to resuscitate this team. Our freshmen and some fresh bodies gave us the injection of energy we needed.” He was right as the Ramblers used a 14-0 run in the second half to give Loyola a 63-52 lead with 11:41 to go in regulation. Schilb took full advantage of his starting opportunity, as he became the first true Loyola freshman since Alfredrick Hughes to score 20 or more points in consecutive games. He would score 24 in this contest to go along with nine rebounds and five assists.

Loyola will be one of many other teams after the holiday’s that will take part in a classic of some kind. For the Ramblers, they will journey to Birmingham Southern for the Shamrock Office Solution Classic Dec. 28 and 29.

Illinois-Chicago (9-3, 0-1):

Before getting ready for the big showdown with UW-Milwaukee, the Flames looked to remain the hottest team in the conference as they hosted Northwestern. The first half was tight as UIC had a 43-41 lead at the break, but the second half is when the Flames took over in a 90-71 win. Aaron Carr scored 16 points, including four from long range, en route to a 21-point showing. One of the most prolific passers in the country continued his marvel again. Martell Bailey contributed with his second straight double-double performance with 11 points and 12 assists and committing just one turnover from his point guard position. The Flames would shot an eye-popping 68 percent from the field in the second half and 61 for the game. Jitim Young would lead all scorers as he 27 for the Wildcats.

As for that showdown with the Panthers, in what was thought to be a close and physical fight, turned out to be a blow out as the host UWM beat up on the Flames 78-62 last night in Milwaukee. Head coach Jimmy Collins called the game ’embarrassing’ for his squad. Early on it was the close and physical battle many expected, but with 11:51 left in the opening frame, UWM reeled off a 9-0 run to open up a 26-18 lead and it would not get much closer the rest of the half. The second half started off with a spark as UIC, who trailed by seven at the break, tied the game with 17 minutes and change to go. But from there, UWM would go on a 15-4 run in the six minutes to shut down the Flames intensity. Cedrick Banks would lead UIC with 19 points, but 16 came in the first half. Martell Bailey had seven points and nine assists from the one guard spot.

Coming up next for the Flames is a week off before they host the Fighting Illini of the University of Illinois on Tuesday night. Tip-off is for 7 p.m. central time with a national television audience on CBS.

Butler (4-5, 0-1):

Butler snapped their second two-game losing streak of the season with a non-conference 57-39 win over Indiana State on Saturday afternoon from the Hinkle Fieldhouse. The Bulldogs remained perfect in their legendary building this season and made it 21 in a row overall. Todd Lickliter’s crew got back to the style that made the Bulldogs tough to play against – a tough defense. The Sycamores were able to connect on only one field goal in the first ten minutes of the contest. The Bulldogs jumped out to a 28-16 halftime lead and would use a 13-2 run to start the second half to help catapult themselves to an 18 point lead. Senior forward Mike Monserrez continued a strong 2003-’04 campaign with 20 points, 12 of which came in the first stanza, and a career-high 11 rebounds in the win. Indiana State would attempt to mount a comeback mid-way early in the second half as they narrowed the margin to 33-26, before Butler went on their big run to put themselves out in front for good.

After extending their home winning streak, the Bulldogs could not enjoy it too long as they suffered a 70-63 loss to UW-Green Bay on Monday night from Indianapolis. The Phoenix missed just four shots in the second half to overcome a one-point halftime deficit and shock the host Bulldogs. The loss snapped the 21-game home winning streak, which was one short of the school record. It was also the first loss by Butler to the Phoenix since Jan. 13, 1996. Monserrez had 17 points to lead the Bulldogs who continue to struggle on offense as they are last in points scored, field goal percentage and rebounds in the conference.

Upcoming for Butler, after a brief break for the Christmas holiday, will be a string of four straight road games. The first will come on Saturday, Dec. 27, as they will travel to the Gateway to the West to play the Billikens of St. Louis University in St. Louis.

Youngstown State (3-7, 0-1):

Continuing on an extensive home stand, the Penguins looked to rebound after their Horizon League opener loss to Wright State on Thursday night. Unfortunately, they could not pull off an unbelievable comeback in a 70-67 loss to Oakland on Sunday afternoon. Trailing by eight with 30 seconds left in regulation, the Penguins came up just a mere inch short of pulling off the comeback. Oakland’s Kelly Williams hit one of two free throws with seven seconds left, giving the Golden Grizzlies a 70-67 lead. Oakland would call a time-out and after the time-out, the Penguins would get past a full court press, get the ball to Doug Underwood and his tying three-point shot would bounce off the front rim as time expired. TeJay Anderson had 19 points for YSU, while Adam Baumann had an absolutely outstanding game as he had 14 points and 21 rebounds. The 21 rebounds were the most since Feb. 8, 1992 when Jerome Sims has 22 at Radford.

Losers of four in a row, including two on the home floor, the Penguins got back in the right lane, the left hand column of the standings. The Penguins defeated UMKC 73-65 win Monday night, wrapping up a three-game home stand. The Penguins used a 14-0 second half run and a blazing 41 bench points to help seal the victory. Derrick Harris scored a team and career-high 15 points off the bench, while Khari McQueen had 11. “Our guys played well off the bench,” head coach John Robic said. “The reason Derrick played so much was to guard (Michael) Watson. He did a nice job on him, plus anytime Derrick knocks down shots it’s a bonus.” The electrifying Watson would score a game-high 36 points, but was held scoreless for a 19:47 span.

The Penguins will get the longest break out of the entire conference. They will not see the competitive floor until Jan. 3 in Chicago when they kick off a three-game road trip against league rivals. First up will be the Ramblers.

     

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