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December 28, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments

The Morning Dish – Sunday, December 28th

Cardinals Have Their Number: No. 1 Kentucky met No. 20 Louisville on Saturday in one of college basketball’s biggest rivalry games. The last time they met, Kentucky suffered its last regular season loss, 81-63 in Louisville on December 28 before rolling through the SEC. Well, history repeated itself in Lexington on Saturday, as the Cardinals rallied from a 14-point deficit to beat the Wildcats, 65-56.

Louisville (7-1) was led by Otis George’s 13 points and 8 rebounds. Francisco Garcia had 10 points, all in the second half, and three came on a late three-pointer that helped put the game away. Kentucky (7-1) was led by Kelenna Azubuike and Cliff Hawkins with 12 points each; leading scorer Gerald Fitch entered the game averaging 19.1 points per game, but was held to just 9.

Hawks Coast to Victory: No. 10 St. Joseph’s continued its best start in nearly 40 years, improving to 9-0 with a 73-55 win over Pacific in which they didn’t look like a Top 10 team. The Hawks shot 40% from the field, starting off the game by making just 7 of their first 24 shots. Delonte West led the Hawks with 22 points, while Jameer Nelson added 15.

Tigers Win — But Which Ones?: No. 13 Missouri hit the road to take on a tough Memphis team on Saturday, and they couldn’t snap out of what they came there with. Antonio Burks continued his strong play, scoring 17 points as Memphis nearly blew two 15-point leads before holding off Missouri, 61-59, handing Missouri its third straight loss. Memphis (7-2) got an additional 13 points from freshman Sean Banks, while Missouri (4-3) was led by Arthur Johnson’s 14 points and 12 rebounds before fouling out with 2:40 left.

Lee Finishes Perfect Week, Gators Romp: No. 14 Florida shot 64% from the field, aided by junior forward David Lee finishing a perfect week from the field, in a 109-63 rout of visiting Eastern Kentucky. Lee, who was 12-12 in Monday’s win over Northeastern, made all four of his shots on Saturday as well, and the Gators (8-2) got 22 points from Anthony Roberson to lead five players in double figures.

Panthers Win Without Leading Scorer: No. 16 Pittsburgh improved to 12-0 without leading scorer Carl Krauser, beating New Hampshire 52-38 on Saturday. Julius Page led the Panthers with 19 points in the absence of Krauser, who sat out with a groin injury. Chris Taft added 14 points and 12 rebounds.

Panthers Gain One, Lose One: Junior guard Yuri Demetris returned to Pittsburgh after missing Monday night’s victory over Florida State. Meanwhile, senior center Toree Morris was not able to return for Saturday’s game from his home in Oliver Springs, Tennessee, where he was for the Christmas holiday. He informed head coach Jamie Dixon that he would not return in time for the game.

Boilermakers Bounce Back: No. 23 Purdue broke open a close game with a 19-3 run in the second half as they beat Evansville, 82-62 in West Lafayette. The Boilermakers (9-2), who lost to SMU six days earlier in the championship of the Boilermaker Invitational, had their way with Evansville on the glass, sporting a 41-23 edge, and got 17 points from Kenneth Lowe to lead five players in double figures.

Bearcats Keep Winning: No. 11 Cincinnati had four players in double figures and held Miami (Ohio) to just 34.5% shooting in their 83-63 win. The Bearcats (8-0) got 14 points each from James White and Field Williams.

Badgers Romp: No. 17 Wisconsin had no trouble with Ohio in the Rock-N-Roll Classic in Cleveland, blowing out the Bobcats 71-48 behind 22 points and 6 rebounds from Alando Tucker. The Badgers (8-1) held a 39-26 edge on the boards.

Stating Their Case: A few teams on the outside continued to make their case for being in the Top 25 on Saturday. Mississippi State stated their case for the Top 25 by improving to 10-0 with a 72-50 win over Tulane. LSU improved to 8-0 with a 78-62 home win over UAB behind 22 points from both Jamie Lloreda (who also hauled down 11 rebounds) and freshman Brandon Bass (who had 10 rebounds). Also, Michigan got 19 points from Daniel Horton and improve to 8-1 as they held off UCLA, 70-66 in Ann Arbor.

St. Bonaventure Suspends Star Guard: St. Bonaventure head coach Anthony Solomon suspended senior star guard Marques Green on Saturday for an unspecified violation of team policy. Whether or not the length of the suspension will be longer than Saturday’s game, a 74-46 loss to Kent State in the Rock-N-Roll Shootout, was not known. Without Green, who averages over 22 points per game, the Bonnies hardly stood a chance against a good Kent State team.

School Still Wants to Check Recruit’s Eligibility: According to the Associated Press, Florida State said that they plan to continue to lobby the NCAA to clear junior college recruit Diego Romero to play. In November, a letter from NCAA associate director of student-athlete reinstatement Jennifer Strawley stated that Romero “compromised his amateur status” by signing two professional contracts in Argentina. It sounds cut and dry, but the school’s contention was (and still is) that he signed those contracts to receive money only for living expenses and did not intend to be a professional athlete. They also note his move to Texas in 2001, enrollment at Lon Morris College and denial of other benefits (such as a salary and housing allowance from the Argentine club) as proof that he desired to retain amateur status. If the ruling is not overturned, Romero will never play for the Seminoles.

Travel Issues Hamper Arizona: No. 6 Arizona didn’t play as they prepare to host the Fiesta Bowl Classic, but travel problems once again reared their head for the Wildcats. The Tucson Citizen reported that freshman Mustafa Shakur did not make practice on Friday night due to travel problems out of Philadelphia, and sophomore Hassan Adams was late out of Los Angeles due to flight delays and increased security checks. Also being stuck and arriving late was Jason Ranne, who was at the Tulsa, Oklahoma airport at 7:30 AM before finally getting out late in the afternoon. Any discipline for the late arrivals has not been announced yet.

Weather Does It Again: Saturday’s game between Cal State-Northridge and Montana was postponed because the visiting team could not get out of Salt Lake City. Montana athletic director Wayne Hogan said that Northridge was unable to fly into Missoula, Montana on Friday because a major snow storm hit Salt Lake City, and could not get enough seats on a flight on Saturday to make it in time for the game. No makeup date has been determined at this time.

Tonight’s Menu

• No. 2 Connecticut hosts Ball State at the Hartford Civic Center.

• No. 5 Stanford hosts Harvard, and yes, this will be on the hardwood and not in the classroom.

• Holiday tournaments dot the landscape. In the opening round of the Fiesta Bowl Classic, No. 6 Arizona hosts Liberty, following the opener of Louisiana-Lafayette against Valparaiso.

• No. 9 North Carolina heads to Wilmington to take on UNC-Wilmington.

• No. 15 Gonzaga hosts in-state rival Washington State, one of the pleasant surprises thus far this season.

• No. 18 Syracuse hosts UNC-Asheville.

• No. 25 Maryland heads to Tallahassee to take on Florida State to tip off the ACC slate for both schools.

• In other tournament action, the Comcast Lobo Tournament gets going in New Mexico, with Northwestern State taking on host New Mexico and Sun Belt leader Arkansas State taking on Penn State.

• The Shamrock Office Solutions Classic features Birmingham Southern against Loyola, Ill., followed by high-scoring sophomore Keydren Clark leading St. Peter’s in action against St. Mary’s (CA).

• In more first-round action in the Rainbow Classic, Bowling Green takes on Fairfield, then American and Pepperdine square off.

• The ECAC Holiday Festival at Madison Square Garden has Holy Cross against Manhattan, followed by Pennsylvania against host St. John’s.

• A couple of teams will state their case for the top 25. Providence hosts Siena, while Rhode Island hosts Iona just down the road.

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