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December 29, 2003 Conference Notes No Comments

The Morning Dish – Monday, December 29th

Huskies Make Their Case: With No. 1 Kentucky’s loss Saturday to No. 20 Louisville, the No. 2 Connecticut Huskies figure to regain the top spot in many polls. A 101-62 beat down of Ball State helps support Connecticut’s case. The Huskies held Ball State to under 35 percent shooting, while torching the nets for a 58 percent shooting percentage. Juniors Emeka Okafor and Ben Gordon each had 25 points to pace Connecticut to victory. Sophomore forward Denham Brown also hit the 20-point mark on 8-of-11 shooting. Senior forward Cameron Echols was the lone bright spot for Ball State as he led the team with 22 points.

Fiesta, Fiesta: Sophomore forward Andre Iguodala tallied his second triple-double of the season to lead No. 6 Arizona to a 107-91 win over Liberty in the Fiesta Bowl Classic. Iguodala packed his stat sheet with 13 points, 11 rebounds and 11 assists and became only the second Wildcat to register two triple-doubles – Loren Woods is the other player. Iguodala will get his first shot at a third triple-double against Louisiana – Lafayette, which beat Valparaiso 95-71. The winner will claim the Fiesta Bowl Classic championship Tuesday night.

Meeting of the Minds: No. 5 Stanford hosted fellow brainiacs Harvard yesterday and maintained each teams’ streaks. The Cardinal improved to 9-0 while Harvard fell to 0-11 as Stanford won 100-59. Sophomore forward Matt Haryasz continues to play his best basketball, as he finished with 16 points, a new career high after setting it just last game. Senior guard Matt Lottich led Stanford with 19 points and junior center Rob Little added 17 points. Stanford was too tall and too athletic for Harvard to keep pace, outrebounding Harvard 48-25. Next time, perhaps Harvard should challenge Stanford to a more academic contest rather than on the basketball court.

Washington Battle Goes to the Dogs: Senior center Cory Viollette was unstoppable for No. 15 Gonzaga against Washington State. Viollette finished with 31 points in a 96-58 stomping of the Cougars. Gonzaga made nearly two-thirds of all shots while holding Washington State under 40 percent shooting. Viollette contributed to Gonzaga’s hot shooting by only missing two field goals the entire game. The Bulldogs were efficient with the ball as well, committing only five turnovers.

Heels Take Battle of UNCs: No. 9 North Carolina defeated UNC-Wilmington, 71-54, behind junior guard Melvin Scott’s game-high 19 points. Scott is one of the Tar Heels’ unheralded stars who will be a crucial ingredient for success this season. Scott stepped up when sophomore forward Sean May and junior forward Jawad Williams sat to recover from injuries. North Carolina forced 25 turnovers and held the Seahawks, a perenially tough mid-major opponent, to 36 percent shooting. Senior forward Anthony Terrell led UNC-Wilmington with 15 points and was one of only two players for the Seahawks to reach double-figures.

Despite the victory, the Tar Heels may be in some trouble because May did not return to the game after spraining his ankle on the same foot that kept him out of the second half of last season. May’s ankle was heavily iced and more detailed reports will come in the next few days.

Syracuse Keeps Rolling: The No. 18 Syracuse Orangemen extended their winning streak to seven games with a 81-63 victory over UNC-Asheville. Nine players received at least ten minutes of playing time as coach Jim Boeheim gave the youngsters a chance to mature before conference play. As true team leaders do, junior forward Hakim Warrick led Syracuse to victory with 18 points and six rebounds. Syracuse held UNC-Asheville under 32 percent shooting and blocked 14 shots. Senior center Joseph Barber was the only effective weapon for the Bulldogs, scoring 17 points and grabbing 10 rebounds.

Maryland Returns to Florida: No. 25 Maryland returned to state of Florida to play the Seminoles of Florida State in the ACC opener for both teams. The Terrapins might lobby to trade the Seminoles for Florida because Maryland had an easier time with the formerly top-ranked Gators than the Seminoles. Florida State prevented the Terrapins from finding a consistent offensive rhythm and won 79-75. The difference down the stretch was free throws as Maryland shot only 10-of-18 while Florida State was 24-of-33. With Maryland’s youth, the Terrapins are capable of beating anyone and also losing to anyone. Florida State attacked the young Terps all game and forced 24 turnovers.

Friars Above Saints: The Providence Friars worked some more Sunday magic to survive a scare against the Siena Saints. Siena tied the game at 65 with two minutes remaining, but Providence dug deep and finished the game on an 8-1 run, winning 73-66. Superstar Ryan Gomes led the Friars to victory with 20 points and 15 rebounds. As Providence inches closer to the Top 25, Gomes will garner more national respect as one of the most dominating players in the country.

Another Undefeated Down: As conference play starts, teams from major conferences that play weak non-conference schedules will fall to earth. Virginia crashed and burned yesterday against NC State as the Wolfpack beat the previously undefeated Cavaliers 86-69. Junior guard Julius Hodge is another player who is difficult to slow down, and he led NC State with 23 points. NC State made 11-of-27 three-pointers and held Virginia under 20 percent shooting from beyond the arc, which prevented any Cavalier comeback.

Tonight’s Menu:

• No. 3 Duke hosts Davidson in a matinee on ESPN. Later this evening, No. 4 Georgia Tech looks to continue its hot start against Virginia Commonwealth. Elsewhere, No. 7 Oklahoma looks to beat up Texas Pan American, No. 12 Kansas plays Binghamton, No. 19 Texas hosts George Washington and No. 22 Dayton plays Wofford.

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