Horizon League Notebook
by Nick Dettmann
Alright, how much more can Cleveland State take?
Everything but good has happened to the Vikings so far this season under first-year head coach Mike Garland. Losing two players due to academic ineligibility to injuries, the Vikings have seen it all. And it got worse.
The Vikings already down from the services of Modibo Niakate (disciplinary reasons), Walt Waters (academics), Pete Ritzema (academics) and Pape Badiane (injury), the Vikings could only wonder what else could happen to them.
In the Vikings home game against UW-Milwaukee on Thursday night, the Vikings suffered another blow. This time it was on the injury front.
Junior guard Walt Chavis was lost for possibly the rest of the season after suffering a broken right hand. Chavis was a prime contender for this year’s All-Defensive Team in the Horizon League. His length of absence will be determined following his surgery, which he had on Tuesday.
“The loss of Walt Chavis is the latest in a series of blows to this team,” Mike Garland said in a statement. “He is our best on-the-ball defender and keys the tempo of our offense with his ability to get the ball up the court. He will be extremely hard to replace.”
Chavis, a junior from Steelton, Pa., is one of three CSU players to have started every game this year. He is averaging 5.7 points per game and ranks fourth in the Horizon League in steals (30), seventh in assists (66) and ninth in assist-to-turnover ratio (1.22). He also ranks 10th on the all-time list with 263 career assists at CSU.
The loss of Chavis leaves Garland with seven eligible players and relatively healthy scholarship players. Three of those seven are fighting through injuries themselves and have limited their contributions.
By the way, this is all on top of a 13-game losing streak.
Freshman Luke Murphy will move into the starting line-up at the small forward position and Jermaine Robinson will scoot over to the point-guard spot.
“I am proud of the way our team has handled all of the adversity that has come this year,” Garland said. “Most teams would have given up by now but the players we have left have stepped up and worked even harder to overcome the losses. It is a great example of the character of this team and its desire to win.”
Butler lands Clemson transfer
Julian Betko, a native of Ruzomberok, Slovakia, has left Clemson University and has enrolled at Butler University. He has immediately joined the team and will be eligible in the spring of the 2004-’05 school year.
The 6-foot-5 sophomore played in all 28 games for the Tigers last season. He averaged 1.9 points a game in 9.9 minutes of action. He had a career-high eight points against Wake Forest and Winthrop. Betko is a first-team Academic All-ACC and was picked to both the ACC and Clemson academic honor rolls.
Betko saw action in just one game this season. He formally announced his decision that he was going to leave Clemson back on Jan. 6.
As a senior at Sharon High School in Pennsylvania, Betko averaged 22.7 points, 8.7 rebounds and 4.2 assists per game, while shooting 58 percent from beyond the three-point arc. He was also money from the free throw line, as he hit 91% of his charity tosses during his career.
ESPN field announcement changed
Due to the Super Bowl, the announcement of the field for the second annual ESPN Bracket Buster Saturday has been moved from Sunday, Feb. 1 to Monday, Feb. 2. 46 teams in 23 games will take part in this event that gives mid-major a ‘last shot’ to impress the NCAA Selection Committee.
The Horizon League has eight teams in the field. Wright State, due to previous schedule commitments, is the only league team not participating. Butler, Cleveland State, Illinois-Chicago, UW-Green Bay and UW-Milwaukee will have home games for the event. Detroit, Loyola-Chicago and Youngstown will head out onto the road.
Last season, the league went 2-1 in the event.
Player of the Week
Cedrick Banks, Illinois-Chicago.
Banks averaged 26 points in two games, including a career-high 36 in a win over UW-Green Bay. He scored 24 points in the first half of that game. He also had 16 points in a one-point loss to Wright State.
Newcomer of the Week
Blake Schilb, Loyola-Chicago.
Schilb averaged 11.5 points and 5.5 rebounds per game in two last week. He had 17 points and had seven rebounds in a loss to Green Bay.
Games of the Week
Detroit at UW-Green Bay, Jan. 29 and UW-Green Bay at UW-Milwaukee, Jan. 31.
What a weekend it is going to be for UW-Green Bay head coach Tod Kowalczyk and his Phoenix. Two HUGE league games coming up. The first is at home against Detroit. Detroit is sour after a 17-point beating at home at the hands of the Panthers. They will be looking to rebound and what a way to do it than get a huge road win.
Detroit and Green Bay will meet for the first time this year. The Titans sit right in the middle of the pack of the league standings (9-8 overall, 3-4 Horizon League). The Phoenix (12-6, 6-2), after two losses in a one-week span, they are going to need the win. If Detroit can pull of the win, they will even out to 4-4 and move to within two and a half games of Green Bay for third place and keep pace with fourth place UIC. Green Bay needs the win, as they will play Milwaukee on Saturday. If they lost to Detroit and Milwaukee, the Phoenix will be four games out of first with nine games left on their schedule. They can ill-afford to fall that far behind. If Detroit can pull out the win, the re-match of the two on February 26 in Detroit will be a huge game, as tournament seeds could very well be on the line.
But a win on Thursday for Green Bay will leave them in good shape for their re-match against Milwaukee at the U.S. Cellular Arena. UWM pounded Green Bay in the first meeting at the Resch Center, 82-70, just 10 days ago. UWM is red-hot going into February. UWM has won eight straight games, are 9-0 in the conference and hold a two-game lead in the standing after beating Wright State last night.
In the last meeting, Milwaukee got off to a fast start, forcing Green Bay to play from behind the entire game. Green Bay MUST not let that happen again. A near-capacity crowd is anticipated for the match-up on Saturday and if the Panthers get the home-crowd behind them early. They will be tough to beat. Green Bay needs to get Brandon Morris going early, as he was near non-existent in the first meeting. If he gets hot early and if Green Bay can break UWM’s press, they will have a very good chance of pulling the big road win.
UW-Milwaukee (14-5 overall, 9-0 Horizon League):
It was a busy week for the defending league tournament champions. And, they came out 3-0 to extend the best league start in school history and give them eight straight wins. The first game of the week was their annual swing at Cleveland State and Detroit. Last season, the Panthers won both games in the two cities. They replicated it again this year after a 78-64 win over CSU and 85-68 over Detroit. Dylan Page had 20 points and Ed McCants to lead UWM over the Vikings. The Panthers/Vikings contest featured the top three scorers in the league (Page, CSU’s Jermaine Robinson and McCants). Robinson had 21 points for the Vikings.
The third member of UWM’s three-headed monster, Joah Tucker, had a season-high 26 points to help the Panthers give Detroit their worst home loss since 1994. Page had 21 and McCants had 19 points. Willie Wallace had 23 for the Titans. UWM shot 59 percent from the field on 29-of-49 shooting.
UWM finished off the week with their second first place showdown in 10 days with a visit to Wright State. The Panthers broke Wright State’s Seth Doliboa’s streak of 16 straight double-digit scoring games by limiting him to seven points on 2-of-11 shooting en route to 68-53 win. “Our defense in the conference has been really strong and improving,” UWM head coach Bruce Pearl said. “It’s an area we’ve been focusing on. We weren’t a very good defensive team early in the year but we’re starting to play good team defense.” Page had yet another 20-point game, his 13th of the season, with 23 points, while McCants had 16 and Tucker had 15. All 15 of Tucker’s points came in the second half.
The Panthers get four days to prep for the big showdown with Green Bay. If Green Bay wins, they stay a game off the Panthers for first. But if Milwaukee wins, Green Bay falls three games behind and is succumbed to the season sweep for the Panthers. Tip-off is scheduled for 9 p.m. EDT.
Injury report – Ricardo Freeman, G (personal) has left team.
Wright State (10-9, 7-2):
Paul Biancardi’s crew liked close games this week. Last Wednesday against UIC at the Ervin J. Nutter Center, Wright State’s Alex Kock hit a shot with four seconds left to propel the Raiders to a 61-60 win. Seth Doliboa led four Raiders in double figures with 17 points. Drew Burleson had 14 points and eight rebounds as well for the Raiders.
The second nail-biter came in Indianapolis against Butler. This time, it was Butler who had the chance to win it, but missed as the buzzer sounded. Read more on this game by clicking here: http://www.hoopville.com/authors/14?EntryID=6710.
Their third tough game of the week was most certainly a tough one, as the UWM Panthers came to town. With Doliboa failing to reach double figures for just the second time in the last 72 games, the Raiders fell behind early in the second half en route to a 68-55 loss to UWM on Tuesday. The Panthers used a 20-7 run to start the second half to break open the game. Vernard Hollins had 13 points, while Kock had 11 for Wright State.
Wright State will continue their three-game home stand with visits from Cleveland State on Saturday and Loyola next Wednesday. The Raiders will be re-united with UWM in Milwaukee on Saturday, Feb. 7.
UW-Green Bay (12-6, 6-2):
The Phoenix, who struggled on the road last season, made it four road wins in a row with a 60-55 win at Loyola on Thursday night. The Phoenix had foul trouble with five players with two or more fouls. Despite the hacking, Green Bay still had a 29-18 lead at the half. Loyola shot a season-low 19 percent from the field in the first half. But, the second half was a different story as the Ramblers jumped on the Phoenix 17-3 in the first five minutes. But Green Bay would respond with a 7-0 run to re-take the lead at 39-35. Loyola tied the game at 45 with 8:10 to go, but could not re-take the lead. Loyola would make it close late, but Green Bay had 5-of-6 free throws in the final 29 seconds. Matt Rhode led Green Bay with 13 points and Brandon Morris had 12, including 3-of-3 from out deep.
Just off of their big road win at Loyola, the Phoenix continued their Chicago trip as they made the 30-minute commute to UIC in downtown Chicago. The Phoenix held off a late charge from Loyola, but could not hold off the hot-shooting Cedrick Banks, as he scored a career-high 36 points to give Green Bay a 74-57 loss on Saturday night. Despite Banks’ big night, the Phoenix were able to keep it close as they trailed 47-41 early in the second half. But Banks would nail consecutive three’s to extend the lead to 53-41 and the lead would not fall below 10 the rest of the game. Terry Parker was the only Phoenix player in double figures, as he had 16 points and a career-high six assists without a turnover.
UW-Green Bay has their toughest two-game stretch of the season this week. They will have Perry Watson’s Detroit Titans in town on Thursday. Then, they will re-unite with UW-Milwaukee on Saturday. This rivalry is starting to heat up as after the meeting in Green Bay on the 17th, the assistant coaches from each school got into a verbal confrontation and had to be separated.
Illinois-Chicago (14-7, 5-4):
It was a busy week for the Flames, the busiest since their season-opening tournament in Cincinnati. The Flames had three games in five days. The first one was a heart-breaking loss to Wright State, 61-60, in Dayton. Wright State’s Alex Kock scored on a put-back with four seconds left to propel the Raiders over UIC. The Flames trailed 34-25 at the break and trailed by nine, 53-44, with 11:04 to go in the second half. But, the Flames, being the league favorites proved why, as they went on a 12-2 run to take a 56-55 lead with 5:10 to go. The two teams would trade baskets for the next three-plus minutes, as UIC’s Cedrick Banks, who had 16 points, hit a jumper and had a lay-up to give UIC a 60-59 lead with 1:08 to go. Still leading by one with 16 seconds left, senior Martell Bailey had a 1-and-1 free throw situation but missed, setting up WSU’s final possession and Kock’s game-winning bucket. Aaron Carr tried a buzzer-beating three at the end, but rimmed out.
Banks broke out for the best game of his collegiate career, as he registered 36 points, 24 in the first half, in UIC’s 74-57 win over Green Bay at the UIC Pavilion. Banks scored 63 percent of the Flames first half points (38) en route to a 13-point halftime lead in front of 5,012 in Chicago. Banks was 13-of-21 from the field and knocked down a career-high six three’s as well on the night. The 36 points are the fourth most in a game in UIC history. Bailey was not too shabby himself as he got his team-leading fourth double-double of the season with 12 points and 11 assists. Bailey leads the nation in total assists and sits second in the country with 8.5 per game. Only Troy State’s Greg Davis has more, 9.1.
To round out the week, Banks, who scored 24 points in the first half against Green Bay, had zero in the first stanza against Loyola. But, he would rebound to score 22 in the second en route to a 64-57 win over the Ramblers and completing the season sweep. Senior Armond Williams had 10 points while Bailey was up to usual sharing self with 10 assists, giving him 179 for the season. “This is the way that I expect a UIC-Loyola game to be played,” UIC head coach Jimmy Collins said. “We needed to win this game and it was a hard fought game. I am definitely please to come out of here with a victory.” After the scoreless first half and the 28-23 deficit at the break, Banks help spearhead an 11-0 rally out of the break, giving UIC a 34-28 lead with 17:30 to go. The Ramblers would take a 51-48 lead with 6:38 left, but would be succumbed to a 10-3 run by UIC, with six points from Banks, as the Flames put the nail in the coffin.
The Flames only have one game this week and it is a biggie. They will head to Indianapolis to take on Butler. The Bulldogs have had UIC’s number lately as they have won 10 in a row against Collins’ crew. But after their return to Chicago, the Flames will be welcoming hated UW-Milwaukee on Feb. 5 at the UIC Pavilion.
Injury report – Josh Williams, F (academics), indefinitely.
Detroit (9-8, 3-4):
Willie Wallace scored a career-high 23 points, but that was not enough as the Titans suffered their third loss at home and second in double-digits in their 85-68 loss to UWM on Thursday. Milwaukee took early control, as they would go into the half with a 39-32 lead. But, Detroit came out antsy in the second half, as they closed the gap to 41-38 with 18:31 remaining. UWM would open up the lead right back, as they scored the next seven points to get the lead to 10. And, shortly after Detroit go it under 10 at 48-40, UWM went on a 12-0 run and that would be all she wrote. “The threesome of (Dylan) Page, (Ed) McCants and (Joah) Tucker was not only too good, but it was too much for us,” Detroit head coach Perry Watson said. “When we’d get close, one of those three would make a play. They’d make a steal, they’d get a rebound, something. It’s discouraging that they could come into Calihan and be tougher than us.”
The Titans will head out onto the road for one of the games of the week against UW-Green Bay. It is the first meeting of the season and it is one that could very well have a lot of implications on tournament seeds later in the season. Then, Detroit will head south to Chicago to take on the struggling Ramblers in a Saturday matinee at the Joseph J. Gentile Center.
Butler (7-10, 3-5):
Riding on their first win streak since the beginning of the season, the Bulldogs pulled out a tough win on the road against Youngstown State last Wednesday. Butler’s Bruce Horan drilled home a three at the end of regulation to force an overtime and another to win the game, 67-66 in overtime in Youngstown, Ohio. Horan hit a three to tie the game at 56 at the end of 40 minutes with four second left. Then, he hit the second dramatic shot with 11 seconds remaining in overtime to get the win. Horan was a blistering 3-of-5 shooting from out deep. Duane Lightfoot led Butler with a game-high 25 points and sophomore Avery Sheets had 17.
In their second tight affair in three days, the Bulldogs did not come out so lucky. Despite Wright State not scoring the last five minutes of the game, the Bulldogs could not get past the Raiders in a 54-53 set back at the legendary Hinkle Fieldhouse. The Bulldogs had a chance to win the game at regulation as they were down 54-53. Off a missed free throw shot, Mike Monserez dribbled the length of the floor pulled up a jumper that hit all iron. (Read more about this game: http://www.hoopville.com/authors/14?EntryID=6710)
You cannot help to wonder when Butler is going to find their game. They will get a struggling and very-thin Cleveland State team on Thursday night. Then, they will hope to extend a 10-game winning streak against UIC, as the Flames come to town on Saturday to help wrap-up a three-game home stand.
Injury report – Brandon Crone, F (knee), indefinitely.
Loyola-Chicago (6-12, 2-6):
With second-place Green Bay in town, the Ramblers struggled in the first half, as they fell behind 18-5 early and then 29-18 at the break. But the Ramblers exploded in the second half with a 17-3 run, aided by Blake Schilb’s 11 points off the bench to help put Loyola up 35-32. But Green Bay came back with two quick scores that put them ahead for good. Demetrius Williams had 20 points off the bench and seven rebounds to lead the Ramblers. Schilb, who had scored just 18 points in his last four outings, finished the night with 17.
In their city re-match, the Ramblers hosted UIC at the Gentile Center on Monday night. Unfortunately, the struggles continued as the Ramblers fell 64-57 to the Flames. It is Loyola’s seventh loss in a row, their longest since losing eight in a row spanning the 2000-’01 and 2001-’02 seasons. Loyola shot a blazing 59 percent from the field, giving them a 28-23 edge at the intermission. However, in the second stanza, it was UIC’s turn. UIC scored the first 11 points of the half to give themselves a 34-28 lead. Loyola re-took the lead with 5:21 to go 53-50. UIC would open up one last run to shut the door. Williams registered his fourth double-double of the season with 18 points and 12 rebounds. But what killed Loyola were 23 turnovers and UIC’s Cedrick Banks’ 22 points in the second half.
Loyola last got into the win column way back on Jan. 5 at Cleveland State. Unfortunately, CSU is not coming up anytime soon (Feb. 26). But, they do get the second to last place team, Youngstown State in Youngstown, Ohio on Thursday. Then, they will return home for a matinee affair with the Detroit Titans.
Injury report – Terrance Whiters, G (back), day-to-day.
Youngstown State (5-12, 2-6):
In what they thought was a victory, turned out to be a heart-breaking loss against Butler last Wednesday night. Leading by three with seconds to go, Butler’s Bruce Horan drilled a three at the buzzer to send the game to overtime. Horan then struck again in the overtime with a three with 10 seconds left, to pace Butler to a 67-66 win in overtime. The Bulldogs and the Penguins tied the game 16 times and the lead changed hands 16 times, as neither team could open up a big lead. Adam Baumann scored a team-high 18 points and 11 rebounds, for his eighth career double-double, in the loss.
To finish off the week, the Penguins probably wish they could schedule the rest of their league games against Cleveland State. The Penguins are 2-0 against the Vikings, 0-6 against the rest of the league, after a 61-59 win by YSU in Cleveland on Saturday. The Penguins fell behind early, 32-26 in the second half, but scored 12 unanswered points to take the lead they would never give up. Baumann led YSU with 17 points and seven rebounds and Doug Underwood had 16. The win gave the Penguins their first season sweep of a league opponent since joining the conference two seasons ago.
Youngstown State will finish off January with two home games. First up will be Loyola on Thursday night and will finish off with a non-league game against IP-Fort Wayne on Saturday.
Cleveland State (4-15, 0-8):
Well…what can be said about the season for the Vikings so far? They have had just about anything you can think of go wrong with them. But that does not mean that they are rolling over and playing dead…they are trying to get better from what they have, which is not a lot. It would not get better, as UWM came to town on Thursday. After an early lead for CSU, the Panthers took over en route to a 78-64 win in Cleveland. Jermaine Robinson had 21 points for the Vikings, who lost Walt Chavis to injury during the game. Victor Morris had 15 points and Omari Westley had 11 and a game-high nine rebounds. CSU fell behind by as many as 25 points in the second. But they came back to close it within six, 47-41 with 14:37 left. The Panthers would respond right back with a 17-2 run to take a 64-43 lead with 8:39 to go.
In their final game of the week, the Vikings trailed Youngstown State 59-51 with three minutes to go in the game. But, YSU would go into a scoring funk and allowed CSU to get back into the game at 61-59 with 43 seconds left. CSU had the chance to win it, as YSU missed two shots in the final seven seconds of the game, but grabbed their own rebounds en route to a 61-59 loss for the Vikings. It is the 13th straight loss for CSU. Robinson had 23 points in the loss to lead the Vikings.
Something good is bound to happen soon or later, but it is not going to come this week. On Thursday, the Vikings start a two-game road swing with the first stop in Indianapolis against Butler. The Vikings will then head closer to home on Saturday to play Wright State.
Injury report – Walt Chavis, G (broken hand), Walt Waters, C (academics), Percell Coles, G (academics), Pape Badiane, C (broken hand), out indefinitely.