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Horizon League Notebook

January 1, 2004 Conference Notes No Comments

Horizon League Notebook

by Nick Dettmann

The final week of the 2003 portion of the schedule was full of tournaments for the Horizon League. But the highlight game occurred in the Windy City with a fantastic match-up between 20th-ranked Illinois and Illinois-Chicago from the United Center in Chicago.

Illinois would use their size advantage and take control of the game early on as the Fighting Illini used a 19-4 run in the first half to get to a 32-14 lead midway through the half. UIC would not be able to get back into the game as the Big Ten rivals won 75-60 over the Flames last night.

Illinois (8-2) improved to a 23-6 all-time record in the United Center, while UIC (9-4), who resides only a mile away from the facility, played its first-ever game in the arena.

Roger Powell paved the way for Illinois with 17 points and Brian Randle used his 6-foot-10 frame to power for 11 rebounds and nine points. Among the other towers on the Illinois sidelines that reeked havoc on the Flames was another 6-foot-10 James Augustine as he had 13 points.

Armond Williams led the way for UIC with 14 points, as Cedrick Banks and Martell Bailey were each held in check. Banks would only score nine points and Bailey managed three points, two assists and a rare five turnovers.

“They took us out of everything,” UIC head coach Jimmy Collins said. “We weren’t quick enough or big enough to make anything happen. They’re a good team and we knew that Illinois is big and well-coached.”

“I think our size was a factor. They couldn’t make lay-ups early, they couldn’t get the layups to drop,” Illini coach Bruce Weber said. “I think on defense our aggressiveness, our trapping and our deflections allowed us to get the early lead.”

UIC struggled from the floor as they hit only seven of their first 27 shots, leading to the big Illinois run in the first half. Overall, the Flames would end up just shooting a mere 36 percent from the floor.

“It was bad shots that hurt us,” Collins said.

“We knew Cedric can score and Martell can lead and we did a good job of containing them,” All-American Dee Brown said, who scored only four points but had nine assists and six rebounds for the Illini.

Local Time Warner agrees to air Horizon League games

Time Warner cable in Dayton, Ohio has reached an agreement with the Horizon League to air many of the league’s biggest contests. The games will be shown on Channel 25 throughout the Dayton area. The schedule is as follows, with all times being in Eastern:

Jan. 3, 1 p.m., Detroit at Illinois-Chicago.
Jan. 8, 8 p.m., Loyola-Chicago at Illinois-Chicago.
Jan. 17, noon, Detroit at Butler and UW-Milwaukee at UW-Green Bay at 2 p.m.
Jan. 19, 8:30 p.m., UW-Green Bay at UIC (women) with a 30-minute tape delay.
Jan. 24, 4 p.m., UW-Milwaukee at Detroit – tape delayed, following Wright State at Butler at 2 p.m.
Jan. 31, 4 p.m., UIC at Butler – tape delayed, following Butler at Wright State (women) at 2 p.m.
Feb. 11, 9 p.m., Cleveland State at Loyola-Chicago (women) – tape delayed, following Detroit at Wright State at 7 p.m.
Feb. 23, 8:30 p.m., UW-Green Bay at UW-Milwaukee (women – 30-min tape delay.
Feb. 28, 7 p.m., Butler at UIC.
March 6, 5:30 p.m., Men’s semi-final #1 and semi-final #2 at 8 p.m.
March 8, 7 p.m., Women’s championship game.

Player of the Week

Paul McMillan, Loyola-Chicago

McMillan averaged 18.5 points and 8.0 rebounds, while shooting 54 percent from the field in wins over Central Michigan and Birmingham-Southern.

Newcomers of the Week

Drew Burleson, Wright State and Josh Lawrence, UW-Green Bay

Burleson scored 13 points and had six rebounds off the bench in the Raiders’ 74-71 win over Brown. Lawrence registered his first career double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds in a win over Savannah State

Games of the Week

Cleveland State at UW-Green Bay, Saturday, Jan. 3. The Vikings look to snap a five-game losing streak against the league’s hottest team in Green Bay; Detroit at UW-Milwaukee, Tuesday, Jan. 5. The Panthers open a crucial two-game home stand when the Titans come to town before playing two of their next five at home.

UW-Green Bay (7-4 Overall, 1-0 Horizon):

The Phoenix has quietly become the league’s hottest team as they extended their winning streak to five games, thanks to the Oneida Bingo & Casino Classic and two new records.

The tournament started off for Green Bay with an easy 80-59 victory over Savannah State, courtesy of a school Division I record 58 rebounds. With the win, the Phoenix also improved their mark at home to 4-0. Green Bay would shoot just 31 percent in the first half, but did hold onto a slim 31-26 lead. In the second half, things got physical as the longest stretch of play that did not see a foul called was just 1:42. Five players hit double figures for the Phoenix, two of which had double-doubles. Junior Brandon Morris had 11 points and 16 rebounds and freshman Josh Lawrence had 12 points and 11 boards. Mike King, Terry Parker and Tyler Koening rounded out the double-digit scorers with 18, 15 and 10 respectively.

In the championship game, the Phoenix took on Troy State after Troy State defeated Weber State 79-59. Green Bay came out firing as they drilled home a school record tying 13 three-point treys en route to a 75-62 win to capture the tournament title. Junior Matt Rohde tied an 11-year-old record as he converted nine three-pointers on the night. The record was once solely held by former Indianapolis Colt Tony Bennett, which was set in his final game on March 19, 1992. The Phoenix knew they would have their hands full as Troy State entered the game as the nation’s leading three-point shooting team, averaging 13.6 conversions per game. But it was the host Phoenix that won the battle at the OK corral, 13-11. “That is the best team we’ve beaten since I’ve been here,” Phoenix head coach Tod Kowalczyk said. Morris registered his second straight double-double as he had 19 points and 10 rebounds, but the star of the show was Rohde as he posted a career-high 29 points.

The Phoenix will take on Cleveland State on Saturday night in one of the league’s games of the week. Then, Green Bay will hit the road on Monday night to play Wright State as the Phoenix will play all conference games from this point on, excluding the ESPN game on February 21.

UW-Milwaukee (6-4, 1-0):

As one of two league teams on the West Coast in a tournament, the Panthers competed in the 37th annual Cable Car Classic at UC-Santa Clara. UWM would get the opportunity to play the hosts first on Monday night from the Leavey Center. The Panthers gave the hosts quite a scare as the Broncos claimed a 66-64 win. Kyle Bailey led the way for UC-Santa Barbara with 18 points and UWM could not overcome a dismal shooting performance in the second half. UWM would lead at the break 38-33 with the help of 55 percent shooting, but the second stanza would be the killer. The Panthers would hit just nine shots and would shot 27 percent for the half, allowing the Broncos to escape with the victory. Ed McCants continued a stellar first season as he led all scorers with 20 points, including 5-of-8 from beyond the arc. Dylan Page nearly had a double-double with 16 points and nine boards. With 43 seconds left in the contest, Adrian Tigert pulled the Panthers within 65-64. The Panthers would steal the ensuing in-bounds pass. McCants would drive down the lane with less than 10 seconds to go, but his shot would be blocked and no foul was called as McCants hit the floor hard. The rebound would go out of bounds in favor of Santa Clara. Doron Perkins would hit one-of-two free throws at the end to make it 66-64, giving the Panthers a chance to tie, but Tigert’s leaner came up short.

In the consolation game, the Panthers responded with ease as they coasted past Idaho State 85-70 in the Cable Car Classic. Page and McCants each had 21 points and the squad hit a season-high 14 three-pointers in the dominating effort. UWM would build a 15-point first half lead and a 20-point advantage in the second half. Joah Tucker would also contribute with 20 points, giving UWM their first triplicate of players with 20-plus points since their win at Loyola-Chicago last season. Jeff Gardner would score 24 points for the Bengals.

The Panthers wrap-up their road trip with a visit to the Air Force Academy in Colorado on Saturday. Then, the Panthers return home for two crucial conference games at home. First up will be Detroit on Monday night and then Butler comes to Milwaukee on Jan. 8.

Injury report: Guard Ronald “Boo” Davis is now listed as day-to-day with a knee injury.

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

The Raiders continued a three-game road trip with a visit first to Brown from Providence, Rhode Island. Wright State jumped out to a comfortable 21-7 lead with 9:55 remaining, but had to hold on for a slim 74-71 win over the Bears. WSU would have a 33-15 lead with 4:02 left in the opening half, but Brown would finish the half by scoring the final 10 points to narrow the lead to 33-25. With 1:30 left in the game, the Raiders held onto a 69-62 lead before Brown would go on a 9-3 run to get within one at 72-71. But Seth Doliboa would hit two free throws with 7.1 seconds left to extend the lead to the final margin. Doliboa led all scorers with 23 points and 10 rebounds, while freshman Drew Burleson had 13 off the bench. Jaime Kilburn led Brown with 17, while Mike Martin had 15 off the bench.

Looking to close out the road-trip on a positive note, the Raiders headed to Akron to play the Zips. Unfortunately it was the Zips that zipped past the Raiders, thanks to 44 points from Derrick Tarver as Akron defeated Wright State 85-67 at the JAR Arena last night. Tarver scored 27 points in the first half and would have 10 three’s on the night. Doliboa, who scored in double figures in 61 of his last 62 contests, had 18 points for WSU and Vernard Hollins had 17.

Wright State will have two tough home games to help them ring in the New Year. Up first will be Butler who is struggling. Then, the UW-Green Bay Phoenix comes to town on Monday night.

Injury report: Forward Braden Bushman remains out indefinitely with a bruised sternum.

Detroit (6-4):

It was a quiet week for the folks in the Motor City. The Titans only had one game as they hosted Kent State last night. Detroit was looking to make it two historical nights in a row as they made a bid for the school’s 1200th victory. That will have to wait as the Golden Flashes won convincingly, 68-48 at Calihan Hall. It was also head coach Perry Watson’s first loss ever against a non-conference foe at home. “That was pretty bad, probably the worst we’ve played at home in my tenure,” Watson said, whose team made just four of its first 17 field goal tries. “It was magnified by our inability to put the ball in the hole. When you’ve got our top shooters, James Thues and Rulon Harris, shooting like they did, it makes it tough. We’re not a bad shooting team, but a game like that sucks the life out of you defensively, too. This is the first time we’ve struggled like that this year.” Elijah Warren was the lone bright spot as he scored a game-high 17 points for the Titans.

Detroit will head out on the road for the next two. It will be their toughest road trip of the season as they will head to UIC on Saturday afternoon and then UWM on Monday night.

Loyola-Chicago (4-5):

The other league team on the West Coast fared just about the same as their counterpart Panthers. However, the tides were flipped as the Ramblers won their opener 74-71 over Birmingham-Southern on Sunday from Moraga, Calif. Paul McMillan and Demetrius Williams combined for 45 points and 20 rebounds in the opening round of the Shamrock Office Solutions Classic hosted by Saint Mary’s College. “Paul and Demetrius give us quickness, size and athleticism in the post,” Ramblers head coach Larry Farmer said. “We made some personnel changes in the second half and forced them into several missed shots and we rebounded the ball extremely well tonight.” McMillan equaled a career-high with 25 points and had 10 boards for his third double-double of the season. Williams, who came off the bench, had 20 points and 10 rebounds. Majak Kou had 10 points in his first career start.

In the championship game, the Ramblers played the host Gaels, but would be no match was Loyola would fall 84-62. McMillan and Williams were selected to the all-tournament team for their efforts. In the championship match, Williams had 14 points and McMillan had 13. Biggest advantage for the hosts was they outscored Loyola 32-6 off the bench.

The Ramblers will finally begin the conference schedule with an afternoon tip against Youngstown State on Saturday. Then it will be off to the Rock and Roll city with a match-up against Cleveland State on Monday night.

Cleveland State (4-7):

Things did not go well for the Vikings this week. First, reserve centers Walt Walters and Pete Ritzema did not make the trip to the Flint Hill Resources Islander Invitational in Corpus Christi, Texas. Walters remained in Detroit as he tended to a death of a relative. Ritzema sustained a back injury over the Christmas holiday break and stayed in Cleveland to receive treatment. Both players are scheduled to be back with the team for their game in Green Bay on Saturday. Then, within the first two minutes of their game against Georgia Southern on Monday, head coach Mike Garland lost another center, Pape Badiane to a broken hand. Badiane will be out of the line-up for 4-6 weeks. Badiane is among the national leaders in block shots per game. To top the sour weekend, the Vikings lost both games in the tournament.

Against Georgia Southern, Jermaine Robinson scored 24 points, marking the ninth time in 10 games that he has led the team in scoring. “The depth problem at center really showed tonight,” Garland said. “We tried to offset it by using a three guard line-up, but the injury to Pape early in the game and foul trouble made matters worse.” To finish off the tournament, CSU matched up against Drake. Despite a 51 percent shooting night, including a season-high 12 three-point field goals, the Vikings could not overcome a 42-14 disadvantage at the charity stripe as the Bulldogs won 83-80. Percell Coles came off the bench and scored a season-high 23 points, including 7-of-11 from deep range. Robinson, who was named to the all-tournament team, scored 20 points and Victor Morris enjoyed his second career start with a career-high 17 points.

The Vikings will be in one of the featured match-ups this week as they travel to Title Town to play the UW-Green Bay Phoenix on Saturday. Then, it will be two at home, starting with Loyola-Chicago on Monday.

Injury report: Center Pape Badiane out 4-6 weeks with a broken hand. Center Walt Walters expected to return on Saturday after tending to a family death. Center Pete Ritzema expected to return on Saturday after suffering a back injury over Christmas.

Illinois-Chicago (9-4, 0-1):

It was a quiet week for the Flames, but their lone game was not easy as they entertained Illinois. The Flames struggled shooting all night long in their 75-60 loss in front of 15,415 at the United Center.

The Flames look to snap a two-game losing skid with a set of home games against league rivals. Up first will be Perry Watson’s bunch from Detroit on Saturday. Then, John Robic will bring his Youngstown State Penguins to the Windy City on Monday night.

Butler (4-6, 0-1):

The Cinderella team of last year’s NCAA tournament has been anything but that Cinderella story so far in the 2003-’04 season. After having their 21-game home-winning streak snapped by UW-Green Bay on Dec. 22, the Bulldogs looked to start a four-game road trip on a positive note. On Saturday, Butler traveled to St. Louis to take on the Billikens. Butler would fall behind 37-29 at the half and never recover as the Conference USA foe coasted to a 72-54 win. Butler, who has struggled in mounting any type of offense so far this season, had more of those same problems as they went 17-of-53 from the field, including 9-of-27 from three-point range. Sophomore Avery Sheets had a solid performance as he scored 25 points on 8-of-14 shooting. But without Sheets, the Bulldogs shot just 9-of-39 on the night.

Butler will continue their long road-trip in Dayton as they take on Wright State. Then, it will be off to Milwaukee in the first re-match of last year’s Horizon League conference championship game.

Injury report: Forward Brandon Crone is listed as out indefinitely following a knee injury.

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

The Penguins were idle this week. But they do not have an easy schedule as they flip the calendar to 2004. YSU will have two games in the Windy City starting with an afternoon affair on Saturday against Loyola-Chicago and then UIC on Monday night.


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