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Atlantic Sun Notebook

January 6, 2004 Conference Notes No Comments



Atlantic Sun Conference Notebook

by Doug McKinney

What a week it’s been for the Atlantic Sun. Well, mostly for Belmont.
That’s right the Bruins of Belmont capped one of the biggest wins in school
and conference history, upsetting Missouri, 71-67. The Bruins had four
players score in double figures to get their first ever win over a ranked
opponent. It took six tries for the Bruins to accomplish the feat.

Sharing the Honors

The National Championship title of college football is not the only thing
being shared in the world of sports. Seniors Josh Bodden (Central Florida)
and Steve Drabyn (Belmont) share Atlantic Sun Player(s) of the week this
week. Bodden held averages of 19.5 points and 9.0 rebounds through a span
of two games last week, while Drabyn helped lead the Bruins to upset
Missouri with 16 points and has moved up to fifth place on Belmont’s career
three-pointers list with 226.

Belmont (7-3, 2-1)

The Belmont Bruins have a lot of good things going for them. Not only did
they beat Missouri, but Belmont has found themselves at 7-3 overall, 2-1 in
the A-Sun, and with a four game home winning streak. Adam Mark, Jese
Snyder, Steve Drabyn, and Nick Otis all scored in double figures to lead
Belmont over Mizzou. After their win at Missouri, the Bruins used momentum
to knock off Jacksonville, 70-54. Senior forward Adam Mark has been the
driving force for the Bruins. The 2003 Atlantic Sun Male Student-Athlete of
the Year is averaging over 18 points and 7 rebounds this year. Belmont
played Monday against Stetson and will travel to A-Sun foe Troy State on
Jan. 8 before waiting nine days to play their next conference game, when
they’re pitted with Florida Atlantic.

Campbell (0-10, 0-3)

After the letter B comes the letter C. Translation, after the great report
about Belmont basketball, comes time for Campbell’s report. And
unfortunately for Camel fans, the news isn’t good. The Camels find
themselves winless not only in conference play but overall. Campbell, who
was picked to finish 10th in the Atlantic Sun, can only smile at the fact
that they are one of four teams that are winless in conference play in the
A-Sun. The Senior-Freshmen guard tandem of Tarick Johnson and Anthony
Atkinson are producing about a third of the team’s scoring. That’s not
going to get the job done.

Central Florida (8-2, 3-0)

The Golden Knights had a hot winter break and that’s not because they’re
based in Orlando, Florida….but because they’ve won six straight. UCF had
three players score in double figures as they routed Georgia State 70-60 for
their third A-Sun victory. Josh Bodden led the Golden Knights with 15
points and 8 rebounds. UCF will be on the road this week when they travel
to face at Stetson (Jan. 9) and Jacksonville (Jan. 11)

Florida Atlantic (6-4, 3-0)

FAU started the season off losing to South Florida and Georgia, but have won
their last six out of last eight games. The Owls are averaging 82 points a
game where most of the credit go to upperclassmen Mike Bell (20.0 ppg),
Pierre Tucker (14.3) and Earnest Crumbley (13.3). Up next for the Owls is
inter-state road trips to Jacksonville (Jan. 9) and Stetson (Jan. 11).

Gardner-Webb (3-8, 0-2)

The Bulldogs are one of the four winless teams in the Atlantic Sun and are
still trying to find their identity. GWU has started 8 different players in
their starting line-up and must play well on their upcoming road trip.
Unfortunately for the Bulldogs, they won’t play at home again until Jan. 17.

Georgia State (6-4, 1-2)

At this time last year the Panthers found themselves at 4-6 and legendary
coach Lefty Driesell handed the head coaching duties over to then associate
head coach Mike Perry. This year Georgia State, the Atlantic Sun Preseason
champions, are 6-4 and have started off 1-2 in conference play. Junior Nate
Williams is chipping in 14 points a game for the Panthers, as they’re
getting senior leadership from guards Kevin Thomas (12.1 ppg) and Trello
Galloway (10.1)

Jacksonville (5-4, 0-2)

With the exception of the double overtime loss to Troy State, Jacksonville
has gotten blown out in their other three loses. The good news is the
Dolphins have back to back conference home games coming up this week. The
bad news, those home games are against undefeated A-Sun opponents. The
Dolphins are winless in the A-Sun and need more help other than David Lee
and Haminn Quaintance.

Lipscomb (4-7, 1-2)

The Bisons defeated Stetson giving them their first Atlantic Sun victory of
the year. However, their next three games are against the undefeated teams
of the Atlantic Sun. The Bisons are in their first year as a member of the
Atlantic Sun conference, but won’t be eligible to compete in the conference
tournament. Led by Brian Fisk and James Poindexter, the Bisons might give
some Atlantic Sun teams some problems this year, though.

Mercer (5-7, 2-1)

The Mercer Bears are on of the many college basketball teams riding on a
roller coaster season this year. After losing by 57 points to Alabama the
Bears dropped another game, this time to conference foe FAU. Before the
pair of loses, Mercer was riding a four game winning streak. Before the
winning streak, came a five game losing streak. Go figure. If the Bears
start playing consistent basketball, though, they could be a serious threat
for the Atlantic Sun title. The Bears have a very balanced offensive attack
led by five players that are averaging over 10 points a game, including
Scott Emerson’s 19 points a game. Not to mention, Emerson is pulling down
around 9 rebounds per game. If the Bears play consistent they’ll enjoy a
ride to the top; if not, they’ll be plummeting down Splash Mountain.

Stetson (2-6, 0-2)

Right now the only good news for the Hatters is that they will host first
and second round regional action of the men’s NCAA tournament. The last win
for the Hatters was all the way back in well, November, when they won their
first two games of the year. That means the Hatters has lost six in a row.
Young and energetic head coach Derek Waugh looks to have a rebuilding season
on his hands as next year he’ll get a pair of transfers from Tulane and
Richmond.

Troy State (7-3, 3-0)

Closing out the trio of undefeated teams in the Atlantic Sun is the mighty
Trojans of Troy State. Two of the Trojans losses came to respectable
program, but a loss to the Christian Brothers University doesn’t look good
on their record. Other than that, the Trojans have a lot of good things
going for them. Much like Mercer, Troy State has the luxury of having five
players average double figures in scoring. The 1-2 punch combo of senior
forwards Rob Lewin and Kendrick Johnson are averaging a total of around 32
points and 16 rebounds a game total. Also, the Trojans have the pleasure in
hosting two conference games this week, when Belmont and Lipscomb come into
town.

     

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