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January 7, 2004 Conference Notes No Comments

The Morning Dish – Wednesday, January 7th

UConn survives: Rutgers would love to have the last seven seconds of Tuesday’s matchup with UConn back. The Scarlet Knights battled UConn for every hoop, holding a lead as late as four minutes left in the game. They were tenacious on the offensive boards, and trailed by just one point late in the game. UConn, however, was able to inbound the ball and remain one pass ahead of the Rutgers defense to run out the clock. And with that, all of Rutgers’ effort dissipated as the clock ran out. UConn’s big three of Ben Gordon (22 points), Emeka Okafor (21 points) and Charlie Villanueva (15 points) came to play. But Rutgers answered with a trio of its own. Herve Lamizana (20 points), Ricky Shields (19 points) and Quincy Douby (13 points) were every bit as good as UConn’s trio Tuesday night. The Scarlet Knights had plenty of chances to seize the game, but missing 10 of 26 free throws, and allowing Gordon to play more than six minutes with four fouls were two huge miscues. Next up for UConn is a nonconference matchup with Oklahoma on Sunday.

Big Ten blowout: Oh, how times have changed. The Indiana Hoosiers rolled into Madison, Wisconsin Tuesday night as severe underdogs. It is certainly a role reversal as the perennially tough Hoosiers have historically dominated the previously perennially poor Badgers. But Wisconsin coach Bo Ryan has led his club to two consecutive Big Ten titles, and if Tuesday is any indication, a third title might be in the future. The Badgers completely decimated and humiliated the Hoosiers, winning 79-45. It was the third game this season Indiana has lost by at least 33 points. Wisconsin was led by Mike Wilkinson, who dropped in 20 points and 10 rebounds. Indiana was led by Sean Kline’s 12 points. Hoosier star Bracey Wright was downright awful, finishing with just two baskets on 15 attempts and seven points. The Badgers log in at 18th in the latest Hoopville poll, but looks to be a bit stronger than that.

St. Joe’s remains undefeated: There has been little fanfare surrounding the St Joe’s Hawks so far this season, despite their perfect 12-0 record, after topping Richmond, 70-61, Tuesday night. St. Joe’s is currently 8th in the Hoopville poll but does top the latest edition of CollegeRPI.com rankings. And since the Hawks play in the less-than-stellar Atlantic 10 conference, it is not unimaginable that they’ll enter the NCAA Tournament undefeated. On Tuesday, they were led once again by star guard Jameer Nelson, who scored 29 points on 10 of 15 shooting.

Wake rolls again: When Wake Forest is on, there are few teams better. The Demon Deacons annihilated another opponent Tuesday night, topping Brown, 86-47. The win moved Wake Forest to a perfect 10-0 and extended its home winning streak to 23 games. Wake Forest’s undefeated run is about to get a serious test in the next stretch of games. First, the Demon Deacons host Clemson, then travel to Texas and Duke before finally hosting Georgia Tech. If Wake Forest emerges from that stretch 14-0, then there is no reason it shouldn’t be ranked the top team in the country.

No place like home for Pitt: The Pittsburgh Panthers completed a 10-game homestand Tuesday night with a 78-59 win over Virginia Tech. The Panthers are now 15-0, its best start in 74 years. Of course, Pitt has yet to test its mettle in a true road game, so its record is a bit inflated. It’ll get a chance to grab that first road court win on Saturday when it visits Miami. In Tuesday’s game, the Panthers were led by Jaron Brown’s 21 points.

Fairfield no match for Duke: In a final pre-conference tuneup, the Duke Blue Devils dominated Fairfield, 99-58. Duke was led by Chris Duhon’s 20 points. The Blue Devils are quietly putting together a nice season. Excluding its loss to Purdue in Alaska, Duke has defeated every other team by double digits. Duke heads to Virginia this weekend in its second ACC game of the season.

Oklahoma State wins again: Led by senior Tony Allen’s 24 points, the Oklahoma State Cowboys defeated Texas A&M Corpus Christi, 84-52. The Cowboys have yet to debut in the Hoopville poll but it’ll have its chance this weekend when it matches up with Texas Tech in Lubbock.

Georgetown falls from unbeaten ranks: The Georgetown Hoyas entered Tuesday night’s matchup with Boston College as a weak 10-0. It left the game a weak 10-1. Boston College dominated down the stretch, stealing a 72-64 win on the road. The Eagles were led by Craig Smith’s 24 points, 19 of which came in the last 10 minutes of the game. It was Boston College’s first win at Georgetown since 1996.

Torero Down: San Diego center Nick Lewis was injured in the opening minutes of the Toreros’ matchup against New Mexico in Albuquerque. Lewis, a 6-11 junior, fell to the court after a scramble for a loose ball. After being tended to on the court while on his back for 10 minutes, Lewis was removed on a stretcher, and was taken to University of new Mexico Hospital, where he was being evaluated. Lewis, a native of Paradise Valley, Arizona, is the team’s second-leading scorer and leading rebounder, averaging 12 points and 6.3 boards per game. Less than 14 months ago, New Mexico guard Senque Carey was injured on the same court, and was hospitalized for temporary paralysis following a collision with a Northwestern State player. Carey was on the sidelines last night as an undergraduate assistant for the Lobos, who won 88-75.

Tonight’s Menu

• There is plenty of action tonight, although the slate lacks a marquee matchup. Several ranked teams take to the road, making tonight a good upset-potential evening. Among those traveling are Florida, Cincinnati, Creighton, Purdue and Marquette. Illinois, UNC, Florida, Vanderbilt and Louisville all look to have winnable home games. Although Vanderbilt, who is still searching for respect, hosts a somewhat dangerous 9-2 Auburn club.

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