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January 12, 2004 Conference Notes No Comments




The Morning Dish – Monday, January 12th

Huskies Prove They’re Top Dogs: No. 1 Connecticut entered a marquis match up with No. 5 Oklahoma needing to prove they earned the ranking. Many of the top-ranked teams this season have received the No. 1 ranking by default more than by great wins over the nation’s elite. Connecticut benefited from preseason expectations with the first No. 1 spot. Now the Huskies have met those expectations by crushing a good Oklahoma team 86-59 in Storrs, Conn. Junior forward Emeka Okafor led the complete domination with 21 points, 10 rebounds and nine blocks. Oklahoma shot only 27 percent, and only two Sooners scored more than six points. Freshman guard Andrew Lavender had 22 points and seven rebounds before fouling out for Oklahoma.

Romero Joins the Tribe: Florida State junior forward Diego Romero received good news from the NCAA Division I Management Council yesterday when officials decided to reinstate Romero. NCAA officials ruled Romero could not play because he had signed two professional contracts in Argentina. The committee decided to apply the rules previous to Aug. 1, which will allow Romero to join the Seminoles.

• Meanwhile, Romero’s future teammates lost to NC State 58-53 as junior guard Julius Hodge led all scores with 15 points. NC State prevented the Seminoles from finding the shooting touch as only two Florida State players scored in double-figures. Neither team shot above 40 percent.

Heels, Jackets Battle in Chapel Hill: No. 14 North Carolina beat No. 9 Georgia Tech 103-88 in a physical, fast-paced game in which the Tar Heels broke down Georgia Tech’s defense to shoot 49 percent and score 20 more points than Georgia Tech had allowed to any other opponent this season. Sophomore forward Sean May led the Tar Heels with a career-high 28 points, and sophomore point guard Raymond Felton orchestrated the attack with nine assists. But Felton also scored a season-high 25 points to help the Tar Heels, who needed another scoring source when junior forward Jawad Williams left the game after another blow to the head. Williams went down hard early in the second half and left the game with a bloody nose and possible concussion. Williams had a concussion less than two weeks ago against UNC-Wilmington. Georgia Tech played an aggressive game at both ends of the floor, led by sophomore point guard Jarrett Jack’s 22 points. Despite the effort, Georgia Tech never pulled within nine points in the second half.

Redick Sets Free Throw Record: No. 2 Duke sophomore guard J.J. Redick hit two more free throws in Duke’s 93-71 win at Virginia to break the ACC record for consecutive made free throws. Redick has made 50 straight free throws and counting to break the old record of 48 consecutive free throws by Virginia’s Jeff Lamp in 1979-80. Redick finished with 14 points as Duke pulled away in the second half. Sophomore forward Shelden Williams was unstoppable, scoring 21 points and grabbing 12 rebounds. Duke outrebounded Virginia 40-26 as the Cavaliers could not prevent the Blue Devils from successfully crashing the boards. Junior forward Devin Smith led Virginia with 19 points and six rebounds.

Hoosiers’ Defense Holds Up: Indiana basketball had fallen under hard times in the last month with two embarrassing losses – 80-41 to Kentucky and 79-45 to Wisconsin. The Hoosiers beat Michigan yesterday 59-57 behind great defensive play, including two stops in the final 10 seconds. Indiana’s super sophomore Bracey Wright outplayed Michigan’s sophomore star Daniel Horton, who did not score any points until midway through the second half. Wright finished with 11 points and nine rebounds for the Hoosiers.

Creighton Dumps Drake: The Bluejays improved to 12-0 by beating Drake 78-67. Sophomore guard Johnny Mathies scored 20 points to lead Creighton, which continues to build its case for a place in Hoopville’s next Top 25 poll. Drake cut the lead to four points in the second half, but Creighton pulled away to secure the victory. Sophomore forward Josh Powell led Drake with 10 points.

Salukis Keep Pace With Creighton: Southern Illinois continues to build a great season in the Missouri Valley Conference while Creighton gathers all the attention. Again. The Salukis defeated another MVC contender, Wichita State, 73-64 with 10-of-21 shooting from behind the arc. Southern Illinois shot 59 percent from the field while Wichita State shot 49 percent – good, but not good enough. Wichita State junior forward Jamar Smith had a game-high 19 points in the losing cause while senior forward Brad Korn led the Salukis with 14 points.

Xavier Runs Through Rhode Island: The Rams of Rhode Island have quietly amassed a 12-4 record to start the season but lost to Xavier 81-67 yesterday as the Rams could not contain Xavier’s shooters. Senior guards Romain Sato and Lional Chalmers scored 22 and 21 points, respectively, to lead the Musketeers past the Rams. Rhode Island whittled Xavier’s lead down to five in the second half when Sato and Chalmers drained three pointers on successive possessions to deflate the Rams’ run. Sophomore guard Dawan Robinson led the Rams with 23 points, the sixth time this season that he has scored at least 20 points.

Tonight’s Menu:

• It’s the night of ranked Big East teams in action as No. 15 Pittsburgh looks to remain unbeaten against another Big East foe, Notre Dame. No. 25 Providence visits another Big East school looking to crack the Top 25 – Seton Hall. And No. 17 Syracuse visits the not-so-scary Tigers of Missouri. Although the Tigers still have time to turn the season around, especially in Big XII play, this game is definitely a must-win to right some of the wrongs from earlier this season, including an explicable home loss to Belmont. For the night owls, check out two of the Mountain West’s best on ESPN as Utah visits UNLV.

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