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Atlantic Sun Notebook

January 19, 2004 Conference Notes No Comments



Atlantic Sun Conference Notebook

by Jonathan Scherner

The Atlantic Sun is starting to get tight at the top. With Georgia State’s victory over Troy State Tuesday, Central Florida is the only undefeated team left in the conference. Troy State is still second with a record of 6-1, but the Panthers are hot on their trail at 5-2. Now if only someone could do something about the Golden Knights who seem almost unstoppable. Troy State will get their chance to take down Central Florida next Friday. If the Trojans can knock off the Knights, there will be quite the race to finish in the Atlantic Sun.

Golden Knights on a roll

Central Florida just keeps getting hotter as they won their 10th straight game against Florida Atlantic. The Knights dominated Florida Atlantic on the road 70-52 for their longest winning streak since Central Florida joined Division I in 1984.

Dexter Lyons opened the scoring with a three and Central Florida would never trail as they stretched their lead to as many as 25 in the second half. Lyons tied his career high with 25 points, including hitting five from beyond the arc. Roberto Morentin added 17 points and a team-high eight boards.

Player of the Week

Adam Mark: Belmont senior forward

Mark put up career numbers last week as the Bruins split two crucial conference showdowns. Mark averaged 30.5 points and 13.5 rebounds in the two games, including a season-high 31 in a win over Stetson. Mark followed up that performance with a career-high 44 minutes in an overtime loss to Troy State. In the loss, Mark scored 30 points and pulled down 16 boards, 10 of which were offensive.

Belmont Bruins (8-4, 3-2)

After quite possibly the biggest victory in school history over Missouri, the Bruins have cooled off slightly in conference play. As has been the case all season, Adam Mark is continuing to be the driving force behind their success. In the Bruins most recent games, Mark is averaging over 30 points and 13 boards a game. A 25-4 run propelled Belmont to 77-58 rout of Stetson, but Mark’s 30 points and 16 boards weren’t enough to pull off another upset as Troy State won 82-80 on a lay in at the buzzer.

Campbell Camels (0-13, 0-6)

If you are a Camels fan, this is becoming an all too familiar refrain: Campbell remained winless on the season. The Camels made a late run at Mercer, but came up short once again. Campbell fought back from a 23 point second half deficit, but it wasn’t enough as Mercer held on for a six point victory. It wasn’t as close against Gardner-Webb as the Bulldogs dominated in a 79-62 win for the first victory of the Atlantic Sun conference season. Campbell looks to break through in the win column Saturday against Jacksonville.

Central Florida Golden Knights (12-2, 7-0)

The Golden Knights just keep getting better. With their 70-52 dominating performance against Florida Atlantic, Central Florida has now won 10 straight and there doesn’t appear to be any let up in the future. Dextor Lyons and Roberto Morentin lead the way for the Knights as they average a combined 30 points a game. Central Florida looks to stay on track at home against Mercer and Lipscomb before a crucial road trip to second place Troy State next Friday.

Florida Atlantic Owls (7-7, 4-3)

After a solid start to the conference season, things have taken a turn for the worse for Florida Atlantic. The Owls jumped out to a 4-1 start, but have fallen on tough times recently as they have now lost two straight, including their first conference home game. Florida Atlantic lost in overtime at Stetson as Anthony Register scored seven of his 18 points in the OT. The Owls followed that loss with a 70-52 loss at home to conference leading Central Florida. The Owls look to get back on track in a crucial home match up with Belmont.

Gardner-Webb Bulldogs (4-11, 1-5)

The Bulldogs finally found their touch as they picked up their first conference win over hapless Campbell. The Bulldogs jumped out quickly with a 20-3 run in the first half that put the game away. Brian Bender scored 21 to lead Gardner-Webb to the 79-62 win. The Bulldogs look to keep the momentum going at home against Stetson Saturday.

Georgia State Panthers (10-4, 5-2)

The Panthers have hit their stride. Georgia State used two free throws from Herman Favors with no time left to upset Troy State and keep the Panthers alive in the race for the conference title. D’Andre McGrew and Nate Williams led the Panthers with 19 points each for their fourth straight victory. Georgia State has another tough conference showdown as they host Mercer Friday night.

Jacksonville Dolphins (6-7, 1-5)

After a good start to the season, the Dolphins have fallen on hard times in the conference season. Jacksonville lost their most recent game to Stetson as a buzzer-beater by Aubrey Conerly came up just short in the two point loss. Conerly took a missed free throw and went the length of the court, but his leaner was just off target. Conerly led Jacksonville with 13 points. The Dolphins should pick up their second conference win when they take on winless Campbell at home Saturday.

Lipscomb Bisons (4-9, 1-4)

The Bisons had a week off to recover from a thumping they took from Troy State. The Trojans knocked down 21 threes on their way to a 100-72 victory. Albert Hacker was the lone bright spot for the Bisons as he got his second double-double of the season with 11 points and 12 boards. Things aren’t going to get any easier for Lipscomb when travel to Central Florida.

Mercer Bears (7-8, 4-2)

Mercer keeps hanging around the race for the conference crown. The Bears have victories over Stetson and Gardner-Webb in the last week, but their real challenge is still to come as they have showdowns with Georgia State and Troy State in the next week. Scott Emerson has been the key for Mercer this season as he is averaging 19 points and nine boards a game. If the Bears hope to stay in this race, Emerson will have to lead them to a few more important victories.

Stetson Hatters (4-8, 2-4)

In what has been a disappointing season so far, the Hatters picked up a couple of nice wins over Jacksonville and Florida Atlantic, both of which came down to the wire. Stetson survived a last second shot against Jacksonville and had to go to overtime to knock off Florida Atlantic. The Hatters have a good chance of salvaging their season as they have two easy road games at Gardner-Webb and Campbell before returning home to face Mercer.

Troy State Trojans (10-3, 6-1)

The Trojans can’t let their loss to Georgia State knock them off track. Troy State had gotten off to an undefeated start to the conference season before Herman Favors hit two free throws with no time left to give the Trojans their first conference loss at 84-83. Greg Davis is stepping it up in his final season as he is averaging 16 points and nine assists a game. The Trojans don’t have time to think about the Georgia State loss with games against rising Mercer and conference leading Central Florida in the next week.

     

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