The Morning Dish – Wednesday, January 21st
Marquette’s Diener injured in loss: In an instant, college basketball can become so meaningless. That was the feeling Tuesday night when Marquette’s star guard Travis Diener layed virtually motionless on the floor for more than eight minutes. Diener sufferred a neck injury when he pump faked a Charlotte defender that landed hard on top of the Fon du Lac, Wisconsin, native. Diener did have some movement in his legs but was removed from the floor on a stretcher as a precaution. The classy Charlotte fans cheered for Diener as he was removed from the court. Few play the game harder than Diener, who is the heart and soul of Marquette. He’s a classy kid who should be the poster boy for what college basketball is really all about. Charlotte AD said that Diener had movement in his extremities, but was scheduled to undergo an MRI and a CAT scan late Tuesday night. The results of those tests are not yet known. In the game, Charlotte sent struggling Marquette to its third consecutive loss, 84-76. The 49ers were led by Demon Brown, who had 23 points. It was Charlotte’s defense, which forced 20 turnovers, that sealed the win.
Seton Hall tops Syracuse: Seton Hall ended Syracuse’s 13-game winning streak Tuesday night with a 74-67 victory. The Pirates were led by Andre Barrett and John Allen, who each scored 16 points. The win came surprisingly easy for Seton Hall, who scored the first 12 points of the game and were never really challenged by the Orangemen. Syracuse, however, was playing a bit shorthanded as sophomore guard Gerry McNamara played just 10 minutes in the second half. McNamara injured his groin during the contest. The win was especially sweet for Seton Hall coach Louis Orr, who beat both his alma mater and his former coach.
Wake Forest loses again: The Demon Deacons knew that its three game stretch against Texas, Duke and Georgia Tech was going to test them, but they didn’t know the test was going to be so difficult. After losing convincingly at Texas and Duke, Wake Forest was beaten handily by Georgia Tech, 73-66. The loss snapped the Demon Deacons 24-game home winning streak. The Yellow Jackets were led by Will Bynum, who scored 20 points. Bynum and his Georgia Tech teammates hit an outstanding nine-of 17 from three-point range. Wake Forest had no answer for the long-range shooting. It was led by Vytas Danelius, who scored 13 points.
Kentucky keeps SEC road streak alive: The Kentucky Wildcats extended its amazing streak of road SEC wins to 10 Tuesday night with a 69-68 overtime win against Tennessee. Chuck Hayes scored off his own miss to keep the streak alive. The Wildcats were led by Erik Daniels 19 points and Hayes 18 points and 16 rebounds. Tennessee’s Scooter McFadgon did everything he could to stop the Wildcats’ streak. He poured in a game-high 33 points.
Texas defeats Missouri in OT: In big conference games on the road, you have to look to your seniors. And that’s exactly waht Texas did Tuesday night. Royal Ivey scored a careeer-high 24 points for the Longhorns in their 75-69 overtime victory. It was the second straight game that Ivey was the “hero,” hitting the game-winning basket against Nebraska. The Longhorns are still perfect in the Big 12, while Missouri fell to .500.
Louisville assistant keeps job:Louisville assistant Kevin Willard pleaded guilty Tuesday to driving under the influence of alcohol, but he will remain on coach Rick Pitino’s staff. Willard was pulled over early Sunday morning by Louisville police. The 68-year old coach had a blooc-alcohol level of .146. Pitino has disciplined Willard internally but has not revealed what that discipline was.
Indiana outlasts Ohio State: Suddenly, Indiana is a player in the Big Ten race. It was just more than a week ago that the Hoosiers were beaten by 30+ points at Wisconsin. But Mike Davis’ crew has been buoyed by the return of center George Leach, and after Tuesday night’s 69-61 win at Ohio State, sit at 3-1 in the conference. Indiana was led by Bracey Wright, who scored 28 points in the win.
Boston College edges N.C. State: In yet another overtime game on Tuesday night, Boston College edged N.C. State, 66-65. The game couldn’t have been more even, as just a point separated the two teams at half. The Eagles were led by Craig Smith’s 20 points.
Virginia’s defense too much for Clemson: Virginia held Clemson to just 31 percent shooting Tuesday night in a 61-50 Cavalier win. The Tigers did grab 20 offensive rebounds, but it didn’t help much, as they were only able to squeeze 15 points out of those extra possessions. The Cavaliers, meanwhile, shot 47 percent, but had just one player score more than 10 points in the win.
Notre Dame wins big road game: If the Fighting Irish of Notre Dame were still entertaining thoughts of going to the NCAA Tournament, it couldn’t lose its Tuesday night game at Virginia Tech. And it did not, holding on for a 74-63 victory. Notre Dame was led by the enigmatic Chris Thomas, who scored 23 points.
• Conference action really begins to heat up tonight. Louisville and Cincinnati meet in Conference USA for early supremacy of that conference. Meanwhile, Mississippi State entertains Florida in a big SEC battle. Newly crowned top-ranked Duke heads on the road to Maryland in ACC action.