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January 22, 2004 Conference Notes No Comments

The Morning Dish – Thursday, January 22th

Fourteen straight for Louisville: Louisville had already beaten then Hoopville #1 Florida as well as once undefeated Kentucky, and they were looking for their fourteenth win in row against an undefeated Cincinnati squad. At the half, it looked to be a nail biter, with Louisville holding a four point lead, but that is when Taquan Dean, who had suffered an injured groin and could barely get up in the morning, led Louisville on a 49-26 second half explosion, chipping in 21 for the game. Louisville, which hasn’t lost since its first game against Iowa, was also helped by Francisco Garcia and Luke Whitehead, with 18 and 19 respectively. The 27 points matched the worst margin of defeat in Cincinnati coach Bob Huggins’ career. With Cincinnati’s loss, only St. Joseph’s and Stanford are left with undefeated records.

St. Joseph’s (PA) dominates in St. Joseph’s (PA) fashion: Pat Carroll led the Hawks to an easy victory over a struggling Minutemen team, throwing in a season high 20 points, but Delonte West was the star for a second game in a row. Delonte West continued his amazing shooting from the Hawk’s victory against Xavier, in which he was 12 for 12 from the field and 3 for 3 from behind the line. West made his first seven shots from the field before missing a three point attempt early in the second half. It was his first missed shot in over a week, since his final attempt in the Hawk’s game against Fordham. To put West’s play in perspective, over the last four games, he is shooting 75% from the field, 94% from the foul line, 54% from behind the arc, averaging 6 rebounds, 2.5 steals and 4.5 assists per game, all while scoring an average of 21 points per game.

UMass had yet to get a win in conference play, and St. Joseph’s wasn’t about to give them their first. The Minutemen could only muster up 23 first half points, and shot less then forty percent on the game. Rashaun Freemen led UMass with 17 points and 12 rebounds.

Maryland the giant-killer, Duke the giant-killer killer: Maryland has gotten the reputation as a giant killer, beating once top ranked Florida earlier this season, and looking to beat their 10th top ranked team under Coach Gary Williams. Unfortunately, they will have to wait until another day, as their second half surge came up short thanks to the clutch play of J.J. Redick. Redick scored a season high 26 points, but nothing was more telling of his play then the clutch steal under his own basket with less then two minutes to play. His free throws seconds later closed the door on Maryland, and there would be no repeat of last year’s defeat. Redick was the only Duke starter to shoot over 30%, and the starters got most of the minutes in this game. Luol Deng added 12 rebounds, which is where the Blue Devils edged out Maryland. The curse of being top ranked is avoided for another game.

Baylor transfer Roberts versus Florida: Mississippi State continues to prove itself with a victory over once top ranked Florida. Led by Baylor transfer Lawrence Roberts, the Bulldogs used Robert’s 21 points and 14 rebounds to dominate on the inside, and hold the Gators to 39% from the field. It was Robert’s 11th double-double of the season. Mississippi State’s only loss came to Kentucky a week ago, a one point thriller that came down to a last second shot for Kentucky, otherwise, they would be included amongst the undefeated ranks. Florida is now 2-2 in conference play, having lost to Vanderbilt on Saturday.

No joke, Diener might play on Saturday: Marquette fans can rest easy after is was announced yesterday that Travis Diener’s neck injury suffered in the team’s last game against Charlotte isn’t serious, and he might even play in Saturday’s game against DePaul. Marquette’s sports medicine staff called the injury hyperflexion, or whiplash. Diener was injured when Charlotte’s Calvin Clemmons occupied the popcorn machine, then fell on top of the popcorn dispenser Travis Diener. Diener is the heart of Marquette basketball, and had played in all 82 games since arriving at Marquette.

The Phantom of the Huskies: The number one team, though not in action, was in the news. Ben Gordon, the star guard for the UConn Huskies was fitted for a special mask after surgery on his broken nose. It is not yet sure whether he will play in the Huskies next game against Providence on Saturday, and he did not practice on Wednesday. The injury was sustained in the Huskies 94-70 victory over Georgetown on January 14th.

Should he start the 7 footer or the 7 footer : UCLA boasts two sophomores whose combined fourteen feet is as intimidating a force in the middle as any. To date, Michael Fey has wet coach Ben Howland’s whistle, but his lack of productivity in conference play has led to a change. Ryan Hollins will start at center for UCLA when they travel to play #1 Stanford this weekend. The main reason for the switch was Fey’s lack of rebounding, not to mention the fact that Hollins kept Ike Diogu, Arizona State’s dominant power forward, eight points under his average. He also recorded four blocks in that game. UCLA has started 5-1 in conference play, and looks to take sole lead of the Pac-10 by tie-breaker.

Providence Update: Providence junior forward Rob Sanders, who broke two fingers on Jan. 3 at Virginia, will most likely not be back on Saturday or Monday. Head coach Tim Welsh said that they are not trying to rush him back because he will be out for the season if he gets hit in the wrong place. They are hopeful for his return against Seton Hall on February 1st.

Tonight’s Menu:

• UCLA will be at Stanford, and the Pac-10 will be up for grabs. Oregon State and Oregon will be at Arizona and Arizona State respectively in other Pac-10 action.

• North Carolina will be at Florida State for the only battle of double-digit teams. Richmond will be at Kansas to round out the schedule.

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