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January 30, 2004 Conference Notes No Comments

The Morning Dish – Friday, January 30th

Pitino is back: Louisville head coach Rick Pitino returned to the team on Thursday and resumed his coaching duties after taking a two-day medical leave. The 51-year-old Pitino underwent tests at the Cleveland Clinic on Tuesday and Wednesday to determine the cause of a “urological pain” that has ailed his left side for months. Assistant coach Kevin Willard stepped in for Pitino and led the fourth-ranked Cardinals to a 64-48 win over Houston on Wednesday night. They will play Marquette at Freedom Hall tomorrow.

Vandy coach is sorry: Vanderbilt coach Kevin Stallings apologized Thursday for comments he made about a fight that resulted in two players being ejected in a loss to South Carolina. “While at no time will we accept cheap shots from the opponent, it was unsportsmanlike and unprofessional of me to condone or promote such tactics by our players,” Stallings said in a statement. Stallings had to pull guard Corey Smith off Renaldo Balkman after the Gamecocks’ forward hit Smith in the first half of South Carolina’s 57-55 win on Wednesday. Balkman was ejected for a flagrant foul, while Smith was ejected because he threw Balkman to the ground and started hitting him.

Top-ranked Stanford still unbeaten: Stanford’s Josh Childress had 17 points as second-ranked Stanford stayed unbeaten with a 62-48 victory over Oregon State on Thursday night. Stanford (17-0, 8-0 Pacific-10) and third-ranked St. Joseph’s are the only undefeated teams left in Division I. Both are 17-0. It was Stanford’s ninth straight victory overall against the Beavers and fifth in a row at Gill Coliseum. The Beavers (8-10, 2-6) have lost four straight. They were led by Chris Stephens with 24 points, including five 3-pointers. David Lucas added 15 points and eight rebounds as well for Oregon State. The Cardinals have never won five straight in the 54-year history of Gill Coliseum.

Washington upsets Arizona: Washington’s Nate Robinson scored a career-high 31 points on an 11-of-15 shooting effort and directed a thrilling second-half rally as the Huskies stunned ninth-ranked Arizona 96-83 last night. The Wildcats (13-4, 5-3) could not run from the smaller Huskies, not with Robinson scoring 20 points in the second half. It was Washington’s first win over a ranked opponent since beating No. 19 Oregon 94-92 on Jan. 24, 2002. When the final horn sounded, students flooded from the stands to join the Huskies in a mid-court celebration. The Wildcats had to step around the frenzy on their way to the locker room, heading off the floor with heads down. Arizona had won eight straight over Washington before last night.

Duke wins defensive battle: Florida State trailed by two in the final minute, but Chris Duhon drained a 3-pointer with 36.4 seconds to play, helping second-ranked Duke hold off the Seminoles 56-49. J.J. Redick scored 24 points to lead the Blue Devils (17-1, 6-0 Atlantic Coast Conference), who have won 14 straight overall and an impressive 37 in a row at home. Sean Dockery went scoreless but had two big steals late, as Duke remained the only unbeaten team in the ACC conference season. Tim Pickett had 16 points and 10 rebounds for the Seminoles (14-6, 3-4), who were trying to beat a top-10 team in three straight games for the first time in school history. Florida State, which had beaten North Carolina and Wake Forest in the last week, fell to 0-14 all-time at Cameron Indoor Stadium. But the Seminoles have won the last two meetings in Tallahassee.

Deacons halt slide: The Wake Forest Demon Deacons ended a four-game losing streak after starting 12-0 with a 93-85 win over Maryland. Freshman Chris Paul scored 25 points, including a pivotal three-pointer with 2:23 to play. The Demon Deacons (12-4, 3-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) struggled with their scoring during their losing streak as Paul and fellow guard Justin Gray had not been able to find an offensive rhythm. Gray scored 16 of his 20 points in the first half, and Paul picked up the slack in the second half.

Loyola ends near-record streak: With their first victory in more than a year. Loyola College defeated 63-57 over Marist to end a 31-game losing streak. As the game ended, the crowd began chanting as one. And like in Washington, when the final buzzer sounded, the students eagerly rushed the court and mobbed the players. It has been more than a year since Loyola won a basketball game. The 31-game slide feel two-short of the NCAA record for consecutive losses at 33 held by Grambling from Dec. 6, 1999 to Dec. 16, 200. Charlie Bell scored 20 of his 25 points in the second half for the Greyhounds (1-18, 1-9 Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference), who handed Marist (5-13, 3-6) its fourth straight defeat. Will McClurkin scored 15 points for the Red Foxes, but he missed nine shots. Guard Brandon Ellerbee went 0-for-10 from the field and 0-for-2 at the foul line.

Tonight’s menu

&#8226 It is another smart kid’s Friday in the nation and college basketball. Princeton will be at Brown and Lafayette at American. All in all, 12 games on the schedule. A low-fat dessert tonight.

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