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February 2, 2004 Conference Notes No Comments

The Morning Dish – Monday, February 2nd

Sensational Super Sunday: The sports highlight of yesterday had to be the Super Bowl between New England and Carolina. Despite a slow start, the game did not lack excitement as the Patriots and Panthers traded scores late in the second quarter and then throughout the entire fourth quarter. Patriots kicker Adam Vinatieri won the game on a late field goal, giving the Patriots a 32-29 victory, their second Super Bowl victory in three years.

Williams’ Commandment: Maryland coach Gary Williams commanded that the Terrapin believers shalt not curse nor wear obscene shirts. Well, the coach at least asked the fans to not repeat actions against Duke. Many fans chanted profanity at Maryland’s most-hated ACC rival and wore shirts with obscenities. Although taunting an opponent is part of college basketball, there is a limit and Williams clearly drew the line for decency at College Park, Md. The school officials must now regulate the coach’s proclamation.

But perhaps the foul-mouthed fans may have done a better job disrupting NC State’s rhythm against Maryland. The Wolfpack picked up a big road win at Maryland, 81-69, as junior superstar Julius Hodge led NC State with 28 points, nine rebounds and five assists. Maryland was led by senior forward Jamar Smith, who scored 21 points and grabbed six rebounds. Hodge and Smith are two underrated players in the ACC and in the nation, possibly because they play for teams that have, for the most part, not been ranked.

Pirates Upset Friars: Seton Hall dumped No. 23 Providence on the road, 55-46. Seton Hall allowed the Friars’ superstar Ryan Gomes to get his points – all 28 of them – but shut down just about everybody else. As a team, Providence shot only 31 percent in the game. Junior guard Andre Sweet led the Pirates with 18 points. Seton Hall played an efficient game, committing only 10 turnovers while forcing 17 from the Providence.

Young Sooner Carries Oklahoma To Victory: Freshman guard Lawrence McKenzie refused to let No. 25 Oklahoma lose to Nebraska, even though the Sooners let a 17-point lead slip away. McKenzie drained four three-pointers in the first half, tied the game with a free throw then put Oklahoma ahead with another three late in the game. McKenzie led all scores with 18 and also grabbed 10 rebounds. Nebraska was led by junior guard Jake Muhleisen, who scored 11 points. Only four players from both teams managed to reach double-figures in the defensive affair that Oklahoma won 52-50.

Battle of States, Sort Of: Florida State hosted conference-less Savannah State, which has won only two games this season. And yesterday would not make number three as the Seminoles cruised to an 88-73 win. Senior guard Tim Pickett paced Florida State with 24 points, three rebounds and five steals in only 16 minutes of action. At that rate, if Pickett played all 40 minutes, he would have finished with 60 points, seven rebounds and 12 steals. Fortunately for Savannah State, coach Leonard Hamilton did not play Pickett for long. Sophomore guard Jamar Daniels led Savannah State with 18 points and seven rebounds.

Mayor of Manhattan: Senior guard Luis Flores continued to be one of the nation’s most prolific scorers against MAAC-foe Canisius. The Jaspers won 72-56 as Flores scored 29 points, including five three-pointers. Flores is the leader of the Jaspers, who hope to play the role of Cinderella in this year’s March Madness. With a superstar like Flores, Manhattan has a chance to make those dreams come true. Senior forward Toby Foster led Canisius with 11 points and six rebounds.

Lights Out for Iona: Despite shooting 63 percent from the field, Iona lost to Niagara 97-91. Iona committed 19 turnovers to negate the team’s hot shooting. Senior guard DeShaun Williams led the lights-out shooting with 27 points on 11-of-15 shooting. But Niagara had three players score more than 20 points, led by junior forward Juan Mendez who scored 25 points and grabbed eight rebounds before fouling out in the final minute. Despite Iona’s hot field goal shooting, the team could not buy a free throw, making only 13-of-26 free throws. Meanwhile, Niagara won the game at the line, making 33-of-41 free throws. Those free throw opportunities make the difference between wins and losses, regardless of whether its a MAAC regular season game or an NCAA championship game.

Tonight’s Menu:

• The most appetizing game tonight has No. 19 Syracuse visiting No. 7 Connecticut in a battle of two of the Big East’s best teams. Another great game has No. 3 St. Joseph’s taking its undefeated record to local rival Villanova. The Wildcats will look to pick up a critical win in their attempt to make a run for the tournament. Elsewhere, No. 15 Kansas looks to bounce back from a loss to Iowa State at home against underachieving Missouri, and Air Force takes its greatest-defensive-show-on-earth to UNLV for late night television on ESPN.

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