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Mid-Continent Notebook

February 4, 2004 Conference Notes No Comments

Mid-Continent Conference Notebook

by Nick Dettmann

Valparaiso Crusaders (10-9 overall, 7-3 Mid-Con)

The powerhouse of the Mid-Con in the last decade is finally becoming that. After they lost three of their first four conference games, Valpo has come back to win six straight games, all of them in conference. Their latest win came in Macomb, Ill. against the Leathernecks of Western Illinois. Led by Dan Oppland’s 22 points and 10 rebounds, the Crusaders squeezed out an 81-79 win in overtime. The Crusaders finished off the week at 2-0, including a win, 77-72, over league favorite Oakland at home.

Up next: Valparaiso will make their first trip to Shreveport, Louisiana to face new Mid-Con member Centenary on Thursday at 8:05 p.m. (EDT)

IUPUI Jaguars (13-7, 6-3)

Over the course of the past week, the Jaguars moved into a first-place tie after their 79-70 win over co-leader Oral Roberts, but fell back to second place after dropping a 67-65 decision to Centenary. Against Chicago State, Akeem Clark scored a game-high 28 points and Odell Bradley had 20. But, against the Gents, Bradley failed to reach double-figures for the time in 29 games. Matt Crenshaw had a team-high 15 against Centenary and moved into ninth place in career assists (436) in conference history.

Up next: A re-match of a thrilling triple-overtime game in Indianapolis against Oral Roberts is coming up. On January 24, the Jaguars defeated the Golden Eagles 108-105. The re-match will happen this Thursday night in Tulsa, Okla.

Oral Roberts Golden Eagles (13-7, 6-3)

The Golden Eagles lost consecutive games for the first since the opening week of the season against Oklahoma and Chattanooga. They did have only one game this past week and it was a 77-71 loss to UMKC. Ken Tutt scored a game-high 28 points for his ninth 20-point performance of the season. Freshman Caleb Green had his league-leading 10th double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Up next: ORU continues their relaxing schedule as they play just four games in a four week stretch. They will host IUPUI on Thursday night at 7:05 (EDT).

Centenary Gents (11-8, 5-3)

The Gents came from behind in the last five minutes in a 75-72 over Western Illinois in Macomb and then headed home to knock off IUPUI 67-65 on Saturday. Andrew Wisniewski had a game-high 30 points, including 11-of-16 shooting. Jarmorrow Moragne had a collegiate-high 17 points of the bench for Kevin Johnson. By knocking off IUPUI, the Gents extended their home-winning streak to 13 in a row at the Gold Dome.

Up next: A meeting with first place Valparaiso is next for Centenary. Valpo won the Mid-Con inaugural meeting of the two schools 77-66 in Valparaiso. Tip-off is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. on Thursday night.

UMKC Kangaroos (10-10, 5-4)

After having their losing streak reach three games after a 73-63 set-back at Southern Utah, the Kangaroos got a big win at Oral Roberts, 77-71 on Saturday. Michael Watson, who is second in the conference in 20-point games with 12, scored 27 points in both games last week. He scored 19 in the first half against Southern Utah and attempted 20 three-pointers. The team as a whole attempted a school-record 42 three-pointers in the game. Watson sits just 36 points shy of breaking the all-time conference record in career scoring.

Up next: The Kangaroos will get a very important home game as they take a break from six road games in seven games. They will host Oakland at 7 p.m. on Saturday.

Chicago State Cougars (6-16, 4-4)

A five-game win streak was halted for the Cougars courtesy of back-to-back losses to IUPUI, 79-70, and Oakland, 77-60. Rubeen Perry had his best game of his collegiate career against IUPUI in Indianapolis. He had his third double-double of the year with 24 points and 10 rebounds. He also had a team-high 15 points at Oakland and has moved into 10th place all-time in the school’s history. Royce Parran has hit 19 straight free throws, going back to Jan. 8.

Up next: The Cougars will get familiar with their home floor at the Jacoby D. Dickens Center. They will play their next four there, with Western Illinois coming to town first on Thursday night.

Southern Utah Thunderbirds (7-12, 3-5)

A team that is just three years removed from the NCAA tournament has struggled this season. They picked up their first home conference win of the season after a four-game road trip, where they went 2-2, by beating UMKC 73-63. SUU used a 13-3 run midway through the second half to take the lead for good. Jason Baker scored a collegiate-high 34 points, including 8-of-11 on three’s.

Up next: The Thunderbirds will continue a three-game home stand when Oakland comes to Cedar City on Thursday.

Oakland Golden Grizzlies (9-13, 3-7)

The pre-season favorites have not played up to their pre-season billing thus far. Oakland lost to Valparaiso, 77-72, for the 12th straight time last Thursday. But, OU recovered for a 77-60 win over Chicago State at home. Mike Helms, the pre-season Player of the Year, scored a game-high 29 points at Valpo with 17 coming in the second half as they nearly erased a 19-point deficit. Rawle Marshall scored 20 points for the second straight outing with a game-leading 23 against the Cougars, just four short of his season-high. Helms added 21 against CSU and sit 14 points away from moving into fourth place in the Mid-Con career scoring list.

Up next: Oakland has two road games this week, including one that surrounds them in the conference standings. Up first is the team that is above, Southern Utah on Thursday.

Western Illinois Leathernecks (3-18, 1-8)

Rounding out the cellar are the Leathernecks. They thought they were going to capture their second conference win of the season their last time out. Hosting Valparaiso to round out a five-game home stand, WIU gave Valpo everything they could handle in an 81-79 loss in overtime. Will Lewis led Western Illinois with 24 points and Bobby Carter had 19. Both were collegiate-highs.

Up next: In-state rival Chicago State is up next in the Windy City on Thursday night.

Player of the Week: Jason Baker, Southern Utah

Game of the Week: IUPUI at Oral Roberts, Thursday, Feb. 5, 7:05 p.m. (CDT)


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