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February 4, 2004 Conference Notes No Comments

The Morning Dish – Wednesday, February 4th

Cincinnati upset again: Coming off a home loss to Charlotte over the weekend, it seemed that Cincinnati would take out its frustrations on cross-town rival and struggling Xavier. But the Musketeers are never an easy battle for the Bearcats, and once again Tuesday night, Xavier scored a shocker. Led by Lionel Chalmers’ 20 points, Xavier topped Cincy, 71-69. Chalmers fittingly hit the game-winning shot with 27 seconds remaining. Bob Huggins’ crew was all mouth, as usual, entering the contest. Huggins criticized the Xavier fans before the game in the press, and some Bearcats players said the game meant more to Xavier. Perhaps it does, as Cincinnati has now lost six of its last eight games against Xavier. That eight-year stretch includes two games in which the Bearcats were ranked number one in the country.

Another CUSA upset: Coming off a huge win at Louisville, the Marquette Golden Eagles had finally figured they were back on track for an invite to the NCAA tournament. But the enigmatic Golden Eagles were stunned in Milwaukee Tuesday night by TCU, who led from start to finish, capturing an 85-79 victory. The Horned Frogs were unstoppable from three-point distance, hitting 12 of 23 long-range shots. Junior Marcus Shropshire was especially lethal from long distance, hitting six three-pointers. He led the Horned Frogs with 20 points. Travis Diener led Marquette with 17 points but only shot six of 15 from the field.

Kentucky rallies to beat Florida: Experience still wins college basketball games these days even with the influx of freshmen and sophomores into starting lineups across the country. And Tuesday night, Kentucky proved that. The veteran Wildcats rallied to score the final 11 points of the game against a youthful Florida squad to steal a 68-65 victory in Gainesville. Kentucky was led by Erik Dainels, who scored 22 points. The victory was Kentucky’s fifth straight in the series. Florida was led by Matt Walsh, who scored 16 points.

Florida State does it again: Tallahassee, Florida is looking like a den of nightmares for visiting ACC opponents this year. The Seminoles knocked off its third consecutive ranked ACC opponent Tuesday night when it disposed of Georgia Tech, 81-65. Florida State have previously defeated Wake Forest and North Carolina. The Seminoles mauled the Yellow Jackets in the second half, outscoring them by 18. The Seminoles were led by Tim Pickett, who scored 25 of his game-high 33 points in the second half. Pickett scored 22 in the second half of the North Carolina game and 18 in the second half against Wake Forest. Meanwhile, the loss dropped Georgia Tech to a disappointing 4-4 in ACC play.

Knight leads Texas Tech in blowout: The game seemed secondary in Lubbock, Texas, Tuesday night as the Red Raiders hosted the Baylor Bears. Most of the national news stories were not on the game but on coach Bob Knight’s run-in with Texas Tech chancellor Dr. David Smith at a local grocery store. The salad bar spat between the two, which incidentally included lettuce being thrown, resulted in Knight being reprimanded by the University. Original reports had Knight being suspended for five days, which was later deemed too harsh a punishment by Texas Tech’s President. So, with Knight on the sideline in front of the home crowd, the Red Raiders blitzed Baylor, 83-63. Andre Emmett led Texas Tech with 25 points. With Butler having a down year, the Horizon league is wide open. Both University Wisconsin-Milwaukee and Wright State are contenders for the title. UWM made a big move for the crown with a decisive 68-53 road victory at Wright State. The Panthers dominated the second half to seal the win. They were led by Dylan Page, who poured in 23 points. Wright State had a brutal offensive night, shooting just 35 percent from the floor.

Oklahoma State triumphs on the road: Texas A&M has not been an easy road game for the top teams in the Big 12 this season. The Aggies battled both Texas and Texas Tech in tight games. On Tuesday night, they did their best to knock of Oklahoma State, but the Cowboys were just too much in a 91-79 victory. The Cowboys opened up a nine-point halftime lead, but the Aggies battled back to get the deficit to five with just under six minutes to play. But Oklahoma State’s amazing 69 percent second half field goal percentage sealed the game. The Cowboys were led by John Lucas, who scored 27 points.

Illinois edges Indiana: The Illinois Fighting Illini and the Indiana Hoosiers have both had roller-coaster seasons to date. Neither has established itself as a consistent winner, yet both have shown flashes of being excellent teams. On Tuesday night, neither team looked all that impressive, but Illinois prevailed on the road, 51-49. The Illini overcame an awful first half in which they scored just 20 points. They rallied from an eight-point deficit with less than 10 minutes remaining to steal the win in Bloomington. Illinois was led by Deron Williams, who scored all 12 of his points in the second half.

Bracket Buster matchups announced: The pairings for the annual Bracket Buster, designed to allow mid-majors one more chance to get a quality win leading up to Selection Sunday, have been announced. The most appealing of this has Manhattan traveling to UWM; College of Charleston at Western Michigan; and Creighton at Kent State.

Stanford’s Davis out: The Stanford Cardinal’s leading rebounder, Justin Davis, is going to miss at least two weeks with a knee injury. The senior has a bruised bone and torn MCL in his left knee.

Tonight’s Menu

• Conference action is in full throttle as the season continues Wednesday night. Wake Forest travels to N.C. State in the ACC. The Demon Deacons are already a game behind the Wolfpack and desperately need this game to pull even in the standings. Louisville looks to bounce back from its Saturday loss when it travels to Memphis. The Tigers, like Louisville’s last opponent, are looking for a marquee win to make them more attractive to the selection committee. In the Big 12, Oklahoma host Iowa State. The Sooners need this home victory to pull above .500 in league play.

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