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Horizon Notebook

February 5, 2004 Conference Notes No Comments



Horizon League Notebook

by Nick Dettmann

It is time to do a little Bracket Busting. It was announced on Monday, the pairings for Bracket Buster Saturday on Feb. 21. Eight teams from the Horizon League are featured among the 46 mid-major that will participate in the ‘last-chance’ game to impress the NCAA Selection Committee.

There will be 10 games that will be featured on ESPN for this second annual event. The event was created to give mid-majors an opportunity to improve their R.P.I in hope of gaining an at-large bid into the Big Dance. One of the 10 games featured will be UW-Milwaukee hosting Manhattan of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference.

The Panthers are 57th in their R.P.I ranking and the Jaspers are 59th. They will meet at Milwaukee’s U.S. Cellular Arena at 2 p.m. (EDT) on ESPN2.

“We are looking forward to a number of interesting and exciting match-ups that will be featured in this year’s ESPN Bracket Buster Saturday,” Jonathon LeCrone, Horizon League Commissioner and a member of the NCAA Selection committee, said. “By virtue of their outstanding season to date, UW-Milwaukee has earned its way into appearing on a nationally televised game against a Manhattan squad that is the class of the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. Both schools currently lead their respective conference and feature young coaches who are among the best in the business.”

UW-Milwaukee and Manhattan was the only pairing, featuring a Horizon League team, that will be televised on the national stage. Here are the other match-ups (records as of February 2):

Northern Iowa (11-7, 6-4) at UW-Green Bay (13-7, 7-3)
Detroit (9-10, 3-6) at Ball State (8-9, 5-4)
Ohio (5-13, 2-6) at Butler (8-11, 4-6)
Eastern Michigan (7-10, 2-7) at Cleveland State (4-17, 0-10)
Loyola-Chicago (7-13, 3-7) at Illinois State (6-12, 2-8)
UNC-Wilmington (10-9, 6-5) at UIC (15-7, 6-4)
Youngstown State (7-12, 3-6) at Bowling Green (9-10, 5-4)

A game-by-game preview will come on Thursday, Feb. 19.

Endowment created after long-time Vikings fan

Edward Jastrzemski enjoyed nothing more than attending a Cleveland State Vikings basketball game ever since his son, Joe, was selected as the public address announcer in 1983. Now, an endowment was created in his memory after his death in August of 2002 to help fund annual gatherings among CSU season ticket holders.

Jastrzemski enjoyed the atmosphere at CSU Viking basketball, listening to the pep band, watching the cheerleaders perform and hear the roaring of the crowd. His son created the endowment in his memory. He became a season ticket holder in 1988 and was one until his passing.

“My father was the quintessential Viking fan,” Joe Jastrzemski said. “There was nothing that he liked to do more than to go to a CSU game and he really loved basketball because it was very special to him.

“My father would have really liked the spirit of this endowment. He was an average guy who worked hard and was tremendously loyal. I think that he loved the camaraderie among the Vikings fans as much as he enjoyed the action on the court. This is a small way to say thanks to those fans.”

For information on how to contribute to the Jastrzemski Family Endowment of CSU Athletics, contact Chris Sedlock at (216) 687-5235.

Diener among Phoenix Hall of Fame inductees

Former University of Wisconsin-Green Bay star Tom Diener was one of three new inductees of the Phoenix Hall of Fame. Women’s basketball star Sue (Aspenson) Sagal and men’s soccer player Rick Voigtlander were the other two inductees.

Diener, the uncle of Marquette star Travis Diener, transferred to Green Bay after two seasons at the University of Wisconsin-Stout. A two-starter for the Phoenix, he was named a captain during his senior season and led the team to a Division II Final Four Appearance during the 1980-’81 season.

Diener was the team’s second leading scorer that season, averaging 12.1 points per game, while converting 55 percent of his shots and 80 percent of his free throws. He also led the team in assists with 134 that same season.

Following his senior season at Green Bay, he signed a free agent contract with the Milwaukee Bucks. But, he was released from the team before the 1981-’82 season.

Diener now resides in Milwaukee, Wisc., where he teaches at Vincent High School and coaches the boys basketball team. He has led the Vikings to a state-record five Division I State Championships and has won the State of Wisconsin Associated Press Coach of the Year three times.

Player of the Week

Kalombo Kadima, UW-Milwaukee.

Registered a career-high 22 points in a win over Green Bay

Newcomer of the Week

DaShaun Wood, Wright State.

Scored 15 points in a win over Cleveland State.

Game of the Week

Wright State at UW-Milwaukee, Saturday, Feb. 7.

Previewing the Game of the Week

March Madness is already starting to happen, which is weird because it is February. This Saturday, the second-place Wright State Raiders will travel to Milwaukee to play the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Panthers.

The Panthers won the first meeting in Dayton back on Jan. 27. With the Panthers holding a two-game lead over Wright State, UWM, with a win, will be in the driver’s seat. If UWM can beat UIC tomorrow in Chicago, which is a place they have struggled to win at in recent seasons, and a win over the Raiders would give UWM the season sweep of the second through fifth place teams in the standings (UIC, Green Bay, Detroit and Wright State).

Wright State needs to win this game in order to stay in the hunt for the league regular season title. A loss will put them three games back and UWM would have a VERY comfortable lead. Both teams have similar schedules to finish up the season. After Saturday, both teams will have three home games and two road games. UWM still has to go to Indianapolis for a meeting with Butler on the 18th and Wright State has to travel to Green Bay in the season finale, which could have a very high impact to the tournament seeds.

How Wright State can win: They MUST control the tempo. With UWM’s press defense, that will be a difficult task, but not impossible. Seth Doliboa has the physical tools to help contain Dylan Page, but does not quite match-up with him statistically. A key-match up could be senior guard Vernard Hollins and sharp-shooter Ed McCants of Milwaukee. If McCants gets hot, who does struggle from time-to-time on defense, Hollins will have his work cut out for him.

How Milwaukee can win: They have the home floor advantage. A good-sized crowd is anticipated for the game and the Panthers are one of the hottest teams in the country, having won nine in a row coming into the week. All Milwaukee has to do is just control Doliboa and Hollins, which they did a great job of the first time around. Milwaukee is more physical and quicker than Wright State and will use that to their advantage.

UW-Milwaukee (15-5 overall, 10-0 Horizon League):

Fifth-year senior Kalombo Kadima broke out for the best game of his collegiate career with 22 points to help UWM to an 81-70 win over UW-Green Bay. The 11-point win gave UWM a season sweep of the Phoenix in front of 8,703 fans at the U.S. Cellular Arena, a regular season school record for UWM. UWM was money on the free throw line, as they 22-of-24, including 11-of-12 in the final four minutes of the game to help fend off a Phoenix rally. Joah Tucker and Dylan Page each had 14 points and Adrian Tigert added 11 more for UWM.

The Panthers have two big games this week. The first one comes up on Thursday night as they travel to Chicago to re-acquaint themselves with the Flames of UIC. UWM won the first go-around 78-62 in Milwaukee on Dec. 23. UWM has struggled to win at the UIC Pavilion. UIC won last year’s meeting there 102-92. Then, the Panthers will host Wright State in a big match-up on Saturday. A win for UWM gives them a comfortable three-game lead in the standings.

Wright State (11-9, 8-2):

The Raiders kept pace with the Panthers, as they downed the Cleveland State Vikings 72-56 in Dayton, Ohio in front of a season-high 8,403 spectators. Four players were in double-figures for Wright State. Leading the way with 15 points was Drew Burleson and DaShaun Wood. Vernard Hollins and Seth Doliboa rounded out the double-figure scorers with 13 and 12 respectively. The Raiders defense was stingy as Cleveland State only shot 37 percent for the game, including 9-of-29 (31 percent) in the first half.

The Raiders will have a Loyola coming to the Ervin J. Nutter Center on Wednesday night. Then, they will head into Milwaukee on Saturday for a very important game that can very well have dramatic league championship status.

UW-Green Bay (13-7, 7-3):

In a big week for the Phoenix, it started off with a 53-52 win over Detroit in Green Bay on Thursday. Senior Mike King hit two free throws in the waning seconds of the game to lift the Phoenix to the win. The Phoenix fell behind early in the second half, as Detroit started off with a 7-0 run to give a nine-point lead. Green Bay tied it at 49 with 2:53 left in the second half. Detroit’s Willie Wallace was fouled on a loose ball by Kevin Hughes. Wallace made 1-of-2 free throws, but got his own rebound and the Titans held the ball with 43 seconds left. Detroit ran the clock down as far as they could and Green Bay did not attempt to foul. But Detroit’s Rulon Harris missed a jumper and King was fouled on the rebound sending him to the line for the game-winning shots. Matt Rhode led Green Bay in scoring with 17 points, 14 in the first half, and King had 13.

In another big match-up the Phoenix ventured south to Milwaukee to take on the Panthers in front of U.S. Cellular Arena regular season record crowd of 8.703. Green Bay made it close late, but could not pull of the come-from-behind victory as the Panthers beat Green Bay 81-70 on Saturday, giving UWM a sweep of the season series. 15 first half turnovers haunted Green Bay as they fell behind 36-26 at the break. In the second half, Green Bay opened up with a 13-2 run to tie the game at 48 at the mid-way point. But UWM answered back with a 6-0 run and not relinquish the lead. King led the way for Green Bay off the bench with 15 points and guards Brandon Morris and Rohde each had 11.

The Phoenix will continue a three-game road trip with a top in Cleveland to take on the Vikings on Thursday and then Youngstown State on Saturday.

Illinois-Chicago (15-7, 6-4):

Cedrick Banks and Armond Williams led the Flames to their first win over Butler since 1989, 74-71 on Saturday. Both Banks and Williams played 42 minutes, with Banks scoring 22 points and Williams had 17. UIC had an 11 point lead with six minutes to go and a seven point edge with just over seven minutes to go. But, Butler’s Avery Sheets, Mike Monserez and Jamie Smalligan hit three’s to send the game into overtime at 64. Martell Bailey had 13 points and 11 assists and Joe Scott added 10 for UIC. The Flames were able to get past the Bulldogs with the help of the free throw line, as UIC outscored Butler 19-5 at the line.

The Flames have a big ‘game of the week’ showdown with the UW-Milwaukee Panthers on Thursday in Chicago. Milwaukee won the first meeting Dec. 23 in Milwaukee 78-62.

Butler (8-11, 4-6):

Sophomore guard Avery Sheets scored 13 points to lead the Bulldogs to a 61-43 win over slumping Cleveland State at the Hinkle Fieldhouse. It was Sheets’ first double-digit performance at home since early December. This was all on top of defending the league’s second-leading scorer, Jermaine Robinson. He held Robinson to just five points in the first half. Sheets scored all 13 of his points in the first half on 4-of-6 shooting and 4-of-4 from the free throw line. Duane Lightfoot contributed with 12 points off the bench. Butler out-rebounded the Vikings 31-17 and had just 10 turnovers, two in the first half.

Playing their third game on a four-game home stand, the Bulldogs went down to the wire against Illinois-Chicago. Unfortunately, they would fall 74-71 in overtime on Saturday. It was Butler’s first loss to the Flames since 1989. Trailing by 10 with 3:35 to go in regulation, the Bulldogs stormed back to send the game into overtime on a three-pointer by Jamie Smalligan with 28 seconds left. Butler out-scored UIC 17-7 in the final 3:15 of regulation, but that momentum did not carry over to the overtime. UIC hit 6-of-9 free throws in the extra session, including Martell Bailey hitting 1-of-2 with five seconds left.

The Bulldogs will take a break from the league schedule and host IP-Fort Wayne to close out a four-game home stand tonight. After that, it is three straight on the road with the first coming in Chicago against Loyola on Saturday.

Detroit (9-10, 3-6):

In a must-win game against the UW-Green Bay, the Titans dropped a heart-breaking 53-52 to the Phoenix at the Resch Center. Phoenix senior Mike King hit two free throws with eight seconds left in the game to capture the win. King was 9-of-9 on the night from the line. Rulon Harris led the Titans with 14 points. Willie Wallace posted his second career double-double with 12 points and 10 boards, while James Thues rounded out a trio of double-digit scorers for UDM with 11. Out of the gate, Detroit was cold as they hit only five of their first 17 shots, but stayed in the game after Green Bay failed to make a basket in the last 4:08 of the first half. But the difference was the free throws as Green Bay was 18-of-21, while Detroit was just 6-of-10.

In a five out of seven game slide, the Titans could not hold onto a 10-point lead in the last two minutes of regulation in an 80-77 overtime loss to Loyola. Losers of eight straight games coming in, the Ramblers outscored the Titans 14-4 late to force the extra frame. Louis Smith of Loyola was fouled after Harris missed a go-ahead jumper with 6.1 seconds left in the overtime. After Smith made both free throws, Jimmy Twyman tried to tie the game at the buzzer to force a second overtime, but came up empty.

The Titans need to pick up a win to keep them in the thick of the league race, but first place is starting to get out of reach. They will entertain the two of the bottom three teams of the league standings, Youngstown State on Thursday and Cleveland State on Saturday.

Youngstown State (7-12, 3-6):

The Penguins are quietly wrecking some havoc in the league standings. Junior Brian Radakovich hit a three with 39 seconds remaining in the second half and added two free throws to help YSU pull out a 76-75 win over Loyola on Thursday. YSU had a 45-37 lead at the break and Loyola would take a 53-51 lead mid-way through the second half. In the last 5:28, the lead changed hands nine times. A Paul McMillian dunk with five seconds left and a three by DaJuan Gouard for Loyola with five-tenths of a second left, made the game interesting late. Loyola forced a turnover on the ensuing possession, but ran out of time to get a shot off. Radakovich finished with a collegiate-high 17 points, seven of which came in the last 4:17 of play.

To close out the week, the Penguins made it three wins in a row with a 71-61 win over non-league foe IP-Fort Wayne at the Beeghly Center. It is the first three-game win streak for the Penguins since February 2001. Adam Baumann and freshman Mike Woodard finished with 11 points each and Andy Jahnke and Doug Underwood each had 10.

The Penguins will take a trip into Detroit to face the Titans on Thursday night. Then, they will head back home, as third-place Green Bay comes to town Saturday night.

Loyola-Chicago (7-13, 3-7):

Despite shooting 55 percent from the field against Youngstown State, the Ramblers still fell to the Penguins 76-75 at the Beeghly Center on Thursday. The Ramblers started off with a 10-2 run to start the game and led 22-17 with 11:50 left in the first half. But YSU fought back and took a 45-37 lead going into the intermission. In the second half, the Penguins led by as many as 10, but Loyola re-took the lead with 12:29 remaining on a Blake Schilb lay-up. The Ramblers feel behind 76-70 late, but made a late charge. Paul McMillian slammed down a dunk with five second left to make it 76-72. Then, on the in-bounds pass, Loyola forced a turnover and DaJuan Gouard drilled a three with five-tenths of a second left in the game. Schilb deflected the in-bounds pass 15 feet from the hoop but could not get off a shot before the buzzer sounded. Demetrius Williams led Loyola with a game-high 18 points, one of four to get double-figures for the Ramblers.

In their second game of the week, the Ramblers starting five scored all but two of the team’s 80 points in an 80-77 overtime victory over Detroit in Chicago on Saturday. The win snapped an eight-game losing streak for the Ramblers. Loyola led by as many as nine in the first half before Detroit closed the opening frame with a 17-3 run and a 40-35 lead. Down late in the second half, the Ramblers rallied back to score 14 of regulation’s 18 to send the game to overtime. At the end of regulation, Gouard cut the Ramblers deficit to 70-66 with 49 seconds left in the overtime. Detroit’s Rulon Harris missed a free throw and Louis Smith’s lay-up and ensuing free throw on a foul cut the deficit to 70-69. After a Titan turnover, Loyola set up for a last-second shot. Gouard missed a three-pointer, but McMillian was fouled after he grabbed the rebound on a controversial call with three-tenths of a second left. McMillian wound up missing the front-end of a two-shot foul attempt to send the game to overtime. “Our guys stepped up and made plays today,” head coach Larry Farmer said. “We told our kids that once we snap this streak, we start a new season. We want to be the best team we can be going into the conference tournament.”

After a tight week, the Ramblers will travel to Dayton to take on second place Wright State on Wednesday night. Following that game will be a home meeting with the Butler Bulldogs on Saturday. Then, they will complete their season series with Milwaukee next Thursday in Milwaukee.

Cleveland State (4-17, 0-10):

Still seeking their first win since December 13, the Vikings dropped a 61-43 decision to Butler on Thursday in Indianapolis. The Vikings lead only in the early phases of the game, but would eventually go into the half trailing 26-17. Omari Westley and Jermaine Robinson combined to score 32 of the Vikings’ 43 points in the game, each had 16 points.

Against Wright State, the Vikings made it 15 straight losses after losing 72-56 to the Raiders on Saturday. The Raiders never relinquished the lead after Seth Doliboa hit a free throw to break a 3-3 tie. Westley led CSU with 22 points and eight rebounds. Robinson had 19 as well.

The Vikings will host third-place UW-Green Bay on Thursday night. After that, they will travel to Detroit for a Saturday afternoon matinee from Calihan Hall against the Titans.

     

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