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February 5, 2004 Conference Notes No Comments




The Morning Dish – Thursday, February 5th

Memphis tops Louisville, going to Disneyland ®: Louisville, who was without Taquan Dean, Francisco Garcia (Francisco Cabrera to Steve Lavin – yes folks, he is getting paid by ESPN), and reserve Nouha Diakite, couldn’t overcome a second half surge by Memphis to avoid their second loss in a row. It was the Memphis Tigers 17th straight win at home. Rodney Carney led four Tigers in double figures, chipping in 6 rebounds to boot. The deplete Cardinals got 26 from Larry O’Bannon, but Luke Whitehead shot only 2 of 10 from the field and mustered up only 6 total points. Eight Louisville players got playing time, but the three reserves only got 31 minutes combined, and all five starters played 30 minutes or more. The loss drops Louisville into second place alongside Memphis in Conference USA, which is now headlined by the power-house University of Alabama at Birmingham Blazers, who lost to Western Michigan earlier in the season. Louisville plays UAB on Saturday.

Virginia Tech upsets Providence: The Hokies play something other then football, who knew? Virginia Tech ended a five game losing streak, and dropped Providence two games out of the conference lead last night. Led by forwards Bryant Matthews and Coleman Collins, the Hokies finally beat a ranked opponent, something that they couldn’t do in three previous tries, four if you count previously ranked Notre Dame. With 12 free-throws a piece, Matthews and Collins were not afraid of the inside presence of Ryan Gomes. The two combined for 19 rebounds and 44 points, not to mention the 24 free-throws they accounted for. Rob Sanders, the second leading scorer for the Friars was taken out of the game with foul trouble, and he ended up with only four rebounds and a goose egg in the scoring column. The last time Virginia Tech beat a ranked opponent was last February when they toppled Connecticut.

North Carolina State wants to be ranked again, please: North Carolina State is making its best case for a national ranking in the top 25, and with its come from behind win over Wake Forrest, its largest comeback win in 11 years, they might pass the bar. The Wolfpack held the Demon Deacons to just 29 percent shooting in the second half after getting blitzed for 59 percent shooting in the first half. The Wolfpack are 11-0 at home, a record that the Demon Deacons can relate to, after all, they began the season 11-0 before losing the last 5 of 7. Marcus Melvin led the Wolfpack with 20 points and 11 rebounds.

Is there no rest for the weary: Maurice “Boo” Wade was arrested on charges that he choked a 19 year old woman, and the team suspended him indefinitely. He was held overnight on felony batter charges and missed the Badger’s 14 point win over Big Ten rival Minnesota. The woman told authorities that Wade choked her twice and then tried to strangle her with his arm. She was later treated at a hospital for injuries sustained in the alleged attack. Wade joins a host of college basketball players who have had trouble with the law, the most recent being Indiana State star guard David Moss, who was charged with domestic battery when a fellow student accused him of choking her in a university dormitory. Moss has been suspended from the team indefinitely. Combine this with the mess at Missouri and the theft of prized U-Mart snacks at Arizona and it is turning out to be a sad year for college basketball.

Getting into the act are players not even yet in college. Eastern Alamance High School’s Jameson Curry was among 49 students arrested in a sweep of the county’s high schools, sheriff’s office spokesman Randy Jones said. Curry is charged with two counts each of possession with intent to sell and deliver marijuana; two counts of sale and delivery of marijuana; and two counts of possession and selling and delivering a controlled substance on school grounds. Curry has a scholarship pending at North Carolina, and is now under the microscope since he was recruited by former coach Matt Doherty. Roy Williams has yet to comment on the events that transpired except to say it was disturbing and discouraging.

Pittsburgh still streaking: Pittsburgh continues its winning streak at home, making it 39 straight to date. Their win was due mostly to the stellar playmaking ability of Carl Krauser, who dished out 9 assists, most of them no-look and quite fun to watch. He also added 7 rebounds and 4 steals, not too shabby for a 6-2, 200 pound guard. He leads the team in scoring, but it was his ability to make others look good that made him look good in this game. Chris Taft added 15 points, and Jaron Brown chipped in 13 points, 7 assists and 5 rebounds. St. John’s was coming off its third win after the Mike Jarvis era, a 77-51 thumping of struggling UCLA. They now start a new streak of their own.

Devin Harris turns 38, still in college: When Wisconsin beat Minnesota last night despite the absence of Boo Wade, Devin Harris forced Wisconsin fans to forget everything other then the fact that he has game. Harris threw in 38 points, shooting 5 of 7 from behind the arc, and 10 of 12 from the field. Combine that with 13 of 14 from the line, and well, you have 38 points, but add 3 steals and 5 rebounds and you have one of the best games in college basketball this year. Harris didn’t turn the ball over once the entire game. That alone is a feat for a player that touches it almost every single time downcourt. Wade was replaced in the lineup by senior Freddie Owens who played 25 minutes. Wisconsin continues to sit atop the Big Ten standings.

South Carolina outlasts Alabama, allowed to stay in Hoopville Top 25 for another week: The game between South Carolina and Alabama saw 56 three point shots taken by the two teams combined, with 30 of them going in. Five players on the Gamecocks roster were in double figures, and four for Alabama accomplished the same feat. Six different players on South Carolina hit at least one three pointer in the game, and five players on Alabama did the same. Alabama shot 51 percent from behind the arc and only 46 percent from the field. South Carolina shot 56 percent from behind the arc while shooting the same from the field. This game will go down in the yearbook as one of the most amazing three point exhibitions all year. The Gamecocks will now have the opportunity to play Kentucky on Saturday for the outright lead of the SEC East

Portland Coach gets extension, not because of internet pop-up add: Despite having a losing record, not only this year but throughout his career at Portland, head coach Michael Holton, not to be confused with Michael Bolton, but just as bad, was given a five year contract extension. His current contract would have been up at the end of the season. Now, the former assistant to Steve Lavin at UCLA will be losing at Portland for years to come. The brightest accomplishment for the young head coach was a win two years ago over Oregon.

Rounding out the Top 25: Oklahoma and Texas were both winners yesterday. Texas saw seldom used Sydmill Harris score 13 points in 11 minutes of play. Harris was a significant player on the Texas team that went to the Final Four last year, but has not been as productive this season, especially of late. De’Angelo Alexander hit 5 three pointers to lead Oklahoma past Iowa State in one of the team’s most lopsided victories of the season.

Tonight’s Menu:

• Is there any other game in the world besides Duke versus North Carolina? This is the ultimate match-up, in the hotbed of basketball. All other games are nothing, but if you must know about them, the ranked teams in action are Stanford at Arizona State, Arizona at California and Pepperdine running into and quickly running away from Gonzaga. Utah State is on the cusp of the Hoopville Top 25, and they will be hosting Cal Poly.

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