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February 12, 2004 Conference Notes No Comments

The Morning Dish – Thursday, February 12th

St. Joseph’s (PA) beats Dayton (OH): St. Joseph’s put its undefeated streak on the line yesterday against once Top 25 Dayton. The game was a contest between the two top teams from the Atlantic 10, the first between teams that were both 9-0. Dayton is no longer 9-0 in conference play. Delonte West had 24 points and Jameer Nelson chipped in 16 points, 7 assists and 6 rebounds. St. Joseph’s streak wasn’t the only one on the line, Dayton had won 9 straight games, and three straight against the Hawks. Dayton, the Atlantic Conference champions form last year, were led by Keith Waleskowski had 20 points and 10 rebounds for the Flyers, but the team could never come back from the 11 point deficit at the half. Dayton only shot 38 percent from the field.

A bad couple of weeks: It all started when Bob Knight had to produce the Hollywood flop BK 6, something that didn’t need to be made after his Oscar nominated performance in BK 1 (which included the famous chair throwing scene). The supermarket fight was reminiscent of Tommy Morrison’s lame outdoor fight with Sylvester Stallone in Rocky V. What Knight unwittingly did was knock over the first domino in the NCAA scandal line, much like that Miller Light commercial. After Knight fell, then Indiana State guard David Moss dropped, then Maurice “Boo” Wade, then four St. John’s players, and now the Colorado football program. So where does the line of dominos head next? Well, Elijah Ingram, St. John’s leading scorer and one of the players in the midst of scandal, dropped out of school to avoid the judicial board that had earlier suspended Abe Keita from school for one year. Both players had already been suspended for life from the basketball team. One could say that the domino line began well before Knight, and that it could have been started by Willie Shaw, who was suspended from the St. John’s team after he was arrested for possession of marijuana in early December. Perhaps it was the Missouri scandal that centered on arrested player Ricky Clemons. One thing is for sure, this is not a season that John Wooden would have been proud of. Can we please get to the tournament, please?

Duke routs Virginia: The second half went much like the first, with Duke’s talented squad making Virginia look unworthy to be on the same court. J.J. Redick threw in 25 points, and not all of them were outside. Redick actually had a couple of challenging lay-ups that forced scouts to reassess his value inside of the arc. All five Duke starters were in double figures, and Sheldon Williams handled most of the inside dirty work as freshman Luol Deng was hindered by an injured tailbone he suffered early in the first half. He brought the Cameron crazy to their feet when he returned to the game with 16:29 to play, and promptly threw down an alley-oop dunk handed out by Chris Duhon. Duhon himself played a flawless game, hading out some very impressive behind the back passes and alley-oop passes. Elton Brown led the Cavaliers with 24 points and 8 rebounds.

Mississippi State versus South Carolina, the battle for 20: Both teams entered the contest seeking their 20th win this season. Mississippi State’s only loss this season came on a last second heave and lay-up against Kentucky, a heartbreaking way to lose your first game. Coincidentally, South Carolina had recently lost a one point affair to Kentucky, something that has become commonplace in SEC play. South Carolina dropped out of first place, and looked to get back on the right track against the Bulldogs. So, who was the team that hit the last second shot? Mississippi State’s Timmy Bowers hit a three pointer with 7.2 seconds left to force overtime, and the Bulldogs pulled off the 79-75 win over the Gamecocks. Rolando Howell led the Gamecocks with 24 points and 11 rebounds, but the overtime period was dominated by the Bulldogs, while the Gamecocks shot 1 for 6 in the extra session.

Texas Tech trounced by Oklahoma: Outside of Andre Emmett, Texas Tech was horrible. Emmett scored 22 points on 50 percent shooting from the field. The rest of the team shot 33 percent from the field. Emmett made 8 of 11 from the line. Only one other player shot a free-throw the entire game. Meanwhile, De’Angelo Alexander was playing through the pain of a sprained ankle, and he scored 11 points, hitting 3 three pointers. Oklahoma went on to win the contest 63-48.

Jeff Horner versus the laws of physics: Losing at Northwestern in basketball is almost as bad as losing at Northwestern in football. Wisconsin was in dire need of a win, with a loss dropping them out of first place in the Big Ten. It took some help from gravity for Wisconsin to eek out a victory over Northwestern. Jeff Horner’s three pointer at the buzzer bounced off the rim as time expired. Horner said that the shot felt good leaving his hand, but Horner’s feelings could not change the laws of physics.

Cincinnati over South Florida: Cincinnati doesn’t play pretty basketball, but they win. Their victory yesterday over South Florida is a prime example. South Florida, which has yet to win a conference game, was within ten points mid-way through the second half. It wasn’t until Tony Bobbitt hit a couple of threes to spark a run late in the second half that Bearcat fans knew it was over. Cincinnati momentarily takes first place in Conference USA, with Louisville playing in Charlotte tonight.

Providence over Villanova: 100 points is a lot, even for an NBA team these days now that zone defenses are the rage. However, Ryan Gomes and Donnie McGrath made it looks easy as Providence rolled to a 100-74 victory over Villanova. Gomes scored 23 points, McGrath scored 23 and Shieku Kabba chipped in 20 in the victory. It was the worst defeat in the 18 year existence of Villanova’ Pavilion, and only the second time that an opponent has reached 100 in that same period.

Southern Illinois over Drake: Southern Illinois is chasing its third straight NCAA tournament appearance. They helped their cause by beating Drake 96-76. Jamaal Tatum led the Salukis with 19 points. Lonnie Randolph led the Bulldogs with 13 points. Creighton beat Bradley yesterday, trying to tread water in the conference so as to have a shot to get an at large birth if they were to finish second to the Salukis in the conference. In case you missed it, the Creighton versus Southern Illinois game was a doosy.

Tonight’s Menu:

• Louisville travels to Charlotte hoping to recapture a share of the Conference USA lead. Wake Forest is at Clemson, USC is at Arizona, Utah State is at Cal State Northridge, and Gonzaga is at San Francisco.

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