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February 17, 2004 Conference Notes No Comments

The Morning Dish – February 17th

Irish Still Lucky: One Big East team is taking the elevator up, the other down. Notre Dame made it three straight by beating Syracuse, 84-72, at the Carrier Dome. Chris Thomas, who finished with 25 points, only hit six of his 15 shots, but five were good for 3-pointers. Chris Quinn also lit it up with 22 points on 7-of-10 shooting. Hakim Warrick led a sloppy shooting Syracuse with 28 points. The Orangemen managed only 39% from the floor on 27-of-69 shooting, including 5-of-21 from behind the arc.

The ‘Cuse, which barely hung on to its Hoopville Top 25 status last week, defeated Rutgers and Miami earlier in the week. But Boeheim’s boys have lost three of the last five, including damaging losses to ranked opponents UConn and Providence. Notre Dame, on the other hand, is on a three game jolt with wins over UConn, Seton Hall and now Syracuse. Mike Brey’s club is timing their run perfectly, and because of the Irish’s high RPI, no one should be shocked if they make the NCAA Tourney with less than 20 wins. As of now ND is 13-9.

BC Sweeps Seton: In one of those classic bucket-trading games, Boston College bested Seton Hall, 67-63, in East Rutherford, completing a season sweep of the Pirates. BC held Seton to 10 points over the last 13:50 and Jermaine Watson hit eight free throws in the last two-and-a-half minutes. The game was as close as 66-63 at the eight-second mark, but Watson’s last free throw made it a two possession ball game, putting it out of reach for The Hall. Craig Smith led all scorers with 21, 14 of them coming in the second half. Seton Hall got 15 from Andre Sweet. Andre Barret was held to 13, but more notably, only one assist.

Bedlam, the Sequel!: The Cowboys got their 20th win of the year against the opponent they love to hate. Oklahoma State chewed up in-state rival Oklahoma, 65-52, and maintained sole possession of first place in the Big 12. OK State, known for its 52.5% shooting, made good on its efficacy, hitting 54% of its shots from the floor. Ivan McFarlin went 10-of-13 for 21 points, while John Lucas hit for 18. The Sooners, who clanged away at 31% from the floor, were led by Jabahri Brown’s 16.

The Cowboys complete a season sweep of Oklahoma. On January 14, OK State rocked the Sooners to the tune of 77-56 to begin a 10-game win streak that remains intact.

Air Force ‘Panned’: The final score perplexed basketball fans and made football fans wonder if they missed a really late bowl game. Texas-Pan American upset the Air Force Falcons with more of a halftime score than a final score: 37-35. But let’s not make this a story about Air Force losing. The UT-PA Broncs are on fire. About as on fire as a team called Texas-Pan America can get. The Broncs are on a seven game win streak, and while those wins came at the expense of the likes of Texas A&M-Corpus Christi, Lamar and IPFW, the victory over the Falcons shouts to the basketball world, “Watch out!” Bring on Central Baptist! (That’s the Broncs’ next opponent, to be played on Thursday.)

Road-House Blues: Former Arizona State basketball star Edward Lee House has himself a court date next week. In the wee hours of September 11, House allegedly instigated a brawl at a Tempe watering hole and threatened security guards at gunpoint. According to court records, the 2000 second-round NBA draft pick will face misdemeanor disorderly conduct and trespassing charges. Police records did not indicate the nature of the fight or what caused it.

House, who became the first ASU baller to receive the PAC 10 Player of the Year honor in 1999-2000, is currently a guard with the Los Angeles Clippers.

Class of ’04: It’s going to be one of those marquee classes in Springfield this year. Headlining the list of finalists for induction into the Basketball Hall of Fame are U. of Houston and NBA standout Clyde Drexler (whose induction will not include his short tenure as coach of the Cougars), UConn coach Jim Calhoun, Purdue skipper Gene Keady and flamboyant color commentator Dick Vitale. Lynette Woodard, a phenom from Kansas who led the nation in assists for three season between 1978 and 1981, is also one of the final 16. Woodard is also the first female member of the Harlem Globetrotters.

Faucher Leaves ‘Lean Green’: It’s seasons like this that make coaches retire early. Citing a 3-19 record this year while playing with an injury-depleted roster (which caps off five straight sub-500 seasons), Dartmouth coach Dave Faucher will resign after the 2003-04 season. Faucher will leave Hanover (N.H.) with no less than 136 career victories, good for third on the all-time Big Green coaches list. In the mid-1990’s, Faucher led the squad to two second-place finishes. His best year statistically was 1994-95, when the Big Green won eight of its last 10 and finished with a 10-4 Ivy mark. By exiting in March, Faucher ends a 20-year relationship with Dartmouth. He began his coaching career in Hanover as an assistant in 1984 and took command of the program as head coach in 1991.

Tonight’s Menu:

• Rick Pitino’s Cardinals took one on the chin on Saturday when they lost to Charlotte. Louisville, which has dropped three of the last five contests, looks for redemption against Texas Christian. The Horned Frogs are coming off a one-point loss to Tulane…Michigan State puts its 10-1 home record on the line tonight against Purdue…Florida State also does its best work at home. The Seminoles, 14-1 in Tallahassee, hosts Virginia…In the SEC, Florida campaigns for its return to the Top 25 when the Gators visit Georgia.

• Two middle-of-the-pack Mountain West teams clash tonight: UNLV hosts San Diego State…Southwest Missouri State, once a contender in the MVC, has dropped three of the last four. Tonight, the Bears take on Drake…20-5 Murray State just had its five game win streak snapped by first-place Austin Peay on Saturday. The Racers hope to be rid of the letdown bug against UT-Martin.

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