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February 20, 2004 Conference Notes No Comments

The Morning Dish – Friday, February 20th

Stanford stays perfect: Josh Childress had a career-high 36 points and 11 rebounds and the Cardinals rallied from a 13-point first-half deficit to beat Southern California 76-67 Thursday night for their school-record 22nd consecutive victory to remain perfect. Stanford clinched a share of its fourth Pac-10 title in six years with three weeks remaining in the regular season. USC threatened until the final minutes after Stanford blew an 11-point lead in the second half. The Trojans tied it for the final time at 65 on a basket by Jeff McMillan. But Childress hit a 3-pointer and scored another basket for a 70-65 lead. The Trojans, who had been solid from the free-throw line earlier in the game, made just 2-of-5 in the final 1:15 when they trailed by three. After that, Stanford scored the game’s final six points to end USC’s upset hopes. Matt Lottich added 20 points for Stanford. McMillan led USC with 21 points and 13 rebounds — one off his career highs in both categories. Rory O’Neil added 14, and Desmon Farmer scored 11, all in the first half before he got in foul trouble. The Trojans have lost seven of their last nine games.

St. Bonaventure gets probation: St. Bonaventure’s men’s basketball team was put on three years’ probation Thursday and barred from the 2004 NCAA postseason for a player eligibility scandal. Citing “a lack of institutional control,” the NCAA pinned most of the blame on former school president Robert Wickenheiser for ignoring athletic officials and approving junior forward Jamil Terrell’s transfer. Last year, the Bonnies were stripped of six victories and barred from the postseason by the Atlantic 10 after Terrell was ruled ineligible for violating junior college transfer guidelines. Terrell earned a certificate in welding at a community college before going to St. Bonaventure. Wickenheiser resigned last March and coach Jan van Breda Kolff was dismissed. A school investigation also found a program lacking institutional control. In July, the school submitted a report to the NCAA. A month later, William Swan, chairman of the school’s trustees, committed suicide, in part because of a belief he had let down his alma mater. As part of its findings, the NCAA also cut two of the team’s scholarships for 2004 and one for 2005. In addition, recruiting visits by coaches and players were reduced. The three-year probation period is retroactive to last July 15. The postseason ban is limited only to the Bonnies competing in the NCAA or NIT tournament this year. The Atlantic 10 Conference will decide whether to allow the Bonnies to participate in its tournament at Dayton, Ohio, next month. St. Bonaventure is 6-16 under first-year coach Anthony Solomon.

G-tech ends slide at Maryland: Jarrett Jack scored 21 points, and the 17th-ranked Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets ended a nine-game losing streak at Maryland with a 75-64 victory Thursday night. Clarence Moore and Will Bynum had 12 points apiece for the Yellow Jackets, who moved into a third-place tie with Wake Forest in the ACC by completing their first sweep of the Terrapins since the 1992-93 season. Georgia Tech was 1-4 on the road in the ACC and had dropped 12 of 16 overall against Maryland. The Terrapins missed 48 field-goal tries, went 15-for-25 at the line and 3-for-20 from 3-point range.

Utah State wins in overtime: Spencer Nelson scored 15 points and pulled down 10 rebounds before fouling out in overtime as Utah State beat UC 77-72 Thursday night. The loss snapped a two-game winning streak for the Highlanders, who fell to 1-10 on the road. Cardell Butler hit four free throws for Utah State in the final 22 seconds of overtime to help them improve to 21-2 overall and 13-1 in the Big West. Riverside led by as many as six with a little over five minutes remaining in regulation. Utah State pulled ahead 62-61 with 1:12 left on back-to-back layups by Nate Harris and Nelson. Nelson fouled Nate Carter, who sank one of two shots, tying the score at 62 and forcing it into overtime. Ted Bell scored for the Highlanders in overtime, but USU made a 6-0 run to take a 68-64 lead. Butler finished with 14 points and Mark Brown and Harris each added 13. Carter led the Highlanders with 19 points, Mark Peters had 14 and Matt Benson scored 11. The Utah State victory came after the suspension Wednesday of USU athletic director Rance Pugmire, who had been ticketed on suspicion driving under the influence of alcohol. Fred H. Hunsaker, a recently retired USU vice president, was named acting athletic director pending the outcome of Pugmire’s case.

Gonzaga retires Stockton’s number: Almost 20 years after he dished out his final assist for Gonzaga, John Stockton watched as the school retired his number. No Gonzaga player has had No. 12 since Stockton’s last college game on March 12, 1984. For the previous 19 years, the Spokane native has been busy building a Hall of Fame-caliber career with the Utah Jazz. He retired before this season. “Thanks for this tremendous honor,” Stockton told the packed house of 4,000 Wednesday night at the game against Portland. “I’m proud to be able to share this with you guys.” He thanked college coaches Dan Fitzgerald and Jay Hillock, his teammates — some of them were in attendance — and school administrators who supported athletics. Hailed as “the ultimate Zag,” Stockton was joined by his wife Nada, six children, his parents and members of his large extended family in Spokane. He stood with his wife at the top of the key and was presented with a framed jersey with his number on the front. A poster of the jersey also was unveiled in the rafters.

Stockton was the first player in GU history to score 1,000 points and hand out 500 assists. The West Coast Athletic Conference Player of the Year in 1984, he left Gonzaga as the all-time leader in assists with 554 and steals with 262. He was third in career field goal percentage at 55.9 percent and sixth in scoring with 1,340 points. His assists record has since been eclipsed by Matt Santangelo and Blake Stepp, but he still holds the steals record. He also set single-season school marks for assists with 201 and steals with 109, both records coming in his senior season. He set a single-game record with nine steals and tied the single-game assists record with 13. As a senior, he led the conference in scoring with 20.9 points per game. He was the final player cut from the 1984 U.S. Olympic Team. Stockton was the 16th player selected in the 1984 NBA draft and spent his entire career with Utah. He retired as the NBA’s career leader in assists with 15,806 and steals with 3,265. In 1996 he was voted one of the 50 greatest players in NBA history. A 10-time NBA All-Star and a member of the Dream Team, he won gold medals at the 1992 and 1996 Summer Olympics. Stockton played 1,504 regular-season games, 182 playoff games and holds the record for most seasons with the same franchise. His number was never officially retired, but the team would not assign it to other players. When Dan Dickau transferred to Gonzaga, he requested No. 12 in honor of Stockton, but settled for No. 21.

Postponed…for now: A suspended basketball game between Rutgers-Camden and Montclair State will be completed only if it has a bearing on the conference playoffs. Referees halted the Division III game Wednesday night after a fight broke out under the basket. On Thursday, the New Jersey Athletic Conference said the game will be completed Sunday at a time and site to be determined only if it is meaningful for the playoffs. Montclair State can still earn the third and final Blue Division berth in the playoffs, but first must beat top-seeded New Jersey City on Saturday. If that happens, the Red Hawks would have to win their game against Rutgers-Camden to earn the final playoff berth. The brawl halted the game with 4:03 remaining in the first half. No one was injured during the fight.

Tonight’s menu

&#8226 The usual billing of Ivy League and Patriot League action is on tap in the bar. Harvard at Columbia; Dartmouth at Cornell; Brown at Pennsylvania; Army at Lehigh;
Colgate at Navy; Lafayette at Bucknell; Holy Cross at American; And finally, Yale at Princeton.

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