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February 22, 2004 Conference Notes No Comments




The Morning Dish – Sunday, February 22nd

Stanford Wins Again: No. 1 Stanford continued its winning ways by clinching the Pac Ten regular season title with a 73-60 win at UCLA, setting a school record with its 23rd consecutive win. Stanford (23-0, 14-0 Pac Ten) clinced its fourth Pac Ten title in six years and won its seventh straight at Pauley Pavilion, getting 18 points from Rob Little. UCLA (11-12, 7-8) was led by Dijon Thompson, who had 17 points.

So Does St. Joseph’s, Easily: All week, the talk was that Temple might be the team to knock off No. 2 St. Joseph’s, if anyone could among the Hawks’ remaining regular season opponents. Well, the Hawks made it look easy on Saturday after a slow start, finishing the first half with an 18-3 run to break open a close game en route to a 76-53 blowout of the Owls at the Palestra. St. Joseph’s (24-0, 13-0 Atlantic 10) made 11 of 20 three-pointers and got 20 points and 7 assists from Delonte West and 18 points and 9 rebounds from Jameer Nelson. Temple (12-11, 6-6) shot under 30% from the field as their five-game winning streak was snapped.

Crimson Tide Scores Big Upset: Alabama used an early 12-0 run in the second half and a career-high 31 points from Kennedy Winston to upset No. 4 Mississippi State, 77-73 in Starkville. The win gives the Crimson Tide (13-10, 5-7 SEC) a much-needed boost in their NCAA Tournament resume. The Crimson Tide shot 50% from the floor while holding the Bulldogs (21-2, 10-2) to just over 42%. Lawrence Roberts led the Bulldogs with 23 points and 8 rebounds.

Panthers Win Close To Home: No. 5 Pittsburgh traveled south to West Virginia on the night the Mountaineer program celebrated 100 years of men’s basketball. The Panthers spoiled the evening by holding the hosts to 35% shooting in a 67-58 win, their fifth straight in the series. Chevon Troutman and Julius Page each had 15 points to lead Pittsburgh (24-2, 10-2 Big East), which maintains a one-game lead atop the Big East. Tyrone Sally was the only player in double figures for the Moutaineers (14-9, 6-6) with 17 points.

Gonzaga Cruises: No. 6 Gonzaga used Tony Skinner’s big game to pick up its 16th straight win, a 76-56 decision over Tulsa. Skinner had 12 points on 4-5 shooting behind the three-point line, adding 10 rebounds as one of five players in double figures for the Bulldogs (23-2). They got 13 points each from Adam Morrison and Ronny Turiaf, and held Tulsa (7-17) below 33% from the field.

Cowboys Need Overtime: No. 7 Oklahoma State got a career-high 36 points from Joey Graham, 30 coming after halftime, but the Cowboys still needed overtime to knock off host Nebraska, 87-83. The Cowboys (21-2, 11-1 Big 12) made 7 of 8 free throws in the extra session to extend their winning streak to 11 games and remain atop the Big 12. Andrew Drevo had 21 points on 8-10 shooting to lead Nebraska (14-9, 4-8), while Nate Johnson added 18.

Huskies Get Revenge: No. 8 Connecticut put the clamps on visiting Notre Dame at the Hartford Civic Center in a 61-50 win. The Huskies (21-5, 9-3 Big East) held the Fighting Irish below 30% shooting, although the Irish (13-10, 7-6) brought some of it on themselves with some bad shot selection and consistently settling for tough jump shots. Emeka Okafor had a huge game for the Huskies, scoring 14 points, hauling down 22 rebounds and blocking 7 shots, almost out-rebounding the Irish all by himself as the Huskies had a 57-27 edge on the glass. Chris Thomas, who had 31 points in Notre Dame’s upset of Connecticut 12 days prior, had just 13 on 6-23 shooting to lead the Fighting Irish.

Friars Hands Hurricanes Another Loss: Staying in the Big East, No. 19 Providence led by as many as 12 in the first half against struggling Miami, then blew the lead in the second half and trailed three separate times. Then they took the game over with a 12-2 run en route to a 70-57 win over the Hurricanes. The Friars (18-5, 9-3 Big East) remain in a tie for second place in the Big East and had great balance in the scoring column, with five players in double figures and Rob Sanders leading the way with 14 points. They outrebounded the Hurricanes (13-14, 3-10) 33-23 and shot over 52% from the field in handing Miami its ninth straight loss.

Rice Should Return Soon: After the game, Miami head coach Perry Clark said that Darius Rice, who has sat out the last two games with a sprained foot, should return to action in the Hurricanes’ next game on Tuesday against Seton Hall. Clark said Rice wanted to play against Providence, but doctors said the risk of aggravating the injury was too great to play him.

Cardinals, Bearcats Need More Than Forty: The Conference USA matchup that was most talked about before Saturday was No. 10 Louisville’s trip up to No. 16 Cincinnati. The game lived up to its billing as Cincinnati’s Field Williams hit a fadeaway jumper to force overtime, then the Bearcats took over in the extra session to take home a 66-61 win. Williams had 18 points and 5 assists to lead the Bearcats (18-5, 9-3 C-USA), who are now in a tie for second in the conference. Louisville (17-6, 7-5) got a game-high 27 points and 7 assists from Francisco Garcia.

But They Have First Place: The game for first place was in Memphis, where the 25th-ranked Tigers scored a 73-66 win over visiting UAB to take over sole possession of first place. The Tigers (19-4, 10-2 C-USA) got 24 points from Sean Banks in picking up their 10th straight win, while Morris Finley led the Blazers (16-7, 9-3) with 19 points and 8 rebounds. UAB was looking for its second win over a ranked team in the week.

Nice To Have You Back: Gerald Fitch made his return earlier in the week after sitting out the last three games for No. 9 Kentucky, and the Wildcats couldn’t have been happier. Fitch led the Wildcats with 18 points in their 68-59 win at Auburn on Saturday, although he said that the hand hurt him the entire game. The win was the 19th in 20 meetings in the series for the Wildcats (19-4, 9-3 SEC), and they held the Tigers (13-10, 4-8) below 34% shooting.

Texas Teams Win: Both ranked teams in the Big 12 from Texas won on Saturday. No. 11 Texas got 25 points from Brandon Mouton and two late free throws from Royal Ivey to seal a 68-63 win over visiting Oklahoma. The Longhorns (19-4, 10-2 Big 12) remain in second place in the Big 12 with the win, and they completed their second straight season sweep of the Sooners (16-7, 6-6), who fell to sixth place.

In Lubbock, Andre Emmett became the Big 12’s all-time leading scorer, scoring 18 points to overtake former Kansas star Nick Collison, as No. 22 Texas Tech beat Texas A&M 76-60. The Red Raiders (19-7, 7-5) led by as many as 21 before the Aggies got going in the second half, but never let them get the lead down into single digits.

Jayhawks Come Back To Win: Staying in the Big 12, No. 21 Kansas blew a 17-point lead in regulation and needed a three-pointer by Keith Langford to force overtime, then nearly blew another lead in overtime before escaping with a 90-89 win over Iowa State. An 18-1 run late in the second half put the Cyclones (14-9, 5-7) in front 67-62, but the Jayhawks (17-6, 9-3) came back and set up Langford’s three-pointer with 28 seconds left. The teams combined for 35 points in the extra session.

Tar Heels Hold On This Time: Last month, No. 18 North Carolina blew a big second half lead and lost to Florida State in Tallahassee. But on Saturday, the Tar Heels made sure it didn’t happen again, as Rashad McCants had 21 points and Raymond Felton added 17 points, 10 rebounds and 7 assists as they held off the Seminoles in a 78-71 win in Chapel Hill. North Carolina (16-7, 6-6 ACC) led by 18 points early in the second half, but Florida State (18-9, 6-7) eventually got within 65-64 before the Tar Heels made some key free throws to hang on. Tim Pickett had a game-high 25 points and Andrew Wilson had a career-high 24 for Florida State, which has now lost 22 straight ACC road games.

Oregon State Pulls Off Upset: Oregon State got 22 points each from David Lucas and Chris Stephens and held on for a 90-84 upset of No. 13 Arizona in Corvallis. The Beavers (11-13, 4-9 Pac Ten) took the lead for good with a 7-0 run in the first half, but Arizona (17-7, 9-6) made several charges during the course of the game. Channing Frye led the Wildcats with 18 points and 13 rebounds.

So Does Arkansas: A little change in the starting lineup did wonders for Arkansas, as they upset No. 23 South Carolina 82-66 in Fayetteville. He moved leading scorer Jonathan Modica to the bench, and he combined with classmate Kendrick Davis for 36 points as the Razorbacks (12-12, 4-9 SEC) scored the most points against the Gamecocks (20-6, 7-5) this season. South Carolina was led by freshman guard Tre Kelley, who had 18 points.

Orangemen Survive Again: Gerry McNamara hit a three-pointer as time expired to give No. 25 Syracuse a 57-54 win over host Georgetown. McNamara, who had 13 points, had missed six straight three-pointers before hitting the one that counted most, keeping the Orangemen (17-6, 7-5) on the winning path. Hakim Warrick led Syracuse with 19 points and 5 blocked shots, and the Orangemen survived 25 turnovers. The Hoyas (13-10, 4-8) shot just 28% from the field and have lost four straight.

Salukis Win Late: No. 20 Southern Illinois hosted Hawaii with an unusual starting time — 10:59 PM locally — but had the same result as the last 14 games, this one a 66-62 decision over the Rainbows. Darren Brooks led the Salukis (22-2) with 18 points, and his three-pointer with 28 seconds left sealed the win. Phil Martin led Hawaii (17-7) with a game-high 20 points.

Other Key Games: As we head into the home stretch, every day has many games with NCAA Tournament implications. A few more on Saturday included:

  • Seton Hall (17-7, 7-5 Big East) nearly blew a 16-point lead, holding off a furious late rally by Randy Fote (12 of his 15 points in a late 16-3 run) and Villanova (14-11, 6-6) in a 70-68 win in East Rutherford, NJ.
  • Michigan State (15-9, 10-3 Big Ten) shot 54% from the field to win its 10th in 12 outings, 66-56 over Northwestern in East Lansing.
  • Staying in the Big Ten, Purdue (17-9, 7-6) picked up a much-needed 65-47 win at Minnesota.
  • Also in the Big Ten, Illinois (18-5, 9-3) got 24 points from Dee Brown in a 66-58 win at Penn State.
  • Florida (15-8, 6-6 SEC) got a much-needed road win, knocking off Mississippi 81-66 behind 24 points each from Anthony Roberson and Matt Walsh.
  • Vanderbilt (17-6, 6-6 SEC) got a much-needed win, stopping LSU (17-6, 7-5) 74-54 behind 21 points and a big defensive outing from Dawid Przbyszewski.
  • Georgia (14-10, 6-7 SEC) continued its late season run with a 71-60 win over visiting Tennessee behind 22 points from Rashad Wright.
  • St. Louis (14-9, 7-5 C-USA) dealt a major blow to DePaul’s slim at-large hopes with a 69-62 road win over the Blue Demons (15-8, 8-4).
  • Charlotte (17-6, 9-3 C-USA) continued its road success with a 78-72 win at Southern Mississippi, getting 16 points each from Eddie Basden and Curtis Withers.
  • Kent State (20-3) got 25 points and 7 rebounds from Jason Edwin to win its 10th straight, 70-55 over visiting Creighton (19-5).
  • Manhattan (21-4) picked up a good road win, an 83-76 decision over Wisconsin-Milwaukee (17-9) behind 27 points from Luis Flores.
  • Xavier (16-9, 7-5 Atlantic 10) got 18 points from Romain Sato and scored a big win to keep their slim at-large hopes alive, a 67-60 decision over visiting Dayton (20-6, 10-3).
  • Air Force (19-4, 9-1 Mountain West) got two free throws with 1.4 seconds left for a 59-57 win at Utah (19-7, 7-4).
  • East Tennessee State (23-4) remained on a roll, scoring a 66-62 win at Fresno State behind 26 points and 5 assists from Tim Smith.
  • Western Michigan (20-3) needed overtime, but knocked off visiting College of Charleston (18-7) 83-78.
  • Princeton (15-7, 8-1 Ivy) retained sole possession of first place in the Ivy League with a 68-61 home win over second-place Brown (11-12, 7-3) behind 20 points from Judson Wallace.

Tonight’s Menu

• No. 4 Duke hosts Maryland in one key ACC game, while the other has No. 15 Wake Forest traveling to Atlanta to play No. 17 Georgia Tech.

• In a non-conference matchup with an ACC team, No. 14 North Carolina State hosts Washington.

• No. 12 Wisconsin heads to Ann Arbor to take on Michigan.

• Boston College hosts Rutgers in a key Big East battle.

• The top of the Patriot League is up for grabs as Lehigh hosts Lafayette. Both teams are tied atop the standings.

• Two cross-town rivals face off in Boston as Boston University hosts Northeastern.

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