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February 29, 2004 Conference Notes No Comments

The Morning Dish – Sunday, February 29th

Stanford Makes It Look Easy: No. 1 Stanford had no trouble this time around, blowing out Oregon 76-55 on Senior Day in Palo Alto. It was also the last game played at Maples Pavilion before upcoming renovations that begin on Monday and should be completed in time for the conference season next year. Stanford (25-0, 16-0 Pac-10) beat the Ducks at home for the 18th straight time behind 29 points and 12 rebounds from Josh Childress. Oregon (12-11, 7-9) got 18 points from Luke Jackson and 17 from Aaron Brooks.

Hawks Pull One Out: No. 2 St. Joseph’s got a major test on Saturday at Rhode Island, as it was Senior Day for two Rams and the sold-out Ryan Center was as loud as can be. The game featured 11 ties and 9 lead changes, but the last lead change was in favor of the Hawks as Delonte West’s three-pointer with 57.9 seconds left stood up in their 57-55 win. The Rams (17-12, 6-9 Atlantic 10) held the Hawks below 36% from the floor and had a 44-29 edge on the glass, but the Hawks (26-0, 15-0) made the plays they needed to down the stretch. Jameer Nelson led the way with 21 points, while West had 19 and 5 assists. Along the way, West had a streak of 37 consecutive free throws snapped when he missed the second of two with 3:41 left in the first half. Dustin Hellenga led Rhode Island with 15 points, while Jamaal Wise posted his first career double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds.

Okafor, Huskies Pull One Out: When the going got tough for No. 8 Connecticut, Emeka Okafor got going in the clutch — at the defensive end. Okafor blocked a shot at the end of regulation and again at the end of overtime — his only two blocks of the game — to enable the Huskies to pull out a 75-74 win at Villanova. The Wildcats held a 40-27 edge on the glass, but couldn’t make the plays to win at the end. Ben Gordon led the Huskies (23-5, 11-3 Big East) with 21 points and 5 assists, while Okafor had 17 points and 6 rebounds. Curtis Sumpter paced Villanova (14-13, 6-8) with a game-high 22 points and Allan Ray added 20.

Louisville Snaps Streaks: No. 20 Louisville took care of two streaks when No. 22 Memphis came to town on Saturday, as they turned 21 Memphis turnovers into 20 points en route to a 66-60 win over the Tigers. With the win, the Cardinals (18-7, 8-6 C-USA) snapped a four-game losing streak and ended the 11-game winning streak Memphis (20-5, 11-3) had. Francisco Garcia led the Cardinals with 18 points, while Sean Banks had a game-high 26 points and Antonio Burks had 22 in the losing effort.

Gonzaga Caps Perfect Run: No. 5 Gonzaga won its 18th game in a row on Saturday, getting 14 points and 8 assists from Blake Stepp in an 80-64 win over visiting Santa Clara. With the win, the Bulldogs (25-2, 14-0 West Coast) capped their first perfect run through the West Coast Conference. They ran out to an early 22-5 lead and were never seriously challenged after that.

Cowboys Hang On To Game, Tie For Top Spot: No. 6 Oklahoma State seemed to have the game locked up, leading Baylor 65-53 with just over four minutes left. Then a funny thing happened: the Bears decided to hang around and rally with a 12-2 run before the Cowboys put it away. Ivan McFarlin (season-high 24 points) made a late layup to seal the game, then Tony Allen (20 of his 22 points in the second half) hit a 60-footer for the final margin of victory for the Cowboys (22-3, 12-2).

Longhorns Win In-State Battle: No. 10 Texas made four free throws in the final 28 seconds to seal a 74-71 win over No. 25 Texas Tech in Austin. The Longhorns (21-4, 12-2 Big 12) got 17 points from Brandon Mouton in his last home game and 15 points and 10 rebounds from freshman P.J. Tucker. The Red Raiders (19-9, 7-7) got a game-high 21 points from Andre Emmett, 11 coming in the final five minutes as they tried to rally.

Bulldogs Keep Winning On The Road: No. 7 Mississippi State has done something seemingly unthinkable in a day where homecourt advantage means so much: they enter their final road game of the season undefeated in conference road games. Their latest exploits were a 72-69 win at Vanderbilt on Saturday, which clinched a second consecutive SEC West title. The Bulldogs (23-2, 12-2 SEC) improved to 7-0 on the road in SEC play, getting 18 points and 14 rebounds from Lawrence Roberts. Vanderbilt (18-7, 7-7) got a game-high 26 points from Matt Freije.

ACC Teams Win On The Road, Really: Winning on the road has been tough in the ACC this year, making the road wins by No. 11 Wake Forest (91-83 over Maryland) and No. 19 Georgia Tech (79-60 over Clemson) a bit of a surprise. For Maryland, their loss to Wake Forest is potentially a fatal blow to their hopes of an at-large bid to the NCAA Tournament. The Demon Deacons (19-6, 9-5 ACC) got a career-high 23 points from Vytas Danelius and 22 from Justin Gray to hold off the Terrapins (14-11, 5-9), who gave them a good contest and got 26 points from John Gilchrist.

Georgia Tech got 17 points from B.J. Elder, 16 coming in the second half, in the win at Clemson. Marvin Lewis led the Yellow Jackets (20-8, 7-7) with 18 points, and they held the Tigers (10-16, 3-12) to 36.4% shooting. The Tigers got 20 points and 16 rebounds from Sharrod Ford in defeat.

Back Just In Time: No. 13 Arizona reinstated leading scorer Salim Stoudamire from his suspension just in time, apparently. The junior guard had 16 of his 21 points in the second half to lead the Wildcats past visiting Washington State, 72-60, their 38th consecutive win over the Cougars. Not only did Stoudamire, who was suspended for Thursday’s game, lead the way in scoring, but he also held Cougar star guard Marcus Moore to five points on 2-11 shooting. The Wildcats (18-8, 10-7 Pac-10) also got 12 points and 16 rebounds from Andre Iguodala. Thomas Kelati led Washington State (12-14, 6-9) with a career-high 27 points.

Cincinnati Gets One Back: Charlotte scored a big road win at Cincinnati last month, and on Saturday the 15th-ranked Bearcats paid a return visit. The Bearcats got 32 points from their starting inside combination of Jason Maxiell and Kareem Johnson in a 75-67 win, moving back into a first-place tie with Memphis in Conference USA. Charlotte (18-7, 10-4 C-USA) led by as many as 8 in the first half, but the Bearcats (20-5, 11-3) chipped away in the second half and gradually tied it, then took the lead for good.

Salukis Almost Let One Get Away: No. 18 Southern Illinois blew a 22-point lead against Bradley, needing a layup by Sylvester Wills with 0.5 seconds left to beat the Braves 72-71. The win gives the Salukis (24-2, 17-0 Missouri Valley) a chance to become the third team in Missouri Valley history to go undefeated in conference play. The Braves (14-15, 6-11) shot 58% in the second half to chip away at the Salukis’ 22-point halftime lead.

Illinois Stays Hot: No. 23 Illinois broke open a close game in the second half behind inside scoring in their 66-56 win over visiting Northwestern on Saturday. With the win, the Illini (20-5, 11-3 Big Ten) capped an 8-0 month of February and look to be in full stride after a slow start in conference play. Dee Brown led the Illini with 20 points, and they shot over 54% from the field.

Utah State Pulls It Out: No. 24 Utah State had a back-and-forth game at UC-Irvine, but managed to pull it out at the end, 59-56. The Aggies (24-2, 16-1 Big West) maintain their half-game lead in the conference with the win as they got 17 points from Mark Brown and 14 from Spencer Nelson.

Austin Peay Sweeps: Austin Peay completed a perfect run through the Ohio Valley Conference with an 81-64 win over visiting Eastern Kentucky. The Governors (19-8, 16-0 OVC) completed the first 16-0 season ever in the conference and the first perfect season since Western Kentucky went 14-0 in 1995-96.

More Key Games: As always, there were more notable games on Saturday aside from those with ranked teams.

  • Seton Hall (19-7, 9-5 Big East) held Georgetown to 3 field goals and 14 points in the first half, getting 25 points from Andre Barrett in his final home game in a 75-48 rout of the Hoyas.
  • Michigan State (17-9, 12-3 Big Ten) won its fifth straight and eighth in nine games, blasting host Penn State 67-42 behind 16 points from Paul Davis.
  • Colorado (17-8, 9-5 Big 12) got 21 points, 8 rebounds and 4 blocked shots from David Harrison in a 76-70 win at Texas A&M.
  • Staying in the Big 12, Missouri (16-10, 9-5) won its sixth straight, rallying from a 10-point deficit for a 79-69 at Kansas State behind 20 points from Jason Conley.
  • DePaul (17-8, 10-4 C-USA) shot over 53% from the field and got 24 points from Andre Brown in an 80-51 blowout of Southern Mississippi (12-13, 5-9).
  • UAB (17-8, 10-4 C-USA) came back from an early 14-2 deficit to deal Marquette (15-10, 6-8) a likely fatal blow for any at-large hopes with an 87-69 home win.
  • Duquesne was again the big spoiler for Xavier (17-10, 8-6 Atlantic 10) as they swept the season series after a 74-68 win in Cincinnati.
  • Notre Dame (14-11) was hot shooting the ball in the first half and got 21 points from Chris Thomas and 20 each from Tom Timmermans and Chris Quinn in a 75-60 win over UCLA at Pauley Pavilion.
  • Florida (17-8, 8-6 SEC) overcame 20 turnovers to win its third game in a row, 73-68 at Arkansas.
  • South Carolina (21-7, 8-6 SEC) broke open a close game with a 14-1 run in the second half en route to a 63-47 win over visiting Georgia (14-11, 6-8).
  • Alabama (15-10, 7-7 SEC) got 25 points from Ernest Shelton and 22 from Kennedy Winston in winning its third straight game, 84-69 over visiting Mississippi.
  • Dayton (21-6, 11-3 Atlantic 10) shot 48% from the field and dominated the glass in a 72-58 win over visiting LaSalle.
  • Air Force (20-5, 10-2 Mountain West) clinched at least a tie for the regular season title with a 72-70 win over visitin UNLV.
  • College of Charleston (19-8, 11-5 Southern) put an end to the 16-game winning streak of visiting East Tennessee State (24-5, 15-1) by holding on for a 91-89 win.
  • Western Michigan (21-4, 13-3 MAC) was dealt a likely fatal blow to its at-large hopes with a 93-84 loss at Toledo.
  • Princeton (17-7, 10-1 Ivy) moved its magic number for clinching the Ivy League to two with a 59-46 win over visiting Cornell, getting five players in double figures.

Lloreda Might Be Done, For Now: LSU senior forward Jamie Lloreda will not play against Kentucky on Sunday, coach John Brady told ESPN Radio on Saturday. His nagging heel injury is still bothering him, and he might miss the remainder of the regular season since Brady won’t push him to return too soon.

Contract Talks At Providence: ESPN.com reported that Providence has approached head coach Tim Welsh about extending his contract, which has four years remaining. Welsh has said that he is not interested in the St. John’s job, and has repeatedly said he is very happy at Providence. Welsh just won his 100th game as head coach of the Friars in his sixth season and has a record of 100-78.

Tonight’s Menu

• In the Big East, No. 3 Pittsburgh hosts Syracuse in a big game for both teams (albeit for different reasons), while No. 14 Providence takes on St. John’s in New York.

• Two important ACC games are on tap, with No. 4 Duke taking on Florida State in Tallahassee and No. 12 North Carolina State hosting No. 16 North Carolina.

• SEC action has No. 9 Kentucky traveling to take on LSU.

• No. 17 Wisconsin hosts Purdue in a pivotal Big Ten game, as the Boilermakers badly need a win to try to get off the bubble and the Badgers need to get back on track. Also, Ohio State travels to Ann Arbor for a date with Michigan.

• No. 21 Kansas hosts Oklahoma in a Big 12 battle.

• The regular season title is on the line in the last day of the regular season for mid-majors such as America East and the Patriot League.

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