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March 5, 2004 Conference Notes No Comments

The Morning Dish – Friday, March 5th

Stanford escapes…again: Matt Lottich’s desperation 3-pointer gave top-ranked and undefeated Stanford another buzzer-beating victory, 63-61 over Washington State on Thursday night. The Cardinals (26-0, 17-0 Pac-10) rallied in the final 20 seconds, with Lottich’s long 3-pointer coming off a wild scramble in front of the Stanford bench. Washington State led 61-56 with 25 seconds left before Dan Grunfeld cut it to a point with a rare four-point play, hitting a 3-pointer from the corner and making a free throw. With 17.2 seconds left, Washington State could not inbound the ball against Stanford’s defense and turned it over on a five-second violation, setting the stage for Lottich’s winning shot.

DePaul upsets Cincy: Drake Diener and Delonte Holland scored 17 each and Quemont Greer had 13 points and 10 rebounds to lead DePaul to an upset over No. 12 Cincinnati. It was DePaul’s first victory over a team ranked this high since December 2000, when the Blue Demons (18-8, 11-4 Conference USA) beat then-No. 10 Missouri. Field Williams led Cincinnati (20-6, 11-4 ) with 14 points, all but two coming from 3-point range. Eric Hicks and Armein Kirkland had 10 each.

Billikens guard leaves team: Saint Louis junior guard Reggie Bryant, the squad’s leading scorer, has left the men’s basketball team for an indefinite period to be with his seriously ill father. The nature of the illness was not disclosed. “Reggie needs to be by his father’s side at this point in time,” coach Brad Soderberg said. “His availability for tomorrow (Friday) night’s game is in question, but his family is a far more important issue right now.” Bryant has averaged 16.9 points per game for the Billikens (15-11, 8-7), who close the regular season Friday night against Houston before opening the Conference USA schedule.

OU center suspended: Oklahoma center Jabarhi Brown has been suspended indefinitely after he was charged Wednesday with misdemeanor possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia. Brown was not in uniform for Oklahoma’s 86-60 victory over Texas A&M on Wednesday night. The 6-10, 220-pound Brown has started all 25 games this season, averaging 7.1 points and 5.1 rebounds. Despite the absence of Brown, the Sooners (17-9, 7-8 Big 12 Conference) snapped a four-game losing streak with Wednesday’s victory. They will close the regular season with a home game Saturday against Baylor.

Buffaloes center upset: Center David Harrison did not go quietly after Colorado’s loss at Iowa State on Wednesday night, saying the Cyclones’ fans were “classless” and calling former ISU coach Larry Eustachy a “drunk.” Iowa State fans booed the 7-foot, 270-pound junior when he was introduced Wednesday night and stayed on him the rest of the game, an 83-77 victory for the Cyclones. At one point they chanted, “David Harrison sucks.” “They talked about my family, my little sister — they’re classless to me,” Harrison said. “If this was a real-life situation and they said that stuff to me, I don’t know what I’d do. I’ve just got to sit out there and smile because if I did attack one of them, I’ll get in trouble.” Harrison noted that the public address announcer read a statement before the game urging good sportsmanship and respect toward the opponent. “I guess they missed that part of the announcement,” he said. Harrison was involved in an altercation during at game at Iowa State two years ago. He and his brother, D.J., were given technical fouls and reprimanded after the incident. Iowa State’s Jared Homan and Ricky Morgan also were reprimanded. Players pushed and shoved each other but no punches were thrown. The trouble appeared to start when D.J. Harrison yelled something at Eustachy. David Harrison said Eustachy, who no longer is Iowa State’s coach, tried to “attack” him. “If you want to write the correct story, put drunk Larry Eustachy cussed at D.J. and David Harrison, we went over there, somebody punched D.J. and then it was over,” Harrison said. Eustachy was forced to resign last spring after it was reported that he had partied with college students on Big 12 road trips.

Self surprised: Kansas coach Bill Self was just as surprised as everyone else when star forward Wayne Simien said he had decided to stay for his senior year. “Wayne said that he was going to stay at KU when I wasn’t around,” the Jayhawks’ first-year coach said Thursday. “I spoke with his parents briefly and I have spoken with Wayne. It’s something that we should address when the time is right to address it. That time is not now.” Simien, a 6-foot-9 native of nearby Leavenworth, is the Big 12’s second-leading scorer and third-leading rebounder. After he scored 22 points Wednesday night in No. 21 Kansas’ 78-67 victory over Nebraska, reporters asked if he had just played his final game in Allen Fieldhouse. His response: “No way.” If Simien does remain, the Jayhawks (19-7, 11-4 Big 12) will go into the next season amid great expectations. Two other three-year starters, swingman Keith Langford and point guard Aaron Miles, will also return. Two promising freshmen who have been starting most of the year, 6-foot-11 David Padgett and shooting guard J.R. Giddens, will be back with a year’s experience. Simien, when he’s healthy, has proven he can be a dominant college player. He has averaged almost 20 points his last 11 games, including a 22-point, 17-rebound day against Texas Tech. He has scored in double figures in 13 straight games. “You can pencil him in for 20 points and 10 rebounds, for the most part,” Self said. “Those are All-American-type numbers. If our team had four losses instead of seven, he would be considered on all of the All-American teams. He still might anyway. I think he likes how we are playing, and we are doing a much better job of getting him the ball.”

Pitino receives extension through 2010: With Rick Pitino’s name being mentioned as a candidate yet again for possible openings, Louisville extended the well-traveled coach’s contract through the 2009-10 season on Thursday. Pitino had three years remaining on a six-year deal he signed with Louisville in March 2001. With the Cardinals on the verge of a second straight NCAA Tournament appearance, Pitino received another three years. “I’m so delighted that Rick has agreed to remain our men’s basketball coach for an additional three years,” athletic director Tom Jurich said. “When he first became our coach, I felt that if he could come here and reconstruct our program in six years, it would be a major coup for this institution. Our entire university and community will benefit immensely from his pushing that initial commitment to nine years.” Pitino’s name had been floated for the vacant job at St. John’s, which fired Mike Jarvis on December 19. Pitino is 415-151 in 18 years of college coaching, including stops at Boston University, Providence and Kentucky. He captured the 1996 national title with the Wildcats. The 51-year-old also had stints in the NBA coaching the New York Knicks and the Boston Celtics. Louisville is 19-7 this season, including a 16-game winning streak earlier this season. The Cardinals are poised to join the Big East Conference.

Baylor appoints panel for setting standards: Baylor responded to the scandal in the men’s basketball program by appointing a special panel Thursday to recommend standards and policies for recruiting and admitting athletes. An internal probe has revealed major NCAA violations by former coach Dave Bliss, including paying tuition for players and other infractions. Baylor has sent its findings the NCAA. The panel created by university president Robert Sloan Jr. is headed by former Bears football coach Grant Teaff, current president of the American Football Coaches Association. It is to report to the president by June 1. “The work this task force will do over the next 90 days is important for ensuring that Baylor recruits and retains student-athletes of character who will succeed in the classroom and on the athletic fields and courts,” Sloan said. The school began its investigation last summer after the disappearance of player Patrick Dennehy. He later was found dead, and former teammate Carlton Dotson is awaiting trial on murder charges. Dennehy played two seasons at the University of New Mexico and transferred to Baylor in the spring of 2002. Bliss was the head coach at New Mexico for 11 seasons before taking the Baylor job. Bliss resigned at Baylor in August. The school’s investigation found that he paid up to $40,000 in tuition for two players, the coaching staff didn’t report failed drug tests by athletes and Bliss lied to investigators. Other violations included Bliss and his staff arranging meals, transportation, lodging and clothing for athletes or prospective recruits. Coaches also paid $336 in tuition at a junior college for a prospective player, and Bliss coaxed improper donations from Baylor boosters for an AAU program. It was the second major scandal to hit Baylor in a decade. A recruiting and academic fraud scandal under former basketball coach Darrel Johnson landed the school on probation in 1994. Sloan recently questioned whether Baylor was recruiting the kind of athletes it should. The only private school in the Big 12, Baylor is the world’s largest Baptist university.

Tonight’s Menu:

&#8226 It is the busiest Friday of the season. Conference tournaments are in full swing and a couple top 25 teams are in action. The Horizon League is one of many conferences that have gotten underway this week. Austin Peay also plays in its conference tournament tonight against Eastern Kentucky.

&#8226 In top 25 action, Illinois travels to Ohio State in hopes to get at least a share of the Big Ten title. And, Utah State is at Idaho.

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