The Weekly Sports Report

Big Monday turned into Blue Monday for the Big East's two heavyweights. Both #4 Pittsburgh and #5 Connecticut suffered road losses. The Panthers dropped a 68-67 double overtime game to Seton Hall while the Huskies were upset by Notre Dame, 80-74. UConn will visit Pitt on Sunday in a game that could well decide the Big East regular season title.

For the fourth week in a row, the top three teams in the A.P. Poll remained unchanged. However, both #1 Duke and #2 Stanford barely avoided upset losses. On Thursday, the Blue Devils edged North Carolina by two points in overtime. Saturday, Stanford rallied back in the final minute to beat Arizona on a tie-breaking three pointer at the buzzer. Only #3 St. Joseph's had no worries, winning both of their games handily.

Tuesday
East – Massachusetts of the Atlantic 10 traveled to Trenton to take on Rider of the Metro Atlantic Conference. The Minutemen prevailed over the Broncs 74-61.

South - #9 Kentucky scored a mild upset by edging #21 Florida in Gainesville 68-65. Senior SF Erik Daniels paced the Wildcats, scoring a game-high 22 points and adding 4 rebounds. Sophomore PG Anthony Roberson had 19 for the Gators… Florida State continues to surprise. The Seminoles had a huge 2nd half to dispose of #15 Georgia Tech 81-65 in Tallahassee. The Yellow Jackets led 35-33 at the break, but senior SG Tim Pickett scored 25 of his career-high 33 points in the final 20 minutes as FSU pulled away. Junior forward Isma'il Muhammad led Georgia Tech with 14 points… In CUSA, East Carolina managed a rare road victory by nipping South Florida 59-57. Midwest – In the "Battle of the Queen City," Xavier of the Atlantic 10 shocked #10 Cincinnati of CUSA 71-69. The Musketeers were led by their senior guard combo of Lionel Chalmers (20 points) and Romain Sato (18 points). Chalmers hit the winning basket with 27 seconds remaining. Senior guard Tony Bobbitt led the Bearcats with 17 points… In CUSA play, DePaul drubbed Tulane 72-58 and TCU scored a big upset road win over Marquette 85-79… In the Big 10, Illinois won at Indiana 51-49… Southern Illinois is coming close to breaking into the Top 25. The Salukis stayed undefeated in the MVC with a 59-52 home win over Southwest Missouri State.

Southwest – In the Big 12, #13 Oklahoma State improved to 16-2 with a 91-79 win over Texas A&M… Senior guard Andre Emmitt scored 25 points and added 9 rebounds as #19 Texas Tech beat Baylor 83-63… In CUSA action, it took 3 overtimes but Southern Mississippi finally overcame Houston 75-72.


Wednesday
East – The streak lives! #4 Pittsburgh extended their nation's best home winning streak to 39 with an easy 71-51 triumph over St. John's. The Panthers got off to their typical slow start and trailed 8-2 before taking control. Freshman center Chris Taft scored 15 points for the Panthers. Their other front court starters were also in double figures as senior SF Jaron Brown had 13 and junior PF Chevon Troutman added 11. Soph PG Karl Krauser ran the Panthers' offense to perfection. He had 9 points, 9 assists, and 7 rebounds. Sophomore SG Daryll Hill led the Red Storm with 16 points… In other Big East games, Rutgers came back from a 10 point deficit in the 2nd half and topped Miami 72-70 in overtime at the RAC. Freshman SG Quincy Douby tied the game at 59 on a short jumper with 8 seconds remaining. In OT, Douby's 3 pointer put the Scarlet Knights ahead to stay 64-61. Junior SG Ricky Shields led Rutgers with 19 points… Boston College won at home over Notre Dame 76-69. Junior SG Jermaine Watson tallied a career-high 22 points and sophomore PF Craig Smith added 20 for the Eagles. Soph SG Chris Quinn led the Irish with a career-high 25… West Virginia upset Seton Hall in Morgantown 69-64. Sophomore center Kevin Pittsnogle had a huge game for the Mountaineers with 24 points and 8 boards. Sophomore SF J.R. Morris came off the bench to lead the Pirates with 16 points… In the Atlantic 10, George Washington routed St. Bonaventure 102-78, Temple won at Fordham 57-47, and LaSalle edged rapidly fading Rhode Island 58-54… In the Big 10, there continues to be little joy in "Happy Valley", at least on the men's side. Purdue drubbed the Nittany Lions 62-47.

South – Memphis helped their NCAA chances by scoring a 62-58 win over #6 Louisville at the Pyramid. Sophomore SF Rodney Carney led the Tigers with 19 points and 6 rebounds. Larry O'Bannon tallied a game-high 26 for Louisville… In the Big East, #23 Providence was upset 69-57 by Virginia Tech in Blacksburg. The win ended a 5 game Hokie losing streak. Senior SF Bryant Matthews, as usual, led the Hokies with 23 points. Freshman forward Coleman Collins chipped in with 21. Virginia Tech played outstanding defense, forcing 19 turnovers. Junior PF Ryan Gomes had 18 for the Friars… SEC action saw all of the home teams prevailing. Georgia topped Mississippi 64-51, LSU defeated Tennessee 84-67, and #25 South Carolina needed overtime to put away Alabama 90-82… In the ACC, North Carolina State topped #16 Wake Forest 73-68 in Raleigh and Maryland won at Virginia 71-67.

Midwest - #14 Wisconsin routed Minnesota 80-66 in Madison… Elsewhere in the Big 10, Michigan State knocked off Iowa 89-72 and Ohio State defeated Northwestern 72-64… In the Big 12, Kansas State scored a surprisingly easy 78-61 win over Nebraska in Manhattan… Dayton cooled off red-hot Richmond as the Flyers prevailed 62-57 in overtime… In the MVC, Creighton improved to 17-3 by pulling away in the 2nd half to beat Northern Iowa 58-47 in Omaha. The Bluejays' win avenged an earlier loss to the Panthers.

Southwest – In the Big 12, #22 Oklahoma routed Iowa State 75-48 and #11Texas topped Colorado 76-63… In SEC play, Arkansas easily handled Auburn 74-52.


Thursday
East – Sophomore forward Curtis Sumpter scored 24 points to lead Villanova to an impressive 75-60 road win over Georgetown. Brandon Bowman tallied 18 for the slumping Hoyas, who have now lost six of their last eight after opening the season at 10-0.

South – Duke and North Carolina put on quite a show in Chapel Hill. The #1 Blue Devils finally prevailed 83-81 in overtime. Duke rallied in the final few minutes of regulation to take the lead, only to have sophomore SG Rashad McCants send the game to overtime by hitting a 3 point shot with 13 seconds left. Senior PG Chris Duhon scored the game winner by driving the length of the court to hit a reverse layup with just 6.5 seconds remaining in OT. The Tar Heels last gasp failed as Melvin Scott missed a three point attempt at the buzzer. Sophomore PF Shelden Williams led the Blue Devils with 22 points and 12 rebounds and junior SG Daniel Ewing added 19. McCants topped North Carolina with a game-high 27 points and sophomore center Scott May tallied 15 along with 21 boards.

West - #2 Stanford routed Arizona State 81-51 at Maples Pavilion. Junior center Rob Little was anything but for the Cardinal with 17 points and 8 rebounds… #12 Arizona's visit to Northern California got off on a sour note. The Wildcats were upset by California, 87-83. Freshman PF Leon Powe led the Golden Bears with 21 points and 12 rebounds. Sophomore forward Andre Iguodala paced Arizona with 25 points and added 8 boards. The Wildcats complete their road trip against Stanford on Saturday. The road proved to be no problem for both teams from the Apple State. Southern California weather suited them just fine as both scored upset wins. Washington topped USC 93-82 and Washington State eased by UCLA 55-48… In the West Coast Conference, #8 Gonzaga won at home over Pepperdine 93-73. Junior PF Ronny Turiaf led the Bulldogs with 22 points and 5 rebounds… In the Big West, #24 Utah State improved to 18-1 by routing Cal Poly-SLO 57-43 in Logan.


Saturday
East - #5 Connecticut routed West Virginia 88-58 in Storrs. Junior center Emeka Okafor had 23 points, 10 rebounds, and six blocked shots to lead the Huskies. Junior SG Ben Gordon led all scorers with 24 points and also contributed 7 assists. Sophomore center Kevin Pittsnogle had 17 for the Mountaineers… #23 Providence ended their two game losing streak with a 74-61 home win over #18 Syracuse. Soph PG Donnie McGrath and senior center Marcus Douthit each scored 16 points for the Friars. Freshman forward Demetris Nichols led the scoring for the slumping Orangemen with 17 points. Nichols also had 7 boards… Elsewhere in the Big East, Georgetown won at home over Miami 80-64. The Hoyas' senior forward Gerald Riley scored a career-high 37 points, 29 coming in the 2nd half. Riley must love playing against the Hurricanes. In the Hoyas' two overtime wins at Miami, he scored 35… In the Battle of New Jersey – Round One, Seton Hall overwhelmed Rutgers 85-58 at Continental Arena. Five Pirates scored in double figures, led by senior PG Andre Barrett with 20 points. He also had 9 assists. Seton Hall was dominant on the boards, outrebounding Rutgers 48-27. Herve Lamizana and Ricky Shields each tallied 14 points for the Scarlet Knights… #3 St. Joseph's improved to 20-0 by powering past LaSalle 89-63. The Hawks' star backcourt duo of Jameer Nelson and Delonte West once again led the way. Nelson scored 22 points and West had 20… In other Atlantic 10 games, Rhode Island continued their free-fall. George Washington defeated the Rams 84-72… Richmond got back on track with a 71-51 road win over Duquesne… Temple topped St. Bonaventure 61-44.

South – The "Cardiac Kids" of Kentucky survived another nail-biter. The 9th ranked Wildcats edged #25 South Carolina 65-64 at Rupp Arena. South Carolina had an opportunity to win the game on their final possession, but Kentucky's defense prevented them from getting off a shot before the buzzer. Senior forward Erik Daniels paced the Wildcats with 17 points and 9 rebounds. Kentucky has now defeated South Carolina in 15 of their 16 games… #7 Mississippi State had no trouble with Mississippi, dumping the Rebels 80-56 in Starkville. Junior PF Lawrence Roberts scored 24 points for the Bulldogs, 14 coming from the free throw line… #21 Florida won at home over Vanderbilt 81-71. Sophomore SF Matt Walsh led the Gators with 25 points. Florida's free throw shooting was impressive, as they converted 25-26 in the 2nd half… In other SEC games Auburn nipped Georgia 57-54 and LSU topped Arkansas 65-52… #15 Georgia Tech went into Knoxville and knocked off Tennessee 77-62. Senior SG Marvin Lewis scored 24 for the Yellow Jackets, including 5-6 from three point range… #17 North Carolina rebounded nicely from their heartbreaking overtime loss to Duke on Thursday. The Tar Heels scored an impressive 79-73 road victory over #16 Wake Forest. Junior SG Melvin Scott scored 20 points and sophomore center Scott May added 18 along with 10 rebounds for North Carolina. The slumping Deamon Deacons have now dropped six of their last eight games… In another ACC game, North Carolina State won at Virginia 79-63. Junior SG Julius Hodge led the Wolfpack with 26 points, helping to extend Virginia's losing streak to four games… #6 Louisville rebounded from their loss to Memphis on Tuesday by drubbing UAB 73-55 at Freedom Hall… Elsewhere in CUSA, Charlotte needed overtime to win at East Carolina 96-90, Memphis topped St. Louis 63-54, and Tulane defeated South Florida 70-65.

Midwest - #3 Pittsburgh improved to 22-1 by defeating Notre Dame 66-58 at the Joyce Center. The Panthers for some reason always seem to get off to a slow start. This time, they nearly dug too deep a hole for themselves as the Irish jumped off to a 15-2 lead. Pittsburgh managed to whittle Notre Dame's margin to six at the half, 32-26. With Notre Dame's starting center Torin Francis on the bench with back spasms, the Panthers wore down the Irish in the final twenty minutes. Sophomore PG Karl Krauser scored 19 points and backcourt mate Julius Page added 17… #13 Oklahoma State shot 63% from the field as they won at Iowa State 88-67… #20 Kansas whalloped #19 Texas Tech 96-77 as junior PF Wayne Simien scored 22 points and pulled down a career-high 17 rebounds for the Jayhawks. As expected, the capacity crowd at Allen Fieldhouse spent most of the game hurling insults at Red Raider coach Bobby Knight… In another Big 12 game, Nebraska defeated Missouri in Lincoln 78-62… Northwestern came up with a huge upset win at home over #14 Wisconsin, 69-51. The loss knocked the Badgers out of first place in the Big 10. Junior PF Vedran Vukusic led the Wildcats with 18 points… Michigan State continued their torrid streak with an 84-70 road win over Ohio State. The victory jumped the Spartans over Wisconsin into the Big 10 lead. Michigan St. was an amazing 33-45 from the field (73.3%), as reserve SG Maurice Ager led the way with 18 points… Michigan won a thriller at home over Purdue. Freshman center Courtney Sims tipped in a missed shot with just 1.4 seconds left to defeat the Boilermakers 64-63. Sims scored 11 points and had 15 rebounds for the Wolverines, while soph guard Daniel Horton was the game's leading scorer with 19… In another thriller, Iowa needed two overtimes to edge Indiana 84-82 in Bloomington… In a CUSA contest, DePaul defeated Marquette 84-78… In the A10, Xavier easily handled Fordham 74-52 as senior guard Lionel Chalmers scored 23 points, 21 coming on his seven 3 pointers… In the MVC, Southern Illinois moved to 18-2 and remained undefeated in conference play at 12-0 by winning at Creighton 61-60. Junior guard Darren Brooks scored 16 points and added 8 rebounds and 6 assists for the Salukis. The loss ended Creighton's 28 game home winning streak.

Southwest - #10 Cincinnati barely got back on track with a hard-fought 54-51 victory at Houston. Junior PF Jason Maxiell, benched with early foul trouble, scored 11 of the Bearcats' final 15 points… In the Big 12, Baylor won at home over Texas A&M 72-64.

West - #2 Stanford remained unbeaten at 20-0, but it was far from easy. With such illustrious alumni as Bill Walsh, Jim Plunkett, and Tiger Woods (and fiance) in attendance at Maples Pavilion, the Cardinals needed a miracle finish to defeat #12 Arizona 80-77. Stanford appeared on the way to an easy win when the Wildcats went on a 14-0 run to pull ahead 72-67 with 3:21 to go. Stanford closed to within three at 77-74 when junior SF Josh Childress converted one of two free throws with 43 seconds remaining. Stanford's press then caused a turnover resulting in a Childress 3 pointer from the left corner to tie the game at 77 with 24 ticks left. The Cardinal defense again caused havoc as Wildcat guard Salim Stoudamire was triple teamed and lost the ball. Seldom-used reserve Nick Robinson picked up the loose ball, crossed mid-court, and launched a 35 foot prayer that swished in as the buzzer sounded. Fortunately for Stanford, the officials didn't spot Cardinal guard Chris Hernandez frantically trying to call time out after Robinson's steal! Hernandez scored 20 and Childress added 18 along with 10 boards and 4 assists for Stanford. Stoudamire had a game-high 24 for Arizona… The rest of the PAC 10 was also in action today. California edged Arizona State 85-83, UCLA topped Washington 80-75, Oregon won at home over Oregon State 81-74, and Washington State completed a weekend sweep in southern California with a 60-51 win over USC… In the West Coast Conference, #8 Gonzaga routed Loyola Marymount 87-57. Senior guard Blake Stepp led the Bulldogs with 16 points and 10 assists… #24 Utah State of the Big West Conference improved to 19-1 with a 63-54 win over U.C. Santa Barbara. The Aggies have now won 16 in a row… The Air Force Falcons are still flying high in the Mountain West Conference after an 83-71 home win over Wyoming.


Sunday
East – In the Big East, Boston College pulled away in the final 17 minutes to throttle St. John's 89-61 at Madison Square Garden. Despite having only eight available players including four walk-ons, the Red Storm only trailed 38-34 before the Eagles pulled away… In the Atlantic 10, Dayton came up with a 66-59 win at Massachusetts.

South - #1 Duke didn't appear at all tired from their tough overtime victory over North Carolina on Thursday night. The Blue Devils destroyed Clemson 81-55 at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Sophomore SG J.J. Redick scored 23 points for Duke and freshman forward Luol Deng added 22. Junior forward Sharrod Ford led the Tigers with 19… Maryland enhanced their NCAA Tournement chances with a 73-62 win over Florida State in College Park. Senior center Jamar Smith scored 16 points and added 14 rebounds for the Terps.

Midwest – Illinois came up with a 79-69 road win over Minnesota.

Southwest - #11 Texas totally shut down #22 Oklahoma, 66-37 in Austin. The Longhorns held the Sooners to 26% shooting. Oklahoma's 37 points is its lowest scoring output in nearly 50 years!


Monday
East – In a Big East thriller, Seton Hall nipped #4 Pittsburgh 68-67 in double overtime at Continental Arena. There were 15 ties and 12 lead changes during the seesaw contest. Pirates' senior PG Andre Barrett hit the second of two free throws with 9.6 seconds left to put his team ahead to stay. Pitt sophomore PG Karl Krauser was charged with the foul on Barrett, his 5th. Krauser's replacement, freshman Antonio Graves, missed a runner in the lane with just over 3 seconds remaining as Pittsburgh's winning streak ended at four games. Ironically, in Pittsburgh's only other defeat of the season, the seldom-used Graves missed a three pointer against UConn that would have sent the game to overtime. Barrett scored 20 points for Seton Hall. Krauser had a game-high 23 for the Panthers. Pittsburgh outrebounded Seton Hall 46-38, but the big difference in the game was production from the bench. Pitt's reserves only scored four points, all by junior forward Mark McCarroll. Seton Hall's bench produced eighteen points, 10 by sophomore SF J.R. Morris and 8 by freshman center Grant Billmeier.

South – In CUSA, TCU won at South Florida 54-51.

Midwest – Notre Dame pulled off their biggest win of the year. The Irish snapped Connecticut's five game winning streak with an 80-74 win. Junior guard Chris Thomas scored a season-high 31 points for Notre Dame, 22 coming in the final twenty minutes. Junior center Emeka Okafor had 24 points and 9 rebounds for the Huskies while junior SG Ben Gordon added 22 points. Notre Dame did a remarkable job of taking care of the basketball. They were only charged with four turnovers against a tough Husky defense.

Southwest - #13 Oklahoma State improved to 18-2 with an impressive 80-60 rout of #20 Kansas in Stillwater.

West – In the Mountain West, Air Force continues to be one of the surprise teams in the country. The Falcons won at home over Colorado State 52-44.


Basketball News & Notes

To correct an item I reported last week, the administration at Texas Tech decided not to suspend head coach Bobby Knight for five days. As often happened at Indiana, Knight managed to intimidate his bosses into letting him off with just a warning. Based on Knight's long history of volatile behavior, don't expect the warning to do any good.

Undefeated Stanford received some bad news last week. Senior PF Justin Davis is expected to miss at least three weeks with a bruised bone and partially torn MCL in his left knee.

Oklahoma also lost a key player. Sophomore PF Kevin Bookout underwent surgery on his right shoulder and is through for the season.

Wisconsin indefinitely suspended reserve guard Maurice "Boo" Wade for "violating the student-athlete discipline policy". Wade was arrested in Madison last Wednesday on charges he choked a 19 year old woman. Wade was released on bail the following day.

Heralded North Carolina recruit JamesOn Curry was arrested on drug charges Wednesday in Mebane, N.C. Curry is already the all-time leading scorer in North Carolina high school basketball.

St. John's was already having a nightmare season. It got even worse. The Red Storm expelled senior forward Grady Reynolds from school, permanently suspended sophomore PG Elijah Ingram and senior center Abraham Keita, and suspended senior Mohamad Diakite and freshmen Lamont Hamilton and Tyler Jones indefinitely. The six players broke curfew after returning to the team hotel in Pittsburgh Wednesday night following the Red Storm's loss to Pitt. They reportedly visited a suburban strip club and later returned to the hotel with a woman they met at the club. The woman falsely accused the players of rape and was arrested and charged with prostitution and attempted extortion. No criminal charges were brought against any of the players. Memo to St. John's president Rev. Donald Harrington and A.D. Wegrzyn: Your program is spinning out of control and into a free-fall condition. If you don't finally "get it right" with your upcoming coaching hire, your program may never recover.

Mississippi State extended head coach Rick Stansbury's contract for an additional four years, through the 2007-8 season.

Fresno State suspended sophomore guard Terry Pettis for the remainder of the season.

Oklahoma State issued indefinite suspensions to freshman forward Marcus Dove and junior forward Tremaine Fuqua for violations of team policy.

In the rumor department, both Perry Clark of Miami and Steve Lappas of Massachusetts are on borrowed time.

Here's the new Top Ten from the A.P. Top 25 Poll. Records are through Sunday, February 8th:

1. Duke (20-1)
2. Stanford (20-0)
3. St. Joseph's (20-0)
4. Pittsburgh (22-1)
5. Connecticut (19-3)
6. Mississippi St. (19-1)
7. Gonzaga (19-2)
8. Kentucky (16-3)
9. Louisville (17-3)
10. Oklahoma St. (17-2)


Football News & Notes

Georgia Tech named Patrick Nix as their new Offensive Coordinator.

Memphis head coach Tommy West was given a five year contract extension.

Louisiana-Lafayette gave head coach Rickey Bustle a two year contract extension.

The NFL ruled Heisman Trophy runner-up Larry Fitzgerald of Pittsburgh eligible for their upcoming draft. The sophomore WR is regarded as a top five pick. Though Fitzgerald only spent two academic years in college, he left high school midway through his senior year and attended prep school for the remainder of that year plus one more. Thus, the NFL ruled he had fulfilled the requirement of being three years past his senior year of high school.

In what could turn out to have a major impact on college football, a U.S. District Court in New York ruled on Thursday in favor of Ohio St. RB Maurice Clarett's suit to allow him immediate eligibility to play in the NFL. Judge Shira Scheindlin ruled the NFL's current draft policy violated anti-trust laws. Clarett played only in the 2002 season for the Buckeyes. He was suspended all of last year. Under existing NFL rules, Clarett would not be eligible for the draft until 2005. However, unless the District Court ruling is overturned on appeal, the NFL can no longer bar anyone from seeking employment. Would anyone care to venture a guess on when the first high school senior will decide he's ready to play for pay? While I certainly am not competent to argue the legal merits of Judge Scheindlin's decision, it's obvious that her ruling, if it stands, will hurt many more young men than it will help. It will also clearly have a negative impact on college football. From an NFL perspective, teams will need to make very difficult decisions about drafting teenagers. With the salary cap, poor decisions become very costly. I do have one solution that could at least partially reduce the damage to everyone involved. Allow players previously ineligible for the NFL to be evaluated by the league prior to the draft. Based upon the evaluation the player receives, he can decide to attend/return to college as long as he hasn't signed with an agent. A similar rule is in place for basketball and has proven to be effective.

The NFL may have another card up their sleeve, at least with Clarett. Their security office is looking into allegations that he has a "relationship" with a known gambler.

New Cincinnati head coach Mark Dantanio hired nine new staff members. Among the hires, Don Treadwell – Offensive Coordinator, Pat Narduzzi – Defensive Coordinator, ex-NFL lineman Jeff Uhlenhake – Offensive Line, and Mike Tressel – Linebackers.

Massachusetts named Don Brown as their new head coach. He replaced Mark Whipple who resigned to become the Quarterback Coach for the Pittsburgh Steelers.

Colorado suspended LB Chris Hollis, OL Brian Daniels and Jack Tipton, and CB Sammy Joseph for their opening game against Colorado St. for team violations regarding "recruiting activities".

Finally, one of Miami's top recruits, LB Willie Williams, will reportedly be charged with battery. Williams is already on probation for felony burglary. The Hurricanes have made a lot of progress in cleaning up their previous "gangster image". With all the talent at hand in Coral Gables, the decision to offer a scholarship to Williams was not wise. I wonder if any ACC presidents are having second thoughts about bringing Miami into the league?


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