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College Basketball in the Carolinas
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View from the East
Thursday, December 20, 2001

By Al Myatt
ECU Beat Writer for The News & Observer

Blue Devils, Hoops Take Center Stage

©2001 Bonesville.net

College basketball has been playing second fiddle to exams, holiday breaks and the anticipation of football bowls in recent weeks in the Carolinas but Duke’s 95-92 overtime win over Kentucky was an instant classic as they say on ESPN and — more than that — could have been a preview of the Final Four in Atlanta. It may have been a Tuesday night in December but both teams were in March form in the Meadowlands. Duke is No. 1 nationally and in the State Line Hoops Rankings, no question about it.

State Line Hoops Report & Rankings©
— 12/20/01 —

THE TOP TEN

1. Duke ... Jason Williams took over for the Blue Devils, who trailed Kentucky by 12 points in the second half. Williams scored 23 of Duke’s last 31 points in regulation and finished with a career-high 38.

“I rode him as hard as a jockey can ride a horse,” said Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski. “I just kept calling his number.”

Williams’ three-point play with 1:39 left in overtime put Duke (10-0) ahead to stay at 91-89 with 1:39 to go. Mike Dunleavy added 21 points for Duke, which isn’t scheduled to play again until Dec. 29 when the Devils host San Diego State (ABC).

2. Wake Forest ... The Deacons are No. 20 in both major polls. Darius Songaila scored a career-high 29 points as Wake won its ACC opener 93-72 over Florida State on Sunday night. Josh Howard scored 21 points as the Deacons improved to 8-2 with an 89-60 win over St. Francis (Pa.) on Wednesday night. The Deacons return to Madison Square Garden on Saturday for a matchup with St. John’s. Wake beat Fresno State and lost to Syracuse at the Garden earlier this season in the preseason NIT.

3. College of Charleston ... The Cougars came from 17 points down at UNC Wilmington to top the Seahawks 60-58 on Saturday night. Coach John Kresse’s club made 11 of its first 13 shots in the second half after trailing 35-18 at the break. Jeff Bolton, who leads the 6-1 Cougars with a 19.6-point scoring average, had 16 points against the Seahawks while freshman Shannon Chambers had 13 points and seven rebounds. Chambers is averaging 11.0 points and 7.0 rebounds.

“They chased us with their pressure in the first half and we made some adjustments in the second half,” Kresse said.

The Cougars play North Carolina in Charlotte on Friday night.

4. N.C. State ... The Wolfpack improved to 9-2 with a 70-50 win over Charleston Southern on Wednesday night as Marcus Melvin scored 17 points. State pulled away from a 34-29 lead at the half. It was the fourth straight win for the Wolfpack, which is scheduled to play its next game at Conference USA member Houston at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday. Guard Anthony Grundy was averaging 14.7 points for the Pack after a 92-54 win over UNC-Asheville on Saturday.

UNC-A coach Eddie Biedenbach, who played at State in the mid-60s and later was an assistant for the Pack, said, “This is a pretty darn good State team. They’re bigger and more physical than I expected.”

5. South Carolina ... Former East Carolina and Wake Forest coach Dave Odom has the fans excited in Columbia with the Gamecocks’ 7-3 start. USC improved to 10-0 all-time against South Carolina State with a 69-50 win over the Bulldogs on Tuesday night as post player Marius Petravicius scored 16 points and had a career-high 12 rebounds. Petravicius normally splits time with Tony Kitchings, who was out with a concussion. Moses Malone Jr., son of the former NBA great, led the Bulldogs with 16 points. USC hosts The Citadel tonight. Jamel Bradley is the Gamecocks’ top scorer with a 14.8 scoring average. Aaron Lucas is averaging 11.9 points and 5.5 assists. Petravicius is averaging 10.1 points and 6.7 rebounds.

6. Charlotte ... The 49ers climbed to 5-4 with an 86-58 win over Texas-El Paso on Tuesday night as senior shooting guard Jobey Thomas led the way with 24 points on 6 of 10 shooting behind the 3-point arc. A 14-2 run late in the first half helped UNCC break a tie at 27 and establish a 41-29 lead at the half. The lead grew as large as 35 points in the second half. Charlotte led 42-22 on the boards to offset 53.2 percent field goal shooting by the Miners. Charlotte visits unbeaten Miami (10-0) on Saturday.

7. UNC Wilmington ... The Seahawks seemingly had a win over College of Charleston in the bag, leading by 17 points at the half but dropping their first non-conference game at home since Feb. 11, 1999, an eight-game string. Junior guard Brett Blizzard, who is hitting 51 percent of his 3-point attempts, led the Seahawks (4-5) with 16 points. Blizzard is averaging 19.2 points and senior forward Ed Williams is averaging 11.0 points and 6.2 rebounds. The Seahawks open Colonial Athletic Association play at Old Dominion on Friday night. UNCW is the preseason league favorite.

8. UNC Greensboro ... The Spartans have been taking a break since an 89-74 loss at Arkansas on Dec. 10 in Razorbacks coach Nolan Richardson’s 500th career win. UNCG (5-2) returns to action Thursday night at home against Norfolk State. James Maye, who scored 22 points at Arkansas, is leading the Spartans in scoring with a 13.2-point average. Courtney Eldridge is averaging 11.8. David Schuck (10.3) and Ronnie Taylor (10.3) are also in double figures for Coach Fran McCaffery’s club.

9. Furman ... The Paladins saw a six-game winning streak come to an end on Saturday with a 68-60 loss at Wisconsin despite 17 points from Anthony Thomas and 16 from Guilherme Da Luz. Thomas leads Furman’s scoring with a 15.5 average. Karim Souchu is at 15.2 and Da Luz averages 12.2. Paco Gonzalez is Furman’s leading rebounder at 6.2 per game. Saint Louis extended a 29-24 halftime lead to a 73-59 win over the Paladins on Wednesday night despite 13 points by Thomas and 10 by Da Luz. Gonzalez had 11 rebounds. Furman (6-3) is idle until hosting the Poinsetta Holiday Classic on Dec. 28-29. The field includes Macalester, Furman’s opening opponent, as well as Gardner Webb and Yale.

10. The Citadel ... The Bulldogs (7-2) take a four-game winning streak to South Carolina tonight. Shooting guard Travis Cantrell leads The Citadel with a 16.7-point scoring average. Cliff Washburn is a workhorse inside with a 10.2 scoring average and a 6.4 rebounding rate.

“South Carolina is a very fine team playing exceptionally well right now,” said Bulldogs coach Pat Dennis. “Their two blowout wins over Clemson and Providence jump out as to how talented they are. Coach (Dave) Odom has done a great job of getting his team ready to play, similar to what he did at Wake Forest where he had great success.”


THE NOT-SO-SWEET 17

11. Clemson
12. Davidson
13. Gardner-Webb
14. Appalachian State

15. East Carolina ... The Pirates snapped a six-game losing streak with a 64-52 win over South Carolina-Spartanburg on Saturday with a balanced scoring attack that included 12 points each from Fred Primus and Bryan Foxx. Brandon Hawkins added 11 and Kenyatta Brown scored 10. Jonathan Moore and Erroyl Bing each had seven rebounds as ECU (3-6) controlled the boards, 40-34. The Pirates play Middle Tennessee State at home tonight. Cincinnati visits Jan. 5 at 6 p.m. in ECU’s first ever C-USA game. Gabriel Mikulas, the Pirates’ top scorer last season with a 15.0 average, is eligible to play at UAB on Jan. 8.

16. North Carolina
17. Wofford
18. Winthrop
19. Western Carolina
20. Charleston Southern
21. Campbell
22. South Carolina State
23. UNC Asheville
24. Elon
25. North Carolina A&T
26. High Point
27. Coastal Carolina

Send an e-mail message to Al Myatt.

Click here to dig into Al Myatt's Bonesville archives.

02/23/2007 01:03:42 AM
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