State Line Hoops
Report & Rankings© (12/31/01)
THE TOP TEN
1. Duke ... The Blue Devils
were left explaining their inability to put San Diego State away after
the Aztecs used an 18-3 run to put a big dent in a 25-point deficit —
a game Duke eventually won, 92-79 in Durham on Saturday.
Mike Dunleavy scored a career-high 25 points as Duke tallied over
90 points for the fourth straight game. The Aztecs, guided by former
Michigan coach Steve Fisher, are a veteran team that regained a
measure of poise amid their rowdy surroundings.
Duke improved to 11-0. The Blue Devils were without reserve forward
Casey Sanders due to a stomach virus.
“We have to learn that teams are going to come out after us and we
have to be able to fight,” said Duke guard Chris Duhon, who had seven
2. Wake Forest ... The Deacons
underwent a similar scenario in Winston-Salem against Marquette in a
matchup of nationally-ranked teams. After building a 19-point lead,
Wake had to stave off the Golden Eagles after the visitors had come
back to tie the score at 57.
Wake’s Darius Songaila challenged his classmates and the Deacons
responded with a closing 7-2 run that featured scoring contributions
from seniors Songaila, Antwan Scott and Craig Dawson.
“We had talked for the last 24 hours that our seniors had to play
like seniors and they did,” said Wake coach Skip Prosser.
3. College of Charleston ...
The Cougars upped their record to 10-1 with a 68-61 win over Radford
on Saturday night, a team which ECU beat in double overtime in
Guard Jeff Bolton continues to lead Coach John Kresse’s club with a
17.5-point scoring average. Troy Wheless, who played on the high
school level for Bunn, scored 21 points in the win. The Cougars,
winners of the Tournament of Champions in Charlotte, are hitting 38.2
percent of their three-point attempts.
4. South Carolina ... Dave Odom
is making Gamecocks athletic director Mike McGee look like he knew
what he was doing when he lured the Goldsboro native and former ECU
coach away from Wake Forest. Odom has the Gamecocks off to a 10-3
start after an 88-52 pounding of Mercer on Sunday. Chuck Eidson hit 6
of 7 field goal attempts for the Gamecocks and had 17 points. USC had
never won 10 games before January. The Gamecocks have drawn 40 charges
already, compared to 45 for all of last season.
5. N.C. State ... Marcus Melvin
certainly exhibited a flair for the dramatic and perhaps a sense of
history when his three-pointer at the buzzer nipped Houston 67-66 at
Hofheinz Pavillion last Sunday. The Cougars had watched tape of NCSU’s
54-52 win over Houston’s Phi Slamma Jamma crew for the 1983 NCAA
championship in which Dereck Whittenburg’s miss from roughly the same
area on the court had been slammed through by Lorenzo Charles. No such
magic for the Wolfpack a week later as Maryland guards Steve Blake and
Juan Dixon came alive offensively down the stretch on Sunday night.
The teams shot 81 free throws.
6. Charlotte ... The 49ers
climbed over .500 to 6-5 on Saturday night with a 97-87 win at George
Washington as senior guard Jobey Thomas led the way with 29 points.
He’s averaging a team-high 17.8, hitting 90 percent of his free throws
and 42.9 percent from three-point land. Senior Cam Stephens continues
to lead Coach Bobby Lutz’s club on the boards. He has an 8.5
rebounding average and grabbed 15 at GW. Demon Brown dealt out nine
assists in the win. The Niners start C-USA play at home against
Marquette next Saturday.
7. UNC Wilmington ... The
Seahawks more than doubled the score in a 76-37 win over hapless
Towson at Trask Coliseum on Sunday as Brett Blizzard scored 22 points
and Coach Jerry Wainwright’s club improved to 7-5 overall and 2-0 in
the Colonial Athletic Association. Blizzard made 6 of 9 shots from
behind the arc. He was hitting 46.3 percent from long range coming
into the game. The outcome tied a school record for victory margin and
was the largest in Wainwright’s eight years as head coach. Sophomore
forward Anthony Terrell scored 17 in the win and UNCW got 22 points
from its bench.
8. Clemson ... The Tigers moved
to 9-4 as they won 78-48 over Hartford on Friday night. Ray Henderson
led Clemson with 13 points and 12 rebounds. Chris Hobbs, who played at
East Chapel Hill High but was shunned by hometown UNC in the
recruiting process, leads Clemson with a 13.1 scoring average. He’s
hitting 56.2 percent of his field goal attempts. Tony Scott is
averaging 10.1 but is struggling on threes, hitting just 19.4 percent.
The Tigers bounced back from a stunning 66-61 loss to Winthrop on Dec.
18 to trounce Charleston Southern 82-45 on Dec. 22.
9. Gardner Webb ... A new
arrival in the Top 10 after an 81-65 win at Furman on Saturday night.
Chas Criss had 25 points in the win and Bruce Fields snatched 17
rebounds. Gardner Webb, an independent, has a three-game winning
streak that includes wins at South Alabama (71-66) and over Yale
(79-69). James Colwell is the team’s top scorer with a 13.2 average
and he’s knocking down 46.1 percent of his threes.
10. UNC Greensboro ... The road
has been long for the Spartans with many a winding turn as well as
losses at New Mexico (83-69), where former ECU coach Joe Dooley is an
assistant, and Ohio State (85-54) on Sunday. UNCG is 6-4 as it begins
Southern Conference play this week.
THE NOT-SO-SWEET 17
11. The Citadel
13. North Carolina
14. East Carolina ... The Pirates take a 3-game winning streak into
a game with Division II Lees-McRae in Greenville on Wednesday at 7
p.m. ECU started the season with wins over Rutgers and Northwestern in
Raleigh and then dropped six straight. A win Wednesday would even the
record at 6-6 with Cincinnati and C-USA leading scorer Steve Logan
coming in on Saturday night. Coach Bill Herrion is eagerly awaiting
the return of Gabriel Mikulas on Jan. 8 for a C-USA game at UAB.
Sophomore Erroyl Bing leads the Pirates with a 16.3 average and is
hitting 42.9 percent of his threes. Bing also leads the team in
rebounding at 8.8. Kenyatta Brown is averaging 11.2 points. Herrion
has been pleased with the shot-blocking ability of Moussa Badiane and
the raw freshman is eager to refine other areas of his game.
15. Appalachian State
17. South Carolina State
20. Western Carolina
21. Charleston Southern
23. High Point
24. Coastal Carolina
25. North Carolina A&T
26. UNC Asheville