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News Nuggets, 01.22.05
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Compiled from staff reports and electronic dispatches

Preview: No. 20 Cincinnati vs. No. 3 Wake Forest


01.21.05: Ugly end to Gamecocks' football season gets uglier ... Owls hang on in I-A while searching for league ... Norfolk State breaks ground with hiring of white coach ... More...
01.20.05: Coaches pick ECU among league's baseball leaders ... Bearcats heat up in second half to rip 49ers ... More...
01.19.05: NCAA looking for answers to financial pressures ... C-USA, Carolinas players on Cousy Award list ... More...
01.18.05: Memphis basketball rocked by academic casualty ... Louisville leads three C-USA teams in AP hoops poll ... More...
01.17.05: Relief in Memphis: DeAngelo Williams will be back ... C-USA basketball scoreboard, standings & schedule ... More...
01.16.05: Louisville overcomes big deficit to deflate Bearcats ... Diener leads Marquette comeback win over USF ... More...
01.15.05: Bearcats hope to shake off ECU hangover against Cards ... No. 22 Marquette seeks cure versus South Florida ... More...
01.14.05: NCAA poised to wield big academic hammer ... Gruden, Turner to coach Senior Bowl squads ... More...
01.13.05: ECU schedules early peeks at its 'Field of Dreams' ... NCAA baseball considers warm- weather shift ... Coaching convention tackles secret poll ballots ... More...
01.12.05: Reconfigured C-USA TV arrangement a mixed bag ... Former ECU assistant lands top job at TSU ... Cards deal record-shattering rout to Southern Miss ... More...
01.11.05: 12th football game gets preliminary nod ... Pirate Radio plans T-shirt promotion for Cincy game ... Associated Press basketball poll ... More...
01.10.05: More TV exposure announced for 49ers ... Cincy declares Laurinburg freshman ineligible ... Memphis loosens grip on seating areas ... More...
01.09.05: Tigers' Means heads west to Shrine Bowl ... Baseball America anoints Tulane No. 1 ... More...
01.08.05: CEO's of BCS schools block consideration of playoff ... List of NCAA Division I-A coaching changes ... More...
01.07.05: Downtrodden member of historic Chaminade team slain ... Bowl Season Wrap-up: Results and Payouts ... More...

The opener in Wake Forest's stretch of three straight road games was supposed to be the easy one.

Well, it wasn't.

Bouncing back from just their second loss of the season will be a tall order for the third-ranked Demon Deacons as they step out of Atlantic Coast Conference play to visit No. 20 Cincinnati on Saturday.

Apparently knocking off then-No. 3 North Carolina last Saturday, ending the Tar Heels' 14-game winning streak, took a lot out of Wake Forest (15-2).

The team twice fell behind by 19 points in the first half Tuesday at unranked Florida State, and trailed 46-32 at halftime. The Deacons rallied to tie the game and could have won in regulation, but Taron Downey missed a free throw with 4 seconds left and the Seminoles went on to win 91-83 in overtime.

Before Downey's miss, Wake had set an NCAA record by making 50 consecutive free throws, including all 34 in the win over North Carolina. Downey had been shooting a team-best 86.5 percent from the foul line.

``It felt good when it left my hand,'' said Downey, who had a career-high 21 points. ``But you know, it happens like that sometimes.''

With their 10-game winning streak over, the Deacons could be facing a losing streak. After facing the Bearcats (15-2), Wake will visit 12th-ranked Georgia Tech on Thursday.

For Cincinnati to win, it must shoot better than it did in Wednesday's 80-58 rout of Charlotte. The Bearcats won easily despite making 25.8 percent (8-for-31) from the field in the first half, including 4-of-17 from 3-point range.

The only two teams to defeat the Deacons this season — Illinois and Florida State — are also the only ones to shoot 50 percent or better against them.

The Seminoles hit 12 3-pointers against Wake and three of their players posted career-best point totals.

``You've got to stop somebody and we couldn't stop anybody,'' said Coach Skip Prosser, who before taking over at Wake spent seven years was coach of Xavier, Cincinnati's archrival.

While at Xavier, Prosser went 4-3 against the Bearcats. Last season, he helped Wake beat Cincinnati for the first time in six all-time meetings.

While the Deacons are 4-1 this season against ranked opponents, the Bearcats have lost their only two games against Top 25 teams.

One of the Bearcats' biggest challenges will be slowing down Wake's Chris Paul, who has 55 points over the last two games. The sophomore point guard averages 15.8 points and 6.5 assists — second in the ACC — and has made 23 straight free throws. Paul also has made 19-of-28 from 3-point range (67.9 percent) since Dec. 13.

The Deacons, though, could use a boost from their other starting guard. Justin Gray, averaging a team-leading 16.9 points, has scored a total of 22 over the last two games while shooting 21.4 percent (6-for-28).

Cincinnati hopes to offset Paul's hot shooting with Nick Williams, who has made 12 3-pointers and scored 40 points over the last two games. The senior, who had been battling a thumb injury, was contributing just 5.5 points per game and shooting 25.6 percent (12-of-47) from behind the arc.

``The other day, we spent a lot of time trying to fix his shot,'' Huggins said of Williams, who had a career-high 22 points Wednesday. ``It has really helped him. A lot of it is confidence.''


Preview: No. 25 Marquette vs. Charlotte

Being in the Top 25 has not been kind to Travis Diener and Marquette.

The 25th-ranked Golden Eagles will try to avoid a third loss in four games when they host Charlotte on Saturday in a Conference USA matchup.

Marquette (14-3, 2-2) rode a four-game winning streak to a No. 22 ranking last week, but the Golden Eagles lost at Memphis on Jan. 13 and posted a narrow win over struggling South Florida to fall three spots.

They might drop completely out of the poll after a 75-62 loss at DePaul on Thursday. Diener had another rough shooting night, making 5-of-14 shots for 15 points. He also committed four of the Golden Eagles' 19 turnovers.

Diener, who averages 20.5 points, is shooting just 31.7 percent in Marquette's last three games. The senior guard has also been shaky with his ballhandling duties, committing 13 turnovers in that span.

The Golden Eagles, who lead Conference USA in rebound margin at 8.5 per game, have had some surprising breakdowns on the glass. They surrendered 21 offensive rebounds in the losses to DePaul and Memphis.

``They flat-out kicked us to the curb in rebounding,'' said Marquette coach Tom Crean about DePaul. ``That's as an atrocious a performance of blocking out as I've seen in the six years I've been here. ... That was a joke.''

Charlotte (12-3, 3-1) can relate to those problems. The 49ers were outrebounded 52-33 as their nine-game winning streak was halted by No. 20 Cincinnati 80-58 on Wednesday.

Brendan Plavich, who scored 22 points, was the lone 49er to shine as Charlotte shot a season-low 29.5 percent. The 49ers held a four-point lead at halftime before managing only eight baskets in the second half.

``I felt like we got away from how we like to play,'' Charlotte coach Bobby Lutz said. ``We were much too 1-on-1 and not together. Our kids are disappointed in how we lost.''

Charlotte played without starting point guard Mitchell Baldwin, who is out with a shoulder injury. Eddie Basden shifted over to the point guard slot and E.J. Drayton received his third start at small forward, but the 49ers managed only six assists.

``We couldn't get into our offense,'' Plavich said. ``They pressured us to the halfcourt line. We couldn't get anything going.''

Plavich has played his best basketball on the road, averaging 20.6 points while shooting 52.5 percent from the 3-point arc. All four of his 20-point efforts this season have come on the road.

Charlotte beat Marquette 84-67 at home in last year's lone meeting. The Golden Eagles have won seven of the nine matchups in Milwaukee.

Preview: No. 14 Louisville vs. Tennessee

Ellis Myles will likely be missing from Louisville's lineup when the 14th-ranked Cardinals face Tennessee at Freedom Hall on Saturday in their final regular season non-conference game.

Ranked second in Conference USA with 9.4 rebounds and averaging 10.7 points per game, Myles suffered a non-displaced fracture of his left thumb in the first half of a 92-41 home win over East Carolina on Wednesday. The 6-foot-7 senior did return, however, finishing with five points and 10 rebounds in 22 minutes for the Cardinals (15-3).

Myles, who is receiving treatment, is doubtful for Saturday.

``Once the pain subsides, we expect Ellis to be able to play with a splint,'' Cardinals coach Rick Pitino said. ``After all, one of Louisville's all-time great players — Wiley Brown — won a national championship playing without a thumb, so we expect Ellis to play with a splinted thumb. We need his low-post presence and toughness on the court.''

Myles missed the Cardinals' game against visiting IUPUI with tightness in the hamstring of his right leg on Dec. 21. Louisville won without him, 80-60.

All five Louisville starters are averaging double figures in scoring with junior Francisco Garcia leading the way with 16.6 points per game.

Garcia had just nine points against the Pirates on Wednesday, but sophomore reserve Brandon Jenkins picked up the slack with 14 points. Senior George Otis also came off the bench with 13 points and 10 rebounds for Louisville, which won its fourth in a row and ninth in 10 games.

The Cardinals, who came in off a 69-66 victory at then-No. 18 Cincinnati last Saturday, held the Pirates to 26 percent shooting while outrebounding them 60-41. The 60 boards were a season high, topping the previous mark of 58 against North Carolina A&T on Dec. 14.

``It's a tribute to our guys. No mental or physical letdown at all,'' Pitino said.

Tennessee (10-7) enters off an 83-76 overtime win at Florida on Wednesday.

Senior Scooter McFadgon, who averages a team-high 16.3 points for the Vols, scored 23, including the final five of the extra period.

Freshman Chris Lofton had 22 points and senior Brandon Crump added 18 for the Vols, who have alternated wins and losses in their last five games.

Tennessee averages 71.6 points per game, 12.2 fewer than Louisville.

The Vols are 5-4 all-time at Louisville, but trail the overall series 10-7. The Cardinals have won 10 of the last 11 meetings, including a 65-62 road victory last Jan. 25.

Pitino has been victorious against the Vols the last 12 times he has faced them. He is 17-3 all-time against Tennessee, with most of the success coming when he coached Kentucky from 1989-97.

Texas loses former Enloe star to academics

AUSTIN — Sophomore forward P.J. Tucker, the leading scorer and rebounder for No. 15 Texas, is academically ineligible and will miss the rest of the season, the school announced Thursday.

Tucker, averaging 13.7 points and eight rebounds a game, will stay in school and be allowed to practice but is not eligible for competition.

A former star player at Raleigh's Enloe High School, Tucker was a recruiting target of East Carolina before opting for the Longhorns.

Texas (14-3) plays at No. 18 Oklahoma (14-2) on Saturday.

``I'm really disappointed that I'm going to have to miss the remainder of the season,'' Tucker said. ``I feel like I've let a lot of people down, including myself. I'll spend the spring and summer focusing on my academics so that I can return to the team next fall.''

A team spokesman also said starting freshman center LaMarcus Aldridge remains out indefinitely with a hip injury. He missed Texas' win over No. 5 Oklahoma State on Monday night.

University officials have refused to comment on details of Tucker's academic problems, citing federal privacy laws that protect student records. Tucker acknowledged that he did not earn enough credit hours to stay eligible.

NCAA rules require a player to pass six credit hours of course work in the first semester. Texas' spring semester started Tuesday.

``I feel for P.J. right now,'' Texas coach Rick Barnes said. ``We hope he can learn a huge lesson from this and come back as a stronger and more mature person. There's no question that his loss will affect our team.

``He feels responsible for it. A prized possession has been taken away from him,'' Barnes said.

Tucker's loss is a huge blow for the Longhorns. Tucker has been the team's floor leader this season, bringing an innate toughness and a desire to win to a squad infused with freshmen.

``It's hard to understand something like that,'' said junior forward Brad Buckman. ``You don't know what goes through some people's minds. I love the guy so much, it's hard to get down on someone who I feel so strong for. People make mistakes. It's just tough when you have to deal with them. You know he never meant for that to happen.''

Barnes said the Longhorns would continue to fight hard through the rest of the schedule. The absence of Tucker and Aldridge should open up more playing time for Dion Dowell and Mike Williams, two members of the Longhorns' heralded freshman class.

``Somebody will emerge,'' Barnes said. ``We're not going to feel sorry for ourselves and nobody else is either. I'm sure there are some people who are licking their chops.''

News Nuggets are compiled periodically based on material supplied by staff members; data published by ECU, Conference USA and its member schools; and reports from Associated Press and other sources. Copyright 2005 and other publishers. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.


Page Updated: 02/23/2007 12:20 PM


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