Sunday, February 29, 2004

Top 25: Stanford, St. Joe's stay the course

Hawks survive scare against Rhode Island

By The Associated Press

STANFORD, Calif. - Josh Childress had 29 points, 12 rebounds, five assists and three blocks for No. 1 Stanford, which won its school-record 25th straight game Saturday and remained one of the two unbeatens in Division I.

Childress was 10-for-16 from the field, including 4-of-6 from 3-point range.

Stanford (25-0, 16-0 Pac-10) beat the Ducks at home for the 18th consecutive time in a matchup that was nothing like the last meeting, when the Cardinal rallied from a 19-point second-half deficit to win 83-80 in Eugene on Jan. 31.

Luke Jackson scored 18 points for the Ducks (12-11, 7-9).

The sellout crowd of 7,391 took advantage of its last chance to rock Maples Pavilion for nearly 10 months. Renovations begin Monday on the 36-year-old arena, which will receive a $30 million facelift that's expected to be completed by early January 2005.


No. 2 Saint Joseph's 57, Rhode Island 55

SOUTH KINGSTOWN, R.I. - Jameer Nelson scored 21 points and Delonte West had 19 and Saint Joseph's remained unbeaten.

The Hawks (26-0, 15-0) have only a home game against last-place St. Bonaventure and the Atlantic 10 tournament standing in the way of a perfect regular season. No team has entered the NCAA tournament unbeaten since UNLV in 1991. Top-ranked Stanford was also undefeated going into Saturday night's game against Oregon.

It was never more than a three-point game for the final 10 minutes. A 3-pointer by West made it 56-55 with 57 seconds left and he added a free throw with 19 seconds to play.

Rhode Island had two last chances: one to tie by Dawan Robinson and Steve Mello's desperation 3-pointer for the win.

Dustin Hellenga had 15 points for Rhode Island (17-12, 6-9).


No. 4 Gonzaga 80, Santa Clara 64

SPOKANE, Wash. - Blake Stepp scored 14 points and Gonzaga beat Santa Clara in the final game at The Kennel, extending a team record with its 18th consecutive win.

Stepp added eight assists as Gonzaga (25-2, 14-0 West Coast Conference) completed the first undefeated WCC season in school history and the first in the league since Pepperdine in 1992. The Bulldogs will be the top seed in next week's WCC tournament.

Santa Clara (14-15, 6-8) lost for the sixth consecutive time to Gonzaga and has won just one of its past six games. Kyle Bailey and Doron Perkins led the Broncos with 19 points each.


No. 6 Oklahoma St. 72, Baylor 65

WACO, Texas - Tony Allen scored 20 of his 22 points in the second half and the Cowboys backed back from a double-overtime loss at Missouri.

Oklahoma State (22-3, 12-2 Big 12) led by 12 points with 4:11 left, but Baylor went on a 12-2 run to get within 67-65 with a minute left. John Lucas III, who transferred from Baylor last summer, set up Ivan McFarlin for a layup with 23 seconds left, just before the shot clock expired.

Terrance Thomas had 24 points for the Bears (8-19, 3-11), who missed three 3-pointers on their last possession.


No. 7 Mississippi St. 72, Vanderbilt 69

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Lawrence Roberts scored 18 points and grabbed 14 rebounds, and Mississippi State held off Vanderbilt to remain perfect away from home this season.

The Bulldogs (23-2, 12-2 Southeastern Conference) improved to 11-0 on the road and stayed a game ahead of Kentucky, which plays at LSU on Sunday, in the race for the league's regular-season title.

But it wasn't easy against Vanderbilt (18-7, 7-7), which had won three straight and five of seven.

Timmy Bowers added 16 points for the Bulldogs. Matt Freije led Vanderbilt with 26.


No. 8 Connecticut 75, Villanova 74, OT

PHILADELPHIA - Emeka Okafor, the nation's leading shot blocker, blocked a Villanova shot at the end of regulation and again at the end of overtime.

Josh Boone put in a rebound of a miss by Ben Gordon with 5.5 seconds left in overtime to give the Huskies a 75-74 lead and Okafor sealed the victory with a spectacular block on a driving layup by Randy Foye just before the buzzer sounded.

Gordon had 21 points and Okafor added 17 for the Huskies (23-5, 11-3 Big East), who have won four straight.

Curtis Sumpter scored 22 points for Villanova (14-13, 6-8), which has lost three straight and five of six.

Connecticut's Rashad Anderson tied it at 66 on a 3-pointer from the right wing with 7 seconds left in regulation. Okafor then blocked Foye's driving layup just before the buzzer, sending it to overtime.


No. 10 Texas 74, No. 25 Texas Tech 71

AUSTIN, Texas - Brandon Mouton scored 17 points and P.J. Tucker added 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Longhorns (21-4, 12-2 Big 12).

Mouton and Tucker combined to make four free throws over the final 28 seconds to hold off the Red Raiders, who have lost seven of 10.

Andre Emmett scored 21 points for Texas Tech (19-9, 7-7) but missed two 3-point attempts in the finals seconds that would have forced overtime.


No. 11 Wake Forest 91, Maryland 83

COLLEGE PARK, Md. - Vytas Danelius scored a career-high 23 points for the Demon Deacons, who won their sixth straight and clinched at least a tie for third place in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Justin Gray scored 22 points and Jamaal Levy had 14 points and 15 rebounds for Wake Forest (19-6, 9-5).

John Gilchrist led Maryland (14-11, 5-9) with 26 points. The Terrapins, who fell into a tie for seventh place in the nine-team ACC, need a whirlwind finish to extend to 11 their streak of consecutive NCAA tournament appearances.


No. 16 Southern Illinois 72, Bradley 71

CARBONDALE, Ill. - Sylvester Willis hit a layup with 0.5 seconds left, and Southern Illinois beat Bradley despite blowing a 22-point halftime lead.

The Salukis (24-2, 17-0 Missouri Valley Conference) are one win from becoming the third team in MVC history to finish a season undefeated in league play. The others to accomplish the feat were Indiana State, led by Larry Bird, in 1978-79, and Bradley in 1985-86. Each went 16-0 in MVC play.

The Salukis play their final regular-season game Monday at Northern Iowa.

Bradley (14-15, 6-11) took the lead, 71-70, for the first time since early in the first half on a 3 by Mike Suggs with 2.5 seconds left.

But Darren Brooks hit Willis with a full-court pass to win it.


No. 17 Arizona 72, Washington St. 60

TUCSON, Ariz. - Salim Stoudamire returned from a one-game suspension to score 21 points, 16 in the second half, and the Wildcats snapped a two-game losing streak.

Arizona (18-8, 10-7 Pac-10) beat the Cougars for the 38th consecutive time. Washington State last beat Arizona on Jan. 30, 1986, in Pullman.

Stoudamire, suspended by coach Lute Olson for "failure to meet team responsibilities," was 8-for-16 from the field, 3-for-7 from 3-point range, and held Washington State's Marcus Moore to five points on 2-for-11 shooting.

Thomas Kelati scored a career-high 27 points for Washington State (12-14, 6-9).


No. 18 Georgia Tech 79, Clemson 60

CLEMSON, S.C. - B.J. Elder scored 16 of his 17 points in the second half and Georgia Tech reached 20 victories for the first time in eight seasons.

Elder went 0-for-4 from the field in a crazy first half that was delayed about 20 minutes by a power outage.

The Yellow Jackets (20-8, 7-7 Atlantic Coast Conference) snapped a two-game losing streak.

Sharrod Ford had 20 points and 16 rebounds for Clemson (10-16, 3-12), which clinched last place in the ACC and a spot in the league's tournament 8-9 game for the fifth straight season.


No. 21 Louisville 66, No. 19 Memphis 60

LOUISVILLE, Ky. - Francisco Garcia scored 18 points and Louisville snapped a four-game losing streak.

Otis George added 11 points and eight rebounds for the Cardinals (18-7, 8-6 Conference USA), who won for just the second time in eight games.

Sean Banks scored 26 points and Antonio Burks added 22 for the Tigers (20-5, 11-3), who had an 11-game winning streak snapped.


No. 23 Illinois 66, Northwestern 56

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Dee Brown scored 20 points to lead Illinois to its straight win.

Nick Smith had 14 points and Roger Powell added 13 for the Illini (20-5, 11-3 Big Ten).

Vedran Vukusic and Jitim Young each had 16 points for Northwestern (12-13, 7-7), which beat Illinois 70-60 earlier in the season.

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