December 15, 2002
MOBILE, Ala. -- Alabama nearly made its highest ranking ever a one-week cameo.
Kenny Walker saved the No. 2 Crimson Tide from that embarrassment, scoring a career-high 25 and coming up big late in a 72-63 victory over Bowling Green on Saturday in the Coors Classic.
"They had a week off, and I'm sure people were telling them how good they were," Falcons coach Dan Dakich said. "They don't know Bowling Green from a bowling ball."
Now they do.
Kevin Netter scored 26 for the Falcons as he and Walker essentially played to a draw under the basket.
Netter's hook shot in the lane made it 66-63 with 1:51 left, but Walker made perhaps his biggest play when he drew his counterpart's fifth foul 34 seconds later.
Walker hit one of two free throws, and the Falcons didn't score again. He had returned to the game two seconds earlier after getting benched for lackluster defense.
"I was like, 'Coach, put me back in,' " Walker said. "It was a great decision."
Netter's decision to go for the block wound up hurting him.
"Maybe I shouldn't have went up for that block, but I didn't want to not be aggressive," he said. "I didn't want him to get an easy bucket."
Emmett Thomas, making his first start, dunked off a nice pass in the paint from Mo Williams with 48 seconds left, then Walker made two more free throws.
Williams and Thomas scored 14 each for the Tide, and Erwin Dudley overcame a tough offensive performance with 11 rebounds. Dudley was 1-of-6 shooting for a season-low five points and was on the bench at the end.
Walker was 11-of-17 and blocked five shots.
John Reimold had 13 points and eight rebounds for Bowling Green, and Cory Eyink had 12 points and hit two 3-pointers in a 50-second span late in the second half. He was 1-of-5 for 3-pointers in the first five games.
The Tide opened the second half on a 21-5 run and took a 58-34 lead with 12:30 to play after missing its final six shots of the first half.
"I thought we played very well for about 30 minutes," Alabama coach Mark Gottfried said. "We kind of pulled back a little bit and weren't nearly as aggressive late in the game."
South Alabama beat Georgia State 81-68 in the first game of the doubleheader at the Mitchell Center.
NO. 4 PITT 89, SE LOUISIANA 55: Julius Page gave the host Panthers a big lead early with a series of dunks and fast-break layups, and they cruised to the win.
Page scored 17 to help make up for the missing production of forward Donatas Zavackas, who was delayed in Europe while attending a funeral. Zavackas led Pitt with 20 points in its previous game, an 82-60 victory over Penn State.
Pittsburgh had too much size, athleticism and quickness for the Lions, who have yet to beat a Division I opponent.
Chevon Troutman scored 14 despite missing all seven free throws, with Brandin Knight and Carl Krauser adding 13 and Jaron Brown 10. Ontario Lett, who splits time at center with Toree Morris, had 10 points and 10 rebounds as Pitt shot 64.2 percent (34-of-53).
Amir Abdur-Rahim scored 18 for the Lions, who quickly fell behind 8-0 before scoring with 16:20 left and never got much closer.
Pitt is 6-0 for the first time since 1997-98.
NO. 6 OKLAHOMA 69, COPPIN ST. 47: Coppin State slowed Oklahoma down, but not nearly enough.
The Eagles' deliberate style helped hold the Sooners 10 points below their season average. But Hollis Price scored 22 to make sure the visiting Eagles couldn't produce an upset.
"Coppin is one of those teams that is going to keep the game ugly, and that's okay," Oklahoma coach Kelvin Sampson said. "That's the way they coach. There's nothing wrong with that. They test your defensive patience, they test your concentration and then on defense they're going to force you to play slow."
The Eagles, with four freshmen among their top eight players, came in averaging 43.5 percent from the floor. They shot 36 percent against Oklahoma.
NO. 7 INDIANA 66, PURDUE 63: Jeff Newton scored all 16 of his points in the second half, including nine in the final three minutes, for the Hoosiers at the RCA Dome in Indianapolis.
Newton also had 12 rebounds to become the first Hoosier since Alan Henderson in 1995 to record five consecutive double doubles.
Indiana, at 8-0 off to its best start since 1989-90, won its fifth straight over the Boilermakers, who were led by Willie Deane's 21 points.
The Duel in the Dome was scheduled as a nonconference game after the Big Ten's rotating schedule pitted the two rivals once this season.
Neither team had won more than four straight in the series since Indiana won six straight from March 1973 to February '76, but Indiana changed that in a game that had the atmosphere of a late-season contest with a conference title at stake.
During a 3:30 stretch midway through the second half, the teams traded leads eight times and had two ties.
Newton proved the difference. After missing his first six shots, he dominated in the final 3:13 when Purdue's inside players were in foul trouble. Newton made 5-of-6 free throws to give Indiana a 59-56 lead with 2:10 to go and had a dunk and two free throws to make it 63-60.
NO. 10 NOTRE DAME 102, DEPAUL 71: For the first time in 21 years, the Irish went into a game as a Top 10 team and came out of it looking like a Top 10 team.
Matt Carroll made sure of that.
Carroll had a career-high 33 points and Notre Dame missed only two 2-point shots in the first half. Carroll was 9-of-10 for from inside the 3-point line.
The host Irish, who jumped to No. 10 Monday after beating three teams ranked in the Top 15 the previous week, won as a Top 10 team for the first time since 1981.
"Today was a game that I wanted real bad," Carroll said. "My team needed this game. I think a lot of people expected us to have a letdown this game."
Carroll and his teammates remembered that two seasons ago the Irish rose to No. 10 after winning their first four, then lost to Indiana and Miami of Ohio. In 1985 the Irish rose to No. 10 and lost their next game to Indiana, then rose again to No. 10 in the final poll that season and lost to Arkansas-Little Rock in the NCAA Tournament.
The Blue Demons (4-1) fell a win shy of getting off to their best start since the 1986-87 season.
NO. 11 MISSOURI 93, MEMPHIS 78: Arthur Johnson had 23 points and 11 rebounds for his fourth double double the season and closed in on host Missouri's shot-blocking record.
Johnson, a 6-foot-9 junior, blocked two shots, and Missouri had six blocks total, giving Missouri 16 the past two games. Johnson needs three to tie the career record of 149 by Steve Stipanovich from 1980-83.
Missouri held Memphis to 37 percent shooting. Five of Missouri's first six opponents have shot less than 40 percent.
Rickey Paulding scored 15 of his 22 in two crucial sequences for Missouri. He had nine points in a 15-0 run to open the game and made a pair of 3-pointers in a 26-second span in the second half as Missouri regained control with a 13-4 run.
NO. 15 ILLINOIS 70, TEMPLE 54: Brian Cook had 25 points and 11 rebounds as the Illini held the road-weary Owls to their worst shooting game of the season in Chicago.
Illinois led 50-43 when Deron Williams and Sean Harrington made back-to-back 3-pointers to key a 20-9 run.
Temple played its second straight game without coach John Chaney, who was at home while he recovers from pneumonia. Before the recent illness, the 70-year-old coach had missed three games in 21 years at Temple.
NO. 16 MARQUETTE 63, WISCONSIN 54: Dwyane Wade scored 25 as the host Golden Eagles ended a four-game losing streak against the Badgers.
The Golden Eagles also ended a 14-game winning streak by the Badgers against in-state schools.
Todd Townsend scored all nine of his points on 3-pointers, and none was more important than his last, which gave Marquette some breathing room and a 55-48 lead with three minutes left.
The Badgers, who were outshot 52 percent to 36 percent from the floor, never found an offensive touch to come back.
NO. 17 TULSA 62, SW MISSOURI 46: Kevin Johnson had 16 points, 12 rebounds and 3 blocks for the visiting Golden Hurricane.
The Bears closed to 38-36 with 8:07 remaining, but Tulsa pulled away with a 24-10 game-ending run.
Johnson sparked Tulsa early in the second half with two consecutive baskets, but Southwest Missouri's Shelton Colwell countered with three field goals to get the Bears within 34-28.
NO. 20 KANSAS 113, EMPORIA ST. 61: Kirk Hinrich hit five 3-pointers, matching his career high, and scored 23 for the host Jayhawks.
Wayne Simien also had a career-high 23 points for Kansas, which reached 100 points before the midpoint of the second half of its traditional annual matchup against an in-state NCAA Division II team.
Nick Collison added 19 points, Keith Langford finished with 13 and Aaron Miles had 13 assists for the Jayhawks, who led 34-10 after 81/2 minutes and 64-23 at the half.
That 41-point halftime lead was Kansas' largest since Jan. 14, 1993, when the Jayhawks led Oral Roberts by 46 (75-29) at intermission.
Emporia State didn't reach double figures until Shawn Herrman's tip-in with little more than 12 minutes left in the half. By that time Collison already had 10 points and the Jayhawks led 30-10.
NO. 23 CREIGHTON 101, TENN. TECH 72: Kyle Korver hit six 3-pointers and had 20 points as the host Bluejays remained unbeaten.
Joe Dabbert added a career-high 17 points, Larry House had 13 and Brody Deren 12 for Creighton.
Creighton is 7-0 for the second time in four seasons and the 11th time in its 85 years.
Creighton outscored the Golden Eagles 17-0 over a 5:38 span of the first half to break it open.