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Volume 69, Issue 94, Thursday, February 19, 2004


No fun for No. 1

Conference losses knock off top teams

By Daniel Huron
The Daily Cougar

Duke, Connecticut and Kansas are teams that have been ranked No. 1 in The Associated Press Top 25 men's college basketball poll at least once this season. All three teams took one on the chin by losing to conference foes on Sunday. 

Entering the weekend, then-No. 1 Duke was gliding through the regular season with an 18-game winning streak. No. 21 North Carolina State was streaking as well. With a victory over the Blue Devils, N.C. State would have its first five-game Atlantic Coast Conference winning streak in 30 years.

The Wolfpack's Marcus Melvin scored 18 points as N.C. State held off a late Duke surge to win 78-74. Julius Hodge made two clutch free throws to seal the victory. N.C. State made 12 consecutive free throws over the final 1:10 of the game.

"A lot of stuff isn't about Xs and Os," Duke head coach Mike Krzyzewski said to the AP. "It's about how much you really want it." 

Panthers the Pitts for Huskies

No. 4 Pittsburgh entered Sunday's game against No. 5 Connecticut reeling. On Monday, the Panthers lost to Seton Hall, 68-67, in double overtime. Their 75-68 victory over UConn not only helped prevent Pitt's first two-game losing streak since January 2002, but extended the Panthers' home winning streak to 40, the longest current home winning streak in Division I-A. 

The second half of the game was the difference. Because of foul trouble, Connecticut's Emeka Okafor scored only four of his 16 points in the second period. In contrast, Pitt's Jaron Brown rose to the occasion, scoring 13 of his 17 points in the second half. 


No. 12 Kansas had arguably the toughest week of all the top 25 teams. On Tuesday, No. 10 Oklahoma State beat the Jayhawks, 80-60. Kansas finished the week by losing 74-55 to unranked Nebraska. It was the Cornhuskers' first victory over the Jayhawks in their last 10 meetings.

"Every team goes through peaks and valleys," Kansas head coach Bill Self said to the AP. "And certainly this is the biggest valley we've been in." 

Again, the second half was when this game was truly decided. Nebraska came out of the locker room and made 13 of its first 19 shots from the field. The Jayhawks struggled as they made only five of their first 17 shots.

Up where they belong 

Duke's loss over the weekend propelled the nation's two undefeated teams to their rightful spots on top of the AP poll. Stanford (21-0) ascended to the No. 1 ranking, while Saint Joseph's (22-0) moved up to No. 2.

Both teams had easy victories.

Stanford's 69-58 victory over California extended its school-record winning streak to 21 games.

Dayton had won three consecutive games against St. Joseph's before Wednesday, when the Flyers lost 81-67. The Hawks capped the week with a 73-59 victory over Rhode Island.

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