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College Basketball | SPOTLIGHT

Win Is Twice as Nice for Gibson, Georgia

January 20, 2002|Jim Barrero

Believe it or not, No. 20 Georgia was actually looking forward to this trip to Gainesville, Fla.

Jarvis Hayes scored 23 points and twin brother Jonas had 13 to help the Bulldogs upset No. 2 Florida, 84-79, on Saturday, ending the Gators' school-record 14-game winning streak.

Georgia (15-3, 4-1 Southeastern Conference) got back on the winning side three days after two players, starting center Steve Thomas and reserve guard Tony Cole, were suspended while the school investigates a rape case in which the two were allegedly involved.

"It was good just getting away from Athens, just getting out of the state of Georgia for a while," Jarvis Hayes said. "The whole situation there--it's been pretty tough on us."

Fred Gibson, a two-sport star who reneged on an oral commitment to play football for Florida, made all four of his free throws down the stretch to help Georgia seal the victory.

The Gators (15-2, 4-1) lost at home for the first time since Georgia won, 75-72, last season.

"This group of guys has been an unbelievable road team," Georgia Coach Jim Harrick said. "Mentally, physically and emotionally, they're very tough guys. Where they go doesn't bother them."

Gibson (13 points) followed a missed free throw by Udonis Haslem with a thundering, breakaway slam for a 75-67 lead, then the Bulldogs went nine for 10 from the free-throw line to hang on.

Gibson, a freshman, was set to attend Florida and wanted to play football and basketball, but said he got a lukewarm response from Gator basketball Coach Billy Donovan.

That was all Georgia's gain Saturday, especially at the end.

"Fred gave us quickness, energy, enthusiasm and certainly, 13 points," Harrick said. "As a big-time athlete, in a big-time game, pressure doesn't bother him. He was like a player on the playground."

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Diminishing return: Louisville's hiring of Rick Pitino brought plenty of intrigue to Conference USA, a league that has been dominated by Cincinnati.

But when the teams met Saturday in Cincinnati, it was Louisville assistant Mick Cronin who grabbed some of the spotlight.

Cronin, who was Coach Bob Huggins' top recruiter at Cincinnati the last four seasons but left to join Pitino, was loudly jeered when he walked onto the floor. A sign in the student section read: "Benedict Cronin."

Huggins was not pleased with Pitino's pursuit of Cronin last April. Sports Illustrated reported that by the time Pitino called Huggins to ask permission to interview Cronin, Huggins had heard about the courtship.

"I hope for Mick's sake he gets that job," Huggins reportedly told a friend, "because if he doesn't, I'm firing him."

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Devil driven: The Final Four in January?

That's the way Duke has approached its last four games since a stunning 77-76 loss to Florida State on Jan. 6.

"We approached this stretch as a Final Four," said Duke's Chris Duhon after his team routed No. 14 Wake Forest, 103-80. "You play one great team one night and it takes a lot out of you, then you have to come back in two days and play again. We handled it well."

Since the loss to the Seminoles, the Blue Devils have defeated Georgia Tech by 25, North Carolina State by 19, Maryland by 21 and the Demon Deacons by 23 to secure their hold on the No. 1 ranking.

Wake Forest Coach Skip Prosser certainly noticed Duke's extra effort.

"They're like an incendiary device, ticking away," he said.

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Delivering the goods: Last season as a sophomore, Drew Gooden's two lowest scoring games were against Oklahoma.

They also were the only times the 6-foot-10 Kansas forward failed to score in double figures in the 28 games in which he played.

Now a junior and facing a history he desperately did not want to repeat, Gooden rearranged his frame of mind.

Gooden scored 15 of his 19 points in the second half and led the fourth-ranked Jayhawks to a 74-67 victory over No. 5 Oklahoma.

"I got my mind right," said Gooden, who was limited to one field goal, two free throws and an air ball in the first half. "I went in the locker room and I said, 'Man ... I'm not letting this happen again.'"

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Breaking on through: For Kentucky's Keith Bogans, it had been a four-game slump.

Missouri's Kareem Rush, some might say, has been in a season slump unbecoming of a preseason first-team All-American.

Both snapped out of it Saturday, although Rush already had shown signs of doing so.

Bogans, who had shot 33.3% and averaged only seven points the last four games, scored 23 to lead No.12 Kentucky to a 72-65 victory against Notre Dame.

"Last year I probably would have been hiding in a hole," Bogans said. "If I'm not playing well, I've got to stay focused. That's what I learned."

Rush, who slumped during much of December, continued a recent surge, tying his season high with 29 points in No. 21 Missouri's 92-79 victory against Colorado.

"Early in the season I was tending to force things to try to go out there and score all my points," Rush said. "When I let the game come to me, my shots seem to come easier and I'm more open."

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Growing pains: Andre Emmett scored 32 points in Texas Tech's 94-70 upset of No. 6 Oklahoma State, but that didn't mean he has grown up in the eyes of Coach Bob Knight.

"When you're 80, you'll still be waiting for Emmett to mature," Knight said.

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Performance of the day: Maurice Riddick of Bethune Cookman came off the bench to make a school-record 11 three-pointers and score 37 points in a 96-72 victory against Coppin State.

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Performance of the weak: St. Peter's let a seven-point halftime lead disappear in a 72-65 loss to Niagara as the Peacocks fell to 1-14 after their 13th consecutive loss.

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Duke Is Duke...Again

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Jim Barrero

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