|AP Photo LAP106|
|Written by Admin|
|Friday, 15 February 2008 19:03|
Through Thursday's games there were still five teams that had yet to lose a conference game this season: Memphis in Conference USA, Duke in the Atlantic Coast Conference, Cornell in the Ivy League, Davidson in the Southern Conference, and Oral Roberts in the Summit League.
Memphis is looking for its second straight 16-0 season in Conference USA. The last school to have back-to-back unbeaten conference seasons was Princeton in the Ivy League in 1996-97 and 1997-98.
Winthrop of the Big South was the only other school to go unbeaten in conference play last season.
There have been at least two teams to run the conference table every season since 2001-02, when only Kansas of the Big 12 did it. The last time there weren't any was 2000-01.
e game: North Florida in the Atlantic Sun, Northwestern in the Big Ten, Rice in Conference USA, Colorado State in the Mountain West, and Oregon State in the Pac-10.
No team went winless in league play last season, although six managed just one conference victory.
LESS LOVE: UCLA's Kevin Love knows he's not fooling anyone with his listed height of 6 feet, 10 inches.
The 271-pound freshman sensation insists he has always claimed to be 6-9. But with his shoes off, he's been measured at 6-8 1/2. With shoes on, he's 6-9 1/2.
``The whole height thing is really overrated,'' he said. ``When it comes down to it, can you play or can you not play? I think I play like I'm 7 feet.''
Now 19, Love said doctors have told him he will continue growing until he's 21.
``Some time I could really be 6-10,'' he said.
HIGH RIDER: Rider senior forward Jason Thompson had 26 points and 24 rebounds in the Broncs' 80-77 loss to Siena last Sunday and became the first Division I player in 12 years to have three 20-20 games in a season.
``Those numbers are unbelievable,'' Rider coach Tommy Dempsey said after the loss to Siena in the matchup for first place in the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. ``Those are as good a numbers as I think I've seen on a stat sheet. Jason showed up in a big game and did everything he could to will his team to victory.''
He is currently averaging 20.1 points, 12.1 rebounds and 2.9 blocks for the Broncs (18-7). The rebound average is second in Division I to star freshman Michael Beasley of Kansas State (12.3).
Thompson and Beasley are the only two players to have games with at least 26 points and 24 rebounds. Beasley had 32 points and 24 rebounds in his college debut against Sacramento State on Nov. 9.
When Kansas State beat Rider 82-69 in the Old Spice Classic on Nov. 25, Beasley had 13 points and 10 rebounds while Thompson had 24 points, seven rebounds and four blocked shots.
Four times in Division I this season year a player has compiled at least 20 points, 15 rebounds and five blocks in a game. Connecticut's Hasheem Thabeet accomplished it once and Thompson has done it three times.
``He's a pro,'' Siena coach Fran McCaffery said. ``He's a handful out there.''
Thompson's other 20-20s were 23 points and 21 rebounds against Delaware and 23-21 in the other meeting with Siena.
Thompson had five assists in the first game against Siena, the first time a player had 20 points, 20 rebounds and five assists on the road since Tim Duncan of Wake Forest did it in 1996-97.
``The five assists is what stands out to me,'' Dempsey said. ``He makes such good decisions with the ball when he is double-teamed.''
GOLDEN SEASON: Fifth-year senior Todd Golden looks nothing like the recruited walk-on he was when he arrived at Saint Mary's back in 2003.
Golden's defense, accuracy from 3-point range and guidance for freshman point guard Patty Mills have all been key reasons the Gaels have cracked the Top 25 and are in position to compete for the West Coast Conference title.
Golden is shooting a league-best 46.2 percent (42-for-91) from long range and had attempted only three shots from inside the arc through Monday's 54-50 win at Santa Clara. The left-hander earned conference Player of the Week honors following a 6-for-6 performance on 3s in a thrilling 89-85 overtime victory against Gonzaga on Feb. 4, including his final 3 with 1:19 left in overtime. Students chanted ``Todd is Golden!'' at McKeon Pavilion.
With the win at Santa Clara, the 6-foot-2 guard earned his 80th career victory, most by a player in school history.
``It's great,'' Golden said. ``It's a reflection of this year's team definitely getting to 20 wins so fast and a reflection of where our program's at, the progress and where our team's come in my four years.''
He redshirted during his first season in the Bay Area and is now working toward a master's degree in business administration.
``One hundred years and he's the all-time winningest player,'' coach Randy Bennett said. ``I don't know what else you can say. There have been lot of great players here, but none part of more winning. He's a captain and I think our team's a reflection of him - unselfish and they bring a great effort every day. It's hard to stick around for five summers.
``You talk about it, tell the team the way it should be. You don't get too many people who do that. You can't be more proud of that guy, what he's done.''
YOUNG STARTERS: There is no doubt Herb Sendek has gone with a commitment to youth in his two seasons at Arizona State.
Through 22 games this season, and his 52 with the Sun Devils, Sendek has had 130 out of the possible 260 starting spots filled by freshmen. The other classes' contributions are: sophomores 56 starts (21.5 percent), juniors 39 (15 percent) and seniors 35 (13.5 percent).
Against Xavier on Dec. 15, Arizona State started four freshmen for the first time in school history. The freshmen, led by James Harden, have accounted for 48.3 percent of the points this season.
AP Sports Writers Beth Harris in Los Angeles and Janie McCauley in San Francisco contributed to this report.