Brother Rice upsets Fenwick

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Brother Rice upsets Fenwick

By: George M. Wilcox
SeasonPass.com

Brother Rice prepared this week as though Fenwick was at full strength heading into its Catholic League contest Friday night. But that did not turn out to be the case at tipoff.

The Friars played last week without 6-foot-8 starting center Daniel Dwyer, who is recovering from an injury to his right foot. Dwyer was in street clothes for the game at Rice and his foot remained in walking boot. But Fenwick suffered a double whammy when leading scorer Luke Lattner could not play due an illness.

I knew Daniel Dwyer was hurt. He did not play when we scouted them (against St. Francis de Sales) Rice coach Pat Richardson. I only knew about Luke Lattner when they go here. Hes a great player. That hurt them a lot.

Without Lattner and Dwyer, short-handed Fenwick scored its lowest total of the season as Rice cruised 58-34 to win its fifth consecutive game. Alex Majewski (seven rebounds), a 6-7 senior, did not have Dwyer to deal with as a defender and scored a game-high 21 points for the Crusaders (7-1, 3-0).

Without two key starters, a leading scorer and top post player, the rest of Fenwicks starters combined to score 13 points in the game. Rice limited Fenwick (5-2, 1-2) to 13 points in the second half and just four points, including one basket in the final quarter.

That hurt them, Majewski said of Dwyer and Lattner. That definitely helped us a little bit. We were able to get the ball more inside, and our guys were able to go outside.

The Crusaders took control after halftime despite leading 32-21 at the break. After Joshua Carlisle (seven points) started the second half with a free throw, Rice answered with a 14-3 run. The run concluded when the Friars Scott Lindsey was charged with a technical foul. That allowed Jim Barista (14 points) to add two more foul shots for a 46-24 lead.

Freshman Michael Smith led the Friars with 11 points. Smith led Fenwick in scoring for the first time in his career. Lattner has scored at least 15 points in each of the Friars last four games. He had 18 in a 61-44 win over de Sales Dec. 7.

It was a big struggle, Smith said. We didnt have our captain (Lattner) because he was sick. It was a tough game.

Smith ignited the Friars with seven points in the second quarter as the Fenwick bench scored nine of the Friars 11 points in the quarter.

I like a lot of things (were doing), Richardson said. I think we are a talented team. Our offense is executing poorly. I think we can be great.

Fenwick coach Pat Quinn said he expects Dwyer to return for the teams next game Dec. 21 against Providence at home. Dwyer suffered a hairline fracture in his right toe from a household injury earlier this month and has missed only two games.

Weve got to get healthier, Quinn said. The whole team, physically. I imagine most schools are battling with the flu.

Sub-.500 Hawkeyes on four-game losing streak after home loss to Omaha

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USA TODAY

Sub-.500 Hawkeyes on four-game losing streak after home loss to Omaha

Things are not going too well in Iowa City.

The Hawkeyes saw their losing streak stretch to four games Saturday with an upsetting 98-89 home loss to Omaha.

Iowa has been a high-scoring team this season, entering the weekend with the Big Ten's No. 2 scoring offense at 85.6 points a game, but it's also been the league's worst defensive team, allowing an average of 85 points a game. And that's before the Mavericks nearly hit the century mark on Saturday.

The Hawkeyes were out-rebounded, including a big advantage for the Mavericks on the offensive boards, where they turned 19 offensive rebounds into 20 second-chance points. Omaha's bench outscored Iowa's bench, 37-9, and the Mavericks had a 40-26 scoring edge in the paint.

Trailing by six after allowing 53 first-half points, the Hawkeyes led for just 18 seconds over the game's final 21-plus minutes.

Peter Jok, the Big Ten's leading scorer, poured in 33 points in this one, though efficiency was not his strong suit, going 8-for-21 from the field. He added 10 rebounds for a double-double.

Iowa's losing streak stands at four, the loss to Omaha linking with losses to Virginia, Memphis and Notre Dame. In the last three games, the Hawkeyes have surrendered an average of 96.7 points. In four of their five losses on the season — the heretofore unmentioned one coming against Seton Hall — opponents have scored at least 91 points.

The Hawkeyes' only wins this season have come against Kennesaw State, Savannah State and Texas-Rio Grande Valley.

Iowa has five more non-conference games — including a date with ranked in-state rival Iowa State — prior to the start of Big Ten play at the end of the month.

Illini defense dominant in capping bounce-back week with win over VCU

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USA TODAY

Illini defense dominant in capping bounce-back week with win over VCU

What a difference a week makes.

Last week was a nightmare for Illinois, with a home loss to Winthrop followed by back-to-back double-digit losses to West Virginia and Florida State in Brooklyn.

But things went much differently this week, with Tuesday's win over North Carolina State paired with a Saturday victory over VCU to make for a bounce-back stretch for a team that looked lost just a handful of days ago.

Saturday's win in Miami came in convincing fashion, Illinois victorious by a 64-46 score over a team that's been to six straight NCAA tournaments.

The Illinois defense held VCU to its lowest scoring output since 2005. The Illini held the Rams to just 30.2-percent shooting and 2-for-18 shooting from 3-point range.

The Illini fell behind early in this one but countered VCU's opening success with a 19-3 run that put them ahead by eight in the closing minutes of the first half. That run featured seven points from Leron Black and five from Maloclm Hill, the start of huge games for both guys. A Hill buzzer-beater at the half gave Illinois its biggest lead of the opening 20 minutes at 10.

VCU scored 11 straight points in the early stages of the second half to chop a 12-point Illinois lead all the way down to one. Things stayed close until a 10-3 run by the Illini — featuring eight points from Jalen Coleman-Lands — stretched the Illinois edge back out to double digits, an 11-point lead with about three minutes to go. After a pair of VCU free throws, Hill knocked down a 3-pointer with two and a half minutes left to seal the game, establishing a 12-point advantage the stretched to nearly 20 by the final horn.

Black finished the game with a career-high 18 points, coming close to a double-double with eight rebounds. Hill had 16 points and filled the stat sheet with five assists, three rebounds, two steals and a block. Coleman-Lands was an unusual oh-fer from 3-point range but still scored in double figures with 12 points. Tracy Abrams was a perfect 3-for-3 from deep, accounting for all nine of his points, and had six rebounds and four assists.

Illinois sits at 6-3 on the season, two games better than it was a week ago after back-to-back wins against name opponents. Four more non-conference games are on the docket — against IUPUI, Central Michigan, BYU and Missouri — before the start of Big Ten play at the end of the month.