69° Good Morning
69° Good Morning

EAST REGIONAL / Team -by-team notes on the Nassau Coliseum field / Another Iowa Scorer Hobbled

Imagine the horror. Iowa coach Steve Alford already had his

top shooting guards on the bench with knee injuries. Then freshman Brody Boyd,

who scored 47 points in four Big Ten Tournament games, fell and banged his

right knee on the Nassau Coliseum court while scrambling for a loose ball with

about eight minutes to go in a first-round game against Creighton. "If anybody

else goes down, we'll have to go to the football team and look for shooters,"

Alford said.

Boyd left the game to have X-rays, which turned up negative, but he has a

severe bruise and couldn't bend his knee while sitting on the sideline. The

guard said he couldn't help but be reminded of Kyle Korver, Iowa's starting

two-guard, who has missed 14 games with a broken kneecap. His replacement, Ryan

Hogan, has been out nine games with a knee injury.

"It's a bad bruise," Alford said. "It was scary. We have to hope we don't

lose our third shooting guard."


'D' Switch Proves a Winner

Halftime with Al Skinner must not have been very pleasant. The Boston

College coach was losing 39-33 to Southern Utah and his team's vaunted

fullcourt press was having little effect on the spunky Thunderbirds. So the

coach challenged the team, abandoning the press and switching to a man-to-man

halfcourt defense.

"The solid game we played in the second half is probably how we should have

played for the entire 40 minutes," Skinner said. "I told them we have to get

after them and we have to take care of business. It was a very simple game

plan, really."

Part of the first-half trouble for the Eagles was the lack of scoring from

Troy Bell. He missed all five of his first-half shots and had only two points

at the break. But Bell finished with a team-high 18 points, including 10 of the

team's first 15 in the second half.


Smith, Willard All in Family

Kentucky coach Tubby Smith and Holy Cross coach Ralph Willard have a mutual

admiration society going that dates to the season they spent together as

assistant coaches under Rick Pitino at Kentucky in 1989-90.

Smith recalled the heat of pickup games with Willard, Pitino and Billy

Donovan, now the head coach at Florida. "I thought my name was 'Kick It Out.'

That's all I did was rebound and throw it out to Rick," Smith joked. "He liked

to be in control."

Pitino was such a control freak that he demanded his assistants be on the

court at 5 a.m. sharp for those "friendly" games. "Tubby was so worried about

being late," Willard said, smiling at the memory, "that he used to sleep in his

jock and his gym shorts, and put his sneakers right at the foot of the bed so

he'd be on time."


House-Bell Banter Lively

Fred House leaves New York with a lot of memories. And a new friend.

Throughout the second half, House and Boston College All-American guard Troy

Bell exchanged one-liners and smiles like old chums at a backyard barbecue, not

strangers meeting for the first time in an NCAA Tournament game. It all

started when Bell walked past House, a senior guard, and said, "Man, you're

getting calls like an All-American." The banter continued as House said he told

Bell, "Even though you're an All-American, we won't go away. No matter how

many three-pointers you hit, we won't go away."

"Boston College was a good team and we jumped up and bit them in the butt

a little," said House, who scored 21 points for the Thunderbirds. "The loss

is going to hurt a little while, but we can't feel sorry for ourselves. We

can't hang our heads."


Standing 'O' for Sankes

Holy Cross center Josh Sankes didn't have a following just in the stands,

where six male students spelled out his name with letters painted on their bare

chests. He also earned the admiration of Kentucky coach Tubby Smith.

"I'm impressed with Sankes. The way he blocks shots, the way he runs the

floor," Smith said of the 7-1, 270-pound center who has battled cerebral palsy

and a sore Achilles tendon in his senior year. "We wanted to make him work hard

by double-teaming him when he got the ball down low, but his stamina was


Sankes, a 57 percent foul shooter, gave his fans plenty to cheer about. He

scored 13 points, grabbed 10 rebounds and went 5-for-5 from the line, including

two with 6:28 left that tied the score and brought the Coliseum crowd to its



End a Bit Painful to Walker

The end came painfully for senior guard Ben Walker, who sustained a

compound fracture of his right ring finger trying to pull down a rebound in the

last five minutes of Creighton's 69-56 loss to Iowa yesterday.

"The bone poked out. I had to put it back myself," Walker said. He had it

wrapped and kept playing, but after the game the dressing was soaked with

blood, drops of which had fallen to the floor. Walker finished with a game-high

nine rebounds. The injury was a minor inconvenience; what hurt more was the

end of his college career.


We're revamping our Comments section. Learn more and share your input.

New York Sports