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,"
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
"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
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
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.