March 07, 2007


‘Wright’ stuff in Raider win


Associated Press/Kiichiro Sato
Wright State forward Drew Burleson (right) goes up for a basket against Butler forward Drew Streicher Tuesday during the Horizon League basketball championship in Dayton, Ohio.

AP Sports Writer

FAIRBORN, Ohio — When Butler made one last surge, Wright State refused to buckle.
DaShaun Wood scored 27 points and Will Graham hit four free throws in the last 12 seconds to lead the Raiders past the 19th-ranked Bulldogs 60-55 Tuesday night for the Horizon League postseason title and their second trip to the NCAA tournament.
“The kids didn’t panic,” Wright State coach Brad Brownell said. “We remained composed and we made good shots down the stretch to win it.”
The Raiders’ only previous trip to the NCAA tournament in their 20 years in Division I came in 1993, when they were pounded 97-54 by Indiana in the first round after capturing the Mid-Continent Conference tournament title.
The next NCAA challenge is an afterthought for Wright State (23-9), a growing school in suburban Dayton.
“We’re not worried about the NCAAs for at least another 48 hours,” Brownell said. “We’re going to enjoy this with our fans.”
Brownell saw it all coming, amazingly. A year ago, the Raiders were coming off a 13-15 season and a first-round loss in the Horizon League tournament when he took over. The school and coach Paul Biancardi parted ways because of an NCAA cloud that had followed him from his previous job as an assistant at Ohio State.
Yet when Brownell, who led North Carolina-Wilmington to the NCAA tournament last year, first met with his new team, he made a bold prediction.
“Coach came in from day one and said we could make it,” Wood said while receiving high-fives and hugs on the crowded floor after the game. “All I know is we did make it. And nobody else thought it could be done.”
In other conference tournament championship games, Oral Roberts beat Oakland 71-67 to earn the Mid-Continent Conference’s NCAA bid and North Texas beat Arkansas State 83-75 in the Sun Belt Conference title game.
Butler (27-6) still looks like a solid bet to receive an at-large bid to its seventh trip to the NCAA tournament.
The Bulldogs have lost six of their last seven games at Wright State’s Nutter Center — ending a five-game skid with Saturday night’s 67-66 overtime win over Loyola of Chicago.
Wood helped turn the tide after Butler had scrambled back from an eight-point deficit to take the lead in the final minutes.
“When we went up two (points), they were able to counter,” coach Todd Lickliter said. “It seemed like they were able to counter a lot. I was really impressed with Wright State’s poise.”
With the score tied at 52 and 1:25 left, Butler’s A.J. Graves drove to the basket but Wood blocked the shot from behind. Then at the other end, Wood curled off a pick and hit a 3-pointer from the right wing with 1:06 left.
Brandon Crone, who led the Bulldogs with 18 points, scored inside off an inbounds pass to cut the lead to one as hundreds of Wright State students crammed around the floor in expectation of a celebration.
The teams each hit a foul shot, before Graham was fouled with 11.6 seconds left. A 66-percent free-throw shooter, he made them both for a 58-55 lead.
“DaShaun came up to me before the first set and said, ‘Hey, you’ve got two shots. You only have to make one.’ He was trying to loosen me up. That took some of the weight off my shoulders,” Graham said.
Graves, who had 12 points, then rushed the ball up the court but missed a 3-pointer while trying to draw a foul with 4.5 seconds left.
“I was just trying to push the ball up and see what the best shot was that we could get,” he said. “I knew we needed a 3 and I knew we didn’t have any timeouts left.”
Graham again was fouled with 1.3 seconds left and made two more to clinch the win, touching off a wild rush to the floor by the students.
Oral Roberts 71, Oakland, Mich. 67: Ken Tutt banked in a jumper with 31.6 seconds left to lift Oral Roberts to an automatic NCAA bid for the second straight year.
Caleb Green scored 28 points to become the Mid-Con’s career scoring leader, and Tutt had 20 points for the top-seeded Golden Eagles (23-10).
Adam Liberty added two free throws to ice the game for Oral Roberts.
North Texas 83, Arkansas St. 75: Calvin Watson hit six 3-pointers and scored 24 points to help North Texas get to the NCAA tournament for the first time since 1988.



JOHN PARTIGIANONI, JR. used a little perfection to roll the high series among Tuesday bowlers. Partigianoni strung together 12 straight strikes for a 300 game in the middle of his 804 series for Eagles during Pall Trinity League action at Cort-Lanes. The scratch kegler opened with a 246 game on lanes 9 and 10 before closing out the series with a 258.
John Conklin notched a solid 775 series after games of 279-279-217 for R.H. Osborne during Pall Trinity League action.
Todd Straka was close behind with his 771 series for Walden Oaks on scores of 255-237-279 during Osborne Floor Covering League at Hi-Lanes in Homer.
Chuck Pitts used games of 245-268-236 to record his 749 series_for Mijo’s during Square Deal Machine League at Marathon Lanes and More.
Glenn Robbins notched his 740 series on scores of 279-215-246 for Malarkey’s Pub during Osborne Floor Covering League.
Steve Conklin rolled games of 258-235-234 during his 727 series for R.H. Osborne during Pall Trinity League.
The bowlers recorded 724 series. Josh Fortin had games of 258-220-246 for Don’s Auto Upholstery during Osborne Floor Covering League. Carl Baatz posted scores of 220-257-247 for Square Deal Machine during Pall Trinity League. Dicky Arnold recorded games of 253-246-225 for Rose Farms during Pall Trinity League.
Tim Marshall checked in with his 720 series after games of 257-253-216 for NYSP during Ho-Beau’s League at Hi-Lanes.
Scott Evener used games of 259-212-247 to record his 718 series for F Troop during Pall Trinity League.
Michael Pendell rolled his 717 series on scores of 237-203-277 for Danny’s Auto during Square Deal Machine League.
Dave Sutherland rounded out the group with his 702 series after games of 210-243-249 for R.H. Osborne during Pall Trinity League.
ALSO, Steve Spence rolled 699 on scores of 223-249-227; James Myers 697 on 224-247-226; John Bishop 696 on 227-290-179; Rich Price 695 on 247-246-202; Jerry Nachtrieb 694 on 203-269-221; Harvey Stalker 693 on 241-216-236; Brian Fuller 690 on 236-238-216; Wayne Clark 689 on 237-216-236; Richard Barry 689 on 248-259-182; Doug Gardner 682 on 225-223-234; Kevin Hawkes 681 on 179-236-266; Mike Toglia 680 on 243-192-245; Chris Dewey 679 on 205-268-206; Joe Foote 679 on 279-195-205; Keith Fuller 669 on 222-235-212; Dan Harris 669 on 172-236-261; Steve Newton 665 on 217-256-192; Jim Robinson 659 on 247-201-211; Scott Becker 659 on 207-227-225; Zach Van Liew 657 on 243-201-213; Al Mix 656 on 227-247-182; Phil Sanford 654 on 190-227-237; Ezra Roher 652 on 224-234-204 and Lynn Moore 652 on 233-213-206. Steve Spence spared the 4-6-7-10 split.
AMY JONES led the women with her 627 series after games of 196-258-173 for Gema Acres during Early Bird League action at Cort-Lanes.
ALSO, Renee Baatz rolled 597 on 197-184-216; Pat Thompson 562 on 147-202-213; Colleen Thomas 560 on 197-181-182; Janet Wiese 557 on 222-139-196 and Rhonda Odell 551 on 190-161-200.
l J.J. and Tabitha Owens were the winners of the fifth annual Ed Rundle Memorial Scholarship No-Tap Tournament Feb. 10-11 at the Ithaca Bowl-O-Drome, with final results just recently compiled and released.
Leonard Limpert’s 896 handicap total was best among the men, while Tabitha Owens had an 892 handicap series as the top female. A total of 62 teams competed in the event, with 13 no-tap 300 games rolled — three by J.J. Owens.
More than $600 was raised for scholarship fund during the tournament, which was conducted by the Ithaca chapter of the United States Bowling Congress.