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Posted 26 Mar 2001   For week ended March 16, 2001
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News about Mormons, Mormonism,
and the LDS Church

Sent on Mormon-News: 16Mar01

By Kent Larsen

Mormons in NCAAs: BYU, 'Cinderella,' Wisconsin Lose, Utah State, Duke and Stanford Win

NEW YORK, NEW YORK -- With all but one of the college basketball teams with Mormon players playing in yesterday's games, half of the teams were eliminated, two of them in very close games. The mostly-Mormon "Cinderella" team, Southern Utah University, lost to Boston College in a game that was only decided in the final minute and a half, while Wisconsin, with its Mormon player Ricky Bower playing at 'home,' lost by just one point to Georgia State. But Mormons playing on Utah State, Duke and Stanford all saw wins in their first round games.

Perhaps the most Mormon team in the tournament, BYU, was swamped by Cincinnati, which simply rolled over the Cougars 84-59. But the more interesting games were the two losses. Southern Utah led at the half, and was up by as much as 9 points. With one and a half minutes to go, however, the Thunderbirds' Jeff Monaco tied the game with a three pointer. Even in the final seconds of the game, SUU had a chance, but was unable to feed the ball to Monaco for the three pointer needed to tie the game and force an overtime.

Wisconsin suffered a similar fate. Expected by some to win, Wisconsin led by 16 points at the half, and only lost in the final few seconds when Mark Vershaw missed two free throws. LDS returned missionary Ricky Bower did play in the game, scoring 6 points for the Badgers.

Neither Stanford nor Duke's wins were surprising, since both teams were first seeds facing 16th seeds in their regions. Duke's Mormon player, Matt Christensen, scored 4 points in the game, while Stanford's Mormons, Casey Jacobsen and Julius Barnes, scored 16 points and 9 points respectively. Utah State's win was also notable because they upset Ohio State.


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