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Lottich, Prosser, Paul nab awards


Matt Lottich

Coach Mike Montgomery's team has been impressive this season despite the absence of Josh Childress (foot injury). One key to the success of the Cardinal has been guard Matt Lottich, who came up big in Saturday's 87-80 win over Gonzaga in the Pete Newell Challenge.

Lottich played 38 minutes against coach Mark Few's Zags, hitting 12-of-17 shots (including 6-of-7 trifectas), finishing with 34 points and seven assists.

Both perennial Final Four teams put on clinics on Saturday.

The Wildcats had a six-point lead at halftime against Indiana in the RCA Dome. Coach Tubby Smith's team put on a defensive show in the second half, outscoring the Hoosiers 48-15. Chuck Hayes led Kentucky with 22 points in the 80-41 win.

Duke gave the best performance I have seen this season, blitzing a top-10 Texas team 89-61. Chris Duhon was brilliant at point guard as Coach K's team rolled.

The Demon Deacons had a tough challenge, visiting North Carolina at Chapel Hill in their ACC opener Saturday. Wake Forest never quit, reflecting on the personality if its underrated coach.

It took three overtimes, and the Demon Deacons came back from a four-point deficit in that final OT to prevail 119-114. Eric Williams scored 24 points as Prosser moved to 5-0 lifetime against the Tar Heels.

The Runnin' Rebels had a 16-point halftime lead (45-29) but could not hold on against Northern Arizona. Aaron Bond scored the game-winning hoop with 1.6 seconds left for a 74-73 Lumberjacks' win.

It was especially rewarding for Northern Arizona coach Mike Adras, who used to patrol the sidelines at Bishop Gorman High School in Las Vegas. This W looks even more impressive since coach Charlie Spoonhour's Rebels bounced back to beat previously unbeaten Auburn in the next outing.

Kansas went to Nevada to honor a commitment that former coach Roy Williams made to play in front of freshman center David Padgett's home fans (Padgett played his high school ball in Reno). The Jayhawks were down 20 points at halftime against the Wolf Pack. It was never a contest, as Kirk Snyder dominated with 29 big points Sunday night in Nevada's 75-61 win.

In 22 minutes, Padgett scored six points on 3-of-3 shooting and grabbed four rebounds.

This was a tough call, since freshmen Luol Deng, Drew Lavender and Chris Taft (seven blocked shots against previously unbeaten Murray State) all had strong showings.

Chris Paul played 46 minutes before fouling out in the triple-overtime thriller against North Carolina. He finished with 18 points and eight assists. He had 12 points and nine assists vs. SMU earlier in the week.

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