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Top 10 list: Halftime scores can be misleading


Dec. 21, 2004
So you're wondering why teams play two halves of basketball? That's right, it takes 40 minutes to decide a winner in college hoops, and several recent games were a perfect reminder of why you can't worry about or pay too much attention to halftime scores.

This is like a David Letterman Top 10 list — 10 examples (from this past weekend) of why you can't jump to early conclusions, baby!

10. Detroit was down 34-25 at the half to, gulp, Gannon! But coach Perry Watson and Co. rallied and won, 62-49. James Thues said it was loud in the locker room at halftime!

Bob Huggins
9. Cincinnati was tied 36-36 at halftime against Northwestern State (La.). Coach Bob Huggins, in his 500th game as the Bearcats' coach, saw his team close the game on a 21-4 run to win 81-65.

8. DePaul trailed Illinois-Chicago 38-33 at halftime. Then coach Dave Leitao's Blue Demons shot 63 percent in the second half and outscored coach Jimmy Collins' team 47-24 to win 80-63.

7. After the Cadets led the Irish 21-5 in the first half, Notre Dame and Army were tied 30-30 at halftime. Yes, the fans at South Bend had to be shocked! Coach Mike Brey's team won the second half 41-22 to win easily. The bottom line was that, after a 21-5 start, Army was outscored 66-31!

6. Michigan State trailed Delaware State 17-11 in the latter stages of the first half. Then coach Tom Izzo's team woke up and led 24-22 at halftime ... another interesting locker-room speech in the state of Michigan (see No. 10), and the Spartans ended up with a 63-45 win.

5. Boston College trailed Yale by 10 at halftime, 37-27. It took two overtimes, but the Eagles remained unbeaten after an 82-80 win.

4. Kansas trailed South Carolina 33-25 at halftime at Allen Field House. Coach Bill Self's team was in danger but rallied late to win 64-60. The Jayhawks took the lead with 5:07 left.

3. Duke trailed Oklahoma 39-29 at halftime at Madison Square Garden. Just 33 seconds into the second half, coach Mike Krzyzewski called a timeout with his team down 12 points. It worked, as the Blue Devils rallied to win 78-67.

2. Missouri was down 31-16 at halftime to Indiana. The fans in Columbia were stunned, but it was the Hoosiers who felt second-half shock waves. Missouri shot 10-of-12 from the floor in the second half (83.3 percent) to win 56-53.

1. Louisville led Kentucky 32-16 at halftime. But coach Tubby Smith's team never quit, and the defense led a tremendous rally. Patrick Sparks hit three free throws late to give the Wildcats a 60-58 triumph.

That's why you play 40 minutes, baby!

Dick Vitale coached the Pistons and the University of Detroit before broadcasting ESPN's first college basketball game in December 1979. Send him a question for possible use on ESPNEWS.

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