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  • 02/09/11--16:42: Tampa Bay Golf Tour
  • Times staff
    Wednesday, February 9, 2011

    Tampa Bay Golf Tour

    Tampabay.com/golf is a guide to public courses in the area. More than 70 regulation and executive courses are listed, broken down by county and price range. The site also has a video review of each course.

    Stat of the day

    Thanks to victories in Hawaii and Phoenix, Mark Wilson has earned more money in three events this year, $2,098,700, than during any of his previous eight years on the PGA Tour. His previous best was $1,838,414 in 2009, and last year, he won $789,681.

    Pairings of the day

    This is the week when celebrities mingle with pros at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. The best pairing appears to be John Daly and Tony Romo. If Daly starts hitting it sideways, the Cowboys quarterback could beat Daly. The worst pairing could be Tim Petrovic and Patriots coach Bill Belichick. Should be a lot of yuks in that group — or not.

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    Times staff
    Wednesday, February 9, 2011

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  • 02/09/11--17:14: Dr. Remote
  • By Tom Jones, Times Staff Writer
    Wednesday, February 9, 2011

    Rocky III: 6 p.m. on AMC. The most underrated of the Rocky movies followed at 8 by Rocky IV.

    NASCAR Media Day: 7 p.m. on Speed. A preview of the 2011 season.

    Top 10 Right Now: 8 p.m. on MLB Network. The top 10 catchers in the majors followed at 9 by players Nos. 81 through 100 on the network's list of the top 100 players in all of baseball right now.

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    By Pat Damico, Times Correspondent
    Wednesday, February 9, 2011

    What's hot: Warmer water temperatures are key to finding active fish. Recent river trips featured 70-degree temperatures. While fly-fishing in brackish fresh water, we caught redfish, ladyfish, trout, snook, largemouth bass and a few baby tarpon. Deep water with wood structures harbored the best-quality fish. Outside bends in a river are usually deepest; that was where we concentrated our efforts. Arriving at the end of the outgoing tide allowed us to see trees and wood later covered by the incoming tide. The outgoing tide also flushed baitfish and crustaceans out of small creeks and bays.

    Technique: Most fly-fisherman are accustomed to using floating lines and shallow or surface presentations. During winter, this works only when predators are in very shallow water. Full-sinking fly lines matched with an 8-weight fly rod were used on our trips with a 4-foot, 20-pound leader and a 30-pound shock tippet. Weighted synthetic baitfish patterns with a 30-pound Mason monofilament weed guard in sizes 1 and 2 can probe depths and not get hung up. Darker, tannin-stained water required additional flash in our fly patterns. Cast uptide and mend your line to allow a natural presentation, keeping the rod tip down in preparation for a strip strike or the next cast.

    Fly-fisherman Pat Damico charters out of St. Pete Beach. Call (727) 504-8649 or visit www.captpat.com.

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    Times staff, wires
    Wednesday, February 9, 2011

    Michigan quarterback Tate Forcier, who lost his starting job to Denard Robinson a year after making the Big Ten All-Freshman team, transferred to Miami.

    "Miami had the best opportunity," Forcier told ESPN. "There is so much positive energy around this program and I really want to be apart of it."

    It's a significant pickup for first-year coach Al Golden, who failed to add a quarterback in this year's recruiting class.

    Forcier will sit out 2011 then have two years of eligibility.

    FSU: The annual Garnet and Gold spring game will be April 16 at 4 p.m.

    OKLAHOMA ST.: Todd Monken is leaving the Jaguars staff in the NFL to become OSU's offensive coordinator, returning to the school where he spent three years as an assistant.

    VIRGINIA: Cornerback Devin Wallace, linebacker Ausar Walcott and backup center Mike were suspended indefinitely for their alleged involvement in an assault in Harrisonburg that sent two men to the hospital.

    USF gets title games

    The Big East announced the sites for its Olympic sports championships, and USF will host the track & field championships for the first time in 2012, as well as being first-time hosts of the softball championships in 2013. Track is May 4-6, 2012, and softball is May 9-11, 2013.

    MORE USF: The softball team's game with N.C. State today was canceled. The Bulls will open the season with the USF Wilson-DeMarini Tournament, Friday-Sunday, at the Eddie C. Moore Complex in Clearwater (free admission). The Bulls host the USF Tournament, Feb. 18-20, at Eddie C. Moore before opening their new stadium Feb. 24 against Central Connecticut.

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    Derek J. LaRiviere, Times Correspondent
    Wednesday, February 9, 2011

    OCALA — Ocala programs scored a clean sweep Thursday night at Forest in the Class 5A, District 7 semifinals.

    Springstead, which had made the state playoffs the past two seasons, ended its run with a 67-42 loss to West Port in the first game of the evening.

    The Eagles (12-13) got off to a solid start, tied 12-12 with the Wolf Pack after the first quarter. Leading scorer Will Hall (21 points) had nine points in the period, including a 3-pointer, but it all unraveled from there as Springstead succumbed to the pressure of West Port's backcourt.

    "We just didn't play well tonight," Springstead coach Oliver Simmons said. "They didn't press us in either of the two times we played them earlier this season so we weren't expecting it, but that's no excuse. We should have been more prepared than we were."

    The Wolf Pack (17-7) led 27-16 at the half and cruised behind the play of point guard A.J. Taylor (four points, 10 assists). The senior opened up easy baskets for Alec Jewell (19 points, seven rebounds, six steals) and Mike Kirkland (17 points, six rebounds).

    Despite the outcome, Simmons deemed the campaign a success.

    "In my eyes it's a great season," he said. "We doubled our win total (six) from last season, and our seniors are laying a foundation for everything we want to do from here on."

    In contrast, Central played much better in defeat. The Bears fell 46-31 to top seed Forest, the defending district champion.

    Central (2-20) tightened up its defense and was able to keep the game within reach the first half. The score was tied at 6 at the end of the first quarter, and the Wildcats (19-6) led by five at halftime.

    "The kids really believe in each other, but as a first-year coach, the team hasn't had the luxury of an offseason program," Central coach Matt Zandecki said. "We couldn't limit them to one or two shots, and it started to cost us."

    In the third quarter, Forest went on a run, mostly behind the play of forward Kimball Hubbard (14 points, 14 rebounds). Central's Willie Frazier was the lone Bear in double figures with 10.

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    Don Jensen, Times Correspondent
    Wednesday, February 9, 2011

    TAMPA — Chamberlain coach Christopher Snyder won't have to say much to get his team up for Sickles on Friday in the Class 5A, District 9 championship.

    If top-seeded Chamberlain's tougher-than-expected 71-59 victory against King on Wednesday doesn't get the Chiefs' attention, Snyder can point out what happened 28 days ago. Chamberlain shot 18 percent in a 26-point loss to Sickles, five-time defending district champion.

    "It's going to be a battle," Snyder said. "… We're going to have to be a little more disciplined (than Wednesday)."

    Second-seeded Sickles (22-5) advanced easily against Freedom (10-12), using runs of 18-2 and 22-0 for a 72-32 victory.

    Chamberlain (21-2) trailed King (10-11) by nine in the second quarter, but the Chiefs tightened their defense. The Lions, who made 10 of their first 22 field-goal attempts, missed 27 of their next 28 shots over the next 14 minutes. Chamberlain, led by Eric Storts' 22 points, rushed to a 21-point lead. A late 3-point shooting display by King's Reshard Brown (32 points) made the final score respectable.

    David Cook added 15 points, Reggie Hart 12 and Roderick Hart 10 for Chamberlain.

    Sickles shot 54 percent and forced 23 turnovers. Rashawn Rembert led the Gryphons with 27 points. Tim O'Malley added 13 and Daniel Harris 11.

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    Times wires
    Wednesday, February 9, 2011

    DALLAS — The NFL has sweetened its offer to Super Bowl ticket holders whose seats weren't available in time for Sunday's game. But that didn't stop the first lawsuits from being filed Wednesday.

    The NFL initially offered about 400 fans without seats triple the face value of their $800 tickets and a ticket to next year's Super Bowl in Indianapolis. That ticket would be transferable. On Tuesday, the inconvenienced fans were given a second option: a free, nontransferable ticket to a future Super Bowl, plus airfare and lodging.

    The first lawsuit was filed in federal court Tuesday, and a second was filed Wednesday in Dallas County. The lawsuits named the Cowboys, team owner Jerry Jones and the NFL as defendants. Cowboys spokesman Brett Daniels and NFL spokesman Brian McCarthy declined comment.

    In the federal case, plaintiffs, Mike Dolabi, who lives in Tarrant County and is a Cowboys season ticket holder, and Steve Simms, a Pennsylvania resident, are asking for $5 million. Dolabi's claim is that season ticket holders with the priciest seats received inadequate tickets for the Super Bowl. According to the filing, "almost all of these seats lacked any reasonable view of the stadium's prized 'video board,' which Jones and the Cowboys routinely claim is one of the most unique and best features of Cowboys Stadium." Dolabi said he sat in one of the 1,740 temporary seats that had a overhang blocking his view. Simms was one of 400 fans whose seats were not completed in time. He left at halftime. The league knew by the middle of last week there could be a problem seating the 400 ticket holders because some temporary seats hadn't passed safety inspections.

    Super betting: The Nevada Gaming Control Board reported Tuesday that of the $87.5 million bet on the Super Bowl across the state, sports books won only $724,000 even though the favorite Packers won and the 56-point game hurt Las Vegas' need for the total points to be fewer than 45, according to the Los Angeles Times. Nevada's worst Super Bowl was in 2008, when the Giants upset the Patriots and state sports books lost more than $2.5 million.

    Labor talks: The league and players union representatives met in Washington, their second session in five days to discuss the collective bargaining agreement. Neither side commented on how the session went, but more talks are set for today.

    Packers: Cornerback Charles Woodson, who broke his collarbone in the Super Bowl, won't need surgery, coach Mike McCarthy said. He added that receiver Jordy Nelson (left knee) played through his injury and that linebacker A.J. Hawk (wrist) needs an arthroscopic procedure.

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    By Marc Topkin, Times Staff Writer
    Wednesday, February 9, 2011

    ST. PETERSBURG — Driving into the manicured baseball complex formerly known as Naimoli, Bobby Seay couldn't help having flashbacks.

    "It was crazy," Seay said. "It felt like 1999 again. It was really weird. I'm looking around for Wilson Alvarez and Rolando Arrojo, but they're just not around."

    They weren't, but some other names from the Rays' — more accurately, the Devil Rays' — past are joining Seay, who is recovering from shoulder surgery, in what amounts to a pre-spring training minicamp.

    Toby Hall is there, working to show his shoulder troubles are behind him and he is ready, at age 35, to get back behind the plate. Dewon Brazelton, he of the eight major-league wins, is throwing in hopes, at age 30, of getting back to the bigs for the first time since 2006. Also there is Jason Johnson, who last pitched for the Dodgers in 2008.

    The camp is supervised by Larry Mayol, a former Mets trainer who runs the Star Care rehabilitation center in Largo. That the former Rays players have been working out for the past month — amid the collegians in the Beach State Baseball training program and the Koreans of the Seoul Nexen Heroes pro team — on the former Rays spring fields has made it all the more interesting.

    "This is where it all started," Hall said. "It's one of those things like going back to your old high school field and all of a sudden looking around and you see those memories."

    "A lot of old memories," Seay said. "It made me feel a little older than I should feel, probably."

    Seay was 18 when he first signed, a $3 million bonus baby due to a draft loophole, and he went on to pitch parts of eight seasons in the majors, with a reasonable run of success in Detroit 2006-09.

    But soreness in his shoulder last spring led to September surgery (labrum, rotator cuff, biceps tendon sheath), and the requisite rehab is what led him to Mayol and five-day-a-week workouts on the old field.

    Seay knows the process takes time. With no setbacks, he hopes to be throwing off a mound in April and pitching in games by July or August. "My agent told me just get healthy, and if you're healthy, we're not going to have any problem finding a job somewhere," he said.

    For the others, it's not that easy. Brazelton is pretty much off the radar, having gone from being the No. 3 pick of the 2001 draft (ahead of Mark Teixeira) to the Rays' 2005 opening-day starter to Double A with the Pirates in 2007 to independent leagues the past two years.

    Hall wants teams to know he's again healthy, having played with the Rays, Dodgers and White Sox from 2000-08. He considered the Rangers' offer to go into coaching when he tried unsuccessfully to come back too soon from surgery last spring. He also could just live comfortably with his family in Tampa after about $8 million in career earnings, but he decided he wasn't ready to give up.

    The shoulder pain that forced him to leave the Astros' spring camp in 2009 and to April surgery is finally gone — "100 percent" — and he's feeling great and looking fit, down 20 pounds to 230: "I feel like I'm 25 again."

    But camps are opening next week, and he has nowhere to go. He's seeking no more than the minimum salary and is willing to go to Triple A for a month or two, and if not there, to the independent leagues.

    "It's been frustrating, but I just need to get back on the map and show everybody I'm healthy again," Hall said. "Teams have seen the history of me breaking down the last two springs, and I get that. But they don't know how I am now. And that's why I'm coming out here."

    Taking a step back in time to go forward.

    Marc Topkin can be reached at topkin@sptimes.com.


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  • 02/09/11--19:43: Sports in brief
  • Times staff and wires
    Wednesday, February 9, 2011


    FC TAmpa Bay's League Awaits sanctioning

    TAMPA — The North American Soccer League, of which FC Tampa Bay is a part, expressed confidence Wednesday that it will receive U.S. Soccer Federation Division 2 sanctioning at this week's USSF general meeting in Las Vegas.

    The NASL received provisional D-2 sanctioning in November, but three weeks ago that sanctioning was pulled because the league had not yet met some of financial requirements.

    "We've delivered on the standards, so we have no reason to believe we won't be sanctioned and playing for the 2011 season," NASL CEO Aaron Davidson said.

    NASL league brass has said it will not consider playing at the D-3 level.

    More soccer: Real Madrid and Barcelona are the sport's biggest moneymakers for the second successive year. The review of soccer finance by the international auditing firm Deloitte showed that Madrid generated $539.1 million in the year ending June 30. Barcelona generated $489.3 million, and Manchester United, owned by the Bucs owners — the Glazer family — was third, same as last year.


    Mayfield: Sorry for accusing stepmom

    Jeremy Mayfield has apologized for blaming his father's death on his estranged stepmother. The public apology was part of a settlement in a slander lawsuit Lisa Mayfield filed against the suspended NASCAR driver. Mayfield still has a wrongful death lawsuit pending against his stepmother. Terry Mayfield's death on Sept. 5, 2007, was ruled a suicide in two separate investigations. After Lisa Mayfield testified in a NASCAR affidavit that she had witnessed her stepson use methamphetamines, Jeremy Mayfield accused her in interviews of killing his father. Mayfield has been suspended by NASCAR since May 2009 for failing a drug test.

    more AUTOS: Danica Patrick announced she will drive in 12 Nationwide series events, including the first four, and compete full time in the IndyCar Series.


    Clijsters on verge of reclaiming No. 1

    Kim Clijsters moved within one win of the No. 1 women's ranking, rallying past Kristina Barrois 4-6, 6-2, 6-0 in the second round of the Open Gaz de France. The Australian Open champion needs to win her quarterfinal match Friday to take the top spot from Caroline Wozniacki.

    more Tennis: Andy Murray was upset 6-4, 6-1 by Marcos Baghdatis in the first round of the ABN-Amro in Rotterdam, Netherlands. … Rafael Nadal was cleared to train after tearing a leg muscle at the Australian Open.


    Storm to host free preseason game

    The Tampa Bay Storm will play two preseason games, with free admission to its March 3 home exhibition against the Orlando Predators. Fans interested in season tickets can participate in a select-a-seat program at the St. Pete Times Forum the night of the 7:30 Predators game. The Storm travels to Jacksonville on Feb. 28.

    Et cetera

    Baseball: Tony Malinosky, the former Dodgers infielder (1937) who was the oldest living major-leaguer, died at the age of 101 in Oxnard, Calif.

    Skiing: American Lindsey Vonn, the overall World Cup champion still struggling to recover from a concussion, likely will skip Friday's super-combined at the world championships in Germany or possibly withdraw.

    Eduardo A. Encina, Times staff writer; Times wires

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    Times wires
    Wednesday, February 9, 2011

    LINCOLN, Neb. — Brittney Griner scored 23 to lead three players in double figures as top-ranked Baylor won its 19th straight game, 69-45 over Nebraska on Wednesday night.

    Odyssey Sims had 14 points and Brooklyn Pope 12 for the Bears. Destiny Williams had nine rebounds.

    Lindsey Moore scored 18 and Jordan Hooper 14 for the Cornhuskers.

    Baylor (22-1, 9-0 Big 12) went into the game outscoring opponents by an average of 30 points and has won by fewer than 10 once during its streak. The Bears had a double-digit lead within just more than four minutes against the Huskers and led by as many as 25 points.

    NO. 6 TEXAS A&M 92, NO. 14 OKLA. 71: Danielle Adams shook off foul trouble to finish with 30 points and 13 rebounds for the host Aggies (20-2, 8-1 Big 12), who built a 19-point lead with nine minutes left in the first half against the Sooners (17-6, 7-3).

    NO. 7 XAVIER 79, RICHMOND 57: Ta'Shia Phillips had 21 points and 15 rebounds for the visiting Musketeers (20-2, 9-0 Atlantic 10), who opened the second half with a 20-2 run and won their 10th game in a row.

    KANSAS 86, NO. 22 IOWA ST. 85, OT: Carolyn Davis hit a jump shot with two seconds left in overtime as the host Jayhawks handed the Cyclones (16-7, 4-5 Big 12) their second straight loss.


    TAMPA 63, ECKERD 51: Gianna Messina had 13 points and all five starters scored in double figures for the host Spartans (17-5, 9-3 Sunshine State), who beat the Tritons (13-9, 6-6) for the second time this season.

    FLA. SOUTHERN 73, SAINT LEO 49: The host Moccasins opened with an 18-5 run and handed the Lions (9-14, 1-11 SSC) their fifth straight loss.

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    Andy Villamarzo, Times Correspondent
    Wednesday, February 9, 2011

    TARPON SPRINGS — For the first time since 1999, Tarpon Springs will be making a postseason appearance, competing for Friday's Class 5A, District 11 championship as the Spongers convincingly ousted Seminole 67-40 Wednesday night.

    "The atmosphere in the locker room wasn't very celebratory," Tarpon Springs coach James Margarella said. "We were pretty level-headed. I'm personally focused on that district championship. We know it means a lot for homecourt advantage.

    "We hope this is the start of something, not the end of it."

    Tarpon Springs (20-7) blew open the game in the second half after being up only 24-17 at halftime, as the Spongers went on a 10-0 run that led to a 34-17 lead no less than two minutes into the third quarter.

    The Warhawks stayed in the game because of the hot shooting of senior guard Tyler Zacur, who scored 16 of Seminole's 17 first-half points and 27 of 40 overall. Spongers forward C.J. Bargman passed Tony Taylor (1,107 points) to become Tarpon Springs' all-time leading scorer, now standing at 1,117 points.

    Tarpon Springs meets a familiar foe Friday, as Clearwater rolled past East Lake 68-47 in the other semifinal.

    The Tornadoes and Spongers split the season series after each team won its home game.

    Clearwater didn't have it easy at the start, with East Lake grabbing a 21-18 lead in the second quarter. But the Tornadoes' size in the front court was too much, as 6-foot-4 guard Jon Hogan and 6-10 center Josh Brown combined for 31 points and 18 rebounds.

    "Tarpon Springs is a formidable foe and they beat us pretty good at their place and had us on the ropes at ours," Clearwater coach Allen Carden said.

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    Times wires
    Wednesday, February 9, 2011

    COLUMBIA, S.C. — Florida has been on a run the past month that has been hard to stop.

    Erving Walker had 25 points and the No. 17 Gators (19-5, 8-2 SEC) shot 55.4 percent — their best showing in 21 games — in a 79-60 victory over South Carolina on Wednesday night.

    "When we're making shots like that, we're tough to beat," Florida's Chandler Parsons said. "We just want to keep playing unselfish, keep playing the way we are."

    And that's at a high level.

    Vernon Macklin had 16 points and Chandler had 14 points, 12 rebounds and a career-best eight assists.

    Florida has won five of six since losing to the Gamecocks (13-9, 4-5) 72-69 at the O'Connell Center on Jan. 15 to take control of the SEC East.

    The Gators are three victories up on their nearest rivals — Georgia and Kentucky are tied at 5-4 and don't play until Saturday — and look as if they're peaking at the perfect time.

    "We're learning," said Walker, who was two points shy of his career high. "Even though we're an older team, we're still learning."

    That fits into coach Billy Donovan's plans. Donovan was pleased that his team showed focus and poise after a big week — wins over ranked Kentucky and Vanderbilt — and did not repeat the mistakes of its last meeting with the Gamecocks.

    "Our guys came here with an understanding of a team that beat us on our home court. They came in with a lot of respect," said Donovan, who earned his 350th victory as Florida coach.

    Associated PressAssociated Press

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    David Rice, Times Correspondent
    Wednesday, February 9, 2011

    PLANT CITY — Durant advanced to the final of the Class 5A, District 8 tournament by thrashing Plant City 52-36 on the Raiders' home court Wednesday.

    The Cougars opened the game with an 11-0 run fueled by senior forward Andre Nation, who finished with 26 points.

    "He's player of the year in the county in my opinion," Cougars coach Trent Tice said. "He dominates for us. Every game he puts up 20-plus points, a handful of rebounds and a couple of blocked shots."

    The Cougars forced several turnovers and made it difficult for Plant City to hit its long-range shots. They also kept them off the foul line, as the Raiders took just five free throws for the game.

    "We got a lot of size, and we're making high school kids make shots," Tice said. "Teams are going to make a few on us, but if we make them take tough shots all game long we're keeping points off the board."

    The Cougars will meet East Bay in Friday's final after the Indians edged Newsome 56-51.

    East Bay extended a three-point halftime lead to 18 by hitting five of six 3-pointers early in the second half.

    "We've talked all year about how we come out of the half because it's something that we've struggled with," East Bay coach Billy Teeden said. "We didn't play with any fear; I loved it."

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    By Joe Smith, Times Staff Writer
    Wednesday, February 9, 2011

    TAMPA — Marquette coach Buzz Williams likened Wednesday's stunning 59-58 come-from-behind win over USF to an "out-of-body experience," saying there was no way to philosophically describe how it happened.

    "South Florida could have easily have won," Williams said. "I thought they played extremely well and you look at the numbers statistically, you could argue they should have won."

    But the Bulls, who outshot, outrebounded and outplayed the Golden Eagles for a lot of the game, said they had nobody to blame but themselves for blowing a 16-point second-half lead before 4,153 at the Sun Dome.

    Simply put, they gave the game away.

    USF committed 19 turnovers, succumbing to Marquette's pressure. And though the Bulls had several chances to tie in the final minute (thanks to six missed free throws by Marquette), it offered little solace.

    "When you're up 16, there's no way you're supposed to let a team come back and win," point guard Anthony Crater said.

    It appeared the Bulls (8-17, 2-10 Big East) had an upset in their grasp. USF controlled the tempo while shooting nearly 70 percent in the first half. They got big contributions from sophomore forward Toarlyn Fitzpatrick (career-high 16 points) and Augustus Gilchrist (11 points). They held one of the Big East's top scorers, guard Darius Johnson-Odom, to seven points.

    But USF coach Stan Heath said the tide started to turn with 14 minutes left and USF up by 16. Though Marquette picked up the fullcourt pressure, the Bulls said a lot of their mistakes were self-inflicted.

    "Yes, they sped us up," Heath said. "But we fell into the trap."

    Marquette (15-9, 6-5) tied it with 5:30 left and took its largest lead, 59-55, on a 3-pointer by forward Jae Crowder (who made 4 of 5 3-pointers) with 1:21 to go.

    Yet with the Golden Eagles going 0-for-7 from the line down the stretch, USF had several possessions down by three. Two ended on turnovers. With 8.1 seconds to go, Crater appeared to have hit a tying 3 from the corner, but a timeout had been called by Heath a second earlier. "I knew it wasn't good because I heard the whistle," Crater said.

    Then, with 1.1 seconds left — after two more missed free throws — Fitzpatrick was fouled after getting the rebound. He made the first free throw and tried to miss the second on purpose. Fittingly, the shot banked in.

    Said Heath: "It was just one of those days."

    Joe Smith can be reached at joesmith@sptimes.com.

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  • 02/09/11--20:30: UNC can't hold Duke back
  • Times wires
    Wednesday, February 9, 2011

    DURHAM, N.C. — Nolan Smith scored 22 of his career-high 34 in the second half, and No. 5 Duke rallied from 16 points down to beat No. 20 North Carolina 79-73 Wednesday night.

    Seth Curry added a season-high 22 points for the Blue Devils (22-2, 9-1 ACC).

    Duke trailed 43-27 in the final minute of the first half and was down 14 at halftime before clamping down on the Tar Heels, outscoring them 50-30 in the second half to keep hold of first place in the league.

    Tyler Zeller had 24 points and a career-high 13 rebounds, and former Sickles High standout John Henson added 14 points for North Carolina (17-6, 7-2), which had its five-game winning streak snapped and lost for the third straight time in the rivalry.

    Kyle Singler had 10 points on 3-of-17 shooting for Duke but hit three important free throws in the final minute, two with 25.2 seconds left to make it 75-70 after North Carolina had made it a one-possession game.

    Then, after Kendall Marshall hit a free throw to pull UNC within four with 17.2 seconds left, Smith raced downcourt for a breakaway dunk.

    NO. 3 TEXAS 68, OKLA. 52: Jordan Hamilton had 20 points for the visiting Longhorns (21-3, 9-0 Big 12), who are 9-0 in league play for the first time since doing it in the Southwest Conference 23 years ago.

    NO. 7 BYU 90, AIR FORCE 52: Jimmer Fredette had 25 points to reach 20 for the 10th straight game for the visiting Cougars (23-2, 9-1 Mountain West).

    NO. 8 NOTRE DAME 89, NO. 16 LOUISVILLE 79, OT: Ben Hansbrough had 25 points and Carleton Scott nine of his 16 in overtime to lead the host Fighting Irish (20-4, 9-3 Big East), who scored the first 14 of OT to beat the Cardinals (18-6, 7-4).

    RUTGERS 77, NO. 9 'NOVA 76: Jonathan Mitchell's four-point play with less than a second left capped a career-best 25-point performance as the Scarlet Knights stunned the Wildcats (19-5, 7-4 Big East).

    NO. 11 G'TOWN 64, NO. 12 SYRACUSE 56: Four players scored in double figures for the Hoyas (19-5, 8-4 Big East), who rallied to win their seventh straight and hand the Orange (20-5, 7-5) its third straight home loss.

    NO. 13 WIS. 62, IOWA 59, OT: Jon Leuer had 19 points for the Badgers (18-5, 8-3), who barely survived a road test against the Big Ten's worst team.

    NO. 22 TEXAS A&M 73, COLORADO 70, OT: Nathan Walkup had 18 points and B.J. Holmes hit a 3-pointer with 1.9 seconds left to force overtime as the visiting Aggies (18-5, 5-4 Big 12) snapped a three-game skid.

    NO. 24 TEMPLE 77, FORDHAM 66: Ramon Moore had 22 points to lead the host Owls (18-2, 8-2 Atlantic 10) to their fifth straight win.


    MIAMI 74, WAKE 73: Reggie Johnson hit two free throws with four seconds left, and the Hurricanes (15-9, 4-6) survived a rimmed-out 3-pointer at the buzzer to snap a 13-game ACC road losing streak.

    MEMPHIS 63, UCF 62: Antonio Barton hit a 3-pointer with 2.6 seconds left as the Tigers rallied to hand the host Knights (14-8, 1-8 C-USA) their eighth straight loss.

    ECKERD 84, TAMPA 79: Dale Carn had 17 points and 12 rebounds as the visiting Tritons (16-6, 7-5 Sunshine State) avenged a loss at home to the Spartans (18-5, 7-5) last month.

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    Mike McCollum, Times Correspondent
    Wednesday, February 9, 2011

    TAMPA — Wharton used strong finishes to both halves to defeat Alonso 54-44 Wednesday night.

    After a tightly contested first quarter, Wharton went on a 14-4 run in the second to extend its lead and gain some breathing room. The Wildcats continued their strong play and took a 26-18 lead into halftime.

    But Alonso would not fold as the Ravens cut the lead to two to start the third quarter. Bassel Harfouch led the Ravens with 13 points.

    The game remained close deep into the fourth quarter, but then Xavier Owens took over. Leading 41-38 Owens scored two straight baskets to extend the Wharton lead to seven. Then, after an Alonso miss, Owens converted a fastbreak layup plus the foul to put the game away.

    The Wildcats have been carried by their seniors all season, and Wednesday was no different. They combined to score 50 of the Wildcats' 54 points. Owens led the way with 19 and A.J. Astroth added 15.

    Wharton will play Plant on Friday for the 6A-8 district championship.

    Plant blew out Bloomingdale 64-38, despite losing Michael Frazier for the second half. He was forced out of the game after getting a large gash after bumping heads with a Bloomingdale player. Frazier still led all scorers with 16.

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    Justin Dargahi, Times Correspondent
    Wednesday, February 9, 2011

    TAMPA — The Class 3A-10 district championship will be decided by the top two seeds.

    Just as expected.

    Tampa Catholic used a second-half surge to pull away from St. Petersburg Catholic en route to a 65-47 win on Wednesday.

    The Crusaders (18-7) made a season-high 10 3-pointers in beating the Barons for the third time in three tries.

    "We've run into some problems when we haven't shot the ball well," Tampa Catholic coach Don Dziagwa said. "It's always big when you can knock down shots, especially 3-pointers."

    Knock them down they did as five Crusaders made at least one 3-pointer.

    Freshman Chivarsky Corbett came off the bench to lead the Crusaders with 15 points as the Tampa Catholic reserves outscored the Barons 26-0.

    Lashawn Harrison had 14 points and Antonio Rubio had 11.

    SPC (12-12) got a game-high 22 from Jacquel Cooper while Matt Dexter added 10.

    In the first semifinal, top-seeded Berkeley Prep (18-7) had little trouble with Clearwater Central Catholic (8-17), dispatching the Marauders 66-37.

    Nelson Agholor (15), Justin Gray (15) and Reggie Barnes (14) led the way for the Buccaneers, who swept the season series with Tampa Catholic.

    "We're going to have our hands full," Dziagwa said. "They're really good, but we'll get a third crack at them and being at home should help."

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    Times Staff
    Wednesday, February 9, 2011

    St. Petersburg, the No. 4 seed, was hoping to make a run through the tournament, much like last season when it won the district title as the same seed.

    But things got off to a bad start against host Sarasota Riverview on Wednesday and ended with a 65-37 loss. The bus was late to St. Petersburg and the team did not arrive until minutes before tipoff.

    St. Petersburg had trouble containing the Rams' outside shooting. Riverview jumped out to lead that it never relinquished.

    "We never could get into rhythm," Green Devils coach Chris Blackwell said. "But we're young and we'll be back."

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    Bob Putnam, Times Staff Writer
    Thursday, February 10, 2011

    BRADENTON — In the end, Dan Wright's finale was not a memorable one. The last game of his 35-year coaching career at Lakewood on Wednesday was a synopsis of everything that had changed, everything that had allowed the competition to catch up.

    Lakewood Ranch 58, Lakewood 52.

    The Mustangs won on their home court and move on to the final of the Class 4A, District 10 tournament. The semifinal loss snapped the Spartans' streak of making the playoffs at 13 seasons.

    "I told my wife before I left that we'll see if we can continue the journey," Wright said.

    This was the final stop on Wright's farewell tour. He had watched his share of coaches in the county come and go. Some left on their own, others kicking and screaming.

    Wright would go quietly.

    There was no stomping his feet, no yelling instructions, even after Lakewood allowed a 38-34 lead in the third quarter to evaporate as Lakewood Ranch hit a free throw and sank two 3-pointers to take the lead for good.

    The Spartans tried to rally. Alphonso Evans hit a 3-pointer in the final two minutes to make it a one possession game. But Lakewood would not get any closer.

    As the seconds ticked away, there were just a handful of well-wishers crowded around him. After both teams shook hands, assistant coach Anthony Lawrence embraced Wright, as much to numb the sting of a final loss as to honor him.

    With the gymnasium nearly empty, Wright walked across the court and into the locker room for the last speech to his players.

    "It's a disappointing loss," Wright said. "Especially for the seniors on this team. It's been a long time since Lakewood has not had something to play for at the end of the season. But the kids fought hard like they had all season.

    "I guess I'll be like Roy Rogers and get my white hat and white horse and ride off into the sunset."


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