Are you the publisher? Claim or contact us about this channel


Embed this content in your HTML

Search

Report adult content:

click to rate:

Account: (login)

More Channels


Channel Catalog


Channel Description:

A feed of articles for Sports

older | 1 | .... | 905 | 906 | (Page 907) | 908 | 909 | .... | 929 | newer

    0 0

    By Bryan Burns, Times Correspondent
    Saturday, January 19, 2013

    ST. PETERSBURG — For much of the first half of the 88th annual East-West Shrine Game at Tropicana Field, points were at a premium for both teams.

    A 15-second scoring barrage late in the first half, however, was enough to propel the West to a relatively easy 28-13 victory in front of an announced 18,000.

    Holding a slim 7-3 lead, the West pulled ahead when quarterback Matt Scott (Arizona) connected with Mississippi State wide receiver Chad Bumphis on a 57-yard touchdown with a minute to go before halftime.

    Then, with the East team trying to mount a late scoring drive before halftime, West cornerback Nigel Malone (Kansas State) jumped a pass by East quarterback Colby Cameron (Louisiana Tech) on an out pattern and returned it 30 yards for a touchdown and a 21-3 advantage.

    The 14-point swing effectively ended any hopes of an East victory.

    "I didn't exactly finish how I wanted to in the Fiesta Bowl," Malone said, referring to his Wildcats' 35-17 loss to Oregon on Jan. 3. "This meant a lot to come out in my last, real college game and come up with a victory, especially with a great group of guys."

    Bumphis' touchdown was aided by a bit of luck. East cornerback Branden Smith (Georgia) snuck under Bumphis on a short out pattern and looked to make an interception, but the ball went through his hands and right to Bumphis, who made the catch while tiptoeing the sideline then outraced the East defense.

    "I was kind of cheating. I looked at the Jumbotron to see where the ball was," said Bumphis, who had four catches for 92 yards. "I looked up at the screen and (Scott) was getting ready to throw, so I turned around and the ball was there. … We have one at (Mississippi State) that's huge, so I had a little practice."

    The East took advantage when the West's Jasper Collins (Mount Union) muffed a punt late in the third quarter to set up its only touchdown. Army wide receiver Trent Steelman, who has also played quarterback for the Black Knights, lined up in the wildcat and finished a three-play drive with a 7-yard touchdown on a keeper through the middle of the defense.

    On its ensuing possession, the West pushed its advantage back to 17 points with a time-consuming drive that took up nearly half of the fourth quarter.

    Texas A&M running back Christine Michael, the game's leading rusher with 42 yards on 13 carries, had a 6-yard touchdown run, picking and weaving his way through the heart of the East defense for a 28-10 lead.

    Florida kicker Caleb Sturgis booted a 48-yard field goal late in the second quarter and added a 37-yard field goal with 1:24 remaining in the game to account for the rest of the East's scoring. USF's Sam Barrington and Kayvon Webster played for the East team.

    Middle Tennessee State wide receiver Anthony Amos had a 3-yard touchdown run on a reverse to give the West an early lead on its first drive of the game.


    Associated PressAssociated Press

    0 0
  • 01/19/13--19:05: Federer takes out local hero
  • Times wires
    Saturday, January 19, 2013

    MELBOURNE, Australia — The bravado he built by holding serve for 76 games dissolved in six points. It was Roger Federer on the other side of the net this time, in a major, and he gave 20-year-old Bernard Tomic an instant reality check.

    "I elected to serve, considering I was serving really well the last few weeks," Tomic said. "Yeah … that first service game was important. I lost it. Then I was like, 'Oh, no!' "

    The last Aussie — in either the men's or women's draw — exited the Australian Open on Saturday, with Federer, the No. 2 seed, beating Tomic 6-4, 7-6 (7-5), 6-1 in the third round.

    "It's not my favorite part of the job beating up on the hometown heroes," Federer told the crowd at Rod Laver Arena, where he has won four of his 17 Grand Slam titles. "But it's nice that you guys sort of invite me back every year."

    Federer earned his 250th win at a Grand Slam event, the milestone sprinkled with some of his classic crisp volleys and trademark one-handed backhands. Federer won the first point of the match with a forehand winner, the first of three in that game, and Tomic only won two points before Federer converted a service break in the first game.

    Federer faces Milos Raonic, who won 7-6 (7-4), 6-3, 6-4 against Philipp Kohlschreiber in a battle of two big servers.

    The women's draw saw one upset this morning as No. 19 seed Ekaterina Makarova took out the highest seed to tumble so far at the season's first major, beating No. 5 Angelique Kerber 7-5, 6-4.

    Makarova's win came in the same round in which she defeated Serena Williams here last year.

    The 24-year-old could meet a fellow Russian, No. 2-ranked Maria Sharapova, in the quarterfinals, at the same stage they met last year. Sharapova faced Belgium's Kirsten Flipkens early today.

    "Seems like it was the same this year and last year. Unbelievable feeling," Makarova said. "I really like to play here. The crowd is so perfect."

    American Sloane Stephens, the No. 29 seed, beat Laura Robson 7-5, 6-3 in a matchup between the only female teenagers left. Stephens, 19, has a fourth-round match against Bojana Jovanovski, who ended the run of 42-year-old Kimko Date-Krumm, 6-2, 7-6 (7-3).

    Juan Martin del Potro, the 2009 U.S. Open champion, fell 6-3, 6-3, 6-7 (3-7), 3-6, 6-3 to Jeremy Chardy. Only three major winners remained in the men's draw: Federer, Novak Djokovic and No. 3 Andy Murray, who advanced to the fourth round with a 6-3, 6-4, 7-5 win over qualifier Ricardas Berankis.

    No. 4 seed David Ferrer advanced to the quarterfinals, defeating Japan's Kei Nishikori, the No. 16 seed, 6-2, 6-1, 6-4.


    Getty ImagesGetty Images

    0 0

    By Rodney Page, Times Staff Writer
    Saturday, January 19, 2013

    ST. PETERSBURG — For those who left Lakewood's Breast Cancer Shootout girls basketball game against Port Orange Atlantic midway through the fourth quarter Saturday, this is not a misprint. Atlantic did beat the Spartans 48-47.

    That final score seemed improbable with four minutes left as Lakewood led 45-26 and seemed to score at will.

    Then the Spartans shut down. They threw errant passes, dribbled off their legs, traveled and missed shots.

    "We work on that stuff in practice and it's no problem," Lakewood coach Necole Tunsil said. "Then we get in the game and we start turning the ball over."

    The problems started when Atlantic coach George Butts called for a full-court press. The Sharks (15-6) went on a 17-0 run that included steals and layups from Destiny Woodard and Ronni Williams. A foul shot by Tianah Alvarado (26 points) broke the run and gave Lakewood a 46-43 lead with 58 seconds left.

    A Williams layup with 30 seconds left made it 46-45. With 22 seconds left, Alvarado hit one of two free throws to make it 47-45.

    Then Williams was fouled with 9.6 seconds left and made one of two shots to cut it to one.

    Lakewood inbounded to Alvarado, but she was called for traveling. Williams was fouled again while driving, and with 2.2 seconds left she made both free throws for the Sharks' only lead.

    The Sharks finished on a 22-2 run and didn't allow a field goal in the final four minutes.

    "We knew they had a hard time with the press," Butts said. "They couldn't handle it, so we just had to come at them."

    It could be a big loss for Lakewood (17-3). The Spartans play at St. Petersburg on Tuesday to decide the Pinellas County Athletic Conference south champion. The district tournament begins the next week.

    Lakewood has to figure out its turnover problems. "We've handled pressure before," Tunsil said. "We've just got to have more pride. Where's the pride?"

    Also, Clearwater lost to Lake Worth 50-48, St. Petersburg beat Ocala Forest 63-56 and Tarpon Springs lost to Florida A&M High 62-27.


    0 0

    By Damian Cristodero, Times Staff Writer
    Saturday, January 19, 2013

    TAMPA — Officially, Steve Thomas is the Lightning's player development coach, but for the rest of the season he will be an assistant on coach Guy Boucher's staff.

    An eye-in-the-sky during games, Thomas also will chip in at practices, particularly sharing his expertise on the power play, on which as an NHL player from 1984-2004 he scored 106 of his 421 goals.

    "That and skills around the net," Thomas said Saturday. "Little things that as a player you pick up along the way, so I can be an asset in that way."

    Said Boucher: "He knows the game. He's felt the game and seen so much. He's a guy the players can relate to."

    The Lightning has been down an assistant since April 2011, when Wayne Fleming was diagnosed with brain cancer. Fleming, 62, is bed-ridden at his Calgary home and will not return, so adding Thomas lightens the load on Boucher and assistants Dan Lacroix and Marty Raymond.

    "There are guys on this team who are head and shoulders better than I was, but I'm not intimidated talking to them or passing on some things I may see that when you're out on the ice you really don't see," Thomas said.

    FAST START: With newcomers Sami Salo and Matt Carle along the blue line, the Lightning went 3-for-7 on the power play in the opening 6-3 win against the Capitals, notable because the team last season finished tied for 25th in the league on the power play at 15.2 percent.

    Tampa Bay had 11 power-play shots and had extended zone time, something it did not have consistently last season.

    "I was very excited about how the play looked," said F Marty St. Louis, who had two power-play goals. "I really felt it was the difference."

    HAPPY BIRTHDAY: As part of its 20th anniversary celebration, the Lightning during the season will honor 20 of its greatest moments. Saturday it was the franchise's first game, a 7-3 win over the Blackhawks on Oct. 7, 1992. Chris Kontos, who scored a team-record four goals in the game, was "honored" to attend the ceremonial puck drop.

    FOR STARTERS: Four other players from the Lightning's inaugural team were recognized: C Brian Bradley, G Pat Jablonski, F Joe Reekie and Capitals D Roman Hamrlik, 38, Tampa Bay's first draft pick and lone remaining active player. "It's really crazy," Hamrlik said. "I have so many memories from here. It's where I started, and I had the opportunity to play with some great players. I'll never forget this place."

    TICKETS: The Lightning reports a season-ticket count of about 12,500, including partial-plan equivalents. It said it has sold 850 season tickets since the lockout ended Jan. 6.

    ODDS AND ENDS: The Lightning's three No. 1 overall draft choices — C Vinny Lecavalier (1998), C Steven Stamkos (2008) and Hamrlik (1992) — were in the game. … Capitals W Alex Ovechkin had four shots, none in the final two periods. … Lightning D Brendan Mikkelson, RW Dana Tyrell and LW Pierre-Cedric Labrie were scratched. … The Lightning is 12-6-0 with two ties in season openers and 10-7-1 with two ties in home openers.


    0 0

    Times wires
    Saturday, January 19, 2013

    ATLANTA — Tony Parker had 23 points and 12 assists, and the San Antonio Spurs held off the short-handed Hawks 98-93 on Saturday night for their fourth straight victory.

    Former Florida star Matt Bonner added 17 points, and Kawhi Leonard and Tiago Splitter each had 14 for San Antonio.

    Hawks guard Lou Williams faces season-ending surgery for a torn ACL in his right knee. Williams was hurt Friday at Brooklyn. Williams, in his first season in Atlanta, is averaging 14.1 points.

    Then the Hawks lost guard Devin Harris to a sprained left ankle in the third quarter.

    Josh Smith led Atlanta with 21 points. Kyle Korver, who started at shooting guard, had 19 points.

    Spurs forward Tim Duncan was not in uniform as he was given the night off by coach Gregg Popovich.

    Jenkins made two free throws with 22 seconds left to cut the Spurs' lead to 94-91, but San Antonio beat a full-court press for an easy basket by Splitter.

    GAME HIGHLIGHTS: Klay Thompson had a season-high 29 points and Jarrett Jack scored seven of his 25 in the final minute as the visiting Warriors beat the Hornets 116-112. … Chris Johnson and Mickael Gelabale signed 10-day contracts Saturday morning, then scored the first 23 points of the fourth quarter to lift the Timberwolves past the visiting Rockets 92-79. … The Grizzlies scored the first six points of overtime and hung on for an 85-82 victory over the host Bulls, who played their third consecutive OT game. Carlos Boozer missed a 3-pointer as time expired.. … Marcus Thornton had 18 points off the bench as the Kings sent the Bobcats to their 14th consecutive home loss, 97-93.

    MARION FINED: The league fined Mavericks forward Shawn Marion $25,000 for publicly criticizing officiating. Marion was quoted after the Mavericks' 117-114 overtime loss to Oklahoma City on Friday as saying that "it's hard to beat anybody when you're playing five on eight."

    DURANT'S BIG NIGHT: Kevin Durant's miserable fourth quarter ended with a final miss that gave Dallas a chance to finish a rally in overtime late Friday. The Oklahoma City star took care of things in the extra period instead, and ended up with the league's first 50-point game this season. Durant had 52 points, a career high, including the go-ahead basket with 16.9 seconds left in OT, and the Thunder held on to beat the host Mavericks 117-114. The All-Star forward missed six straight shots and was 2 of 11 from the field as Dallas rallied in the fourth quarter.

    Spurs 98, Hawks 93

    SAN ANTONIO (98): Leonard 4-8 4-4 14, Diaw 4-7 0-0 9, Splitter 7-11 0-0 14, Parker 10-22 3-5 23, Green 3-9 0-0 7, Blair 3-7 1-2 7, Jackson 0-3 0-0 0, Neal 2-9 0-0 4, De Colo 1-2 0-0 3, Bonner 7-8 0-0 17. Totals 41-86 8-11 98.

    ATLANTA (93): Smith 8-15 5-8 21, Horford 4-11 1-2 9, Pachulia 2-4 0-0 4, Teague 6-16 4-4 16, Korver 7-12 0-0 19, Johnson 1-3 0-0 2, Harris 4-8 3-6 13, Jenkins 3-12 2-2 9, Scott 0-2 0-0 0, Tolliver 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 35-85 15-22 93.

    San Antonio 25 27 20 26— 98

    Atlanta 16 26 28 23— 93

    3-Point GoalsSan Antonio 8-24 (Bonner 3-3, Leonard 2-5, De Colo 1-1, Diaw 1-4, Green 1-4, Parker 0-1, Jackson 0-2, Neal 0-4), Atlanta 8-21 (Korver 5-8, Harris 2-3, Jenkins 1-6, Smith 0-1, Teague 0-3). ReboundsSan Antonio 46 (Blair, Splitter 7), Atlanta 59 (Horford 15). AssistsSan Antonio 21 (Parker 12), Atlanta 20 (Teague 8). Total FoulsSan Antonio 15, Atlanta 14. A18,255 (18,729).

    Warriors 116, Hornets 112

    GOLDEN STATE (116): Barnes 1-2 0-1 2, Landry 3-9 5-6 11, Ezeli 5-9 3-3 13, Curry 5-17 8-10 20, Thompson 11-16 2-2 29, Biedrins 0-1 0-0 0, Green 2-2 0-0 5, Jack 7-13 10-11 25, Jefferson 4-8 2-2 11, Jenkins 0-0 0-0 0, Tyler 0-0 0-0 0, Bazemore 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 38-77 30-35 116.

    NEW ORLEANS (112): Aminu 7-9 0-1 14, Davis 9-12 2-7 20, Lopez 1-2 0-0 2, Vasquez 3-10 0-0 8, Gordon 7-16 6-7 23, Anderson 8-14 1-2 19, Mason 5-7 0-0 12, Henry 0-1 1-2 1, Smith 1-2 2-2 4, Rivers 4-6 0-0 8, Thomas 0-0 1-2 1. Totals 45-79 13-23 112.

    Golden State 33 34 18 31— 116

    New Orleans 27 30 32 23— 112

    3-Point GoalsGolden State 10-22 (Thompson 5-7, Curry 2-8, Green 1-1, Jefferson 1-2, Jack 1-3, Barnes 0-1), New Orleans 9-24 (Gordon 3-7, Mason 2-3, Vasquez 2-6, Anderson 2-7, Rivers 0-1). ReboundsGolden State 41 (Landry 11), New Orleans 47 (Davis 12). AssistsGolden State 25 (Jack 12), New Orleans 30 (Vasquez 15). Total FoulsGolden State 19, New Orleans 26. A15,472 (17,188).

    Timberwolves 92, Rockets 79

    HOUSTON (79): Parsons 2-10 2-2 7, Patterson 1-3 0-0 3, Asik 1-4 0-0 2, Lin 3-12 6-8 12, Harden 5-18 8-10 18, Smith 6-9 0-0 12, Delfino 5-12 1-2 15, Beverley 0-4 2-4 2, Morris 1-3 0-0 3, Douglas 1-3 2-2 5. Totals 25-78 21-28 79.

    MINNESOTA (92): Kirilenko 8-11 5-8 21, Williams 3-9 4-4 11, Stiemsma 0-4 0-0 0, Rubio 1-3 5-6 7, Ridnour 6-13 3-3 16, Barea 5-13 0-0 11, Amundson 0-1 0-0 0, Johnson 4-4 7-8 15, Gelabale 3-6 5-7 11. Totals 30-64 29-36 92.

    Houston 16 22 21 20— 79

    Minnesota 21 23 19 29— 92

    3-Point GoalsHouston 8-31 (Delfino 4-9, Patterson 1-1, Morris 1-2, Douglas 1-3, Parsons 1-3, Beverley 0-3, Lin 0-3, Harden 0-7), Minnesota 3-14 (Barea 1-3, Williams 1-3, Ridnour 1-3, Rubio 0-1, Gelabale 0-2, Kirilenko 0-2). ReboundsHouston 54 (Smith 8), Minnesota 47 (Kirilenko 11). AssistsHouston 14 (Harden 5), Minnesota 14 (Rubio 6). Total FoulsHouston 29, Minnesota 19. TechnicalsBeverley, Ridnour, Minnesota defensive three second. A16,799 (19,356).

    Kings 97, Bobcats 93

    SACRAMENTO (97): Salmons 2-4 0-0 4, Thompson 5-6 1-2 11, Cousins 8-19 1-2 17, I.Thomas 4-11 7-8 15, Evans 6-10 4-4 16, Thornton 6-11 2-2 18, Robinson 0-1 0-0 0, Johnson 4-8 1-1 9, Brooks 0-4 2-2 2, Hayes 0-3 0-0 0, Garcia 2-4 0-0 5. Totals 37-81 18-21 97.

    CHARLOTTE (93): Kidd-Gilchrist 1-4 2-4 4, Warrick 3-7 6-8 12, Biyombo 0-0 0-0 0, Walker 6-17 1-1 14, Henderson 7-15 1-2 15, Haywood 3-5 3-5 9, Gordon 4-10 1-2 12, Sessions 5-10 5-7 16, Adrien 2-3 5-7 9, Taylor 0-1 2-2 2. Totals 31-72 26-38 93.

    Sacramento 25 26 27 19— 97

    Charlotte 20 26 30 17— 93

    3-Point GoalsSacramento 5-18 (Thornton 4-7, Garcia 1-2, Evans 0-1, Salmons 0-1, Johnson 0-1, Brooks 0-2, I.Thomas 0-4), Charlotte 5-15 (Gordon 3-4, Sessions 1-1, Walker 1-7, Taylor 0-1, Henderson 0-2). ReboundsSacramento 46 (Cousins 10), Charlotte 54 (Haywood 7). AssistsSacramento 24 (I.Thomas 7), Charlotte 20 (Walker 10). Total FoulsSacramento 27, Charlotte 18. A17,012 (19,077).

    Grizzlies 85, Bulls 82, OT

    MEMPHIS (85): Gay 6-19 4-6 16, Randolph 6-20 1-4 13, Gasol 7-10 5-8 19, Conley 5-11 3-5 13, Allen 3-6 3-4 9, Bayless 1-3 0-0 2, Speights 2-7 1-1 5, Arthur 4-7 0-0 8, Ellington 0-1 0-0 0. Totals 34-84 17-28 85.

    CHICAGO (82): Butler 5-13 8-8 18, Boozer 7-19 3-6 17, Noah 5-11 0-0 10, Hinrich 1-4 0-0 3, Hamilton 2-7 1-1 5, Robinson 5-15 0-0 11, Belinelli 3-9 1-2 8, Gibson 3-7 4-4 10, Cook 0-0 0-0 0, Teague 0-0 0-0 0, Mohammed 0-0 0-0 0, Radmanovic 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 31-85 17-21 82.

    Memphis 18 26 16 16 9— 85

    Chicago 22 12 13 29 6— 82

    3-Point GoalsMemphis 0-5 (Randolph 0-1, Speights 0-1, Ellington 0-1, Conley 0-2), Chicago 3-14 (Belinelli 1-3, Hinrich 1-3, Robinson 1-5, Butler 0-1, Hamilton 0-1, Boozer 0-1). Fouled OutGibson. ReboundsMemphis 61 (Randolph 19), Chicago 58 (Boozer 14). AssistsMemphis 15 (Conley 9), Chicago 22 (Robinson 5). Total FoulsMemphis 22, Chicago 25. A22,124 (20,917).


    0 0

    Times wires
    Saturday, January 19, 2013

    LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Syracuse guard Michael Carter-Williams wasn't fazed by a shaky first half, nor two missed free throws in the final minute that gave No. 1 Louisville chances to win Saturday.

    The sophomore just knew he had to redeem himself, and his second-half recovery in several areas helped the sixth-ranked Orange rally for a 70-68 upset

    A No. 1 team lost for the second straight Saturday. Duke fell to then-No. 20 North Carolina State 84-76 a week ago.

    A record crowd of 22,814 at the KFC Yum! Center saw Syracuse (17-1, 5-0) beat a No. 1 for fourth time, all Big East teams.

    Carter-Williams' most important contributions were a go-ahead 3-pointer with 5:28 left, followed by a steal and go-ahead dunk with 23 seconds left as he scored 11 of his team's final 13, including the last four.

    He added a rebound and another steal at the end to cap a 16-point, seven-assist game that made it easy for Carter-Williams to forget a five-point first half and those two missed free throws.

    "I wasn't going to go out without a fight," said Carter-Williams, who finished with four assists and four steals. "They were pressuring us, coming at us in the first half. Things were going their way. The second half, I tried to fight back the best I could. I had two or three turnovers, but I just kept flipping the page, flipping the page and ended up winning the game, which was great. …

    "Those free throws, I just had to have faith in myself and just try to do anything to get the win."

    Louisville (16-2, 4-1) had its 11-game winning streak stopped.

    Butler stuns Gonzaga

    INDIANAPOLIS — Roosevelt Jones stole an inbounds pass with 3.5 seconds left and hit a floater from just inside the free-throw line right before the buzzer to help No. 13 Butler shock No. 8 Gonzaga 64-63.

    Jones had 20 points for Butler, which has won 13 in a row including two straight without top scorer Rotnei Clarke. Butler (16-2) has beaten three top-10 teams in one season for the first time. It also defeated No. 9 North Carolina in November and No. 1 Indiana in December.

    Saw Dower and Elias Harris had 20 points each for Gonzaga (17-2), whose eight-game winning streak ended.

    NO. 4 KANSAS 64, TEXAS 59: Ben McLemore scored 16 for the visiting Jayhawks (16-1, 4-0 Big 12), who rallied from an 11-point second-half deficit and won their 15th straight game.

    NO. 7 ARIZONA 71, ARIZ. ST. 54: Mark Lyons scored 24, and the visiting Wildcats (16-1, 4-1 Pac-12) pulled away in the second half.

    NO. 18 MICH. ST. 59, NO. 11 OHIO ST. 56: Keith Appling made two free throws with 7.9 seconds left for the host Spartans (16-3, 5-1 Big Ten). The Buckeyes (13-4, 3-2) had a chance to tie, but Shannon Scott didn't come close on a running 3.

    WICHITA ST. 67, NO. 12 CREIGHTON 64: Malcolm Armstead hit two free throws in the final seconds as the host Shockers tied the Bluejays (17-2, 6-1 Missouri Valley) atop the conference.

    WYOMING 58, NO. 15 SAN DIEGO ST. 45: Leonard Washington had 14 points and 14 rebounds for the host Cowboys, who handed the Aztecs (14-4, 2-2 Mountain West) their first back-to-back losses this season.

    NO. 16 KANSAS ST. 69, OKLAHOMA 60: Rodney McGruder scored 20 for the host Wildcats (15-2, 4-0 Big 12), who capitalized on 16 Sooners turnovers.

    NO. 20 NOTRE DAME 69, RUTGERS 66: Jack Cooley had 19 points and 10 rebounds and blocked a shot with two seconds left to help the host Fighting Irish (15-3, 3-2 Big East) end a two-game losing streak.

    NO. 21 OREGON 76, NO. 24 UCLA 67: Tony Woods scored 18 and the visiting Ducks (16-2, 5-0 Pac 12) pulled away over the final 61/2 minutes to snap a 10-game winning streak by the Bruins (15-4, 5-1).

    NO. 22 VCU 90, DUQUESNE 63: Rob Brandenberg scored 22 for the visiting Rams (16-3, 4-0 Atlantic 10), who used a 26-2 run to seize control and win their 13th straight.

    CINCY 71, NO. 25 MARQUETTE 69, OT: Sean Kilpatrick scored seven of his career-high 36 in overtime, and the host Bearcats rallied past the Golden Eagles (13-4, 4-1 Big East) after blowing a 16-point lead.

    State

    UCF 79, HOUSTON 75, OT: Isaiah Sykes had 22 points and nine rebounds for the visiting Knights (12-5, 2-1 C-USA), who never trailed in overtime.

    B-CU 60, S.C. State 52: Adrien Coleman scored 17 to lead visiting Bethune-Cookman (7-12, 2-2 MEAC).

    SAVANNAH ST. 57, FAMU 55: Preston Blackman hit a go-ahead jumper with 28 seconds left as the host Tigers nipped the Rattlers (4-14, 1-3 MEAC).

    ECKERD 75, BARRY 63: Malcolm Brunner had 17 points and 12 rebounds for the host Tritons (9-4, 3-3 Sunshine State), who pulled away with a 16-2 second-half run.

    NOVA SE 68, TAMPA 51: The Sharks outscored the host Spartans (13-4, 1-4 SSC) 29-2 to open the second half.

    SAINT LEO 76, FLA. TECH 67, OT: Trent Thomas had 16 points for the host Lions (12-3, 5-1 SSC), who bounced back from an overtime loss to Tampa.


    0 0

    By Bob Putnam, Times Staff Writer
    Saturday, January 19, 2013

    SEMINOLE — Largo coach Phil Price had been waiting for this moment, when his football players would be in basketball mode, when the errant shots would start falling, when his young team would put it together for a signature win against a premier Tampa Bay area power.

    He got it Saturday at the MacCollum Shootout at Seminole, where the Packers beat Class 8A, No. 9-ranked Wharton 65-59.

    "I told our guys before the game Wharton is a solid team that's always there in the rankings," Price said. "It's definitely one of the biggest wins we've had this season."

    Largo (15-5) has played tough against good teams all season. The Packers' only county losses were to public schools Gibbs and Lakewood, and in overtime to independent Oldsmar Christian.

    But the Packers were still trying to beat one of the elite programs. On Saturday, they started hot, jumping to an early lead and never relinquishing it. Largo led 33-27 at halftime and went up by as many as 14 in the second half.

    The Packers controlled the game thanks to Donovan Hale (15 points), Jonathan Crawford (12) and Reggie Moore (12).

    The Wildcats (17-3) cut the deficit to four points in the final two minutes by relying on the inside presence of Chase Litton, who led all scorers with 21 points, and the outside shooting of Sir Patrick Reynolds and Virgil Crump, who each hit timely 3-pointers.

    But the Wildcats could not get closer. Hale sealed the game for Largo by hitting two free throws in the final 30 seconds.

    "We've been right there in every game," Price said. "We've been waiting for all the football players to come along. It was hard for us to hit shots early in the season, and we're getting them to go in."

    In one of the other premier matchups, Tampa Catholic beat Seminole 66-48. Chivarsky Corbett led the Crusaders with 16 points. Matt Cassity had 14 for the Warhawks.

    For Seminole (14-3), the loss came one night after beating St. Petersburg in an emotional game that could eventually clinch the No. 1 seed in Class 7A, District 9.

    "We didn't put in a lot of preparation for Tampa Catholic," Warhawks coach Josh Walker said. "All our focus was on St. Petersburg. But that's really no excuse. Tampa Catholic is great team, and those are the kind of teams we want to play to help us get better."

    Wrestling

    HOLIDAY — Dixie Hollins capped a dominant tournament run with a 46-33 championship match victory over Gulf at the Anclote Challenge Duals. State-ranked Rebels wrestlers Luis Aldana (170 pounds) and Andre Matthews (285) went undefeated.


    0 0

    Times wires
    Saturday, January 19, 2013

    Manti Te'o tried to put one of the strangest sports stories in memory behind him, insisting he was the target of an elaborate online hoax in which he fell for a fake woman created by pranksters, then admitting his own lies made the bizarre ordeal worse.

    Whether his off-camera interview with ESPN's Jeremy Schaap was enough to demonstrate that the All-American senior linebacker out of Notre Dame was a victim in the scheme instead of a participant is still an open question.

    The most important judges of the Heisman Trophy finalist might be pro teams. Te'o, 21, has finished his coursework at Notre Dame and is preparing for the NFL draft at the IMG Academy in Bradenton, where the 2½-hour interview was conducted late Friday.

    Among the highlights:

    • Te'o denied being in on the hoax. "No. Never," he said. "I wasn't faking it. I wasn't part of this."

    • Te'o provided a timeline and details of his relationship with Lennay Kekua, his virtual sweetheart, who went through an array of medical calamities before "dying" of leukemia in September, just hours after Te'o got real news of his grandmother's death.

    • He acknowledged he lied to his father about meeting Kekua in person, then exacerbated the situation after her supposed death when he "tailored" his comments to reporters to make it sound as if their relationship was more than just phone calls and electronic messages.

    "I even knew, that it was crazy that I was with somebody that I didn't meet, and that alone — people find out that this girl who died, I was so invested in, I didn't meet her, as well," Te'o said. "So I kind of tailored my stories to have people think that, yeah, he met her before she passed away, so that people wouldn't think that I was some crazy dude."

    In the same conversation, Te'o said: "Out of this whole thing, that is my biggest regret."

    Another development was reported Saturday. When Te'o ordered two dozen white roses delivered to 21503 Water St. in Carson, Calif., he says he thought they were headed to the home of Lennay Kekua.

    In fact, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo — the man implicated as the ringleader of a false-identity hoax — and many of his relatives have lived in the single-story, stucco bungalow, according to publicly available records and interviews with neighbors.

    And the house six doors down, at 21403 Water? It belongs to a family really named Kekua.

    Two members of the real Kekua family told the Associated Press they had never heard of a "Lennay Kekua."

    Members of the Kekua family and others in the neighborhood said Ronaiah Tuiasosopo had lived at 21503 Water St. and has visited it since moving out about a year ago.

    Tuiasosopo has not spoken publicly since the website Deadspin broke the news of the hoax on Wednesday.

    Even after Te'o went to his parents, coaches and Notre Dame officials with the story by Dec. 26, and the school provided an investigation that it says corroborated Te'o's version by Jan. 4, the player told ESPN that it was not until Tuiasosopo, 22, contacted him Wednesday and confessed to the prank, that he finally believed Kekua was not real. Schaap said Te'o showed him direct messages from Twitter in which Tuiasosopo admitted to masterminding the hoax and apologized.

    Te'o was the emotional leader and best player on a Notre Dame team that went from unranked to playing for the program's first national title since 1988. And Te'o's tale of inspired play while dealing with a double dose of tragedy became the theme of the Irish's unexpected rise and undefeated regular season.

    Not until Te'o and the Irish faced Alabama in the BCS title game did the good times end. The Crimson Tide won in a 42-14 rout on Jan. 7 and Te'o wasn't a factor.

    So far no law enforcement agencies have indicated they are pursuing a criminal case in the scam, and Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick said last week that the school would leave it up to Te'o and his family to pursue legal action.

    Whether Tuiasosopo ultimately confirms Te'o's version of the story will go a long way toward determining where this saga is headed. In the interview with ESPN, Te'o implied that he was not holding a grudge against Tuiasosopo.

    While fans and members of the media might not be satisfied with where Te'o has left the story, he won't necessarily be compelled to answer to them — just to potential employers starting in February.

    At the NFL combine in February, Te'o will have his physical skills and fitness tested, and he will be interviewed by NFL executives and coaches. He has been projected as a potential first-round draft pick.

    Said former Dallas Cowboys general manager and NFL draft consultant Gil Brandt: "Between now and 97 days from now when the draft comes, there'll be a lot of people investigating just what took place."


    0 0
  • 01/19/13--19:41: Sports in brief
  • Times wires
    Saturday, January 19, 2013

    SKIING

    VONN EARNS FIRST VICTORY SINCE ILLNESS

    CORTINA D'AMPEZZO, Italy — Lindsey Vonn is back at full speed.

    Vonn won a World Cup downhill Saturday for her first victory in more than five weeks, beating overall leader Tina Maze by nearly half a second.

    And more important, Vonn's back to health after a nasty bacterial problem.

    "I'm excited to be racing, and I have that fire again, and I trust that my body is strong enough to ski the way I want to ski," the American Olympic gold medalist said. "It wasn't always the case in all the races this year."

    Maze finished second, and Vonn's American teammate Leanne Smith was third, 0.89 back.

    100 mph record: Johan Clarey of France set a World Cup speed record of 100.6 mph on the Lauberhorn men's downhill in Wengen, Switzerland. He placed fifth in a race won by Christof Innerhofer of Italy. Clarey clocked the fastest speed recorded in the 46-year history of the World Cup; Canadian Benjamin Thomsen went 99.3 mph earlier in the race to briefly hold the mark.

    HORSES

    Wise Dan named horse of the year

    Wise Dan easily beat out I'll Have Another for horse of the year at the Eclipse Awards in Hallandale Beach. Wise Dan won five of six starts in 2012, winning the Breeders' Cup Mile in course-record time and two other Grade I turf stakes. Wise Dan received 194 votes in balloting by the National Thoroughbred Association, Daily Racing Form and National Turf Writers and Broadcasters. Ramon Dominguez was named outstanding jockey a day after fracturing his skull in a spill at Aqueduct in new York. His agent said doctors were optimistic the nation's leading rider will fully recover. Godolphin Racing LLC was named outstanding owner, beating out Tampa Bay Downs three-time defending champion Midwest Thoroughbreds.

    COLLEGES

    NCAA streamlines numerous rules

    The NCAA Division I board of directors approved 25 of 26 proposals in a sweeping deregulation of rules. Among the changes, as of Aug. 1, is eliminating the limit on how much coaches can contact recruits, and how many of a school's coaches can make contact. Also, athletes can accept up to $300 a year to attend nonscholastic events, and get money to help offset expenses associated with practices and competition with national teams, including tryouts.

    ET CETERA

    AUTOS: Stephane Peterhansel and Cyril Despres, both of France, defended their car and motorbike titles in the Dakar Rally.

    SOCCER: Barcelona's 19-game unbeaten streak to start the Spanish league season ended when host Real Sociedad erased a 2-0 deficit to win 3-2. Barcelona went down to 10 men after Gerard Pique's second yellow card.

    Times wires


    0 0

    By Tom Jones, Times Sports Columnist
    Saturday, January 19, 2013

    TAMPA

    It had been a long time since we saw the Lightning in person.

    In fact, 287 days.

    When last here at the Tampa Bay Times Forum, on April 2, the Lightning had way more scratches and scrapes than Band-Aids to cover them.

    Other than 60-goal scorer Steven Stamkos, there wasn't a whole lot to crow about and little promise for the future. The Lightning missed the playoffs.

    It had a leaky defense.

    And the goal­tending? What goaltending?

    Worst of all, a menacing cloud of a work stoppage in the distance threatened to shut down the sport.

    Well, after a summer spent repairing, repatching and rebuilding the roster and a lockout that delayed the start of the season by more than three months, the Lightning finally took the ice Saturday night.

    What did we see? What did we learn?

    For starters, we learned that the first game after a long layoff and a short training camp is going to look a little ragged. But here are some of the important things we saw and learned during Tampa Bay's 6-3 victory over the Capitals.

    The fans forgave

    Any thoughts that the fans would hold a grudge after the second lockout in eight years were erased when every seat in the Tampa Bay Times Forum was sold.

    The joint cranked up during pregame ceremonies, which included a thank-you from Lightning captain Vinny Lecavalier, and the buzz stayed in the building throughout the game.

    "They're still here, and they're still great," Lightning founder Phil Esposito said. "The fans have been terrific.

    "This is just as good as any market in hockey."

    The big dogs on this team can still bark

    And bite, too.

    On a night when the Lightning celebrated the 20-year history of the franchise, the two best players in franchise history continued to lead the way.

    Marty St. Louis, looking more like 27 than his actual 37, had a pair of goals. Lecavalier, in his 999th game and, perhaps, in better physical shape than most of the previous 998, had a goal, an assist and one of the most hellacious checks you're ever going to see.

    "You can't ask for more from a captain than that," coach Guy Boucher said.

    Eventually, the Lightning will need to rely more and more on its younger stars. There's Stamkos, of course. And, among others, Teddy Purcell, Victor Hedman and rookie Cory Conacher, who scored an insurance goal in his debut.

    "(Conacher) is not a project," Boucher said. "He's ready to go."

    But St. Louis and Lecavalier are not just around for their experience and leadership. They remain critical parts of the Lightning engine.

    "It's only one game," Lecavalier said. "But it's always nice to win, and it's always nice to get that first goal out of the way.

    "But like I said, it's only one game."

    Anders Lindback?

    What we learned about the new No. 1 goalie is … we didn't learn a lot.

    He wasn't bad. He wasn't spectacular. He could have been a tad better, but he could have been much worse. He didn't wow, but he isn't a cause for concern yet either. He gave up three goals. Maybe he could've had one or two, but he certainly couldn't be blamed for any of them either.

    All in all, we have to see more. That's no surprise.

    Goaltenders likely will have the toughest time adjusting to the speed of the game without a real preseason.

    "It's hard to simulate games in practices," Lindback said. "I'm not too far behind. I felt pretty okay."

    It's a good start

    Unlike last April, the Lightning fans who filed out Saturday night had reasons to feel excited.

    The stars looked like stars. Reliable veterans such as Eric Brewer, Nate Thompson and Adam Hall looked reliable. The bright, young prospects such as Conacher look like bright, young prospects. And key new parts such as Lindback, Sami Salo and Matt Carle looked like key new parts.

    The guess is the games will get sharper, less sloppy, even more intense. We do know this for a fact: The Lightning got better as the game went along and, ultimately, won in commanding fashion.

    "That's the best we can do in six days," Boucher said.

    It's only one game, but it was a good start.

    Best of all, it was a start.

    Tom Jones can be reached at tjones@tampabay.com and heard from 6 to 9 a.m. weekdays on WDAE-620.


    AUSTIN ANTHONY   |   TimesAUSTIN ANTHONY | Times

    0 0

    By Joe Smith, Times Staff Writer
    Saturday, January 19, 2013

    TAMPA — Cory Conacher's first NHL game got off to a rocky start, the touted Lightning prospect on the receiving end of a big first-period hit by Capitals star Alex Ovechkin.

    "I got smoked," Conacher, 23, said. "He definitely woke me up."

    But Conacher bounced back in a big way, delivering a debut that included a goal and an assist in a 6-3 win over Washington.

    Conacher, a 5-foot-8, 176-pound wing, acknowledged you could make the argument it was the best night of his life.

    "I'm not married yet. Husbands usually have to say that," Conacher said, smiling.

    "But for sure, this is a dream come true. Even just to be at camp was a dream come true; to be in the same locker room as some of the guys I've idolized my whole life."

    The Lightning displayed many new faces Saturday. Goalie Anders Lindback stopped 27 of 30 shots while defensemen Sami Salo and Matthew Carle both were plus-1. But the spotlight was on Conacher, the reigning AHL MVP who is expected to play a key role on the second line and power play.

    And, for one night, Conacher showed he belonged on the big stage.

    "He fits right in. This guy is ready," Lightning coach Guy Boucher said. "It's not a project. He made some terrific plays, scored the goal and deserves it."

    Conacher said emotions were high heading into his first game, which included 10-12 family and friends in the stands. He tried to do the "little things," and that's what led to his first NHL point.

    About five minutes into the second period, Conacher was near the end of his power-play shift when he hustled after a loose puck in the corner. He out-raced a Capitals defenseman and tipped the puck to Vinny Lecavalier. Lecavalier passed in front to Marty St. Louis for the goal.

    Conacher capped his night with a goal in the third that put Tampa Bay up 5-3. Linemate Teddy Purcell carried the puck down the right side. The speedy Conacher trailed the odd-man rush, received a perfect pass and put it past Capitals goalie Braden Holtby.

    "I wanted to drive the net hard. (Purcell) made an outstanding play, and I squeaked it through his arms," Conacher said; "a very exciting moment. … Even Marty turned to me on the bench and said, 'Your first game went a lot better than mine.' "

    Conacher learned a lot from his first game — both the highs and lows.

    "It's nice to know that I can get hit probably just as hard as possibly could by Ovechkin and still get up," Conacher said. "I had some flashing lights right when I got up, but I'm a guy who likes to get up right away. I'm not scared.

    "That's what they like in me, taking that stuff and being fearless."

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


    DIRK SHADD   |   TimesDIRK SHADD | Times

    0 0

    By Damian Cristodero, Times Staff Writer
    Saturday, January 19, 2013

    TAMPA — You can't beat yourself up when you make a mistake on the ice, Marty St. Louis said.

    "You can't play a perfect game," he said. "You just have to make plays when it counts."

    The Lightning wing did just that Saturday night, scoring twice in a season-opening 6-3 victory over the Capitals in front of a sellout crowd of 19,204 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

    His second goal, 4:57 into the third period on a five-on-three power play, not only was the winner, breaking a 3-3 tie and sparking a three-goal period, it brought a bit of redemption.

    St. Louis was caught flat-footed on Washington's tying goal as Wojtek Wolski beat him to the puck in the slot with 1:45 left in the second period.

    "You could see he was burning to get it back, and he made it happen for the 'X' time," coach Guy Boucher said. "I'm not surprised at all. That's Marty."

    Defenseman Eric Brewer, with one goal last season, scored twice in a game for what he said was the first time "since bantam (hockey)." Captain Vinny Lecavalier had a goal and two points and a huge shoulder-to-shoulder hit that knocked defenseman Jack Hillen out of the game.

    Rookie Cory Conacher scored his first NHL goal, right wing Teddy Purcell had three assists and goalie Anders Lindback, in his first Lightning game, had 27 saves.

    But Lindback's most important contribution was in the game's first seven minutes, when the Capitals, with three power plays, had a 7-0 shot advantage.

    "That was fantastic," Brewer said. "He saved the period."

    That said, it was St. Louis, who with a three-point game proved that at 37 he is not slowing.

    "It was the first time getting bumped in battles, reading plays," he said. "You have to get the feel for the game.

    "I felt I managed my game as well as I could, and I was opportunistic on my chances."

    He kicked himself on Wolski's goal. The Capitals wing swept past him to convert the rebound of Mike Ribiero's shot.

    "Never saw him coming," St. Louis said. "I was thinking of pushing (the puck) back to (Lindback) so he could freeze it. Everything was fine, and boom, some guy comes from nowhere."

    So, when St. Louis wound up from the slot on the five-on-three, it was with a purpose, and his sizzling shot cleanly beat goalie Braden Holtby for the Lightning's third power-play goal.

    "I don't know if it was a weight off my shoulder," St. Louis said. "I didn't think that mistake was going to be the deciding factor. You can't think like that or you'll beat yourself."

    Instead, he beat the opposition.

    Lightning 2 1 3 6
    Capitals 1 2 0 3
    Lightning 2 1 3 6
    Capitals 1 2 0 3

    First Period1, Tampa Bay, Brewer 1 (Carle, St. Louis), 6:24. 2, Washington, Ward 1 (Wolski, Poti), 8:25 (pp). 3, Tampa Bay, Lecavalier 1 (Aulie), 9:09. PenaltiesMalone, TB (interference), :28; Lee, TB (hooking), 2:51; Lee, TB (boarding), 6:37; Brouwer, Was (boarding), 14:01.

    Second Period4, Washington, Ward 2 (Chimera, Carlson), 1:59. 5, Tampa Bay, St. Louis 1 (Lecavalier, Conacher), 5:11 (pp). 6, Washington, Wolski 1 (Ribeiro, Hamrlik), 18:15. PenaltiesWolski, Was (holding), 4:06; Chimera, Was (roughing), 6:59; Ribeiro, Was (high-sticking), 14:28; Ovechkin, Was (diving), 17:26; Salo, TB (holding), 17:26.

    Third Period7, Tampa Bay, St. Louis 2 (Stamkos, Purcell), 4:57 (pp). 8, Tampa Bay, Conacher 1 (Purcell), 13:24. 9, Tampa Bay, Brewer 2 (Purcell, Stamkos), 16:42 (pp). PenaltiesPerreault, Was (tripping), 3:18; Backstrom, Was (tripping), 4:22; Pyatt, TB (holding), 7:04; Hendricks, Was (roughing), 15:42. Shots on GoalWashington 17-6-7—30. Tampa Bay 8-13-13—34. Power-play opportunitiesWashington 1 of 4; Tampa Bay 3 of 7. GoaliesWashington, Holtby 0-1-0 (34 shots-28 saves). Tampa Bay, Lindback 1-0-0 (30-27).


    DIRK SHADD   |   TimesDIRK SHADD | Times

    0 0

    By Steve Lee, Times Correspondent
    Saturday, January 19, 2013

    BRANDON — Sure, powerhouse Brandon won the 29th Tony Ippolito Memorial tournament for the 27th time Saturday, but the Tampa Bay area competition is getting better, and Brandon coach Russ Cozart welcomes the challenge.

    Including the host Eagles, who tallied 371 points, six of the top 10 teams in the event were from the Tampa Bay region. Springstead (155 points) and Pasco (91) placed third and ninth, respectively. Jesuit (142.5) took sixth, Lennard (120) seventh and Robinson (85) 10th.

    "It was a very competitive tournament," Cozart said. "That's what it's all about; getting good matches, being tested."

    Unlike many previous tournaments in which Brandon racks up fast pins, there were none in the championship round. Brandon won 10 of 14 individual titles, but the Eagles also had two losses in the finals.

    Hillsborough's Demetrius Hill led Brandon's Jonathon Summit in the third round of the 195-pound final and was declared the winner after slamming Summit headfirst onto the mat. Although Summit could not continue he walked off the mat under his own power.

    In the 220-pound final, Jesuit's Austin Underwood defeated Brandon's Robert Enmon in a major decision. Underwood, a junior who suffered a season-ending ankle injury in last year's district meet, improved to 34-0 and has his eyes on a state title.

    "I don't tend to worry about what name's on the singlet. It's about you," said Underwood, a runnerup at last year's Ippolito tournament.

    Brandon's Travis Berridge (170) and Kevin Norstem shared outstanding wrestler honors. Berridge put up a strong fight against Tampa Prep eighth-grader Nick Mosco, who placed sixth at state as a seventh-grader, in a 5-3 win.

    In one of the tightest matches of the night, Brandon's Victor Fugate edged North Port's Cole Murray 6-5 by breaking a tie in the final minute.

    "You have to keep pushing the entire match," Fugate said. "That's the Brandon motto: no pause."


    0 0

    By Steve Papen, Times Correspondent
    Sunday, January 20, 2013

    What's hot: Offshore, we have concentrated on areas of hard bottom in depths of 120 feet or more for red grouper. Check the edges where the coral bottom and sandy bottom meet. This is where vermillion snapper congregate and, in turn, the grouper. Live baits on a standard fish-finder rig work well.

    Other options: Mangrove snapper fishing is typically slow at this time of year. But because it has been so warm, these feisty fish continue to feed aggressively. Rigging depends on where the fish are staged in the water column. Because these fish have keen eyesight, lighter leaders and smaller hooks get more attention. If after chumming the fish come off the bottom enough for us to see them, we rig a 20-pound fluorocarbon leader, a 4/0 circle hook and nothing else. If the fish are staging the typical 10 to 30 feet off of the bottom, then a 1/8-ounce jig head will take the place of the circle hook. Baits can be anything from live shrimp to a live whitebait. Look for the best bite at depths of 90 feet or more.

    Wrecks and springs: Amberjack have been cooperative. Check large structures in depths of 90 feet or more. We've been catching fish in the 30- to 40-pound class by free-lining live baits.

    Steve Papen charters out of Indian Shores and can be reached at (727) 642-3411 and fintasticinc.com.


    0 0

    By Tom Jones, Times Sports Columnist
    Sunday, January 20, 2013

    tom jones' two cents

    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.

    Best interviewer

    Silly me. • How dare I question the great and powerful Oprah? • Last week, I suggested that I would have rather have seen Bob Costas or Jeremy Schaap interview disgraced cyclist Lance Armstrong instead of Oprah Winfrey. I wondered if Oprah had the backbone to get tough with Armstrong, one of the most notorious liars and bullies we have ever seen. • But give Winfrey an A for her interview. Right out of the gate, Winfrey asked a series of yes-or-no questions, demanding only yes-or-no answers. That tactic served two important purposes. It immediately got Armstrong to admit he doped and, just as intelligently, it established Winfrey as the one in charge of the conversation. • There were a few occasions when Winfrey cut off Armstrong when it sounded as if he was about to say something interesting, but that happens in lots of interviews. • If Winfrey could have done one thing a little better, she should have hammered on his responses about Betsy Andreu, the wife of a former teammate, and masseur Emma O'Reilly. He talked about how he sued them, treated them unfairly and needs to make amends with them, but Winfrey should have asked for more details. For example, Armstrong made ugly accusations about O'Reilly, calling her a prostitute (and worse), as well as an alcoholic. I think Winfrey let Armstrong off the hook on that. • Overall, however, Winfrey did a solid job. • I should have known she would.

    Best call

    No. 13 Butler stunned No. 8 Gonzaga on Saturday when Roosevelt Jones stole an inbound pass at halfcourt with 3.5 seconds left, drove into the lane and hit a runner just before the buzzer. Of course, you know who was sitting courtside calling the game on ESPN2: Dick Vitale. His call went down like this: "Ohhh. Ohhh. OHHHH! OHHHHHH! I can't believe it! I can't believe it! Are you serious? Are you serious, America?" Some don't care for Vitale because they believe he's too much of a cheerleader, but in moments such as Saturday when he was going crazy among the Butler fans, Vitale made the moment even more special. And his boisterous call wasn't self-promotion. It was a genuine celebration of college basketball and a special moment. Vitale told me Sunday, "That's one of the five greatest moments I've had in my 34 years at ESPN."

    Most touching moment

    The Los Angeles Kings brought a family that lost a child in the Newtown, Conn., shootings last month to help them raise their Stanley Cup banner before Saturday's season opener. Great job by NBC to bring everyone the ceremony before switching its coverage to regional telecasts.

    Lowest expectations

    When I first heard that Katie Couric had been picked to conduct the first on-air interview with Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o since it was revealed that his deceased girlfriend never existed, I thought, "Okay, that will be good." Couric is an experienced journalist and skilled interviewer.

    But this is somewhat troublesome: According to reports, Couric is represented by a publicist named Matthew Hiltzik, who was hired by the Te'o family last week. So Couric and Te'o are represented by the same firm.

    As much as Oprah Winfrey is getting good reviews for her interview with former Tour de France winner Lance Armstrong, it should be pointed out that Armstrong was a willing subject. For the most part, he answered all of Winfrey's questions and she didn't really have to push him too much, particularly on the basic questions of whether he cheated. If Te'o isn't quite as willing and cooperative when it comes to the difficult questions, will Couric get tough? Will she follow up? Will she push a little?

    Couric has a stellar reputation. You would hate to see it take a hit over a story that, ultimately, really isn't important in the grand scheme of things.

    Worst investigation

    Notre Dame claims to have done its own investigation into the Manti Te'o controversy. According to a report in the South Bend Tribune on Sunday, that so-called investigation did not include any interviews or review of emails or cellphone records. The story also reported that investigators did not even speak with Te'o, let alone his family or anyone associated with the person allegedly involved in the hoax, Ronaiah Tuiasosopo. Gee, what did these people do, just Google Te'o's name?

    Worst name

    Seriously, did Fox really call its NFL postgame show on Sunday the "Yippie Kay Yay" postgame show because it was sponsored by the newest Die Hard movie? Ridiculous.

    Good thing the show wasn't sponsored by some new Star Wars movie. Then it would have been called the "Let Our Self Respect Be With You" postgame show.

    Then again, I do wish this year's Super Bowl was on Fox instead of CBS. That way we could listen to Joe Buck and Troy Aikman instead of Jim Nantz and the suddenly verbose Phil Simms.

    Worst news

    ESPN anchor Stuart Scott announced on Twitter last week that the cancer he was diagnosed with in 2007 and recurred in 2010 has, again, returned. Scott continues to work, missing only Mondays when he was receiving chemotherapy. Meantime, Scott told USA Today that regardless of Lance Armstrong's admission of doping he is appreciative of the work Armstrong has done on behalf of cancer awareness.

    "I don't care about a bike race," Scott said. "I'm fighting cancer and I'm trying to stay alive for my daughters. … His efforts that affected millions of people with cancer is his legacy. And you're not going to argue me off that."

    Best point

    Good stuff by CBS NFL Today insider Jason La Canfora on Sunday. This offseason, eight NFL head coaching jobs came open and none were filled by an African-American even though the "Rooney Rule" requires teams to interview at least one African-American candidate. La Canfora pointed out that many of the openings have been filled by offensive coordinators and there are few African-American offensive coordinators, so the Rooney Rule could be expanded so that African-Americans are considered for coordinator jobs as well as head coaching jobs.

    Three things that popped into my head

    1. I found it odd that people were surprised that Lance Armstrong didn't show much emotion or contrition in his interview with Oprah Winfrey. Isn't that the way this guy has operated his entire cycling career?

    2. It's interesting that every day brings a new detail in the Manti Te'o controversy and whatever that detail is changes the general perception of whether Te'o was a victim or a perpetrator of the hoax. Here's the only thing I know for sure: I don't know anything.

    3. Man, did I miss hockey.


    Oprah Winfrey NetworkOprah Winfrey Network

    0 0
  • 01/20/13--17:09: Ducks promote from within
  • Times wires
    Sunday, January 20, 2013

    Oregon hired Mark Helfrich as coach Sunday. He replaces Chip Kelly, who was hired by the NFL's Eagles.

    Helfrich is the third consecutive offensive coordinator at Oregon to be promoted to the top job, following Kelly and his predecessor, Mike Bellotti.

    "Coaching at Oregon is the pinnacle for me," Helfrich said.

    Helfrich, 39 succeeded Kelly as offensive coordinator in 2009. Before that, he was quarterbacks coach at Colorado from 2006-08.

    FSU loses assistant: Greg Hudson resigned as Florida State's linebackers coach to become defensive coordinator at Purdue. Hudson, with the Seminoles for three seasons, joins the staff of new coach Darrell Hazell (the former Kent State coach).

    Auburn QB out: Auburn quarterback Clint Moseley, who started eight games over the past two seasons, left the team. He cited an expected lack of playing time under new coach Gus Malzahn. Moseley has one season of eligibility remaining.


    0 0

    By Rick Stroud, Times Staff Writer
    Sunday, January 20, 2013

    TAMPA — When John Garrett left his first front-office job, Bucs pro personnel assistant, in 1995, he was replaced by Mark Dominik. Now 18 years later, Garrett returns to the Bucs, where Dominik is general manager.

    Sunday, he was hired as receivers coach.

    Garrett, 47, the brother of Cowboys coach Jason Garrett, has been the Cowboys' tight ends coach since 2007. He replaces P.J. Fleck, who became coach at Western Michigan.

    "I'm really excited about this opportunity," Garrett told Fort Worth's Star-Telegram. "We had a great time interviewing down there, getting to know coach (Greg) Schiano more and more and … the rest of the staff."

    Garrett's playing career, as a Bengals receiver, lasted one game (two catches for 29 yards in 1989). He joined the Bucs in 1992. During the week, he worked with the receivers. On game day, he assisted defensive coaches.

    The Bucs still must replace defensive backs coach Ron Cooper, who joined USF's staff.

    Pro Bowl: Bucs running back Doug Martin will go after Frank Gore and the 49ers reached the Super Bowl. He joins defensive tackle Gerald McCoy and receiver Vincent Jackson (an injury replacement.)

    Eagles: Pat Shurmur, recently fired as Browns coach, is expected to be hired as offensive coordinator, espn.com reported.

    Rooney rule: The league is considering expanding the rule that requires teams to interview minorities to coordinators, espn.com reported. Currently, it covers coaches and GMs.

    Information from Times wires was used in this report.


    0 0

    By Damian Cristodero, Times Staff Writer
    Sunday, January 20, 2013

    . Today

    Lightning at Islanders

    When/where: 1; Nassau Coliseum, Uniondale, N.Y.

    TV/radio: Sun Sports; 620-AM.

    Key stats: The Lightning was 0-2 on Long Island last season, outscored 10-2. … LW Ryan Malone's 19 goals against New York is his most against any team. … G Mathieu Garon is 4-1-0 in eight games against the Islanders with a 2.01 goals-against average, a shutout and .927 save percentage.


    0 0

    By Damian Cristodero, Times Staff Writer
    Sunday, January 20, 2013

    TAMPA — You can forgive Vinny Lecavalier for hesitating when asked about the career milestone he is about to achieve.

    After all, the Lightning captain recalls teammate Marty St. Louis last season discussing what was to be his 500th consecutive game only to get hit by a puck at the morning skate, his streak stopped at 499 by a broken orbital bone.

    But Saturday night at the Tampa Bay Times Forum after a season-opening victory over the Capitals, Lecavalier — set to play his 1,000th NHL game, all with Tampa Bay, today against the Islanders at Nassau Coliseum — decided to play the odds rather than give in to superstition.

    "Well, we're not practicing (Sunday)," he said, "and I probably won't fall off my bike if I go out with my dog."

    About the game, he said, "I'm excited about it, but you don't take it for granted. When I came in (to the league) at 18, I wasn't telling myself I was going to play 1,000 games, because you never know what's going to happen."

    But this is not a story about longevity. It is about how Lecavalier, 32, in his 14th season, was smart enough to push his summer workout program last year in a different direction to keep up with a game that, as he has gotten older, has gotten so much faster.

    Most of the work was done with Lightning strength coach Mark Lambert. The goal was to increase Lecavalier's overall power and his endurance for 45-second on-ice shifts. To get there, the No. 1 pick of the 1998 draft went through what he called one of his most difficult summer programs.

    Strength training targeted the lower back, glutes and hamstrings. There were plyometric exercises to build Lecavalier's vertical leap, which Lambert said also helps increase speed.

    "And then," Lambert said, "we incorporated all that into a cardio-type program."

    The encouraging result: Lecavalier's effort in the 6-3 win over the Capitals, in which he had a goal, two points, five shots and four hits, including a clean shoulder-to-shoulder blast that knocked Washington's Jack Hillen out of the game.

    He also won 18 of 24 faceoffs, and as coach Guy Boucher said, "He was an inspiration in the third period defensively, and for a captain, you can't ask for more than that."

    "It's the best shape I've seen him in," Boucher said. "The league has changed. For the big guys who didn't necessarily have great speed, that's a tough thing. They have to elevate their game. Not many guys all of a sudden can have jump and speed at that age. Vinny just did that now."

    "I don't feel old," said Lecavalier, 6 feet 4, 220 pounds. "I still feel I can play at a high level. I can play physical. I want to keep that. I don't want to change just because I'm getting older."

    That said, Lecavalier's production has plummeted from 52 goals, 108 points in 2006-07 to last season's 22 goals, 49 points. He did miss 18 games last season because of injuries, but still.

    "No one wants to plateau," St. Louis said. "Vinny's a proud guy and a hungry guy. He's trying to get better every year, and as we get older, it's one thing we have to try to do. He expects a lot of himself, and we do, too."

    What Lecavalier expects is to play "many more games."

    First, though, he has to get through No. 1,000, something Capitals coach and Hall of Fame player Adam Oates, who played 1,337 games, called "the best milestone in hockey" because "that means you had to play for a long time for a lot of coaches in a lot of situations, a lot of contact."

    "It's important to me," Lecavalier said. "It's going to be a special game, but that's it. I have to move on from there."

    Then, perhaps recalling what happened to St. Louis, he added, "knock on wood."


    DIRK SHADD   |   TimesDIRK SHADD | Times

    0 0
  • 01/20/13--18:36: Sports in Brief
  • Times wires
    Sunday, January 20, 2013

    College baseball

    College baseball, 'canes icon dies

    CORAL GABLES — Ron Fraser, who coached Miami to two national titles and helped promote the sport, died Sunday. The school said he was 79. His family in a statement did not disclose his age or other details, including cause of death. Mr. Fraser had Alzheimer's disease for many years.

    Mr. Fraser, called "The wizard of college baseball," led Miami to the College World Series 12 times over his 30 years, winning it in 1982 and 1985. The 1982 title came with help from "The Grand Illusion," a hidden ball trick. Used in a Series winners bracket game, it was a fake errant pickoff attempt to first so detailed, FSU coach Mike Martin said Mr. Fraser would "teach the bat girls to scramble as if they were getting out of the way of the ball."

    Mr. Fraser retired in 1992 with 1,271 wins (18th all time) and no losing seasons.

    His legacy also lies in sparking interest in the game. His promotional ideas included raffling car batteries, hosting nine-course meals on the infield and bikini nights. Mr. Fraser had ideas even he called "crazy." But Miami became one of the best brands in college baseball, often drawing crowds of more than 3,000 to games.

    "I was more interested in getting the people in the stands," Mr. Fraser once said, "because I knew we'd never be really successful unless we made money."

    Mr. Fraser also helped get college baseball on national TV. Today its World Series and most of its tournaments air. "The impact he had on our university, on college baseball and on the game itself worldwide is immeasurable," acting Miami AD Blake James said.

    Mr. Fraser graduated from FSU. He was inducted into its Hall of Fame in 1981, though it had little to do with his career as a reliever. "A brilliant promoter and coach, he has advanced collegiate baseball at the University of Miami, across Florida and across the nation," read the text of his induction.

    Et cetera

    Baseball: The White Sox agreed to a one-year deal with reliever Matt Lindstrom.

    Horses: Shanghai Bobby, the unbeaten Breeders' Cup Juvenile and Eclipse Award winner, was among the 54 3-year-olds nominated for the Grade III Sam F. Davis Stakes on Feb. 2 at Tampa Bay Downs in Oldsmar. On the same card, the Grade III Endeavour received 28 nominations and the Grade III Florida Oaks 37.

    Cycling: Jan Ullrich, the 1997 Tour de France winner later suspended for doping, said he has no plans to confess, "even if some people keep pushing me to do it." Ullrich, who finished second in the Tour five times, was suspended in 2006 and retired in 2007. He did not contest a two-year ban last year for involvement in a Spanish doctor's doping program.

    Don Jensen, Times correspondent; Times wires


older | 1 | .... | 905 | 906 | (Page 907) | 908 | 909 | .... | 929 | newer