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    By Damian Cristodero, Times Staff Writer
    Saturday, February 2, 2013

    TAMPA — Vinny Lecavalier did not have much information to impart after Saturday night's 3-2 loss to the Rangers.

    "We're gonna know more (today)," the Lightning captain wrote in a text message.

    Head athletic trainer Tommy Mulligan said the team is "optimistic" Lecavalier is not as badly hurt as it seemed but more would be known today.

    There was only a fleeting glimpse of the center outside the locker room, but the bag of ice around his left foot and pronounced limp as he entered the trainers room told a grim-looking story.

    Lecavalier, such a big part of the Lightning's 6-2-0 start, collapsed face-down with about one second left in the third period when hit by teammate Sami Salo's heavy slap shot from the blue line.

    He skated slowly off the ice, several times doubling over in obvious pain.

    He had X-rays. The team said he "was being evaluated" and will be again today. Losing Lecavalier would be a huge blow. He has four goals, 11 points and a team-best 24 hits.

    That was quite a way to end what otherwise was a terrific seasonlong five-game homestand that ended 4-1-0 and was played in front of sellout crowds of 19,204 at the Tampa Bay Times Forum.

    The loss stopped the Lightning's five-game winning streak and its team-record nine-game home winning streak that began with four wins at the end of 2011-12.

    In the second of back-to-back games and facing backup goalie Martin Biron, Tampa Bay's players seemed just a step behind. Passes were inches off, and scoring chances weren't converted.

    "I think that's a back-door excuse," center Steven Stamkos said of back-to-back games, "especially when you're at home."

    Stamkos scored twice for a team-best seven goals, including one on a second-period power play for a 1-0 lead.

    But goals by Derek Stepan in the second and Rick Nash and Carl Hagelin in the third gave New York a 3-1 lead with 5:13 remaining.

    Nash raced around defenseman Victor Hedman and deked to the forehand to beat goaltender Mathieu Garon. Hagelin got behind the defense and poked Taylor Pyatt's pass through Garon's legs.

    "I didn't want to leave a rebound," said the goalie, making just his second start, "so I opened up my stick to tip it, and at the last second he touched it."

    Stamkos made it 3-2 with 21 seconds left with a blast from the left faceoff circle. But instead of setting up a thrilling ending, it created a scary moment.

    Asked how his center was doing, coach Guy Boucher said, "I'll check."

    We will know today what he found out.

    Rangers 0 1 2 3
    Lightning 0 1 1 2
    Rangers 0 1 2 3
    Lightning 0 1 1 2

    First PeriodNone. PenaltiesNone.

    Second Period1, Tampa Bay, Stamkos 6 (Carle, St. Louis), 4:22 (pp). 2, N.Y. Rangers, Stepan 1 (Ta.Pyatt, Hagelin), 9:50. PenaltiesBickel, NYR (hooking), 3:16; Stamkos, TB (hooking), 7:42; Brewer, TB (interference), 19:14.

    Third Period3, N.Y. Rangers, Nash 2 (Richards, Staal), 3:04. 4, N.Y. Rangers, Hagelin 1 (Ta.Pyatt), 14:47. 5, Tampa Bay, Stamkos 7 (Carle, Malone), 19:39. PenaltiesNone. Shots on GoalN.Y. Rangers 11-15-4—30. Tampa Bay 8-9-15—32. Power-play opportunitiesN.Y. Rangers 0 of 2; Tampa Bay 1 of 1. GoaliesN.Y. Rangers, Biron 1-0-0 (32 shots-30 saves). Tampa Bay, Garon 1-1-0 (30-27). A19,204 (19,204).


    DIRK SHADD   |   TimesDIRK SHADD | Times

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    Times wires
    Saturday, February 2, 2013

    BLOOMINGTON, Ind. — Indiana beat the nation's No. 1 team Saturday and is now in position to return to the top spot.

    Cody Zeller scored 19 and Victor Oladipo 15, leading the No. 3 Hoosiers to an 81-73 victory over top-ranked Michigan.

    The Hoosiers (19-2, 8-1 Big Ten) beat the No. 1 team at home for the third time in school history, the first time in back-to-back seasons. Indiana has a five-game winning streak, sole possession of the conference lead and likely the top spot in the country when Monday's rankings come out.

    It all came on a night when Indiana students were loud and raucous, even dancing in the stands. But they did not rush the court in full force as they did in 2001 when the Hoosiers upset Michigan State or in 2011 when they took down Kentucky, their other home wins against No. 1 teams.

    Trey Burke had 25 points and eight assists for the Wolverines (20-2, 7-2). Tim Hardaway scored 18 in a game Michigan led once, at 3-2, and spent most of the night playing catchup after digging an early hole.

    After more than 20½ minutes of chasing the Hoosiers, the Wolverines finally caught them when Nik Stauskas made all three free throws with 17:42 left to tie it at 40. It was the first time Michigan had even been tied since it was tied at 5.

    It didn't last long. Christian Watford hit two free throws on the next possession, Oladipo completed a three-point play, Watford made a free throw and Jordan Hulls hit a 3-pointer.

    UM 8-0 in ACC

    RALEIGH, N.C. — Reggie Johnson saw the ball go up and bounce off the backboard then the rim before heading his way. The big man muscled his way up to tip in a shot that extended No. 14 Miami's surprise run through the Atlantic Coast Conference.

    Johnson's left-handed tip with 0.8 seconds left helped the Hurricanes beat No. 19 North Carolina State 79-78, capping a back-and-forth second half with a thrilling finish that kept Miami unbeaten in the league.

    Johnson had 15 points for the Hurricanes (17-3, 8-0 ACC) in his best performance since returning from a broken left thumb four games ago. Durand Scott led UM with 18 points and Julian Gamble added 16 to help the Hurricanes win their ninth straight, a run that includes a blowout of then-No. 1 Duke.

    The Hurricanes are off to the best league start since Duke went 10-0 five years ago, according to STATS LLC.

    "No pressure on us," Gamble said. "We're having as much fun as possible. We know teams are going to gun at us and play their absolute best every night."

    After a timeout with 10.9 seconds left to set up a final play, Shane Larkin missed a shot on the right side. But Johnson tipped the ball up and in over Richard Howell.

    N.C. State (16-6, 5-4) nearly topped that when freshman Rodney Purvis heaved one from well beyond halfcourt at the horn, a shot that hit the rim and rattled out to end it.

    OKLA. ST. 85, NO. 2 KANSAS 80: Markel Brown had 28 points and Marcus Smart scored seven of his 25 in the closing minutes as the visiting Cowboys ended the Jayhawks' nation-leading 18-game winning streak. Kansas (19-2, 7-1 Big 12) lost at home to Oklahoma State for the first time since Feb. 8, 1989.

    PITT 65, NO. 6 SYRACUSE 55: Tray Woodall had 13 points, four assists and three steals for the host Panthers. The Orange (18-3, 6-2 Big East) lost a second straight game for the first time in nearly two years.

    NO. 8 ARIZONA 79, WASH. ST. 65: Mark Lyons had 20 points to lead the Wildcats (19-2, 7-2 Pac-12) to their third straight win overall and fourth straight on the road.

    NO. 9 BUTLER 75, R.I. 68: Rotnei Clarke scored 23, 12 in the first 11 minutes of the second half for the host Bulldogs (18-4, 5-2 Atlantic 10), who came out of the break with a 15-3 run.

    CAL 58, NO. 10 OREGON 54: Justin Cobbs made an 18-foot jumper with 1:35 left then added two free throws for the host Bears, who handed the Ducks (18-4, 7-2 Big 12) their second loss to an unranked team in a week.

    NO. 11 OHIO ST. 63, NEB. 56: Lenzelle Smith had 21 points for the visiting Buckeyes (17-4, 7-2 Big Ten), who held off a late Cornhuskers surge.

    N. IOWA 57, NO. 15 WICHITA ST. 52: Anthony James had 16 points for the host Panthers, which sent the Shockers (19-4, 8-3 MVC) into their first losing streak of the season.

    NO. 17 MIzzou 91, AUBURN 77: Keion Bell had 24 points and Earnest Ross 23, both season highs, and host Missouri (16-5, 5-3 SEC) shot 54.5 percent from the floor to bounce back from Wednesday's 73-70 loss at LSU.

    NO. 18 KANSAS ST. 52, OKLAHOMA 50: Angel Rodriguez hit two free throws with 5.6 seconds left to lift the visiting Wildcats (17-4, 6-2 Big 12).

    NO. 20 NEW MEXICO 75, NEVADA 62: Chad Adams hit two 3-pointers during a 10-2 second-half run to spur the host Lobos (19-3, 6-1 MWC).

    NO. 21 CREIGHTON 75, BRADLEY 58: Doug McDermott scored 25, including nine during a decisive 12-0 run, and the Bluejays (20-3, 9-2 MVC) beat the Braves for the 15th straight time at home.

    AIR FORCE 70, NO. 22 SAN DIEGO ST. 67: Michael Lyons scored 20 for the host Falcons, who beat the Aztecs (16-5, 4-3 MWC) for the second time in their past 10 meetings.

    NO. 24 CINCINNATI 65, SETON HALL 59: Sean Kilpatrick had 21 points for the visiting Bearcats (18-4, 6-3 Big East), who blew almost all of a 20-point lead but held on.

    State

    MARSHALL 75, UCF 71: Elijah Pittman led four starters in double figures with 20 points for the host Thundering Herd, who snapped a four-game winning streak by the Knights (15-6, 5-2 C-USA).

    B-CU 67, FAMU 65, OT: Ricky Johnson scored a career-high 25 and hit a jumper with 1 second left to lift host Bethune-Cookman (9-14, 4-4 MEAC) over the Rattlers (6-16, 3-5).

    ROLLINS 69, ECKERD 66, OT: Dave Diakite had 21 points for the visiting Tars, who survived after blowing a late lead against the Tritons (12-5, 5-4 Sunshine State).

    TAMPA 76, PB ATLANTIC 61: Anthony Griffis had 19 points as the host Spartans (15-6) cruised.

    SAINT LEO 68, NOVA SE 65: Jerrel Harris had 25 points as the visiting Lions (15-4, 7-2 SSC) held on.


    Associated PressAssociated Press

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  • 02/02/13--20:58: A feast for the eyes
  • By Tom Jones, Times Sports Writer
    Saturday, February 2, 2013

    It's Super Bowl Sunday, our country's national holiday of food, gambling and television.

    Some of you will sit in front of the television for 16 hours today, watching Rachael Ray whip up some appetizers, model Bar Refaeli make out with a nerd in the new Go Daddy commercial, Beyonce (fingers crossed) sharing the stage with Jay-Z at halftime and, maybe, a minute or two of the actual championship of professional football. To get you ready, here's a guide to today's Super Bowl Sunday:

    10 a.m.

    ESPN's Chris Berman begins to introduce all the analysts, insiders and reporters on the network's special Super Bowl edition of the Sunday NFL Countdown show.

    10:27 a.m.

    Berman concludes the introductions.

    10:47 a.m.

    The New York Post breaks a story claiming CBS analyst Dan Marino never even gave the mother of his love child a ring. Of course, Marino never was fond of giving or, especially, receiving rings.

    11:15 a.m.

    Go to church. Find out if God really does own a No. 52 Ravens jersey.

    Noon

    Of course, we would never encourage gambling, but this is when you could get in your wagers on these actual cross-sports prop bets:

    Which will be higher: Rebounds and assists by Heat's LeBron James versus the Raptors, or the number of tackles and assists by Ravens' Ray Lewis?

    Which will be higher: Points by Clippers' Chris Paul versus the Celtics, or completions by 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick?

    Which will be higher: Points by Lakers' Kobe Bryant versus the Pistons, or receiving yards by 49ers receiver Randy Moss?

    Which will be higher: Minutes played by the Capitals' Alex Ovechkin versus the Penguins, or shortest field goal in Super Bowl?

    2 p.m.

    Rays owner Stuart Sternberg (above) and St. Petersburg mayor Bill Foster make plans to watch the Super Bowl together but end up canceling when they can't agree on where to meet.

    3 p.m.

    The Animal Planet channel airs live coverage of Puppy Bowl IX. The winners get all the nachos they can eat and then get free run of Michael Vick's front yard.

    4 p.m.

    During its Walking Dead marathon, AMC shows clips of former Steelers receiver Hines Ward's upcoming Walking Dead cameo. The network also shows clips of his past Walking Dead cameo with zombies Kirstie Alley and Ralph Macchio. Oh, wait. Sorry, my mistake. That was Dancing With the Stars.

    4:30 p.m.

    CBS Evening News anchor Scott Pelley interviews President Barack Obama from the White House. Pelley will ask Obama who will win the Super Bowl and Obama manages to work in a White Sox reference. Yes, Mr. President, you're from Chicago. We get it already.

    5 p.m.

    A couple more over/under wagers to think about (strictly for fun, that is):

    Largest lead of the game: 13 points

    Longest touchdown: 46½ yards

    Shortest touchdown: 1½ yards

    Longest field goal made: 44½ yards

    5 p.m.

    You bite into your first chicken wing of the day. Congratulations, you're doing your part in eating the 1.2 billion pounds of chicken wings that will be consumed this weekend. Chase it with a beer from one of the 49 million cases sold this weekend.

    5:45 p.m.

    Watch Ray Lewis do his goofy dance for the last time. The key word is "goofy." No, wait, the key word, the most beautiful word of all, is "last."

    6 p.m.

    ESPN begins a four-hour marathon of the World's Strongest Man competition. That's not a joke. Meantime, E! is in the midst of its Kourtney and Kim Take Miami marathon as the two Kardashians search for the only two athletes left on the planet that they haven't dated: Mercury Morris and Garo Yepremian.

    6:30 p.m.

    The official prop bet over/under on Alicia Keys' length of the national anthem is 2 minutes, 15 seconds. Did you know that last year's over/under on Christina Aguilera's rendition was 1 minute, 54 seconds, and she sang it in exactly 1 minute, 54 seconds? I don't know if Keys (below) will go over or under because I'm still trying to figure out why the woman who sings Empire State of Mind isn't singing the anthem at next year's Super Bowl outside of New York City.

    Coin toss

    A coin flip is a 50/50 proposition, right? The Super Bowl proves it. In 46 Super Bowls, heads has come up 23 times and tails 23 times. But heads is on a four-year streak and neither heads nor tails has come up five Super Bowls in a row. In the past 15 games, the NFC team has won 14 of the tosses. Ipso facto, the 49ers will win the toss, which will come up heads.

    Prekickoff

    Over the next 3½ hours, more than 111 million people in the United States will watch the Super Bowl. Want to feel like a dope? Only 38 million watched President Obama's State of the Union Address.

    Kickoff

    CBS announcer Jim Nantz says the name "Harbaugh" for the first time during the game. One official prop bet is to pick the over/under on the name "Harbaugh" being said. The number is 21½. Go with the over. The more compelling bet is what Nantz says more during the game: "Harbaugh" or "The Masters, a tradition unlike any other."

    Early second quarter

    After 49ers linebacker Patrick Willis fails to cover Ray Rice on a screen pass, cameras catch 49ers assistant coach Jim Leavitt (above) slapping Willis on the bench. Leavitt later denies it.

    Halftime

    Beyonce lip-syncs All the Single Ladies. Backup dancer Lennay Kekua has a wardrobe malfunction, which, fortunately for CBS, nobody sees.

    Halftime interview(s)

    Dr. Phil McGraw interviews Katie Couric (top right), who interviews Oprah Winfrey, who interviews the deer who supposedly supplied his antler spray to Ravens linebacker Ray Lewis. The deer denies selling his spray to Lewis but does admit to being "confused'' about his relationship with Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o.

    Out of the tunnel

    49ers cornerback Chris Culliver says deer "have to get up outta here," then issues a statement saying it might be best if he never speaks again.

    Early third quarter

    Ravens QB Joe Flacco (left) comes out for one play with an equipment problem and backup Tyrod Taylor (right) successfully hands the ball off to Ray Rice for a 1-yard gain.

    30 seconds later

    Local talk-radio phone lines are jammed with Bucs fans demanding the Bucs trade two first-round picks for Tyrod Taylor to replace Josh Freeman (below).

    Fourth quarter

    The Ravens and 49ers exchange leads four times and the game ends with Jim Nantz saying, "Good night friends and we'll see you at Augusta." ... Oh, the Ravens win 31-27.

    Midnight

    You go to bed because you have to work Monday. Well, that is if you're not one of the estimated 7 million Americans expected to call in sick. Meantime, Ray Lewis can take some time before he starts crying and dancing on the ESPN set next to Chris Berman, who will now have one more name to announce before next year's Super Bowl.


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    By Greg Auman, Times Staff Writer
    Sunday, February 3, 2013

    . TODAY

    USF women at Pittsburgh

    When/where: 1; Peterson Events Center, Pittsburgh

    Radio: 1010-AM

    Records: USF 14-6, 3-4 Big East; Pittsburgh 9-11, 0-7

    Notable: This is a must-win road game for USF's NCAA Tournament hopes. Three of the Bulls' next four are outside the RPI top 150, and they need a .500 Big East record for a reasonable shot at an at-large berth. … Only one of Pitt's conference losses has been by fewer than nine points. … The Bulls continue to be led by senior twin guards Andrea and Andrell Smith. Andrea is averaging 20 points in conference play while Andrell is getting 14. … Freshman Alisia Jenkins has started every Big East game and is averaging 7.0 points and a team-best 9.7 rebounds. … Andrea Smith has been slowed by a toe injury but is expected to be fine for today's game.

    Greg Auman, Times staff writer


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    By Seth Leto, Times Correspondent
    Sunday, February 3, 2013

    What's hot: Sheepshead are spawning for the next few months, so big schools can be found around most deepwater structure with good water flow. Good places to fish include bridge pilings, docks, seawalls and jetties. The bigger fish most likely will be caught around larger structure near the passes and offshore.

    Bait and tackle: The best bait for the big ones is a small crab; sheepshead also will eat all crustaceans, mussels and barnacles. Most sheepshead fishing is done around structure; therefore stouter tackle may be necessary. Big spinning or conventional outfits lined with braid work well. Finish the setup with a piece of light leader, enough weight to get the bait down and a strong 1/0 hook. Sometimes big schools can be found on the beaches or grass flats, which enables an angler to use smaller tackle.

    Tactics: Anchor up to the structure you intend to fish so that the baits can be cast to the back side where the eddy is formed. This will keep your bait close to the structure where sheepshead feed. Sheepshead are notorious bait stealers, so be quick to set the hook when they bite. Even watching for movement in your line can help you be more successful.

    Seth Leto runs Pristine Fishing Charters out of Tarpon Springs. Call (727) 385-0382.


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  • 02/03/13--16:02: Wacky win for Penguins
  • Times wires
    Sunday, February 3, 2013

    Devils 0 0 3 3
    at Islanders 0 0 0 0
    WASHINGTON — It was a game of disputed deflections and odd bounces, with the strangest carom of all coming on a dump-in that hit a stanchion along the glass and went into a net deserted by a befuddled goalie.

    The Penguins weren't fazed by that bit of misfortune that tied the score in the second period, just as Capitals couldn't take advantage of their stroke of luck. The third annual Super Bowl warmup between the rivals soon turned into a rout, with Chris Kunitz getting a hat trick in Pittsburgh's 6-3 victory.

    "I really like our team responding to that bad bounce that happened on the wall," Pittsburgh coach Dan Bylsma said. "Now (the score is) 2-2, and our team responded well with the penalty kill and getting some goals."

    Kris Letang, Paul Martin and Matt Cooke also scored, Sidney Crosby had three assists and Tomas Vokoun made 21 saves against his former team for the Penguins, who have won three straight and four of five.

    In a game that reflected both teams' fortunes so far in the shortened season, the Penguins had the luxury of spending the postgame talking about who should have received credit for their goals.

    Kunitz thought he scored four instead of three, saying he got his stick on the puck to redirect Martin's shot from the point in the first period. Cooke was given a redirect goal on a shot from Deryk Engelland that seemed instead to hit Capitals defenseman Jeff Schultz.

    "I didn't know they took the other one away from me," Kunitz said. "(But) no one really cares around here. … We're worried about the two points."

    Then came the bizarre 80-footer from Capitals defenseman John Carlson, a dump-in Vokoun retreated behind the net to intercept. Vokoun then tripped trying to get back to the crease when he saw the puck changes direction along the glass.

    The Penguins then had to kill a penalty, but 2:53 after the fluke goal, they took the lead for good when Letang and Kunitz beat Braden Holtby glove side 37 seconds apart.

    game highlights: The Devils scored all their goals in the last 3:54 in a 3-0 win over the host Islanders. Johan Hedberg made 22 saves for his 22nd career shutout.

    around the league: The Blues are without half of their goaltending tandem after placing Jaroslav Halak on injured reserve with a groin injury sustained against the Red Wings on Friday. He is out at least a week.

    Penguins 2 3 1 6
    at Capitals 1 1 1 3

    First Period1, Pittsburgh, Martin 2 (Crosby), 3:37. 2, Wash, Green 2 (Wolski, Ribeiro), 5:05. 3, Pittsburgh, Cooke 1 (Engelland, Bortuzzo), 8:20. PenaltiesNone.

    Second Period4, Wash, Carlson 1 (Backstrom), 4:03. 5, Pittsburgh, Letang 3 (Sutter, Cooke), 6:56. 6, Pittsburgh, Kunitz 3 (Crosby, Malkin), 7:33. 7, Pittsburgh, Kunitz 4 (Malkin, Neal), 13:59 (pp). PenaltiesBoychuk, Pit (boarding), 4:15; Despres, Pit (high-sticking), 11:39; Wolski, Was (tripping), 13:10.

    Third Period8, Wash, Ribeiro 2 (Brouwer, Ovechkin), 3:33 (pp). 9, Pittsburgh, Kunitz 5 (Crosby, Letang), 19:52 (pp). PenaltiesDespres, Pit (delay of game), 2:08; Bortuzzo, Pit (high-sticking), 13:48; Ovechkin, Was (roughing), 18:28; Carlson, Was (holding), 18:28. Shots on GoalPittsburgh 9-9-8—26. Wash 9-4-11—24. Power-play opportunitiesPittsburgh 2 of 3; Wash 1 of 4. GoaliesPittsburgh, Vokoun 3-1-0 (24 shots-21 saves). Wash, Holtby 1-3-0 (26-20).

    Devils 0 0 3 3
    at Islanders 0 0 0 0

    First PeriodNone. PenaltiesCizikas, NYI (interference), 1:59; Greene, NJ (tripping), 3:29; Zubrus, NJ, double minor (high-sticking), 5:55; Moulson, NYI (tripping), 6:38; Zajac, NJ (interference), 13:01.

    Second PeriodNone. PenaltiesBarch, NJ, served by Bernier, minor-major (instigator, fighting), 2:46; Carkner, NYI, major (fighting), 2:46; Larsson, NJ (interference), 8:18; Volchenkov, NJ (hooking), 16:41.

    Third Period1, New Jersey, Bernier 2 (Henrique, Greene), 16:06 (pp). 2, New Jersey, Bernier 3 (Carter, Gionta), 17:16. 3, New Jersey, Clarkson 5 (Greene), 19:38 (en). PenaltiesMacDonald, NYI (holding stick), 7:32; Henrique, NJ (roughing), 9:36; Hamonic, NYI (roughing), 9:36; Strait, NYI (charging), 14:17. Shots on GoalNew Jersey 7-7-13—27. N.Y. Islanders 10-7-5—22. Power-play opportunitiesNew Jersey 1 of 3; N.Y. Islanders 0 of 7. GoaliesNew Jersey, Hedberg 1-0-1 (22 shots-22 saves). N.Y. Islanders, Nabokov 4-2-1 (26-24).

    Panthers 1 2 1 4
    at Sabres 2 1 0 3

    First Period1, Buffalo, Vanek 8 (Pominville, Hodgson), 2:46. 2, Florida, Matthias 1 (Smithson), 8:36. 3, Buffalo, Hodgson 5 (Vanek), 13:41. PenaltiesStrachan, Fla, major (fighting), 8:44; McCormick, Buf, major (fighting), 8:44.

    Second Period4, Buffalo, Sulzer 2 (Vanek, Hodgson), 3:49. 5, Florida, Parros 1 (Weiss), 10:21. 6, Florida, Mueller 4 (Shore, Kopecky), 19:06. PenaltiesParros, Fla, major (fighting), 3:25; Scott, Buf, major (fighting), 3:25; Kulikov, Fla (tripping), 6:40.

    Third Period7, Florida, Campbell 4 (Kopecky, Huberdeau), 9:27 (pp). PenaltiesEhrhoff, Buf (hooking), 7:51; Foligno, Buf (slashing), 17:20; Ehrhoff, Buf (hooking), 20:00. Shots on GoalFlorida 11-9-13—33. Buffalo 10-6-4—20. Power-play opportunitiesFlorida 1 of 2; Buffalo 0 of 1. GoaliesFlorida, Theodore 3-4-0 (20 shots-17 saves). Buffalo, Miller 3-4-1 (33-29).

    at Canadiens 2 0 0 2
    Senators 1 0 0 1

    First Period1, Ottawa, Silfverberg 2 (Wiercioch, Turris), 1:38 (pp). 2, Montreal, Desharnais 3 (Pacioretty), 2:13. 3, Montreal, Cole 2 (Bouillon, Subban), 11:29. PenaltiesPlekanec, Mon (goaltender interference), :24; Alfredsson, Ott (tripping), 9:26; Turris, Ott (interference), 11:51.

    Second PeriodNone. PenaltiesGorges, Mon (boarding), 4:37; Karlsson, Ott (high-sticking), 5:50; Eller, Mon (roughing), 15:06; Condra, Ott (tripping), 17:38; Bouillon, Mon (diving), 17:38; Turris, Ott (hooking), 18:18.

    Third PeriodNone. PenaltiesSilfverberg, Ott (goalie interference), 1:26. ShotsOttawa 6-16-11—33. Montreal 12-13-7—32. Power-play opportunitiesOttawa 1 of 3; Montreal 0 of 5. GoaliesOttawa, Anderson 5-2-1 (32 shots-30 saves). Montreal, Price 6-1-0 (33-32).


    0 0

    By David Borges, Special to the Times
    Sunday, February 3, 2013

    STORRS, Conn. — In recent years, at least, when USF and Connecticut have faced each other, there has been a pretty good chance the game will go to overtime.

    Unfortunately for the Bulls, there has also been a very good chance that UConn will win.

    It was a bit of Groundhog Day a day late Sunday, as UConn rallied back from a dreadful first-half performance to force overtime then rode a trio of Shabazz Napier 3-pointers to land a 69-64 victory over USF before 9,205 at Gampel Pavilion.

    Napier, a junior guard, missed a long 3-pointer at the buzzer at the end of regulation but then hit three consecutive 3s in OT to put the Huskies (15-5, 5-3 Big East) ahead for good. He scored 11 of his game-high 24 in the extra session.

    "I just feel like the guys give me a chance to take the shots, I'm willing to do it — make or miss," Napier said. "I was lucky to knock them down."

    The teams have gone to overtime three of the past six times they've played, with the Huskies winning all three. UConn is now 10-1 all-time against the Bulls and 7-1 since USF joined the Big East.

    The Bulls (10-11, 1-8) switched between man-to-man and zone defense throughout the first half and held UConn to 18.5 percent (5-for-27) shooting. USF held a 27-15 lead at the break, the fewest points by UConn in a half since a 30-9 deficit against Massachusetts in 2002 (a game the Huskies also won).

    "We just came out and played terrible in the first half," Huskies point guard Ryan Boatright said. "I think that's the worst I've ever seen us play as a team and individually."

    The Bulls knew UConn would make a comeback.

    "Basketball is a game of runs," USF senior forward Toarlyn Fitzpatrick said. "We knew they were going to go on a run, so we just had to sustain the run and go on a little push ourselves. It just got out of our hands in overtime."

    Indeed, the Huskies scored the first 10 of the second half and eventually took a 30-29 lead a little more than three minutes in on Boatright's 3-pointer.

    There were six lead changes and five ties the rest of the half, capped by Anthony Collins' running bank shot with 11.7 seconds left that tied the score at 52. Napier's long 3-point attempt at the buzzer was off the mark.

    Napier hit back-to-back 3-pointers within the first 90 seconds of overtime, and after Victor Rudd hit a layup for the Bulls, Napier added a third to put the Huskies up 61-54.

    UConn wound up shooting 29.8 percent for the game.

    "You tell me we're going to hold them to 29 percent shooting, 33 percent from 3, and we're going to outrebound them (43-41), I'm thinking we're leaving here with a win," USF coach Stan Heath said. "We had great opportunities. We didn't close the game very well."

    Fitzpatrick finished with a season-high 22 points (including five 3-pointers) to go with 10 rebounds to lead the Bulls. Rudd added 12 points and Collins 10 for USF, which hosts Marquette at 7 p.m. Wednesday.


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    By Damian Cristodero, Times Staff Writer
    Sunday, February 3, 2013

    Vinny Lecavalier said he iced his left foot until 3:30 a.m. Sunday. He watched the Super Bowl with his foot up while icing some more.

    It was a small inconvenience. The Lightning captain said it was "definitely a relief" the foot was not broken when hit by a slap shot from teammate Sami Salo just as Saturday's 3-2 loss to the Rangers at the Tampa Bay Times Forum ended.

    "I heard the buzzer at the same time," Lecavalier said Sunday.

    X-rays after the game were negative. Sunday's MRI exam confirmed a bone bruise, and the center said he planned to play Tuesday at Philadelphia.

    "I'm not expecting to miss any games," he said.

    Lecavalier said he was hit on the outside of the left ankle, fortuitous because the skate boot there provides the most padding.

    Even so, Lecavalier said that when he was hit, "my whole foot went dead," and he skated off the ice hunched over in pain.

    Losing Lecavalier — whose 11 points on four goals and seven assists are tied for 13th in the league — would have been a serious blow to Tampa Bay (6-2-0), which Tuesday begins a tough four-game road trip that also includes stops in Boston, New Jersey and at the Rangers.

    Lecavalier is listed as day-to-day.

    "It definitely could have been worse," he said. "We'll re-evaluate it (today), but I think it will be fine for Tuesday."

    GRADING: Marty St. Louis, with 14 points on three goals and 11 assists, is off to the best eight-game start of his career. Yet, the right wing is not entirely happy.

    "I'm honest with how I'm analyzing my game," he said. "I don't think I've played my best hockey."

    His gripes?

    He has to better put himself in scoring position, and when he is there, he must cash in on opportunities. He must better use his speed and cut down on turnovers; he is tied for second in the league with 13.

    "He's always hard on himself because he wants to perform at his best, and that's why he's Marty," coach Guy Boucher said. "I can't ask any more of him than I'm getting now."

    After the loss to the Rangers, during which he whiffed on a prime scoring chance, St. Louis said he is "getting there."

    "From the get-go I thought I was jumping and using my speed," he said. "Unfortunately, I wasn't able to make something happen."

    WAITING: Why, before Saturday's game, had G Mathieu Garon played only one of Tampa Bay's first seven? It's all about Anders Lindback, whom the Lightning wants to turn into a bona fide No. 1.

    "We have a youngster we're trying to groom and give him ice time," Boucher said. "There are a few games I could have thrown Mathieu out there, but the plan is to give (Lindback) as many games as we can so he can catch up on the games he's missed the last two years."

    Lindback, 24, played just 38 games the past two seasons as backup to Nashville star Pekka Rinne. "He works so hard, and he has an unbelievable attitude," Boucher said of Lindback, who is 5-1-0 with a 2.83 goals-against average and .911 save percentage. "It's not just skill. He has the whole package."


    DIRK SHADD   |   TimesDIRK SHADD | Times

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    Times wires
    Sunday, February 3, 2013

    BOSTON — The Celtics keep rolling without Rajon Rondo.

    Not even a late comeback by one of the NBA's best teams could keep Boston from beating the Clippers 106-104 on Sunday and improve to 4-0 since a knee injury ended their star point guard's season.

    "A lot of people say that we don't have a chance to go to the playoffs, we can't do this, we can't do that," starting guard Avery Bradley said. "We know we have each other and we're going to go out there and fight for each other, no matter what, every single night."

    Clippers star point guard Chris Paul (bruised right kneecap) missed his seventh straight game.

    Los Angeles cut a 98-83 deficit to 103-101 on a 3-pointer by Eric Bledsoe with 56 seconds. Then Bradley drew an offensive foul.

    Paul Pierce then held on to the ball — and was surprised that the Clippers didn't foul him — before hitting a 3-pointer with 2.5 seconds left, capping his team-high 22 points.

    "Any time the game's on the line, whether he missed 15 in a row, we know the last one's good," Celtics guard Jason Terry said of Pierce.

    The teams played without the point guards voted starters in the All-Star Game. Rondo has a torn anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee. With Paul out, the Clippers have lost five of seven.

    Lakers win squeaker

    AUBURN HILLS, Mich. — In a season full of turmoil and frustration, this would have been a particularly exasperating loss for the Lakers.

    One of the most accurate free throw shooters in NBA history missed two, giving the Pistons one more chance. Rookie Andre Drummond missed a one-handed dunk with Pau Gasol defending as Los Angeles held on to win 98-97.

    "Every game is like a playoff game for us right now," Lakers coach Mike D'Antoni said. "And some crazy things happen in playoff games."

    The Lakers, minus center Dwight Howard (right shoulder) blew an 18-point third-quarter lead and survived after Steve Nash, a career 90.4 percent free-throw shooter, missed two with 2.7 seconds left.

    SPOELSTRA CLINCHES HONOR: LeBron James had 30 points, Chris Bosh scored 28 against his former team and the Heat beat host Toronto 100-85 for its 10th straight victory over the Raptors. Miami clinched the top spot in the Eastern Conference as of Sunday, percentage points ahead of the Knicks, so coach Erik Spoelstra and his staff will be in charge for the All-Star Game, Feb. 17 in Houston (see rosters, 2C).

    DUNCAN INJURY: No structural damage was found in the left knee of Spurs star Tim Duncan, who left Friday's game injured.

    Celtics 106, Clippers 104

    L.A. CLIPPERS (104): Butler 7-13 1-1 18, Griffin 8-14 4-7 20, Jordan 4-7 4-6 12, Bledsoe 9-15 3-4 23, W.Green 1-3 0-0 2, Odom 3-3 0-0 6, Barnes 0-6 0-0 0, Crawford 8-15 3-3 23, Turiaf 0-1 0-0 0, Hill 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 40-79 15-21 104.

    BOSTON (106): Pierce 7-16 4-5 22, Bass 3-7 3-4 9, Garnett 5-9 2-2 12, Lee 2-6 2-2 7, Bradley 2-8 0-0 4, Collins 1-1 5-5 7, Terry 5-7 1-1 13, J.Green 4-6 3-4 14, Barbosa 5-10 3-4 14, Wilcox 2-2 0-0 4. Totals 36-72 23-27 106.

    L.A. Clippers 30 10 37 27— 104

    Boston 33 26 33 14— 106

    3-Point GoalsL.A. Clippers 9-21 (Crawford 4-7, Butler 3-5, Bledsoe 2-3, W.Green 0-2, Barnes 0-4), Boston 11-18 (Pierce 4-6, J.Green 3-3, Terry 2-4, Barbosa 1-2, Lee 1-3). ReboundsL.A. Clippers 48 (Griffin 11), Boston 37 (Bass 8). AssistsL.A. Clippers 27 (Bledsoe 10), Boston 23 (Terry 6). Total FoulsL.A. Clippers 26, Boston 22. TechnicalsL.A. Clippers defensive three second 2, Garnett, Boston defensive three second. A18,624 (18,624).

    Lakers 98, Pistons 97

    L.A. LAKERS (98): World Peace 3-8 1-2 8, Clark 6-11 4-6 17, Gasol 10-18 3-4 23, Nash 5-10 1-3 11, Bryant 8-20 2-3 18, Jamison 3-8 3-4 10, Blake 2-5 0-0 6, Meeks 2-3 0-0 5. Totals 39-83 14-22 98.

    DETROIT (97): Singler 4-12 1-2 11, Maxiell 3-7 2-2 8, Monroe 9-14 2-2 20, Knight 3-13 4-4 10, Stuckey 3-6 0-0 6, Jerebko 2-3 0-0 5, Drummond 4-10 1-4 9, English 0-0 0-0 0, Bynum 9-18 0-1 18, Villanueva 4-9 0-0 10. Totals 41-92 10-15 97.

    L.A. Lakers 32 30 16 20— 98

    Detroit 27 24 21 25— 97

    3-Point GoalsL.A. Lakers 6-20 (Blake 2-3, Meeks 1-2, Jamison 1-3, Clark 1-3, World Peace 1-4, Nash 0-2, Bryant 0-3), Detroit 5-14 (Singler 2-4, Villanueva 2-4, Jerebko 1-1, Bynum 0-1, Stuckey 0-1, Knight 0-3). ReboundsL.A. Lakers 50 (Gasol, Clark 10), Detroit 58 (Monroe 12). AssistsL.A. Lakers 24 (Nash 10), Detroit 26 (Bynum 10). Total FoulsL.A. Lakers 15, Detroit 18. TechnicalsStuckey. Flagrant Fouls—World Peace. A18,157 (22,076).

    Heat 100, Raptors 85

    MIAMI (100): James 10-16 9-12 30, Haslem 2-3 0-0 4, Bosh 12-19 3-3 28, Chalmers 1-6 0-0 2, Wade 10-18 3-4 23, Allen 0-2 1-2 1, Battier 2-5 0-0 5, Andersen 0-1 1-2 1, Lewis 1-1 0-0 2, Cole 2-4 0-0 4. Totals 40-75 17-23 100.

    TORONTO (85): Gay 11-23 6-7 29, Johnson 1-4 0-0 2, Gray 3-6 0-4 6, Lowry 3-7 3-4 10, DeRozan 6-17 14-14 27, Anderson 1-7 2-3 4, Lucas 1-6 0-0 2, Ross 1-4 0-0 3, Valanciunas 1-1 0-0 2. Totals 28-75 25-32 85.

    Miami 24 20 27 29— 100

    Toronto 21 29 17 18— 85

    3-Point GoalsMiami 3-12 (Bosh 1-1, James 1-2, Battier 1-3, Wade 0-1, Cole 0-1, Chalmers 0-2, Allen 0-2), Toronto 4-18 (Lowry 1-2, DeRozan 1-3, Ross 1-3, Gay 1-5, Lucas 0-2, Anderson 0-3). ReboundsMiami 43 (James 8), Toronto 52 (Gray 12). AssistsMiami 19 (James 7), Toronto 15 (Lowry, DeRozan, Anderson 3). Total FoulsMiami 23, Toronto 24. A19,800 (19,800).


    Associated PressAssociated Press

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  • 02/03/13--17:53: Sports in Brief
  • Times wires
    Sunday, February 3, 2013

    Skiing

    Bodyguards to accompany Vonn

    SCHLADMING, Austria — With attention on her personal life intensifying, Lindsey Vonn will be surrounded by bodyguards at the world championships. About 30,000 fans per race are expected in the small Alpine village during the event, which runs from Tuesday through Feb. 17.

    "There's going to be an incredible amount of people here in Schladming," Vonn said Sunday. "And it's a very small space."

    The American said her sponsor hired security "to make sure I can get in and out and not have any difficulty. I don't expect there to be any problems. But it's better to be safe than sorry."

    There have been rumors of a relationship between Vonn and Tiger Woods. She was asked by a local TV reporter if the golfer would come to watch her ski.

    "Oh, my god! I don't know," Vonn said. "You should ask him."

    The reporter asked again, "in the name of Schladming."

    "I have no idea. I have no idea," Vonn said, repeating herself with a big smile and giggles.

    Vonn's divorce was finalized last month.

    Tennis

    U.S. avoids collapse thanks to Querrey

    Sam Querrey beat Thiago Alves 4-6, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (7-3) to give the United States a 3-2 win over Brazil in the first round of the Davis Cup in Jacksonville. The Americans led 2-0 before Mike and Bob Bryan, No. 1 in the world in doubles, lost Saturday. Sunday, John Isner lost 2-6, 6-4, 6-7 (7-9), 6-4, 6-3 to Thomaz Bellucci to force the deciding match. The Americans face Serbia, which won 3-2 at Belgium, in Boise, Idaho, on April 5-7.

    More Davis Cup: Five-time champ Spain, which was missing No. 4 David Ferrer, No. 5 Rafael Nadal and No. 11 Nicolas Almagro because of injuries or fatigue, lost to Canada 3-2 in Vancouver. In its first ever quarterfinal, Canada hosts Italy. The other matchups are France at Argentina and Kazakhstan at the Czech Republic.

    Fed Cup: Sloane Stephens, an Australian Open semifinalist, pulled out of the United States' first-round match at Italy with a strained abdominal. Melanie Oudin will replace her for the matches that start Saturday.

    College baseball

    Division III team gets first win since 2003

    Cal Tech ended a 228-game losing streak by beating visiting Pacifica 9-7 late Saturday. The Division III team from Pasadena lost Game 1 of a season-opening doubleheader 5-0. But freshman Daniel Chou pitched a seven-inning complete game for the first win since Feb. 15, 2003. Tech still has lost 463 straight conference games dating to 1988.

    Et cetera

    Obituary: Lavonne "Pepper" Paire-Davis, an All American Girls Professional Baseball League star and inspiration for the 1992 film A League of Their Own, died Saturday. She was 88. Mrs. Paire-Davis was a model for the character played by Geena Davis and a consultant on the film. A catcher and shortstop, she helped her teams win five titles over 10 seasons.

    Horses: Game On Dude, trained by Bob Baffert, won his second straight $200,000 San Antonio Stakes by 6½ lengths at Santa Anita in Arcadia, Calif.

    Times wires


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  • 02/03/13--18:21: Louisville snaps out of funk
  • Times wires
    Sunday, February 3, 2013

    LOUISVILLE, Ky. — Two weeks of struggle had begun to raise questions about Louisville's ability to contend in the Big East.

    And though some concerns remain to be addressed over the second half of their league schedule, the No. 12 Cardinals reclaimed some of their swagger with Sunday's 70-51 rout of No. 25 Marquette.

    Russ Smith scored 18 and Peyton Siva 14, and Louisville shot 52 percent to run away from Marquette. The Cardinals' reserves helped out by outscoring the Golden Eagles' 19-10.

    That contribution helped Louisville (18-4, 6-3) to its most decisive victory since it started 4-0 in the league while winning by an average of 18.5 points. That dominance was forgotten in a three-game losing streak and a close win over Pittsburgh, which made the Cardinals feel even better about getting it back.

    "The guards got back and got on the glass. I think we matched their physicality," said Siva, who made 6 of 9 shots, including a 3-pointer, to break out of a 7-for-31 four-game slump. He also had seven assists.

    "Coach told us they were going to come in here and be physical with us," Siva said. "I think we did a better job after five minutes of matching their intensity."

    The Cardinals finished 27-of-52 from the field after a 1-for-8 start while holding the Golden Eagles (15-5, 6-2) to 36 percent shooting (19-of-53). They also outrebounded Marquette 38-26.

    "I think we really just locked in and keyed on every play from the scouting report," Louisville forward Chane Behanan said. "Coach stressed the whole week in practice that Marquette was a great smack-down team and they got maybe just two or three against us. I'm thrilled."

    NO. 23 MINNESOTA 62, IOWA 59: Austin Hollins hit a go-ahead 3-pointer with 11.6 seconds left, and the host Gophers (17-5, 5-4 Big Ten) survived a rough second half.

    USF women roll

    PITTSBURGH — Twins Andrea and Andrell Smith scored 15 each and all five starters finished in double figures as USF cruised past Pittsburgh 78-60. Freshman Alisia Jenkins added 11 points and 11 rebounds for the Bulls (15-6, 4-4 Big East) in their third straight win over the Panthers (9-12, 0-8). The Bulls outrebounded Pitt 48-39.

    NO. 20 FSU 83, CLEMSON 61: Natasha Howard had 19 points and 11 rebounds, and every starter reached double figures for the host Seminoles (18-4, 8-3 ACC). Howard became the 28th Florida State player to surpass 1,000 points for her career.

    UF 87, ALABAMA 54: Freshman Christin Mercer had career highs of 18 points and 11 rebounds for the host Gators (14-9, 3-6 SEC), who shot a season-best 58.3 percent (35-of-60) and had a 51-33 rebounding advantage.

    NO. 4 STANFORD 65, OREGON ST. 45: Chiney Ogwumike had a career-high 32 points and added 18 rebounds to lead the visiting Cardinal (20-2, 9-1 Pac-12).

    NO. 5 DUKE 84, NO. 11 UNC 63: Chloe Wells scored a career-high 18 for the visiting Blue Devils (20-1, 10-0 ACC), who jumped on the Tar Heels (20-3, 8-2) with an early 29-3 run and won their fifth straight in the series. UNC coach Sylvia Hatchell was denied her 900th victory.

    NO. 6 CAL 72, OREGON 45: Layshia Clarendon scored 15 to lead the visiting Golden Bears (19-2, 9-1 Pac-12), who scored 44 in the paint.

    NO. 13 GEORGIA 75, NO. 8 KENTUCKY 71: Khaalidah Miller scored a career-high 25 for the Bulldogs (19-3, 7-2 SEC), who snapped a 33-game home winning streak by the Wildcats (19-3, 7-2).

    MISSOURI 80, NO. 9 TENN. 63: Morgan Eye scored 26 for the host Tigers, who beat a ranked team for the first time in almost two years and stopped a 12-game SEC winning streak by the Vols (17-5, 8-1).

    NO. 10 MARYLAND 85, BC 62: Tianna Hawkins scored 26 as the Terrapins (18-3, 9-1 ACC) improved to 12-0 at home.

    NO. 15 S.C. 59, AUBURN 51: Khadijah Sessions had a career-high 19 points off the bench as the host Gamecocks (19-3, 7-2 SEC) won their fifth straight game.

    NO. 17 DAYTON 72, RICHMOND 64: Olivia Applewhite came off the bench to score 18 and add 11 rebounds for the visiting Flyers (19-1, 7-0 Atlantic 10).

    NO. 18 UCLA 70, UTAH 42: Alyssia Brewer scored 16 for the host Bruins (17-4, 8-2 Pac-12), who forced 18 turnovers and won their fourth straight game.

    W. VA. 82, NO. 21 OKLA. 63: Christal Caldwell scored 24 for the host Mountaineers, who held the Sooners (16-5, 6-3 Big 12), a 39.5 percent 3-point shooting team, to 5-of-22 (22.7).

    NO. 22 COLORADO 65, USC 49: Arielle Roberson scored 16 for the visiting Buffaloes (16-5, 5-5 Pac-12), who scored the first eight of the second half to take the lead for good.

    N'WESTERN 67, NO. 24 IOWA 65: Karly Roser's layup at the buzzer lifted the visiting Wildcats. The Hawkeyes (16-7, 5-4 Big Ten) had tied it on Melissa Dixon's basket with 3 seconds left.

    NO. 25 DELAWARE 79, HOFSTRA 63: Elena Delle Donne scored 35 as the host Blue Hens (18-3, 9-0 CAA) won their 13th straight game.


    Getty ImagesGetty Images

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    Times wires
    Sunday, February 3, 2013

    SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — Phil Mickelson's 5-iron shot sailed long and right on the par-3 seventh, stopping an inch from the fringe and leaving him in danger of losing at least a stroke to playing partner Brandt Snedeker.

    Mickelson left Snedeker shaking his head and went on to complete a wire-to-wire victory Sunday in the Phoenix Open.

    Fifty-five feet away, with a mound and a 20-foot swath of fringe between his ball and the hole, Mickelson hit a putt through the taller grass rather than chip over it. He had caddie Jim Mackay remove the flagstick so it wouldn't deflect the ball if it had too much speed, a move that proved wise when the ball raced into the cup.

    "The challenge of that was to judge the speed where half the putt is through fringe and half is on the green," Mickelson said. "I got lucky to have made it, obviously. I was just trying to two-putt it. It was going fairly quickly when it got to the hole, probably would have been 6, 8 feet by."

    Snedeker joked with Mickelson for a moment before holing his own birdie putt.

    "Are you kidding me?" Snedeker said of his reaction. "I hit a great shot in there close and I thought, 'Hey, I can get one on him here and put some pressure on him.' He makes that, and he let me hear about it before I putt, and he let me know that I needed to make that to tie. We had fun with it. That's Phil being Phil."

    Mickelson, a former Arizona State star, shot 4-under 67 to finish at 28-under 256, two strokes off the PGA Tour record of 254 set by Tommy Armour III in the 2003 Texas Open.

    Mickelson missed a chance for 59 in the first round when his birdie putt on the final hole curled 180 degrees around the cup and stayed out.

    "I think that sets up the tone for the rest of the year, because I really started to play well," Mickel­son said. "But for me, the rest of the year took a turn on Tuesday when I got my new driver. It just changed my whole deal."

    Snedeker finished second, four strokes back after 65.

    Mickelson took a three-stroke lead to the 17th tee, and he nearly drove into the left-side water on the drivable par 4, his ball stopping a yard short of the hazard. He flopped his second shot 15 feet past and made the birdie.

    The crowd was estimated at 58,791 for a weekly total of 525,821, short of the record of 538,356 set in 2008.

    WEBB MATCHES SLAMMIN' SAM: Karrie Webb won her eighth Australian Ladies Masters, tying the U.S. PGA Tour record of Sam Snead, who won the Greater Greensboro Open eight times. Webb shot 5-under 67 for 203 total at Gold Coast in the European Ladies Tour's opener.


    Getty ImagesGetty Images

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    By Tom Jones, Times Sports Columnist
    Sunday, February 3, 2013

    Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones offers up the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.

    Worst statement

    I wrote the following on July 27, 2009:

    ESPN essentially invented the X Games and created a culture in which competitors feel the need to push the envelope further and further to keep these sports entertaining. It's to the point where competitors have to do something that has never been done or fans will lose interest. … The only choice is to attempt something more dangerous, and soon enough, you have people suffering permanent injuries or dying."

    Predictably, and sadly, a death occurred at the X Games as snowmobiler Caleb Moore died last week from injuries suffered in an accident at the Winter X Games.

    ESPN put out a statement after Moore's death that read:

    "We are deeply saddened by Caleb Moore's passing and our thoughts and prayers go out to … the entire Moore family. He will be remembered for his natural passion for life and his deep love for his family and friends. He will always be an inspiration to everyone he touched in the action sports community.

    "As a result of the accident we will conduct a thorough review of this discipline and adopt any appropriate changes to future X Games.

    "For 18 years we have worked closely on safety issues with athletes, course designers and other experts. Still, when the world's best compete at the highest level in any sport, risks remain. Caleb was a four-time X Games medalist attempting a move he has landed several times previously."

    The last two paragraphs of that statement, which was not signed by anyone, range from insulting to downright callous.

    For starters, ESPN now says it will review and adopt changes as a "result of the accident." You mean no one at ESPN thought flipping snowmobiles (among other things) should have been reviewed before now? Surely I'm not the only one who ever thought these sports were pushing the limits too far for years now.

    And how inappropriate that ESPN spent the last paragraph saying, essentially, that Moore knew the risk he was taking, took it anyway and basically failed to pull off the trick he had performed successfully before. What was the point of the last paragraph other than for ESPN to distance itself from the tragedy and all but say, "It was Moore's fault?"

    Yes, I understand, accidents happen. Yes, I understand, X stands for "extreme" sports, meaning there is risk and danger. But it seems to me that ESPN has been too slow to keep up with the stunts the athletes are pursuing. Worse, its reaction to Moore's death was somewhat disturbing.

    Best Super Bowl pregame moment

    CBS did a commendable job on its four-hour NFL Today pregame show. Let's face it, it's hard to put together a four-hour pregame that, at some point, doesn't feel like it's going on forever regardless of how many funny, tear-jerking, interesting, entertaining and informative features you can drum up.

    The finest moment was the interview of Jack and Jackie Harbaugh, the parents of the opposing coaches, just an hour before kickoff. The questions weren't all that special, but the Harbaughs knew exactly what to say to make it a good few minutes.

    I'm not necessarily big on networks breaking down the X's and O's of the game, but CBS did a smart thing by using its analysts, as well as some special guests, to explain the 49ers' "Pistol" offense. Especially impressive were those special guests: Seahawks QB Russell Wilson, Cardinals receiver Larry Fitzgerald and Bears cornerback Charles Tillman.

    Best Super Bowl commercials

    The Audi commercial featuring the kid kissing the prom queen and then driving home with a black eye was good stuff. The seniors going for a wild night on the town in the Taco Bell commercial was awesome. Amy Poehler was in a Best Buy commercial and, as far as I'm concerned, Poehler can be on every commercial and television show and I'd be totally fine with that.

    Worst Super Bowl commercial

    Watching model Bar Refaeli making out with a nerd in the Go Daddy ad was supposed to, at the very least, make you laugh. It more likely made you go "ewww."

    Most interesting free agent

    Former Bucs star Warren Sapp, elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame over the weekend, is eligible to be a free agent again. His contract with the NFL Network is about to expire, and he could be on the move.

    Here's the thing: The NFL Network might not mind if Sapp moves on. He says a lot of interesting things, but he also says some controversial things and you always get the feeling he is one sentence away from saying something just outright stupid. The NFL Network might feel as if his potential for saying something awful isn't worth his analysis, as good and honest as it might be.

    Best analyst

    I love how ESPN's basketball version of College GameDay had adopted the football show's idea of going to the best game of the day. It has done that the past couple of years and it was a smart move. For example, Saturday's GameDay came from Indiana, where the No. 3 Hoosiers were hosting No. 1 Michigan. Broadcasting live from inside the arena before and after the game, as well as halftime, gives the show an extra buzz.

    It also helps to have the best analyst in college basketball, and that would be Jay Bilas. Jalen Rose is solid and so is Digger Phelps when he's not interrupting or talking over his partners. But host Rece Davis and Bilas could do the show by themselves and it would be excellent. That's how good Bilas is.

    Three things that popped into my head

    1. I wish the NFL would just kill the Pro Bowl already, but do you know why it doesn't? Believe it or not, more than 12 million people watched the game; that's about twice as many as watched the game as recently as six years ago.

    2. Give credit to the Pro Football Hall of Fame voters for not letting personal feelings cloud their judgment and voting Warren Sapp in.

    3. I get tired of hearing how newly elected Hall of Fame coach Bill Parcells built a bunch of different teams. What, Chuck Noll, Tom Landry and Bill Walsh couldn't have done that if they had chosen to coach more than one team?

    tom jones' two cents


    Associated PressAssociated Press

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    By Tom Jones, Times Sports Columnist
    Sunday, February 3, 2013

    CBS's coverage of Super Bowl XLVII opened with one of the best Super Bowl openings ever, as the legendary Joe Namath and others asked you if you remember the best day of your life.

    Unfortunately, it was the highlight of CBS's game coverage, which was not the best day in the network's life. The broadcast was bland and, worse, left viewers craving more — more replays, analysis and information.

    It started on the first snap, when the 49ers lined up in an illegal formation that wiped out a 20-yard gain. Analyst Phil Simms said after the play that he saw the 49ers were lined up illegally. Hey, Phil, about 110 million people knew after the play that the 49ers were lined up illegally. Your job is to tell us before the play.

    It was a rough day for Simms. Too many times, play-by-play man Jim Nantz had to prod Simms for a comment. Nantz, who called a good and enthusiastic game, had to ask Simms to speak out on a brawl, as well as a fake field goal by the Ravens.

    In both cases, Simms did little but relay what we already saw, failing to give the strong opinions that a good analyst should. Simms never said anything dumb, mostly because he hardly said anything at all.

    He was better in the second half, although I'm already looking forward to next year's Super Bowl, because it will be called by Fox's Joe Buck and Troy Aikman.


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  • 02/03/13--20:16: Power goes out at Super Bowl
  • Times wires
    Sunday, February 3, 2013

    NEW ORLEANS — The Super Bowl was hit by a power outage Sunday, plunging parts of the Superdome into darkness and leading to a 34-minute delay.

    The Ravens led 28-6 when most of the lights in the 71,024-seat building went out 1:48 into the second half.

    Auxiliary power kept the field from going totally dark. But escalators stopped working, and the concourses were illuminated only by small banks of lights tied into emergency service.

    Philip Allison, a spokesman for Entergy New Orleans, which provides power to the stadium, said power had been flowing before the lights failed.

    "All of our distribution and transmission feeds going into the Superdome were operating as expected," said Allison, who added that the outage appeared to originate in a failure of equipment maintained by stadium staff.

    The public address announcer said the stadium was experiencing an interruption of electrical service and encouraged fans to stay in their seats. Some fans did the wave to pass the time. Players milled around on the sidelines. Some took a seat on the bench, others on the field. A few of the Ravens threw footballs around.

    Officials gathered on the field and appeared to be talking to stadium personnel. Finally, the lights came back on throughout the stadium and the game resumed.

    "We sincerely apologize for the incident," Superdome spokesman Eric Eagan said.

    Eagan added that the stadium's technical staff worked for more than an hour after the outage to determine what caused it but still didn't know.

    Quotable: "I got a little scared. I thought there would be a rush, people knocking other people over. But they didn't panic. They started buying beer. That was the only thing to do." — Daryn Johnson, 21, who was manning a beer stand in the stadium on the power outage.

    Tight game: Entering the fourth quarter, the Ravens led 28-23. But the stats were even closer. Each team had 17 first downs. The 49ers had 317 yards, the Ravens 315. And the Ravens had held the ball for 22:57 to the 49ers' 22:03.

    Historic pick: Ravens S Ed Reed recorded his ninth postseason interception during the second quarter, tying the NFL record. And it was the first interception thrown by a quarterback for the 49ers, who were playing in their sixth Super Bowl. Up to that point, their quarterbacks had thrown 170 Super Bowl passes without an interception.

    Calm celebration: Ravens fans hugged each other as they poured onto the streets of Baltimore after the win. Many fans wore the jersey of retiring LB Ray Lewis. Said Darren Love of the celebration: "90 percent for Ray, 10 percent for the city of Baltimore." As of late Sunday night, there were no reports of disturbances or damage in the city. The mayor previously had urged fans to celebrate responsibly.

    Brrrrr: The National Weather Service said Sunday's midday temperatures in East Rutherford, N.J., site of next year's Super Bowl, were in the 20s and reached a high of 32. However, the temperature there on Super Bowl Sunday last year was 40 degrees. Two years ago, it was 46 degrees. The coldest temperature for a Super Bowl played outdoors is 39 degrees on Jan. 16, 1972, at Tulane Stadium in New Orleans. Dallas beat Miami 24-3.

    Miscellany: The Ravens' fake field goal in the second quarter was the first in Super Bowl history. … Baltimore DT Haloti Ngata sprained his left knee on RB Frank Gore's third-quarter touchdown and did not return. … The 49ers' Colin Kaepernick had the longest touchdown run by a quarterback in Super Bowl history, 15 yards in the fourth. … The biggest Super Bowl deficit overcome is 10 points by the Redskins (42-10 over the Broncos in Super Bowl XXII in January 2008) and Saints (31-17 over the Colts in Super Bowl XLIV in February 2010).


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  • 02/03/13--20:39: Hole too deep for kid QB
  • Times wires

    49ers, Kaepernick fall just short

    Sunday, February 3, 2013

    NEW ORLEANS — Colin Kaepernick got tripped up and tossed down, then still nearly led the greatest Super Bowl comeback ever in his 10th career NFL start.

    Rarely rattled on an impressive path to the Super Bowl, San Francisco's second-year quarterback finally showed some inexperience on football's big stage. Not to mention some guts.

    After a remarkable postseason run by the tattooed play-caller, the Ravens exposed plenty of flaws in handing Kaepernick and Co. a 34-31 loss Sunday despite the 49ers' second-half rally.

    "I think he was making good throws the entire game,'' 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh said. "There was one that was a little high (a second-quarter interception by Ravens safety Ed Reed). I think he was fine.''

    No team has come from more than 10 points down to win a Super Bowl, and Kaepernick had a chance to make it happen less than three months after becoming San Francisco's starter.

    The Niners made costly mistakes on both sides of the ball and on special teams early, and fell behind 28-6. But Kaepernick regrouped during a 34-minute delay early in the third quarter because of a power outage, finding his groove and turning the Super Bowl into a wild finish. And he gave more credibility to the pistol offense designed by his old college coach that is so well suited for the NFL's young, mobile quarterbacks.

    Kaepernick directed four second-half scoring drives, throwing a 31-yard touchdown pass to Michael Crabtree and running 15 yards for a TD. But the 49ers missed the two-point conversion that would have tied the score with less than 10 minutes left.

    Kaepernick did a little bit of everything in San Francisco's final drive, when the 49ers got the ball back at their 20-yard line with 4:19 left and trailing 34-29. He ran for 8 yards, hit Crabtree on a 24-yard gain and handed off to Frank Gore for a 33-yard run to the Baltimore 7.

    But with three chances from the 5, Kaepernick threw three straight incompletions intended for Crabtree. His offbalance throw under pressure on fourth down sailed through the end zone. Kaepernick lowered his head slightly and walked slowly off the field.

    Kaepernick wound up 16-for-28 for 302 yards with three sacks and an interception for a 91.7 passer rating.

    "Colin was cool the entire game,'' 49ers offensive tackle Joe Staley said. "Colin was the same he's been the whole entire season. He's never shown any hints of being rattled, any hint of being uncomfortable on the football field, and he showed that exact kind of character today. Our future is very bright with Colin.''


    Getty ImagesGetty Images

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    Times wires
    Sunday, February 3, 2013

    NEW ORLEANS — Jacoby Jones is not the most notable native Louisianian on the Baltimore Ravens; that's safety Ed Reed. He is not the Raven with an identifiable dance; that's retiring linebacker Ray Lewis.

    On Sunday, though, as Baltimore beat San Francisco in the Super Bowl, Jones starred in his home city and shimmied with rhythm that surely made Lewis proud.

    Jones caught a touchdown pass and returned a kickoff 108 yards for another, setting an NFL postseason record, the most explosive moments of the Ravens' 34-31 victory.

    In a prescient moment, Jones warned the 49ers early last week.

    "If I were them, I wouldn't kick it to me, not at all," he told the media.

    But 49ers kicker David Akers apparently did not get the news.

    To start the second half, Akers blasted the ball deep into the Ravens' end zone. Jones, 28, brought the ball out and essentially went right up the middle, sprinkling in a few sidesteps.

    Once he got past Akers, there was little hope for the 49ers to stop him from the longest play in Super Bowl history. He swayed in the end zone, doing a version of Lewis' dance, the Squirrel.

    Jones said: "On returns that go for a touchdown, they happen when you least expect it. In games like this, we just want to work for good drive starts and field position. So if one pops open, that's a blessing."

    He also took advantage of an opening in the 49ers' secondary in the second quarter, slipping behind cornerback Chris Culliver — the player who apologized for his comments concerning homosexuals days earlier — and pulling in a pass that quarterback Joe Flacco heaved some 50 yards in the air.

    Jones tumbled — then realized Culliver had not touched him. Jones jumped to his feet and dashed into the end zone for a 56-yard score. His other touchdown catch in the playoffs was critical — the 70-yard late-game play that forced overtime against Denver in the division round.

    Sunday's performance was an upbeat conclusion to a week of reunions for Jones, who grew up in New Orleans East and attended Abramson High.

    His childhood home and his high school were destroyed in Hurricane Katrina, but Jones' mother still lives in New Orleans, and he took several of his teammates to his house early in the week for a home-cooked meal.

    Gumbo, jambalaya, macaroni and potato salad were among the items on the menu.

    Sunday was dessert.

    "New Orleans is still my home," Jones said. "Playing in the Super Bowl here? That's just the icing on the cake."


    Associated PressAssociated Press

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  • 02/03/13--20:43: Ravens' Flacco an elite QB
  • By Gary Shelton, Times Sports Columnist
    Sunday, February 3, 2013

    NEW ORLEANS — After a performance such as this, there is only one thing left for an often-questioned quarterback to ask.

    Hey, America: Was that elite enough for you?

    Joe Flacco, Baltimore's new favorite flavor, was lights-out Sunday night. For most of the Super Bowl, he was as precise as Montana, and as poised as Brady, and as big-armed as Elway. He was as elusive as Young. He was as controlled as Aikman. He made big plays like whichever Manning you wish to name.

    Flacco, the Ravens' quarterback, was brilliant in Baltimore's 34-31 win. The Super Bowl itself went dark for some 34 minutes in the third quarter, but nothing could dim Flacco, the game MVP.

    Oh, there for a while the 49ers' impressive Colin Kaepernick tried. Kaepernick played the second half in a blur, and in his 10th start in the NFL, he darned near pulled out the game after facing a 22-point deficit.

    In the end, however, Flacco was unflappable. He was steady, and he made the big plays, and he measured up to the size of the stage. When things were going wrong, he was the steadying hand for his team.

    It is a quarterback's league, and from Bart Starr to Terry Bradshaw to Phil Simms to Doug Williams to Kurt Warner and all the rest, the Super Bowl is a quarterback's game. Still, few passers have been better than Flacco was in this game. He grabbed the moment by the throat and never let go.

    By the end of the game, he was the best quarterback Baltimore has seen since the days of Johnny Unitas.

    In doing so, Flacco answered all those questions that have lingered since those days when the Ravens used to drag their quarterbacks around. In those days, the days of Trent Dilfer and Kyle Boller and the rest, quarterbacks were asked to stay out of the way but not to try to do much more. Over the years, Joe put the "flak" in "Flacco."

    Flacco has changed that. This was his coming-out party, the way the Super Bowl was once for Tom Brady before he was elite, and for Ben Roethlisberger before he was elite, and for Eli Manning before he was elite.

    "He's taken a lot of criticism over his career for whatever reason, but we've always believed in him," said tight end Dennis Pitta. "We know what kind of player he is. He's showed up on the biggest stage and performed. He deserves everything."

    This time the Ravens quarterback wasn't a follower. This time he was the guy who kept making big plays on the way to the end zone.

    For instance, there was the third-and-4 play when Flacco fired a bullet up the middle for a 13-yard touchdown pass to Anquan Boldin.

    For instance, there was the third-and-7 play when Flacco was running desperately away from Ahmad Brooks and he heaved the ball down the sideline as if he were throwing it away. Then Boldin was coming from nowhere, leaping and rebounding the ball for a 31-yard gain.

    For instance, there was the third-and-10 play when Flacco stepped up in the pocket and launched a deep pass to Jacoby Jones, who fell to the turf, rose and made a move on his way into the end zone.

    "He has the guts of a cat burglar," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said.

    Even after San Francisco came back to make a game of it in the second half, Flacco didn't get rattled. Even after the 49ers cut that 22-point deficit to two in the fourth quarter, Flacco led his team on a 10-play drive for a field goal. Without that drive, the Ravens might not have won this game.

    "It's fitting we won like that," Flacco said. "We're a tough, blue-collar city. That's the way our games come down."

    Overall, Flacco hit 22 of 33 passes for 287 yards and a quarterback rating of 124.2. He threw for three touchdowns and once again wasn't intercepted. In these playoffs, Flacco threw for 11 touchdowns and never was intercepted. The 11 touchdowns in a postseason ties the record held by Joe Montana and Warner.

    Then there is this: One quarterback in history has thrown for 1,000 yards, at least 10 TDs and no interceptions in one postseason. His name: Joe Flacco.

    Just asking, but what exactly does "elite" mean to you?

    Oh, if you think it means one of the top, say, five quarterbacks in the NFL, Flacco probably is another one or two of these Super Bowl runs from being there. After all, this is a league of Mannings and Brady and Brees and Rodgers and Roethlisberger.

    But if you define elite quarterbacks as the ones who can carry a team to the Lombardi Trophy, well, the arguments are closed. Flacco has great pocket presence, and his arm is as strong as anyone's. As far as performance under pressure? This game proves he has that, too.

    After this, there will be a new perception of Flacco. A Super Bowl does that for a quarterback. He will no longer be the player the Ravens fear.

    He will be their best chance at doing this again.

    And really, isn't that what being elite is all about?


    Getty ImagesGetty Images

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  • 02/03/13--20:49: Ravens win Super Bowl
  • By Rick Stroud, Times Staff Writer
    Sunday, February 3, 2013

    NEW ORLEANS — Ray Lewis' last ride ended with the Ravens needing a last stand at the goal line in Super Bowl XLVII on Sunday.

    A 34-minute power outage at the Superdome just a few plays into the second half seemed to energize the 49ers, at the time trailing by 22 points after a Super Bowl record 108-yard kickoff return by Jacoby Jones.

    But the Ravens defense played lights out during a goal-line stand in the final minutes that enabled the linebacker to retire with the Lombardi Trophy in a 34-31 win.

    San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick led a furious second-half rally that fell short when the Niners were denied on four plays from the Ravens 7.

    "The final series of Ray Lewis' career was a goal-line stand to win the Lombardi Trophy," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said. "How could it be any other way than that? We said many times after many of these games, 'It was not perfect, but it was us. This is who we are.' "

    Lewis' departure coincides perfectly with the arrival of quarterback Joe Flacco as the Ravens' new leader. Flacco, who passed for 287 yards and three touchdowns, was named the game's most valuable player.

    So much of the story line during the weeks leading up to Sunday's game was the Har-bowl.

    It was the first time brothers had coached opposing teams in the Super Bowl, including 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh. Eleven ticks into the second half — enough time for Jones to go the distance — big brother had little brother in a head lock and was giving him noogies.

    In the end, the Harbaughs were right — the players decided the game that lasted 4 hours and 14 minutes, the longest in Super Bowl history.

    Two plays after Jones' kickoff return, the Superdome went dark due to a power outage. The delay helped the 49ers regroup, and they scored 17 points in a span of 4:10.

    Kaepernick, playing in only his 10th NFL game since taking the job from Alex Smith, conjured memories of Joe Montana with his near comeback. He had a 31-yard touchdown strike to Michael Crabtree, and the 49ers capped an 80-yard drive with Frank Gore's 6-yard touchdown run.

    When Niners cornerback Tarrell Brown stripped Ravens running back Ray Rice and recovered the fumble, it was game on. The teams exchanged field goals before the Niners had a chance to tie the score when Kaepernick scrambled for a 15-yard touchdown run. But his pass to Randy Moss on the two-point conversion was wide, and the Ravens clung to a 31-29 lead.

    Flacco drove the Ravens to a field goal. Needing a touchdown to win, Kaepernick went to work, completing a 24-yard pass to Crabtree before Gore exploded for a 32-yard run to the 7.

    "I was sitting there thinking there's no way. There's no way we stop them here," Flacco said.

    But LaMichael James was stopped for a 2-yard run and Kaepernick threw incomplete to Crabtree three straight times. On fourth down, cornerback Jimmy Smith appeared to hold Crabtree in the end zone.

    "Yes, there's no question in my mind that there was a pass interference (earlier in the series) then a hold on Crabtree on the last one," Jim Harbaugh said.

    The Ravens ran down the clock as punter Sam Koch took a safety that left four seconds. And time ran out as Ted Ginn returned the ensuing free kick.

    "That was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do," John Harbaugh said of coaching a Super Bowl against his younger brother.

    "I told him I loved him."

    Lewis missed most of the season with a torn triceps but returned for the playoffs, announcing he would retire at the end of the season.

    So naturally, there the Ravens were, their backs to their goal line, trying to summon the will for a goal-line stand when it seemed the Niners would find a way.

    "Nobody ever panicked," Lewis said. "Everybody looked at each other, and there was no panic. When you have that, when your back is against the wall and they have three more plays at the goal line, if we all do our jobs, they won't get in.

    "To me, that was one of the most amazing goal-line stands I've ever been a part of in my career. What better way to do it than on the Super Bowl stage."

    Lewis wasn't much of a factor, finishing with seven tackles. That didn't matter to the 17-year veteran out of Bartow and the University of Miami who sprawled on the turf after Kaepernick's fourth-down pass fell incomplete.

    "My best play? When I saw that confetti,'' Lewis said. "When the clock hit triple zero. What we did as a team, it's the ultimate.

    "We heard that we couldn't beat Denver. We heard we couldn't beat New England. We heard we couldn't beat San Fran. What wins is chemistry. What wins is togetherness.''


    Associated PressAssociated Press

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  • 02/03/13--21:44: Super Bowl quotes
  • Times wires
    Monday, February 4, 2013

    What they're saying

    Ray Lewis, Ravens LB, on winning his final game:

    "It's simple: When God is for you, who can be against you? It's no greater way, as a champ, to go out on your last ride with the men that I went out with, with my teammates. And you looked around this stadium and … Baltimore! Baltimore! We coming home, baby! We did it!"

    Lewis, on the late defensive stand:

    "The most exciting things ever were the conversations we were having on the goal line. Nobody ever panicked. There was no panic. When you have that, when your back is against the wall … for us to stand up like that is just a testament to what we've been through all year."

    John Harbaugh, Ravens coach:

    "That was the hardest fourth quarter of my life. With us, it's never pretty, it's never perfect, but it's our way all the way."

    John Harbaugh, on coaching against his brother, Jim:

    "It's very tough. It's a lot tougher than I thought it was going to be. It's very painful. … That was one of the hardest things I've ever had to do. I told him I loved him. He told me, 'Congratulations.' "

    Jim Harbaugh, 49ers coach, on the second-half rally:

    "Our guys battled back to get back in it. There's no question in my mind there was a pass interference and then a hold on (receiver Michael) Crabtree on the last one. In my opinion, that series should have continued."

    Joe Flacco, Ravens QB and game MVP, on his defense's late red zone stand:

    "I was sitting there thinking there's no way, there's no way we stop them here. But we did."

    Flacco, who can become a free agent this offseason, on his future:

    "I'm a Raven for life. A Raven for life."

    What they're saying

    Jim Nantz, CBS play-by-play announcer, to analyst Phil Simms after outage:

    "Hey, the next time you decide to plug in your phone charger, give us a warning, will you?"

    Jack Harbaugh, talking before the game about his wife, Jackie, and him seeing their sons, opposing coaches John and Jim, afterward:

    "There's going to be one winner and one (son) that's going to be totally disappointed. Our thoughts go to that one that will not experience the thrill of victory."

    Mike Sando, ESPN.com:

    The 49ers came excruciatingly close to a sixth Super Bowl title, but they couldn't draw up or execute the winning plays with four shots from the Baltimore 5-yard line. Overall, they made too many mistakes to win the game. The 49ers' total collapse early in the game raises questions about their readiness for the Super Bowl after a week filled with the usual distractions, plus the one cornerback Chris Culliver created with his derogatory comments during the week.

    Peter Schmuck, Baltimore Sun:

    Of course, Lewis couldn't have stayed out of the spotlight if he had tried — and he didn't — but this night belonged to Joe Cool, who has spent this postseason setting records and poking a football in the face of everyone who ever questioned whether he belonged among the NFL's elite quarterbacks.

    Jamison Hensley, ESPN.com:

    Bumpy last ride: Ray Lewis' final game was far from his finest. He was often picked on in the passing game and didn't have the speed to keep up with 49ers tight end Vernon Davis. But Lewis won a Super Bowl 12 years after his first one. Only Ted Hendricks (13 seasons) went longer between Super Bowl titles.

    Times wires


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