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FSU Seminoles expect to lose defensive coordinator Mark Stoops to head coaching job


Times wires
Tuesday, November 20, 2012

TALLAHASSEE — Florida State defensive coordinator Mark Stoops' goal is to become the third brother in college football's famed coaching family to lead his own program.

And as the leader of nation's top-ranked defense, his resume may be more sparkling than ever.

"Sure, I have aspirations to be a head coach someday," Stoops, 45, said before the season. "I'm just always trying to improve myself to be the best coach I can be."

The opportunity could come sooner than later.

The year before Stoops' arrival, FSU gave up 30 points and 434.6 yards a game. This year, it's 236.3 yards and 13.1 points.

"I know I'm more prepared right now than when I walked in the door," said Stoops, who is wrapping up his third season with coach Jimbo Fisher.

Whatever the future holds for Stoops, he and the Seminoles have some unfinished business, starting with Saturday's home showdown with No. 6 Florida. After that is the ACC Championship Game against Georgia Tech on Dec. 1 and a bowl game.

The Gators (10-1, 7-1 SEC) have managed a lone touchdown in successive losses to the Seminoles (10-1, 7-1) the past two seasons, avoiding a shutout last year in Gainesville only because of a fourth-quarter fumble.

FSU athletic director Randy Spetman said Stoops' personality and contacts as a member of college football's famed coaching family would also be valuable for any school.

"He's done an incredible job for us and works very well with Coach Fisher, very loyal," Spetman said. "We obviously don't want to lose him."

Stoops said he's perfectly satisfied with his $550,000 role and sees no need to rush into a coaching position.

"I'm in a great situation here," Stoops said. "I'm in a situation here where it's one of the top coordinating jobs in the country, we get great players."

Stoops' coaching resume includes several stops: USF, Wyoming and Houston before three seasons at Miami then onto Arizona as defensive coordinator for brother Mike for six seasons.

"I've been around Coach Stoops so much, I know what he expects out of us," middle linebacker Vince Williams said. "When he makes a call, I anticipate what he's thinking the offense is going to do."

Stoops said he has learned a lot from Fisher.

"It's always great to learn other things," Stoops said. "There are some things I've learned here that I'll take with me the rest of my life."

But, that said, Stoops wants to be a head coach and probably isn't going to have to wait much longer for an attractive opportunity. There are always vacancies in today's coaching world, where seven-figure salaries lead to expectations of instant success in the fan base. Some schools, including a few in the neighboring SEC, are already looking.

Fisher, who spent more than two decades as an assistant himself, knows he'll probably lose Stoops to another program, possibly at the end of this season.

"He's earned that right," Fisher said. "He's a heck of a coach."

Captain's Corner: Amberjack spots


By Steve Papen, Times Correspondent
Tuesday, November 20, 2012

What's hot: This month marks our transition into fall. Gag grouper is closed but those willing to adjust tactics offshore will be rewarded with some outstanding fishing. Large structure is the place to be when the weather is unpredictable. Wrecks and springs in most depths will hold huge numbers of the season's largest amberjack. Bluerunners and white grunts work best, but if you are using baits that are a pound or better, tackle up because these baits will find the largest fish on the spot.

Tackle: My usual setup when targeting amberjack is a 6/0 size reel loaded with 100-pound mainline. On the terminal end is a large 9/0-12/0 circle and nothing else. Stealth is key as these large predators have seen it all. Hook the bait near the anal fin. Always have the clutch in free spool, letting the bait look as natural as possible. When you feel the hit, count to five and engage the reel.

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

Turkey day stuffs usual talk


Times wires
Tuesday, November 20, 2012

FOXBOROUGH, Mass. — There will be no declarations regarding ring-kissing, nor will there be any vulgar shots from Jets players at Patriots stars.

No, the short week of preparation and the precarious situation the Jets are in heading into Thursday night's visit from the Patriots means trash-talking and hype are out. Film study and body recovery are in, along with actual compliments traveling between Florham Park and Patriots Place.

Rex Ryan pointedly avoided "tweaking" the Pats in his Monday news conference. He went a step further on a conference call, calling criticism of Bill Belichick "absolutely ridiculous" in regard to keeping Rob Gronkowski on the wing of the extra-point protection team late in Sunday's 59-24 win over the Colts.

Gronkowski broke his left forearm on that PAT and the airwaves of New England have filled with sudden personnel experts who wondered why Gronkowski would do such a menial task at all, and still be doing it on a try for a 59th point in a blowout.

"It was on an extra point — he's probably done it a zillion times," Ryan said of Gronkowski. "He's probably done it a hundred times this year for the simple fact of how many points they score. But you never see that. Every single team in the league — we have (offensive lineman) D'Brickashaw Ferguson there. You talk about a freak deal what happened. But unfortunately, that's part of the game."

Relayed those comments, Belichick was even more gracious toward his usually brash counterpart.

"I feel like I have a good relationship with Rex," Belichick said. "Obviously we want to beat each other. We're in the same division and that's just competitiveness. I see Rex from time to time during the year. Like I said, we had his brother on the staff here for four years. I've known his father for 30 years, whatever it is, it's been a long time. He's a son of a coach, he's a football guy, he's been around it his whole life; I have too. There are a lot of things we have in common. But this week it's about two teams trying to compete against each other."

It has rarely been that way between these teams, who face each other for the ninth time in Ryan's tenure, including a 2010 playoff game. The previous eight meetings have been split, a sign that no matter what sort of zaniness surrounds the Jets, they come to play against what Ryan perceives is their biggest, bitterest rival.

And that's true even if the rhetoric is toned down from Ryan's proclamation in his first days on the job in 2009 that he would not "kiss Belichick's rings," or from the personal shot Antonio Cromartie took at Tom Brady before the Jets' playoff upset of the Pats two seasons ago.

"Rex is a great coach. Whatever he's doing, there's a method to it," said Marquice Cole, a Patriots special-teamer who spent the past three seasons with Ryan and the Jets. "He knows what he's doing. If he's not talking as much, it's for whatever reason he thinks will be beneficial for his team."

Knicks win with 14 3-pointers


Times wires
Tuesday, November 20, 2012

NEW ORLEANS — Carmelo Anthony scored 29 and the Knicks extended the undermanned Hornets' losing streak to four games with a 102-80 victory Tuesday night.

Raymond Felton added 15 points, making five of New York's 14 3-pointers.

Tyson Chandler had 12 rebounds for the Knicks, who have won two straight since their first loss of the season and are 8-1 for the third time in franchise history. The other times, the 1969-70 and 1972-73 seasons, they won championships.

Ryan Anderson, starting for Anthony Davis, led the Hornets with 15 points. Davis was ruled out shortly before tipoff because of left ankle tenderness. He is listed as day to day and has not been ruled out tonight at Indiana.

Austin Rivers added 14 points and Brian Roberts 13 for New Orleans.

Haslem can set Heat rebound mark tonight

MIAMI — Udonis Haslem, two rebounds from passing Alonzo Mourning as the Heat's all-time best rebounder, can set the record in tonight's home game against the Bucks.

Mourning had 4,807 rebounds in 593 regular-season games; Haslem has played 605 games.

Coach Erik Spoelstra said he knows the moment will be "pretty special," especially considering that Haslem is a Miami native who was a long shot to make the team after being undrafted out of Florida.

"It's a great story, coming from Liberty City, not being drafted and absolutely earning everything he's gotten in this league and for this organization," Spoelstra said. "I've said this time and time again: We have core values for this organization. We can list them for you, we can define them for you, or we can just give a picture of UD. That will tell the whole story."

"The memories are what I'll save," said Haslem, 32. "Hopefully, I won't get old or Alzheimer's or something and (forget) that I was the rebounding champion. The memories are what I'll really hold onto, what are dearest to my heart."

How did Haslem become such a prolific rebounder?

"It's pride," he said. "It's just mental toughness. The way I was going to make my niche to make this team was to hit the boards and rebound. I wasn't a great rebounder in college. Not nearly what I am now. I just really focused in and put my mind on chasing the boards."

GAME HIGHLIGHTS: Nick Young scored 23 off the bench, Jason Richardson had six of his 21 points late in the fourth quarter, and the host 76ers rallied past the Raptors 106-98. Known for his nickname, Swaggy P, Young had four assists and three rebounds to go with 7-for-13 shooting. "That's all part of the Swaggy P movement," Young said. "I felt good."

around the league: Mavs forward Dirk Nowitzki doesn't expect to play until mid December at the earliest. He had arthroscopic right knee surgery Oct. 19. … Warriors center Andrew Bogut is scheduled to miss at least three more games, which would make nine total, as he strengthens a surgically repaired left ankle.

Knicks 102, Hornets 80

NEW YORK (102): Brewer 2-5 4-7 10, Anthony 12-22 3-3 29, Chandler 2-2 3-5 7, Kidd 1-3 0-0 3, Felton 5-8 0-0 15, Wallace 2-8 2-2 6, J. Smith 6-14 2-2 15, Novak 3-12 0-0 8, Prigioni 0-0 0-0 0, Camby 0-3 0-0 0, White 3-4 0-0 7, Copeland 1-2 0-0 2. Totals 37-83 14-19 102.

NEW ORLEANS (80): Aminu 0-4 0-0 0, Anderson 6-14 0-0 15, Lopez 5-7 1-3 11, Vasquez 4-9 2-2 10, Rivers 5-10 2-7 14, Ja.Smith 0-3 4-4 4, Henry 2-6 0-0 4, Mason 0-3 1-1 1, Miller 0-0 0-0 0, Roberts 4-9 2-2 13, L.Thomas 3-4 2-2 8. Totals 29-69 14-21 80.

New York 29 24 30 19— 102

New Orleans 17 31 16 16— 80

3-Point GoalsNew York 14-36 (Felton 5-6, Brewer 2-5, Anthony 2-6, Novak 2-10, White 1-2, Kidd 1-3, J. Smith 1-3, Wallace 0-1), New Orleans 8-18 (Roberts 3-4, Anderson 3-8, Rivers 2-3, Mason 0-3). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsNew York 59 (Chandler 12), New Orleans 39 (Anderson 8). AssistsNew York 19 (Felton 6), New Orleans 16 (Vasquez 6). Total FoulsNew York 20, New Orleans 21. TechnicalsNew York Coach Woodson. A13,705 (17,188).

76ers 106, Raptors 98

TORONTO (98): McGuire 2-3 0-0 4, Bargnani 10-21 0-2 22, Valanciunas 3-6 5-6 11, Calderon 5-10 2-2 13, DeRozan 8-18 7-8 24, Lowry 5-14 3-8 13, Johnson 2-5 0-0 4, Kleiza 1-3 3-3 5, Davis 1-2 0-0 2, Lucas 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 37-82 20-29 98.

PHILADELPHIA (106): Turner 5-14 2-2 12, T.Young 8-13 2-4 18, Brown 0-0 0-0 0, Holiday 9-21 0-0 19, Richardson 7-14 3-3 21, Allen 1-4 2-2 4, N.Young 7-13 6-6 23, Hawes 2-4 2-2 6, Ivey 0-0 0-0 0, Wright 1-2 0-0 3. Totals 40-85 17-19 106.

Toronto 29 22 29 18— 98

Philadelphia 22 29 22 33— 106

3-Point GoalsToronto 4-16 (Bargnani 2-5, DeRozan 1-1, Calderon 1-3, Johnson 0-1, Kleiza 0-2, Lowry 0-4), Philadelphia 9-24 (Richardson 4-9, N.Young 3-8, Wright 1-2, Holiday 1-5). Fouled OutJohnson. ReboundsToronto 55 (Valanciunas 11), Philadelphia 46 (Holiday 8). AssistsToronto 28 (Calderon 12), Philadelphia 25 (Holiday 12). Total FoulsToronto 20, Philadelphia 23. TechnicalsPhiladelphia Coach Collins. A13,965 (20,328).

Odds are, Skip Holtz returns to coach USF Bulls next season


By Greg Auman, Times Staff Writer
Tuesday, November 20, 2012

TAMPA — Athletic director Doug Woolard isn't commenting on Skip Holtz's future as USF football coach, and Saturday's 40-9 loss at Miami was the low mark in a disappointing season, as the Bulls drove home without even the all-too-familiar consolation of having lost a close game.

For all the frustrations in a 3-7 record — USF has never lost eight games in a season and has two games remaining — in talking to prominent people in and around the athletic department, the consistent expectation is that Holtz will be back in 2013.

There are several factors at play in the decision not to make a coaching change, but it starts with administrators such as Woolard and USF president Judy Genshaft having a greater faith in Holtz's ability to turn things around than a vocal portion of Bulls fans do right now. That was clear this summer when Holtz — after going 1-6 in Big East play last year and losing seven of his last eight — was given an extension by Woolard through the 2017 season.

As a result of that extension, it would cost USF $2.5 million over five years to fire Holtz for simply not winning enough games. That isn't a prohibitive amount, especially if the Big East can stay together long enough to get a new TV deal signed this winter. It raises a legitimate question central to any discussion of letting Holtz go: Whom would the Bulls be able to get to replace him?

In many ways, the USF job isn't what it was when the Bulls hired Holtz away from back-to-back Conference USA championships at East Carolina in January 2010. USF had been to five straight bowl games, had pulled off a huge win at Florida State and was seen as challenging for a Big East title.

Today, it's a different atmosphere, for USF and its conference. The Bulls are 2-12 in their past 14 Big East games and will say goodbye to QB B.J. Daniels as part of a strong senior class. The larger question for a potential hire is what the Big East will look like, with huge changes already to the conference's future lineup, Rutgers the latest school leaving and the ACC ready to pounce on another, likely Louisville or Connecticut.

That all points to Holtz having another chance to regain the program's success and fans' hearts next season. He'll have his first full 25-player recruiting class in February, with glaring needs for immediate help at cornerback, quarterback and running back. And while Holtz looks to be back, there could be changes on his staff. He has pointed to pass defense as a problem area all season, and defensive backs coach Rick Smith has acknowledged his job is in jeopardy. Defensive coordinator Chris Cosh could be lacking job security as well, despite a two-year contract through next season.

THIS AND THAT: USF will host Big East championships in women's tennis and outdoor track in 2014 and in men's tennis in 2015. Big East newcomer Central Florida will host conference championships for women's soccer in fall 2014, with women's golf at Reunion in 2014 and 2015. … USF lost pitching coach Chuck Hernandez to the Marlins, but he's optimistic about the staff he leaves behind for next spring. The key, he says, is junior Nick Gonzalez, a lefty from Leto who went 4-1 with a 2.63 last year and should step into the weekend rotation.

Fast start lifts Butler past UNC


Times wires
Tuesday, November 20, 2012

LAHAINA, Hawaii — Maybe North Carolina should have just gone to the beach. Butler is the team to beat in Maui.

Rotnei Clarke and Kellen Dunham scored 17 each Tuesday night to lead the Bulldogs to an 82-71 win over No. 9 UNC in the second round of the Maui Invitational.

Butler took a 17-point halftime lead and held back several second-half surges by the Tar Heels.

"It was an entertaining game to be a part of," Butler coach Brad Stevens said. "When you are playing a program like Carolina, you know they are coming. Their run is coming next."

The runs came, but UNC was too far behind to make them worth anything.

"We just dug too big a hole against a very, very good team," North Carolina coach Roy Williams said.

The Tar Heels (4-1) missed their first three shots and never led.

One day after beating Marquette at the buzzer, Butler (3-1) held North Carolina to 18 points in the first half, by far the Tar Heels' worst output in a half this season.

NO. 1 INDIANA 82, G'TOWN 72, OT: Cody Zeller and Jordan Hulls had 17 points each, and Yogi Ferrell had seven of his 14 in overtime to lead the Hoosiers to the championship of the Legends Classic tournament at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

NO. 11 UCLA 60, GEORGIA 56: Shabazz Muhammad scored 20 in his second college game, and the Bruins (4-1) made enough free throws late to hold on in the consolation game of the Legends Classic tournament.

NO. 12 KANSAS 73, SAINT LOUIS 59: Jeff Withey matched a career high with 25 points, Travis Releford added 23 and the Jayhawks (4-1) won the CBE Classic in Kansas City, Mo.

NO. 14 CREIGHTON 105, LONGWOOD 57: Doug McDermott and Gregory Echenique scored 17 each to lead four players in double figures for the host Bluejays (4-0), who have won all their games by at least 20 points.

NO. 15 MICH. ST. 74, BOISE ST. 70: Keith Appling scored 22 and Branden Dawson and Denzel Valentine made key contributions to help the host Spartans (3-1) rally twice.

NO. 22 CINCINNATI 91, CAMPBELL 72: Cashmere Wright scored a career-high 28 for the host Bearcats (4-0), who never trailed in the Global Sports Invitational.

MTSU 75, UCF 61: Shawn Jones had 18 points and 13 rebounds and led a stellar defensive effort in the second half as Middle Tennessee defeated the host Knights (3-1).

PENN STATE: Point guard and leading scorer Tim Frazier will miss the rest of the season with a ruptured left Achilles tendon.


USF 60, BRADLEY 50: Andrea Smith had 24 points, including 15 of the Bulls' last 18, and Inga Orekhova added 10 to lead host USF (3-0). The Bulls held the Braves to 28.2 percent shooting. "We knew Bradley was going to be a good basketball team," USF coach Jose Fernandez said. "You hold a team to 50 points and you're doing a great job defensively."

NO. 5 NOTRE DAME 93, MERCER 36: Natalie Achonwa scored a career-high 22 for the host Fighting Irish (3-0), who led 12-0 and cruised.

NO. 7 LOUISVILLE 94, UCF 73: Sara Hammond scored 15 to lead a balanced offense for the Cardinals (4-0), who routed the Knights (1-4) in the opener of the Hardwood Tournament of Hope in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico.

NO. 8 GEORGIA 94, SAVANNAH ST. 57: Andy Landers became the seventh Division I women's coach to reach 800 career victories as the host Bulldogs (5-0) romped. Landers is 800-268 in 34 seasons at Georgia.

NO. 15 TEXAS 80, JACKSON ST. 53: Nneka Enemkpali had 24 points and a career-high 20 rebounds for the host Longhorns (3-0).

NO. 16 OHIO ST. 70, ST. FRANCIS (PA.) 54: Tayler Hill scored 23 for the host Buckeyes (3-1), who pulled away in the second half.

NO. 21 OKLA. ST. 96, TEXAS-PAN AM 42: Liz Donohoe had 19 points to lead seven players in double figures for the host Cowgirls (4-0).

NO. 23 NEBRASKA 85, SAM HOUSTON ST. 72: Jordan Hooper had 19 points and 10 rebounds, and the host Cornhuskers (4-1) rebounded from their first loss.

Harbaugh okay after heart issue


Times wires
Tuesday, November 20, 2012

SAN FRANCISCO — 49ers coach Jim Harbaugh had an appointment Tuesday for a follow-up evaluation with doctors after having a minor procedure last Thursday for an irregular heartbeat.

The team canceled Harbaugh's scheduled media conference call minutes before it was to begin Tuesday, a day after San Francisco's 32-7 victory over Chicago, but gave no indication that there is anything of further concern with Harbaugh's health. Harbaugh is scheduled for a routine news conference today.

Harbaugh, the reigning coach of the year who turns 49 next month, was candid about the "cardiovert" — an electrical shocking of the heart to treat an irregular heartbeat and restore its rhythm to normal — that was done at Stanford Hospital. He has had the condition for most of his life, he said, and was told to improve his diet and cut back on caffeine.

In the 49ers' rout of the Bears, backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick led the way with starter Alex Smith out with a concussion.

So Harbaugh could face a tough decision on whom to start under center Sunday against the Saints.

Kaepernick went 16-for-23 for 243 yards, two touchdowns and a rating of 133.1 in his first start.

"Thought Colin did an outstanding job," Harbaugh said after the game. "Poise in the pocket, pushing the ball and throwing with accuracy. Did a nice job running the game plan. Everything he did was exemplary, again."

Burress rejoins Steelers

PITTSBURGH — The Steelers brought back veteran wide receiver Plaxico Burress to provide depth at a position decimated by injuries. Burress, 35, who hasn't played since the end of the 2011 season as a member of the Jets, impressed coach Mike Tomlin and general manager Kevin Colbert at a brief workout.

SUSPENSION OVERTURNED: Ravens safety Ed Reed avoided a one-game suspension for late hits after an appeal. He instead will be fined $50,000. Reed was suspended without pay Monday by NFL vice president of football operations Merton Hanks for his third violation in three seasons of the rule prohibiting helmet-to-helmet hits on defenseless players.

BEARS: Quarterback Jay Cutler says he is not sure if he will play this week after missing Monday's loss because of a concussion. … Rookie receiver Alshon Jeffrey is expected to miss 2-4 weeks after arthroscopic knee surgery, which is scheduled today.

DOLPHINS: Tight end Kyle Miller was awarded to them off of waivers, and former Florida receiver Jabar Gaffney was waived.

JAGUARS: They signed receiver Jordan Shipley, who played briefly for the Bucs this season, and waived fullback Will Ta'ufo'ou.

PANTHERS: They signed former Florida State kicker Graham Gano and waived Justin Medlock.

PATRIOTS: Tight end Aaron Hernandez, who has missed much of this season with an ankle injury, should play Thursday against the Jets, NFL Network reported.

SEAHAWKS: Rookie safety Winston Guy was suspended four games without pay for violating league policy on performance-enhancing substances.

NCAA scoring record set: 138


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

After a poor shooting weekend, Grinnell (Iowa) College point guard Jack Taylor was given the green light to shoot his way out of a slump.

He did — and made a mockery of the college record books.

Taylor had 138 points Tuesday night to shatter the NCAA scoring record in Division III Grinnell's 179-104 victory over visiting Faith Baptist Bible.

Taylor, a 5-foot-10, 170-pound sophomore from Black River Falls, Wis., made 27 of 71 3-pointers, was 52-of-108 overall and added seven free throws in 36 minutes.

"It felt like anything I tossed up was going in," Taylor said.

Rio Grande's Bevo Francis held the NCAA record with 113 points against Hillsdale in 1954. Frank Selvy had 100 for Division I Furman against Newberry in 1954.

Under coach David Arseneault, the uptempo Pioneers have led the nation in scoring for 17 of the past 19 seasons and in 3-point shooting 15 of those 19 years.

Taylor recently transferred to Grinnell, about 50 miles east of Des Moines, after a season at Wisconsin-La Crosse. He started Tuesday slowly — at least according to his standards.

"Maybe my cold shooting from the weekend was affecting me," Taylor said. "But then they started to drop."

Dante Fowler thrives for Florida Gators, not Florida State Seminoles


By Antonya English, Times Staff Writer
Wednesday, November 21, 2012

GAINESVILLE — Ten months ago, most expected that when Florida and Florida State met, former Lakewood High star defensive end Dante Fowler would line up for the Seminoles.

Instead, when they play Saturday in Tallahassee, Fowler will wear a Gator uniform. He orally committed to the Seminoles early, but as national signing day approached, he began to have a change of heart. On Feb. 1, he signed with the Gators.

It has worked out extremely well for both Fowler and Florida.

The freshman has played in all 11 games, including one start, and made a strong contribution that has impressed teammates.

"Being able to learn the system so fast, that's what's impressive," senior defensive lineman Omar Hunter said.

"This is not an easy system to play in. For him to come in and learn it that quick is impressive. He listens. He wants to get better. He comes up and asks me questions all the time about what would I do in certain situations. He tries to learn each and every day."

That comes as no surprise to Fowler's high school coach, Cory Moore.

"He has always shown attributes of loving the game of football. And because he has a love for the game of football, he's able to pick up on different things quickly," Moore said. "At Lakewood, we try to do a lot of things they do at colleges … so when they get there those guys are able to adjust. Dante's a great kid, and he'll do a fantastic job at Florida, which he is doing right now."

Fowler, unavailable to comment because Florida doesn't let freshman talk to the media, has played linebacker and defensive end. His lone start came against Missouri on Nov. 3, when he had a career-high five tackles and a sack. When UF's coaches and players talk about the program's bright future, they inevitably talk about Fowler.

"Dante Fowler, he's a guy that ya'll are going to be talking about for years to come," senior defensive back Josh Evans said. "He's going to be real good."

Fowler has 26 tackles (6½ for loss) and 2½ sacks. Last week against Jacksonville State, he had three tackles and a half-sack. He is one of only three Gator freshmen who has appeared in every game.

"I want to credit Cory Moore there at Lakewood and the job he did with Dante," Florida coach Will Muschamp said. "Dante is a guy that is a very talented guy; that's blessed with a lot of ability. But he came in here a very humble young man. He came in here, and he's worked. He's put the time in. He's done an outstanding job for us academically. He's done an outstanding job for us socially. He learns well, and he works at it.

"He's always in (defensive coordinator Dan Quinn's) office trying to learn, trying to watch more film. And the guy listens. That's a talent. A lot of young guys have a hard time listening to someone else tell them, whether it's a coach or an older player. That's the one thing that Dante really has a strong talent for is listening to what other people (say), taking the input and understanding and learning from each experience."

Although Fowler's decision to attend Florida caused a stir, Moore said he believes that's in the past.

"I think he's matured past that, and he's looking at it just for what it is: another football game," Moore said. "People may have their own opinions about that, but I think he's matured into a young man, and he'll go out there and do a good job for the Gators.

"He chose the University of Florida, and he's showing that he made a really, really good decision."

Antonya English can be reached at english@tampabay.com.

Parrott Middle football team repeats its winning ways


By Derek J. LaRiviere, Times Correspondent
Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Parrott Middle School wrapped up another football season last month, and despite the fact that it was the first campaign in 12 years without Dwayne Mobley as head coach, the Leopards' train kept rolling.

Going undefeated at 7-0, Parrott ran its winning streak to 46 consecutive games victories, with its last loss in 2006. In fact, the Leopards have won 61 of their last 62 contests, a testament to how dominant the program has been, winning 10 straight county titles.

New coach and longtime athletic director Patrick Brandhuber maintained the program's success.

The close games came in a trip to Explorer K-8 School on Oct. 9, when the Leopards edged the Bobcats by two touchdowns, 24-12, and a home game against Powell Middle School when the Panthers held down the Parrott offense. The Leopards still won, 14-8. In the ever-expanding seven-team middle school conference in Hernando County, Parrott has remained on top.

COUPLES OF HERNANDO GOLF LEAGUE: The league had its monthly tournament at Timber Greens Golf Club in New Port Richey on Nov. 12.

Dick and Mary Holstad took first place in Flight A over Dennis and Inge Weeks, who tied with Doug and Karen Cord for second. In Flight B, Jim and Christine Fuller took the championship over John and Norma Manter. Roger and Joanne McKay tied with Jim and Carol Mohan for third.

Jay and Dorothy Cleary headed the list of closest-to-the-pin winners. Jim Fuller and Inge Weeks also earned honors.

For information about the league, send e-mail to Jane Szeltner at szeltjane@bellsouth.net or Dorothy Cleary at golfergram220@tampabay.rrcom.

WOMEN'S 500 CLUB BOWLING TOURNAMENT: The club is holding a 9-Pin No-Tap Tournament at Mariner Lanes in Spring Hill on Dec. 2.

The tournament will begin at 1:30 p.m. and is open to all U.S. Bowling Congress and Women's Bowling Association bowlers who are members of the 500 Club. The entry fee is $17.

There will be two divisions in the handicap event. The A Division will include competitors with averages of 151 and above; the B Division will include averages of 150 and below.

The registration deadline is Monday. Entry forms can be picked up at Spring Hill Lanes or Mariner Lanes.

For information, call Sheila Wehrenberg at (352) 688-1575.

TENNIS CLINICS: Ace Performance Tennis is offering QuickStart drills every Monday at Delta Woods Park in Spring Hill.

From 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., players will take part in drills and games designed for beginners, using the U.S. Tennis Association-approved strategies for 60-foot court players. The fee is $10 per player.

Ace Performance Tennis also offers Ladies Night Out from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. every Monday at Delta Woods Park.

For $10 per class, women of beginning and intermediate skill levels can learn to play in a social setting.

For information, call John or Louise Downey at (352) 666-0658 or visit louisedowney.uspta pro.com.

TOURETTE SYNDROME GOLF TOURNAMENT: The Plantation Golf Resort in Crystal River will host the inaugural Tee-Off for Tourette Celebrity Golf Tournament on Feb. 1 and 2.

Proceeds will benefit the Tourette Syndrome Association of Florida, a volunteer organization dedicated to helping individuals and families living with Tourette syndrome. The money will help send children to an annual camp, where they can be with other children with Tourette syndrome.

The basic entry fee is $500 per four-player team, which includes a hole sign and recognition in the tournament program, as well as greens fees and a cart. Other sponsorship levels include gold, platinum and event.

For $1,000, a sponsor receives the same features as with the basic fee, plus a plaque commemorating the event. For a platinum fee of $2,500, a corporate sponsor gets two four-player teams. The event sponsor fee of $5,000 includes three four-player teams and the privilege of playing the round with one of the celebrities signed up to be on hand.

Individual hole sponsorships are $250. Individual players can play for a cost of $100.

Among the celebrities expected to appear are former Buffalo Bills linebacker Darryl Talley, American Idol Season 9 contestant Dave Pittman, Kansas City Royals minor leaguer Nick DelGuidice and sports artist John Prince.

For more information, contact event chairman Gary D'Amico at (352) 527-2938 or gary78@ tampabay.rr.com.

HOLIDAY GOLF TOURNAMENT: Southern Hills Plantation Club in Brooksville will host the Greater Hernando County Chamber of Commerce's annual holiday tournament Dec. 6.

Sponsored by Cemex, Dyno Nobel and Thunder Bay Builders, the event will feature PGA qualifying school conditions. Registration begins at 7:30 a.m., with a continental breakfast served by Chick-fil-A. The shotgun start will be at 8:30.

The entry fee is $400 per four-player team. Hole sponsorships are also available. For those who wish to play as well as sponsor a hole, the cost for both is $450. Individual hole sponsorships are $100. The entry fee includes golf, cart, range balls and lunch.

For information, call Dawn Badami at (352) 796-0697 or visit hernandochamber.com.

Contact Derek J. LaRiviere at derekjlariviere@gmail.com or (352) 584-6337.

Tom Jones' Two Cents: Turkeys of the Year


By Tom Jones, Times Staff Writer
Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Happy Thanksgiving!

Okay, now that we've handled the pleasantries, let's get to the business at hand. That would be turkeys — as in our Sports Turkeys of the Year.

Goofed up? Said something stupid? Acted like the backside of a horse? Tweeted something insensitive? Pretty much a knot-head? Congratulations, you make our list. Here are the runnersup and our pick for 2012 Turkey of the Year.


A guide how not to behave: get married, become head football coach of a major university (like, say, Arkansas), crash your motor­cycle with a woman on the back who's not your wife. And that woman happens to be someone you put on the university payroll. And, oh, you're having an affair with her.


After the U.S. track star blubbered on the Today show after a subpar Olympics, former Rutgers football player Eric LeGrand joked that he wanted to race her. Jones responded on Twitter: "Get checked for a concussion. clearly u've been hit in the head … cos u arent beating a track athlete." He didn't have a concussion. He's paralyzed.


Nine were arrested in Broward County in connection with a gambling ring that centered around youth league football games. Coaches met before games to set point spreads and place bets. More than $100,000 was wagered on a championship game. And these are people kids are supposed to look up to?


This is the third lockout during his tenure as NHL commissioner, including one that cost all of the 2004-05 season. True, Bettman works for the owners, but a capable sports commissioner would be able to avoid such devastating labor disputes. He's the antithesis of a true leader.


The head of the NHL players union deserves some blame in this lockout, too. Going back to his days as head of the baseball players union, Fehr always seemed like an arrogant cuss interested only in his players and not the health of the game his players play.


Forget marrying former Bucs troublemaker Jerramy Stevens. The American soccer keeper ripped into broadcaster and former U.S. star Brandi Chastain for Chastain's fair commentary of the American soccer team during the Olympics, saying Chastain wasn't qualified to speak on the matter. You're 31 years old, Hope. Grow up.


He still holds a grudge against Pop Herring, the high school coach who put him on the JV team. That coach's health is failing, and he is living in poverty, yet Jordan has done nothing to help.


He jerked Magic fans around for two years, got coach Stan Van Gundy fired and still whined his way out of Orlando.


He no longer has a football career of his own to talk about, so he spends his days on Twitter ripping into the Eagles because his brother Michael is having a bad season. Somebody take this guy's computer away.


Supposedly had cleaned up his act. No more punching cabbies or teammates or pulling guns (allegedly). Then he gets suspended for what he says was a positive test for Adderall. What does it tell you that a team desperate for defensive backs traded him for a mid-round draft pick?

And now, our 2012 Turkey of the Year …


He cheated. We ignored. He lied. We believed. And he lied some more. And we defended. And then he lied more. He accused his attackers, including fellow cyclists. In fact, Armstrong was so defiant in his defense that there was no way he could have cheated then lied about it. Until we found out he cheated and lied about it. He raised all that money for cancer, but everything else about him was a fraud. Darn you, Lance.

Bucs must reduce hits quarterback Josh Freeman absorbs


By Joe Smith and Stephen F. Holder, Times Staff Writers
Wednesday, November 21, 2012

TAMPA — All around the NFL, the headlines offer examples of something no team wants: an injured quarterback.

With the Eagles' Michael Vick, the Bears' Jay Cutler, the 49ers Alex Smith and the Steelers' Ben Roethlisberger nursing injuries, the Bucs know it's unsustainable for QB Josh Freeman to take as many hits as he did Sunday at Carolina.

How to fix it for their next game, against the Falcons?

The Bucs plan a multilayered approach involving the offensive line, Freeman and coaching. The team attributed the offensive line's underperformance, in part, to a good game by the Panthers defensive line.

"That is a very talented, very well-coached front four," offensive coordinator Mike Sullivan said. "We thought they were going to be good, but they were even better."

Sullivan said he and his staff will consider adjustments to mitigate protection issues.

"There are things we can do as far as moving the launch point, getting some quicker, rhythm-type throws … so he can get the ball out faster," Sullivan said of Freeman. "I really think it's a combination of things from a protection standpoint, executing a little bit better up front. And then when you're facing a tough group like that, it's going to be a challenge."

But if and when Freeman is faced with absorbing contact, there's little doubt at One Buc Place he can take it. The 6-foot-6, 248-pound quarterback stood in the pocket and took a head-on hit on the tying touchdown against the Panthers, never flinching.

"You're talking about a guy who is tough as nails with his ability to hang in there and still maintain the downfield focus; his vision on the receiver," Sullivan said.

"He's not a happy-feet guy. He's not a guy who is turning away (from the hit)."

It's just not what he does, Freeman said.

"I have a job to do," he said. "Regardless of what's happening around me, I have to do my best to execute my job."

Freeman has certainly done that with a 94.6 QB rating, 10 touchdowns and two interceptions during his team's four-game winning streak.

Said Falcons coach Mike Smith: "He's playing at a Pro Bowl level right now."

WRIGHT news: CB Eric Wright did not practice Wednesday as he continues to deal with an Achilles injury. Coach Greg Schiano said it's "too early to tell" if he'll play Sunday.

Wright has started but missed big chunks of the past two games after aggravating the injury, sustained late last month.

Fox Sports' Jay Glazer reported in late October that the sixth-year player faces a four-game suspension for using Adderall, but Wright declined to be specific when asked about it Wednesday.

MEDICAL MATTERS: WR/KR Arrelious Benn (shoulder) didn't practice, and Schiano said the team will have to wait and see on his availability. … WR Tiquan Underwood (head), shaken up late Sunday, fully participated. … Schiano is encouraged with RG Jamon Meredith, who played Sunday and has responded "surprisingly well" since spraining his left ankle at practice last week. … CB Anthony Gaitor returned to practice after being on injured reserve the past six weeks. Gaitor, who injured a hamstring in the preseason, can't be activated for a couple of weeks but said he felt great to be back: "When that day comes to get back on the field, I'm going to be ready."

Captain's Corner: Flounder is more than bycatch


By Brent Gaskill, Times Correspondent
Wednesday, November 21, 2012

What's hot: Flounder fishing has been good recently. Consistent catches have come from rocky areas, artificial reefs and sandy potholes scattered throughout grass flats. Many times, flounder come as a surprise or bonus bycatch, but they can be targeted.

Technique: Flounder are structure-oriented. They will not be directly on the structure but can be found around the edges in the sand. Search natural rock outcroppings, artificial reefs, jetties, rip-rap-lined seawalls, bridges and docks. Flounder also venture onto grass flats in sandy holes to ambush bait. Small, live baits such as scaled sardines or pinfish are favorites, but a fresh piece of cut bait also works. When fishing the flats, use a pearl white jig and drag it slowly through the sand. When it feels like the jig has hung on the bottom, set the hook.

Brent Gaskill runs Summer Vacation Charters out of the St. Petersburg area and can be reached at captbrent@summervacationcharters.com and (727)510-1009.

NHL lockout talks stall again; Bettman: 'We're still far apart'


By Damian Cristodero, Times Staff Writer
Wednesday, November 21, 2012

The NHL and its locked-out players had two negotiating sessions Wednesday in New York.

The result? The Jan. 27 All-Star Game in Columbus is expected to be canceled today and half of December's games are on the block as well.

There also were plenty of raw feelings from players after the league rejected what they believed was a major concession on the core economic issues.

"It's disappointing," Lightning wing Marty St. Louis said. "I feel they're trying to bully us and trying to draw a line in the sand.

"I don't know where you go from here. It's very frustrating."

Games already have been canceled through Nov. 30 as has the Jan. 1 Winter Classic. But there was anticipation a breakthrough was imminent when players agreed to the 50-50 split of revenues owners have demanded.

But players, who last season received 57 percent of revenue, also proposed the league increase the money allotted to guarantee current contracts — the so-called "make-whole" provision — to $393 million from $211 million.

The $182 million difference works out to about $6.1 million for each of the 30 teams or $1.22 million for each year of a five-year collective bargaining agreement.

But the league did not budge.

"Nothing on the significant economic issues," union head Donald Fehr told reporters. "On the big things, there was no reciprocity in any meaningful sense."

"We're still far apart," NHL commissioner Gary Bettman said, adding the league is losing $18 million to $20 million a day in revenue while players are losing $8 million to $10 million.

No formal negotiations are scheduled, though deputy commissioner Bill Daly and union lead counsel Steve Fehr are expected to speak Friday.

"We're dealing with a union that really isn't trying to negotiate, make any deal that we can live with for the long-term health of this game," Bettman said.

"We want to negotiate," St. Louis said. "We came their way again, and nothing. They keep telling us to keep coming. But they're staying where they are, so you end up negotiating against yourself. And that's definitely something we don't want to do.

"I mean, $180 million apart. You divide that by 30 teams over five years, I can't believe that 30 owners don't want to do that."

To read the union's complete proposal, go to tampabay.com/blogs/lightning.

QB Jeff Driskel to start for Florida Gators


By Antonya English, Times Staff Writer
Wednesday, November 21, 2012

GAINESVILLE — Jeff Driskel will start Saturday for No. 6 Florida against No. 10 Florida State, based on the way the sophomore quarterback practiced Tuesday, UF coach Will Muschamp said.

"Obviously, we've still got a couple of more days of practice, but he looked good enough to me that he'll be fine," Muschamp said. "And (backup) Jacoby (Brissett) looks good as well."

Driskel sprained his right ankle during the third quarter against Louisiana-Lafayette on Nov. 10. Brissett took over and started Saturday against Jacksonville State. Driskel returned to practice Tuesday.

Prior experience: Florida has faced its share of mobile QBs this season, including Texas A&M's Johnny Manziel, South Carolina's Connor Shaw and Missouri's James Franklin. Defensive coordinator Dan Quinn said he hopes that will benefit the Gators against FSU's EJ Manuel.

"That's been a little bit more of a theme in terms of the defenses and the style that we've played against," he said. "This is another one and another really good one."

Antonya English, Times staff writer

USF: Temperature could be coldest ever

TAMPA — USF could play in the coldest weather in its history Friday night at Cincinnati. But if you ask senior OT Mark Popek, spending time worrying about the cold or bundling up with extra clothes is time distracted from the real focus.

"If I was a coach, I wouldn't allow any long sleeves or anything like that," said Popek, a Plant City graduate who returned to the starting lineup Saturday after missing time with an ankle injury. "I think guys who focus too much on the weather aren't focused on the game.

"I actually enjoy it. It's a lot colder, but I think it's way more fun. The UConn game three years ago is probably my favorite."

Many USF seniors point to a 29-27 loss at UConn on Dec. 5, 2009, as their coldest memory. The temperature at kickoff was 34 degrees, and it's one of two Bulls games played during falling snow. The other, a 13-7 loss at West Virginia on Dec. 6 2008, is the coldest kickoff temperature, 29 degrees. The low for Cincinnati is projected to be 26 degrees.

USF is 1-3 when the kickoff temperature is below 40 degrees. The lone win came Nov. 24, 2007, 48-37 over Pittsburgh.

Greg Auman, Times staff writer

FSU: Hopkins invited to kick at Senior Bowl

TALLAHASSEE — The past week has been busy for Florida State K Dustin Hopkins.

After setting an NCAA scoring record Saturday, he accepted an invitation to play in the Senior Bowl in Mobile, Ala., in late January. The weeklong practices and game give NFL teams an opportunity to evaluate seniors.

QB EJ Manuel accepted an invitation last week.

Hopkins was named a finalist Monday for the Lou Groza Award (nation's best kicker) for the second straight season. Florida's Caleb Sturgis and Tulane's Cairo Santos, a St. Augustine native, are the other finalists.

No Miami: FSU's rivalry with Florida is vastly superior to its rivalry with Miami, sophomore DE Cornellius Carradine said.

"We practice really hard for Miami as well," said the Cincinnati native who admittedly knew little about FSU's rivalries before arriving in Tallahassee. "But this week, we're really, really getting after it. This is the game right here."

Coley Harvey, Orlando Sentinel

Sports in brief


Times wires
Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Times Turkey Trot

The 34th annual event is today at Clearwater High's Jack White Stadium, 540 S Hercules Ave. The Wingding, Gobbler and Turkey Trot begin on Keene Road, south of Gulf-to-Bay Boulevard. The Fun Run begins on Druid Road.

• Wingding, a 3.1-mile race, starts at 7 a.m.

• Fun Run, a 3.1-mile fitness run/walk, starts at 7:30

• Gobbler, a 1-mile fitness run/walk, starts at 8:30

• Turkey Trot, a 6.2-mile race, starts at 8:45

On-site registration begins at 6 a.m. today ($20 for Wingding and Turkey Trot, $15 for Gobbler and Fun Run)


Buehrle on trade by marlins: 'i was lied to'

MIAMI — Mark Buehrle issued a parting shot at Marlins management after his stay with the team lasted only one tumultuous season.

The left-hander was part of a blockbuster trade that sent Buehrle, All-Star SS Jose Reyes, RHP Josh Johnson and two others to the Blue Jays as the Marlins pared $146.5 million in future payroll.

"I'm upset with how things turned out in Miami," Buehrle said in a statement issued Wednesday through agent Jeff Berry. "Just like the fans in South Florida, I was lied to on multiple occasions."

Team president David Samson said the Marlins didn't lie to Buehrle, who signed a $58 million, four-year deal, but instead were compelled to make drastic changes after a season that included a last-place finish in their new ballpark.

Berry said he and Buehrle were wary of signing with the Marlins.

"Throughout the recruiting process, the Marlins made repeated assurances about their long-term commitment to Mark and his family and their long-term commitment to building a winning tradition of Marlins baseball in the new stadium," Berry said in a statement.

"At the same time, given the Marlins history, we were all certainly aware of and voiced concern about the lack of no-trade protection. … Mark held up his end of the bargain; unfortunately, the same can't be said of the Marlins."

White Sox: OF Dwayne Wise, 34, agreed to a one-year, $700,000 deal.

Yankees: In choosing to sign a one-year, $15 million deal, RHP Hiroki Kuroda declined other offers of more money and years, espnnewyork.com reported. Besides the Yankees, the teams most interested in Kuroda were the Dodgers and Red Sox. Kuroda, 38, was glad to take a one-year offer because he wants to finish his career in Japan.


Chelsea quick to fire manager

Roberto Di Matteo's reign as Chelsea manager ended suddenly when he was fired only six months after guiding the club to an unlikely Champions League title. Rafa Benitez was appointed interim manager until the end of the season. Owner Roman Abramo­vich displayed his trademark ruthlessness by getting rid of Di Matteo with the defense of the European trophy in tatters after a 3-0 loss at Juventus on Tuesday. "The team's recent performances and results have not been good enough, and the owner and the board felt that a change was necessary to keep the club moving in the right direction as we head into a (vital) part of the season," Chelsea said in a statement.

Champions League: Real Madrid advanced to the knockout phase as host Manchester City's campaign ended in the group stage for a second successive season after a 1-1 draw.

Et cetera

Autos: NASCAR driver Jeff Burton had surgery on his wrist to alleviate symptoms of carpal tunnel syndrome.

Times wires

Report: NCAA looking at Auburn


Times wires
Wednesday, November 21, 2012

AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn coach Gene Chizik declined to comment on reports that the NCAA is investigating the program.

The Birmingham News reported Wednesday that the NCAA has interviewed at least one assistant and several players this week. The newspaper said the investigation includes but is not limited to the signing of Jovon Robinson, a running back from Memphis who was ruled ineligible amid allegations of academic improprieties.

Yahoo Sports reported that assistants Trooper Taylor and Curtis Luper haven't been allowed to recruit for several weeks and the NCAA is looking into if Wooddale High physical education teacher Rhonda Wilkinson provided impermissible benefits to Robinson, including transportation to Auburn. Wilkinson, an Auburn graduate, declined comment for that story.

The NCAA said it does not comment on current, pending or potential investigations.

Duke extends coach: David Cutcliffe, whose name has been linked to several vacancies, agreed to an extension that will keep him as Duke's coach through the 2018 season. Financial terms weren't disclosed. Cutcliffe, Peyton Manning's offensive coordinator at Tennessee and Eli Manning's coach at Mississippi, is 21-38 over five seasons. (The program won only 10 games over the previous eight seasons.) The Blue Devils are bowl eligible for the first time since 1994.

USC: The NCAA was "malicious" in its investigation of a former assistant who was linked to the scandal surrounding Heisman winner Reggie Bush, a judge said. The NCAA said Todd McNair lied about knowing about some of the gifts lavished on Bush's family by two aspiring sports marketers. McNair sued, saying the investigation was one-sided and hurt his future earnings. The NCAA sought to dismiss the case, but the judge ruled McNair showed a probability he can win the case. A trial date wasn't set.

ESPN gets playoff: The four-team playoff that starts with the 2014 season will air on ESPN. The network will own the rights to all six bowls involved for 12 years and pay about $470 million annually, the Associated Press reported. The title game will be played on a Monday, at least a week after the semifinals.

Times wires


Wednesday, November 21, 2012

ORLANDO — In the third quarter of its game Wednesday, the Magic resembled the 1995-96 NBA champion Bulls, while the Pistons looked like last season's abysmal Bobcats.

The difference between the teams was that pronounced.

The Magic scored the quarter's first 21 and transformed a close game into a laugher that must have spiked the blood pressure of Pistons coach Lawrence Frank to dangerous levels.

Orlando beat Detroit 90-74, leaving the Magic and its announced crowd of 17,199 inside Amway Center with plenty of reasons to feel thankful.

Rookie power forward Andrew Nicholson played the best game of his short career, scoring a team-high 15 on 7-of-9 shooting. Rookie small forward Maurice Harkless made his first start and helped limit Pistons swingman Tayshaun Prince to 10 points. And power forward Glen Davis had 11 points and 14 rebounds.

But the Magic was most thankful for a bizarrely one-sided start to the third quarter in which it outscored the Pistons 21-0 and saw Detroit open 0-for-15 from the field.

The Pistons didn't score a second-half point until Rodney Stuckey hit two free throws with 2:15 left in the third quarter.

By then, Orlando led 66-50.

One minute later, Nicholson scored on an open dunk off a feed by Gustavo Ayon, putting the Magic up 71-52 and forcing Frank to call a timeout.

The Magic beat the Pistons for the second time in six days.

The Magic trailed the Pistons by as many as 10 points in the first quarter Wednesday, the fifth time this season that Orlando has faced a double-digit deficit in the first.

On Friday, when Orlando beat Detroit 110-106 in Auburn Hills, Mich., the Pistons also took a 10-point first-quarter lead. Pistons center Greg Monroe dominated in both games' first quarters, hitting four shots in each.

But the tone of Wednesday's game shifted when Nicholson drew a charge on Monroe with 4.8 seconds left in the first.

Monroe had scored 11 at that point but managed only eight the rest of the way.

The charging foul also ignited a 10-2 Orlando run that started with a long jumper by J.J. Redick at the end of the quarter and culminated with a layup by Arron Afflalo to tie the score at 29 with 9:19 left before halftime.

That run portended what was to come.

After Detroit made 20 of its 41 shots in the first half, the Pistons made four of their first 35 attempts in the second.

GAME HIGHLIGHTS: Jeremy Pargo, filling in for the injured Kyrie Irving, scored a career-high 28, and the host Cavaliers broke a six-game losing streak with a 92-83 win over the 76ers.

LATE TUESDAY: Ever since Mike D'Antoni got a new knee and a new job in rapid succession this month, his life has been a jumble of unfamiliar faces, grueling rehabilitation sessions and anonymous hotel rooms.

For a few hours Tuesday night, the veteran coach finally got back into his natural environment. And even if he's not quite ready to roam an NBA sideline with his usual vigor, the Lakers moved smoothly under his command.

D'Antoni made his debut on the Lakers' bench in a 95-90 victory over the visiting Nets. Nine days after he was hired and five days after he flew to Los Angeles to start work, D'Antoni finally coached a game on the sideline with no stumbles during Los Angeles' fifth win in six games.

"I've felt different for about two weeks now, so this feels good," D'Antoni said. "Everybody is kidding you — and yes, the pressure is there — but you know what? This feels great. I wouldn't change it for the world. I don't know if (the knee) was any better today than yesterday, but it's going to be the same tomorrow, too, so it's good."

AROUND THE LEAGUE: Forward Kevin Love was a surprise activation for the Timberwolves in their late game against the Nuggets. Love hadn't played this season after breaking his right hand during the exhibition season. The initial timetable was six to eight weeks to recover, but he returned in just more than four. … Nets reserve power forward Reggie Evans became the first player in the NBA to be fined under the league's new anti-flopping rules. The league announced that Evans was fined $5,000 for picking up his second flopping violation of the season late in the third quarter of Tuesday night's 95-90 loss to the Lakers. … Former Gator Udonis Haslem became the leading rebounder in Heat history with his second of the game, giving him 4,808 to pass Alonzo Mourning. … Clippers starting forward Caron Butler missed the game because of a strained right shoulder. … The Celtics waived center Darko Milicic at his request to deal with a personal matter.

Information from the Associated Press was used in this report.

Magic 90, Pistons 74

DETROIT (74): Prince 5-12 0-0 10, Maxiell 2-7 0-1 4, Monroe 5-11 9-11 19, Knight 3-11 1-3 8, Singler 1-6 0-0 2, Drummond 2-4 0-0 4, Stuckey 4-9 5-6 13, Maggette 0-2 0-0 0, Jerebko 1-6 0-1 2, Bynum 2-8 0-0 4, Villanueva 0-5 0-0 0, Daye 1-1 0-0 3, English 2-3 0-0 5. Totals 28-85 15-22 74.

ORLANDO (90): Harkless 3-7 1-2 7, Davis 4-9 3-4 11, Vucevic 3-6 0-0 6, Nelson 3-7 2-2 10, Afflalo 5-13 2-4 12, McRoberts 2-5 0-0 5, Nicholson 7-9 1-2 15, Redick 4-13 2-2 11, Moore 1-4 0-0 3, Ayon 3-6 2-2 8, O'Quinn 0-1 0-0 0, Jones 1-3 0-0 2, Smith 0-0 0-0 0. Totals 36-83 13-18 90.

Detroit 27 21 8 18— 74

Orlando 21 24 26 19— 90

3-Point GoalsDetroit 3-17 (Daye 1-1, Knight 1-1, English 1-2, Maggette 0-1, Bynum 0-1, Prince 0-2, Singler 0-3, Villanueva 0-3, Stuckey 0-3), Orlando 5-20 (Nelson 2-5, Moore 1-1, McRoberts 1-3, Redick 1-7, Jones 0-1, Afflalo 0-3). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsDetroit 52 (Monroe, Prince 8), Orlando 64 (Davis 14). AssistsDetroit 15 (Knight 5), Orlando 24 (Redick, Nelson 7). Total FoulsDetroit 16, Orlando 23. TechnicalsOrlando defensive three second. A17,199 (18,500).

Cavaliers 92, 76ers 83

PHILADELPHIA (83): Turner 5-13 2-3 12, T.Young 5-12 1-2 11, Brown 2-3 1-2 5, Holiday 6-16 2-2 16, Richardson 6-13 2-2 16, Hawes 2-5 0-1 4, N.Young 4-13 5-6 13, Ivey 0-2 0-0 0, Allen 0-0 0-0 0, Wright 1-7 4-4 6, Wilkins 0-2 0-0 0. Totals 31-86 17-22 83.

CLEVELAND (92): Gee 5-9 0-0 14, Thompson 1-7 2-3 4, Varejao 3-10 4-5 10, Pargo 11-19 2-4 28, Waiters 7-22 0-0 16, Zeller 1-7 0-0 2, Miles 5-9 0-0 13, Casspi 2-3 1-2 5. Totals 35-86 9-14 92.

Philadelphia 15 20 23 25— 83

Cleveland 28 19 21 24— 92

3-Point GoalsPhiladelphia 4-17 (Holiday 2-3, Richardson 2-6, Ivey 0-1, Turner 0-1, Hawes 0-1, N.Young 0-2, Wright 0-3), Cleveland 13-23 (Gee 4-6, Pargo 4-8, Miles 3-4, Waiters 2-5). Fouled OutNone. ReboundsPhiladelphia 51 (T.Young 11), Cleveland 65 (Varejao 19). AssistsPhiladelphia 18 (Turner 7), Cleveland 17 (Waiters 6). Total FoulsPhiladelphia 16, Cleveland 14. TechnicalsVarejao. A16,743 (20,562).

Bobcats 98, Raptors 97

TORONTO (97): McGuire 0-1 0-2 0, Bargnani 9-17 5-5 25, Valanciunas 8-11 0-0 16, Lowry 6-15 5-7 21, DeRozan 6-13 2-3 14, Johnson 0-1 1-2 1, Calderon 2-8 1-1 7, Ross 5-9 0-0 11, Davis 1-2 0-0 2, Kleiza 0-3 0-0 0. Totals 37-80 14-20 97.

CHARLOTTE (98): Kidd-Gilchrist 4-7 6-7 14, Mullens 4-14 2-4 10, Haywood 2-4 2-2 6, Walker 8-16 2-3 19, Taylor 4-8 2-2 11, Warrick 0-1 0-0 0, Biyombo 5-6 1-2 11, Sessions 5-19 4-4 14, Gordon 4-11 4-4 13. Totals 36-86 23-28 98.

Toronto 25 28 21 23— 97

Charlotte 22 31 22 23— 98

3-Point GoalsToronto 9-23 (Lowry 4-7, Bargnani 2-3, Calderon 2-6, Ross 1-4, Kleiza 0-3), Charlotte 3-19 (Taylor 1-2, Walker 1-4, Gordon 1-5, Sessions 0-3, Mullens 0-5). Fouled OutValanciunas. ReboundsToronto 46 (Valanciunas 10), Charlotte 58 (Mullens, Biyombo 8). AssistsToronto 23 (Lowry 8), Charlotte 21 (Walker 7). Total FoulsToronto 25, Charlotte 21. TechnicalsDeRozan, Taylor, Walker, Charlotte defensive three second. A15,240 (19,077).

Bounty decision to be next month


Times wires
Wednesday, November 21, 2012

NEW ORLEANS — Former commissioner Paul Tagliabue plans to hear all testimony for the Saints bounty probe starting Tuesday through Dec. 4 and make a ruling shortly after.

In a document obtained by the Associated Press on Wednesday, Tagliabue, who took over when commissioner Roger Goodell recused himself, tells the NFL to produce key witnesses, including former defensive coordinator Gregg Williams and former defensive assistant Mike Cerullo.

Defensive end Will Smith said he was pleased Tagliabue wants the league to produce the witnesses who helped with its investigation.

"The most important thing is that Gregg Williams and those other guys are going to have to testify and be cross-examined," Smith said. "We'll see if their story stays the same."

Linebacker Jonathan Vilma was unavailable for comment.

For now, Williams, Cerullo (one of the primary witnesses for the league), Vilma, Saints assistant head coach Joe Vitt and NFL chief security officer Jeff Miller are set to testify.

QB news: Chicago's Jay Cutler, who sustained a concussion Nov. 11, said he feels better but isn't sure if he will play. … Rookie Ryan Lindley will start for Arizona. John Skelton, benched last week, said he is "frustrated." … Brady Quinn will start for Kansas City, regaining the job he lost when he suffered a concussion Oct. 28. … Jacksonville's Blaine Gabbert (torn labrum in nonthrowing shoulder) is out for the season. Jordan Palmer, brother of the Raiders' Carson Palmer, was signed to back up Chad Henne.

Bills: Running back Fred Jackson, who sustained a concussion Nov. 11, was cleared to play. But the team said C.J. Spiller will remain the starter.

Browns: Starting corner Joe Haden returned to practice and might play Sunday. The ex-Gator had an oblique injury.

Cardinals: Running back Beanie Wells, out since Sept. 23 with turf toe, was activated.

Eagles: Running back LeSean McCoy missed practice because of a concussion. His status hasn't been determined.

Falcons: Linebacker Sean Weatherspoon, out three games with a sprained right ankle, practiced and said he'll play Sunday against the Bucs.

Packers: Receiver Greg Jennings practiced for the first time since surgery for a torn abdominal muscle on Nov. 1. He did not rule out playing Sunday.

Steelers: Receiver Antonio Brown, out three games with a sprained ankle, practiced. His status hasn't been determined.

Vikings: Receiver Percy Harvin missed practice with an ankle injury but expects to play.

Freshmen help 'Cats shake off Morehead


Times wires
Wednesday, November 21, 2012

LEXINGTON, Ky. — Archie Goodwin doesn't back down from contact. Alex Poythress is getting used to it.

Against Morehead State on Wednesday night, the much-hyped Kentucky freshmen clearly welcomed it.

Goodwin scored a career-high 28 and Poythress added 20, helping No. 8 Kentucky rally to beat stubborn Morehead State 81-70.

Their biggest contributions came at the line as Goodwin and Poythress combined to convert 20 of 25 free throws to help the Wildcats (3-1) fight back several times before steadily pulling away in the second half.

"We expect everybody we play to be physical," said Poythress, who was 8-of-8 from the line and 6-of-12 from the field. "We just didn't want to lose, and we wanted to pick everybody up."

Setting the example was Goodwin, the 6-foot-4 swingman. His quick, physical game helped him average 15 points coming in, but he really found Morehead State's aggressive approach to his liking.

Not only did Goodwin draw contact and fouls, he made the Eagles regret it by converting 12 of 17 free throws.

"I'm not afraid of contact," said Goodwin, who also made 8 of 13 field goals. "You have to want contact."

Julius Mays hit 6 of 7 free throws to finish with 11 points for the Wildcats.

NO. 6 SYRACUSE 73, PRINCETON 53: James Southerland scored a career-high 22 and had five steals, Michael Carter-Williams added 10 points and nine assists and the Orange (3-0) won its 24th straight in the Carrier Dome and boosted its record to 31-0 against the Ivy League in the Dome.

NO. 9 UNC 112, CHAMINADE 70: James Michael McAdoo scored 18 to lead five players in double figures for the Tar Heels (5-1), who topped 100 points for the first time this season in the Maui Invitational in Lahaina, Hawaii.

NO. 15 MICH. ST.: Freshman guard Gary Harris, who is third on the team with a 12-point scoring average, has a sprained left shoulder and will be out two to three weeks.

W. VIRGINIA: Bob Huggins received a contract extension that includes the choice of moving into another role or continuing his coaching duties beyond the 2017-18 season. The contract runs through 2022-23. Starting in 2018-19, Huggins, 59, can assume a five-year appointment in public relations and development along with other duties assigned by the athletic director at a base salary of $50,000 a year. Or he can continue serving as head coach.


NO. 10 MARYLAND 94, AMERICAN 54: Tianna Hawkins had 25 points and nine rebounds as the host Terrapins (3-1) bounced back from their first loss.

NO. 18 ST. JOHN'S 71, IONA 55: Shenneika Smith had 21 points, and Briana Brown scored six straight to blow the game open midway through the second half for the host Red Storm (3-1).

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