College – Press Herald Tue, 28 Mar 2017 23:37:47 +0000 en-US hourly 1 NCAA women’s basketball: South Carolina holds off FSU to reach Final Four Tue, 28 Mar 2017 03:20:18 +0000 STOCKTON, Calif. — Kaela Davis scored 23 points and A’ja Wilson added 16 and top-seeded South Carolina held off No. 3 seed Florida State 71-64 in a furious finish Monday night to win the Stockton Regional.

Davis scored immediately off the tip and again on a timely, brilliant left-handed drive with 1:42 to go.

Allisha Gray drove her way to 11 points for South Carolina (31-4) – and Dawn Staley’s Gamecocks are back in the Final Four for the first time since 2015 still chasing the program’s first NCAA championship.

Leticia Romero cut the South Carolina lead to five, 65-60, on a driving jumper with 3:51 left. Then Brittany Brown’s steal and layup at 3:25 made it 65-62, but the Seminoles wouldn’t get closer.

South Carolina has both basketball teams in the Final Four. The men’s program reached its first Final Four with a stunning upset of Florida on Sunday that sent the women screaming in delight at Stockton Arena all the way across the country from the victory at Madison Square Garden.

]]> 0 State guard Leticia Romero, right, drives against South Carolina guard Kaela Davis during the first half of the Gamecocks' 71-64 win in a regional final Monday in Stockton, California.Tue, 28 Mar 2017 00:27:23 +0000
NCAA women’s basketball: UConn easily reaches Final Four Tue, 28 Mar 2017 00:52:37 +0000 BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — Napheesa Collier scored 28 points, Gabby Williams had 25 and Connecticut advanced to its 10th consecutive Final Four with a 90-52 victory against Oregon on Monday night.

Top-seeded UConn (36-0) will face Mississippi State on Friday night in Dallas in the national semifinals. The win was the Huskies’ 111th consecutive victory and moved coach Geno Auriemma past Pat Summitt for the most NCAA Tournament victories. Auriemma now has 113.

The Huskies jumped all over 10th-seeded Oregon (23-14), which had made an impressive run through the NCAA.

Leading 6-4, UConn scored 17 straight points. Saniya Chong got the game-changing burst started with consecutive 3-pointers. Nearly 4 1/2 minutes later she capped the burst with a layup that made it 23-4.

Oregon closed to 34-21 midway through the second quarter, but UConn put the game away by scoring 15 of the final 18 points of the half.

The Huskies had several questions heading into their first season since losing their big three of Breanna Stewart, Moriah Jefferson and Morgan Tuck to graduation. But they have answered every test so far, turning away every challenge while remaining unbeaten.

Now UConn has a new trio leading the way. Collier and fellow sophomore Katie Lou Samuelson were honored as AP All-Americans on Monday with Williams, a junior, making the second team.

The Huskies head to Dallas just two wins away from a fifth consecutive title and 12th overall.

Oregon’s future is bright. Coach Kelly Graves’ team is led by outstanding freshmen Sabrina Ionescu, Ruthy Hebard and Mallory McGwire. The trio averaged 36.8 points combined this season. Ionescu led the way against UConn with 15 points.

The Ducks upset seventh-seeded Temple, No. 2 Duke and No. 3 Maryland to get to the Elite Eight for the first time in program history.

They were trying to become the first double-digit seed ever to reach the Final Four. Only 10th-seeded Lamar and 11th-seeded Gonzaga had made it this far.

Oregon had 22 turnovers, including 17 in the first half, that led to 38 points for the Huskies.

]]> 0's Kia Nurse reacts after hitting a 3-point basket during the first half of a regional final game against Oregon in the NCAA women's college basketball tournament, Monday, March 27, 2017, in Bridgeport, Conn. (AP Photo/Jessica Hill)Tue, 28 Mar 2017 00:28:32 +0000
Tar Heels prepare to take their best shot – again – at national title Mon, 27 Mar 2017 23:25:30 +0000 MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Roy Williams still hasn’t watched the tape of the 2016 national championship game and likely never will. The North Carolina coach sure has done his best to make sure his Tar Heels know how to hit game-winning shots.

Now all that practice with a 15-second shot clock has paid off with a return to the Final Four.

Luke Maye knocked down a jumper with 0.3 seconds left Sunday, answering Malik Monk’s tying 3 and lifting North Carolina over Kentucky 75-73 in the South Regional final.

Williams had a timeout but chose to let his top-seeded Tar Heels run the ball back upcourt.

“We practice that way every day,” Williams said. “Believe it or not, we have practices where we play with a 15-second shot clock because I want them to push the ball hard enough to get a great shot in 15 seconds, not just throw it up. We’ve won a few games like that.”

A year ago, Marcus Paige hit a 3-pointer with 4.7 seconds left to make the national championship game 74-74. Then Kris Jenkins won the title for Villanova, knocking down a 3 as time expired. It’s a loss Williams still calls a heartbreaker.

Williams said Maye’s winner isn’t redemption for the Villanova loss but noted he yelled at Paige after this win. Paige was Facetiming with Eric Hoots, North Carolina’s director of player development.

“And he was so happy for us,” Williams said. “But I’m really happy for this team and the work that they’ve put in, the toughness that they’ve shown, and they’re just, they’re wonderful kids.”

Now the Tar Heels (31-7) are headed for a record 20th Final Four and a game Saturday against Midwest Region champ Oregon. They also improved to 3-1 against Kentucky in regional finals – the only place these college basketball behemoths have met in the NCAA tournament.

They tapped into their experience with Williams able to start two seniors and three juniors, while second-seeded Kentucky (32-6) started only one senior, a sophomore and three talented freshmen. Junior guard Joel Berry II said last season helped the Tar Heels know what it takes to play at this stage.

Those who played in the loss to Villanova have seen this season as their last chance at redemption.

“We want to win a national championship,” Berry said. “We don’t want to just make it to the Final Four. We want to go there and win it.”

Maye finished with 17 points, his second straight game with a career high.

“I just kind of stepped back, and he gave me the ball and I just shot it, and luckily it went in,” Maye said of his winner. “It was a great feeling.”

The loss left De’Aaron Fox and Bam Adebayo weeping side by side in the Kentucky locker room.

“That shot is just playing back and forth in my head,” Fox said. “It’s going to be difficult to get over.”

]]> 0 Maye lofts the ball toward the basket Sunday, hitting the shot that put North Carolina into the Final Four by beating Kentucky.Mon, 27 Mar 2017 20:35:50 +0000
Bowdoin athletic facilities to get $8 million upgrade Mon, 27 Mar 2017 15:36:08 +0000 The patched gulleys made it plain – the subsurface of Bowdoin College’s outdoor track was failing. A new track at Whittier Field, home to Bowdoin football since 1896, was needed.

“The subsurface of the track was installed in 1970 and it had been resurfaced in 2005,” said Tim Ryan, Bowdoin’s director of athletics. “We were beyond the useful life for the subsurface and that’s what really got us thinking about what a renovation of the facility should look like.”

On Monday, the college announced a two-phase, $8 million renovation that will modernize the Brunswick facility while maintaining its century-old charm.

Whittier Field will get lights and a synthetic turf field to replace grass sod. It will become the home for both the football and men’s lacrosse teams.

Seating and a press box will be constructed opposite Hubbard Grandstand, a stone-and-brick structure with a covered seating area that’s been in use since 1904. The grandstand, a gift of Civil War general Thomas H. Hubbard (Bowdoin class of 1857), will be returned to its original footprint by removal of the wooden bleachers that were attached to its perimeter in the 1940s and 1950s.

The six-lane Magee-Samuelson track will be replaced by a new eight-lane track. The design calls for the outer lanes of the straightaway to abut Hubbard Grandstand.

Those renovations are part of the initial $4.5 million renovation phase approved by the college’s board of trustees last month. Construction will begin in May and should be done in time for the 2017 football season.

“Between the historic nature of Hubbard Grandstand and the pines that surround the playing surface and the track, it really creates a unique environment,” Ryan said. “We wanted to maintain as much of that as possible.”

The second phase of the project will cover construction of a one-story building that will include locker rooms and training facilities. This $3.5 million phase still must be approved by Bowdoin trustees, who are expected to vote on it in May. If approved, the second phase is expected to be completed in the fall of 2018.

The location and design of the new building have not been finalized, Ryan said.

All funding will be through private donations.

The turf field also will be designed for use by the women’s lacrosse team, the men’s and women’s soccer teams, and intramural and club programs.

“Upon completion we anticipate it will benefit over 350 varsity student athletes, and over 150 club and intramural sports participants,” Ryan said.

Further, by providing new practice and locker-room space, it will lessen the demands on existing facilities.

“It relieves a lot of different stress points between our varsity and club sports,” said Jason Archbell, who is in his fifth season as the men’s lacrosse coach. “Now you’ll be having that turf field and the grass fields open to a lot of different club sports that aren’t able to practice until 10 o’clock at night.”

Whittier Field is currently used sparingly, in part because the college has had a difficult time maintaining the grass field since switching to all-organic fertilizers. For the past several years it has hosted four football games and two or three track meets annually.

“What I’m most excited about is that this historic athletic field that has the most beautiful grandstand in New England will get to be used and seen by more teams and more spectators,” said Peter Slovenski, who is in his 30th year as Bowdoin’s men’s and women’s track and field coach.

Slovenski said the track lasted as long as it did because it was so well built in the first place. Magee Track was the site of a 1972 United States Olympic training camp that included Bruce Jenner, Steve Prefontaine and Frank Shorter.

But plastic drainage pipes under the track had begun to collapse, resulting in depressions about every 20 meters that have been patched.

“After 47 years the paved surface under the track is just beyond the help of patching,” Slovenski said.

He said making the track eight lanes has two major benefits: creating a better practice space and allowing Bowdoin to host championship meets.

Bowdoin football went 0-8 in 2016, its 11th straight losing season. The Polar Bears have had four winning football seasons since 1981 and lag behind their New England Small College Athletic Conference rivals when it comes to facilities.

“Most importantly we’re going to be able to provide our (students) with a consistent playing surface,” Ryan said when asked about the impact on the football team. “The additional improvements will help with the overall experience and the experience of people coming to support our teams.”

UPDATED: This story was updated on March 28 at 10:20 a.m. to clarify a comment from Bowdoin athletic director Tim Ryan.

Steve Craig can be reached at 791-6413 or:

Twitter: SteveCCraig

]]> 0, 28 Mar 2017 10:20:49 +0000
NCAA tournament notebook: Final Four has West Coast flair Mon, 27 Mar 2017 03:17:32 +0000 KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Tyler Dorsey had just led Oregon to its first Final Four in nearly eight decades when he looked into a TV camera and passed along a very simple message to all those East Coast fans.

The ones who are often asleep before the Ducks have even taken the floor.

“Wake ’em up,” Dorsey said with a grin. “Wake up!”

Wide awake, sir. All of college basketball is awake to the West Coast now, after the Ducks dumped top-seeded Kansas and No. 1 seed Gonzaga routed Xavier to send two teams from the Pacific time zone to the national semifinals for the first time in NCAA Tournament history.

If one of them should win the title, it would be the first for a school west of the Mississippi in a decade, and the first by a true West Coast team since UCLA in 1995.

“We’ve opened a lot of peoples’ eyes as far as people thinking the West Coast is soft and we’re not as good as the East Coast, East Coast bias and stuff like that,” the Ducks’ Jordan Bell said.

“I really hope we’ve opened peoples’ eyes. I hope people see we’re as good as anybody else.

“Just put up a court,” Bell said. “We’ll see who is best.”

Hard to argue who that is so far.

Gonzaga has been marching toward national prominence for years, but only reached the Final Four for the first time when it dumped the Musketeers on Saturday night. The Ducks are headed back for the first time since 1939, when the team dubbed the “Tall Firs” won their only title.

In doing so, Coach Dana Altman’s team gave the Pac-12 – which started with four teams in the field – a 10-3 mark in this year’s tournament.

“It means a lot for us to hold it down for the Pac-12,” the Ducks’ Tyler Dorsey said.

“We take pride in that. They always talk about how West Coast basketball is not as good as whoever, but we don’t worry about that. We just lace them up and go play and play as hard as we can.”

DRAKE: The school announced it has hired Furman’s Niko Medved as its new coach.

Medved, the 2017 Southern Conference coach of the year, spent the past four seasons with the Paladins – where he led them to the 2017 Southern Conference regular season title.

Medved, 43, also spent six seasons as an assistant coach at Colorado State under Nebraska Coach Tim Miles.


Tennessee: Center Mercedes Russell said she plans to return for her senior season.

Russell posted on her Twitter and Instagram accounts Saturday that “I just want to take the time to thank VOLnation… but I’ll be back.”

The 6-foot-6 Russell averaged 16.1 points, 9.7 rebounds and 1.4 blocks this season for Tennessee (20-12).

]]> 0 Bell and Oregon hope to do more celebrating after earning a trip to the Final Four on Saturday.Sun, 26 Mar 2017 23:23:18 +0000
Sunday’s Maine college roundup: Bowdoin men’s lacrosse rallies to win Mon, 27 Mar 2017 02:42:22 +0000 WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Matthew Crowell scored the winning goal with 1:23 left to lift Bowdoin to a 16-15 win over Williams in a New England Small College Athletic Conference men’s lacrosse game Sunday.

Brett Kujala scored six goals, including four in the first half, for Bowdoin (4-2, 3-1 NESCAC), while Tim Bulens had three goals and two assists.

Williams (4-2, 2-2) led 9-7 at halftime and scored the first three goals of the second half to lead 12-7 with 7:20 left in the third, but Bowdoin scored four straight goals to cut the deficit to one.

The Ephs pushed the lead back to two before the Polar Bears scored four straight again. Alex Osgood’s goal with 10:17 left gave Bowdoin a 14-13 lead. Bulens made it a two-goal game, but Michael Fahey scored two straight to tie it, the second with 2:32 left.

LASELL 12, SOUTHERN MAINE 2: Seven different players scored for the Lasers (3-2), who built a 5-0 halftime lead and beat the Huskies (2-2) in Newton, Massachusetts.

Connor Johnson scored three goals for the Lasers.

Jake Schoenberg scored both goals for the Huskies.


ST. JOSEPH’S 14, BENEDICTINE 4: Chris Gerossie doubled home Dennis Meehan to start a five-run fourth inning and the Monks (10-2) beat the Eagles (7-6) in seven innings in Auburndale, Florida.

Jameson Collins went 3 for 4, while Gerossie, Max McCoomb, Noah McDaniel and Brett Barbati (four RBI) each had two hits for St. Joseph’s.

ST. JOHN’S 15, MAINE 1: Jesse Berardi drove in three runs and the Red Storm (18-2) beat the Black Bears (6-13) in Queens, New York.

Cameron Ridley scored on a throwing error in the top of the eighth for Maine. Christopher Bec and Brandon Vicens each had two hits to lead the Black Bears.

BATES 10, ENDICOTT 4: Eric Vilanova hit a bases-clearing double as part of a four-run second inning as the Bobcats (4-4) stormed past the Gulls (6-5) in Beverly, Massachusetts.

Vilanova finished with four RBI, while Kyle Carter had three hits and an RBI for Bates.

CHICAGO 9, SOUTHERN MAINE 5: Max Brzostowski went 3 for 4 and hit a two-run home run in the top of the eighth to lead the Maroons (8-4) over the Huskies (6-4) in Auburndale, Florida.

Dylan Hapworth went 3 for 5, while Oszak and Sam Stauble each had two hits.


DEAN SWEEPS SOUTHERN MAINE CC: Alexis Brown drove went 3 for 3 and drove in six runs to lead the Bulldogs (4-0) to a 11-9 win over the Seawolves (2-7) in the first game of a doubleheader in Franklin, Massachusetts.

Dean won the second game 16-7.

Kaylah Abdul drove in four runs in the first game and three in the second for SMCC.


SOUTHERN MAINE 16, HUSSON 3: Aliza Jordan scored four goals, and Lauren Lessard had three goals and three assists as the Huskies (4-1) beat the Eagles (2-1) in Gorham.

Sam Campobasso and Allison Irish each scored three goals for Southern Maine.

Cali Newton scored twice for Husson.

]]> 0 Sun, 26 Mar 2017 22:43:38 +0000
NCAA women’s basketball: Stanford, Mississippi State reach Final Four Mon, 27 Mar 2017 02:41:38 +0000 LEXINGTON, Ky. — Even after Alanna Smith and Stanford pulled off a huge rally to put Stanford in position to reach the Final Four, there still was work to do.

That’s when Erica McCall stepped up and blocked Notre Dame’s path.

Smith’s layup with 23 seconds left capped Stanford’s comeback from a 16-point deficit in the second half, McCall swatted a last-second shot and the Cardinal edged top-seeded Notre Dame 76-75 Sunday for their first Final Four trip since 2014.

The Irish (33-4) had the ball under their own basket with 2.2 seconds left, and there was a series of timeouts before play resumed. Akire Ogunbowale caught the inbounds pass and drove to the basket, and McCall blocked the shot from behind.

“She took a dribble, and I’m like, I’m going for it whether I get the foul or not,” McCall said. “I got a nice clean block off of it. We get the win. Whew, so I’m excited.”

Brittany McPhee scored 27 points as the second-seeded Cardinal (32-5) won their eighth in a row. This was the third straight year Stanford and Notre Dame have met in the NCAA tournament, with the Cardinal winning all three.

Stanford Coach Tara VanDerveer referenced the Bluegrass State’s horse racing history in describing the win at Rupp Arena.

“It took us a while to get going,” she said, “but then when we got going, we were charging down that stretch and came across that finish line.”

Down 47-31 in the third quarter, Stanford surged to end Notre Dame’s 17-game winning streak.

Ogunbowale finished with a team-high 25 points, and the Irish put the ball in her hands at the end.

“It was a screen for Arike,” Notre Dame Coach Muffet McGraw said of the final shot. “She was wide open and she probably could have shot it. That’s hindsight.”


MISSISSIPPI STATE 94, BAYLOR 85: Morgan William scored a career-high 41 points, and No. 2 seed Mississippi State (33-4) upset top-seeded Baylor (33-4) in overtime to reach the Final Four for the first time.

William, a 5-foot-5 guard, was chosen Most Outstanding Player of the regional. She set a school record for points in an NCAA tournament game.

Victoria Vivians scored 24 points and Teaira McCowan added 10 for Mississippi State.

Kalani Brown scored 27 points and Nina Davis had 18 for Baylor, which lost in the Elite Eight for the fourth consecutive year.

William made a 3-pointer to give Mississippi State a 73-68 lead in regulation, but Baylor responded with a 7-0 run, and Brown’s basket put the Bears ahead by two. William’s layup with 22 seconds left tied the game at 75 and forced overtime.

The game featured 24 lead changes.

]]> 0 Sun, 26 Mar 2017 22:44:11 +0000
NCAA men’s basketball: Maye’s shot sends UNC to Final Four Mon, 27 Mar 2017 00:09:34 +0000 MEMPHIS, Tenn. — The North Carolina Tar Heels now are a win away from getting back to a national championship game they narrowly lost a year ago.

And this time, they made the last shot.

Luke Maye hit a jumper with 0.3 seconds left and top-seeded North Carolina held off Kentucky 75-73 to earn the Tar Heels’ second straight trip to the Final Four and 20th all-time in Sunday’s showdown of college basketball’s elite in the South Regional.

The Tar Heels (31-7) will play Midwest champ Oregon on Saturday in Glendale, Arizona, in the national semifinal.

“We get to keep playing,” North Carolina Coach Roy Williams said.

North Carolina took control with 12 straight points over the final 5 minutes, a run similar to what it used a week ago to beat Arkansas. The Tar Heels finished this game with a 16-9 run. Kentucky’s freshmen De’Aaron Fox and Malik Monk hit three quick 3s, the last two by Monk. Monk’s second shot with 7.2 seconds left and defenders in his face tied it up at 73.

Theo Pinson brought the ball down and passed back to Maye. The sophomore from Huntersville, North Carolina, knocked it down for the win with his feet on the 3-point line.

“I’m the guy that wanted him to come as a walk-on, so how dumb am I?” Williams said. “He (made) some big-time plays today, big-time plays two days ago.”

Maye finished with 17 points off the bench for North Carolina. Justin Jackson scored 19 points, and Joel Berry II added 11.

The Wildcats had one last chance, but Derek Willis’ inbounds pass went out of bounds on the far end.

Kentucky (32-6) will miss out on the Final Four for the second straight year. Willis and sophomore Isaac Humphries left the court with towels over their heads, and Fox was the last to leave.

The Wildcats had hoped their talented freshmen would carry them. Bam Adebayo and Fox each had 13 points, and Monk, the Southeastern Conference player of the year, finished with 12.

Never before had the NCAA tournament pitted powerhouse programs that have so dominated March. This South final featured Kentucky with the most tournament wins all-time with 124 and North Carolina just behind with 120.

But this was just the fourth time these blue bloods have met in a regional final. The result was much the same as the others with North Carolina now 3-1 against Kentucky as the Tar Heels avenged a 103-100 loss on Dec. 17 in Las Vegas.

Kentucky led for only 3:57 in a game North Carolina had a big edge on the boards (44-34) and inside where the Tar Heels outscored the Wildcats 34-26.

Officials didn’t help the flow of this game calling fouls left and right, though Kentucky took the brunt with its star trio of freshmen all picking up two fouls each in the half. Fox played only 8 minutes of the first half after picking up his second foul with 12:23 left. Adebayo easily was the most frustrated as he missed all five shots in the half with Kennedy Meeks swatting away one of his attempted dunks.

North Carolina led by as much as nine a couple times before both teams went into shooting slumps. The Tar Heels led 38-33 at halftime.

]]> 0, 26 Mar 2017 23:45:49 +0000
NCAA men’s basketball: South Carolina advances to Final Four Sun, 26 Mar 2017 20:49:05 +0000 NEW YORK — South Carolina added a missing piece to its rich basketball history.

The school of Frank McGuire, Kevin Joyce, Brian Winters, Mike Dunleavy and Alex English is going to the Final Four for the first time.

Add the names Sindarius Thornwell and Frank Martin to the top of the list.

Thornwell’s 26 points and the Gamecocks’ swarming zone defense meant a 77-70 victory over Florida on Sunday and a berth in the Final Four.

Martin, he of the booming voice and terrifying faces, led the seventh-seeded Gamecocks to the biggest victory in school history and now they will face Gonzaga, the No. 1 seed from the West Regional, in the Final Four on Saturday at Glendale, Arizona.

“Anyone that’s in sports dreams of moments like this,” said Martin, who was doused with water and dancing as soon as he entered the locker room. “It’s not something that you start dreaming it the year you win 25 games. You dream it every single day.”

The game was as close as expected until the final minute. There were 14 lead changes and 10 ties. The last lead change came on two free throws by Thornwell with 2:24 left that made it 65-63. Fourth-seeded Florida managed just three field goals over the final 3:55.

Thornwell, the regional MVP, followed the deciding free throws with a nice assist to Maik Kotsar for a 4-point lead. It seemed Thornwell, who scored eight straight points for the Gamecocks, was always where he needed to be including making a steal with 40 seconds left that turned into a 73-68 lead.

“Plays needed to be made down the stretch and I stepped up and made plays,” Thornwell said.

Teammate Duane Notice knew Thornwell would come through.

“He’s capable of doing anything on both sides of the basketball. So it doesn’t surprise me,” he said. “His senior leadership just kicked in. He don’t want us to lose. He don’t want our season to end.”

“Thornwell was just being Thornwell,” Florida Coach Mike White said of the SEC player of the year. “He’s one of the best players in the country.”

PJ Dozier added 17 points for the Gamecocks, Chris Silva had 13 and Kotsar 12.

Justin Leon had 18 points for the Gators who managed a 40-33 halftime lead on 7-for-12 shooting from 3-point range. But that was it. Florida was 0 for 14 from beyond the arc in the second half, a lot like the 0-for-17 effort the Gators had in their first meeting with South Carolina this season.

“We still got our open looks, but they just, I guess they just went farther than what they were in the first half,” Leon said.

South Carolina, which forced Florida into 16 turnovers, finished 23 for 31 from the free throw line, including a 9-for-10 effort from Thornwell.

It was the third straight game the Gamecocks were trailing at the half and went on to win.

“We felt like we was doing the right things. We felt like everything was going good for us, it was just the ball wasn’t falling in, and we just needed a couple more stops,” Thornwell said. “So going into halftime we always just buckled in and locked in on what we needed to do to win and took it one possession at a time.”

]]> 0 Carolina forward Maik Kotsar, 21, is congratulated by forward Chris Silva, 30, after scoring against Florida in the second half of the East Regional on Sunday in New York. South Carolina won 77-70 to reach the Final Four for the first time in school history.Sun, 26 Mar 2017 23:24:45 +0000
NCAA men’s basketball: Oregon upsets No. 1 Kansas Sun, 26 Mar 2017 03:03:06 +0000 KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Tyler Dorsey poured in 27 points, Dillon Brooks added 17 and plucky Oregon ended Kansas’ romp through the NCAA tournament with a 74-60 victory Saturday night that gave the Ducks their first Final Four trip in nearly 80 years.

Dylan Ennis added 12 points for the Ducks (33-5), who took the lead with 16 minutes left in the first half and never trailed again, giving Coach Dana Altman his first trip to the national semifinals.

The Ducks will face the winner of Sunday’s game between North Carolina and Kentucky in Glendale, Arizona.

Player of the year front-runner Frank Mason III had 21 points in his final game for the Jayhawks (31-5), who rolled to the Elite Eight by an average margin of 30 points. But their dream season ended with a thud just 40 minutes from campus on a night where very little went right.

Star freshman Josh Jackson was mired in early foul trouble. Sharp-shooting guard Devonte Graham never got on track. And the swagger that the Big 12 champs showed in humiliating Purdue in the Sweet 16 quickly became a distant memory on a night that belonged to the Pac-12 champions.

Altman had never been to the Final Four in 13 appearances in the NCAA tournament. The last time the Ducks were on the big stage, it was 1939 and Oregon took home the title.

Jordan Bell added 11 points, 13 rebounds and eight blocks for Oregon, while Jackson was held to 10 points for the Jayhawks in what was almost certainly his final college game.

The bus carrying the Ducks to Sprint Center on Saturday passed right by the Power and Light District in downtown Kansas City, where thousands of Jayhawk fans were rallying hours before the tipoff.

In other words, they knew they were facing a de facto road game.

But the torrid shooting of Brooks, Ennis and Dorsey quickly riled up the small section of Oregon fans while deflating the rest of sold-out Sprint Center. And foul trouble that sent Jackson to the bench for much of the first half helped allow the Ducks carve out a comfortable lead.

Dorsey finished the half with back-to-back 3s, including a deep bank shot at the buzzer, as the Ducks pranced to their locker room relishing in a 44-33 advantage.

They kept right on dancing in the second half, beating the Jayhawks at their own game: Getting into transition, passing up good shots for better ones and knocking down 3-pointers.

The Ducks’ lead swelled to 55-37 when Brooks drilled another shot from the perimeter, creating the kind of hole Kansas has rarely faced. And the frustration was on the Jayhawks bench was only compounded every time Jackson or Graham tossed up a shot that clanked hollowly off the iron, their sense of desperation growing with every squandered opportunity.

Jackson didn’t score until midway through the second half. Graham was 0 for 6 beyond the arc.

The Jayhawks eventually began to whittle into the deficit, doing most of the work at the free-throw line, where they were in the bonus with 11 minutes to go. But the Ducks remained poised down the stretch, answering just enough times to keep the crowd from giving Kansas any extra juice.

When Svi Mykhailiuk scored to make it 64-55, Ennis answered with a driving basket. When Mykhailiuk buried a 3 from the corner to make it 66-60 with 2:49 left, Dorsey answered at the other end with another 3-pointer as the shot clock expired.

]]> 0 Benson, left, celebrates with teammate Dylan Ennis during Oregon's 74-60 win over Kansas in the Midwest Region final Saturday night in Kansas City, Mo.Sat, 25 Mar 2017 23:23:20 +0000
NCAA men’s basketball: Gonzaga rolls past Xavier to Final Four Sun, 26 Mar 2017 02:00:48 +0000 SAN JOSE, Calif. — The criticism dogged Gonzaga wherever it went, no matter how much it won. The Bulldogs run up their record by beating up on teams in a weak conference, then always seemed to come up short as the calendar went deep into March.

Overrated no more, Gonzaga is finally headed to the Final Four.

The Bulldogs took the pressure of history head on with a performance worthy of their No. 1 seed, rolling to a dominating 83-59 win over Xavier in the West Region final on Saturday that should silence those critics.

“Just an incredible feeling of elation and satisfaction,” Coach Mark Few said. “It’s been a long, hard journey to get this program here.”

Few and the Bulldogs have won the West Coast Conference tournament 16 times, have been regulars in the NCAA tournament since 1999, and have reached the Sweet 16 eight times.

The Final Four was the biggest missing piece to their resume. The Bulldogs (36-1) claimed their spot in Glendale, Arizona, with a superb all-around game, showing off their usual offensive efficiency while flexing the smothering type of defense that had previously been the chink in their armor.

Gonzaga made 12 of 24 shots from 3-point range after struggling the first three NCAA tournament games. The Bulldogs were No. 1 in defensive efficiency during the regular season and shut down the underdog and 11th-seeded Musketeers (24-14) to become the first WCC team to reach the Final Four in 60 years.

Nigel Williams-Goss scored 23 points while orchestrating Gonzaga’s efficient offense after struggling against West Virginia. Johnathan Williams added 19 points and center Przemek Karnowski, who was still recovering from back surgery a year ago, created open perimeter looks with his deft passing out of the post.

Now the Bulldogs are headed to the desert, where they’ll play South Carolina or Florida in the national semifinals.

“The Final Four doesn’t validate or discredit a season. It’s not an end-all, be-all,” Williams said. “Gonzaga has been a great program and we’re just happy to keep carrying the torch.”

The Musketeers brought their turn-the-page jar of ashes to the NCAA tournament, where they burned through a string of upsets to reach their third Elite Eight and first since 2008.

Their bid for the program’s first Final Four ran into a buzz saw.

Xavier played well offensively early to hang with the Bulldogs, giving super fan Bill Murray and the rest of their supporters a glimmer of hope. Once Gonzaga got rolling, the Musketeers had no answer.

“They’re really good. Sometimes you just lose to a better team,” Xavier coach Chris Mack said. “They’ve proven it all year long.”

The Bulldogs struggled to find an offensive rhythm against West Virginia in the regional semifinals – who doesn’t? – but had it flowing against Xavier.

After hitting 29 percent of its 3-point shots its first three NCAA games, Gonzaga found the range against Xavier, hitting 8 of 13 from the arc in the first half, mostly against the Musketeers’ zone or on kick-outs from Karnowski.

Xavier had a good offensive start, only to hit a dry spell as Gonzaga stretched to lead to 49-39 by halftime.

Halftime did little to slow the Bulldogs, who pushed the lead to 59-42 on 3-pointers by Williams-Goss and Jordan Mathews. Gonzaga kept the machine rolling in the second half, continuing to make shots while its defense prevented the Musketeers from making any kind of run.

“They were just locked in,” said Xavier’s Trevon Bluiett, who had 10 points. “They were a discipline type of team and we just didn’t execute well enough.”

]]> 0, 25 Mar 2017 23:12:56 +0000
Saturday’s Maine college roundup: Fay sparks Bates to men’s lacrosse win Sat, 25 Mar 2017 23:30:52 +0000 WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Charlie Fay of Falmouth scored three of his career-high six goals in the first quarter as Bates earned a 17-11 win over Williams in a New England Small College Athletic Conference men’s lacrosse game Saturday.

Kyle Weber added three goals and three assists for Bates (7-0, 4-0 NESCAC), which is ranked seventh in NCAA Division III.

Williams dropped to 4-1 overall, 2-1 in the conference.

UNE 18, NICHOLS 10: Andrew Curro scored four goals and the Nor’easters (6-2) jumped out to a 9-3 halftime lead against the Bison (5-3) in Dudley, Massachusetts.

Dan Auger contributed two goals and four assists.

ST. JOSEPH’S 10, BECKER 5: Joe O’Reilly scored four goals to lead the Monks (2-3) to a win over Becker (0-7) at Deering High School.

BOWDOIN 14, MIDDLEBURY 13: Daniel Bucknam’s goal with 2:04 left in the second overtime gave the Polar Bears (3-2, 2-1 NESCAC) a win over the Panthers (3-4, 1-3) in Middlebury, Vermont.

Bucknam finished with three goals, including the tying goal with 1:10 left in regulation.

Brett Kujala scored four goals for Bowdoin.

CONNECTICUT COLLEGE 11, COLBY 9: Austin Sayre scored four goals for Colby (4-3, 1-2 NESCAC), but the Camels (4-3, 1-2 NESCAC) used a 6-1 advantage in the third quarter to earn a win in Waterville.


UNE 21, NICHOLS 11: Brooke Kelleher had six goals and eight assists as the Nor’easters (4-4, 1-0 CCC) beat the Bison (1-6, 0-1) in Dudley, Massachusetts, giving Coach Sue Estabrook her 100th career win.

Anna Stowell and Jolena Lampron each added four goals.

ST. JOSEPH’S 14, NORWICH 6: Elyse Caiazzo had five goals and four assists for the Monks (2-2, 1-0 GNAC) in a win over the Cadets (2-2, 0-1) in Northfield, Vermont.

BOWDOIN 11, MIDDLEBURY 10: Annie Glenn’s third goal of the game, with 4:42 left in overtime, capped Bowdoin’s comeback from a three-goal deficit as the Polar Bears (6-1, 3-1 NESCAC) beat top-ranked Middlebury (5-1, 3-1) in Brunswick.

BATES 8, WILLIAMS 7: Avery MacMullen scored the tying goal with five seconds left in regulation and Allison Dewey got the winner with 2:48 remaining in overtime as the Bobcats (5-3, 1-3 NESCAC) edged the Ephs (3-3, 1-3) in Lewiston.

COLBY 19, CONNECTICUT COLLEGE 11: Lexie Perticone and Kendall Smith each scored five goals for Colby (3-3, 2-2 NESCAC) in a victory over the Camels (0-5, 0-3) in New London, Connecticut.


ST. JOHN’S SWEEPS MAINE: Jamie Galazin had four hits, three RBI and scored three times while leading the Red Storm (17-2) to a 3-0, 9-3 sweep of Maine (6-12) in New York.

The Black Bears were held to four hits in Game 1. Maine led 3-1 in the second game after an RBI double by Danny Casals, and sacrifice flies by Tyler Schwanz and Caleb Krebs, but Galazin lined a bases-loaded triple during a seven-run fifth inning.

ST. JOSEPH’S 20, WORCESTER STATE 3: Ben Gravel hit a grand slam, and Max McCoomb and Brett Barbati each had three RBI for the Monks (9-2) against the Lancers (3-7) in Winter Haven, Florida.

SOUTHERN MAINE 14, ST. OLAF 7: Zach Quintal went 3 for 5 and doubled home a run during a five-run fifth inning as the Huskies (6-3) cruised past the Oles (6-6) in Winter Haven, Florida.

Dylan Hapworth collected three hits, including a two-run single, and Andrew Hillier drove in three runs.

BATES SPLITS WITH SALEM STATE: Asher MacDonald rapped an RBI single as Bates (3-4) scored three runs in the seventh inning for a 3-0 victory over the Vikings (8-6) in the second game of a doubleheader in Salem, Massachusetts.

Salem State won the first game, 4-1.


USM SPLITS: A two-run triple by Brooke Cross and a three-base error that allowed three runs to score helped the Huskies (6-5) pull away for an 11-3 win over Buffalo State in Clermont, Florida.

USM lost its second game of the day, 6-3 against MIT. Jasmin Joseph had two hits, two runs and an RBI for the Huskies.

UMAINE SWEEPS SACRED HEART: Maddie Decker hit a two-run homer in the first game and Mary Flowers pitched a four-hitter in Game 2 as the Black Bears (5-17) earned two wins against Sacred Heart (17-12), winning 3-2 and 4-0 in Fairfield, Connecticut.

]]> 0 Sat, 25 Mar 2017 19:58:46 +0000
NCAA women’s basketball: UConn beats UCLA, advances to regional final Sat, 25 Mar 2017 21:22:03 +0000 BRIDGEPORT, Conn. — Napheesa Collier had 27 points and 14 rebounds to help Connecticut beat UCLA 86-71 on Saturday, putting the Huskies in the Bridgeport Regional final.

The victory was the 110th straight for the No. 1 Huskies, who will face 10th-seeded Oregon on Monday night. Oregon pulled off another upset, shocking Maryland to advance to their first Elite Eight.

Buoyed by the success of their Pac-12 rival, the fourth-seed Bruins jumped out to a 9-2 lead over UConn (35-0) before the Huskies scored 17 of the next 19 points. The seven-point deficit matched the Huskies’ largest this season.

UConn led by nine after one quarter and 17 at the half.

The victory tied Geno Auriemma with Pat Summitt for most NCAA tournament victories. The two Hall of Fame coaches have 112 tournament wins.

Jordin Canada had 20 points and 11 assists for UCLA (25-9).

The Bruins cut into a 19-point deficit in the third quarter, making it 62-50 with seven straight points. Monique Billings sandwiched two baskets around a Kari Korver 3-pointer.

But Collier and Saniya Chong combined to score the next 11 points for UConn during an 11-4 burst to put the game away.

Billings finished with 17 points and 16 rebounds.

Gabby Williams had 17 points, nine rebounds and six assists for the Huskies.

OREGON 77, MARYLAND 63: Sabrina Ionescu led five Oregon players in double figures with 21 points and the 10th-seeded Ducks (23-13) continued their improbable run through the tournament with an upset win over third-seeded Maryland (32-3) in Bridgeport, Connecticut.

Fellow freshman Ruthy Hebard added 16 points for the Ducks, who beat second-seeded Duke in the second round. Oregon advanced to the regional final for the first time.

Brionna Jones and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough each scored 16 points for Maryland.

The Maryland offense, which averaged more than 90 points a game to lead the nation, was held to its lowest point total this season.

Oregon Coach Kelly Graves said before the game that his young team that starts three freshmen may not know it is not supposed to be winning. The Ducks became the second No. 10 seed to advance to a regional final, joining the 1991 Lamar team.

Oregon led by nine points at halftime and made seven straight shots late in the third quarter to extend its margin to 59-45.

A steal and basket by Walker-Kimbrough cut the lead to 69-63, capping an 8-0 Maryland run. But Ionescu answered with a basket and the Terrapins were called for an offense foul on the other end, ending the threat.

Maryland, which averaged more than six 3-pointers a game, was 0 for 6 from behind the arc.


SOUTH CAROLINA 100, QUINNIPIAC 58: Kaela Davis, A’ja Wilson and top-seeded South Carolina (30-4) overpowered 12th-seeded Quinnipiac (29-7) from the opening tip, scoring the first 16 points on the way to a win in Stockton, California.

Davis scored 28 points with five 3-pointers, Wilson added 24 and South Carolina’s athleticism and smothering, swarming defense was just too much for Quinnipiac, which beat fifth-seeded Marquette and No. 4 Miami in the first two rounds.

FLORIDA STATE 66, OREGON STATE 53: Ivey Slaughter had a career-high nine steals and contributed 11 points and eight rebounds, and the third-seeded Seminoles (28-6) rallied past No. 2 Oregon State (31-5).

Shakayla Thomas added 12 points and 11 rebounds for Florida State, which will face top-seeded South Carolina (30-4) in the regional final Monday.

]]> 0's Katie Lou Samuelson goes up for a shot against UCLA's Kennedy Burke during UConn's 86-71 win Saturday in a regional semifinal in Bridgeport, Conn. The Huskies, seeking a fifth straight NCAA title, will face Oregon in the regional final Monday night.Sat, 25 Mar 2017 22:22:12 +0000
NCAA men’s basketball: Kentucky moves on with 86-75 win over UCLA Sat, 25 Mar 2017 04:31:27 +0000 MEMPHIS, Tenn. — De’Aaron Fox scored a career-high 39 points as the Kentucky Wildcats beat UCLA 86-75 Friday night in a showdown between two of college basketball’s goliaths for a spot in the South Regional final.

The only No. 2 seed to advance to the Elite Eight, the Wildcats (32-5) won their 14th straight game. Now the NCAA’s winningest program will play another of basketball’s titans Sunday in top-seeded North Carolina with a trip to yet another Final Four on the line.

The third-seeded Bruins (31-5) still have the most national titles. Yet they leave their third Sweet 16 under coach Steve Alford short of the Elite Eight.

Fans lustily booed Kentucky coach John Calipari in his first game in Memphis since leaving in April 2009 for the Wildcats. Calipari’s latest crop of talented freshmen put Kentucky into a regional final for the sixth time in seven years.

Malik Monk scored 21 points for Kentucky, and Dominique Hawkins added 11.

This was the fourth time these powerhouses have met in the past three seasons, and UCLA upset then-No. 1 Kentucky in Rupp Arena with a 97-92 win on Dec. 3.

Fox didn’t play his best in that game, taking 20 shots to get 20 points. That wasn’t a problem with Kentucky fans making the FedExForum as comfortable as Lexington. Fox scored the first eight points for Kentucky and was all over the court forcing turnovers or diving to the floor to force a jump ball.

He outplayed UCLA freshman Lonzo Ball, who finished with 10 points on 4 of 10 shooting. Ball handed out eight assists but also had four turnovers.

Freshman TJ Leaf and Isaac Hamilton each had 17 points for UCLA.

Kentucky shut down the nation’s top scoring team, holding UCLA well below its average of 90.2 points a game and just a point off its season-low.

Maybe it was nerves or so many freshmen, but Kentucky led 36-33 at halftime after a first half that wasn’t close to the fast-paced pace expected.

By the second half, the Wildcats at least were running up and down the court.

Monk also started scoring. The Southeastern Conference player of the year had only seven points in the first half. He hit four of his first five shots, including a pair of 3s, within the first five minutes of the second. He scored off the fast break, and his second 3 with 15:52 gave Kentucky a 50-44 lead.

Thomas Welsh hit a short jumper, then Bryce Alford hit a 3 to pull UCLA within 50-49. That was as close as the Bruins would get as Kentucky pushed its lead to as much as 14 in the final couple minutes.

]]> 0 players celebrate their 86-75 win over UCLA on Friday night in the South Regional semifinal in Memphis, Tenn.Sat, 25 Mar 2017 00:42:37 +0000
Friday’s Maine college roundup: St. Joseph’s sweeps Thomas in baseball Sat, 25 Mar 2017 02:28:40 +0000 WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — Jameson Collins recorded six RBI in the first game and knocked in two more runs in the second game to power St. Joseph’s to a baseball doubleheader sweep Friday against Thomas, 15-7 and 7-0.

The Monks (8-2) trailed 7-2 in the opener before scoring 10 runs in the fourth inning, highlighted by a Collins’ grand slam.

Taylor Black added four hits and three RBI for the Monks.

In the second game, three St. Joseph’s pitchers combined to allow just four hits. Scott Betts hit a solo homer for the Monks.

SOUTHERN MAINE 13, WORCESTER STATE 3: The Huskies (5-3) racked up 18 hits and defeated the Lancers (3-6) in Winter Haven, Florida.

USM scored seven runs in the seventh inning, highlighted by Zach Quintal’s two-run homer.

Sam Stauble recorded three hits and two RBI. Andrew Hillier drove in three runs.

Dalton Rice (1-1) picked up the win, allowing three hits and striking out seven over 61/3 innings.

PLYMOUTH STATE SWEEPS COLBY: The Panthers (6-4) scored three runs in the bottom of the fourth and held on for a 4-3 win over Colby (3-7) in a doubleheader opener in Fort Myers, Florida.

Cam Ruziak and James Salta led the Panthers with two hits each, and Nate Frederick added a solo homer.

Geoff Kayo (2-0) picked up the win, allowing four hits and no earned runs while striking out six over seven innings.

In the second game, Ryan Richard had an RBI single in the third inning and Dylan Gaita pitched a one-hitter for Plymouth State in a 1-0 win.

Bobby Forese (0-2) took the loss despite allowing just one hit and striking out six in six innings.

BOWDOIN SWEEPS KEUKA: Brandon Lopez pitched a complete game in the opener and doubled during the winning rally in the bottom of the seventh inning as the Polar Bears (6-8) recorded a 2-1 win over Keuka (0-4) in the first game of a doubleheader in Auburndale, Florida.

Justin Schacter, a freshman, got his first career victory in Game 2, allowing two runs in five innings as Bowdoin earned a 6-5 victory.

Ryan Dixon was credited with a save.


BOWDOIN WINS TWICE: The Polar Bears (10-5) scored four runs in the top of the ninth to earn an 8-4 win over Fontbonne (2-9) in Clermont, Florida.

Jordan Gowdy scored the go-ahead run on an error, Allison Rutz hit a two-run single and Claire McCarthy added an RBI double.

In its second game of the day, Bowdoin scored nine runs in the bottom of the second and cruised to an 11-1 victory over Worcester State (1-9) in five innings.

Claire McCarthy recorded three hits and five RBI, including two home runs in the second inning.

Emily Griffin (4-1) was the winning pitcher in both games. She allowed two hits in two innings of relief against Fontbonne and threw a four-hitter with six strikeouts against Worcester State.

COLBY LOSES TWICE: Ellie Braun’s sacrifice fly in the eighth inning lifted Elmhurst (6-5) to a 4-3 victory over Colby (4-6) in Clermont, Florida.

Bri Getzloff led Elmhurst with four hits.

Robin Spofford recorded two hits for Colby, and Grace Farnkoff had two RBI.

In its second game, Colby allowed four runs in the first inning and lost 8-0 to New Paltz State (2-7).

Robin Spofford led Colby with two hits.

SOUTHERN MAINE LOSES TWICE: USM (5-4) allowed three runs in the bottom of the eighth and lost 4-3 to Allegheny (3-8) in the first of two games in Clermont, Florida.

The Huskies took the lead in the top of the eighth on an RBI triple by Mary Caron, who scored on a squeeze bunt by Shelby Obert.

But Allegheny rallied in the bottom half, as Jessica Valerino doubled home the tying and winning runs.

In its second game, USM lost 6-2 to Hendrix (12-13).

Kari Sewell led Hendrix with three hits and three RBI.

Mary Caron recorded three hits for USM.


SOUTHERN MAINE 15, CASTLETON 10: Lauren Lessard scored five goals to lead the Huskies (3-1) over the Spartans (0-4) in Gorham.

Sam Campobasso added four goals, and Allison Irish scored three.

Tiffany Danyow led Castleton with four goals.

Samantha Hebb recorded nine saves for Castleton, while Hala Van Nostrand stopped five shots for Southern Maine.


CASTLETON 15, SOUTHERN MAINE 7: The Spartans (3-3) raced out to a 9-2 lead and held on to defeat the Huskies (2-2) in Gorham.

Sam Siegel led Castleton with five goals.

Bryce Randall scored three goals and Zach Bessette made 10 saves for USM.

]]> 0 Fri, 24 Mar 2017 22:59:54 +0000
NCAA men’s basketball: South Carolina, Florida set up SEC showdown Sat, 25 Mar 2017 01:52:40 +0000 NEW YORK — Apparently South Carolina is getting the hang of winning NCAA tournament games.

The Gamecocks, who hadn’t won a tournament game since 1973, got their third this year. One more and it’s on to the Final Four.

“It’s a great win for the program,” Gamecocks guard Duane Notice said. “It’s a good feeling when we continue to make history and I think once we get a taste of it, we kind of get addicted and want to continue doing it.”

Sindarius Thornwell scored 24 points and seventh-seeded South Carolina cruised past third-seeded Baylor 70-50 in the East Regional semifinals Friday night – the Bears’ worst NCAA tournament loss.

The Gamecocks (25-10) were in control from the middle of the first half on, mixing defenses and hustling all over the Madison Square Garden court to advance to the Elite Eight for the first time.

“We have been real good defensively all year. We were on point definitely today,” Gamecocks Coach Frank Martin said.

South Carolina will play again Sunday against Southeastern Conference rival Florida, with a trip to the Final Four at stake.

D.J. Dozier and Chris Silva had 12 points each, and Notice added 11 for the Gamecocks.

Johnathan Motley had 18 points, 12 in the second half, for Baylor (27-8), which just couldn’t get any offense going. The Bears, who were ranked No. 1 for one week this season, missed 11 of their first 13 shots from the field and it didn’t get a whole lot better the entire game. They finished 17 of 56 from the field (30.4 percent), including 3 of 13 from 3-point range.

Thornwell made defending Motley sound easy.

“We stayed aggressive and made his catches hard, and we knew that he likes to score in the paint and let his catches be extended outside, that way he got to take more than one dribble to score; he can’t just turn and shoot over the top of you,” Thornwell said.

Motley said the defense was “extremely tough.”

“That’s what they game-planned for. And they did a great job of executing their game plan. We couldn’t, really couldn’t buy a basket.”

South Carolina opened the second half on a 12-6 run to get the lead to 49-28. The largest lead was 63-41.

Baylor was able to close to 11 points but that was as tight as the game would get.

The Gamecocks went on a 16-0 run that lasted 7:44 in the first half. They turned a 15-15 tie into a 31-15 lead with 2:50 left in the first half. The Bears went 0 of 10 from the field and committed four turnovers in the run. South Carolina’s biggest lead of the half was 37-20 on a 3 by Notice with 29 seconds to play. It was 37-22 at halftime.

The Bears shot just 25 percent from the field in the first half (8 of 32) and committed seven turnovers.

“What they do is a great job of making it difficult and then basketball’s such a game of momentum, and after you get off to a bad start, sometimes it’s hard to get in a rhythm or hard to get in a flow,” Baylor Coach Scott Drew said.

Martin is glad the rest of the country is getting to see the Gamecocks and their intense defense.

“It’s beautiful to us, which is what matters,” he said. “I’m sure there are people who don’t like it. That’s their prerogative.”

South Carolina came into the NCAA tournament having lost 5 of 7.

The Gamecocks’ previous largest margin of victory in the NCAA tournament was 78-70 over Texas Tech in the first round in 1973.

Baylor came into the NCAA tournament having lost 4 of 7.

FLORIDA 84, WISCONSIN 83: Chris Chiozza went the length of the court and hit a running 3-pointer from the top of the circle at the buzzer, giving fourth-seeded Florida (27-8) an overtime victory against No. 8 Wisconsin (27-10).

Wisconsin, which forced overtime when Zak Showalter made an off-balance 3-pointer with 2.1 seconds left in regulation, took an 83-81 lead on a pair of free throws by Nigel Hayes with four seconds remaining in overtime.

With no timeouts left, the Gators inbounded to Chiozza and the point guard stopped at the arc and dropped in the winner.

Kevaughn Allen scored 35 points for Florida, which wiped out an 11-point first-half deficit by turning up the pressure on Wisconsin.

The Badgers, though, erased a 12-point deficit in the last 4:15 of regulation. Hayes finished with 22 points and Ethan Happ scored 21 to lead Wisconsin, which knocked out defending champion Villanova in the previous round.

]]> 0 forward Johnathan Motley, left, looks to pass against South Carolina forward Chris Silva during the first half of South Carolina's 70-50 win Friday in New York.Sat, 25 Mar 2017 01:09:24 +0000
NCAA women’s basketball: Mississippi State tops Washington Sat, 25 Mar 2017 01:35:41 +0000 OKLAHOMA CITY — It didn’t matter that Mississippi State center Teaira McCowan had scored just six points through three quarters.

Her teammates told her to take over and she listened. She scored 20 of her career-high 26 points in the fourth quarter, and the Bulldogs defeated Washington 75-64 on Friday night to advance to the Elite Eight for the first time.

“They said, ‘T, you’ve got to dominate,”‘ McCowan said. “Just taking that in, listening to my teammates, knowing I had to step up, take my team, like, further. That’s when I had the look in my eye like, ‘Nobody can stop you.”‘

McCowan, a 6-foot-7 sophomore who entered the game averaging just over eight points per game, made 9 of 10 field goals in the final 10 minutes. She scored 11 points in the first 2:33 of the fourth quarter to turn a two-point deficit into a seven-point lead for the second-seeded Bulldogs (32-4).

McCowan also had 12 rebounds and a career-high six blocks, and now the Bulldogs have reached a new level. Mississippi State Coach Vic Schaefer, whose team will face top-seeded Baylor in the regional final, said his team is getting overlooked.

“They’re not getting a lot of credit right now,” he said. “That’s fine. You know what? We’ll fly under the radar the whole way if we have to.”

Washington’s Kelsey Plum, the NCAA’s all-time scoring leader, had 29 points on 10-for-25 shooting in her final college game.

“They shadowed me with the big player,” Plum said. “They switched plays, hedged screens. Credit to them. They had a great defensive game plan. You know, I didn’t make shots, just throughout the game, which I usually do.”

Schaefer said slowing her down was a chore, but Dominique Dillingham, an All-SEC defensive player, had a key role.

“I don’t know when the last time she’s (Plum) been held to (10 for 25), or 40 percent, whatever it was,” Schaefer said. “We made her work for everything.”

Chantel Osahor added 17 points and 11 rebounds in her final game for third-seeded Washington (29-6), which reached the Final Four last season.

Mississippi State led 38-29 at halftime. Plum scored 10 points in the third quarter, and the defense picked up to help Washington grab a 50-48 lead before McCowan took over.

Plum tearfully reflected on her career afterward.

“I’m so grateful to have been able to go to the University of Washington,” she said. “You know, when I first came on campus, I had big dreams, dreams for our program, dreams as an individual. A lot of them came true.”

It was the third straight NCAA tournament appearance for Washington under Coach Mike Neighbors, and the first time the team reached the Sweet 16 in back-to-back years. Guards Aarion McDonald and Natalie Romeo are slated to return next year. Katie Collier, the other starter besides Plum and Osahor, is a senior.

Mississippi State’s 2015-16 season ended with a 60-point loss to Connecticut in the Sweet 16, an experience Schaefer said helped prepare his team for this season.

BAYLOR 97, LOUISVILLE 63: Nina Davis scored 21 points to help top-seeded Baylor (33-3) rout No. 4 Louisville (29-8).

Beatrice Mompremier and Alexis Prince each added 14 points for Baylor. Asia Durr scored 21 points for Louisville.

]]> 0 State center Teaira McCowan celebrates during the second half the Bulldogs' 75-64 win over Washington in the NCAA tournament Friday in Oklahoma City.Sat, 25 Mar 2017 00:09:58 +0000
NCAA men’s basketball: North Carolina routs Butler Sat, 25 Mar 2017 01:31:32 +0000 MEMPHIS, Tenn. — North Carolina expects strong offensive performances from junior leaders Justin Jackson and Joel Berry II, but Luke Maye provided an unexpected bonus Friday night.

Berry scored 26 points and Jackson had 24, but it was the first career double-double from Maye – 16 points and 12 rebounds – that helped set the tone early and send the top-seeded Tar Heels to a 92-80 victory against Butler in the NCAA tournament.

“He has the ability to shoot the ball. He has the ability to rebound the ball,” North Carolina Coach Roy Williams said of the sophomore forward and former walk-on. “But the reason Luke is going to be successful is what he’s got in his brain and in his heart.”

Carolina reached the Elite Eight for the 27th time.

Maye’s early jolt off the bench helped Carolina (30-7) build a first-half lead to as many as 20 as the Tar Heels benefited from accuracy, connecting on 54.4 percent of their shots while Butler was at 43.5 percent.

“We knew we were going to have to make some perimeter shots to give ourselves a chance,” Butler Coach Chris Holtmann said. “They were going to give us some clean looks and we were going to have to make them. We just didn’t.”

Andrew Chrabascz led the fourth-seeded Bulldogs (25-9) with 21 points and seven rebounds, and Kelan Martin finished with 16 points for Butler, which struggled shooting early and didn’t recover.

“We let them get into a rhythm, especially in the beginning,” Chrabascz said. “When you let a team like that feel good about themselves, it’s tough to get them out of that with how many talented guys they have on their team. And also they answered every run that we had.”

The Tar Heels broke out of the gate early, building a double-digit lead and really weren’t threatened after halftime, although Butler did get within 10 at one point. Carolina, which let Arkansas claw back before defeating the Razorbacks 72-65 last weekend, weren’t going to let that happen again.

“We got by with very little room against Arkansas,” Jackson said. “We knew it was a game of runs. Butler is a good team and they keep on coming at you. For us, we tried to stay focused and stay poised.”

North Carolina used early accurate shooting to build a 16-point lead as the Tar Heels connected on 13 of their first 18 shots, including missing only 1 of 7 from outside the arc.

While Butler managed to whittle the deficit to single digits on a couple of occasions before halftime, North Carolina simply answered with another rally, helping the Tar Heels carry a 52-36 lead into the break.

KENTUCKY 86, UCLA 75: Kentucky advanced to the Elite Eight behind a big night from freshman De’Aaron Fox.

The second-seeded Wildcats beat third-seeded UCLA in the South Region semifinals in Memphis, Tennessee.

And Fox scored a season-high 39 points to get the better of UCLA’s Lonzo Ball in a matchup of star freshmen point guards. Kentucky will play North Carolina on Sunday.

]]> 0 Carolina Coach Roy Williams reacts to play against Butler in the second half of the Tar Heels' 92-80 win over Butler in a South Regional semifinal game Friday in Memphis, Tenn.Sat, 25 Mar 2017 00:08:19 +0000
NCAA women’s basketball: Notre Dame rolls to Elite Eight Sat, 25 Mar 2017 01:27:35 +0000 LEXINGTON, Ky. — Notre Dame delivered on one promise by Coach Muffet McGraw to look different without injured Brianna Turner, shifting from lobbing the ball inside to their star forward to throwing up perimeter shots with success.

The strategy certainly suited sophomore guard Arike Ogunbowale, who thrived from all over the court as she helped the top-seeded Irish maintain their dominance against Ohio State.

Ogunbowale scored a career-high 32 points, Lindsay Allen added 16 and Notre Dame easily beat Ohio State 99-76 on Friday night in the Sweet 16 of the NCAA tournament.

Playing five days after losing star forward Brianna Turner to a season-ending left knee injury, the Irish posted their third-highest output this season while also scoring the most points against the Buckeyes. Ogunbowale seemed almost unstoppable in making 11 of 22 from the field to top her previous high by two points.

“It’s evident that we don’t have Bri in the paint, so it’s spaced out a little bit more,” said Ogunbowale, who made four 3s. “Coach told us to shoot our shot and be confident in what we were trying to do, and that’s what we did.”

The Irish also got 14 points and a career-high nine rebounds from freshman forward Erin Boley, a Kentucky native who started in Turner’s place. Notre Dame tied one season best with 12 3-pointers on a season-high 24 attempts and made 19 of 20 free throws for a thorough win.

Notre Dame (33-3) used a 30-point third quarter to build an 80-65 lead that wasn’t seriously threatened as it advanced to the regional final Sunday against No. 2 seed Stanford.

“Our young players just really stepped up in such a big game,” McGraw said. “I thought Erin played the best game of the season, (and) Arike had a career high in a huge game without Bri. It was a struggle for us this week trying to overcome that, and I’m just so proud of the resilience of this team.”

Kelsey Mitchell had 18 points for No. 5 seed Ohio State (28-7), which was outrebounded 42-30 and outscored 38-34 inside.

The Buckeyes initially shot well and handled their business inside but couldn’t match Notre Dame’s pace and aggression, especially on the boards. While their bench had a 34-13 scoring edge, they couldn’t make up for the Irish’s collective effort.

STANFORD 77, TEXAS 66: Erica McCall had 23 points and 12 rebounds, Karlie Samuelson scored 15 points and second-seeded Stanford (31-5) advanced to the regional final.

Ariel Atkins scored 18 points for the third-seeded Longhorns (25-9).

]]> 0 Dame's Arike Ogunbowale scored 32 points to lead the Irish to a 99-76 victory over Ohio State and a berth in the Elite Eight, on Friday in Lexington, Ky.Sat, 25 Mar 2017 00:09:23 +0000
Thursday’s Maine college roundup: UMaine player involved in fight will not receive further discipline Fri, 24 Mar 2017 02:55:17 +0000 University of Maine men’s basketball player Wes Myers will not face further disciplinary action from the school after he broke a teammate’s jaw in a locker room fight on Feb. 14.

Myers, a junior, was suspended from the team after the incident. Coach Bob Walsh said Myers is still on the team and is eligible to participate in spring workouts, “but if we had a game tomorrow he would not play. … Wes has the opportunity to regain the trust of his teammates and coaching staff.”

Margaret Nagle, the university’s public relations director, said Myers and other players involved in the skirmish were allowed to stay in school after undergoing “the student conduct process,” which includes “educational interventions designed to promote their development and good citizenship, as well as change the concerning behavior.”


ST. JOSEPH’S 9, HUSSON 2: Michael Finn and Matt Donnell each scored twice as the Monks (1-3) notched six unanswered goals in the final 29 minutes to pull away from Husson (1-3) at Deering High in Portland.

Finn led St. Joseph’s with four goals. Tyler Retalic added two goals and an assist, and Devin Fitzpatrick also scored.

Jacob Boothby netted both of the Eagles’ goals.

Monks goalie Connor Trainor stopped 10 shots.

Husson’s Matt Martin registered 17 saves.


BOWDOIN 14, WILLIAMS 5: Kara Finnerty had four goals, Allison Williams scored three, and the Polar Bears (5-1, 2-1 NESCAC) beat Williams (3-2, 1-5) at Brunswick.

Kelsey Gallagher set the tone for Bowdoin, scoring 13 seconds into the opening period. Williams and Finnerty followed with goals to increase the lead to 3-0. The Polar Bears extended the lead to 6-1. Williams got to within 6-4 before Bowdoin put it away with six straight goals.


COLBY 2, UNION 0: Julia Saul took a perfect game into the sixth inning before settling for a one-hitter as the Mules beat Union (2-8) in Clermont, Florida.

Grace Farnkoff singled home Katie McLaughlin for a 1-0 Colby lead in the third.

McLaughlin led off the fifth inning with a double and scored on Robin Spofford’s single for the other run.

Kelsey Hartsoe’s pinch double in the sixth was Union’s only hit.

CALVIN 9, COLBY 8: Kaley Frank’s RBI single in the bottom of the eighth inning gave the Knights (8-4) a win after Colby (4-4) had rallied for five two-out runs in the seventh to force extra innings in its second game Thursday at Clermont.

BOWDOIN 4, ST. CATHERINE 2: Allison Rutz and Claire McCar each hit a two-run single for Bowdoin (9-5) in the bottom of the fifth, and Samantha Roy pitched a three-hitter in a win over the Wildcats (10-6) at Clermont, Florida.

Bowdoin defeated Clarkson, 5-0, earlier in the day.


DARTMOUTH 9, USM 1: Kyle Holbrook singled home two runs and scored a third as the Big Green (8-5) scored four times in the top of the first to take control against Southern Maine (4-3) in Auburndale, Florida.

The Huskies scored in the third, when Dylan Hapworth rapped a two-out single, moved to second on an error and scored on Kip Richard’s single.

WOOSTER 4, COLBY 0: Michael Houdek pitched a four-hitter, struck out 10 and walked one for Wooster (9-1) in a win over the Mules (3-5) at Fort Myers, Florida.

Jake Fling had four hits for the Fighting Scots, including a two-run single during a four-run third inning.

Ryder Arsenault had a double for the Mules.

]]> 0 Thu, 23 Mar 2017 22:55:17 +0000
Black Bears hope to measure up at Pro Day Fri, 24 Mar 2017 00:25:07 +0000 ORONO — Joe Harasymiak is looking for more wall space in the hallway outside his head football coach’s office at the University of Maine.

Specifically, he needs more space to put up photos of the former UMaine players who have gone on to the NFL. While six photos hang there, Harasymiak said he still has three to put up. And maybe even more next year.

The Black Bears held their annual Pro Day on Thursday morning, with nine players working out for two NFL scouts (New England Patriots and Indianapolis) and one from the Canadian Football League (Saskatchewan Roughriders).

They were measured – everything from the size of their hands to their wingspan – and tested – bench press, vertical jump, 40-yard dash, broad jump, agility drills – for roughly two hours, each hoping to produce a result that could lead to a private workout. The results of the Pro Day workout, as well as videos, are available for any team to see.

“I’ve been working out like mad for today,” said quarterback Dan Collins.

Every one of them admitted to having something similar to game-day butterflies. “There’s definitely pressure going into it, wanting to perform your best,” said offensive lineman Max Andrews. “As soon as you start doing it, the pressure goes away and you’re doing what you were born to do.”

Defensive lineman Pat Ricard, a first-team all-Colonial Athletic Association selection, was the big attraction this year. And he didn’t disappoint.

The 6-foot-3 Ricard, who graduated in December with a degree in economics, spent six weeks working out in Indianapolis and came in 15 pounds heavier than he was when UMaine’s season ended in November, weighing 300 pounds.

He was most impressive in the bench press, lifting 225 pounds a personal- best 33 times. His vertical jump was 33.5 inches and his best 40-dash time was 5.0 seconds. “I’m definitely pleased,” said Ricard.

Not knowing where he would play on the defensive line – Ricard played both inside and on the edge for the Black Bears – Ricard knew he was going to have to put on weight, but he also wanted to show he could still move well.

“I think it was just more showing them I am 300 pounds and I move a lot better than most 300-pound guys,” said Ricard. “I think it was just (about) showing my athleticism mostly.”

Ricard, Collins and Andrews were joined by wide receiver Jordan Dunn, linebacker Christophe Mulumba Tshimanga, tight end Jeremy Salmon and punter James DeMartini from last fall’s 6-5 team. Also working out were former Black Bears Damarr Aultman and Sherrod Baltimore.

They were each looking to make the type of impression Trevor Bates made last year. The Westbrook native drew 10 scouts to Maine’s Pro Day a year ago, was drafted by the Colts and is now with the Super Bowl champion Patriots.

Ricard reached out to Bates to talk about how to approach the Pro Day and said Maine’s track record could help. Since joining the CAA in 2007, Maine has had four players drafted by the NFL. Over the last 16 years, Maine has had 27 players either drafted or signed as a free agent by NFL teams.

“Since I’ve been here, there’s been a handful of guys who have gone on, a couple drafted,” said Ricard. “It’s nice to know that there are guys who did it before I came here.”

Mike Derice, the Colts scout, is a frequent visitor to Maine because he likes what he sees in its players.

“They work hard, they’re tough and they do things right,” he said. “I can live with that.”

Harasymiak said this was a big day for the program. “I think it’s exciting and it’s humbling,” he said. “Some of these guys … I remember recruiting Ricard, just what he looked like then and what he looked like now, not that they didn’t have potential … but they grow so much. It’s such a rewarding day for us as coaches and (for) the university.”

Every player came in with the hopes of continuing their career, wherever that may be.

The Saskatchewan scout, Rich McKenna, was here because of Mulumba Tshimanga, who is from Laval, Quebec. The CFL draft, which is exclusive to Canadians, is on May 7, a week after the NFL draft. Mulumba Tshimanga is projected to be a high pick.

Mulumba Tshimanga spent six weeks training in Knoxville, Tennessee, at Petrone Training, where one of his training partners was LSU running back Leonard Fournette, who is expected to be a top-10 pick in the NFL draft.

“He’s a good kid,” said Mulumba Tshimanga. “It’s good to work out with someone like that because he pushes you.”

Mulumba Tshimanga, who graduated in December with a degree in psychology, lost 10 pounds in his workouts to become leaner and faster.

“I’m very satisfied with what I did,” he said. “This is a stressful process. It’s something you want to do, you can’t wait till the day comes and … my adrenaline pumped in and my numbers were better than I expected.”

Mulumba Tshimanga had 22 reps on the bench press, a vertical leap of 34 inches and a 40 time of 4.88.

Dunn probably caught someone’s attention. Among the senior players, he had the day’s best time in the 40 (4.59), the best vertical jump (36.5 inches) and best broad jump (10 feet, 2 inches).

In the end, said Ricard, the goal was the same for everyone there.

“I just want to keep playing,” he said. “I don’t want to get a job, I just want to keep playing somewhere.”

UPDATE: This story was updated at 11:20 a.m. on March 24 to correct the spelling of Sherrod Baltimore’s name.

Mike Lowe can be contacted at 791-6422 or:

Twitter: MikeLowePPH

]]> 0, 24 Mar 2017 11:22:41 +0000
Five players to transfer from UMaine women’s basketball team Thu, 23 Mar 2017 17:47:07 +0000 The promising future of the University of Maine women’s basketball team is now in doubt after the school announced Thursday that five players have been granted releases from the program. The players – from Spain, Croatia and Italy – will transfer from Maine after the spring semester.

The group includes four from this season’s touted freshman class – Naira Caceres and Laia Sole from Spain, and Anita Kelava and Tihana Stojsavljevic from Croatia. The other transfer is sophomore Isabel Hernandez Pepe of Italy.

The freshman class helped Maine reach the America East championship game earlier this month, with hopes they would bring the Black Bears to greater heights in the following years.

But now, with the transfers and the graduation of two seniors – including leading scorer Sigi Koizar – Maine’s roster has only seven players.

Maine has signed one recruit for next year. But the Black Bears need a lot more, and the next period to sign new players is April 12. That does not leave a lot of time to find replacements.

Maine officials would not comment. Neither Athletic Director Karlton Creech nor associate head coach Amy Vachon returned calls Thursday.

Vachon has been directing the team since Jan. 6, when head coach Richard Barron took an indefinite medical leave.

In Maine’s press release announcing the transfers, Vachon said, “We would like to thank these five student-athletes for their contributions to our program over their time at the University of Maine and wish them well in their future endeavors.”

The press release ended with “The University of Maine has no further comment at this time.”

The biggest uncertainty is the status of Barron. University officials confirmed that Barron has visited the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota, but provided no updates or timetable on Barron’s return.

“Once we have more information, we will share it,” said Tyson McHatten, assistant athletic director for media relations.

With so many questions about the head coach, it may be difficult to recruit. And it is not known whether the coaching uncertainty was a factor in the players’ transferring.

Sole was the second-leading scorer on the team, averaging 9.4 points. She was usually the first player off the bench and after the season received the America East “Sixth Player” award. Reached through social media on Thursday, Sole addressed the situation.

“I did not find what I was looking for. I wish the best to the program because their fans are amazing,” said Sole, who added she was uncertain where she will go next.

None of the other players could be reached for comment.

Sole, Caceres and Kelava were interviewed earlier this year for a story on Maine’s international students. All said they came to Maine because they felt comfortable with the program, which felt like a family, especially with eight freshmen.

“I love my teammates. And Coach Amy is special,” Sole said at the time.

Sole also said in the earlier interview that Maine gave her “a good vibe” and that was important because her older sister, Judith, came to the U.S. to play for Robert Morris University, but later transferred to Duquesne. “I was afraid that would happen with me,” Sole said last month.

Caceres and Kelava both said a major reason they came to Maine was because of their recruiting experiences. Vachon had visited Kelava (and Stojsavljevic) in Croatia. Barron visited Caceres and Sole in Spain.

“Coach Barron was very convincing,” Caceres said. “He came to my house. That was very important.”

The addition of this freshman class was vital to Maine. Of the eight players the Black Bears used the most during the year, six were freshmen – including Kelava, Sole and Caceres – along with Koizar and redshirt sophomore Tanesha Sutton. Sole, 6-foot-2, and the 6-3 Kelava were two of the top three post players.

Kelava started often, averaging 3.4 points and 2.3 rebounds a game, while amassing 32 blocks. Caceres was another regular, having started eight games (3.1 points). Neither Stojsavljevic (93 total minutes) nor Hernandez (60) played much.

Playing time may have been an issue – even the three regulars had inconsistent contributions – as Vachon tried to find the best combinations.

Kelava started, but still only averaged 15.5 minutes a game (lowest among the regulars). In the America East tournament, Kelava played two solid games, averaging 30 minutes in each, but was back to 16 minutes in the final.

Sole seemed to be a star in the making, but her playing time dwindled, down to 17 minutes a game in the tournament.

Caceres, a 6-foot guard, started at the beginning of the year, including the opening win over Purdue, in which she played 34 minutes and scored six points. But she was not a factor at the end, and played eight minutes in the three tournament games.

Stojsavljevic, a 6-2 forward, showed some ability but could not crack the regular rotation. Hernandez, who also played little her freshman season, appeared destined to be a bench player.

With the departures and graduations, Maine still has four regulars – Sutton (7.4-point average), freshman guards Blanca Millan (8.6) and Julie Brosseau (6.8) and freshman forward Fanny Wadling (5.0).

Other players on the roster are junior forward Kirsten Johnson (27 games. 4.9 minutes a game), redshirt freshman guard Maddy McVicar (13 games, 2.9 minutes a game) and freshman guard Sierra Tapley, who did not play and will be a redshirt freshman next year. Maine signed one recruit during the early signing period – guard Kelly Fogarty of Walpole, Massachusetts.

]]> 0 Sole, shown playing against Darmouth during in game in December, is one of five players who will transfer from the University of Maine. Sole was the second-leading scorer on the team with 9.4 points a game. (Kevin Bennett photo)Thu, 23 Mar 2017 19:34:53 +0000
Wednesday’s college roundup: USM wins twice in baseball Thu, 23 Mar 2017 02:46:15 +0000 AUBURNDALE, Fla. — Dylan Hapworth had three hits with three RBI in the opener, Matt Bender drove in two runs in the second game, and Jake Dexter saved both games of a doubleheader for the University of Southern Maine baseball team against Wisconsin-Stevens Point on Wednesday.

The Huskies won each game 6-4 to improve to 4-2, while the Pointers dropped to 4-5.

Hapworth hit an RBI double during a three-run first inning and broke a 3-3 tie with a two-run double in the eighth.

In the second game, Bender drove in a run on a fielder’s choice in the third to put the Huskies ahead 4-1, and added an RBI double in the sixth for the final run.

Dexter, who entered the second game with one out and a runner on first in the ninth, struck out the first batter he faced and induced a ground ball to end it. Dexter also pitched the ninth inning of the opener.

COLBY, ST. JOSEPH’S (N.Y.) SPLIT: The Mules (3-4) won the opener 3-1 before falling to the Golden Eagles (6-4) 7-6 in the second game at Fort Myers, Florida.

Ryan Quinn and Andrew Della Volpe hit consecutive doubles, and Keenan Iuilano followed with a single as the Mules scored two runs in the second inning of the first game.

Tyler Mulberry added an RBI single in the sixth.

In the second game, the Golden Eagles scored three runs in the first and four in the fourth.

Ryder Arsenault had three hits, and Mulberry, Quinn and Iuilano each had two hits for Colby. Iuilano had two RBI.

WISCONSIN-OSHKOSH SWEEPS BOWDOIN: Dylan Ott had three hits with five RBI in the 10-0 opener, and Zack Radde and Tyler Kozlowski each had two hits with two RBI in the second game which was a 6-1 win for the Titans (5-4).

Sawyer Billings had two hits in the opener and Evann Dumont-LaPointe added three hits in the second game for the Polar Bears (4-8).


BABSON 1, SOUTHERN MAINE 0: Brooke Stock pitched a three-hitter with five strikeouts and Victoria Casey doubled home the only run in the sixth inning as the Beavers (6-3) shut out the Huskies (4-3) at Clermont, Florida.

Alexis Brown scattered five hits over the first five innings for USM.

SOUTHERN MAINE 3, SUNY-NEW PLATZ 1: Amber Kelly tossed a three-hitter with four strikeouts, and Shelby Obert and Taylor Lux each drove in a run for the Huskies (5-3) against the Hawks (1-7) at Clermont, Florida.

The Huskies scored their runs in the first inning on singles by Obert and Lux, and an error that scored Obert.


BOWDOIN 14, ENDICOTT 5: Hannah Hirschfield and Allison Williams had three goals, and the Polar Bears (4-1) built an 11-2 lead in the first half against the Gulls (3-3) at Brunswick.

Kara Finnerty and Kelsey Gallagher each had two goals for the Polar Bears, who scored the first 10 goals.

Meghan Lennon had three goals for Endicott.

BRIDGEWATER STATE 12, UNIVERSITY OF NEW ENGLAND 10: The Bears (3-4) scored four of the final five goals to beat the Nor’easters (3-4) at Bridgewater, Massachusetts.

Brooke Kelleher scored with 18:48 left to put UNE ahead, 9-8.

Elizabeth Ettridge tied it less than a minute later, before the Bears went ahead for good on consecutive goals by Gabby Reinold. Ettridge and Reinold each had three goals.

Anna Stowell led UNE with four goals. Korinne Bohunsky and Kelleher had two apiece.


SOUTHERN MAINE 13, BECKER 5: Bryce Randall and Sam Hornblower each had three goals for the Huskies (2-1) against the Hawks (0-6) at Leicester, Massachusetts.

Drew Shane and Paul Leonardo finished with two goals apiece for USM, which outscored Becker 6-1 in the third quarter for an 11-3 lead.


UNIVERSITY OF NEW ENGLAND: Sophomore forward Brady Fleurent of Biddeford was named one of the seven finalists for the Sid Watson Award, given annually to the best NCAA Division III men’s hockey player in the country.

Fleurent, who had 18 goals and 35 assists, led the nation with 2.04 points and 1.35 assists per game.

The winner will be announced Thursday night.

]]> 0 Wed, 22 Mar 2017 22:46:15 +0000
Commentary: Why is anyone still listening to Bobby Knight? Thu, 23 Mar 2017 00:14:02 +0000 Twelve days ago, shortly after his team pulled out a dramatic overtime win in the semifinals of the inaugural Ivy League basketball tournament, Princeton Coach Mitch Henderson was waiting to be called to the podium when he caught my eye.

I waved and mouthed, “Congratulations.” He nodded, then urgently waved me over. I couldn’t imagine what he wanted, but thought he might want to share something that would help my column. I walked over and we shook hands.

“So what’s the deal with your guy Knight?” he asked.

A little more than 24 hours earlier, Bob Knight had told Dan Patrick during a radio interview that he wished all the people who had been in charge at Indiana when he was fired had died or would die soon.

I’ve been asked the same question countless times.

The first person to tell me about Knight’s remarkably tasteless comment was Dan Dakich, who played for Knight, then coached under him for 16 years. That means he saw him in action for 20 years, which should make him just about impervious to even the most senseless of Knight’s outbursts.

And yet, when I walked toward the media seating for the Big Ten quarterfinals, Dakich almost tackled me.

“Did you hear what Knight said?” Dakich asked.

I rolled my eyes. Honestly, at this point, I’m not sure why anyone cares what Knight says about anything – whether it’s Donald Trump or Indiana basketball or that team from the SEC. He’s a bitter, angry 76-year-old man who has never really enjoyed anything in life other than getting the last word.

Dakich had the interview transcript in his phone. He showed me the relevant passage.

“I wish I could say it’s unbelievable,” I said finally, “but, knowing Knight, it’s not.”

I haven’t been around Knight on a regular basis since the long winter of 1985-86 I spent with him in Bloomington, reporting what would become “A Season on the Brink: A Year with Bob Knight and the Indiana Hoosiers.” He didn’t speak to me for eight years after that – remarkably because he was upset that I included a tiny fraction of his voluminous profanity.

I owe Knight a debt I can never repay. The access he gave me that season was complete and absolute. He never backed away. The book’s success is largely due to that access and to Knight being such a fascinating, dichotomous figure.

I knew when I sent Knight an advance copy that his response wasn’t going to be, “Hey John, great job.” That’s not who he is: He wants everyone in his life on the defensive, backpedaling, intimidated. As he once said to Steve Alford, “Steve, I’m never going to talk to you about your shooting because I know you can shoot. But your defense (stinks) and that’s what you’re going to hear about from me.”

What’s sad about Knight is he pushes away those close to him. He and Mike Krzyzewski didn’t talk for 10 years – until Krzyzewski called and said, “Coach, I wouldn’t be going into the Hall of Fame if I hadn’t played and coached for you. You’re the only person who should give my induction speech.”

Even Knight couldn’t resist.

But he could resist phone calls from members of his 1976 team, the last team to go undefeated in college basketball. Several called to plead with him to return last year for a 40th anniversary celebration at Indiana. No way, Knight said, was he ever returning. So he didn’t go. Guess who suffered the most? Robert M. Knight.

That was when Dakich decided he finally was done with him. The 1976 team “made him,” he said. “They put him in a unique place, and they put up with all his BS to do it. Forget any grudges against Indiana – which are silly at this point – he owed it to them to be there.”

Knight’s not going back to Indiana. He has gone to Purdue – to again make his point about Indiana – just as he made a point of letting the world know he spent time with Dean Smith in Chapel Hill in the summer of 1992 but never called Krzyzewski because Krzyzewski beat him in the Final Four that spring.

After Knight retired from Texas Tech in mid-season in 2008, he was hired with much fanfare by ESPN. The network wanted him to be a star. Knight wanted to be a star but didn’t want to do the things TV analysts are asked to do: show up for production meetings; go to shoot-arounds; talk to coaches about their teams. It was beneath him. Bob Knight asking a coach for a few minutes of his time?

No way.

And so, ESPN slowly moved him down the announcing ladder before finally giving up and firing him two years ago. Now Knight is back in Lubbock, hunting and fishing, virtually alone.

Every once in a while, someone gives him a chance to show up in public: Trump last summer, Patrick two weeks ago. Knight does it because he’s still trying to get in the last word.

The court at Indiana should have his name on it. He should return to the cheers of the multitudes. He should enjoy everything he accomplished in coaching and revel in the relationships he built.

Instead, he goes on the radio and wishes people dead. He can’t help himself. He’s still trying to have the last word when it came and went years ago.

All of which is almost unbearably sad for anyone whose life he touched – mine among them. Many will say, “It’s just Knight being Knight.”

That’s the saddest thing of all.

]]> 0 Wed, 22 Mar 2017 20:54:57 +0000
Scheduling games is a challenging process for UMaine Wed, 22 Mar 2017 08:00:00 +0000 ORONO — Mike Coutts wanted to do something different than just go down to Florida for the opening games of the University of Maine’s softball season this year.

The Black Bears’ senior class was the first that Coutts and his wife Lynn, now a senior associate director of athletes at the university, had recruited. “We wanted to do something special,” he said.

So the Black Bears went west instead of south. Maine’s opening 20-game trip started in Arizona on March 3, then moved on to Colorado, Utah and Montana before ending Sunday.

“This was a lot of work compared to the ones we’ve had in the past,” said Mike Coutts, in his second year as head coach of the Black Bears. “Because in order to make it work, we had to get guarantees.”

For football and basketball teams, that usually involves a cash guarantee. For Coutts and the softball team, it involved hotel rooms.

“Of the 18 days we will be gone, we’ve got 13 nights in a hotel paid for,” he said before the trip, estimating a savings of $15,000. “So even though we’re going through four states, it’s costing us less money than if we were to go to Florida and stay there for two weeks.”

That’s because Florida schools won’t provide guarantees, he said. He added it took a lot of phone calls and emails to pull the schedule together. But that’s typical of most college athletic schedules.

“It’s ongoing,” said Red Gendron, the Maine men’s hockey coach, of putting together his team’s schedule. “Hours and hours. Always.”

“It’s like recruiting,” said Richard Barron, the Black Bears’ women’s basketball coach, before he took a medical leave of absence in early January. “You’re always doing it. You look at it every day.”

Maine’s schedule-makers have a challenge that many others don’t. As the northernmost NCAA Division I school on the East Coast, it’s not easy to find teams willing to travel to Orono or Bangor (where the men’s and women’s basketball teams play home games).

“It’s obviously a challenge for us here to schedule certain teams nonleague,” said Gendron, whose team recently finished an 11-24-4 season. “They’re happy if you’re willing to come to them but less enthralled for them to come back. If they don’t want to come back, then the conversation ends.”

Gendron said he tries to work on his schedule at least two seasons out. And it’s not easy. Sometimes teams pull out of contracts. Sometimes Hockey East changes the number of games it plays, such as the next two seasons when conference games will expand from 22 to 24.

“Building a schedule is a great challenge,” said Gendron.

Bob Walsh, the men’s basketball coach at UMaine, discovered that almost as soon as he was named head coach in 2014. He came from Rhode Island College and immediately reached out to a friend, Mike Martin at Brown. “Mike said he’d think about it,” Walsh said of playing at Maine. “But he said, ‘To tell you the truth, I’m closer to Rider in New Jersey than I am to you.’ ”

The schools agreed on a home-and-home series, and Brown played in Bangor during the 2015-16 season. But that’s how UMaine’s location can impact a school’s decision to go there. “When you look at a school like Brown, or Bryant, or Sacred Heart or teams in central Connecticut, or a Holy Cross, they have a number of options to pick from of teams within an hour-and-a-half of them,” said Walsh.

Most coaches consider many factors when looking for nonleague teams to add to their schedule – including whether they can win. As Walsh said, “You want to find some games where you can be successful … You don’t build a championship culture through losing games.”

For smaller Division I programs like Maine, there’s also a financial component. As Coutts looked for ways to cut his budget on the softball team’s opening trip, basketball and football coaches look to bring in money to supplement their budgets.

The men’s basketball team, which recently ended a 7-25 season, received $325,000 in guaranteed money from four opponents: Duke, Buffalo and Virginia Tech (each $85,000) and Providence ($70,000). Buffalo and Providence also provided hotel rooms.

The women’s basketball team, which played in the America East championship game, received $48,000 for five games/tournaments, including the Basketball Hall of Fame Challenge (which also included 15 hotel rooms for two nights).

Maine’s baseball team received $5,000 from Miami for a two-game series March 14-15, concluding its annual Florida trip.

Football is the big winner in guaranteed money. The Black Bears fill their non-Colonial Athletic Association schedule with at least two road games against Football Bowl Subdivision teams, the larger Division I schools that provide more scholarships and have larger budgets.

Last fall, Maine received $325,000 to play Connecticut and $375,000 to play Toledo. This year Maine will receive $350,000 to play at Central Florida on Sept. 30 and $250,000 to play Massachusetts on Nov. 11 at Fenway Park.

Barron said the biggest part of scheduling is simply “finding people who will play you. And that’s a struggle. There’s always excuses – you’re too far, you’re not good enough, you’re too good … We just want to play the best teams we can and get as many home games as we can and we have to do it within a restricted budget. So you just try to make all the pieces fit as best you can. It’s a very inexact science.”

Some of it is luck.

Coutts put together his spring trip because he knew he wanted to play in Arizona. In talking to the coach at Grand Canyon University, he discovered the coach at Arizona State was looking for a game. When he contacted Brigham Young to play there, the coach there said Utah Valley was looking for games. “The power of email,” said Coutts. “And it’s about connections and people knowing people.”

Walsh said the same thing. “The coaches in New England, we all know each other,” he said. “We’re always talking.”

Assistant coach Matt O’Brien actually handles most of the men’s basketball scheduling. He uses a couple of websites, including, to search for games. It’s a message board where coaches can note what openings they have. But even then, dates have to line up, arenas have to be available and travel costs have to be kept at a minimum.

The women’s basketball team has done a good job drawing good teams to Maine. This year Barron convinced Villanova, Mississippi State and Purdue to travel to Bangor for Maine’s Tip-Off Tournament.

How? “A lot of it is just being friends with people,” said Barron.

Then there’s lobsters. After Mississippi State agreed to come, Barron sent Coach Vic Schaefer six live Maine lobsters.

“He called me and asked what to do with them,” said Barron. “I told him to cook them and eat them.”

]]> 0 Mike Coutts took his softball team west this spring, relying more on accommodations than cash guarantees. Opponents paid for 13 of the 18 overnights.Wed, 22 Mar 2017 09:58:54 +0000
For UMaine football, filling out the schedule requires a little help Wed, 22 Mar 2017 08:00:00 +0000 ORONO — Dave Brown worked at ESPN for three decades as one of the network’s college football programming executives.

Unknown to many, he was the guy who helped set up many of the early-season games between national powers. When he decided to get out a couple of years ago, he wasn’t about to let all that experience go to waste. So Brown wrote a software package called Gridiron, which is now used by colleges to help fill out their schedules.

Among his clients is the University of Maine. Will Biberstein, the senior associate athletic director for internal operations at Maine, said Brown’s help is invaluable.

“He’s kind of like a subcontractor,” said Biberstein, who works on Maine’s football schedule. “What Dave does is keep a database of upcoming schedules for every game contract … Someone who does the scheduling can go in and look and say, ‘Hey Dave, I need a game on Week 3 of 2019.’

“You do a search and it will tell you who is available, if it’s an FCS (Football Championship Subdivision) or FBS (Football Bowl Subdivision), and you try to figure out who fits in my scheduling. It really streamlines the process.”

And Maine uses it as much as anyone. Next fall, for the third consecutive year, Maine will play two FBS teams – Central Florida on Sept. 30 and UMass on Nov. 11 at Fenway Park.

FBS schools provide more scholarships (85 full scholarships to 63 for FCS schools), have larger rosters and often larger players than FCS teams. Their willingness to provide guaranteed paydays to FCS schools to fill out their schedules is a boon to schools like Maine. While challenging, Coach Joe Harasymiak knows it’s essential financially.

“We’re at a point in time where we need to do things financially,” he said. “People know why we do it.”

Maine will receive $350,000 to play Central Florida and $250,000 from Massachusetts. The Black Bears also recently announced a game with Georgia Southern in 2019 and will receive $325,000 to play it.

Brown said his program makes the matchmaking process easier.

“What could have taken hours now takes seconds,” he said. But, he added, dates have to line up and in the end the schools have to sign the contracts.

Maine pays $5,000 for the service, which is used currently just for football. Brown, who said 120 FBS and 92 FCS schools use his program, hopes to add basketball.

“I’m really just trying to help (schools) find what they’re looking for and give them options to chose from,” said Brown.

Biberstein said Brown is more than that.

“He’s the man behind the curtain, making the magic happen,” he said. “It’s a crazy business right now.”

Brown helped Maine secure its game with Central Florida.

“I knew from talking to (Biberstein) that they were looking for an FBS game,” said Brown. “There were not a ton of options so I honed in on Central Florida quickly. They liked it and they got it done. I’m glad they got it done.”

He added that it’s more of a challenge to find games for Maine. While the Black Bears are looking for two FBS opponents, they would like one to be within a bus ride.

That limits options to Massachusetts, Connecticut and Boston College. Maybe Syracuse and maybe Buffalo. “But those are a long way from Maine,” said Brown.

And with power conferences such as the Big Ten saying they’re going to stop playing FCS schools, the options will be limited even more.

Harasymiak said the Black Bears will look to play more teams in the America Athletic Conference (of which Connecticut and Central Florida are members) and the Mid-American Conference (which includes last year’s opponent Toledo and schools such as Central Michigan and Buffalo).

“It’s not like there’s a menu of 25 teams out there looking for games,” said Harasymiak.

Maine was the only Colonial Athletic Association team to play two FBS games last year. The Black Bears lost both and finished 6-5.

Harasymiak said he realizes that playing two FBS teams puts Maine at a disadvantage with other CAA teams. But, he added it also has benefits.

“It helps me evaluate where we are at,” he said. “When we play well in the FBS games, we usually have a good year.”

]]> 0 Coach Joe Harasymiak knows it's not ideal to play schools with larger players and more scholarships, but accepts that financially it's a fact of life for teams like the Black Bears.Tue, 21 Mar 2017 23:35:39 +0000
Tuesday’s college roundup: Southern Maine collects two wins in softball Wed, 22 Mar 2017 01:46:00 +0000 CLERMONT, Fla. — The University of Southern Maine took an early lead in one game and rallied late in another Tuesday to win twice in softball, defeating Oberlin 9-3 and Hamilton, 9-6.

In the opener against Oberlin, USM (4-2) grabbed a 5-0 lead in the second inning and held off the Yeomen (3-7).

Mary Caron lined a three-run, one-out double to left-center in the second, and after a Courtney Davis single, Shelby Obert added a two-run triple.

Caron added her fourth RBI of the game with a triple in the seventh.

Amber Kelly finished with a pair of hits for Southern Maine.

In the second game, USM trailed 5-2 after five innings, then scored five runs in the sixth to upend the Continentals (6-7).

The Huskies had 10 batters in the sixth, with Caron lining a two-run single to left-center.

Caron and Allison Pillar were both 2 for 4, and Erin Martin added a pair of hits.

BOWDOIN 5, HOPE 1: The Polar Bears (6-5) scored five cosecutive runs and handled the Flying Dutch (5-2) at Clermont, Florida.

Bowdoin opened its scoring with a pair of runs with a two-run third inning, including an RBI single by Jordan Gowdy, and extended the lead to 5-0 in the third. Ali Miller hit a sacrifice fly and Gowdy followed with a two-run single.

BOWDOIN 12, CALVIN 4: Trailing 4-2 in the third inning, the Polar Bears (7-5) scored 10 straight runs to beat the Knights (6-4) at Clermont, Florida.

Marissa O’Toole went 4 for 4 with a solo homer and drove in five runs, and Claire McCarthy was 3 for 4 and scored twice.

BUENA VISTA 6, COLBY 0: Moriah Guyett allowed two singles as the Beavers (6-3) shut out the Mules (2-3) at Clermont, Florida.

Katie McLaughlin and Grace Farnkoff were the only players for Colby had the singles.

COLBY 7, OBERLIN 2: The Mules (3-3) gave up a solo home run in the top of second inning but answered with seven runs in the bottom half to beat the Yeomen (3-5) at Clermont, Florida.

Colby sent 12 batters to the plate in the second. Katie McLauglin hit a three-run triple and Ella Hommeyer added a pair of singles.


BOWDOIN 16, EASTERN CONNECTICUT STATE 6: The Polar Bears (2-2) scored the first six goals, led 8-1 in the first quarter and rolled past the Warriors (2-5) at Mansfield, Connecticut.

Jeff Powers scored three of his game-high four goals in the first half for Bowdoin. Shawn Daly finished with two goals and three assists, and Jimmy Young chipped in with two goals and a pair of assists for Bowdoin.

VASSAR 10, COLBY 8: The Brewers (6-1) opened a 6-4 halftime lead and held off the Mules (1-4) at Hartford, Connecticut.

Colton Michel finished with three goals for the Mules. Austin Sayre added two goals.

NEW ENGLAND COLLEGE 10, UNIVERSITY OF NEW ENGLAND 7: Sean Largay had all five of his goals in the first half as the Pilgrims (3-4) opened an 8-3 lead and held off the Nor’easters (5-2) at Henniker, New Hampshire.

Dan Auger, Tom Lutrell and Andrew Curro each scored twice for UNE.


SALISBURY 6, COLBY 5: The 19th-ranked Mules (2-3) grabbed a 5-1 halftime lead but surrendered five unanswered goal and fell to the 10th-ranked Gulls (6-2) at Sparks, Maryland.

Lexie Perticone had a pair of goals and added an assist as Colby had a 16-4 margin in shots in the first half. Kendall Smith, Cassie Rodgers and Emilie Klein also scored for the Mules built their lead.

SOUTHERN MAINE 20, UMAINE-FARMINGTON 5: Sam Campobasso had six goals as the Huskies (2-1) beat the Beavers (0-1) at Gorham.

Aliza Jordan had three goals and an assist for Southern Maine, Lauren Lessard added two goals and five assists, and Heather Everett finished with a pair of goals.

]]> 0 Tue, 21 Mar 2017 22:03:20 +0000
College basketball follows NBA’s footsteps Wed, 22 Mar 2017 01:10:11 +0000 INDIANAPOLIS — Louisville Coach Rick Pitino watched in amazement as Michigan made 11 second-half 3-pointers, many from well beyond the arc.

The first comparison that came to mind was the Golden State Warriors.

“The amazing thing to me is you look at the size of the players that Michigan has, and they shoot it like backcourt players. That’s what’s really coming on,” Pitino said last weekend in Indianapolis, where the Cardinals were eliminated by Michigan. “I made a concentrated effort this past year in our recruiting to recruit bigs who could shoot because we don’t have bigs who can shoot now.”

Pitino can find the NBA’s influence on just about any college game.

The shot clock has been shortened, the 3-pointer has been embraced and everyone from 5-foot-6 Keon Johnson of Winthrop to 6-foot-10 Moe Wagner of Michigan seems comfortable shooting from long range. Scoring is up, defenses are being stretched thin and coaches are trying to adapt to change by recruiting bigger, better shooters and fewer true centers.

College basketball has its own version of small ball going these days.

The Wolverines are not small by any means, but all five starters and each of their top six scorers are capable 3-point shooters.

Disbelievers can rewind Friday’s 92-91, first-round victory over Oklahoma State, the game that caught Pitino’s attention. The Cardinals did a solid job in Sunday’s second-round game giving up only six 3s, though Wagner’s deep shot helped send Michigan to the Sweet 16 for a Midwest Regional showdown Thursday against Oregon.

Style is only part of the ongoing change. Two years ago the NCAA approved a 30-second shot clock and followed the NBA’s lead by using timeouts called within close proximity of a media timeout as the scheduled stop. It also stripped a second-half timeout from teams.

The numbers reveal just how much and how fast things have changed.

Through the first two rounds of this year’s tournament, teams are averaging 74.22 points per game. If that average is maintained through the next four rounds, it would be the highest tourney scoring average since 1993 (74.31) and a 6.45-point per team increase over the 2015 average (67.77 ppg).

Last year, the first with the new shot clock, teams averaged 71.85 points in tourney play.

“I like it,” said Michigan Coach John Beilein, whose head coaching career began before the shot clock or the 3-point line existed in college. “I think it would be very hard to play if you didn’t have shooters, though, because everybody would plug in there, and you wouldn’t have anybody open.”

Pitino believes defenses are starting to add NBA staples, too. Instead of using traps and pressure to force turnovers, he said, many teams are simply trying to take precious seconds off the shot clock with “soft pressure,” a notion he advocated during two stints as an NBA coach.

Analytics, which Brad Stevens used heavily during his coaching tenure at Butler, has become a bigger part of the college game, too, and other changes could be on the horizon. Women’s teams already play four quarters rather than two halves, and the NIT is experimenting this year with resetting team fouls after each 10-minute segment of the game.

One thing Beilein and Pitino don’t want is the 24-second shot clock. But it’s become clear to many at all levels that today’s players are putting a pro-style stamp on the college game.

“There’s a trickle-down,” said Utah Jazz Coach Quin Snider, a former college coach and player. “I think some of it has to do with the fact the NBA is so widely covered now. There’s so much NBA basketball on television – younger players see it.”

]]> 0 Tue, 21 Mar 2017 22:05:52 +0000
College basketball notebook: Notre Dame women lose Turner Wed, 22 Mar 2017 00:53:00 +0000 SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Notre Dame junior forward Brianna Turner will miss the rest of the season with a knee injury, a major blow to the NCAA Tournament hopes of the top-seeded Fighting Irish.

Notre Dame said Tuesday that Turner tore the anterior cruciate ligament in her left knee Sunday night during a second-round win over Purdue. She leads the team this season with 15.3 points and 7.1 rebounds per game, and also has 86 blocks – sixth-best for a single season in Notre Dame history.

The Fighting Irish (32-3) face fifth-seeded Ohio State (28-6) on Friday night in the Sweet 16 in Lexington, Kentucky.

It’s the eighth straight time Notre Dame has advanced to the second weekend of the NCAA Tournament, doing so after downing ninth-seeded Purdue in overtime.

“We completely fell apart offensively,” Notre Dame Coach Muffet McGraw said after the close win. “It’s just so different without (Turner) when you’re in the ball screen, because they have to worry about her.”

Turner has been one of the best players for the Fighting Irish for all three of her seasons, starting all but one of her 65 games over her first two years.


TEXAS A&M: Freshman standout Robert Williams says he is returning for another season in college.

The 6-foot-9 Williams, projected by many to be a lottery pick in June’s NBA draft, averaged 11.9 points and 8.2 rebounds per game this season for the Aggies (16-15).

Williams said the decision will give him “more time to mature and develop my game before moving on to the NBA.”

VCU: Rice Coach Mike Rhoades is returning to VCU to become the Rams’ head coach.

The 44-year-old Rhoades spent five years as an assistant to Shaka Smart at VCU. He replaces Will Wade, who resigned Monday night to take the same position at LSU.

Rhoades told Fox 26 TV in Houston on Tuesday the VCU job is a “dream come true.” VCU has not officially announced the hire, but scheduled a news conference for Wednesday.

Rhoades had a 47-52 record in three seasons with the Owls.

]]> 0 Tue, 21 Mar 2017 22:37:16 +0000
There once was a time UConn had a women’s basketball losing streak Tue, 21 Mar 2017 23:57:25 +0000 NEW YORK — Geno Auriemma and the UConn Huskies are on an unbelievable run.

No, not the 109 straight wins. Or the four consecutive national championships.

Try this: They haven’t lost back-to-back games in almost a quarter-century. That’s 883 straight games without consecutive losses.

Think about that for a minute. No current UConn player was even born the last time this program had a losing streak. And that mark is safe for at least another year, which has Rebecca Lobo thinking about popping the champagne with her former teammates – the ones who actually lost two straight.

Lobo was a sophomore on the 1992-93 team that suffered consecutive defeats. The Huskies actually had a three-game and two-game losing skid that season, dropping the final two games of the season.

“They should trot us out at halftime at one of the games and recognize us,” Lobo joked. “That’s what it comes to. The only thing they can honor that’s new and different. Maybe that team is the black sheep of the UConn family.”

Maybe without that failure, the success UConn has had since wouldn’t have been so great.

“That loss helped fuel us for the future,” said Jen Rizzotti, who was a freshman on the team. “I remember all offseason wanting to make sure that never happened again.”

It hasn’t. In fact, UConn has lost only 57 games since that year.

That team went 18-11 – the last UConn squad not to win 20 games – and was in danger of missing the NCAA tournament, unheard of for a program that has since won 11 national championships. The players planned to watch the selection show together, but a blizzard hit the area that night, so they couldn’t even watch as a group.

“I was nervous,” recalled Jamelle Elliott, who was a freshman. “You either get in or get on a train for an eight-hour trip to D.C. the next day to spend a week at home with your family, as it was spring break.”

Kathy Ferrier, the lone senior, remembers watching the show with her boyfriend and feeling relief when the Huskies’ name popped onto the screen.

“I knew as a senior this could be it, the season could be over,” said Ferrier, who lives in Connecticut now. “As soon as the name appeared we started calling each other.”

Ferrier was one of the only links to the team’s first Final Four appearance when she was a sophomore. There wasn’t the rich history yet on campus for the players to fall back on when coach was yelling at them in practice.

“He treated us as the same way he did that first Final Four team and the way he treats all his teams today,” Ferrier said. “It helped make us better players.”

The three-game losing streak in the middle of the season included a visit from Stanford that was believed to be the first sellout at Gampel Pavilion. The season ended with consecutive defeats to Miami in the Big East tournament semifinals and Louisville in the first round of the NCAAs.

“We just couldn’t handle it. We were not good enough,” Auriemma said of the 1992-93 team. “That was the bottom line. Louisville was way better than us. Providence was better than us. We just weren’t good enough. We were lucky to make the tournament. We just had too many freshmen and sophomores playing too many key roles. We just weren’t ready. Then obviously, the next two years. … well you know.”

The Huskies won the first of their 11 titles two years later, going undefeated for the first time.

As far as the ’92-93 team, Auriemma said that he always gets an earful from Elliott.

“To this day, if you call her or text her, Jamelle Elliott will tell you there is one reason and one reason only: You didn’t start me,” he said laughing.

“You didn’t play me enough and that’s why we lost. And she says that to me every time this subject comes up. And since then, I’ve tried to never have the wrong guys in the starting lineup or the wrong guys out on the floor. So, thank you Jamelle.”

]]> 0 Lobo was celebrating a national title for Connecticut in 1995 with teammates Kara Wolters, 52, and Pam Weber. But two years earlier she was a sophomore on a team that wasn't sure it would make the NCAAs.Tue, 21 Mar 2017 20:36:06 +0000
Monday’s Maine colleges: USM will name field after veteran baseball coach Tue, 21 Mar 2017 02:18:36 +0000 GORHAM — The University of Southern Maine will name its baseball field after veteran coach Ed Flaherty in an April 30 ceremony.

Flaherty, who is in his 31st season as the Huskies’ coach, has 941 career wins. The Huskies have played in the NCAA Division III World Series eight times, and won titles in 1991 and 1997.

Flaherty’s career record is 941-423-4 and includes 15 seasons with 30 or more wins. USM made 15 consecutive appearances in the Division III tournament from 1987-2001.

USM also will celebrate the 20th anniversary of its 1997 title. The team will be honored April 29 at an invitation-only event.

WISCONSIN-WHITEWATER 5, SOUTHERN MAINE 4: The Warhawks (7-1) built a three-run lead and held off the Huskies (2-2) at Auburndale, Florida.

Wisconsin-Whitewater took a 2-0 lead in the top of the first inning on a two-run single by Jordan Kuczynski. Southern Maine answered with a run in the bottom of the inning on a sacrifice fly by Matt Bender, but the Warhawks added a run in the top of the second.

USM got a sacrifice fly by Sam Stauble in the fifth, but the Warhawks answered again with single runs in the sixth and seventh. Stauble and Kyle O’Connor added RBI singles for USM.

JohnS Hopkins sweeps COLBy: The Blue Jays (10-2) scored four times in the bottom of the sixth inning to beat the Mules (2-3) 7-4 in the second game of a doubleheader at Fort Myers, Florida.

Johns Hopkins won the opener, 13-3.

In the first game, Chris Festa had four hits, including a home run, and seven RBI for Johns Hopkins.

In the second game, Colby starting pitcher Sean McCracken allowed three runs on 11 hits in five innings.

Hamilton sweeps Bowdoin: The Polar Bears (4-6) managed just eight hits and were swept by the Continentals 3-0 and 6-0 at Auburndale, Florida.

Brandon Lopez had a double in the first game for Bowdoin.

In the second game, Dan DePaoli pitched a shutout, allowing four hits, striking out 10 and walking three.


BOWDOIN 3, MASSACHUSETTS COLLEGE OF LIBERAL ARTS 2: Melissa O’Toole hit a two-run homer in the second inning and the Polar Bears (5-4) held off the Trailblazers (0-9) at Clermont, Florida.

Allison Rutz singled in a run for Bowdoin in the fourth. MCLA scored in the fourth and seventh.

In a later game, Bowdoin lost to Wisconsin-Eau Claire, 8-7.

COLBY, ST. LAWRENCE SPLIT: Colby (2-2) built a five-run lead in the first game before holding on for a 7-5 victory, then St. Lawrence (5-1) went on to win the second game in five innings, 14-2.

In the opener, Kathleen Mason went 2 for 4 for Colby, including a two-run double, and Katie McLaughlin went 3 for 4.

In the second game, St. Lawrence scored in each of its four at-bats, including seven runs in the fourth.


BATES 17, ST. JOSEPH’S 4: Sydney Cowles, Melanie Mait and Avery MacMullen scored three goals apiece as Bates (4-3) defeated Saint Joseph’s (1-2) at Lewiston.

The game was moved up from Wednesday to avoid expected cold weather.

Kara Kelly had two goals and an assist, and Jackie Wilson and Elyse Caiazzo also scored for the Monks.

]]> 0 Mon, 20 Mar 2017 22:34:02 +0000
NCAA women’s basketball: Oregon posts upset against Duke Tue, 21 Mar 2017 01:11:11 +0000 DURHAM, N.C. – Ruthy Hebard had 20 points and 15 rebounds, and Oregon earned its first Sweet 16 berth by upsetting Duke 74-65 in the second round of the NCAA tournament Monday night.

Maite Cazorla added 17 points and Lexi Bando finished with 14 points to help Oregon (22-13) become the first No. 10 seed in a decade to reach the Round of 16.

The Ducks, in their first tournament since 2005, never had advanced past the second round in their 12 previous appearances. Now they’re on to Bridgeport, Connecticut, to take on third-seeded Maryland (32-2) in a regional semifinal.

Lexie Brown scored 25 points for the second-seeded Blue Devils (28-6) – coached by Joanne P. McCallie, a former Maine coach – who have been upset at home in the tournament’s second round twice since 2014. They played without guard Kyra Lambert, who tore her left anterior cruciate ligament in the first round against Hampton.

CONNECTICUT 94, SYRACUSE 64: Kia Nurse scored 29 points and tied an NCAA tournament record with nine 3-pointers to lead UConn (34-0) over Syracuse (22-11) at Storrs, Connecticut, in a second-round rematch of last year’s national championship game.

Nurse hit 10 of her 13 shots, missing three attempts from behind the arc for the Huskies, who won their 109th straight game and 26th consecutive NCAA tournament game. That streak includes last April’s 82-51 win over the Orange that gave the Huskies their fourth consecutive title.

STANFORD 69, KANSAS STATE 48: Brittany McPhee had 21 points, Alanna Smith added 19 and second-seeded Stanford (30-5) routed seventh-seeded Kansas State (23-11) at Manhattan, Kansas, to advance to the Cardinal’s 10th straight Sweet 16.

The Cardinal had no problem dealing with the Wildcats or their home crowd, which spent much of the game sitting in silence. Stanford roared to a 39-21 halftime lead and advanced to face third-seeded Texas on Friday night in Lexington, Kentucky.

LOUISVILLE 75, TENNESSEE 64: Asia Durr scored 23 points, Mariya Moore made all five 3-pointers for 19 points and Louisville (29-7) beat visiting Tennessee (20-12) in the second round.

Moore’s perimeter shooting provided a lift on a night that fourth-seeded Louisville had to work hard late to finish 44 percent from the field. She scored the Cardinals’ first eight points of the fourth quarter with back-to-back 3s for a 54-47 lead before Durr followed with seven of their next eight points to make it 62-51 with 4:07 remaining. Durr also became the 28th Louisville player to reach 1,000 career points.

BAYLOR 86, CALIFORNIA 46: Alexis Prince and Nina Davis each scored 16 points, and Baylor (32-3) is going to the Sweet 16 for the ninth straight year after beating California (20-14) at Waco, Texas.

Davis, one of the four Baylor seniors, also had six rebounds and five assists in her last game at the Ferrell Center, where the top-seeded Bears have won 12 consecutive NCAA tournament games. Prince added five rebounds and six assists, and Kristy Wallace had 10 points and nine assists.

WASHINGTON 108, OKLAHOMA 82: Kelsey Plum scored 38 points, adding another record to her career resume, and Washington (29-5) raced past Oklahoma (23-10) at Seattle to earn a berth in the regional semifinals.

The Huskies are going to the Sweet 16 in consecutive years for the first time in school history, thanks to an offensive showcase against the Sooners.

]]> 0's Lexi Bando, center, jumps into the arms of Mallory McGwire as Sierra Campisano and Justine Hall (3) celebrate following a second-round game in the NCAA women's college basketball tournament in Durham, N.C., Monday, March 20, 2017. Oregon won 74-65. (AP Photo/Gerry Broome)Mon, 20 Mar 2017 23:44:49 +0000
Time to catch your breath in a whirlwind NCAA tournament Mon, 20 Mar 2017 23:35:57 +0000 GREENVILLE, S.C. — The Atlantic Coast Conference’s strong regular season only stood to set up a first-weekend flameout in the NCAA tournament.

The league had a record nine bids, but North Carolina – the No. 1 seed in the South – is the only one alive in the Sweet 16. And it was fortunate to survive a second-round game against Arkansas.

Top seeds Gonzaga, Kansas and UNC headline a regional round featuring 12 of the top 16 seeds, two more than last year.

The rest of the top conferences fared much better than the ACC. The Pac-12 is 8-1 and the Southeastern Conference is 7-2, joining the Big 12 (8-3) and Big Ten (8-4) with three Sweet 16 teams each.

Here’s a look at the updated Final Four paths for the top remaining teams:


This is the only bracket with the top four seeds still alive, so the Tar Heels’ path looks the same as on Selection Sunday.

UNC (29-7) needed a game-closing 12-0 run to rally past the eighth-seeded Razorbacks. Now the Tar Heels meet fourth-seeded Butler (25-8), which beat No. 1 seed Villanova twice this season.

That game is the undercard to Friday’s matchup of second-seeded Kentucky (31-5) and third-seeded UCLA (31-4) in Memphis, Tennessee. The Wildcats survived a tough game with Wichita State, and the Bruins beat Cincinnati to set up a rematch of a December game won by UCLA.

“I don’t know if all the other regions went chalk, but it’s 1, 2, 3, 4 in the South,” Bruins Coach Steve Alford said. “So that South Region and bracket is going to be a lot of fun.”


This is the only other region to have its No. 1 and No. 2 seeds make the Sweet 16.

Top-seeded Gonzaga (34-1) faces fourth-seeded West Virginia (28-8) on Thursday in San Jose, California; No. 2 seed Arizona (32-4) meets 11-seeded Xavier (23-13) — the lowest-seeded team still in the field after its rout of third-seeded Florida State.

If seeds hold, that would set up a rematch of a December game won by Gonzaga, 69-62. But Arizona didn’t have Allonzo Trier, who was suspended for the first 19 games for performance-enhancing drugs.

The matchup still would offer a Final Four breakthrough chance for the two coaches, Mark Few of Gonzaga or Sean Miller of Arizona, who have yet to get there despite a combined five Elite Eight appearances.

“I know this (team) certainly is right there, should be considered with any that’s ever played” at Gonzaga, Few said. “There’s probably two or three of them that should be in that mix. Ultimately we’re going to have to accomplish that Final Four to kind of put it to rest and all that.”


The Midwest also had three of its top four seeds reach the Sweet 16. But it’s the bottom half of the bracket commanding the most attention with seventh-seeded Michigan, possibly the hottest team in the field.

The Wolverines (26-11) had a scary moment before the Big Ten tournament when the plane set to carry them to Washington slid off a runway during an aborted takeoff. They played the first game in practice jerseys but ended up winning the title, and now have beaten Oklahoma State and second-seeded Louisville for their first NCAA wins since 2014.

Michigan made 16 3-pointers against the Cowboys and hit 33 of 52 shots (63.4 percent) after halftime in those two wins.

“That’s been our identity in the last month and a half, finding different ways to win,” leading scorer Derrick Walton Jr. said. “Whether it’s the 3-ball or not, it’s finding multiple different ways to win.”

Michigan faces No. 3 seed Oregon (31-5) in Kansas City, Missouri, on Thursday. The Jayhawks (30-4) get fourth-seeded Purdue (27-7), the Big Ten regular-season champion.


Welcome to the lone topsy-turvy bracket after losses by No. 1 overall seed Villanova and No. 2 seed Duke.

Now third-seeded Baylor (27-7) is the highest remaining seed entering a matchup with seventh-seeded South Carolina (24-10), which is in the Sweet 16 for the first time after hanging 65 second-half points on the preseason No. 1-ranked Blue Devils in Sunday’s 88-81 upset.

The other half of Friday’s bracket in New York features fourth-seeded Florida (26-8) against No. 8 seed Wisconsin (27-9), which upset the reigning champion Wildcats on Saturday. The Badgers are in the Sweet 16 for the sixth time in seven years behind Bronson Koenig and Nigel Hayes – two holdovers from a run to the national title game in 2015.

“You have all types of your ranking systems, statistic, analytics guys that they put,” Hayes said. “The thing is with all those algorithms, they can’t calculate heart, will to win, toughness, desire. They can’t put that into a formula to come out with a percentage chance to win, and that’s the things that we have.”

]]> 0 jacket went flying in the first half and before the night was over, the entire season was out the window as Coach Mike Krzyzewski watched his Duke team, seeded second in the East, fall Sunday to South Carolina, 88-81.Mon, 20 Mar 2017 21:31:58 +0000
Sunday’s Maine college roundup: USM baseball wins in extras Mon, 20 Mar 2017 02:55:09 +0000 AUBURNDALE, Fla. — The University of Southern Maine baseball team scored three runs in the top of the 11th inning to beat St. Thomas 4-1 on Sunday in a non-conference game.

After seven scoreless innings, Southern Maine (2-1) broke through with a single run in the top of the eighth on Kip Richards sacrifice fly.

St. Thomas tied it in the bottom of the inning on a run-scoring fielder’s choice.

In the 11th, Paul McDonough and Jake Dexter each singled with two outs and Andrew Olszak gave the Huskies the lead with an RBI single. Quintal added a two-run single.

Matt Bender and Sam Stauble each went 2 for 5 for Southern Maine.

Matt Correale earned the win, pitching 32/3 scoreless innings of relief.

COLBY SPLITS PAIR OF GAMES: Trailing by four runs heading to the bottom of the fifth, the Mules used a seven-run inning to take the lead and hold off Western Connecticut State 9-8 in the first game of a doubleheader at Fort Myers, Florida.

In the fifth, the first five Colby batters reached to cut the deficit to one.

Della Volpe added an RBI single, Will Phillips had an RBI on a fielder’s choice and the Mules (2-1) added a run on an error to take a 9-6 lead.

The Colonials (7-7) grabbed an early 5-0 lead and held off a late rally to win the second game, 5-3.


WORCESTER STATE 6, SOUTHERN MAINE 0: Mary McKeown scattered six hit in seven innings as Lancers (1-0) shut out the Huskies (1-1) in their first game of the day in Clermont, Florida.

Worcester State scored three two-out runs in the second inning and added to its lead with three runs in the fourth inning.

Erin Martin led Southern Maine with a pair of hits.

SOUTHERN MAINE 3, ELMHURST 2: Shelby Obert drove a two-run single to center to give the Huskies (2-2) an early lead and they held off the Bluejays (1-3) in non-conference play in Clermont, Florida.

Amber Kelly went the distance for the Huskies, giving up a pair of unearned runs on six hits, striking out four while walking one batter.

MONTANA 5, MAINE 2: The Grizzlies (13-15) jumped out to a 4-0 lead and cruised by the Black Bears (3-17) in Missoula, Montana.

Meghan Royle got Maine on the board with a line single to center to drive in in Rachel Harvey, and Alyssa Derrick plated Rachel Carson with a single in the sixth to cut the deficit in half, but the Black Bear could get no closer.

PLYMOUTH STATE 4, COLBY 2: The Mules grabbed an early lead on a bases-loaded walk but surrended four unanswered runs to fall to the Panthers (3-2) in their season opener at Clermont, Florida.

Ella Hommeyer’s RBI in the top of the third inning gave Colby the short-lived lead but Plymouth State countered with a run in the bottom of the fourth inning on an Emma Rhodes run-scoring single.

COLBY 9, D’YOUVILLE 1: The Mules opened an early 5-0 lead and cruised to a five-inning victory against the Spartans (1-2) in Clermont, Florida.

Katie McLaughlin hit a two-run single, Robin Spofford an RBI single and Skylar Labbe an RBI double as Colby scored five times in the second. Labbe added a three-run single in the fifth.

WISCONSIN-OSHKOSH 2, BOWDOIN 0: Claire Petrus allowed just six singles as the Titans (9-3) shut out the Polar Bears (3-4) in their first game of the day in Clermont, Florida.

Emily Griffin suffered the complete game loss for the Polar Bears, allowing six hits while striking out six batters and walking a pair.

Bowdoin beat Plymouth State 9-1 in its second game Sunday.

]]> 0 Sun, 19 Mar 2017 22:58:53 +0000
Men’s basketball roundup: South Carolina ousts Duke Mon, 20 Mar 2017 02:15:41 +0000 GREENVILLE, S.C. — Sindarius Thornwell scored 24 points, Chris Silva got 13 of his 17 points in the second half and seventh-seeded South Carolina stunned No. 2 seed Duke 88-81 on Sunday night to advance to its first Sweet 16 in the NCAA tournament’s expanded bracket.

The Gamecocks (24-10) trailed by 10 points early in the second half after one of its coldest shooting stretches of the season. But behind Thornwell’s outside shooting and Silva’s dominance underneath, South Carolina rallied to win two NCAA games for the first time in 44 years.

The Gamecocks rushed to their fans when things were over, celebrating one of the biggest wins in program history.

Next up is the East Regional at Madison Square Garden, where the Gamecocks will face third-seeded Baylor, an 82-78 winner over USC.

Duke (28-9) was attempting to reach the round of 16 for the sixth time in eight seasons. The Blue Devils led 30-23 after a sloppy first half in which they committed 13 turnovers, but they could not surmount South Carolina’s stifling defense. Leading scorer Luke Kennard had his second straight subpar shooting game, finishing 1 of 6 for 11 points before fouling out.

Duane Notice also scored 17 points and Rakym Felder had 15 for the Gamecocks.

Grayson Allen led Duke with 20 points.

BAYLOR 82, USC 78: Johnathan Motley had 19 points and 10 rebounds, and No. 3 seed Baylor (27-7) defeated No. 11 seed USC (26-10) in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Terry Maston also scored 19 points, King McClure added 17 and Manu Lecomte got all 12 of his points in the final five minutes for the Bears.


KENTUCKY 65, WICHITA STATE 62: Bam Adebayo had a double-double and swatted away the final shot as No. 2 seed Kentucky (31-5) sent No. 10 Wichita State (31-5) to yet another second-round heartbreak, edging the Shockers in Indianapolis.

Adebayo had 13 points and 10 rebounds. Fellow freshman De’Aaron Fox scored 14 points, including a late steal and dunk, and Malik Monk blocked a shot and made a pair of free throws in the final 13 seconds. Adebayo clinched it by blocking Landry Shamet’s 3-pointer shot at the buzzer.

UCLA 79, CINCINNATI 67: Lonzo Ball scored 19 points and ignited UCLA’s rally from a poor start with nine assists, lifting the third-seeded Bruins (31-4) to a win over No. 6 Cincinnati (30-6) in Sacramento, California.

UCLA had a hard time solving Cincinnati’s active defense in the first half, unable to get shots to drop or get out in transition. But the Bruins found a new gear in the second half, breaking out for dunks and dropping in strings of 3-pointers to quickly push the lead to double digits.

Now UCLA is headed to its third Sweet 16 appearance in four seasons under Coach Steve Alford.

The Bruins will face No. 2 seed Kentucky in the South Regional semifinals Friday in Memphis.


OREGON 75, RHODE ISLAND 72: Tyler Dorsey hit a contested go-ahead 3-pointer from the top of the arc with 38.4 seconds to play, and third-seeded Oregon (31-5) rallied in the second half to beat No. 11 Rhode Island in Sacramento, California.

Dorsey also tied the game with a 3 with 1:45 remaining on the way to 27 points. He made 9 of 10 shots, with four 3-pointers.

Rhode Island nearly scrapped and hustled its way into the regional semifinals, with Stanford Robinson matching his career high of 21 points, but the Rams (25-10) had their nine-game winning streak snapped.

KANSAS 90, MICHIGAN STATE 70: Josh Jackson scored 14 of his 23 points in the second half to help top-seeded Kansas (30-4) pull away late and reach the Sweet 16 with a victory in Tulsa, Oklahoma.

Frank Mason III added 20 points and Devonte Graham scored 18 for the Jayhawks (30-4).

Miles Bridges scored 22 points to lead ninth-seeded Michigan State (20-15) despite leaving briefly in the first half because of an injury.

Nick Ward also finished in double figures with 13 points and Joshua Langford had 10 for the Spartans.

]]> 0 the second time in four years, Wichita State's basketball season ended with a heartbreaking, second-round loss to Kentucky, as Shaquille Morris and the Shockers suffered a 65-62 defeat Sunday in Indianapolis.Sun, 19 Mar 2017 23:57:29 +0000
NCAA men’s basketball: North Carolina rallies past Arkansas Mon, 20 Mar 2017 01:48:43 +0000 GREENVILLE, S.C. — North Carolina’s players talked all year about their run to last year’s NCAA championship game – that, as painful as the loss was, it prepared them for another Final Four push.

On Sunday, down to a handful of possessions with their season suddenly in peril, the Tar Heels’ experience saved them from a stunningly early exit.

Kennedy Meeks scored 16 points and made a huge tip-in with 44.2 seconds left, helping top-seeded UNC barely avoid a upset by rallying late to beat Arkansas 72-65 in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

“I don’t mind saying I feel a little lucky,” UNC Coach Roy Williams said. “Every now and then, I knock in a long putt, too.”

The team with three returnees who were on the court for Villanova’s title-winning 3-pointer at the buzzer last year had enough composure to shake off everything on a day rapidly going wrong.

A blown 17-point first-half lead.

 Arkansas’ aggressive and harassing defense.

 Even a 65-60 deficit in the final 3 minutes, which threatened to turn the game into the kind of March Madness moment that had befallen Villanova only a day earlier.

Instead, UNC closed on a 12-0 run to give Williams his 18th trip to the Sweet 16, including his time at Kansas.

“We could’ve easily laid down those three or four minutes and gave in,” junior point guard Joel Berry II said, “but like I said, we’ve got dreams and goals we want to reach. And we just didn’t want to go home.”

Justin Jackson added 15 points for the Tar Heels (29-7), including a win-capping dunk with 3.5 seconds left. Senior Isaiah Hicks came up big, too, with a dunk and four free throws in the final two minutes after being a no-show much of the way.

Daryl Macon scored 19 points before battling leg cramps for the eighth-seeded Razorbacks (26-10).

“We came to dance and we didn’t come to do the one-step,” Arkansas Coach Mike Anderson said. “We wanted to bust up some brackets here today.”

The Razorbacks had UNC wobbling with their aggressive, mistake-forcing defense, harassing the Tar Heels all over the court. When Jaylen Barford scored in transition off a turnover, Arkansas led 65-60 with 3:28 left.

But the Tar Heels responded in a huge way.

Arkansas rallied from 30-13 down to take its first lead midway through the second half. In the end, though, Arkansas fell to 0-9 against No. 1 seeds in the NCAA tournament and couldn’t reach the Sweet 16 for the first time since 1996.

“They’re a great team,” guard Manuale Watkins said of North Carolina. “And their backs were against the wall. They made the plays to win the game. They’re a 1-seed. They showed it.”

After Barford’s layup, the Tar Heels scored on six of their final seven possessions, while the Razorbacks came up empty on their last seven.

“We know not to panic,” Berry said. “Coach always tells us, ‘Keep playing, keep playing, play better.’ That experience came into play. There were plays that we called, we executed them and that’s what you’ve got to do.”

The biggest play of all came from Meeks. With UNC leading by one and the shot clock winding down, Berry drove and collided with Adrio Bailey. There was no whistle – no charge, no blocking foul, no travel – so Berry threw the ball against the backboard.

Meeks got inside position on Moses Kingsley to tap the ball with his left hand, sending it off the backboard and in for a 68-65 lead.

“I did what Coach always said: that’s get in front of the defender when the shot goes up, and it fell on my hands,” Meeks said.

]]> 0 tip-in by Kennedy Meeks in the final minute helped top-seeded North Carolina turn back an upset bid by Arkansas, as the Tar Heels finished with a 12-0 run to earn a 72-65 win Sunday in the second round of the NCAA men's basketball tournament.Sun, 19 Mar 2017 23:17:15 +0000
NCAA women’s basketball: Notre Dame survives in overtime Sun, 19 Mar 2017 22:51:54 +0000 SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Marina Mabrey scored 21 points, Arike Ogunbowale added 18 and No. 1 seed Notre Dame survived playing the second half without leading scorer Brianna Turner to beat ninth-seeded Purdue 88-82 in overtime Sunday night, advancing to the Sweet 16.

The Irish (32-3) won despite Turner, who averages 15.5 points, leaving with a left knee injury after landing awkwardly trying to catch a pass in the final minute of the first half. Turner finished with 10 points and one rebound.

Ashley Morrissette scored 23 points and Bridget Perry had 22 for Purdue (23-13), which lost to Maine by 20 points in its season opener. The Boilermakers are coached by former Maine coach Sharon Versyp.


OHIO STATE 82, KENTUCKY 68: Tori McCoy scored six straight points midway through the fourth quarter to help the fifth-seeded Buckeyes (28-6) withstand Kentucky’s furious rally from a 19-point second-half deficit and escape with a win in Lexington, Kentucky.

Fourth-seeded Kentucky (22-11) trailed 50-31 early in the third quarter but closed to 65-64 with 6:04 remaining. Ohio State answered with eight straight points, led by McCoy, a freshman who finished with 14 points and 12 rebounds.

TEXAS 84, NORTH CAROLINA STATE 80: Brooke McCarty scored 23 points and third-seeded Texas (25-8) got a putback from Joyner Holmes with 4 seconds left to clinch a win over No. 6 North Carolina State (23-9), at Austin, Texas.

Lashann Higgs gave Texas a two-point lead when she made one free throw with eight seconds left but missed the second. Holmes grabbed the rebound, missed her first shot, grabbed another rebound and scored to seal the win. Holmes finished with 16 points and nine rebounds.


MARYLAND 83, WEST VIRGINIA 56: Destiny Slocum nailed a 70-foot shot to cap a pivotal second quarter for Maryland, and the third-seeded Terrapins (32-3) advanced to the Sweet 16.

Brionna Jones had 22 points and 11 rebounds, Slocum scored 21 points and Shatori Walker-Kimbrough added 19 for Maryland.


MISSISSIPPI STATE 92, DEPAUL 71: Blair Schaefer scored 18 points, Jazzmun Holmes added 14 and second-seeded Mississippi State (31-4) used a 14-0 run in the third quarter to pull away from seventh-seeded DePaul (27-8) in Starkville, Mississippi.


SOUTH CAROLINA 71, ARIZONA STATE 68: A’ja Wilson scored 21 points, including a putback that gave top-seeded South Carolina the lead for good and the free throws that sealed it, to help the Gamecocks (29-4) beat eighth-seeded Arizona State (20-13) in Columbia, South Carolina.

FLORIDA STATE 77, MISSOURI 65: Shakayla Thomas scored 20 points and third-seeded Florida State (27-6) advanced to the Sweet 16 for the third straight season with a victory over No. 6 seed Missouri (22-11), in Tallahassee, Florida.

OREGON STATE 64, CREIGHTON 52: Sydney Wiese scored 13 points and second-seeded Oregon State (31-4) beat seventh-seeded Creighton (24-8) in Corvallis, Oregon.

]]> 0 Sun, 19 Mar 2017 23:58:32 +0000
NCAA men’s basketball: Michigan continues run, knocks off Louisville Sun, 19 Mar 2017 21:13:32 +0000 INDIANAPOLIS — Moe Wagner gritted his teeth, pumped his fist and stuck out his mouthpiece to the crowd’s delight Sunday.

A few minutes later, the tough German took a couple more bows – first on the baseline in front of Michigan’s bench, then with the rest of his teammates near midcourt.

Suddenly, the often overlooked 6-foot-11 forward was the well-deserved center of attention.

Wagner scored a career-high 26 points, made the basket that spurred Michigan’s furious second-half rally and capped the day with a 3-pointer to give the Wolverines the lead for good as they knocked off second-seeded Louisville 73-69 to reach the Sweet 16 for the first time since 2014.

“He’s got the mentality where he wants to make the play,” said Derrick Walton Jr., who drove in for Michigan’s final basket with 29 seconds left. “He just makes the right play at all times. He has the calls to make the big plays, so we feed off him because he’s not afraid of anything.”

Wagner’s fearlessness has played a big part in Michigan’s improbable late-season run.

In late February, Michigan was just 19-11 and trying to keep its NCAA tournament hopes alive. Since then, the Wolverines have won seven straight, six coming after a frightening plane accident on their way to the Big Ten tournament.

So it seemed only fitting that the emotion, poise and momentum they mustered over these past few weeks would help them fight their way off the ropes.

Michigan trailed 45-36 with 16:09 to play, but Wagner made a layup that started a 17-6 run, giving Michigan its first lead since the opening minutes of the game. Wagner knocked down a 3-pointer with 6:39 to go to break a 55-55 tie, and the Wolverines never trailed again.

Afterward, Michigan’s players celebrated by jumping around near midcourt, then walking next to the pep band and pumping their fists toward yellow-clad fans as the school fight song boomed.

Once inside the locker room, Coach John Beilein playfully squirted his players with a water gun.

“A little damp right now,” Beilein said as the postgame news conference began. “But our guys, we started a tradition of taking a shower, I guess, without going into the shower after good wins. It’s not stopping.”

Despite going 3-3 in its previous six games, Louisville (25-9) was a slight favorite over Michigan.

Coach Rick Pitino was 3-1 in head-to-head matchups with Beilein, and the Cardinals had made it to the Sweet 16 in each of their previous four NCAA appearances.

But after sitting out last year’s tourney because of a school-imposed postseason ban, the Cardinals’ hopes were doused largely because of Wagner’s ability to repeatedly get to the basket. That was all it took in a matchup between the two teams that played for a national championship four years ago.

“We made some poor switches,” Pitino said. “Probably the weakness of our team this year has been our defense. Our offense in the last 10 days or two weeks, we’ve gotten significantly better because we worked inside to out.”.

Donovan Mitchell finished with 19 points, seven rebounds and five assists to lead Louisville. Deng Adel had 16 points and Mangok Mathiang added 13.

Not much went as expected, though.

Louisville’s pressure defense forced only six Michigan turnovers and the Cardinals wound up just 5 of 20 on 3-pointers.

The Wolverines were just 6 of 17 from 3-point range, but they pounded the ball inside to Wagner and D.J. Wilson, who had 17 points, three blocks and two steals.

“We always believed in ourselves,” Wagner said. “I just said to Coach B, we only (made) six 3s today and we won. So it’s awesome. We played gritty basketball, and I think we can be proud of that.”

The Wolverines will face third-seeded Oregon in a Midwest Regional semifinal Thursday in Kansas City, Missouri.

]]> 0 forwards D.J. Wilson, left, and Moe Wagner celebrate a 73-69 win over Louisville in the second round of the NCAA men's basketball tournament Sunday in Indianapolis.Sun, 19 Mar 2017 22:23:13 +0000
NCAA men’s basketball: West Virginia knocks off Notre Dame Sun, 19 Mar 2017 00:49:35 +0000 BUFFALO, N.Y. — Don’t be fooled by the Mountaineers referring to themselves as “Press” Virginia as a result of their relentless defensive pressure.

This team can score.

Led by Jevon Carter’s 24 points, the Mountaineers outshot Notre Dame in an 83-71 victory Saturday in the West Regional to clinch their third Sweet 16 berth since 2010.

“They thought of us as defensive players,” guard Tarik Phillip said. “But the coaching staff instilled a lot of confidence in us, helped us develop our offensive game, and we became pretty good offensive players.”

West Virginia entered the tournament leading the nation in forcing 20.4 turnovers, also ranking 15th in averaging 82 points. The Mountaineers topped 80 points for the 18th time and also broke the single-season school scoring record set by the Jerry West-led 1958-59 team.

Daxter Miles scored 18 points and Esa Ahmad had nine rebounds.

Carter led the way in matching a season high while going 8 of 15, including 4 of 5 on 3-pointers.

His last 3-pointer all but finished the fifth-seeded Fighting Irish (26-10) as they attempted one final comeback bid.

Matt Ryan of Notre Dame hit a 3-point basket in the right corner to cut West Virginia’s lead to 72-66 with 3:06 left.

Carter responded by crossing through the middle and pulling up to hit a fall-away 3-pointer about 25 seconds later.

“Just staying confident,” said Carter, the Big 12’s defensive player of the year. “When we step on the court we feel like we can beat them. We got hot early and kept going from there. We keep that chip on our shoulder.”

The Mountaineers continue to overcome the sting of last year’s first-round tournament collapse, when they lost to 14th-seeded Stephen F. Austin.

Now they’re off to the Round of 16 for the first time since 2015, for the fourth time since Coach Bob Huggins took over in 2007, and seventh time since the NCAA field expanded to 64 teams in 1985.

Notre Dame was denied a chance to reach the Elite Eight for a third consecutive year.

Bonzie Colson led the Fighting Irish hitting 10 of 15 shots, and scoring 27 points with eight rebounds. But his teammates were stymied.

Guard Matt Farrell was limited to eight points, and V.J. Beachem hit 2 of 14 attempts and finished with nine points.

Coach Mike Brey said the difference was Notre Dame falling behind 10-0 and eventually getting worn down from attempting to dig out of such a hole. The Irish did eventually cut the lead to 32-29 only to give up two baskets over a 20-second span in a game the Mountaineers never trailed.

“Any time we thought we’d get this thing to four or get it to two possessions, somebody hit a big 3 or they got a putback,” Brey said. “It’s really spirit-breaking after a while.”

Brey had to gamble in keeping Colson in after Colson picked up his fourth foul with 9:47 left and West Virginia up 59-47. Colson scored 10 of Notre Dame’s next 14 points over a five-minute span.

“It’s horrible,” said Colson, whose shoulders were heaving in emotion as he left the court. “It’s frustrating when you try to play your tail off and play with everything you have, and just leave everything out there.”

GONZAGA 79, NORTHWESTERN 73: Top-seeded Gonzaga (34-1) fought off a wild comeback by eighth-seeded Northwestern (24-12) at Salt Lake City.

Northwestern trimmed a 22-point deficit to five and had the ball when Zach Collins of Gonzaga reached through the basket to reject Dererk Pardon’s shot with 4:54 left.

There was no call, and Coach Chris Collins, jawing with officials all day, ran onto the court and was slapped with a technical foul. Nigel Williams-Goss made both free throws, and eighth-seeded Northwestern, in the NCAA tournament for the first time never got closer.

XAVIER 91, FLORIDA STATE 66: Trevon Bluiett scored 29 points and reserve Kaiser Gates contributed 14 as 11th-seeded Xavier (23-13) pulled off its second upset of the NCAA tournament with a victory against third-seeded Florida State (26-9) at Orlando, Florida.

The Musketeers advanced to the West Regional semifinal, marking the second time in two years and the eighth time in program history they made it to the Sweet 16. The Seminoles were the ACC runners-up.

Florida State was the bigger program from a power conference, but Xavier came in as a tournament-tested team and it showed. The Musketeers dominated the bigger and more athletic Seminoles inside and then put the game out of reach with their superior 3-point shooting.

]]> 0 Torres, left, and Matt Ryan of Notre Dame react Saturday after the 83-71 loss to West Virginia at Buffalo, N.Y., in a second-round game of the NCAA tournament. West Virginia will play Gonzaga on Thursday.Sat, 18 Mar 2017 22:46:02 +0000
Saturday’s Maine men’s roundup: USM baseball scores in bottom of ninth for win Sun, 19 Mar 2017 00:33:12 +0000 WINTER HAVEN, Fla. — Sam Stauble’s one-out, bases-loaded single in the bottom of the ninth inning gave Southern Maine a 12-11 victory over Ramapo in a baseball game Sautrday.

Andrew Olszak led the Huskies with four hits, including two doubles, and four RBI. Jake Dexter, Devin Warren and Dylan Hapworth had three hits apiece for Southern Maine (1-1), with Dexter driving in three runs and scoring three times.

Bobby Shannon had a home run among his four hits for the Roadrunners and drove in three runs.

Brandon Martinez added three hits for Ramapo (4-5), including a three-run homer, and four RBI.

Ramapo had overcome an 11-7 deficit by scoring two runs in the eighth inning and two more in the ninth.

In the home half of the ninth, the Huskies loaded the bases on a pinch single by Kaleb Bridgham, a double from Olszak and a walk to Matt Bender. An out later Stauble singled home pinch runner Thomas Zarro to end the game.

Southern Maine, trailing 7-4, took the lead with four runs in the sixth. Olszak delivered a two-run double and scored on Bender’s double. Bender recorded the go-ahead run on an infield error.

USM added three more in the seventh – on Dexter’s two-run single and Olszak’s RBI single – for a 11-7 lead.


BATES 14, TRINITY 7: Matt Chlastawa had four goals and an assist to lead Bates (5-0, 3-0) to a NESCAC victory over the Bantams (1-3, 0-3) in Hartford, Connecticut.

Chlastawa scored twice as the Bobcats opened a 5-2 lead in the first quarter. Bates led 7-4 at the half, and put the game away by outscoring Trinity 5-1 in the third quarter behind a pair of goals from Andrew Melvin.

Melvin and Kyle Weber each finished with two goals and an assist for Bates.

Ben Ferrucci led Trinity with three goals. Jack Sharrio added two goals and two assists, while Woody Hamilton had 19 saves for the Bantams.

UNIVERSITY OF NEW ENGLAND 15, BRYN ATHYN 8: Mitch Mullin paced a balanced UNE attack with three goals as the Nor’easters extended their most successful start to 5-1 with a win against the Lions (1-3) in Bryn Athyn, Pennsylvania.

Andrew Curro, Alex Zadworny and Jason Erwin each scored twice for the Nor’easters, while Dan Auger had one goal and five assists.

Jon Carr scored three goals to lead the way for Bryn Athyn, while Ricky Tran added two. David Pearson totaled seven saves for the Nor’easters. Brad DePasquale stopped 16 shots for Bryn Athyn.

WENTWORTH 16, ST. JOSEPH’S 6: Spencer Allen scored four goals and added an assist as the Leopards (4-1) overwhelmed St. Joseph’s (0-3) in Boston.

Kevin Butler added three goals and three assists for Wentworth, while Kyle Doner had three goals and two assists, and Jason Buck three goals.

Michael Finn’s three goals accounted for half of the Monks’ scoring. Tyler Retalic contributed a goal and an assist, with Peter Wood and Dan Cunningham also scoring for the Monks.

The Leopards opened a 3-0 first-quarter lead, but St. Joseph’s pulled within a goal when Finn and Wood scored early in the second. However, Allen scored twice as Wentworth got the final three goals of the half for a 6-2 lead.

The Leopards closed the third with a 6-0 run to widen the lead to 13-3.

TUFTS 10, COLBY 7: Lucas Johnson, Holden Rosen Grupp and Danny Murphy each had two goals and an assist as the Jumbos (5-0, 2-0 NESCAC) beat the Mules (1-3, 1-2) in Waterville.

Ben Shmerler played the opening half and made five saves for Tufts. Robert Treiber played the final 30 minutes and made three stops. Austin Sayre scored three times for Colby, and Don Vivian added two goals. Mules goalie C.J. Layton stopped 18 shots.

Murphy had two goals and an assist in the first period as the Jumbos took a 7-0 lead. The Mules answered with goals by Tucker Dietrick and Sayre in the second quarter, then Don Vivian and Sayre scored in the third to bring Colby within 7-4 with 1:49 left period.

Rosen Grupp scored two goals for the Jumbos over a span of 1:01 to push the lead back up to 9-4, but the Mules pull within 9-7 with 7:16 to play on goals by Sayre, Vivian and Cillian Connor.

]]> 0 Sat, 18 Mar 2017 20:41:22 +0000
Saturday’s Maine women’s college roundup: Black Bears fall twice in softball Sun, 19 Mar 2017 00:19:22 +0000 MISSOULA, Mont. — Kaylee Ree lined a three-run single and scored on Madison Cathcart’s hit down the left-field line as Seattle University used a four-run rally in the bottom of the seventh inning to get past the University of Maine in a 6-5 softball victory Saturday.

Sara Dominguez started the winning rally for the Redhawks (9-17) when she reached on a fielding error. Alyson Matriotti and Paige Bouska singled to load the bases before Ree sent a single to center.

Maine had overcome a 2-0 deficit, scoring five runs in the sixth, on a solo homer by Kristen Niland and Erika Leonard’s grand slam.

MONTANA 10, MAINE 1: Madison Saacke laced a three-run double to right- center and Gabby Martinez followed with a two-run triple as the host Grizzlies (11-15) took a 6-1 first-inning lead and beat the Black Bears (3-16) in five innings in their second game Saturday.

Montana added three more in the second and another in the fourth.

Alyssa Derrick’s home run in the top of the first was one of the two hits Maine managed against Montana pitcher Colleen Driscoll. Maddie Moore had a single for the Black Bears.

USM 6, CARLETON 5: Courtney Davis had four hits and two RBI to lead Southern Maine (1-0) past Carleton (3-1) at Auburndale, Florida.

Taylor Lux, Mary Caron and Allison Pillar each had two hits for the Huskies. Caron had two RBI.

USM scored four times in second to take a 5-0 lead. Caron laced a two-run double during the rally, with Lux and Davis adding RBI singles.

D’YOUVILLE 4, USM 2: Cameron Colan launched a three-run triple as the Spartans (1-1) scored all their runs in the first inning of a victory over Southern Maine (1-1) in its second game Saturday.

Samantha Crosman doubled home Amber Kelly in the second inning for the Huskies, and Shelby Obert doubled home Courtney Davis in the third.


TRINITY 9, BATES 5: Allie Barrett, Grace O’Donnell, Nicole Stauffer and Kiley Coffey each scored twice for Trinity (5-1, 3-0) against the Bobcats (3-3, 0-3) in a NESCAC game at Lewiston.

Teal Otley’s three goals led Bates, with Allison Dewey and Camille Belletete scoring the other two.

Clare Lyne added a pair of assists for Trinity, while goalie Zoe Ferguson made 11 saves to mitigate a 16-13 Bates advantage in shots on goal.

COLBY 10, TUFTS 9: Kendall Smith scored four goals and assisted on a fifth to lead the Mules (2-2, 1-2 NESCAC) past the Jumbos (2-2, 0-2) at Medford, Massachusetts.

Maddie Hatch added two goals and two assists for Colby, while Lexie Perticone registered two goals and one assist.

Kelsey Bowen and Grace Crowell also scored for Colby.

Kate Mackin had three goals for Tufts, while Taylor Meek and Dakota Adamec scored twice each. Megan Toner and Caroline Nowak netted the other two goals.

]]> 0 Sat, 18 Mar 2017 20:52:00 +0000
NCAA women’s basketball: UConn wins 25th straight tournament game Sun, 19 Mar 2017 00:08:25 +0000 STORRS, Conn. — Napheesa Collier and Kia Nurse each scored 24 points as top-seeded UConn routed Albany 116-55 on Saturday in a Bridgeport Region game for the program’s 108th straight win and 25th straight in the NCAA tournament.

Gabby Williams added 20 points for UConn. She and Collier each pulled down 10 rebounds for the Huskies (33-0), who are going for their fifth consecutive NCAA title. They haven’t lost in the first round since 1993.

Imani Tate had 19 points and Jessica Fequiere scored 16 to lead Albany (21-12). Tiana-Jo Carter of Naples was next with eight points for the Great Danes.

This was the 13th time since 1997 that UConn’s first-round margin of victory exceeded the points put up by its opponent.

SYRACUSE 85, IOWA STATE 65: Brittney Sykes scored 28 points and Alexis Peterson added 25 to lead eighth-seeded Syracuse over ninth-seeded Iowa State at Storrs, Connecticut.

Freshman Gabby Cooper added a season-high 24 points, all from 3-point range, for the Orange (22-10), who will face UConn on Monday in a rematch of last year’s title game.

Seanna Johnson had 21 points for Iowa State (18-13).

OREGON 71, TEMPLE 70: Ruthy Hebard hit a jumper with 5.5 seconds remaining to lift Oregon (21-13) past Temple (24-8) at Durham, North Carolina.

Hebard finished with 23 points and Sabrina Ionescu added 16 to help the 10th-seeded Ducks win a wild game that had three lead changes in the final 30 seconds.

Alliya Butts scored 28 points and Feyonda Fitzgerald added 16 for the seventh-seeded Owls.


STANFORD 72, NEW MEXICO STATE 64: Alanna Smith had 19 points and 11 rebounds, Karlie Samuelson hit five 3-pointers and finished with 17 points, and No. 2 seed Stanford (29-5) survived a spirited upset bid to beat No. 15 seed New Mexico State at Manhattan, Kansas.

The Cardinal trailed the Aggies (24-7) by as many as nine early on. Smith gave them their first lead midway through the third quarter, and Brittany McPhee gave them the lead for good when she began pouring in baskets midway through the fourth.

UCLA 83, BOISE STATE 56: Monique Billings scored 19 points and Jordin Canada had 15 points and 16 assists to help fourth-seeded UCLA (24-8) roll to a win over Boise State (25-8) at Los Angeles. The Bruins opened with a 15-0 run and were never seriously threatened.

KANSAS STATE 67, DRAKE 54: Breanna Lewis had 23 points and 11 rebounds, Kindred Wesemann added 16 points and seventh-seeded Kansas State (23-10) beat No. 10 seed Drake (28-5) at Manhattan, Kansas.

The Wildcats took the lead in the game’s opening minutes and never relinquished it, allowing them to ease into a matchup with Stanford on Monday, when they will again play at home.

The NCAA selection committee awarded Kansas State the right to host the opening rounds when Stanford had a conflict at Maples Pavilion.


BAYLOR 119, TEXAS SOUTHERN 30: Kalani Brown scored 21 points and top-seeded Baylor (31-3) overwhelmed much smaller Texas Southern (23-10) at Waco, Texas, in the most lopsided women’s NCAA Tournament game ever.

The 79-point margin broke the previous record 74-point win by Tennessee over North Carolina A&T (111-37) in 1994.

LOUISVILLE 82, CHATTANOOGA 62: Asia Durr scored 27 points to lead fourth-seeded Louisville (28-7) to a victory over Chattanooga (21-11) at Louisville, Kentucky.

Myisha Hines-Allen added 16 points and 12 rebounds while Jazmine Jones came off the bench to get 14. Those three fueled an offense that saw the Cardinals shoot a season-best 61 percent. Louisville also notched a season-best 28 assists, with Mariya Moore dishing out 10.

TENNESSEE 66, DAYTON 57: Diamond DeShields scored 24 points to lead fifth-seeded Tennessee (20-11) over Dayton (22-10) at Louisville.

The Vols used a strong second half to pull away from the 12th-seeded Flyers, shooting 52 percent after halftime.

OKLAHOMA 75, GONZAGA 62: Vionise Pierre-Louis had 17 points, nine rebounds and nine blocked shots and No. 6 seed Oklahoma (23-9) used early hot shooting to hold off 11th-seeded Gonzaga (26-7) at Seattle.

Pierre-Louis controlled the interior throughout, making sure the Sooners’ torrid shooting from behind the 3-point line in the first quarter withstood all of Gonzaga’s charges.


QUINNIPIAC 68, MARQUETTE 65: Jennifer Fay scored 20 points and 12th-seeded Quinnipiac (28-6) held on in a frantic final minute to upset fifth-seeded Marquette (25-8) at Coral Gables, Florida.

Paula Strautmane scored seven of her 15 points in the fourth quarter for the Bobcats, who were up 52-33 midway through the third quarter before Marquette roared back and got within two.

MIAMI 62, FLORIDA GULF COAST 60: Keyona Hayes scored 16 points, including the go-ahead basket inside with 1.5 seconds remaining, and fourth-seeded Miami (24-8) rallied to beat 13th-seeded Florida Gulf Coast (26-9) at Coral Gables, Florida.

]]> 0's Kia Nurse, Napheesa Collier, Gabby Williams, Katie Lou Samuelson and Saniya Chong celebrate during the second half of their rout of Albany on Saturday.Sat, 18 Mar 2017 22:43:25 +0000
NCAA notebook: Tar Heels ready for fast pace Sat, 18 Mar 2017 23:05:58 +0000 GREENVILLE, S.C. — North Carolina is at its best when the Tar Heels are pushing the ball upcourt in a go-go-go pace, one that frequently has opponents desperately trying to slow things down.

That shouldn’t be a problem for Sunday’s second-round game in the South Region. Arkansas is just as eager to play fast – even if that’s a prospect that thrills the top-seeded Tar Heels.

“We don’t want it to be chaotic to where we’re just making turnovers and making bad plays,” UNC point guard Joel Berry II said Saturday, “but if they want to speed us up, I mean, that plays right into our hands.”

The Tar Heels (28-7) meet the eighth-seeded Razorbacks in Greenville, South Carolina, one of the day’s three matchups in the South bracket. The games also include second-seeded Kentucky against No. 10 Wichita State in Indianapolis while No. 3 seed UCLA faces No. 6 seed Cincinnati in Sacramento, California.

The Tar Heels rank fifth nationally in KenPom’s adjusted offensive efficiency rankings (122.1 points per 100 possessions) behind Atlantic Coast Conference player Justin Jackson (18.1 points) and Berry – who is nursing an ankle injury.

The Razorbacks rank 26th (116.7) in those KenPom stats with a balanced attack led by Dusty Hannahs (14.6 points), Daryl Macon (13.3), Jaylen Barford (12.9) and Moses Kinglsey (12.1).

ILLINOIS: The school hired Oklahoma State’s Brad Underwood as its new coach.

Underwood spent three successful seasons at Stephen F. Austin before signing on to coach Oklahoma State for 2016-17.

BAYLOR: Players are hoping a deep NCAA Tournament run can help improve the school’s reputation amid a sexual assault scandal that sparked a federal lawsuit and prompted the university to fire its football coach and demote its president.

“We want to do something positive for our school and represent Baylor in the way we know it should be represented,” guard King McClure said as the third-seeded Bears prepared to play No. 11 seed Southern California in the second round of the NCAA Tournament on Sunday.

]]> 0 Sat, 18 Mar 2017 19:20:45 +0000
Top-ranked Villanova stunned, out of NCAA tournament Sat, 18 Mar 2017 21:59:06 +0000 BUFFALO, N.Y. — When the season ended suddenly and shockingly, much earlier than Villanova expected, Kris Jenkins bent over in disbelief near mid-court.

There would be no game-winning shot, no confetti-filled celebration, no more games. The defending champions – and No. 1 overall seed – are done.

After two relatively routine days, madness returned Saturday to the NCAA tournament.Top-seeded Villanova was bounced from the brackets and the East region 65-62 by eighth- seeded Wisconsin, which added another major upset to its resume and stormed into the Sweet 16 for the fourth consecutive season.

Nigel Hayes scored 19 points, dropping a layup in traffic with 11.4 seconds left, and Bronson Koenig shook off foul trouble and added 17 for the tournament-toughened Badgers (27-9), who will play next week at Madison Square Garden after knocking off a Villanova team that never found its traction in snowy Buffalo.

“Seeds don’t matter,” Wisconsin Coach Greg Gard said. “I told these guys I don’t care where we’re seeded. We have to win six games. Let’s start with these two this weekend.”

Senior Josh Hart scored 19 to lead the Wildcats, but was bottled up and stripped by Ethan Happ and Vitto Brown of Wisconsin on a drive in the final seconds. Brown then split two free throws with four seconds left, but Villanova struggled to corral the rebound and then couldn’t get off a final shot.

It was a bitter ending for the Wildcats, who were trying to be the first team to repeat as champions since 2007.

But starting with an unimpressive performance against No. 16 Mount St. Mary’s in its opener Thursday, Villanova looked vulnerable and instead became the first No. 1 seed to be sent home.

“To me, there’s no dishonor in losing in this tournament,” said Villanova Coach Jay Wright, whose team lost as a No. 2 in Buffalo three years ago. “We’ve lived through it. You are judged by how you play in this tournament and that’s the reality of it. So you have to accept it.”

When the horn sounded, Wisconsin’s red-clad fans erupted in celebration and the Badgers stormed the court after taking down a No. 1 seed for the third time in four years. Wisconsin beat Arizona in 2014, Kentucky in 2015 and now can add Villanova to its list.

Flushed with pride, Gard hugged his wife and children as the Badgers’ pep band played their hearts out. A few minutes later, Wisconsin’s players doused each other with water and tore a few signs off the walls in KeyBank Center for souvenirs.

Hayes has been part of all those previous upsets by Wisconsin.

“All of those games we’ve been the underdog,” he said. “You have all types of ranking systems, statistics. The thing with all those algorithms is they can’t calculate heart, will to win, toughness, desire. And that’s the thing we have.”

Villanova came into the NCAAs on a roll after winning the Big East tournament and was expected to at least escape the East, but had their hopes busted and will have to relish those moments from last year when it won its first title since 1985.

Wright was concerned about Wisconsin, calling it a “great number eight” seed and compared it to Butler, which beat Villanova twice during the season.

As it turned out, the Badgers were more than that.

Koenig and Hayes, two savvy seniors, made several pivotal plays in the closing minutes as Wisconsin overcame a 57-50 deficit.

Freshman Donte DiVincenzo scored 15 points and Jalen Brunson added 11 for Villanova. But the Wildcats got little from Jenkins, the hero of last year’s title game when he drained a 3-pointer to beat North Carolina.

Jenkins couldn’t shake a prolonged shooting slump and went just 2 of 9 against Wisconsin and 4 of 22 in the two tournament games.

Jenkins, and fellow seniors Hart and Darryl Reynolds, finish their career 129-17 in four years, but the sting of their last loss might linger.

“We’re close on and off the court and that bond is never going to be broken,” Hart said.

NOTES: Under Gard, Wisconsin improved to 39-1 when leading or tied with five minutes remaining, including 24-1 this season.

]]> 0 guard Khalil Iverson, right, drives to the basket against Villanova guard Donte DiVincenzo during the first half of a second-round men's college basketball game in the NCAA Tournament on Saturday in Buffalo, N.Y. Wisconsin knocked off the defending national champion, 65-62. (Associated Press/Bill Wippert)Sat, 18 Mar 2017 21:12:56 +0000
NCAA women’s tournament: Maryland advances to second round again Sat, 18 Mar 2017 02:36:54 +0000 COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Shatori Walker-Kimbrough scored 28 points, Brionna Jones had 25 points and 10 rebounds, and Maryland beat Bucknell 103-61 on Friday to earn its seventh consecutive trip to the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Playing at home in front of an enthusiastic crowd, the third-seeded Terrapins (31-2) built a 45-22 lead at halftime and expanded the margin to 30 points early in the third quarter.

Maryland will next face West Virginia.

The Terps have at least one victory in 13 of the last 14 NCAA tournaments and are seeking to reach the Final Four for the third time in four years.

Coming off its third straight Big Ten championship, ranked fourth in the country and in the midst of its third successive 30-win season, Maryland was miffed about being seeded third in the Bridgeport Region.

As if to prove a point, the Terrapins took control early against No. 14 seed Bucknell (27-6).

WEST VIRGINIA 75, ELON 62: Tynice Martin scored 26 points, Katrina Pardee made a pair of pivotal 3-pointers and West Virginia pulled away at College Park, Maryland, in the opening round.

The sixth-seeded Mountaineers (24-10) will next face Maryland on the Terrapins’ home floor Sunday.

Coming off a stunning 77-66 win over second-ranked Baylor in the championship game of the Big 12 tournament, West Virginia couldn’t shake Elon (27-7) until the fourth quarter.


DEPAUL 88, NORTHERN IOWA 67: Tanita Allen scored 25 points, Lauren Prochaska and Brooke Schulte each added 12 and DePaul won in Starkville, Mississippi.

Seventh-seeded DePaul (27-7) kept up a torrid scoring pace despite fairly quiet games from Schulte and Jessica January, the team’s two leading scorers.

MISSISSIPPI STATE 110, TROY 69: Blair Schaefer scored a career-high 21 points, Ameshya Williams added 15 and Mississippi State won at Starksville, Mississippi.

Mississippi State (30-4) used a 29-6 run in the second quarter to erase any doubt about the outcome.


PURDUE 74, GREEN BAY 62: Ashley Morrisette scored 20 points, Dominique Oden added 13 and ninth-seeded Purdue won in South Bend, Indiana.

The Boilermakers (23-12), playing their first game since Coach Sharon Versyp – a former University of Maine coach – informed the team she was diagnosed with early stage breast cancer, won for the eighth time in their last nine games.

NOTRE DAME 79, ROBERT MORRIS 49: Marina Mabrey and Arike Ogunbowale scored 15 points each to help top-seeded Notre Dame win at home in South Bend, Indiana.

The Irish (31-3), who have won 15 straight, improved to 28-5 in seven tournament appearances as a No. 1 seed, but the 30-point margin of victory was the smallest during those games.

OHIO STATE 70, WESTERN KENTUCKY 63: Kelsey Mitchell and Asia Doss each scored 15 points, Shayla Cooper grabbed a season-high 15 rebounds and Ohio State withstood a late charge to win in Lexington, Kentucky.

The fifth-seeded Buckeyes (27-6) began to take control just before halftime and followed with timely baskets to keep a safe cushion against the No. 12 seeded Hilltoppers.

KENTUCKY 73, BELMONT 70: Maci Morris made 7 of 8 free throws in the final 37 seconds, including two with 3.2 seconds remaining, to help fourth-seeded Kentucky win in Lexington.

NORTH CAROLINA STATE 62, AUBURN 48: Dominique Wilson scored 23 points and Miah Spencer added 13 to help No. 6 seed North Carolina State roll in Austin, Texas.

TEXAS 78, CENTRAL ARKANSAS 50: Brooke McCarty scored 15 points and No. 3 seed Texas cruised in Austin, Texas.

Joyner Holmes added 12 points and nine rebounds for the Longhorns (23-8).


OREGON STATE 56, LONG BEACH STATE 55: Breanna Brown scored 12 points and second-seeded Oregon State won in Corvallis, Oregon.

Mikayla Pivec and Marie Gulich each added 10 points for Oregon State (30-4), which was also seeded second last season when it made the Final Four.

CREIGHTON 76, TOLEDO 49: Marissa Janning had 15 of her 19 points in the first quarter, and seventh-seeded Creighton built an early lead and went on to win big in Corvallis, Oregon.

SOUTH CAROLINA 90, UNC ASHEVILLE 50: Allisha Gray scored 22 points and had 12 rebounds to lead top-seeded South Carolina in Columbia, South Carolina.

The Gamecocks (28-4) were missing Alania Coates, their best rebounder and half of their twin tower frontcourt.

ARIZONA STATE 73, MICHIGAN STATE 61: Quinn Dornstauder scored 16 points to lead No. 8 seed Arizona State in Columbia, South Carolina.

In a matchup between the stingy defense of the Sun Devils (20-12) and the high-power offense of the Spartans, Arizona State won easily.

MISSOURI 66, SOUTH FLORIDA 64: Sierra Michaelis scored 16 points, including the winner with 0.6 seconds remaining, and No. 6 seed Missouri rallied from a 13-point halftime deficit in Tallahassee, Florida.

FLORIDA STATE 87, WESTERN ILLINOIS 66: Shakayla Thomas scored 23 points and the third-seeded Seminoles won in Tallahassee, Florida.

]]> 0 Fri, 17 Mar 2017 22:40:51 +0000
Friday’s Maine college roundup: USM falls in baseball opener Sat, 18 Mar 2017 02:32:44 +0000 LEESBURG, Fla. — Wisconsin-La Crosse scored three unearned runs in the fifth inning Friday and ruined the University of Southern Maine’s baseball opener with a 4-2 victory in a nonconference game.

USM scored in the first inning when Sam Stauble hit a two-out single, advanced to third on Kip Richard’s single and scored when Devin Warren reached on an infield error. Richard added a single in the sixth that brought in Andrew Olszak.

Wisconsin-La Crosse (5-2) countered with a unearned run in the bottom of the first before its three-run fifth.

Richard finished 3 for 4 for USM, and Zach Quintal added a double and single.

Starter Dalton Rice took the loss, allowing four runs in six innings, all unearned, on one hit. He struck out seven and walked five.


SEATTLE 10, MAINE 1: Seattle (7-16) wrapped up the victory in five innings, defeating the Black Bears (2-14) at Missoula, Montana.

Rachel Harvey had a double and a single for Maine, and Rachel Carlson added a pair of hits.

MAINE 7, MONTANA 4: Maine (3-14) scored four runs in the second inning, including an RBI triple by Rachel Carlson, and defeated Montana (10-15) at Missoula, Montana.

The Grizzlies countered with a pair of unearned runs in the bottom of the inning, but the Black Bears extended their lead, scoring three runs in the top of the fourth. Erika Leonard drew a two-out walk, stole second, and scored as Carlson singled to pick up her second RBI of the game. Alyssa Derrick followed with a run-scoring double and Rachel Harvey singled to round out the scoring.

Annie Kennedy of Maine allowed four runs in eight hits, striking out one with no walks.

BOWDOIN 9, BECKER 1: The Polar Bears (2-3) sent 10 batters to the plate in the third inning and scored six runs in a five-inning victory against the Hawks (2-7) at Leesburg, Florida.

Natalie Edwards went 2 for 3 with a pair of RBI for Bowdoin. Lauren O’Shea added a pair of hits and scored twice.

]]> 0 Fri, 17 Mar 2017 22:38:55 +0000
NCAA men’s basketball: Southern Cal comeback leaves SMU stunned Sat, 18 Mar 2017 02:28:56 +0000 TULSA, Okla. — For the second straight NCAA tournament game, Southern California overcame a double-digit deficit in the second half to win Friday.

Elijah Stewart hit a late 3-pointer as the 11th-seeded Trojans upset sixth-seeded Southern Methodist 66-65 in the first round of the East Regional.

USC, who trailed SMU by 10 in the second half, trailed Providence by 17 in the second half of their First Four game Wednesday night before winning, 75-71.

Apparently the Trojans don’t know how to quit.

“We just had to keep fighting back,” Stewart said. “We’ve been in those positions before so we’re kind of seasoned to it. And you just can’t stop. You’ve just got to keep going.”

Stewart had 22 points for the Trojans (26-9), including the game-deciding 3-pointer with 37 seconds to play.

“We ran the play previously before and I was open,” Stewart said. “And then we had the media timeout. We discussed it. We ran the same play again and I was open, and I just let muscle memory take place.”

Bennie Boatright and Chimezie Metu each added 14 points for USC, which advanced to take on third-seeded Baylor in a second-round game on Sunday.

Shake Milton missed a floater at the final buzzer that would have won the game for the Mustangs.

“There used to be a show on TV when I was little talking about the thrill of victory and the agony of defeat,” SMU Coach Tim Jankovich said. “I think it was ‘Wide World of Sports.’ I can certainly relate to that show right now.”

Stewart noticed that SMU wasn’t sure what it was going to do in the final sequence.

“I noticed that two players were arguing about who was going to take the last shot,” Stewart said.

“Usually when something like that happens, like whoever shoots it, it just messes with you. The floater was short and I felt like if – like it could have went either way, honestly. I was just – I had my eyes closed.”

Semi Ojeleye had 24 points and 10 rebounds, and Sterling Brown added 17 points for SMU (30-5), which had won 16 straight. The Mustangs’ last loss had been on Jan. 12.

SMU was in the NCAA tournament after being banned from postseason play a year ago for multiple violations, including academic fraud and unethical conduct.

“Today is obviously an incredible heartbreak,” Jankovich said. “If ever there was a team to deserve some great things, some more great things to happen, particularly this time of year, it was these guys.”

]]> 0 Mathews, left, and Jordan McLaughlin of Southern Cal start the celebrations Friday after Southern Methodist's final miss, preserving the Trojans' 66-65 victory.Fri, 17 Mar 2017 22:33:43 +0000
Men’s NCAA tournament roundup: Rhode Island upsets Creighton Sat, 18 Mar 2017 00:20:22 +0000 SACRAMENTO, Calif. – Dan Hurley stole an occasional glance at the raucous Rhode Island section and realized just how much this NCAA tournament means to a starved program, and to an entire state that loves its basketball even if far more under the radar than so many of the others featuring powerful programs.

Who could blame them? Back in the tournament for the first time in 18 years, these Rams are on a roll they hope lasts a little longer.

Jeff Dowtin scored a career-high 23 points with a perfect day at the free-throw line, upstart Rhode Island answered every threat and the Rams ran right into the next round of the NCAA tournament by stunning cold-shooting No. 6 seed Creighton 84-72 on Friday in an opener of the Midwest Regional.

“The emotion from (the crowd), it almost felt like 18 years’ worth of excitement, and they really inspired the guys,” Hurley said.

Kuran Iverson scored 17 points, and Hassan Martin had 12 points and eight rebounds as 11th-seeded Rhode Island (25-9) earned its ninth straight victory. The program won an NCAA tournament game for the first time since advancing to the Elite Eight and losing to Stanford in 1998.

Ronnie Harrell Jr. scored a career-high 15 points in Creighton’s 40 percent shooting day when little went right – like all the missed layups.

Hurley couldn’t wait to build happier memories in Sacramento, where his older brother, Bobby, survived a life-threatening car wreck as an NBA rookie with the Kings in December 1993. Rhode Island hit the court for loose balls, crashed the boards with energy and found a way to withstand every spurt by the Bluejays (25-10).

The Rams made a lot of free throws, too.

E.C. Matthews coolly converted two chances from the line with 2:32 remaining and made all 10 of his free throws on his way to 16 points. Dowtin also hit all 10 from the line as URI went an impressive 28 of 31 on free throws in all.

And what fun for all those blue-clad Rams fans who traveled cross-country from Kingston, Rhode Island, through a major Northeast snowstorm to California’s capital to witness the program’s milestone moment.

“Across the bench, it was amazing that they were there and we could see them and they were loud,” Dan Hurley said.

Oh yes, and Bobby Hurley was there in the stands at Golden 1 Center – along with the rest of their basketball-crazed support system featuring Hall of Fame coach Bob Hurley Sr. Bobby Hurley is the Arizona State coach and now will be called upon for his “Pac-12 intel” on URI’s next opponent, Oregon.

MICHIGAN 92, OKLAHOMA STATE 91: Derrick Walton Jr. scored 26 points and Michigan (25-11) made 16 3-pointers to hold off Oklahoma State (20-13) in the first round at Indianapolis.

LOUISVILLE 78, JACKSONVILLE STATE 63: Mangok Mathiang scored 18 points and Deng Adel added 16 to help Louisville (25-8) pull away from Jacksonville State (20-15) in the first round at Indianapolis.

KANSAS 100, UC DAVIS 62: Frank Mason III scored 22 points and had eight assists as Kansas (29-5) won its opening game of the NCAA tournament for an 11th straight year by beating UC Davis (23-13) at Tulsa, Oklahoma.

OREGON 93, IONA 77: With star big man Chris Boucher cheering in a bulky knee brace from the sidelines, Tyler Dorsey scored 24 points to lead four players in double figures, and seed Oregon (30-5) beat Iona (22-13) in the first round at Sacramento, California.

MICHIGAN STATE 78, MIAMI 58: Nick Ward scored 19 points to help the Spartans(20-14) atone for last season’s early NCAA tournament disappointment with an opening-round win at Tulsa, Oklahoma.

The ninth-seeded Spartans trailed by as many 12 points in the first half before blitzing past the stunned Hurricanes (21-12) the rest of the way, using a 20-2 first half run to take control for good.


BAYLOR 91, NEW MEXICO STATE 73: Reserve Al Freeman scored 21 points, and Baylor (26-7) defeated New Mexico State (28-6) in the first round at Tulsa, Oklahoma.

DUKE 87, TROY 65: Grayson Allen had 21 points off five 3-pointers, Jayson Tatum added 18 points and 12 rebounds, and Duke (29-7), the ACC tournament winner, continued its perfect postseason by beating Troy (22-15) at Greenville, South Carolina.


ARKANSAS 77, SETON HALL 71: Jaylen Barford hit the go-ahead layup with 57.8 seconds left to help Arkansas (26-9) hold off Seton Hall (21-12) at Greenville, South Carolina.

NORTH CAROLINA 103, TEXAS SOUTHERN 64: Justin Jackson broke out of a shooting slump with 21 points to help North Carolina (28-7) roll past Texas Southern (23-12) in the first round at Greenville, South Carolina.

WICHITA STATE 64, DAYTON 58: Wichita State’s high-scoring offense didn’t get off the ground until the closing minutes, when the Shockers (31-4) played like the more tournament-experienced team and pulled away from Dayton (24-8) at Indianapolis.

CINCINNATI 75, KANSAS STATE 61: Troy Caupain scored 23 points, Kyle Washington added 16 and defensive-minded Cincinnati (30-5) shot its way past Kansas State (21-14) at Sacramento, California.


NORTH CAROLINA STATE: The school hired Kevin Keatts of UNC Wilmington to take over as head basketball coach.

]]> 0, 17 Mar 2017 23:51:49 +0000
NCAA women’s tournament tips off Friday Fri, 17 Mar 2017 11:14:27 +0000 The women’s NCAA Tournament gets underway Friday with half of the 64-team field playing.

The same question remains for 63 of them: Can they beat UConn?

The Huskies have won 107 consecutive games overall and four straight national championships. UConn won’t have to leave the state until potentially the Final Four, making it that much more difficult for the Huskies to be upset. They’ve already beaten the other three No. 1 seeds in the regular season and knocked off Maryland – the 3-seed in their region.

While UConn doesn’t tip off until Saturday morning, top-seeded Notre Dame and South Carolina do play.

Here are a few story lines to look for:


Washington guard Kelsey Plum set the NCAA career scoring record at home on senior night when she put up 57 points to surpass Jackie Stiles’ long-standing mark. She’s hoping to help the Huskies make another run to the Final Four. That journey will begin at home as the Huskies will host the first two rounds. The third-seed Huskies face Montana State in their opener.


The fifth-seed Lady Vols will try to end an eight-year Final Four drought. Tennessee definitely has the talent to reach the national semifinals, having beaten Notre Dame, Mississippi State and South Carolina this season. The Lady Vols have also lost to Penn State, Alabama twice and Mississippi. They’ll open against No. 12 Dayton.

“If we were undefeated, I would worry. It’s just the unknown of what you don’t know,” Lady Vols coach Holly Warlick said. “When you get on the court – we’ve prepared and we’ll look at it and prepare and we’ll put a game plan out – when the game comes, it’s the kids’ time to perform. Hopefully our staff is going to put them in a position where they’re confident and they’ll know what we need to get done. It’s tournament. Any coach in the back of their mind’s going to be concerned about any game. We lost in the first round against Ball State one year. Anything can happen. I understand that, so we’re going to prepare our team to play Dayton like it’s the championship game.”


The women’s tournament can claim the only victory by a 16-seed when Harvard upset Stanford in 1998. Still no 14 or 15 seeds have ever won a game, with each going 0-88 since the bracket expanded to 64 teams 22 years ago. With the top 16 seeds hosting, the underdogs will be hard-pressed to end that streak.

Western Illinois coach JD Gravina hopes his 14-seeded Leathernecks are the first when they face Florida State.

“I do feel like in some of our competition against bigger and stronger teams, it has at least neutralized some of that advantage,” he said. “We were hoping to get a team that was bigger … really post-oriented that didn’t have as many shooters as FSU has, which will be a challenge for us.”


Central Arkansas has one of the most distinctive mascots in college basketball: Sugar Bears. School officials say there’s no special story behind it, only that decades ago the school wanted a nickname that set the women’s team apart from the men’s team. The name may sound soft, but the school logo is the face of snarling bear.

“I think we’ve got the best mascot in the country,” coach Sandra Rushing said. “Somebody asked me where did it come from? I said it’s just because we’re so sweet.”

]]> 0 Connecticut women's basketball team pose with the American Athletic Conference championship trophy after defeating South Florida on March 6 in Uncasville, Connecticut.Fri, 17 Mar 2017 07:14:27 +0000
NCAA tournament roundup: Xavier rises to knock off Maryland Fri, 17 Mar 2017 03:26:33 +0000 ORLANDO, Fla. — Trevon Bluiett doesn’t spend a lot of time worrying about missed shots because he knows makes eventually will come.

After missing his first seven shots and contributing just three points in the first half, Bluiett found his rhythm Thursday night to lead No. 11 seed Xavier to a 76-65 upset of sixth-seeded Maryland in the first round of the NCAA tournament in the West Regional.

Bluiett shot 6 of 7 in the second half to finish with 21 points.

“Once I get a couple to go in and get a rhythm going, then everything starts to fall,” said Bluiett, the Musketeers’ leading scorer. “Everything you shoot just feels good.”

Bluiett made four 3s in the second half to help Xavier come back from a six-point deficit.

The Musketeers move on in the West region, marking the third straight year they have advanced to the second round. Maryland, which started three freshmen for much the season, lost in the first round for the first time since 1997.

Maryland came in favored after finishing second in the Big Ten during the regular season, but seemed to be one of the more vulnerable No. 6 seeds in the tournament, primarily because of youth.

Maryland’s young players struggled at times as Xavier shifted from zone to man-to-man. Kevin Huerter finished with 19 points but was just 5 of 13 from the field, and Melo Trimble couldn’t find a rhythm against the Musketeers’ zone, going 1 of 9 from 3-point range to finish with 13 points, three assists and three turnovers.

“I just believe in my players,” said Xavier Coach Chris Mack. “Maryland is really good against man-to-man offensively. We don’t want Quentin Goodin to be chasing Melo Trimble all over the floor so zone is fairly effective at times.”

Maryland Coach Mark Turgeon said his players had difficulty trying to beat Xavier’s defense. The Terps went long stretches without making baskets and shot just 26 percent from 3-point range, worse in the second half as Xavier played mostly zone.

“The changing defenses gave us more problems than anything tonight,” Turgeon said. “I think they got hot and we kind of got rushed a little bit.”

The Terps also had no answer for Xavier big man Sean O’Mara, who finished with 18 points on 5-of-6 shooting from the field and 8 of 9 from the free throw line.

GONZAGA 66, SOUTH DAKOTA STATE 46: Jordan Mathews scored 16 points to help Gonzaga (33-1) slowly pull away from South Dakota State (18-17) at Salt Lake City and avoid the first 1 vs. 16 upset in the history of the NCAA tournament.

The Jackrabbits, champions of the Summit League, led for the first 17 minutes and stayed in range for most of the game.

NOTRE DAME 60, PRINCETON 58: Bonzie Colson scored 18 points and Notre Dame (26-9) survived a first-round scare by pulling out a win over Princeton (23-7) at Buffalo, New York.

The Tigers had a chance to pull ahead on their final possession, but Devin Cannady missed an open 3-pointer just before the final horn. Steve Vasturia of Notre Dame pulled down the rebound.

WEST VIRGINIA 86, BUCKNELL 80: Nathan Adrian had 12 points and 10 rebounds, leading West Virginia (27-9) over Bucknell (26-9) at Buffalo, New York.

Tarik Phillip scored 16 points for the Mountaineers, who struggled at times with the outside-shooting Bison. West Virginia avoided a repeat of last year’s first-round meltdown when the third-seeded Mountaineers lost to Stephen F. Austin.

SAINT MARY’S 85, VIRGINIA COMMONWEALTH 77: Jock Landale had 18 points and 13 rebounds as Saint Mary’s (29-4) held off Virginia Commonwealth (26-9) at Salt Lake City.

The Gaels led most of the way but had to hold on after the VCU defensive pressure started to become too much in the second half.

FLORIDA STATE 86, FGCU 80: Dwayne Bacon scored 25 points and Jonathan Isaac added 17 points and 10 rebounds to help the Seminoles (26-8) hold off the Eagles (26-8) at Orlando, Florida.


VIRGINIA 76, UNC WILMINGTON 71: London Perrantes scored 24 points, reserve Marial Shayok added a career-high 23 and Virginia (23-10)rallied from 15 points down to beat UNC Wilmington (29-6) at Orlando, Florida.

Perrantes scored 19 points in the second half as the Cavaliers got their slow-paced offense going. His biggest bucket was a driving bank shot with 1:37 remaining that put the Cavs up 71-66.

FLORIDA 80, EAST TENNESSEE STATE 65: Devin Robinson tied his career high with 24 points, Kasey Hill added 14 and Florida (25-8) used a second-half surge to beat East Tennessee State (27-8) at Orlando, Florida.

Robinson, an NBA prospect who had been relatively quiet late in the season, scored his most points in nearly two months. He made 10 of 17 shots and chipped in seven rebounds.

The speedy Hill reached double figures for the fourth consecutive game. He added six rebounds and five assists for his most complete game in a month.

VILLANOVA 76, MOUNT ST. MARY’S 56: Donte DiVincenzo scored 21 points, and Villanova (32-3) shook off a slow start and stumbled forward with a victory against Mount St. Mary’s (20-16) at Buffalo, New York.

The Wildcats weren’t themselves for much of the first half before opening the second half with a 21-6 run to take the first step toward defending their championship.

Villanova is trying to become the first back-to-back titlist since Florida in 2007.

WISCONSIN 84, VIRGINIA TECH 74: Bronson Koenig made a school-record eight 3-pointers and scored 28 points and Nigel Hayes added 16 as the Badgers (26-9) topped the Hokies (22-11) in Buffalo, New York.


BUTLER 76, WINTHROP 64: Avery Woodson scored 18 points and tied a career high with six 3-pointers to lead Butler (24-8) over Winthrop (26-7) at Milwaukee.

Woodson, a graduate transfer from Memphis, hit five 3s in the first half to help the Bulldogs build a 14-point halftime lead.

MIDDLE TENNESSEE 81, MINNESOTA 72: Reggie Upshaw scored 19 points, Giddy Potts added 15 and Middle Tennessee (31-4) took down another Big Ten team in the NCAA tournament, beating Minnesota (24-10) at Milwaukee.

Middle Tennessee proved it was no one-year wonder after upsetting Michigan State as a No. 15 seed last March.


PURDUE 80, VERMONT 70: Vincent Edwards scored 15 of his 21 points in the second half, and Purdue (26-7) held off Vermont (29-6) at Milwaukee for its first victory in the NCAA tournament in five years.

Caleb Swanigan added 16 points, 14 rebounds and four assists for the fourth-seeded Boilermakers, who were upset by Arkansas-Little Rock in double-overtime in the first round of last year’s tournament. Dakota Mathias made three 3-pointers and finished with 13 points.

IOWA STATE 84, NEVADA 73: Monte Morris had 19 points, eight rebounds and eight assists, and the Cyclones (24-10) outlasted Nevada (28-7) at Milwaukee.


INDIANA: Coach Tom Crean was fired after nine often lackluster seasons with the Hoosiers.

Crean won two Big Ten regular-season championships over the last five seasons but went 18-16 this year and missed the NCAA tournament for the fifth time in nine years – including each of his first three seasons after taking over a gutted team following an NCAA scandal.

]]> 0 O'Mara, who finished with 18 points for Xavier, dunks against Damonte Dodd of Maryland during the first half of Xavier's 76-65 victory Thursday. O'Mara shot 5 of 6 from the field.Fri, 17 Mar 2017 00:27:47 +0000