College – The Portland Press Herald Fri, 20 Jan 2017 14:03:11 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Thursday’s college roundup: Maine loses again in men’s basketball Fri, 20 Jan 2017 03:48:09 +0000 BANGOR — Iba Camara scored a career-high 21 points and pulled down 11 rebounds, and New Hampshire defeated Maine 74-63 on Thursday night.

The Wildcats (12-7, 3-2 America East) shot 55 percent in winning for the third time in four games and matching their best record through 19 games since the 1994-95 season.

Wes Myers scored 25 points, Vincent Eze 13 and Jaquan McKennon 10 for the Black Bears (5-16, 1-5), who have lost three straight and 10 of 11.

UNH scored first and led the rest of the way, leading by six at halftime. A basket by Camara gave the Wildcats a 10-point lead with 17:40 left in the game and UNH remained ahead by double figures, going up by 20 on another Camara basket with just under eight minutes left.

(25) MARYLAND 84, IOWA 76: Melo Trimble scored 20 points and Maryland (17-2, 5-1 Big Ten) rallied after blowing a 15-point lead to outlast Iowa (11-9, 3-4) at Iowa City, Iowa, for its fourth straight victory.


ST. JOSEPH’S 74, ST. JOSEPH (CONN.) 47: The Monks (14-2, 8-0 Great Northeast Athletic) opened the second quarter with a 9-0 run, built a 40-25 halftime lead and continued to pull away from the Blue Jays (7-8, 2-5) at Standish.

Emily Benway had game highs with 15 points and nine rebounds for St. Joseph’s, reserve Brianne Maloney tossed in 13 points, and Kelsi McNamara added 12 points and five assists.

Kayla Guest led the Blue Jays with 10 points. Carlee Putnam and Diamond Wallen each chipped in with nine.

(6) NOTRE DAME 80, BOSTON COLLEGE 69: Marina Mabrey scored 21 points, Brianna Turner had 19 and visiting Notre Dame (17-3, 5-1 Atlantic Coast) bounced back from a loss to Tennessee earlier this week with a victory over Boston College (8-11, 1-5).

(7) FLORIDA STATE 77, SYRACUSE 58: Shakayla Thomas scored 10 of her 17 points in the first quarter, and Florida State (18-2, 6-1 Atlantic Coast) cruised over Syracuse (13-7, 4-3) at Tallahassee, Florida.

(15) DUKE 85, (17) VIRGINIA TECH 59: Lexie Brown was 10 of 16 from the field and scored 29 points to help Duke (16-3, 4-2 Atlantic Coast) beat Virginia Tech (16-2, 3-2) at Durham, North Carolina.


UNIVERSITY OF NEW ENGLAND 3, WENTWORTH 3: Brady Fleurent scored three goals for the Nor’easters (7-6-2, 4-4-2 Commonwealth Coast) but Ben Mello scored the tying goal 8:54 into the third period for the Leopards at Everett, Massachusetts.

Tate Sproxton made 33 saves for the Nor’easters against the Leopards.

]]> 0 Thu, 19 Jan 2017 22:56:06 +0000
Women’s basketball: UNH edges UMaine, 50-44 Fri, 20 Jan 2017 01:56:41 +0000 DURHAM, N.H. — When the University of New Hampshire beat the University of Maine women’s basketball team 50-44 on Thursday night at Lundholm Gymnasium, it was hard to pinpoint the deciding factors.

Good defense or lousy offense?

“We missed a lot of easy points,” said Maine guard Sigi Koizar.

UNH Coach Maureen Magarity said “I was upset with the offensive flow.”

But, Magarity added, “both teams really defended.”

The Wildcats did it better – or did Maine miss more easy shots? – and remained the only unbeaten team in America East at 5-0. UNH has won nine straight for a school-best 15-3 start overall.

Maine dropped to 10-11, 3-3.

Freshman guard Blanca Millan led the Black Bears with 10 points. Koizar scored nine, pushing her career total to 1,468, moving her past Liz Wood (1,462) to seventh on Maine’s all-time list.

UNH features a veteran group, with two transfers from Marist College. The Wildcats were wildly underrated, picked to finish sixth in the preseason poll.

“We have some newcomers with the returners. We’re meshing really well as a team,” said sophomore forward Ashley Storey of Cumberland. She’s one of the three Mainers on the UNH roster. Both senior Kristen Anderson of Greene and freshman Sarah Clement of Falmouth are out with injury.

Storey played 22 minutes and grabbed six rebounds to go with one point and two assists.

Points did not come easy.

“It was very physical. Those girls push you around,” said Storey, who allowed that the pushing went both ways. “You have to work to get around them.”

Maine never led but usually stayed within four to six points. The Black Bears shot 32 percent from the field and scored 17 points under their average.

UNH shot 39 percent, scoring 12 points below its average.

“I thought our defense was great. When you give up 50 points, you should win a basketball game,” said associate head coach Amy Vachon, who continues to direct the team since head coach Richard Barron went on an indefinite medical leave for an undisclosed illness earlier this month.

While both teams played solid defense, the Black Bears’ 18 fouls led to New Hampshire’s 14 free throws. Maine was 4 of 8 at the line.

The Black Bears tried 3-pointers but were 2 of 14. They worked the ball inside but missed their shots.

The team that looks so comfortable in the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor continues to stumble on the road. Maine is 1-9 in opposing teams’ venues.

“We’ve been struggling on the road. It’s no secret. The shots we make at home, we’re not making on the road,” Vachon said. “The coaches need to figure out how we can help them with that.”

Koizar made it 35-35 with a jumper early in the fourth quarter, but Olivia Healy (16 points) hit a 3-pointer, then an offensive putback for UNH. Maine could not catch up.

NOTES: Anderson was a starter for UNH until suffering a concussion in Monday’s game at Vermont. She is day to day. Anderson’s turnover-to-assist ratio (3.6) is second among Division I players. … Clement is out with a knee injury and hasn’t been cleared to practice this season. … Maine next plays at home at 1 p.m. Sunday against defending league champion Albany.

Kevin Thomas can be reached at 791-6411 or:

Twitter: @KevinThomasPPH

]]> 0 Healy, left, of the University of New Hampshire battles Tanesha Sutton of Maine during Thursday night's game at Durham, N.H. UNH won, 60-54. (John Ewing/Staff Photographer)Thu, 19 Jan 2017 22:25:44 +0000
Ex-Marine returns to SMCC men’s basketball team – at age 28 Thu, 19 Jan 2017 03:34:43 +0000 SOUTH PORTLAND — To the United States Marine Corps, he was Lance Cpl. Michael Harmon. To the Southern Maine Community College men’s basketball team, he’s “Uncle Mike.”

Hearing his nickname at practice, the 28-year-old guard looked up at the ceiling and grinned.

“He doesn’t like it so much,” said the team’s captain, John Morgan.

Still, Harmon is grateful for a second chance on the team’s roster. After cutting his education at SMCC short to serve the Marines in 2013, the Portland native has returned to finish what he started in the classroom and on the basketball court. This time Harmon wants to leave SMCC “the right way.”

“Mikey was a lost soul when he was here the first time,” said SMCC’s coach of 14 years, Matt Richards. “He had no direction in life.”

Richards first coached Harmon during the winter of 2012-13 – when Harmon struggled with his grades after losing his father to cancer.

“I just wasn’t ready to get back in school yet and I didn’t want to be in Maine anymore,” Harmon said. “So I tried something different.”

In between his two seasons with the SeaWolves, Harmon served four years as a rifleman stationed at Camp Lejeune in Jacksonville, North Carolina. He said the experience taught him the importance of hard work and leadership as well as having a “go-with-the-flow” mentality – a trait that’s apparent when his teammates tease him about his age.

“You see Mike throw some passes and do some moves sometimes that are just vintage from back in the day,” said Morgan, a junior from Sanford. “He’s still got it.”

“It just takes him longer to recover,” added Richards, laughing. “Mikey has created a very workman-like mentality of, ‘Hey, you come in and you work hard to do this.’ “

Despite their 14-4 record entering Wednesday’s game in Portsmouth, N.H., the SeaWolves are not a flashy squad. They win with defense and averaging 43 rebounds per game – seven more than their opponents. SMCC is ranked eighth in the nation in the latest United States Collegiate Athletic Association Division II poll and has allowed opponents an average of 70.3 points – fewest in the Yankee Small College Conference.

“I wouldn’t say we’re this offensive juggernaut but this group has embraced their identity,” Richards said. “When you have a team that understands who they are early, you can have that sustained success.”

In similar fashion, Harmon isn’t a loud presence on the court. At 6 feet, he doesn’t tower over teammates nor does his voice boom through the gymnasium at practice. He averages 4.7 points and 12 minutes a game, but his leadership can be felt in less obvious ways.

“Just having a guy who’s older on the team is a big help,” said Morgan, who leads the team in scoring (15.9 points per game). “In big games you can kind of look to him and see this calmness.”

Harmon’s composure appears contagious. Seven of SMCC’s 18 games have been decided by four points or less – with the SeaWolves winning five. On Nov. 19, Harmon beat the buzzer with a 3-pointer to lift SMCC over Vermont Technical College, 69-66.

Richards said he first recognized his team’s potential in the third game of the season when the SeaWolves fell to Williamson of Pennsylvania 63-61, at the buzzer. But the loss to Williamson – ranked third in the latest USCAA poll – provided motivation.

“I thought, ‘How we come back from this will define us,’ ” Richards said.

“And we came back and really put a pounding on somebody.”

The next day the SeaWolves kicked off a six-game winning streak, including a 63-61 victory over Navy Prep on a last-second basket.

“When we won that game at the buzzer I was like, ‘OK,’ ” Richards said, ” ‘I think we have a chance.’ “

The SeaWolves have seven more regular-season games before hosting their conference tournament in mid-February.

“We haven’t done it real pretty,” Richards said. “This team is just doing it differently from teams I’ve had in the past who have had success at this stage.”

Harmon’s path also has been unconventional. He plans to graduate in May with an associate degree in liberal studies and continue his education at a four-year school.

“I didn’t really have a lot of positive influences growing up. I wish that more people would have led me in the right direction,” he said. “I mean, I’m not upset that I took the route I took but there were just easier routes.”

As a result, Harmon wants to become a teacher and a coach to help other students find their way.

“Mikey’s goal was to end this experience the right way,” Richards said. “He got his life in order to have success as a student. I’m prouder of that than anything he has given us on the court.”

Taylor Vortherms can be contacted at 791-6417 or

Twitter: TaylorVortherms

]]> 0 basketball coach Matt Richards, left, says Michael Harmon had no direction in life four years ago. Now Richards has his life in order and exhibits calm on a successful team.Thu, 19 Jan 2017 09:02:20 +0000
Wednesday’s college roundup: UMaine football to open at New Hampshire Wed, 18 Jan 2017 22:33:54 +0000 The University of Maine football team will open its 2017 season at rival New Hampshire, the first time in 25 years the teams have opened against each other.

The Black Bears’ schedule, released Wednesday, includes games against defending FCS champion James Madison, and against FCS teams Central Florida and UMass, the latter at Fenway Park on Nov. 11.

The schedule:

Sept. 2, at New Hampshire; Sept. 9, Bryant; Sept. 23, at James Madison; Sept. 30, at Central Florida; Oct. 7, at Villanova; Oct. 14, Rhode Island; Oct. 21, at Albany; Oct. 28, William & Mary; Nov. 4, Delaware; Nov. 11, vs. UMass; Nov. 18, Stony Brook.


SOUTHERN MAINE 82, UMASS-BOSTON 78: Zach Leal had 19 points, seven rebounds and five assists, and the Huskies (6-10, 1-5 Little East) used a 10-3 second-half run to get by the Beacons (10-6, 3-3) at Gorham.

Southern Maine trailed 58-56 with 8:44 left but James Starks III scored five straight points in the 10-3 run to give the Huskies a 66-61 lead with 5:51 left.

Starks scored 17 points to go with 12 rebounds, going 7 of 7 from the foul line, and Christian McCue scored 12 of his 18 points in the second half.

ST. JOSEPH’S 99, RIVIER 63: Ian Mileikis followed a 3-pointer by slamming down a dunk to start a 23-6 run as St. Joseph’s (8-8, 5-4 GNAC) opened a 44-28 lead against the Raiders (1-5, 0-9) at Nashua, New Hampshire.

The Monks, getting 15 points from Ben Malloy, outscored Rivier by 20 in the second half.

Malloy finished with 20 points, followed by Aaron Hall’s 16.

OKLAHOMA 89, (7) WEST VIRGINIA 87: Kristian Doolittle scored six of his 12 points in overtime and Jordan Woodard’s layup with 2.2 seconds left helped lift Oklahoma (8-9, 2-4 Big 12) over West Virginia (15-3, 4-2) at Morgantown, West Virginia.

(16) VIRGINIA 71, BOSTON COLLEGE 54: Devon Hall scored 13 points, and Isaiah Wilkins had 11 points and nine rebounds as visiting Virginia (14-3, 4-2 Atlantic Coast) beat Boston College (9-10, 2-4).


UMASS-BOSTON 61, SOUTHERN MAINE 43: Raven Kelsey and Maritza Scott each scored 10 points, and the Beacons (6-9, 2-3 Little East) started with a 23-8 run to beat the Huskies (2-13, 1-4) at Gorham.

Tthe Beacons held the Huskies to 24 percent shooting and led 37-14 at halftime.

Miranda Nicely and Mychaela Harton each scored eight points to pace Southern Maine. Nicely also grabbed eight rebounds.

]]> 0 Wed, 18 Jan 2017 22:35:58 +0000
USM wrestler looks to capture national championship Wed, 18 Jan 2017 09:00:00 +0000 GORHAM — Daniel Del Gallo entered the season with one goal: to get back to the NCAA Division III wrestling championships and this time earn All-America honors with a top-eight finish.

Now the University of Southern Maine senior is thinking he might have set his sights a bit too low.

“I want to be a national champion,” Del Gallo said after a recent practice. “That’s the goal, and I think I have the capabilities to do it as a wrestler and I’m going to try my best.”

Del Gallo improved to 32-0 this season on Saturday when he won the 149-pound title at Plymouth State’s 10-team Jim Aguiar Invitational. Del Gallo won all four of his matches in convincing fashion, with one technical fall (winning by 15 points) and three major decisions (victory margin of 8 to 14 points). Thirty of his wins have been by major decision, technical fall or pin.

“That’s what I’m trying to do in every match and that’s a lot of what the coaches are trying to instill in us as a whole team,” said Del Gallo, the 2013 Maine Sunday Telegram Wrestler of the Year while at Gardiner High.

The emphatic wins are proof Del Gallo listened to second-year coach Mike Morin, a two-time All-America (2009, 2010) at USM.

“Last year at the nationals he went 2-2 and lost in the match to place, and he wasn’t opening up as much as he should have. He was wrestling conservatively,” Morin said. “Now he’s on the attack. It’s a mental change for him. He’s always had all the tools.”

Wrestlers qualify for the national meet by placing in the top three at one of the six regional championships. Morin said the Northeast Regional is one of the toughest in the country. Three teams are ranked in the top six nationally: No. 3 Johnson & Wales, No. 4 Ithaca and No. 6 Roger Williams.

The Northeast Regional is Feb. 25-26 at Roger Williams in Bristol, Rhode Island. The NCAA championships are March 10-11 at the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse.

CJ Luth of Milford, Connecticut, a contender to reach the NCAA tournament at 157 pounds, has been Del Gallo’s training partner all four years at USM.

“He knows he’s going to win the second he walks on the mat,” said Luth, who is 26-5 this season. “He has the most confidence in the world in himself and he really believes he’s the best in the country.”

Entering his senior season, Del Gallo already had established himself as one of the best ever at USM, going 21-8 as a freshman, 34-5 as a sophomore and 34-7 last season. Add in a 3.957 grade-point average and it’s easy to see why he was named USM’s 2016 Outstanding Student-Athlete of the Year.

“No matter what it is, I like to compete and do my best and see where I’m at. And wrestling, to me, is one of the ultimate forms of competition,” Del Gallo said.

As Del Gallo has gone from very good to even better, the Huskies also have improved under the direction of Morin, a Sanford native who wrestled at St. Thomas Aquinas High in Dover, New Hampshire.

“Last year we were 5-11 in dual meets and this year we’ve already won seven dual meets, and in tournaments we’ve been finishing second, fourth, second,” Morin said. “Last year we were nowhere near that. We’re going in the right direction.”

The team’s overall improvement was evident Saturday at Plymouth State. The unranked Huskies won the tournament, edging 18th-ranked New York University by a half-point.

A year ago USM placed third at the same tournament, 50 points behind NYU.

Also winning individual titles were freshman Peter Del Gallo, Daniel’s brother, at 125 pounds, and Luth. Placing second were sophomore Brendan Weir of Easthampton, Massachusetts (141), freshman Josh Smith of York (165), and sophomore Mike Risti of Limerick and Massabesic (285).

Peter Del Gallo, the Telegram’s 2016 Wrestler of the Year and a two-time New England high school champion, is 24-0 this season. He believes he can join his brother at the NCAA championships, especially if he follows his brother’s daily example.

“He gets a fire under people. Him and CJ are the hardest-working people in the room,” Peter Del Gallo said. “And when we look at CJ and Daniel working, we know that to be as good as them we have to work just as hard, if not harder.”

“This year has definitely been another step forward for the team,” Daniel Del Gallo said. “For me, I’m just staying focused on the daily goals and the weekly goals, and I think my teammates and my coaches are really going to put me over the edge. I can’t do this on my own. It takes a whole team and coaching staff to get me where I need to be.”

]]> 0 Del Gallo, a senior on the University of Southern Maine wrestling team, not only has a 32-0 record this season but rarely has been tested. The Huskies also have improved as a team.Tue, 17 Jan 2017 20:51:23 +0000
Tuesday’s Maine college roundup: UNE women get off to a good start Wed, 18 Jan 2017 04:03:29 +0000 Quincy, Mass. — Sam MacDonald scored 12 of her game-high 19 points in the first half Tuesday night as the University of New England topped Eastern Nazerene 64-53 in women’s basketball.

The Nor’easters (10-5, 6-3 Commonwealth Coast Conference) used a 14-4 run to take a 33-23 halftime lead to top the Lions (11-4, 5-4).

UNE led 19-17 after one quarter and Kayla Torio put in a layup with 7:30 remaining in the second quarter for Eastern Nazarene to tie the game before MacDonald opened the run with a jumper as the Nor’easters took control.

Alicia Brown added 17 points for UNE.

Shelby Holmes led the Lions with 11 points.

HUSSON 76, COLBY 73: The Eagles (12-1) started the third quarter with a 12-5 run to open a 10-point lead and held off a late charge to defeat the Mules (7-7) in a nonconference matchup at Waterville.

Husson held a 61-50 advantage at the end of the third quarter and opened the final 10 minutes of play with a Kenzie Worcester 3-point jumper, but Colby closed with a 14-8 run to come up just short.

Worcester led all scorers with 28 points for the Eagles.

Haley Driscoll led the Mules with 18 points.


EASTERN NAZARENE 65, UNIVERSITY OF NEW ENGLAND 62: Christian Lynch had 22 points and six rebounds to lead the Lions (9-7, 6-3 CCC) over the Nor’easters (5-11, 3-6) at Quincy, Massachusetts.

Eastern Nazarene had a 36-35 lead at halftime, Drew Patno hit the opening shot of the second half to give UNE a 37-36 lead.

The Lions answered with an 8-0 run to take the lead for good.

Reserve David Muniz lead the way for the Nor’easters with 13 points.


ENDICOTT 5, BOWDOIN 1: Lexi Klein had a pair of third-period goals for the Gulls (13-2-1), who scored three unanswered goals and pulled away from the Polar Bears (8-5-2) in a nonconference game at Brunswick.

Courtney Walpole scored for Endicott with assists from Caroline Hughes and Jade Meier 14 seconds into the second period for the only goal heading to the final period.

Maggie Layo made the lead 2-0 from Klein and Nicole Demers 45 seconds into the third before Marissa Fichter scored for Bowdoin at 4:53 from Maegan Sheehan and Brigit Bergin.

Layo added a power-play goal for the Gulls.


COLBY 3, SOUTHERN MAINE 3: Brett Norman had a pair of goals and an assist to help the Huskies (6-10-1) salvage a tie in a nonconference game against the Mules (6-4-3) at Gorham.

]]> 0 Tue, 17 Jan 2017 23:12:36 +0000
Top 25 basketball: UConn coasts to 92nd straight victory Wed, 18 Jan 2017 03:38:57 +0000 TULSA, Okla. – Katie Lou Samuelson scored a career-high 34 points Tuesday night to help No. 1 UConn beat Tulsa 98-58 for the Huskies’ 92nd consecutive victory.

Napheesa Collier had 21 points and 13 rebounds, and Gabby Williams added 13 points, nine rebounds and eight assists for the Huskies (17-0, 5-0 American Athletic), who also won their 33rd straight road game.

Shug Dickson scored 21 points for Tulsa (5-13, 1-4).

The Huskies scored the first 14 points and held Tulsa scoreless for more than five minutes to start the game. Connecticut led 30-16 at the end of the first quarter.

Samuelson scored 23 points in the first half to help Connecticut take a 55-33 lead. Dickson had 15 points in the first half but the Golden Hurricane shot 38.7 percent.

(12) TEXAS 86, (20) OKLAHOMA 68: Joyner Holmes scored 20 points with 10 rebounds, and Ariel Atkins poured in 19 points before fouling out as Texas (13-4, 7-0) defeated Oklahoma (14-5, 5-2) in a Big 12 Conference showdown at Austin, Texas.

A Lashann Higgs layup sparked a 10-2 run as the Longhorns broke open the game in the final 4:36. Holmes scored eight points in the final quarter and Atkins six, including driving for a layup after stealing the ball.

(23) SOUTH FLORIDA 79, MEMPHIS 49: Maria Jespersen tied her career high with 26 points on 11-of-18 shooting, Ariadna Pujol had a double-double and Coach Jose Fernandez earned his 300th career win as South Florida (15-2, 4-1 American Athletic) cruised over Memphis (8-10, 1-4) at Tampa, Florida.

Pujol scored 15 of her 17 points in the second half, and finished with 10 rebounds and five assists. Laia Flores added 11 points and Kitija Laska scored 10 for USF, which has won seven of its last eight games.


(5) KENTUCKY 88, MISSISSIPPI STATE 81: De’Aaron Fox scored 21 points, Malik Monk added 14 and Kentucky (16-2, 6-0 Southeastern) beat Mississippi State (12-5, 3-2) at Starkville, Mississippi.

Kentucky looked like it would cruise to the win after building a 66-49 lead midway through the second half, but Mississippi State responded with 13 straight points to make things interesting down the stretch.

(6) BAYLOR 74, TEXAS 64: Johnathan Motley set career highs with 32 points and 20 rebounds for Baylor (17-1, 5-1 Big 12), which went ahead to stay with a big run before halftime on the way to a victory against Texas (7-11, 1-5) at Waco, Texas.

Nuni Omot, the junior college transfer playing in only his eighth game, had a season-high 14 points. He scored seven in the half-ending 16-4 run that put the Bears up for the first time.

(21) PURDUE 91, ILLINOIS 68: Center Isaac Haas had 24 points and six rebounds, and power forward Caleb Swanigan added 22 points and 10 rebounds as Purdue (15-4, 4-2 Big Ten) dominated Illinois (12-7, 2-4) at West Lafayette, Indiana.

Haas scored 13 points in the second half when the Boilermakers led by as many as 27. Swanigan had a four-point first half but was almost unstoppable during the second half, accounting for 18 points and five rebounds.

]]> 0 Collier of Connecticut protects the ball as Liesl Spoerl, left, and Shug Dickson of Tulsa defend during the second quarter of UConn's 98-58 victory Tuesday night. The Huskies have won 92 consecutive games.Tue, 17 Jan 2017 22:58:39 +0000
Monday’s college roundup: Cold-shooting UMaine loses to Hartford in men’s basketball Tue, 17 Jan 2017 03:06:35 +0000 WEST HARTFORD, Conn. — Jalen Ross scored 19 points, Jason Dunne added 10 and Hartford snapped a five-game losing streak with a 54-44 men’s basketball victory over Maine on Monday.

Ross, who ranks second in the America East Conference with 20.9 points per game, had 11 points in Hartford’s 33-29 first half to finish in double figures for the 33rd straight game. Hartford has won 11 of the last 14 against the Black Bears.

Vincent Eze had 13 points and nine rebounds for Maine (5-15, 1-4). Wesley Myers, averaging 26.8 points in conference play, added 12 points on 4-of-17 shooting.

Maine was held to 32 percent shooting and lost its ninth game in the last 10.

MT. IDA 72, ST. JOSEPH’S 61: The Mustangs (11-5, 7-2 Great Northeast Athletic Conference) used an 11-1 run early in the second half to handle the Monks in a win at Standish.

Ian Mileikis led all scorers with 15 points for the Monks. Quinn Richardson-Newton chipped in with 13 points and grabbed nine boards.

(1) VILLANOVA 76, SETON HALL 46: The Wildcats rushed to an 18-point lead in the first half and kept their foot on the gas in the second in a win at Philadelphia.

The victory was the 1,700th in program history at Villanova (18-1, 6-1 Big East), and 47th in a row at the Pavilion, a school record.

(7) CREIGHTON 72, XAVIER 67: Cole Huff got a pivotal rebound and made a pair of free throws with 17 seconds left as the visiting Bluejays (18-1, 5-1 Big East) had to rally for a win.

(9) NORTH CAROLINA 85, SYRACUSE 68: Hall of Fame Coach Roy Williams earned his 800th career victory as Isaiah Hicks scored 20 points in a win at Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

(13) BUTLER 88, MARQUETTE 80: Kelan Martin scored 22 points and the Bulldogs (16-3, 5-2 Big East) rallied from an 18-point deficit for a win at Indianapolis.

POLL: Villanova returned to No. 1 in The Associated Press college basketball poll, leapfrogging Kansas after a week out of the top spot.

The Wildcats (17-1), who fell to third last week after five weeks as No. 1, moved back on top following No. 1 Baylor’s loss in its only week ever as a top-ranked team.


ST. JOSEPH’S 85, ANNA MARIA 64: Kelsi McNamara had 30 points, going 10 for 16 from the field, and added six boards three assists and blocked a pair of shots to lead the way for the Monks (13-2, 7-0 GNAC) at Paxton, Massachusetts.

McNamara hit eight 3-pointers, breaking the school’s single-game 3-point field-goal record.

Emily Benway had 17 points and had seven rebounds for the Monks, and reserve Hannah Marks tossed in 11 points.

(4) MISSISSIPPI STATE 73, MISSISSIPPI 62: Victoria Vivians scored 23 points as visiting Mississippi State set a school record with its 19th straight win to start the season.

TENNESSEE 71, (6) NOTRE DAME 69: Jaime Nared hit a tie-breaking jumper with 10 seconds left as Tennessee erased a 15-point, second-half deficit for a win at home.

POLL: Fresh off its record-breaking 91st consecutive victory, UConn remains the No. 1 team. The Huskies (16-0) routed SMU on Saturday to best their NCAA mark and stay as the unanimous choice atop the poll.

Baylor, Maryland, Mississippi State and South Carolina follow the Huskies.

]]> 0 Mon, 16 Jan 2017 22:26:26 +0000
UMaine women knock off Hartford as Blanca Millan scores 23 points Mon, 16 Jan 2017 20:03:02 +0000 BANGOR —– Maybe the University of Maine women’s basketball team turned the ball over too much in the first half, losing it 13 times.

But look at the rebounding edge for the game – 45-24

Let’s talk passing – 22 assists on 28 baskets.

And the defense and shooting came through as the Black Bears handed the University of Hartford its first America East loss, 73-62 Monday afternoon at the Cross Insurance Center.

Maine shot 51 percent, led by freshman guard Blanca Millan’s career-high 23 points. And Millan’s defense was also key as Maine held the Hawks to 35 percent shooting.

“Give credit to Maine. They’re a very tough team,” said first-year Hartford coach Kim McNeill, whose Hawks dropped to 12-5, 3-1 in America East.

Maine improved to 10-10, 3-2.

“They get after you on defense,” McNeill said. “They get in your face. They were tougher than us. The rebounding goes along with the toughness piece, especially when there is one of them, and three of us, and they come up with the ball.”

Maine had six players with at least four rebounds, led by 5-foot-10 guard Tanesha Sutton’s nine.

“We emphasize rebounding,” Sutton said. “Everyone is like, ‘I want it. I want it.’ That’s what I’m thinking.”

Sutton scored 12 points, and forward Laia Sole added 10, six of those coming on press-breakers as the Black Bears dribbled through the Hawks’ pressure defense and found Sole open underneath.

“We tried to focus on keeping it in the middle and push it up the court,” said Sutton, who paced Maine with six assists.

Maine led 29-25 at halftime.

The Black Bears were dominating in most phases – except for those 13 turnovers.

“A lot of those were self-inflicted,” said associate head coach Amy Vachon, who continues to direct the team with head coach Richard Barron on medical leave since Jan. 6 with an undisclosed illness.

Maine made only three turnovers in the second half before the subs entered in the final minutes.

“We made some adjustments,” Vachon said.

Once the Black Bears got the ball up the court, they worked on passing around the Hawks’ zone defense.

“They did a good job getting it to the high post and opening up shots,” McNeill said.

Millan hit 9-of-12 shots, including two 3-pointers.

“When all the team is having fun, you start having fun, too,” said Millan, one of three freshmen from Spain.

“The second half was so good. You shoot and it was like, ‘OK, this is going in.’ ”

In the closing seconds of the third quarter, Hartford had the ball, down 54-47. Millan stole the ball and raced down court for a layup with 5 seconds left, and a 56-47 lead. The Hawks never got closer.

For most of the game, Millan covered senior all-conference guard Deanna Mayza, who scored 12, four points under her average, on 4-of-13 shooting.

“Blanca not only had 23 points … she is really defensively playing outstanding right now,” Vachon said.

Maine was coming off a disappointing 55-41 loss at Stony Brook last Saturday.

Now the Black Bears go back on the road to play Thursday at New Hampshire (14-3, 4-0), the only team still unbeaten in conference play.

Maine is 1-8 in opposing teams’ venues.

“We need to play better on the road and I think we will,” Vachon said.

]]> 0 Mon, 16 Jan 2017 20:15:57 +0000
Sunday’s college roundup: Bowdoin finishes strong in women’s basketball win Mon, 16 Jan 2017 02:45:33 +0000 WILLIAMSTOWN, Mass. — Bowdoin closed the game on an 8-1 run to beat Williams 54-47 in a New England Small College Athletic Conference women’s basketball game Sunday.

The Polar Bears went 6 for 6 from the free-throw line in the final 23 seconds, including four by Marle Curle, to secure the win. Abigail Kelly also scored four points in the final minute, including a pair of foul shots.

Curle finished with 11 points and five rebounds. Kelly added 10 points off the bench for Bowdoin (12-2, 2-1), and Lydia Caputi had eight rebounds.

Lydia Zaleski scored 15 points, and Devon Caveney and Kristin Fechtelkotter each had 10 for Williams (11-5, 1-3).

(2) BAYLOR 92, KANSAS 43: Kalani Brown scored 16 points, Nina Davis added 15 and the Bears (17-2, 6-0 Big 12) throttled the Jayhawks (6-11, 0-6) in Lawrence, Kansas.

The Bears (17-2, 6-0 Big 12) ran out to a 10-0 lead in the first four minutes.

(5) SOUTH CAROLINA 84, LSU 61: Alaina Coates had 24 points and 11 rebounds, and the Gamecocks (15-1, 5-0 SEC) again overcame the absence of All-American A’ja Wilson, beating the Tigers (14-4, 3-2) in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

(9) LOUISVILLE 63, (14) MIAMI 59: Mariya Moore scored 24 points, including eight in the fourth quarter, to lead the Cardinals (16-4, 4-2 ACC) over the Hurricanes (14-4, 3-3) in Louisville, Kentucky.

(11) OHIO STATE 61, PURDUE 56: Stephanie Mavunga scored eight of her 11 points in the fourth quarter and posted her 35th-career double-double, Tori McCoy had 12 points and the Buckeyes (15-5, 5-1 Big Ten) overcame a 16-point deficit to beat the Boilermakers (12-7, 3-2) in West Lafayette, Indiana.

Mavunga finished with 12 rebounds.


(22) CINCINNATI 55, EAST CAROLINA 46: Kyle Washington had 16 points and 11 rebounds, and the Bearcats (15-2, 5-0 American Athletic Conference) beat the Pirates (9-10, 1-5) for their eighth straight win, in Greenville, North Carolina.


AMHERST 4, BOWDOIN 0: Alex Toupai recorded a hat trick as the Purple & White (7-4-2, 3-3-2 NESCAC) beat the Polar Bears (8-4-2, 3-3-1) in Amherst, Massachusetts.

Brenna Sullivan added a goal for Amherst, while Sara Culhane and Katie Savage each had two assists.

Kerrie St. Denis made 37 saves for Bowdoin.

]]> 0 Sun, 15 Jan 2017 21:47:52 +0000
Maine men’s roundup: UMaine falls in basketball Sun, 15 Jan 2017 01:08:21 +0000 BANGOR — Lucas Woodhouse scored 20 points, Tyrell Sturdivant added 16 and Stony Brook used a big run in the second half Saturday to defeat Maine 74-54 in an America East men’s basketball game at the Cross Insurance Center.

After Wes Myers of Maine (5-14, 1-3) made a layup with 14:41 left to make it 42-42 – the seventh tie to go with 13 lead changes – the Seawolves (8-8, 3-0) reeled off 23 straight points.

Stony Brook won its fourth straight. In their last game, the Seawolves scored the final 21 points to beat Albany 72-70 when Woodhouse fed Sturdivant for the winning layup with less than a second to play.

Myers had 18 points for Maine. Vince Eze had 12 points and 11 rebounds.

JOHNSON STATE 66, MAINE MARITIME ACADEMY 62: Kawaun Chavis scored five of his 17 points in overtime as the Badgers (7-7, 4-3 North Atlantic) edged the Mariners (3-11, 0-7) at Castine.

Tyler Thayer scored a game-high 19 points for the Mariners, and Nick Judge added 15 points, eight rebounds and five assists.

MIDDLEBURY 79, BATES 71: Jake Brown scored a game-high 24 points as the Panthers (12-2, 3-1 NESCAC) downed the Bobcats (12-4, 3-1) at Lewiston.

Matt St. Amour added 14 points for the Panthers. Reserve Jeff Spellman scored 14 points for the Bobcats, who trailed by as many as 17 points in the second half. Justin Zukowski and Malcom Delpeche each added 12 for Bates.

UMASS-DARTMOUTH 85, SOUTHERN MAINE 58: Abi Akanni scored a game-high 20 points and the Corsairs (10-5, 4-1 Little East) ended the first half on a 14-0 run to top the Huskies (5-10, 0-5) at Dartmouth, Massachusetts.

James Starks III had 14 points and 13 rebounds for Southern Maine, and Zach Leal added 11 points, five rebounds and four steals.

ALBERTUS MAGNUS 99, ST. JOSEPH’S 90: Shaquille Mitchell scored 17 of his game-high 29 points in the first half as the Falcons (11-3, 7-1 Great Northeast Athletic) beat the Monks (7-7, 4-3) at New Haven, Connecticut.

Ian Mileikis had 20 points, six rebounds and six assists for the Monks. Ben Malloy added 18 points, hitting six 3-pointers.

SOUTHERN MAINE CC 96, ST. JOSEPH’S (VT) 78: John Morgan scored a game-high 24 points and Ryan Cloutier added 20 as the Seawolves (14-4, 8-2 Yankee Small Conference) downed the Saints (7-9, 2-7) at South Portland.

Chase Soares had 13 points and 15 assists while committing just three turnovers for the Seawolves, who opened the game on an 11-3 run and led 45-35 at halftime. Dylan Silvestri added 15 points and eight rebounds.

THOMAS 64, UM-FARMINGTON 56: Carlos Gonzalez scored a game-high 23 points to go with 13 rebounds and the Terriers (7-8, 5-0 North Atlantic) started the game on a 26-4 run to get by the Beavers (4-10, 3-1) at Farmington.

Ian King added 11 points for the Terriers, who led 35-19 at halftime.

Amir Moss scored 22 points to lead the Beavers.

UNIVERSITY OF NEW ENGLAND 61, CURRY 50: Ryan Matthews scored 19 points off the bench and the Nor’easters (5-10, 3-5 Commonwealth Coast) used an 18-6 spurt early in the second half to beat the Colonels (1-14, 0-8) at Milton, Massachusetts.

UNE trailed 28-24 with 17:52 left in the second but went on its run to take a 42-34 lead with 10:29 left.

BOWDOIN 81, WILLIAMS 71: Jack Simonds scored a game-high 32 points and the Polar Bears (8-6, 1-2 NESCAC) ended on a 20-7 run to beat the Ephs (12-3, 0-2) at Brunswick.

Bowdoin trailed 64-61 with 8:02 left in the second but Simonds knocked down consecutive 3-pointers to give the Polar Bears a 67-64 advantage. Bowdoin trailed 38-35 at halftime.


BOWDOIN 5, TRINITY 1: Five players scored for the Polar Bears (7-8, 4-6 NESCAC), who took a 3-0 lead through the first period and beat the Bantams (8-5-1, 4-4) at Brunswick.

Matthew Melanson, Austin Ricci, John-Alexander Kourkoulus, Cody Todesco and Matthew Lison scored for Bowdoin.

HOBART 5, UNIVERSITY OF NEW ENGLAND 1: The Statesmen (9-2-3) scored four consecutive goals and beat the Nor’easters (7-6-1) at Geneva, New York.

Ryan Bloom scored for UNE from Danny Antonoff and Brady Fleurent at 6:51 of the second period.

NORWICH 2, SOUTHERN MAINE 1: Paul Russell scored the go-ahead goal with 7:17 left and the No. 2 ranked Cadets (15-1-2, 10-1 New England Hockey) held off the Huskies (6-10, 3-8) at Gorham.

Jordan Hall gave USM a 1-0 lead with an unassisted goal 4:26 into the first.

COLBY 4, WESLEYAN 4: Tyler Kobryn scored the tying goal for the Cardinal (8-4-1, 4-3-1 NESCAC) with 1:42 to play in regulation against the Mules (6-4-2, 5-3-2) at Waterville.

Kienan Scott, Mario Benicky, Michael Rudolf and Thomas Stahlhuth scored for the Mules.

]]> 0 Sat, 14 Jan 2017 20:35:10 +0000
Top 25 basketball roundup: Baylor bounces back with victory Sun, 15 Jan 2017 00:45:45 +0000 MANHATTAN, Kan. — Manu Lecomte scored 26 points after battling early foul trouble, Ish Wainright and Al Freeman had key baskets down the stretch and top-ranked Baylor outlasted No. 25 Kansas State 77-68 on Saturday.

Wainright and Freeman had 15 points apiece for the Bears (15-1, 3-1 Big 12), who bounced back from a lopsided loss at No. 10 West Virginia in their first game as the nation’s No. 1 team to deal the Wildcats (13-4, 2-3) another close, disheartening conference defeat.

(2) KANSAS 87, OKLAHOMA STATE 80: Frank Mason III scored 22 points, freshman Josh Jackson added 20 points and 11 rebounds, and the Jayhawks (16-1, 5-0 Big 12) held off the Cowboys (10-7, 0-5) in Lawrence, Kansas.

(3) VILLANOVA 70, ST. JOHN’S 57: Redshirt freshman guard Dante DiVincenzo had 19 points and the Wildcats (17-1, 5-1 Big East) pulled away to a win over the Red Storm (8-11, 2-4) in New York.

(4) UCLA 83, UTAH 82: Lorenzo Ball had 17 points, eight assists and six rebounds, helping UCLA (18-1, 5-1 Pac-12) defeat Utah (12-5, 3-2) at Salt Lake City.

(6) KENTUCKY 92, AUBURN 72: Malik Monk scored 24 points, helping the Wildcats (15-2, 5-0 SEC) earn a victory over the Tigers (11-6, 1-4) in Lexington, Kentucky.

(14) LOUISVILLE 78, (7) DUKE 69: Anas Mahmoud had a career-high 17 points and 11 rebounds, Donovan Mitchell added 15 points and the Cardinals (15-3, 3-2 ACC) shot 59 percent in the second half to top the Blue Devils (14-4, 2-3).

(8) CREIGHTON 101, TRUMAN STATE 69: Marcus Foster scored 21 points on 9-of-11 shooting, and the Bluejays (17-1) defeated Division II Truman State (13-4) in Omaha, Nebraska.

(11) NORTH CAROLINA 96, (9) FLORIDA STATE 83: Joel Berry II scored 26 points, and the Tar Heels (16-3, 4-1 ACC) pulled away late to beat the Seminoles (16-2, 4-1) in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

(12) BUTLER 83, (15) XAVIER 78: Freshman Kamar Baldwin scored all 21 of his points in the second half and the Bulldogs (15-3, 4-2 Big East) took down another Top 25 team, beating the Musketeers (13-4, 3-2) in Indianapolis.

]]> 0 Sat, 14 Jan 2017 21:36:27 +0000
Maine women’s college roundup: Second-half struggle costly for UMaine Sun, 15 Jan 2017 00:26:11 +0000 Basketball: The Black Bears score just 10 points in the second half and lose on the road to Stony Brook.

STONY BROOK, N.Y. — Kori Bayne-Walker had 10 of her 14 points in the second half as Stony Brook pulled away to beat the University of Maine 55-41 in an America East women’s basketball game Saturday.

The Seawolves (8-8, 1-2) outscored the Black Bears (9-10, 2-2) 16-4 in the third quarter.

Maine led 17-14 after the first quarter and 31-28 at the half, but shot just 19.2 percent from the floor in the second half and was 0 of 11 from 3-point range.

Reserve Naira Caceres led the Black Bears with 11 points and eight rebounds, Tanesha Sutton contributed nine points and Sigi Koizar added eight.

UMASS-DARTMOUTH 74, SOUTHERN MAINE 50: Rachel McCarron had 16 points to lead three players in double figures as the Corsairs (12-3, 3-3 Little East) beat the Huskies (2-13, 1-4) in North Dartmouth, Massachusetts.

Miranda Nicely had seven points to lead the Huskies, while Kimberly Howrigan had six points and grabbed six boards, and Chantel Eells added six points and five rebounds.

Alicia Kutil had 14 points and 10 rebounds for UMass-Dartmouth. Nakira Examond added 13 points and 14 rebounds.

UNIVERSITY OF NEW ENGLAND 48, CURRY 42: Sadie Nelson had 11 points as the Nor’easters (8-5, 2-2 Commonwealth Coast Conference) took a 21-18 halftime lead and beat the Colonels (5-9, 3-4) in Milton, Massachusetts.

Reserve Olivia Shaw had 10 points for the Nor’easters, Alicia Brown chipped in nine points and Sam MacDonald had eight.

Nicole Rice scored 12 points for Curry. Emily Irwin added 11 points and grabbed nine boards.

MIDDLEBURY 66, BATES 46: Allie Coppolla had 27 points and 12 rebounds, but the Bobcats (5-10, 2-2 New England Small College Athletic Conference) fell to the Panthers (11-3, 3-1) in Middlebury, Vermont.

Middlebury led 33-28 at the half and went on a 15-2 run to start the third quarter.

Sarah Kaufman had 15 points for Middlebury, while Betsy Knox added 13 and Colleen Caveney 11. Catherine Harrison chipped in 10 points and grabbed 11 rebounds.

ST. JOSEPH’S 71, RIVIER 54: Kelsi McNamara scored 17 of her game-high 29 points in the first half as the Monks (12-2, 6-0 Great Northeast Athletic Conference) jumped out to a 23-10 first-quarter lead and cruised by the Raiders (3-9, 1-4) in Standish.

Emily Benway had 14 points and a game-high 13 boards for St. Joseph’s.

SOUTHERN MAINE CC 83, ST. JOSEPH’S (VT.) 52: Alicia Ruth scored 22 points as the Seawolves (16-1, 9-1 Yankee Small College Conference) beat the Fighting Saints (7-5, 5-3) in South Portland.

Alexis Antonacci added 14 points for SMCC, while Jennifer Conrad added 13 and Kaylah Abdul 10.


UNIVERSITY OF NEW ENGLAND 4, PLYMOUTH STATE 3: The Nor’easters (6-7-2, 3-3-1 NEHC) scored three consecutive goals in the second period and beat the Panthers (5-9-1, 2-6-0) in Plymouth, New Hampshire.

Gabrielle Moscato scored three times in the second period, following a goal by Abby Kinens as UNE took a 5-2 lead.

Haley Branovan scored in the first period, Lauren Connelly in the second and Courtney Evans in the third for Plymouth State.

MAINE 6, NORTHEASTERN 3: Six different players scored goals as the Black Bears (8-14-1, 4-10-1 Hockey East) beat the Huskies (13-9-3, 9-7-2) in Orono.

Jessica Vallotton, Brooke Stacey, Tereza Vanisova, Alyson Matteau, Catherine Tufts and Emilie Brigham all scored for Maine.

NEW ENGLAND COLLEGE 2, SOUTHERN MAINE 1: Ginabeth Mangianello scored 2:42 into overtime as the Pilgrims (5-9, 3-4 New England Hockey Conference) beat the Huskies (4-10, 2-5) in Henniker, New Hampshire.

Southern Maine took a 1-0 lead in the second period on a goal by Katie Couture. Marisa Roth tied it at 11:55 of the third period.

WILLIAMS 5, COLBY 1: The Ephs (8-5, 6-2 NESCAC) scored five unanswered goals and pulled away to beat the Mules (0-11-3, 0-7-1) in Williamstown, Massachusetts.

Mikayla McLauglin scored an unassisted goal at 11:57 to stake Colby to an early lead but Williams answered with a shot-handed goal from Eliza Quigley at 13:26.

AMHERST 4, BOWDOIN 2: Katie Savage had two goals, Alex Toupal and Katelyn Pantera had a goal and an assist, and Amherst (6-4-2, 2-3-2 NESCAC) scored three goals in the third period against the visiting Polar Bears (8-3-2, 3-2-1) at Amherst, Massachusetts.

Maureen Greason and Katie Leininger scored the goals for Bowdoin.

]]> 0 Sat, 14 Jan 2017 22:29:36 +0000
UConn women break record with 91st consecutive win Sat, 14 Jan 2017 22:17:52 +0000 DALLAS — Top-ranked UConn broke its own NCAA record with its 91st consecutive victory, scoring the first 21 points Saturday and romping past Southern Methodist, 88-48.

Coach Geno Auriemma and the Huskies (16-0, 4-0 American Athletic) broke the record of 90 straight wins his team first accomplished more than six years ago. They matched that mark with a 65-point rout of No. 20 South Florida last Tuesday.

“This team is pretty good at just keeping everything on an even keel,” Auriemma said. “Even afterward, there’s a feeling of accomplishment, they feel like they’ve done something significant. But there isn’t this over-the-top screaming and yelling as if we just won a national championship.”

But he told his team that the streak maybe is more significant than winning a national championship.

The four-time defending national champion Huskies haven’t lost since falling in overtime at sixth-ranked Stanford on Nov. 17, 2014.

“I’m not taking for granted at all, this is one of the coolest things I’ve ever been a part of,” Katie Lou Samuelson said. “Now we can really just focus each game at a time, and not have to worry anything if we’re keeping it up or not.”

Their first 90-game winning streak broke the Division I record of 88 straight wins by the UCLA men’s basketball team and famed coach John Wooden. That UConn streak also started after a loss to Stanford, in a 2008 national semifinal, and ended with another loss at Stanford on Dec. 30, 2010.

While the only way UConn will play Stanford this season will be in the NCAA tournament, the Huskies do have wins this season over second-ranked Baylor, third-ranked Maryland and sixth-ranked Notre Dame – the last two on the road.

Samuelson scored 28 points, and Naphessa Collier added 19 points and a career-high 16 rebounds for UConn. Gabby Williams also had a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds, with six assists.

Alicia Froling led SMU (10-7, 1-3) with 16 points and 12 rebounds. The junior from Australia entered the game as the AAC’s top rebounder at 10.6 per game.

UConn is 58-0 in American Athletic games in its four seasons since joining the league, plus nine more wins while sweeping through the conference tournament each of the past three seasons.

The Mustangs are 0-7 against UConn and lost the first six by an average margin of 51 points.

Samuelson was 11-of-21 shooting and had five 3-pointers while finishing one point short of matching her career high. She had 10 points in the first quarter, when Collier had nine points and seven rebounds, as UConn jumped out to a 26-2 lead.

“What a good team, what a very, very good team,” first-year SMU coach Travis Mays said. “I hear people say at the beginning of the year UConn was supposed to have a down year. That’s not a down year. That’s a program that has championship pedigree, and the culture is there. You go there, they just plug you in and they keep on winning.”

The real focus for the Huskies is getting back to Dallas in about 21/2 months for the Final Four.

]]> 0 forward Napheesa Collier, center, battles SMU guard Devri Owens, second from right, during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game, Saturday, Jan. 14, 2017, in Dallas. (Associated Press/Brandon Wade)Sat, 14 Jan 2017 19:31:42 +0000
College hockey: Maine upends UConn at Fenway Park, 4-0 Sat, 14 Jan 2017 21:16:06 +0000 BOSTON — The hockey rink at Fenway Park stretched from shallow left field to shallow right field.

Think of Andrew Benintendi manning left, and Mookie Betts in right – two of the Boston Red Sox’s top defenders – and you get an idea how well Rob McGovern played in goalie Saturday.

McGovern handled everything that came his way, making 31 saves in Maine’s first shutout this season. The Black Bears beat Connecticut 4-0 in another edition of the Frozen Fenway series.

Maine likes these outdoor games, now 3-0 at Fenway dating to 2012.

The Black Bears scored in every period – on goals from Cam Brown, Blaine Byron and Rob Michel – and then Nolan Vesey added an empty-netter.

Nice offense, but that didn’t win this game for Maine (8-11-3, 2-7-1 in Hockey East). The Black Bears fixed their defense, which had given up 26 goals in its last six games, including a 6-3 loss Thursday at Connecticut (9-8-6, 5-4-2).

“We had a lot of defensive lapses Thursday,” said Michel, a defenseman. “It’s what we worked on Friday.”

During practice at Fenway on Friday, McGovern from Weymouth, Massachusetts, had a good vibe.

“I felt very comfortable,” McGovern said. “And then again in warm-ups … (In the game), the defense kept everyone outside, which made it a lot easier.”

McGovern is being humble. He also stopped two breakaways and a point-blank one-timer.

“McGovern played well,” UConn Coach Mike Cavanaugh said. “We didn’t play a bad game. We just didn’t score. It’s a game of battles and Maine won more than we did.”

Those won battles resulted in a 44-31 shot advantage.

“A terrific game for our team,” Maine Coach Red Gendron said. “We played with great intelligence most of the game. We got pucks deep and pucks to the net.”

That trend started early. Byron dug out a puck in the UConn zone and passed behind the net to Brown. Brown skated out, turned as he was about to be hit by a defenseman, shot and scored inside the far post after 2:33.

It was the first of three goals from Maine’s top line. Brown assisted on the other two.

“Byron and Brown were terrific,” Gendron said. “Most nights they are on the scoresheet. They were exceptional defensively tonight. That was a huge piece of the pie.

“When you can get out and score two, three goals as a line, and you don’t give up any, that makes it a special performance.”

Near the end of the third period, UConn freshman Ben Freeman of Falmouth centered a pass to the slot, where Spencer Naas snapped off a shot. But McGovern was in position.

“We know what he’s capable of,” Michel said.

McGovern didn’t face a shot for the first 10 minutes of the second period as Maine dominated. Maine broke through at 10:54.

UConn goalie Adam Huska came out to make a diving poke-check on Brendan Robbins. Before Huska could get back, Michel sent the puck in and Byron redirected it in for a 2-0 lead.

In the third period, Michel scored on a slap shot at 7:55 as the Black Bears eyed their first Hockey East win in two months.

Vesey scored the empty-netter at 1:57.

NOTES: An attendance figure wasn’t announced but the crowd was about 6,000. … Maine’s win was its first victory outside the state this season. It was also the first win over UConn since the Huskies became a Division I team, evening the overall series 3-3-3. The Huskies went Division I in 1998 and joined Hockey East in 2014. … Maine hopes its road success continues in its next game Friday at No. 5 Boston University (13-5-2, 6-2-2). Maine and BU will then play the next day at Alfond Arena. … The Black Bears have one more game in Portland, Feb. 10 vs. Notre Dame … One of the more special events at Frozen Fenway was an unpublicized scrimmage Friday featuring Falmouth (Massachusetts) High School, which is dealing with the death of two team captains in a car crash three weeks ago.

]]> 0 the Green Monster in the background, UMaine players warm up before the start of Saturday game against Connecticut at Fenway Park in Boston. (Derek Davis/Staff Photographer)Sat, 14 Jan 2017 19:25:02 +0000
Friday’s college roundup: Bates men extend winning streak to seven Sat, 14 Jan 2017 04:10:45 +0000 LEWISTON — Marcus Delpeche recorded 17 points, 14 rebounds and two blocks, and Malcolm Delpeche added 12 points, 17 rebounds and five blocks as Bates earned an 83-78 win over Hamilton in a New England Small College Athletic Conference men’s basketball game Friday night.

Nick Gilpin contributed six points, nine assists and 10 rebounds, and Jeff Spellman scored 16 points for Bates (12-3, 3-0 NESCAC), which has won seven straight.

Michael Grassey led Hamilton (10-3, 2-1) with 21 points and 10 rebounds. Jack Dwyer scored 19 points.

WILLIAMS 72, COLBY 66: The Ephs (12-3, 1-2 NESCAC) built a 44-25 halftime lead and held off the Mules (7-7, 0-3) in Waterville.

Matthew Karpowicz led Williams with 16 points on 7-of-7 shooting in just eight minutes. Mike Greenman added 13 points.

Patrick Stewart paced Colby with 17 points, five rebounds and four assists. Ethan Schlager had 12 points on four 3-pointers.


COLBY 57, WILLIAMS 47: Haley Driscoll and Emily Davis each scored 16 points as the Mules (7-6, 1-2 NESCAC) defeated the Ephs (11-4, 1-2) in Williamstown, Massachusetts.

MK Caverly added seven points, six assists, five rebounds and two steals for Colby, which outscored Williams 33-23 in the second half.

Devon Caveney and Amanni Fernandez led Williams with 13 points each.

BATES 60, HAMILTON 44: Allie Hamilton scored 22 points and pulled down 10 rebounds to lead the Bobcats (5-9, 2-1 NESCAC) over the Continentals (7-6, 1-2) in Clinton, New York.

Bernadette Connors added 12 points, eight rebounds and four assists for Bates, which ended the game with a 15-2 run.

(8) WASHINGTON 90, ARIZONA 73: Kelsey Plum scored 36 points to become the 12th player in women’s basketball history to top 3,000 career points and the Huskies (17-2, 5-1 Pac-12) rolled past the Wildcats (10-6, 1-4) in Tuscon, Arizona.

The senior guard, the nation’s leading scorer at 30.7 points per game entering the contest, made 12 of 19 field goals and 10 of 11 free throws to lead the Huskies (17-2, 5-1 Pac-12) to their third straight conference victory.

(13) STANFORD 77, UTAH 58: Karlie Samuelson scored 12 of her 14 points in the first half and the Cardinal (14-3, 4-1 Pac-12) never trailed in a win over the Utes (12-4, 1-4) in Salt Lake City.

(19) ARIZONA STATE 68, WASHINGTON STATE 49: Washington State freshman Cameron Fernandez hit her head on the court after taking a charge and was carried off on a stretcher during her team’s loss in Tempe, Arizona.

The game was delayed about 30 minutes as emergency personnel treated Fernandez. A school spokesman said Fernandez was admitted to the hospital for the night as a precaution.

Sophie Brunner had 20 points and 15 rebounds to help the Arizona State (13-3, 4-1 Pac-12) win its fourth in a row. Chanelle Molina scored 13 points for Washington State (8-9, 3-3).


UNIVERSITY OF NEW ENGLAND 7, UTICA 3: The Nor’easters (7-5-1) scored five power-play goals as they defeated the Pioneers (10-6) in Utica, New York.

UNE capitalized three times on 5-on-3 power plays and was 5 for 15 with the man advantage.

Brady Fleurent finished with a goal and three assists. Ryan Bloom and Danny Antonoff each scored twice, and Trevor Fleurent and Tucker Ross added a goal apiece.

COLBY 3, TRINITY 1: Nick O’Connor and Kevin Doherty each scored a short-handed goal as the Mules (6-4-1, 5-3-1 NESCAC) beat the Bantams (8-4-1, 4-3) in Waterville.

Sean Lawrence made 39 saves for Colby, which got power-play goal from Jack Burton midway through the first period to grab a 1-0 lead. O’Connor made it 2-0 in the second period and Doherty extended the lead in the third.

WESLEYAN 5, BOWDOIN 3: The Cardinals (8-4, 4-3 NESCAC) scored four goals in the third period to rally past the Polar Bears (6-8, 3-6) in Brunswick.

Jay Kourkoulis scored twice for Bowdoin, which led 2-1 after two periods.

ST MICHAEL’S 2, SOUTHERN MAINE 1: Sam D’Antuono scored 1:12 into overtime to lift the Purple Knights (5-8-2, 3-6-1 NEHC) over the Huskies (6-9, 3-7-0) in Gorham.

The Knights took a 1-0 lead 9:38 into the second period on an unassisted goal by Justin McKenzie. USM tied it with 2:59 remaining in the period on a goal by Jordan Hall.

St. Michael’s goalie Chris Johnson made 41 saves. Paul Leger stopped 23 shots for USM.


USM 3, UNE 0: Alex Mitchell scored two goals and assisted on the other as the Huskies (4-9, 2-4 NEHC) beat the Nor’easters (5-7-2, 2-3-1) in Biddeford.

Katie Couture added a goal and an assist, and Britney Evangelista made 35 saves to record the shutout.

MAINE 3, NORTHEASTERN 1: The Black Bears (7-14-1, 3-10-1 Hockey East) scored two power-play goals in the first period and went on to defeat the Huskies (13-8-3, 9-6-2) in Orono.

Tereza Vanisova and Alyson Matteau each scored in the first period, and Brooke Stacey added a short-handed goal with 1:58 remaining in the game to put Maine up 3-0.

Maine goalie Carly Jackson recorded 35 saves.

WILLIAMS 4, COLBY 1: Sara Lehman scored twice for the Ephs (6-5, 4-2 NESCAC) in a win over the Mules (0-9-3, 0-5-1) in Williamstown, Massachusetts.

Colby got a power-play goal from Delaney Flynn.

]]> 0 Fri, 13 Jan 2017 23:33:07 +0000
More wins keeps former UConn player merry Sat, 14 Jan 2017 00:52:12 +0000 Maya Moore has been watching the Connecticut women’s basketball team intently, cheering for it to keep winning.

The former Huskies great, who was instrumental in the previous 90-game winning streak, hopes that this team can keep its record run going and shatter the mark her group set a few years ago.

“I don’t feel like it’s their streak and we have our streak. We all kind of share everything this school accomplishes,” Moore said.

“I’ve watched them play a couple of times. They are the same UConn, same unselfish passing. I’m proud of who they are and who they can be. That’s why I want them to succeed. If they were doing things differently, things might be different.”

Moore remembered the buildup when her Huskies were chasing the UCLA men’s record of 88 consecutive wins in 2010. There was so much more “outside noise” as they approached the vaunted mark with comparisons between men’s and women’s basketball, and questions whether the Huskies were good for the sport.

Moore said Coach Geno Auriemma did a tremendous job keeping the team focused on the task at hand – winning the next game – instead of focusing on the bigger picture or paying any attention to those outside the team’s inner circle.

“The coaches did such a good job of shielding us from it,” she said. “Being undefeated and the streak weren’t our main focus. We didn’t want to get swayed from the ultimate goal of playing great basketball. At the same time you knew what was there. You wanted to win and I think for us, it really brought out the best in us. We wanted to play well; our freshmen had to grow up fast.”

The Huskies, led by Moore, didn’t see their streak last much longer after topping UCLA’s mark against Florida State. They lost to Stanford nine days later.

“It was such a big deal to us when we did it,” Moore said. “Maybe not in the moment but looking back, it’s such a legacy-defining accomplishment. The first to win 90 games in a row. Big picture, no one can take away from that streak, that time together, the uniqueness of that group we had over those games.”

This current run that UConn is on should go a lot longer. The team equaled the record mark Tuesday night in a rout of No. 20 South Florida. That game was over nearly as quickly as it started. UConn scored the first nine points and rolled to a 102-37 victory – the biggest victory over a ranked opponent in school history. While Auriemma and his players have been reticent to talk about the streak, they did celebrate the accomplishment after the game.

“Some things you just can’t really explain, you just have to enjoy it,” Auriemma said. “We don’t set out to do these kinds of things. We don’t set out to set records, break records or keep track of records. We set out to play as hard as we can, play with as much energy as we can.”

With about two minutes left in the game, fans were given signs that read “90 and counting” on one side. On the other was: “The Two longest win streaks in college basketball.”

When the final buzzer sounded, the players put on T-shirts celebrating the accomplishment. A video played with well wishes from former players, including Breanna Stewart and Morgan Tuck, who were key for the first 75 wins of the current run.

“I thought our record was safe,” Moore said. “But then as I saw the last graduating class, as well as how the current players continued to develop, I thought they had a good chance to catch us.”

The Huskies should break their record Saturday at SMU. They haven’t lost an American Athletic Conference game since joining the new league in 2013-14. So the only real potential obstacle before the NCAA tournament is a home game against No. 5 South Carolina on Feb. 13. That would be the school’s 100th consecutive victory.

Auriemma has said repeatedly that the streak will end sometime. He set up the schedule this year with test after test for his young squad. Seven of UConn’s first 12 games featured opponents ranked in the Top 25, including at No. 2 Notre Dame, No. 3 Baylor and at No. 4 Maryland. The Huskies passed all of those exams to keep the run going.

“Honestly, I don’t sit here and figure out how many games we’re going to win in a row,” he said. “We’ve done it before.”

Before the 90-game run that Moore helped accomplish from 2008-10, UConn ran off 70 straight from 2001-03. Who’s to say there won’t be another one when this streak ends?

“As long as Coach Auriemma is there,” Moore said, “I wouldn’t be surprised by anything they do.”

]]> 0 December 2010, Maya Moore was part of a UConn team that set an NCAA record with 90 straight victories. This year's team is at 90 again, and there's only one real test remaining before the NCAA tournament.Fri, 13 Jan 2017 20:08:48 +0000
College roundup: UMaine will play football at Fenway Park Fri, 13 Jan 2017 03:47:42 +0000 The University of Maine announced Thursday that its football team will play Massachusetts on Nov. 11 at Fenway Park.

It will be the 59th meeting between the teams, who were members of the Yankee Conference, Atlantic-10 and most recently Colonial Athletic Association together before Massachusetts moved to the Football Bowl Subdivision in 2011.

Maine won the last two against the Minutemen, including 24-14 at Gillette Stadium in Foxborough, Massachusetts, in 2013.

Two other games are scheduled for Fenway: Brown-Dartmouth on Nov. 10 and Connecticut-Boston College on Nov. 18.

Times and ticket information will be announced later.


CONNECTICUT 6, MAINE 3: Wyatt Newpower beat Maine goalie Matt Morris with 18 seconds left in the second period to give the Huskies (9-7-6, 5-3-2 Hockey East) a 4-3 lead over the Black Bears (7-11-3, 1-7-1) at Storrs, Connecticut.

Kasperi Ojantakanen and Tage Thompson added goals in the final six minutes of the game.

The goal was Thompson’s second of the game. Spencer Naas and Max Kalter also scored for UConn. Rob Michel, Brendan Robbins and Nolan Vesey answered for Maine, with Cam Brown assisting on two goals.

Adam Huska had 23 saves for the Huskies. Morris stopped 31 shots for Maine.


BOWDOIN 3, CONNECTICUT COLLEGE 0: Kerri St. Denis stopped all 24 shots she faced as the Polar Bears (8-2-2, 3-1-1 NESCAC) shut out the Camels (7-3-2, 4-2) at Fenway Park.

After a scoreless first period, Bowdoin scored twice in a 1:38 span as Maegan Sheehan connected from Marissa Fichter, and Julie Dachille scored unassisted.

Brooke Solomon added a goal at 12:43 of the third period from Dachille and Brigit Bergin.


(18) WISCONSIN 89, OHIO STATE 66: Bronson Koenig scored 21 points as Wisconsin (14-3, 3-1 Big Ten) recovered from a poor shooting performance in a loss four days earlier to blitz Ohio State (10-7, 0-4) at Madison, Wisconsin.

(20) NOTRE DAME 67, MIAMI 62: V.J. Beachem hit a go-ahead basket and added a clinching steal as Notre Dame (15-2, 4-0 Atlantic Coast) rallied from a four-point deficit in the final 21/2 minutes to beat Miami (11-4, 1-2) at Coral Gables, Florida.


ST. JOSEPH’S 64, MOUNT IDA 37: Emily Benway scored 13 of her game-high 23 points in the first half and the Monks (11-2, 5-0 Great Northeast Athletic) took a 23-7 lead after the first quarter over the Mustangs (3-9, 0-4) at Newton, Massachusetts.

Benway shot 11 of 18 and grabbed 12 rebounds.

(22) DUKE 70, NORTH CAROLINA 58: Leaonna Odom scored 15 points and Duke (15-2, 3-1 Atlantic Coast) used a dominant second quarter to defeat North Carolina (12-5, 1-3) at Durham, North Carolina.

]]> 0 Thu, 12 Jan 2017 23:26:13 +0000
Wednesday’s college roundup: Myers scores 31 as UMaine men win Thu, 12 Jan 2017 04:08:55 +0000 BANGOR — Wes Myers converted a three-point play with 4 seconds left and matched a career best with 31 points Wednesday night to help Maine edge UMass-Lowell 73-71 in an America East men’s basketball game.

Logan Primerano’s jump shot gave the River Hawks a 71-70 lead with 13 seconds to play. Myers was then fouled scoring a layup and added the free throw.

Myers was 12 of 22 from the floor, including a key 3-pointer and layup to cap a 5-0 spurt for a 68-67 lead with about two minutes left. He finished with only one turnover.

Austin Howard added 18 points for the Black Bears (5-13, 1-2), who snapped a seven-game skid. Ryan Bernstein had 15 points and six assists.

Tyler Livingston scored 24 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for UMass-Lowell (7-10, 2-1), which had its three-game win streak snapped.

GORDON 74, UNIVERSITY OF NEW ENGLAND 62: Jake Haar scored 13 of his 16 points in the first half as the Scots (8-6, 5-2 Commonwealth Coast) downed the Nor’easters (4-10, 2-5) at Biddeford.

Gordon used a 13-2 run midway through the first half to take a 38-26 halftime lead, then finished the game on a 30-17 run after the Nor’easters recovered to take a 45-44 lead.

RHODE ISLAND COLLEGE 86, SOUTHERN MAINE 83: Rhode Island College (7-7, 1-3 Little East) used a late 12-4 run to beat the Huskies (5-9, 0-4) at Gorham.

SOUTHERN MAINE CC 83, PAUL SMITH’S 73: Timothy Dixon scored 19 of his 27 points in the second half as the Seawolves (13-4, 7-2 Yankee Small College) pulled away from the Adirondacks (3-11, 2-8) at South Portland.

Dixon shot 10 of 15 from the field, hitting four 3-pointers, and Dylan Silvestri had 16 points and 15 rebounds for the Seawolves, who finished on a 26-16 run.

(11) NORTH CAROLINA 93, WAKE FOREST 87: Justin Jackson hit a huge 3-pointer with 1:03 left and North Carolina (15-3, 3-1 Atlantic Coast) did just enough to hold off Wake Forest (10-7, 1-4) at Winston-Salem, North Carolina.

(14) LOUISVILLE 85, PITTSBURGH 80: Quentin Snider scored 22 points, including two free throws with 25.3 seconds remaining, and Deng Adel added a free throw eight seconds later as Louisville (14-3, 2-2 Atlantic Coast) survived Jamel Artis’ career-high 43 points to outlast visiting Pittsburgh (12-5, 1-3).

MICHIGAN STATE 65, (24) MINNESOTA 47: Miles Bridges scored all 16 of his points in the first half, helping Michigan State (12-6, 4-1 Big Ten) build a huge lead it used to cruise over Minnesota (11-7, 3-2) at East Lansing, Michigan.


RHODE ISLAND COLLEGE 60, SOUTHERN MAINE 57: Alex Moore had a game-high 22 points with seven rebounds and five steals as the Anchormen (5-9, 2-2 Little East) held off the Huskies (2-12, 1-3) at Gorham.

Alexa Srolovitz scored 14 points and Hannah Clement added 13 for the Huskies. Emily Nicholson had nine and missed a 3-pointer with one second left that would have tied it.

UNIVERSITY OF NEW ENGLAND 84, GORDON 48: Lindsey Howland scored five points during a 17-4 run in the second quarter as the Nor’easters (8-5, 5-2 Commonwealth Coast) pulled away from Gordon (5-9, 3-4) at Biddeford.

UNE has won 19 straight against the Fighting Scots.

SOUTHERN MAINE CC 53, PAUL SMITH’S 12: Alicia Ruth scored nine points and Jordan Farquharson seven, as the SeaWolves (15-1, 8-1 Yankee Small College) opened a 29-4 halftime lead over Paul Smith (2-9, 1-7) at South Portland.

Ruth and Emily Keene finished with 11 points for SMCC. Emily Hogan added 12 rebounds.

MAINE 65, UMASS-LOWELL 44: Reserve Laia Sole scored a game-high 20 points and the Black Bears (9-9, 2-1 America East) closed the second quarter on a 16-0 run to cruise past the River Hawks (3-13, 0-3) at Lowell, Massachusetts.

Maine led 12-7 after the first and 23-13 with 5:29 left in the half. The River Hawks didn’t score again in the half as the Black Bears opened a 39-13 lead.

Sole shot 9 of 12 from the field and grabbed five rebounds, and Julie Brosseau and Fanny Wadling each chipped in with 12 points for the Black Bears.


BRYANT AWARD: Dabo Swinney won his second straight Paul “Bear” Bryant Coach of the Year award, two days after leading Clemson to its first national championship in 35 years,

]]> 0 Wed, 11 Jan 2017 23:16:12 +0000
UMaine struggling in Hockey East as schedule resumes Thu, 12 Jan 2017 01:54:23 +0000 In Red Gendron’s fourth season as the University of Maine men’s hockey coach, improvement was expected.

The Black Bears (7-10-3) are one victory away from matching last year’s win total.

But Maine is also only 1-6-1 in Hockey East, sitting in last place among 12 teams.


The optimistic answer is it’s too early to tell. Maine’s four conference opponents to this point are among the top five in the league standings.

But Gendron doesn’t think his team necessarily will cruise against the league’s bottom-tier teams in the second half of the season.

“Everyone in Hockey East is very good,” he said. “You’ve got to be ready to bring it emotionally, in terms of preparation and in terms of execution.”

The Black Bears resume conference play this week with a series against Connecticut (8-7-6, 4-3-2), Thursday night in Bridgeport (away from the Huskies’ usual home in Hartford), and Saturday at Fenway Park – part of Hockey East’s role in the Frozen Fenway lineup.

Maine has 14 games left, all against conference opponents. The Black Bears obviously need to improve.

“Our biggest thing right now is that we’re playing good but not good enough,” said senior defenseman and co-captain Eric Schurhamer.

Maine began the season 3-0, including a win over nationally ranked Quinnipiac (now No. 15), and later beat No. 6 UMass-Lowell.

The Black Bears have played well in some losses but rarely close games out. In regular-season games decided by a single goal, they are 1-3.

“Our team is playing well but we need to play well more consistently,” said senior forward and co-captain Cam Brown. “We’ve had very strong, high-end play. Then we haven’t had great periods or we have lapses.”

Brown leads the team in points with 21 (three goals, 18 assists), which ranks 13th in Hockey East.

Other statistics are not so favorable. Here are some conference numbers to ponder:

Team offense: 11th of 12 teams (2.12 goals a game).

Team defense: 12th (allowing four goals a game).

Penalty minutes: First (16.6 a game).

Power-play differential: 11th (minus 6 goals).

“We want to play better defensively in general … and stay out of the penalty box unnecessarily,” Gendron said.

“The bottom line is I like our team. We’ve shown what we can do when we are at the top of our game … our job is to get at the top of our game on a consistent basis … We play pretty well and then it gets away from us.”

Maine needs to go 4-9-1 in its remaining games to equal last year’s league record (5-15-2).

With a better finish, the Black Bears could host a first-round playoff series. The first four league teams receive a first-round bye and teams that place fifth through eighth host the opening round.

To finish eighth, Maine needs to pass Merrimack (1-4-3), Massachusetts (2-8-1), Providence (1-5-2) and Northeastern (1-7-2) – all teams on Maine’s remaining schedule.

The Black Bears are winless (0-6-3) in games outside the state. Seven of Maine’s remaining 14 games are beyond the state border.

ONE MAINER will be on the ice this week, but he won’t be skating for the Black Bears.

UConn’s roster includes freshman forward Ben Freeman of Falmouth.

Freeman, who turned 21 on Tuesday, has played in 19 of 21 games, totaling nine points (two goals, seven assists).

“It’s going pretty well,” said Freeman, who is on the Huskies’ second line. “It’s been an adjustment, but every level of hockey is an adjustment.”

Freeman, at 6-foot-5 and 205 pounds, has played various levels. After two seasons with Falmouth High (2010-11, 2011-12), he moved on to prep school at Northfield Mount Hermon in western Massachusetts.

After three years there, Freeman played one year of juniors with the Junior Rangers in Stamford, Connecticut.

Freeman grew up cheering for the Black Bears. He took a recruiting visit to Orono but opted for the Huskies.

“I liked (Maine) for the most part but UConn was impossible to pass up,” Freeman said. “I really liked the coaches.

“Plus, I wanted to get out of Maine and I liked being part of a new program.”

]]> 0, 11 Jan 2017 20:58:08 +0000
Women’s basketball: UConn women match winning streak with a rout Wed, 11 Jan 2017 04:11:25 +0000 HARTFORD, Conn. — UConn Coach Geno Auriemma calls it a once-in-a-lifetime thing that his Huskies have now done twice.

Top-ranked UConn tied its NCAA record with its 90th consecutive win, routing No. 20 South Florida 102-37 on Tuesday night.

“Some things you just can’t really explain; you just have to enjoy it.” Auriemma said. “We don’t set out to do these kinds of things. We don’t set out to set records, break records or keep track of records. We set out to play as hard as we can, play with as much energy as we can.”

UConn certainly did that on Tuesday.

Saniya Chong hit a 3-pointer to start a 9-0 opening run and the Huskies quickly extinguished any USF hopes for an upset.

The Huskies led by 22 after the first 10 minutes.

Another 3-pointer by Chong gave UConn its first 40-point lead at 53-13 with four minutes left in the second quarter.

It was 65-19 at halftime and UConn didn’t let up in the second half in matching the streak Auriemma’s program set between November 2008 and December 2010.

Chong scored 20 points to lead six players in double figures for the Huskies (15-0, 2-0 American Athletic Conference),

Maria Jespersen had 11 points for South Florida (13-2, 2-1 American Athletic Conference), which has never beaten UConn in 21 attempts.

USF Coach Jose Fernandez decided before the game to try to match UConn’s transition game.

But the Huskies were more than able to run with the Bulls. They outscored USF 18-5 in fast-break points and 48-14 in the paint.

Chong had eight of their 31 assists, compared to just three for USF.

“That’s our style,” Fernandez said. “But when you don’t make shots, you give a team more possessions and that’s what happened.”

UConn hasn’t lost since Nov. 17, 2014, at then-No. 6 Stanford, a two-point defeat in overtime. Without that loss, the streak would be 138 games.

]]> 0's Katie Lou Samuelson shoots over South Florida's Laia Flores in the first half Tuesday night in Hartford, Conn. The Huskies won their 90th straight, 102-37.Tue, 10 Jan 2017 23:25:20 +0000
In Deshaun Watson, Clemson has a quarterback to cherish Wed, 11 Jan 2017 00:46:12 +0000 Chad Morris did not want to leave Deshaun Watson. Morris was offered the head coaching job at Southern Methodist after the 2014 season, a chance to run his own team near his Texas hometown. As offensive coordinator he had recruited Watson to Clemson, and Watson had come to feel like family. Watson attended his kids’ volleyball games. Morris admired so many of his qualities – his gratitude, his humility, his diligence.

“Single-handedly, he was one of the reasons I almost didn’t leave,” Morris said last year. “Before I took the job I called him. We talked long and hard. Truly, if he would have said, ‘Hey, Coach …’ who knows what would have happened? He said, ‘This is an opportunity for you to get closer to your family. It’s an opportunity you may never get again.’ This is a freshman, and I’m calling him to give me his endorsement.”

College football will soon understand what Morris felt, what it is like to part with Watson – to be sad the relationship is over, but to know on a deep level it became better for the experience.

Watson played the final game of his junior season Monday night and delivered a magical performance in Clemson’s 35-31 triumph over Alabama. Given his talent and achievements, it doubled as the final game of Watson’s college career, with the NFL calling. He delivered an ultimate cap to an ultimate career, ending Alabama’s 26-game winning streak with a last-second touchdown pass.

Put aside Watson’s brilliance. Never mind the 420 passing yards, the three throwing touchdowns, the rushing score, the two go-ahead touchdown drives in the final five minutes. Imagine the courage required to invite bodily harm 77 times against Alabama’s violent and alarming defense. Consider the strength, of every kind, needed to keep walking across the coals, and not once, until the final kneel-down, possessing the ball with the lead. Watson threw 56 times and ran another 21 with the weight of his team on his shoulders.

On Clemson’s first possession, linebacker Reuben Foster blasted him in the helmet as another Alabama player had his legs wrapped up. It was astonishing no flag was thrown. The hit seemed to daze him, to make him an unwilling participant. He grew tentative when holes opened and lost his dazzling ability to surge through the line. The Tigers fell behind 14-0 and mustered nothing on offense. Clemson was intimidated, reeling, staring at a blowout.

And then Watson recaptured himself. He hit Deon Cain on a crucial screen pass to create momentum. He danced into the corner of the end zone, tip-toeing by the pylon. Clemson trailed by only a touchdown, 14-7, at the half.

Even for Watson, a comeback seemed impossible. Against Power Five opponents, Alabama allowed 13 second-half points combined in its last seven games. Coach Nick Saban had been 97-0 when entering the fourth quarter with a double-digit lead.

But Watson’s varied talents and Clemson’s pace flipped Alabama’s advantage, and the Tigers started to wear down the Tide defense. Watson’s accuracy improved and he settled into a rhythm. Wide receiver Mike Williams became a monster. His touchdown on a fade early in the fourth sliced the lead to 24-21.

The Tigers trailed by the same score when Watson took over with 6:33 remaining. He drove the Tigers 88 yards in six plays, the signature play a 15-yard glide down to the 1. A play later, Wayne Gallman plowed into the end zone.

Watson’s work was still not done. Alabama freshman quarterback Jalen Hurts scampered for a go-ahead touchdown. Watson got the ball back, down three points, at his own 32 with 2:07 left. “Let’s be legendary,” Watson told the huddle. “Let’s be great.”

“It was calm,” Watson said.

Know his background, and the calm starts to make sense. Watson grew up in government housing until he brought a Habitat for Humanity brochure home from church to his mother, who looked into the program and signed up. “What could be worse?” she thought. She helped build her own home and raised Watson in it until he reached his sophomore year of high school. She received a diagnosis of tongue cancer and Watson’s aunt looked after him while she underwent treatments.

“I didn’t even know it at first,” said Bruce Miller, Watson’s coach at Gainesville High. “Deshaun just keeps things inside him. He’s very quiet natured until you get to talking to him. He’s very level-headed. He just handles everything. It upset him but it didn’t deflate him.”

Watson completed his first five passes on the final drive, inviting punishment and flinging with accuracy. A pass interference call put the ball on the Alabama 2 with six seconds left. Watson rolled right. Hunter Renfrow ran an out pattern, helped by a rub from Artavis Scott. Watson tossed it to Renfrow, open in the end zone. Only one second remained and Watson had climbed the mountain.

He had completed the ascension of Clemson from regional disappointment to national power. He inspired. He encouraged his teammates to join him building houses for others through Habitat for Humanity.

Monday night, as he cradled the national championship trophy, Watson had nothing left to give college football. He will leave the sport, but he will not be forgotten.

]]> 0 Watson completed his college football career with the greatest of accomplishments Monday night, guiding Clemson to the national title. Thing is, he's just as good a person as he is an athlete.Tue, 10 Jan 2017 19:51:14 +0000
Tuesday’s college roundup: Top-ranked Baylor loses for first time Tue, 10 Jan 2017 21:25:34 +0000 MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — Nathan Adrian broke out of a shooting slump with a career-high 22 points, and No. 10 West Virginia beat No. 1 Baylor 89-68 on Tuesday night in the Bears’ first game as the top-ranked team in program history.

Baylor (15-1, 3-1 Big 12) committed a season-high 29 turnovers – the school record is 31 – and never led in its second true road game of the season. The loss means No. 5 Gonzaga is the only remaining unbeaten team in Division I.

West Virginia (14-2, 3-1) started the second half with an 11-3 run and kept pouring it on, leading by as many as 26 points down the stretch.

(3) VILLANOVA 79, (15) XAVIER 54: Kris Jenkins and Josh Hart each scored 20 points and as the host Wildcats (16-1, 4-1 Big East) beat the Musketeers (13-3, 3-1).

The Wildcats were dominant in the second half in their first game since their five-week run at No. 1 ended with a loss last week at Butler.

Jalen Brunson scored in transition off a steal and Donte DiVincenzo and Hart each converted three-point plays midway through the second half to help bust the game open.

The Wildcats made 15 of their first 20 shots in the second half.

(6) KENTUCKY 87, VANDERBILT 81: Malik Monk scored six points in the final 32 seconds and the visiting Wildcats (14-2, 4-0) held off the Commodores (8-8, 2-2).

(9) FLORIDA STATE 88, (7) DUKE 72: Xavier Rathan-Mayes scored 18 of his 21 points in the second half, helping the Seminoles (16-1, 4-0 ACC) top the visiting Blue Devils (14-3, 2-2).

Dwayne Bacon and Terance Mann had 13 points apiece as the Seminoles set a school record with their 11th straight win, breaking a mark that had stood since 1970. It is also the first time they have started 4-0 in the Atlantic Coast Conference.

COLBY 83, UM-FORT KENT 71: Patrick Stewart scored 22 of his game-high 36 points in the second half, hitting eight 3-pointers as the Mules (7-6) pulled away from the Bengals (15-3) in Waterville.

Stewart shot 10 of 18 from the field and 8 of 13 from deep.

Joe Connelly and Sam Jefferson each added 13 for the Mules, who ended the game on a 28-17 run. Connelly added seven rebounds and three assists. Rosevelt Smith Jr. and Joe McCloskey each scored 17 points to lead the Bengals. Smith Jr. added 12 rebounds and six assists.

JOHNSON & WALES 75, ST. JOSEPH’S 71: Anthony Jernigan scored 17 of his game-high 26 points in the second half as the Wildcats (3-8, 3-2 GNAC) held off the Monks (7-6, 4-2) in Standish.

Jernigan added seven assists and five rebounds and went 10 of 11 from the free-throw line; Matt Madoian added 18 points.

Aaron Hall scored 11 points to lead the Monks and John Crawley scored 10 of the bench. St. Joseph’s trailed 71-63 with 51 seconds left but got to within 73-71 with 9 seconds left on a 3-pointer from Ian Mileikis. Jernigan hit a pair of free throws with 7 seconds left to put the game out of reach.


ST. JOSEPH’S 62, JOHNSON & WALES 44: The Monks (10-2, 4-0 Great Northeast Athletic Conference) dominated the third quarter, outscoring the Wildcats (6-6, 1-2) 20-7, to take the lead for good to win at Providence, Rhode Island.

Johnson & Wales held a 19-12 lead at the end of the first quarter, but St. Joseph’s opened the second quarter with a 11-3 run capped by an Abbie Eastman 3-pointer with 4:35 to go in the period to take a 23-22 lead.

The Wildcats countered with an 8-3 run to end grab a 30-26 halftime lead.

Kelsi McNamara finished with a game-high 18 points and dished out nine assists for the Monks, and Emily Benway had 14 points and grabbed seven rebounds.

Ashley Thompson topped all scorers for Johnson & Wales with 16 points, Raquel Pederzani tossed in 10 points.


UMAINE: The Black Bears’ game at Fenway Park has been moved up 21/2 hours to begin at 1:30 p.m. Saturday, event organizers announced.

Times for Maine’s game vs. Connecticut and the Northeastern-New Hampshire game (now 5 p.m.) were changed to avoid a conflict with the New England Patriots’ playoff game against the Houston Texans in Foxborough, Massachusetts. The Patriots play at 8:15 p.m. Saturday.

Gates at Fenway Park will open at noon on Saturday.

UNIVERSITY OF NEW ENGLAND 6, BOWDOIN 4: The Nor’easters (6-5-1) scored four goals consecutive third-period goals to rally for a win over the Polar Bears (6-7-0) in a nonconference game at Biddeford.

Trevor Fleurent and Ryan Bloom scored twice for UNE, which also got goals from Dmitris Jones and Blaise Healy.

Thomas Dunleavy, Brendan Conroy, Mitch Barrington and Cody Tedesco scored for Bowdoin.


COLBY 3, UNIVERSITY OF NEW ENGLAND 3: Gabriella Moscato scored with 3:04 remaining in the third period to tie the game as the Nor’easters (5-6-2) played to an overtime draw with the Mules (0-9-3) in Biddeford.

Katie McLaughlin scored two goals for Colby.

]]> 0 Wed, 11 Jan 2017 00:12:40 +0000
Monday’s college roundup: Former Maine coach Kirk Ferentz promotes his son on Iowa’s staff Tue, 10 Jan 2017 03:53:53 +0000 IOWA CITY, Iowa — Iowa Coach Kirk Ferentz named offensive line coach and son Brian Ferentz as his new offensive coordinator Monday, less than a week after Greg Davis announced his retirement.

Brian Ferentz played for the Hawkeyes before getting into coaching. He later spent four seasons in various roles on the coaching staff of the New England Patriots, serving as a tight ends coach in 2010-11.

Now 33, Ferentz returned to Iowa in 2012 as its line coach, and he added running game coordinator to his duties in 2015. Iowa’s offensive line last year won the Joe Moore Award, given to the nation’s best unit.

“It’s been like a dream to me, and I just feel so excited and so happy to have been a part of this program for such a long time,” Brian Ferentz said. “That being said, my history helps me appreciate the responsibility as the offensive coordinator.”

Brian Ferentz has reported to Athletic Director Gary Barta, not his father, since being hired at Iowa in order to avoid charges of nepotism. Kirk Ferentz, who coached at UMaine for three seasons (1990, ’91 and ’92) said Monday that his son will continue to report to Barta.

“I don’t think it’s a huge deal. If anything, it probably works against him in this position. Everyone has an opinion about what he’s going to do,” Kirk Ferentz said about hiring his son to run his offense. “It’s just one more thing that’s going to be wrong the first time we go three-and-out.”

Iowa will also likely hire a new quarterbacks coach, since Davis was both the coordinator and the QB coach.

“He’s had a tremendous career at the University of Iowa … he appreciates what’s important here,” Kirk Ferentz said of his son. “Spending significant time in New England, starting from ground zero and working up to being a position coach and being around Bill Belichick and (Houston Texans Coach) Bill O’Brien has been really beneficial for him. They’re great guys to have as mentors.”

Brian Ferentz doesn’t have much experience working with quarterbacks. But his first major decision will be to find a new one for 2017 – and sophomore-to-be Nathan Stanley will be the player in the best position to fill it.

COLORADO: Coach Mike MacIntyre has been rewarded with a contract extension through the 2021 season.

The school announced the deal that extends MacIntyre’s agreement for three more years. MacIntyre, who just led the Buffaloes to a 10-4 record, a Pac-12 South title and their first bowl appearance since 2007, will make $3.1 million in 2017. The value of his deal over the next five seasons is $16.25 million, the school announced.

SOUTH CAROLINA: The school has brought former San Francisco 49ers assistant Eric Wolford back to the Gamecocks’ coaching staff.

Gamecocks Coach Will Muschamp announced the hire. Wolford takes over for Shawn Elliott, who was South Carolina’s offensive line coach before leaving last month to become Georgia State’s head coach.

PEYTON MANNING AND his Southeastern Conference nemesis, former Florida coach Steve Spurrier, will go into the College Football Hall of Fame together.

The rest of the new Hall of Fame class of 13 players and coaches includes Southern California Heisman Trophy winner Matt Leinart, San Diego State running back Marshall Faulk and Danny Ford, who coached Clemson to its only national championship.


BOWDOIN 70, UM-PRESQUE ISLE 48: Richard McAllister and David Reynolds helped spark a 27-2 run as the Polar Bears, trailing 46-43, closed fast to beat the University of Maine-Presque Isle at Brunswick.

Reynolds’ 16 points led Bowdoin (8-6). Jack Simonds and Hugh O’Neill each added 12 points for the Polar Bears.

Kim Collins scored 17 for UMPI (5-8).

POLL: Baylor is No. 1 in The Associated Press men’s basketball poll for the first time.

The Bears (15-0) have made a meteoric rise in the poll, going from a team that didn’t receive a vote in the preseason poll to one that received 55 first-place votes from the 65-member national media panel.

Villanova, which received one first-place vote, had been No. 1 for the last five weeks, but the Wildcats (15-1) dropped to third after losing at Butler last week.

Kansas (14-1), which was No. 1 on eight ballots, moved up from third to second, giving the Big 12 the top two teams in the poll.

UCLA (16-1), which got the other first-place vote, stayed fourth.

Gonzaga (15-0), the only other unbeaten Division I school, and Kentucky remained fifth and sixth, and Duke, Creighton, Florida State and West Virginia rounded out the top 10.

DUKE: Forward Amile Jefferson will not play Tuesday night at No. 9 Florida State because he bruised a bone in his right foot.

Acting head coach Jeff Capel said Jefferson’s foot will be re-evaluated after that game.

Jefferson averages 13.6 points and a team-best 10.1 rebounds for No. 7 Duke.

He was hurt in the first half of a victory over Boston College on Saturday when he landed awkwardly after a shot in the paint.


POLL: Kentucky’s run in The Associated Press women’s basketball poll has come to an end.

The Wildcats fell out of the Top 25, ending a streak of 132 consecutive weeks in the poll. It was the fifth-longest active streak and eighth longest overall. Kentucky split a pair of games last week, edging Missouri before losing to Texas A&M.

Kentucky’s streak started Feb. 1, 2010, and the Wildcats reached as high as fifth in the rankings.

While Kentucky dropped out of the poll, Connecticut remained No. 1.

The Huskies have the longest current run, being ranked for 441 straight weeks. That trails only Tennessee’s all-time record of 565 consecutive appearances in the poll.

Following the Huskies in the poll again were Baylor, Maryland, Mississippi State and South Carolina.

Notre Dame and Florida State switched places at Nos. 6 and 7, with Washington, Louisville and Oregon State rounding out the top 10.

NORTHWESTERN: Basketball player Jordan Hankins was found dead in her room at the university.

The university said in a statement that Hankins’ body was found Monday afternoon. The statement from spokesman Carsten Parmenter said there is no indication of foul play or “any danger or threat to other members of the Northwestern community.”

The nature and cause of Hankins’ death will be determined by the Cook County Medical Examiner’s Office.

Women’s basketball coach Joe McKeown is calling Jordan, a sophomore, a “remarkably dynamic young woman,” adding her death is a “devastating loss for our basketball family.”

]]> 0 Coach Kirk Ferentz, left, who coached at UMaine from 1990 to 1992, hired his son, Brian, 33, to replace the retiring Greg Davis as the team's offensive coordinator.Mon, 09 Jan 2017 23:10:30 +0000
Sunday’s college roundup: Maine men’s basketball loses to UMBC Mon, 09 Jan 2017 03:39:21 +0000 BALTIMORE — Nolan Gerrity scored 18 points on 9-for-9 shooting, Jairus Lyles had 17 points and 10 rebounds, and Maryland-Baltimore County beat Maine 75-64 in a men’s basketball game Sunday.

Maine cut a 17-point deficit to 62-55 with 5:13 left, but UMBC scored the next seven points for a 14-point lead.

K.J. Maura had 13 points and 11 assists for UMBC (11-4, 2-0 America East) and Will Darley scored 11 points.

Maura scored the Retrievers’ first eight points, including a four-point play, to help UMBC build a 40-30 halftime lead. He had 10 points, five assists and two steals in the first half.

The Retrievers are 2-0 in conference play for the first time since the 2007-08 season.

Wesley Myers, who was coming off a 30-point game against Vermont, led Maine (4-13, 0-2) with 28 points and seven rebounds. Vincent Eze and Marko Pirovic each added 11 points.

(4) UCLA 89, STANFORD 75: Lonzo Ball scored 21 points and the Bruins (16-1, 13-1 Pac-12) led all the way in beating the Cardinal (8-8, 0-4) in Los Angeles.

Bryce Alford added 17 points and TJ Leaf had 15 points and 10 rebounds to help the Bruins improve to 10-0 at Pauley Pavilion.

(11) VIRGINIA 79, WAKE FOREST 62: London Perrantes scored 24 points and the Cavaliers (12-3, 2-2 ACC) beat the Demon Deacons (10-6, 1-3) in Charlottesville, Virginia.

(20) PURDUE 65, (13) WISCONSIN 55: Caleb Swanigan had 18 points and 13 rebounds and the Boilermakers (14-3, 3-1 Big Ten) beat the Badgers (13-3, 2-1) in West Lafayette, Indiana.

(14) NORTH CAROLINA 107, NORTH CAROLINA STATE 56: Justin Jackson scored 21 points and the host Tar Heels (14-3, 2-1 ACC) beat the Wolfpack (12-4, 1-2).


(4) MISSISSIPPI STATE 74, TENNESSEE 64: Blair Schaefer made a go-ahead 3-pointer with 2:39 left as the Bulldogs (17-0, 3-0 SEC) beat the host Lady Vols (10-5, 2-1).

(5) SOUTH CAROLINA 81, FLORIDA 62: A’ja Wilson and Alaina Coates had double-doubles as the Gamecocks (13-1, 3-0 SEC) beat the Gators (9-6, 0-3) in Gainesville, Florida.

(6) FLORIDA STATE 69, (13) DUKE 45: Shakayla Thomas scored 22 points and Imani Wright added 14 to help the Seminoles (15-2, 3-1 ACC) beat the Blue Devils (14-2, 2-1) in Tallahassee, Florida.

(7) NOTRE DAME 67, (14) MIAMI 55: Marina Mabrey scored 15 points and the Irish (15-2, 3-1 ACC) beat the host Hurricanes (13-3, 2-2).

(8) LOUISVILLE 73, PITTSBURGH 52: Mariya Moore scored 18 points to lead the Cardinals (15-3, 1-1 ACC) to a win over the Panthers (10-6, 1-2) in Louisville, Kentucky.


VERMONT 3, MAINE 1: Bridget Baker scored the go-ahead goal 7:39 into the third as the Catamounts (10-7-5, 6-3-3 WHEA) beat the Black Bears (6-14-1, 2-10-1) in Burlington, Vermont.

Maine took a 1-0 lead on a goal by Catherine Tufts 6:32 into the game. Saana Valkama tied it for the Catamounts midway through the second.

Alyssa Gorecki completed the scoring for Vermont.

]]> 0 Sun, 08 Jan 2017 22:42:45 +0000
College Football Playoff championship game, quickly Mon, 09 Jan 2017 03:24:51 +0000 SERIES RECORD: Alabama 13-3, including 45-40 in last season’s College Football Playoff championship game.

WHAT’S AT STAKE: The national championship and a chance for Alabama’s dynasty to reach another new level of unprecedented achievement. The Tide would become the first major college team to win five championships in eight years during the poll era (since 1936). Clemson is trying to win its first national title since 1981 and check the only box left for a program that has become one of the elite teams under Coach Dabo Swinney.

KEY MATCHUP: Alabama’s offensive line against Clemson’s defensive line. Much is made, deservedly so, of the Crimson Tide’s talented and tenacious front seven. All-America DL Jonathan Allen leads the way. Clemson’s defensive line is packed with future NFL players, too. Freshman Dexter Lawrence is a 340-pound immovable object in the middle. DT Carlos Watkins is a second-team All-American. DE Christian Wilkins has the versatility and athleticism to play inside and out. Clelin Ferrell was defensive player of the game against Ohio State in the semifinals. With a freshman QB in Jalen Hurts, the Tide’s offensive line must contain Clemson’s pass rush.


Clemson QB Deshaun Watson: Kind of obvious, but the Tigers probably can’t win unless the Heisman Trophy runner-up plays well. The junior, likely playing his last college game, has thrown for 4,173 yards and 38 touchdowns. He has also thrown 17 interceptions.

ALABAMA WR Calvin Ridley: The sophomore receiver has had a relatively quiet season compared his breakout freshman year (67 catches for 733 yards and seven touchdowns). He is capable of great things, and remember in last season’s title game it was Alabama tight end O.J. Howard who broke free for a career-best 208 yards receiving and two touchdowns against Clemson.

FACTS & FIGURES: Alabama could become the third team to go start-to-finish in a season as No. 1 in the AP poll, joining Florida State (1999) and Southern California (2004) … Clemson will be looking for its first victory ever against a No. 1 ranked team. …. Alabama has won 16 straight games against ranked teams, matching a record set by USC during Pete Carroll’s time as coach in the 2000s. … Clemson has 69 victories over the past six seasons. Only Alabama has more with 76. … Clemson WR Mike Williams, who missed almost all of last season – including the national championship game – with a neck injury, has 90 catches for 1,267 yards and 10 touchdowns. … Hurts could become the first freshman quarterback to lead his team to a national championship since Oklahoma’s Jamelle Holieway did it in 1985.

– Associated Press

]]> 0 wide receiver Calvin Ridley had a huge freshman season (67 catches 733 yards and seven touchdowns) last year but has been quiet this season.Sun, 08 Jan 2017 23:00:34 +0000
College football notebook: Tickets for title game in demand Mon, 09 Jan 2017 03:12:20 +0000 TAMPA, Fla. — The College Football Playoff national championship game is a hot ticket.

The combination of Alabama and Clemson meeting in a rematch of last year’s final, plus the proximity of the schools to Tampa, is causing prices to surge for Monday night’s game.

As of Sunday afternoon, ticket prices on StubHub ranged from $1,599 for a ticket in the upper deck to $17,820 for a sideline seat in the lower bowl in the 70,000-seat stadium.

Tuscaloosa, Alabama, is 572 miles northwest of Tampa, while Clemson, South Carolina, is 572 miles northeast.

Both are within easy driving distance, whereas most fans of the Crimson Tide and Tigers were forced to fly cross-country to Glendale, Arizona, when the teams met a year ago.

College Football Playoff executive director Bill Hancock said that last season the CFP executives were talking in Arizona about how well an Alabama-Clemson matchup would do ticket-wise in Tampa.

“I love the fact that the fans from both schools can drive. And we see that in the demand for tickets,” he added. “We see that in the crowd at Playoff Fan Central. We see it at the concerts. You just see a lot of orange and a lot of crimson. I like that. It’s a good thing for the game.”

CAL: The school fired Coach Sonny Dykes in a surprise move after four seasons that produced just one bowl appearance.

Dykes left Louisiana Tech to replace Jeff Tedford and took over the struggling Cal program in 2013, but could never get the Bears turned around. They went 8-5 in 2015, but then slid back to 5-7 this season.

Dykes and the administration seemed to be at odds after that 2015 season during a prolonged negotiation of a contract extension.

The deal was finally worked out and Dykes’ deal was extended through the 2019 season. Dykes is owed more than $5 million under terms of the deal finalized in March.

ACC: Atlantic Coast Conference Commissioner John Swofford says the conference is likely to move its football championship game out of Charlotte, North Carolina, again if a state law that limits anti-discrimination protections for LGBT people is not repealed or adjusted.

Swofford gave no timetable Sunday for a decision on whether to relocate the 2017 game but he did say the conference will not wait as long as it did last year to move the game.

The ACC followed the NCAA’s lead and decided in September to pull its championship from Charlotte in response to North Carolina’s so-called “bathroom bill.”

OHIO STATE: Wide receiver Noah Brown says he will skip his final two years of eligibility to enter the NFL draft.

]]> 0 Sun, 08 Jan 2017 23:01:32 +0000
History on the line for Alabama in title game Mon, 09 Jan 2017 02:31:29 +0000 TAMPA, Fla. — Nick Saban and Alabama are on the verge of leaving college football history behind.

The top-ranked Crimson Tide face Clemson on Monday night in a College Football Playoff national championship game rematch. A victory would give Alabama five national championships in eight seasons, a feat never completed at the highest level of the sport during the poll era.

The Tide (14-0) can become the first FBS program to finish 15-0, along with the first to win four championships in span of six seasons, going back-to-back twice in that span.

A case can already be made that Alabama’s current run is the greatest in college football history. Better than Notre Dame back in the grainy black-and-white footage days of Knute Rockne and Frank Leahy. Better than Miami’s long run of dominance in the 1980s and early ’90s. Better than anything Alabama did when Bear Bryant was leading the Tide in the 1960s and ’70s.

Another title would give Saban six during the poll era that began in 1936, including a BCS crown at LSU in 2003, matching Bryant for the most of any major-college coach.

With one more championship, there will be no more college football dynasties left to compare to Saban’s.

“I mean, I’ve never seen anything like it,” said Clemson Coach Dabo Swinney, an Alabama native who grew up worshipping Bryant and played for national championship Tide team in 1992. “Every year is kind of that season of its own and you have your challenges, and it’s a journey of its own. But to be able to regroup and create that edge and meet those challenges, continue to manage your staff and your roster and compete at the highest level, I mean, it’s just unbelievable what has happened.”

Swinney and Saban held a joint news conference Sunday morning at the convention center in downtown Tampa. The same deal as last year, just in a different place.

Swinney’s team stands in the way of an Alabama championship again. The Tigers have not won a national title since 1981. As Swinney and his players have said over and over, it is the only box left for the program to check as it has taken a place among the elite in college football.

Heisman Trophy runner-up Deshaun Watson said he knew when he decided to come to Clemson in 2012 he was joining a program poised for big things.

“I felt the energy, I bought into what Coach Swinney was saying and what he thought the future was going to bring to this program and I wanted to be a part of it,” said Watson.

Clemson is working on a streak of six consecutive 10-win seasons, topped only by Alabama’s 10 straight.

Watson, the quarterback from Gainesville, Georgia, has been maybe the biggest reason why Clemson has become Alabama’s final and greatest challenge the last two seasons.

He was spectacular against the Tide in the title game last year with 478 total yards. Unable to stop Watson, Alabama used a surprising onside kick to swing the game its way and win 45-40.

The Crimson Tide enter the game ranked tops in the nation in total defense, rushing defense, yards per play allowed and points allowed. It is also responsible for 12 of the team’s 15 non-offensive touchdowns.

Clemson, meanwhile, is coming off its best defensive effort for the season in a 31-0 Fiesta Bowl win against Ohio State.

Things to know about Tide vs. Tigers II:

HURTS SO GOOD: Alabama’s Jalen Hurts could become the first true freshman quarterback to lead a team to the national championship since Jamelle Holieway did it with Oklahoma in 1985.

Hurts is coming off one of his worst games of the season. He was 7 for 14 for 57 yards against in a 24-7 victory against Washington in the Peach Bowl.

SARKISIAN’S DEBUT: Hurts will have to turn it around with a new offensive coordinator and play-caller.

ormer USC and Washington coach Steve Sarkisian takes over after spending the season in Tuscaloosa working as an analyst and aid to Lane Kiffin, who is now the head coach at Florida Atlantic.

END OF AN ERA: Clemson won’t fade away after this season, but the Tigers are losing the core of a great team.

Mostly likely joining Watson as an early NFL draft entrant are receiver Mike Williams and leading rusher Wayne Gallman. Receiver Artavis Scott is also in the group the Swinney said he expects to leave early.

The Tigers also will say goodbye to senior center Jay Guillermo and three defensive players who earned All-America honors in defensive tackle Carlos Watkins (second-team), linebacker Ben Boulware (third team) and cornerback Cordrea Tankersley (third team).

]]> 0 Saban's Alabama Crimson Tide will try to win their fifth national title in eight seasons on Monday.Sun, 08 Jan 2017 23:02:50 +0000
Saturday’s Maine women’s roundup: Bowdoin defeats Bates in basketball Sun, 08 Jan 2017 01:25:15 +0000 LEWISTON — Reserve Lydia Caputi scored 13 points for Bowdoin, which erased a 10-point second-quarter deficit and defeated Bates 70-58 in a NESCAC women’s basketball game Saturday at Alumni Gym.

Nina Davenport scored 15 of her game-high 18 points in the first half for Bates (4-9, 1-1), which used a 17-8 run to open the second quarter and take a 35-25 lead with 1:47 left in the half. Bowdoin (11-2, 1-1) ended the half on a 10-0 run to tie it.

The Polar Bears led 50-48 after three quarters and started the fourth with a 14-5 run to extend their lead to 64-53 with 3:18 left.

Allie Coppola had 17 points, 10 rebounds and five assists for Bates.

TUFTS 70, COLBY 58: Katie McCrum scored 15 of her game-high 22 points in the second half, but the top- ranked Jumbos (12-0, 2-0 NESCAC) held off the Mules (6-6, 0-2) at Medford, Massachusetts.

Michela North scored 21 points on 9-of-12 shooting to lead the Jumbos.

Colby trailed 34-28 at halftime but cut the lead to 36-32 early in the third quarter on an Ainsley Burns basket, but the Jumbos closed the quarter on a 12-7 run to lead 48-39.

HUSSON 82, MAINE MARITIME ACADEMY 53: Kenzie Worcester scored 13 of her game-high 17 points in the first half and the Eagles (8-1) outscored the Mariners (4-7) 25-12 in the second quarter at Bangor.

The Eagles led 43-29 at halftime and started the third quarter on an 18-4 run. Darla Morales scored seven of her 15 points in the third for the Eagles. Reserves Chloe Smedley and Melinda Ogden each scored 12 points for Maine Maritime.

UNIVERSITY OF NEW ENGLAND 75, NICHOLS 57: Sam MacDonald scored 15 points with eight rebounds and the Nor’easters (7-5, 4-2 Commonwealth Coast) opened on a 27-8 run to get by the Bison (1-11, 1-5) at Biddeford.

Alicia Brown added 12 points and six blocks, and Sadie Nelson chipped in with 10 points, nine in the first quarter. UNE led 38-24 at halftime.

Brooke Packard scored a game-high 17 points for Nichols.

ST. JOSEPH’S 51, NORWICH 44: Kelsi McNamara scored a team-high 16 points and the Monks (9-2, 3-0 Great Northeast Athletic) used an 18-7 run in the third quarter to get by the Cadets (6-4, 2-1) at Standish.

The Cadets led 28-24 with 7:15 left in the third but McNamara and Hannah Marks each scored five points in the run to give St. Joseph’s a 42-35 lead.

Emily Benway added 12 points to go with 11 rebounds and Marks finished with 10 points.

KEENE STATE 68, SOUTHERN MAINE 63: The Owls (8-5, 2-1 Little East) finished on a 27-13 run after trailing by nine early in the fourth quarter to beat the Huskies (2-11, 1-2) at Keene, New Hampshire.

Jackie Luckhardt added 16 points on 7-of-9 shooting, and Emily Nicholson chipped in with 16 for the Huskies, who scored the first six points of the fourth quarter to take a 50-41 lead with 7:23 left.

JOHNSON STATE 61, THOMAS 43: Kasey DeGreenia scored 14 points as the Badgers (5-6, 3-3 North Atlantic) beat the Terriers (5-8, 2-4) at Johnson, Vermont. Reserve Molly Carroll had 12 points for Thomas.

LYNDON STATE 74, UM-FARMINGTON 66: Gabrielle Foy scored 12 of her game-high 18 points in the second half and the Hornets (4-5, 2-3 North Atlantic) scored the first 11 points of the game to get by the Beavers (2-7, 2-3) at Lyndon, Vermont.


VERMONT 4, MAINE 1: Sarah Kelly scored twice as the Catamounts (9-7-5, 5-3-3 Hockey East) posted four unanswered goals and cruised past the Black Bears (6-13-1, 2-9-1) at Burlington, Vermont.

Tereza Vanisova scored for Maine from Vendula Pribylova and Brittany Colton at 3:47 of the first period.

Kelly tied it from Katherine Pate 2:01 into the second and Bridget Baker gave Vermont a 2-1 lead from Ali O’Leary and Daria O’Neill 2:46 later.

Kelly and Pate teamed up again in the third, and Alyssa Gorecki wrapped it up with an empty-net goal.

Carly Jackson stopped 31 shots for the Black Bears. Melisa Black had 20 saves for Vermont.

WESLEYAN 4, COLBY 1: Cici Frattasio had a hat trick for the Cardinals (5-4-1, 2-2 NESCAC), who scored four unaswered goals and skated past the Mules (0-9-2, 0-5-1) at Waterville.

Grace Crowell of Colby had the first goal from Kailey Buxbaum after 1:45.Frattasio answered from Grace Keogh with 2:47 to play in the first period.

Ellery Sarosi also had an unassisted for the Cardinals in the second.

Halley Fine stopped 27 shots for the Mules. Allegra Grant had 24 saves for Wesleyan.

WILLIAMS 2, BOWDOIN 1: Sara Lehman scored from Abby Brustad with 33 seconds to play as the Ephs (6-4, 4-2 NESCAC) edged the Polar Bears (7-2-2, 2-1-1) at Brunswick.

Caitlin Buckley staked Williams to an 1-0 lead from Alex Lovaas with 5:04 to play in the first period.

Katie Leininger tied it on a power play from Brigit Bergin and Jill Rathke at 12 minutes of the third.

Christina Cleroux had 15 saves for Williams. Kerri St. Denis turned aside 37 shots for the Polar Bears.

]]> 0 Sat, 07 Jan 2017 20:30:47 +0000
Saturday’s Maine men’s college roundup: Bates holds off Bowdoin Sun, 08 Jan 2017 01:17:03 +0000 BRUNSWICK — Marcus Delpeche and Tom Coyne each made a pair of free throws in the final 18 seconds as Bates held on to beat Bowdoin 64-59 in a New England Small College Athletic Conference men’s basketball game Saturday afternoon.

Bates (11-3, 2-0 NESCAC) had a 31-30 halftime lead, but with the game tied 38-38 early in the second half, Bowdoin (7-6, 0-2) went on a 13-4 run, capped by a Hugh O’Neil layup.

The Bobcats responded with an 11-2 run, including nine points by Coyne, to tie the game at 53-53 with 6:10 to play.

Coyne gave Bates the lead for good, 60-59, with a 3-pointer with 3:36 left. He finished with 23 points.

Jack Simonds the Polar Bears with 17 points. O’Neil had 13 points and grabbed 10 boards, and David Reynolds came off the bench and tossed in 12 points.

TUFTS 84, COLBY 70: Everett Dayton scored 15 points to lead five players in double figures as the Jumbos (11-2, 2-0 NESCAC) cruised to a win over the Mules (6-6, 0-2) in Waterville.

Ben Engvall, Tarik Smith and Vincent Pace each scored 11 points, while Tom Palleschi had 10 points and nine rebounds for the Jumbos.

Sean Gilmore scored 12 points for Colby. Ethan Schlager added 11, and Maximilian Steiner had 11 rebounds.

KEENE STATE 85, SOUTHERN MAINE 66: Ty Nichols scored 27 points and Matt Ozzella got 17 of his 20 points in the first half as the Owls (9-4, 2-1 Little East) cruised to a win over the Huskies (5-8, 0-3) in Keene, New Hampshire.

Keene State opened the game with a 15-3 run and led 47-29 at halftime.

Christian McCue scored 17 points for Southern Maine, while Zach Leal added 14 points and five rebounds.

ST. JOSEPH’S 85, EMMANUEL 83: Aaron Hall scored 17 points and knocked down a 3-pointer with nine seconds remaining to lift the Monks (7-5, 4-1 GNAC) over the Saints (1-10, 0-5) in Boston.

Quinn Richardson-Newton added 16 points and 17 rebounds.

The Monks trailed 51-41 at halftime but opened the second half on a 9-0 run. Emmanuel led 81-77 with 1:33 left, but a pair of free throws by Richardson-Newton cut the deficit to two.

After consecutive turnovers by both teams, Ian Mileikis canned a 3-pointer with 35 seconds left, giving St. Joseph’s an 82-81 lead. A jump shot by Emmett Riddick with 11 seconds remaining put Emmanuel back ahead before Hall sank the winning shot.

NICHOLS 87, UNIVERSITY OF NEW ENGLAND 68: Tyler Dion scored 23 points, including seven 3-pointers, and the Bison (11-2, 6-0 Commonwealth Coast) rolled to their ninth straight win, beating the Nor’easters (4-9, 2-4) in Biddeford.

DeAnte Bruton added 18 points, six assists and five steals for Nichols, which made 18 3-pointers.

Jean-Luc Parker scored 21 points and CJ Autry had 13 points and 10 rebounds for UNE. Gavin Dibble added 11 points.


CASTLETON 5, SOUTHERN MAINE 4: Otis Goldman broke a 4-4 tie with 5:44 to play and the Spartans (5-8-2, 4-4 NEHC) beat the Huskies (6-8, 3-6) in Castleton, Vermont.

Mark Shroyer scored 5:48 into the third period to tie the game at 4 for Castleton.

Michael Washington, Cody Braga, Cole Klippenstein and Sasha Makarov scored for Southern Maine, which led 2-1 after one period. Klippenstein’s goal was short-handed.

Ryan Mulder had 24 saves for Castleton, and Kyle Shapiro stopped 35 shots for the Huskies.

AMHERST 3, COLBY 2: Patrick Day and Will Vosejpka scored third-period goals as the Purple & White (7-3-1, 3-3-1 NESCAC) beat the Mules (5-4-1, 4-3-1) in Amherst, Massachusetts.

Cam MacDonald scored in the first period and J.P. Schuhlen scored in the third for Colby.

David White scored in the first period for Amherst.

Connor Girard stopped 31 shots for Amherst, while Andrew Tucci made 15 saves for Colby.

HAMILTON 6, BOWDOIN 3: The Continentals (10-0-2, 5-0-2 NESCAC) scored four times in the third period to remain unbeaten with a win over the Polar Bears (6-6, 3-5) in Clinton, New York.

Brandon Willett scored in both the first period and the second to give Hamilton a 2-0 lead.

Bowdoin pulled within 2-1 when Joseph Lace scored early in the third, but Jason Brochu and Truman Landowski answered to push Hamilton’s lead to 4-1.

Ian Nichols and Willett scored later in the period for the Continentals.

Brendan Conroy and Thomas Dunleavy also scored for Bowdoin.

Peter Cronin had 31 saves for Bowdoin, while Evan Buitenhuis stopped 24 shots for Hamilton.

]]> 0 Sat, 07 Jan 2017 20:33:14 +0000
Time is now for Clemson Sun, 08 Jan 2017 00:17:06 +0000 TAMPA, Fla. — Clemson Coach Dabo Swinney still has a picture from that night on his phone.

Swinney and Alabama’s Nick Saban were on the same dinner cruise in March near Boca Grande, a popular fishing spot in southwest Florida. Swinney approached Saban early in the trip and handed him a gift certificate to his favorite restaurant in the vacation destination.

On the back was a message: “See you in Tampa next year.”

Ten months later, they’re here and getting ready to play for the national championship Monday night.

Saban and the Tide are regulars on college football’s biggest stage, having advanced to five of the last eight title games. Swinney and the Tigers, who lost the finale to Alabama in Glendale, Arizona, last season, are back for another shot.

It might be their best – and maybe last – chance.

At least for awhile.

The window is closing on Swinney’s talented team. Sure, Clemson has recruited as well as anyone in the country in recent years and has all the resources and facilities to remain a yearly threat to win it all.

But there’s little doubt that this team is special and unlikely to be matched next season.

“We know this is our opportunity,” receiver Mike Williams said Saturday. “We’re losing a bunch of guys and need to get it done.”

The Tigers (13-1) are losing just about everyone.

Quarterback Deshaun Watson, who became the first player in Football Bowl Subdivision history to top 1,000 yards rushing and 4,000 yards passing in 2015, is turning pro after graduating in three years.

Running back Wayne Gallman, Williams and fellow receiver Artavis Scott will surely join Watson in the NFL. Gallman set the school’s single-season rushing record (1,527 yards) last year. Williams is widely expected to be the first receiver drafted in April, and Scott is Clemson’s all-time career leader in receptions (242).

Throw in tight end Jordan Leggett and center Jay Guillermo, and Clemson will have to replace a big chunk of its high-scoring offense.

They will have nearly as many losses on the other side of the ball, with cornerback Cordrea Tankersley, safety Jadar Johnson, linebacker Ben Boulware and defensive end Carlos Watkins. That’s the team’s top two defensive backs – who have nine interceptions between them this season – its leading tackler and sacks leader.

So now’s the time to get it done.

Clemson’s lone national championship came in 1981, the year before NCAA probation hit in a recruiting scandal.

“I think we’re just now building our brand,” Boulware said. “For a long time, we haven’t been that good. We were very inconsistent. We weren’t ever really a part of (the) national championship conversation up until the past couple years.

“It takes a while to get the respect. It’s slowly but surely getting there.”

Of course, Alabama (14-0) stands in the way – again.

“Got to beat them,” Boulware said. “If you want to be the best, you got to beat the best. And that’s Alabama right now. So we’re definitely, in my opinion, at their heels. But they’re the standard, and they have been the best for a while, but we want to get up there, too.”

Clemson blew its chance last year, losing 45-40 thanks partly to two blown coverages against tight end O.J. Howard and a 95-yard kickoff return. Those three plays have haunted the Tigers for a year.

They’ve also provided motivation to get back.

“We’re definitely the underdog,” Guillermo said. “It’s one thing that I feel like people love an underdog story and people love the guys who aren’t supposed to win who are able to get it done.”

Saban told Swinney that night on the cruise that he thought Clemson had a “great opportunity” to return to the title game because of all of Swinney’s returning players. Swinney is reminded of that conversation every time he scrolls through his phone and sees the picture they took wearing matching green shirts.

“Certainly eight years ago, I don’t think anybody saw us as a national championship contender,” Swinney said. “We were a solid program, but we weren’t a national championship contender.

“And to see what we’ve been able to do the last eight seasons has been special. It’s just been one day at a time. That’s what we always say: How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. One bite at a time. You can’t get it done in a day.”

]]> 0 year ago, Clemson Coach Dabo Swinney, right, congratulated Alabama's Nick Saban after the Crimson Tide won another national championship. The two coaches and their teams meet again Monday night in Tampa, Florida, with the College Football Playoff title on the line once more.Sat, 07 Jan 2017 20:03:10 +0000
Saturday’s college roundup: Abdullah lifts James Madison to FCS title Sun, 08 Jan 2017 00:09:22 +0000 FRISCO, Texas — Khalid Abdullah ran for 101 yards and two touchdowns as James Madison won its second Football Championship Subdivision title, beating Youngstown State 28-14 on Saturday.

It is the first time in six years a team other than North Dakota State raised the FCS championship trophy. James Madison (14-1) was the team that made it from Fargo to Frisco instead, winning its semifinal game on the road against the five-time defending champion Bison.

Bryan Schor threw two touchdown passes in the first 51/2 minutes of the game, the first after James Madison blocked a punt and the other after a shanked kick set the Dukes up at midfield.

Abdullah finished the season with a school-record 1,809 yards rushing and 22 touchdowns.


(7) WEST VIRGINIA 82, TCU 70: Daxter Miles Jr. tied a season high with 22 points and the Mountaineers (13-2, 2-1 Big 12) needed a late burst to beat the Horned Frogs (12-3, 1-2) in Morgantown, West Virginia.

(8) DUKE 93, BOSTON COLLEGE 82: Freshman Jayson Tatum matched a season high with 22 points, and Blue Devils (14-2, 2-1 ACC) held on to beat the Eagles (8-8, 1-2) in Jeff Capel’s season debut as Hall of Fame Coach Mike Krzyzewski’s temporary replacement in Durham, North Carolina.

(9) LOUISVILLE 65, GEOGRIA TECH 50: Donovan Mitchell scored 13 of his 20 points in the second half to lead the Cardinals (13-3, 1-2 ACC) to a victory over the Yellow Jackets (9-6, 1-2) in Atlanta.

(10) CREIGHTON 78, PROVIDENCE 64: Justin Patton had 20 points and Maurice Watson Jr. scored 11 with 14 assists on Saturday to help the Bluejays (15-1, 3-1 Big East) beat the Friars (11-6, 1-3) at Providence, Rhode Island.


(2) BAYLOR 86, OKLAHOMA STATE 50: Kalani Brown had 17 points and nine rebounds and Alexis Jones added 15 points and seven rebounds, leading the Bears (15-1, 4-0 Big 12) over the Cowgirls (12-3, 2-2) in Stillwater, Oklahoma.

(3) MARYLAND 96, NORTHWESTERN 65: Brionna Jones had 15 points and 13 rebounds, Shatori Walker-Kimbrough scored 18 and the Terrapins (15-1, 3-0 Big Ten) easily defeated the Wildcats (13-4, 2-2) in College Park, Maryland.

]]> 0 Sat, 07 Jan 2017 19:12:08 +0000
UMaine women win without head coach Sat, 07 Jan 2017 19:01:52 +0000 BANGOR — Amy Vachon may not be as active on the sideline as head coach Richard Barron usually is, but she can get excited.

Vachon, the University of Maine women’s basketball associate head coach, directed the Black Bears on Saturday while Barron is on an indefinite medical leave with an undisclosed illness.

Vachon stayed seated most of the time Saturday, except to pop up, urging her team’s defense. And that defense was stifling in a 72-40 victory over Maryland-Baltimore County before 1,673 at the Cross Insurance Center.

Maine held the Retrievers to 23 percent shooting and caused 17 turnovers.

“We wanted to be aggressive defensively,” said Vachon, who was especially animated when her team forced two shot-clock violations in the first half.

For all their defensive might, the Black Bears led only 26-18 at halftime before getting their offensive gears in motion. Freshmen guards Blanca Millan (17 points) and Julie Brosseau (12) paced the Black Bears.

Maine played its second straight game without Sigi Koizar, its senior leading scorer and point guard who has a thigh contusion.

“It was different because Sigi always has the ball in her hand,” said Brosseau, who handled the point.

“But I think we did a pretty good job.”

Brosseau and Millan both had four assists, and forward Anita Kelava had six. In all, Maine had 21 assists on 26 baskets.

“That’s great. We played together the entire game,” said Vachon, a former standout point guard for the Black Bears.

While Maine missed shots in the beginning, the Black Bears smothered UMBC. Millan, a 5-foot-11 guard, covered All-Conference first-team guard Taylor McCarley, holding her to 10 points (3-of-13 shooting). McCarley likes to drive to her left and Millan kept forcing her to the right.

“I was trying to get into the offense,” McCarley said. “But if I can’t go to my left …”

UMBC, picked to finish second in America East with Maine third, likes to work the ball inside.

Maine forced the Retrievers into a boatload of bad shots.

“We usually pass and cut. They’re obviously a long team,” UMBC Coach Phil Stern said of Maine’s ample wingspans. “They did a good job getting up on us and pressuring us, and making us start our offense a little higher.”

Maine’s shooting exploded in the third quarter, when the Black Bears began with a 17-2 run, including three 3-pointers by Millan.

With Koizar out and junior Tanesha Sutton in foul trouble, the top six Maine players Saturday were freshmen. And they romped.

“They haven’t been playing up to their capability. I know what their capability is and I know what they can do,” Vachon said. “Does this (score) surprise me? No. Coach (Barron) says we can win by 30 or lose by 20. We have to find that consistency.”

Vachon said it was “a little strange” running the team in Barron’s absence.

“It’s definitely emotional,” Vachon said. “This game is a reflection of Coach Barron. Yes, I’m here and he’s not, but he’s been (coaching this team) for six years.

“It was all four of us (Vachon and three assistants) doing this. I was the one standing up once in a while but it was the whole staff coaching that game.”

Maine next plays Wednesday at UMass-Lowell.

The Black Bears return to Bangor on Jan. 16 for a 1 p.m. game against Hartford.

]]> 0 Sat, 07 Jan 2017 20:06:31 +0000
Commentary: For some players, the work has been as hard off the field as on Sat, 07 Jan 2017 00:59:32 +0000 TAMPA, Fla. — Deshaun Watson wanted to be first.

We’re not talking about anything he’s done on the football field.

The Clemson quarterback may be going for a national championship Monday night, but he’s already scored one of his biggest victories.

In just three years, Watson became the first member of his family to graduate from a four-year college. He walked across the stage a couple of weeks ago, wearing a cap and tassel rather than a helmet, to claim his degree in communications.

“No one can take that away from me,” Watson said. “I put the time and the work in, and knowledge is something you can’t take away from a person.”

For all the well-documented abuses in college athletics, from players getting someone else to do their schoolwork to the massive academic fraud carried out by North Carolina, there are plenty of guys who do things the right way.

Many of them will be on the field Monday night, suiting up for both teams.

They’re all deserving of a shout-out.

Jonathan Allen, Alabama’s star defensive lineman, returned to college for his senior season – time spent not only boosting his stock in the NFL draft but earning a diploma in financial planning.

Even if Allen goes on to have a long, successful career in the pros, he figures that having a degree will come in handy when he’s done.

“There’s no telling what I’ll want to do after my football career,” he said. “Just having that degree opens up way more doors.”

That’s a message that Alabama Coach Nick Saban preaches.

“We tell guys when they come here, ‘You’re in the business of developing two careers, one off the field by graduating from school, and one on the field if you can become a good enough player to have an opportunity to play at the next level,’ ” Saban said

Even at a powerhouse school such as Alabama, which is going for its fifth national title in eight years and sent countless players to the NFL, there are no guarantees of future football riches. Besides, Saban adds, no matter how successful someone might be as a player, he’s still likely to spend most of his life not playing football.

“The key thing is the importance of education, the importance of developing a career off the field,” Saban said. “If you’re a great football player, which may be 1 percent of all college football players, you may play football for five, six, seven, eight years, probably no more, which means you’re 30 years old and then your career is over. What do you do for the next 50 years of your life?”

The last two teams standing in college football both scored well on the most recent Academic Progress Rate released by the NCAA. Clemson ranked third in the Atlantic Coast Conference, trailing Duke and Georgia Tech, while Alabama tied with Florida for third in the Southeastern Conference behind Vanderbilt and Auburn.

Both Clemson and Alabama ranked among the top 25 in the Football Bowl Subdivision.

Of course there’s no denying that plenty of athletes – especially in big-time football and basketball programs that are really nothing more than farm systems for the pros – have no concern about actually learning anything while in college.

Often they are directed into so-called clusters – courses of study populated with star athletes, many of them largely intent on making academics as easy as possible so they can stay academically eligible just long enough to get started on their NFL or NBA careers.

But Watson’s mother, Deann, who battled cancer while raising Deshaun and his siblings on her own, had no intention of letting her son go down that path.

She stressed all along that he was at Clemson to not only play football but to get his degree.

Watson took her prodding to heart, graduating a year ahead of schedule so he already would have his diploma before heading off to the NFL after his junior season.

“It’s amazing how he accomplished all this stuff,” said Sonia Watson, who is Deshaun’s aunt. “Not too many people could do that.”

Watson graduated early from high school so he could enroll at Clemson in January 2014. He took on a massive workload during the 2015-16 school year, completing 37 academic hours so he would have a light class load for his last semester in college.

The entire family was on hand to celebrate when he got his degree.

“That was very important to his momma,” Sonia Watson said. “It’s not just about football. It’s about getting his degree, too. You never know what might happen. She kept a firm hand on his shoulder and he got it done. We’re so proud of him.”

Watson’s influence wore off on his teammates. His top receiver, Artavis Scott, also graduated in three years with a communications degree.

Clemson Coach Dabo Swinney said Scott wasn’t “very committed to being a great student coming off high school,” but he began to realize the value of an education while rooming with Watson.

“It’s just been awesome to watch (Scott) transform his life here, and really value and be as hungry to be great academically as he’s been athletically,” Swinney said. “Those two just took off together.”

College athletics has a lot of problems.

But sometimes they get it right.

]]> 0 quarterback Deshaun Watson became the first member of his family to receive a degee from a four-year college, and down the road, that figures to mean as much as anything he does in the national final Monday.Fri, 06 Jan 2017 20:56:27 +0000
UMaine men’s hockey team will play in Northern Ireland next season Fri, 06 Jan 2017 20:58:09 +0000 The University of Maine men’s hockey team will be playing two games in Northern Ireland next season.

Maine will take part in the Northern Irish Connections Friendship Four in Belfast, Nov. 24-25, it was announced Friday.

Maine will play Providence College the first night and either Clarkson or Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute the next night.

The event began in 2015 as part of a sister cities’ project between Belfast and Boston. The tournament features teams from the Hockey East and ECAC leagues.

The 2018 field was also announced, featuring Yale, Union, Boston University and Connecticut.

]]> 0 Fri, 06 Jan 2017 19:19:06 +0000
UMaine coach Barron to take medical leave Fri, 06 Jan 2017 19:31:14 +0000 University of Maine women’s basketball coach Richard Barron is taking an indefinite medical leave, the school announced Friday.

Barron is in his sixth season as Maine’s head coach, compiling an 85-89 record with the Black Bears. The past two seasons he led Maine to a share of the America East regular-season title.

The university will not reveal the nature of Barron’s medical condition, according to Tyson McHatten, assistant athletic director for media relations.

“My condition was not improving and the medication had side effects that interfered with coaching effectively,” Barron said in a written statement issued by the school. “I care deeply for our players and staff and I believe it is in the team’s best interest that I take a medical leave.”

Associate head coach Amy Vachon will direct the team in Barron’s absence, beginning with Saturday’s game at the Cross Insurance Center in Bangor against Maryland-Baltimore County.

“We’ll move on, business as usual, as much as we can,” Vachon said. “But our thoughts are with Coach Barron. We just want him to get better.”

The first hint of Barron’s ill health was Maine’s most recent home game, on Dec. 10, a 60-55 win over Dartmouth. After the game Barron briefly thanked the fans for coming but didn’t attend the postgame press conference, sending assistant coach Edniesha Curry in his place.

According to WABI-TV in Bangor, Barron missed at least one day of practice after that game because of dizzy spells. But Barron returned and coached the past six games, including a 55-52 loss Wednesday night at Vermont.

Vachon has been Barron’s assistant during his entire tenure at Maine. She deflected attention away from her college head coaching debut.

“This is a collective thing, not a me thing,” Vachon said. “I’ve learned a ton from Coach Barron but I can’t pretend to be him. All I can be is myself.”

Vachon, a former basketball star at Cony High in Augusta and the University of Maine, last served as a head coach in 2011 when she led McAuley High to the Class A state championship.

Adding to Maine’s challenge is the likely absence of senior Sigi Koizar (14 points per game), the team’s leading scorer. Koizar, a 5-foot-8 guard, suffered a thigh contusion in a game Dec. 30 at Boston College and sat out Wednesday’s game.

“Sigi’s making progress but she’s probably doubtful for Saturday,” Vachon said.

Without Koizar, the Black Bears’ lineup is filled with freshmen and a guard (Tanesha Sutton) with one year of college experience.

Maine (7-9, 0-1 in America East) has lost four straight games. The loss to Vermont was considered an upset. Saturday’s game might be considered a toss-up. Maryland-Baltimore County (5-9, 0-1) was chosen in a coaches’ preseason poll to finish second in the league (behind Albany and one place in front of Maine). The Retrievers played some difficult nonconference games (Maryland and Virginia, among them), before losing to Binghamton in their conference opener Wednesday night.

]]> 0 head coach Richard Barron, center, talks to his players during a timeout during the second half an America East game against Albany in the America East Conference tournament championship in March 2016. (AP Photo/Mike Groll)Fri, 06 Jan 2017 20:03:51 +0000
Thursday’s college roundup: Vermont downs UMaine in America East men’s basketball opener Fri, 06 Jan 2017 03:57:53 +0000 BANGOR — Kurt Steidl had a season-high 20 points and Trae Bell-Haynes added 15 points Thursday night as Vermont beat Maine 90-77 in an America East men’s basketball opener at the Cross Insurance Center.

Anthony Lamb scored 15 points and Darren Payen had 12 for the Catamounts (11-5).

Ernie Duncan hit a 3 to break a 68-all tie and then, after a steal, Bell-Haynes made a layup to make it 73-68 with 4:53 to play. Maine (4-12) pulled within three on three occasions, but got no closer.

A 3-pointer by Wes Myers pulled the Black Bears to 80-77 with 2:24 remaining, but they missed their last five shots and Vermont closed the game on a 10-0 run.

Myers scored 30 points, one shy of his career high.

Steidl, who has 1,013 career points, became Vermont’s 35th 1,000-point scorer.

ROGER WILLIAMS 70, UNIVERSITY OF NEW ENGLAND 63: Nick Mariani sank five free throws in the final 1:39 as the Hawks (9-2, 3-1 Commonwealth Coast) held off the Nor’easters (4-7, 2-2) at Bristol, Rhode Island.

Marini finished with 17 points, Andrew Wasik added 15 and Conor O’Brien 11 for Roger Williams. Jean-Luc Parker and Sam Thomas each scored 13, Gavin Dibble added 12 and C.J. Autry 11 for UNE.

(20) PURDUE 76, OHIO STATE 75: Caleb Swanigan hit a free throw with five seconds left and Purdue (13-3, 2-1 Big Ten) held off a comeback by Ohio State (10-5, 0-2) at Columbus, Ohio.


ST. JOSEPH’S 71, REGIS 57: Abbie Eastman hit a 3-pointer and a 2-pointer as the Monks (8-2) scored 10 consecutive points to open a 64-49 lead against Regis (4-5) with 1:45 left at Standish.

Hannah Marks also drained a 3 and Emily Benway had a layup during the run.

Kelsi McNamara led St. Joseph’s with 19 points. Eastman finished with 18 and Benway 16. Brittany Stone scored 21 points for the Pride.

ROGER WILLIAMS 58, UNIVERSITY OF NEW ENGLAND 51: Bridget Quilty hit two free throws to break a 47-all tie as the Hawks (7-4, 5-0 Commonwealth Coast) went on an 11-4 run over the final three minutes to beat UNE (6-5, 3-2) at Bristol, Rhode Island.

Quilty sank four more free throws to up the lead to 53-48 before Sadie Nelson hit a 3-pointer with 40 seconds remaining. Anna Walther answered with a 3-pointer for Roger Williams with 12 seconds left.

Walther finished with 20 points, Quilty 17 and Mariah Nicholas 10 for the Hawks.

Alicia Brown led UNE with 21.

(4) MISSISSIPPI STATE 59, ARKANSAS 51: Chinwe Okorie had 14 points and a career-best 15 rebounds as Mississippi State (16-2, 2-0 Southeastern) led throughout and defeated Arkansas (11-4, 0-2) at Fayetteville, Arkansas.

(5) SOUTH CAROLINA 73, AUBURN 47: Kaela Davis scored all 21 of her points in the first half as visiting South Carolina (12-1, 2-0 Southeastern) defeated Auburn (11-5, 1-1).

(6) FLORIDA STATE 90, NORTH CAROLINA 77: Imani Wright scored 22 points to help Florida State (14-2, 2-1 Atlantic Coast)beat North Carolina at Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

(7) NOTRE DAME 92, WAKE FOREST 77: Arike Ogunbowale scored 22 points to help Notre Dame (14-2, 2-1 Atlantic Coast) defeat Wake Forest (9-5, 0-1) at South Bend, Indiana.

(8) LOUISVILLE 86, VIRGINIA 81: Myisha Hines-Allen had career highs of 31 points and 17 rebounds, and scored four points in overtime, lifting Louisville (14-3, 2-1 Atlantic Coast) over Virginia (11-4, 0-2) at Charlottesville, Virginia.

(13) DUKE 75, GEORGIA TECH 68: Lexie Brown scored 25 points, Rebecca Greenwell added 17 and Duke (14-1, 2-0 Atlantic Coast) defeated Georgia Tech (11-4, 0-2) at Atlanta for its 10th straight win.

(14) MIAMI 67, NORTH CAROLINA STATE 64: Keyona Hayes had 18 points and 10 rebounds, Adrienne Motley had 16 points to eclipse 1,600 for her career and Miami (13-2, 2-1 Atlantic Coast) held off North Carolina State (12-4, 2-1) at Raleigh, North Carolina.

(24) KENTUCKY 64, MISSOURI 62: Makayla Epps scored 17 points, Evelyn Akhator had 14 and Kentucky (10-5, 1-1 Southeastern) held off a late charge by Missouri (11-5, 1-1) at Lexington, Kentucky.


OKLAHOMA: Joe Mixon, the running back who was suspended for the 2014 season after punching a woman in the face, will enter the NFL draft.

]]> 0 Thu, 05 Jan 2017 23:01:10 +0000
Commentary: Clouds linger over Duke Fri, 06 Jan 2017 01:42:26 +0000 On Wednesday night, Duke showed the full breadth of both its foibles and its powers, all of its thorny problems and its mammoth potential. In the final game before Coach Mike Krzyzewski undergoes back surgery scheduled for Friday, the Blue Devils welcomed back tripping recidivist Grayson Allen after a laughable, one-game suspension. They had just lost badly at Virginia Tech, their second defeat of a season they were expected to dominate. For the first week of January, Duke had become well acquainted with turmoil.

The Blue Devils found a release, at least temporarily, in basketball. They wiped Georgia Tech off the Cameron Indoor Stadium floor, a 110-57 shellacking in which the offensive capacity of a team with Allen, Luke Kennard, Matt Jones, Jayson Tatum and Harry Giles was realized. Georgia Tech is expected to be an ACC bottom feeder, but the Yellow Jackets also beat North Carolina over the weekend. Duke showed it has enough talent – we didn’t even mention Frank Jackson or Amile Jefferson – to surmount its issues.

But those issues are stacked high, starting with Allen’s sudden return. Krzyzewski suspended Allen indefinitely two weeks ago, after he tripped an Elon player. The discipline came about 10 months after Allen tripped two players – one from Louisville, the other from Florida State – and received no punishment, from either Duke or the ACC.

When Krzyzewski did not suspend Allen last season, he enabled Allen to repeat the behavior. A one-game suspension will not send a strong enough message. It’s weak. Krzyzewski either doesn’t understand, or doesn’t care about how the world outside his program views Allen.

“I think it’s appropriate, and I think the things that we’ve done are appropriate,” Krzyzewski told ESPN’s Jay Bilas, a former player, after the game. “There are things that you see or the public see, and there are things that you all don’t see and shouldn’t see or shouldn’t be talked about, and they’re called teachings. You don’t need to teach out in the public all the time.”

Krzyzewski struck the same I-know-best tone after the Elon game. But he lost the right to the high ground after he failed to act last year. Whatever he thought he had taught Allen demonstrably did not work. What makes him think a piddling one-game suspension will do the trick this time?

Maybe those behind-the-scenes lessons are spectacular. But it does Allen himself the greatest disservice to be coddled in public. Because he fits the most-reviled stereotype in college sports – the great, white Duke star – Allen is never going to be loved. Krzyzewski could have at least decreased the target on his back by forcing him to serve time appropriate for his misdeeds. It’s hard to say what that is, but it’s certainly more than one lousy game.

Krzyzewski may have been motivated to bring Allen back before his back surgery, to not leave a loose thread for top assistant and interim head coach Jeff Capel to sew back into place. It’s a good instinct, but the timing should not have overridden Allen’s punishment. Krzyzewski could have orchestrated Allen’s return during his recovery, and made clear the choice was his, not Capel’s.

Allen may be back, but Duke will soon have to adjust to life without Krzyzewski. Capel has ample experience as a head coach and understands the tenets of Duke’s program as well as anybody. The absence of the best coach of his era remains a loss, especially because of the uncertainty of his return.

In announcing his back surgery last week, Krzyzewski said he expects to return in four weeks. But recovery from back surgery tends to be unpredictable, and issues can linger – or, in bad cases, worsen – for long periods. Steve Kerr expected to recover quickly from summer back surgery last year, and he couldn’t coach the Golden State Warriors for the start of last season.

Krzyzewski dismissed any notion the operation could keep him out all season. But he is a 70-year-old undergoing a difficult procedure. Until he’s back on the bench, it’s fair to wonder how long he’ll be gone.

“I won’t be in a hurry to come back, until I’m ready,” Krzyzewski said. “I made that mistake in my younger days. I’m too old to renew that mistake.”

It was only one game, but Krzyzewski appeared to leave the Blue Devils in as good shape as possible, given the issues they’ve faced. Krzyzewski said he postponed his surgery for a week “to move to this point, where we could get this moving the right way.”

He moved Allen to point guard and Giles, injured at the start of the season, into the starting lineup. He established a stable eight-man rotation, which now includes previously injured star freshmen Giles, Jackson and Tatum. With his role stabilized, Allen had 15 points and seven assists with only one turnover.

“What he did was wrong,” Krzyzewski told Bilas. “He was punished for it. I think it’s time to move on, and I think the new role he has will be a good one for him. Hopefully he keeps getting seven assists and one turnover. I like where that might be going.”

Krzyzewski called the Georgia Tech beatdown “the end of us patch-working our team.” That sounded good and seemed appropriate Wednesday night. But for Duke, with a coach going under the knife and a star under the microscope, it might be that kind of season.

]]> 0 guard Grayson Allen, left, received just a one-game suspension from his coach, Mike Krzyzewski, right, who is about to depart the team to undergo back surgery, leaving much unsettled for the eighth-ranked Blue Devils.Thu, 05 Jan 2017 21:15:44 +0000
Commentary: Judges’ reasoning leaves athletes thirsting for answers Fri, 06 Jan 2017 00:55:11 +0000 The phrase “student-athlete” will be repeated with chanting monotony during the college football national championship week, so let’s pause to consider that talcum-dull term.

It would be nice to find a better phrase, but what to replace it with? Scholarship athletes are uniquely hard to describe, somehow more loaded with privileges and responsibilities than the average student-cheerleader or student-student. What should we compare them to? Apprentices? This question was recently put to a panel of NCAA-friendly federal judges, who after due consideration came up with their own startling comparison: prisoners.

That’s right.


The case is called Berger v. NCAA, and in it some track runners from Penn contended that athletes put in enough work at universities to be entitled to minimum wage under the Fair Labor Standards Act. It’s one of a raft of cases seeking pay for college athletes, and it wouldn’t stand out except for the obnoxious grounds on which it has been summarily dismissed by a three-judge panel for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, the NCAA’s home court. The majority opinion reasoned that college athletes have no more right to ask whether they might be employees than inmates laboring in jails. A plea for a rehearing was rejected Wednesday night by the Seventh Circuit.

The plaintiff lawyer, Paul McDonald, summarized the result of the decision. “Student athletes now join prisoners as the only citizens who, as a matter of law, cannot be considered employees,” he said.

Fortunately this won’t be the last of the issue. A similar case is going forward in California, brought by former Southern Cal linebacker Lamar Dawson, claiming that Pac-12 men’s football and basketball players constitute employees. Also, McDonald is considering a Supreme Court petition.

The arguments in Berger and Dawson may or may not be persuasive but surely they deserve at least to be heard, as opposed to this preemptory clanging shut of a cell door.

Personally I’m unconvinced that athletes should be directly paid by their universities. I believe they are well-recompensed through their scholarships, and if we want to give them more, we should enhance their educations while letting them earn what they can off the field from their likenesses and jersey sales.

Also, labor law doesn’t strike me as the right tool for solving the yawning inequities and complexities of an NCAA system that generates a half-billion dollars in football bowl payouts yet also supports myriad red-ink non-revenue sports. Still, I would like to hear a legal consideration of the murky labor relationship athletes have to their campuses, which receive enormous yield from their work.

That would seem an important and overdue exercise, just as it was an important and overdue exercise for courts to ask whether companies were taking advantage of unpaid interns.

There would seem to be nothing wrong – nothing at all – with asking that question. This is all Berger sought, “a legitimate fleshing out of the issues,” McDonald said.

Usually in Fair Labor Standards Act cases, there’s a “fact-intensive” multi-pronged inquiry to determine if someone has been unfairly used, and is entitled to a minimum wage. In the case of interns, the Department of Labor and a series of recent federal court decisions spelled out questions that should be used to test whether an intern has performed wage-earning work. In a case called Glatt v. Fox Searchlight, involving unpaid film interns, the Second Circuit spelled out specific test factors:

To what extent is their training similar to what they would receive in an educational setting? Does the experience benefit the intern? Does it provide immediate advantage to the employer? Does their work displace regular employees? Does the intern get academic credit for the experience? Is the experience tied to coursework? Does it accommodate the academic calendar? And does it provide significant educational benefit? Is there a clear understanding there is no entitlement to cash compensation?

These would seem to be exactly the sort of specific questions we should ask about athletes on campus, especially ones who drive large revenues. We need to ask, “Is this academic or is this work?”

But the judges were determined not to ask such questions in Berger. Instead, at both the district and circuit levels, they threw the case out by using a single piece of case law, Vanskike v. Peters, involving convicts. In Vanskike, an inmate at a state prison in Joliet, Illinois, had asked for wages. The Seventh Circuit declined to apply the test questions in that instance because asking who benefits from an inmate’s labor was nonsensical and didn’t “capture” the “real relationship” of prisoner to prison.

So to be clear, the best way to “capture” the relationship of athletes to campus is to view them as detainees?

The Seventh Circuit’s contorted reasoning bears repeating. College athletes are similar to prisoners economically because the “revered tradition of amateurism” in college spanning more than 100 years “defines the economic reality of the relationship between student-athletes and their schools,” the court wrote. As with inmates, asking any questions about who benefits from their work would “fail to capture the true nature of their relationship.” In other words, amateurism is as confining and defining as jail.

Then the court went one step further and declared, “Simply put, student-athletic ‘play’ is not ‘work,’ at least as used in the FLSA.”

Those of us who might be inclined to agree with that statement would like to see it grounded in more than an inmate case. But the Seventh Circuit shut down further discussion. “No discovery or further development of the record” would be helpful, it wrote.

Actually, it would be helpful. It would be very, very helpful indeed.

The true nature of the athlete’s relationship to campus needs to be captured. Badly. For one thing, it has changed dramatically over a century.

A hundred years ago, coaches were unpaid volunteers. Now Nick Saban of Alabama earns almost $7 million a year and Jim Harbaugh of Michigan earns $9 million, with contractual bonuses for wins, and they determine the hours and activities of athletes more powerfully than any employer.

Athletes might be “amateur,” but they put in more hard labor than any work-study student toiling in the college library or cafeteria for wages. Even collegians manning concessions in stadiums on game day make $7.25 an hour. McDonald likens the situation of college athletes to “work-study on steroids.”

College athletes should have an avenue to ask hard questions about their situation on campus. Are they working unreasonable overtime hours that make it hard to progress to a degree? Is their experience advancing or impeding their education?

The answer won’t necessarily result in a slam-dunk ruling against the NCAA. It might actually favor the status quo and demonstrate the real values of scholarship and the educational content of varsity sports. But in the Berger case, we’ll never know because the judges apparently were too alarmed to even ask the questions.

]]> 0 Thu, 05 Jan 2017 21:16:20 +0000
Wednesday’s college roundup: Butler ends Villanova’s 20-game winning streak Thu, 05 Jan 2017 03:56:12 +0000 INDIANAPOLIS — Kethan Savage scored five of his 13 points during a decisive seven-point run to give No. 18 Butler a 66-58 victory over No. 1 Villanova on Wednesday night, ending the Wildcats’ 20-game winning streak.

Butler (13-2, 2-1 Big East) improved to 4-0 against ranked opponents this season and extended its home winning streak to 12 games by beating a top-ranked team for the second time in school history.

The Bulldogs did it by upending the defending national champion and stopping the longest winning streak in Villanova history. Jalen Brunson had 23 points and Josh Hart scored 13 on a rugged shooting night for the Wildcats (14-1, 2-1), beaten for the first time since a 69-67 loss to Seton Hall in the Big East championship game last March.

From there, the Wildcats won all six games in the NCAA Tournament before opening 14-0 this season.

(2) BAYLOR 65, IOWA STATE 63: Manu Lecomte made a short high-arcing jumper over a defender with 8 seconds left and the Bears (14-0), 2-0 Big 12) defeated Iowa State (9-4, 1-1) at Waco, Texas.

The Cyclones (9-4, 1-1) had one more chance after a timeout, but Monte Morris’ baseline jumper was no good as time expired.

Baylor fans chanted “No. 1 !, No. 1!” when the game ended following the loss by Villanova.

(8) DUKE 110, GEORGIA TECH 57: Grayson Allen had 15 points and seven assists in his return from a one-game suspension for tripping an opponent, and the Blue Devils (13-2, 1-1 Atlantic Coast) routed Georgia Tech at Durham, North Carolina, in Coach Mike Krzyzewski’s final game before leaving the team to have back surgery.

USM 71, MAINE MARITIME 57: James Starks III led the Huskies with game highs of 25 points and 16 rebounds, and Southern Maine (5-7) pulled away from the Mariners (3-8) at Castine.

Christian McCue added 21, while Jalen Lincoln grabbed 12 boards and dished out 10 assists for the Huskies, who closed the game on 12-4 run.

Tyler Thayer led Maine Maritime with 18 points, Nicholas DePatsy had 12 points and 10 rebounds, and Brendan Newcomb tossed in 11 points.

ST. JOSEPH’S 67, ANNA MARIA 65: Mario Nery scored the final four points of overtime, all on free throws, and the Monks (6-5, 3-1 Great Northeast Athletic Conference) outlasted the AmCats (2-9, 2-2) at Standish.

St. Joseph’s had a 30-27 at halftime and the second half featured 10 lead changes and ties.

Ian Mileikis led the Monks with 18 points. Quinn Richardson-Newton had 12 points and hit a jumper with 2:58 left in regulation to even the game at 61 and send it to overtime.

Kenneth Graham paced Anna Maria with 14 points. Mike Rapoza had 13 points and grabbed a game-high 13 boards.


(1) CONNECTICUT 90, EAST CAROLINA 45: Napheesa Collier scored 21 points and host UConn (14-0, 2-0 American) beat East Carolina (9-6, 0-2) for the program’s 89th straight win, moving the Huskies within a game of their own NCAA record.

(2) BAYLOR 91, (17) WEST VIRGINIA 56: Alexis Jones scored 21 points, Kalani Brown had 16 points and 11 rebounds and the Bears (14-1, 3-0 Big 12) rolled at West Virginia (13-2, 1-2).

(3) MARYLAND 93, NEBRASKA 49: Shatori Walker-Kimbrough scored 10 of her 19 points in the first quarter, and Maryland (14-1, 2-0 Big Ten) ran off to a victory at Nebraska (4-11 0-3).

VERMONT 55, MAINE 52: Laia Sole scored 16 of her game-high 21 points in the second half but it wasn’t enough as the Catamounts (4-9) held on to beat the Black Bears (7-9) in an America East opener at Burlington, Vermont.

Sole shot 8 of 13 from the field but missed a 3-pointer at the buzzer that would’ve tied the game. Julie Brosseau knocked down five 3-pointers for 15 points but missed a 3 with 18 seconds left in the fourth that would have given the Black Bears the lead.

Maine opened the fourth quarter on a 10-2 run, six coming from Sole, to tie the game at 40 with 6:34 left. Vermont responded with a 6-2 spurt to take a 46-42 lead with 4:17 left.

Brousseau’s fifth 3-pointer brought Maine to within 53-52. Kallie Banker extended the lead with a free throw and Brousseau missed the potential go-ahead 3-pointer.

HUSSON 83, USM 61: Darla Morales scored 14 of her game-high 23 points in the first half and the Eagles (6-2) pulled away early against the Huskies (2-9) at Gorham.

Morales scored seven points during an 18-6 spurt at the end of the first quarter to give Husson a 29-17 lead. The Eagles led 42-27 at halftime.

Morales shot 9 of 14 from the field with three 3-pointers, while Denae Johnson had 17 points, seven rebounds and six steals.

Emily Nicholson scored 20 points, hitting five 3-pointers to lead Southern Maine. Jackie Luckhardt had 13 points, five rebounds, five assists and four steals.


SACRED HEART 5, USM 0: Sarah Erban stopped 22 shots as the Pioneers (8-6-1) shut out the Huskies (3-9) at Gorham.

Taylor Moreland had a pair of goals for Sacred Heart and Meghan Kebalka had a goal and an assist.

Whitney Padgett had 23 saves for Southern Maine.

]]> 0 Wed, 04 Jan 2017 23:10:51 +0000
Tuesday’s college roundup: Bowdoin women win Boston hockey tournament Wed, 04 Jan 2017 03:46:38 +0000 BOSTON — Cassidy Pratt scored the winning goal on a feed from Tala Glass with 7:04 to play in regulation as Bowdoin topped UMass-Boston 4-2 Tuesday night in the 10th annual Codfish Bowl tournament.

Grace Fisher had the only goal of the first period.

Bowdoin (6-1-2) answered with a pair of goals in the span of 36 seconds in the second period as Julie Dachile put in a pass from Katie Leininger at 9:43 and Marissa Fichter followed on a setup from Brooke Solomon.

Kristen Embrey scored the tying goal for the Breakers with 4:20 to go in the period.

Solomon added an unassisted goal late in the third period for the Polar Bears.

SACRED HEART 4, SOUTHERN MAINE 1: Jayne Lewis and Katie Stueve each had a goal and an assist as Sacred Heart (7-6-1) pulled away from the Huskies (3-8) in Gorham.

Alex Mitchell converted Katie Couture’s assist as Southern Maine opened a 1-0 lead 7:20 into the game.

ENDICOTT 4, COLBY 3: The Gulls (11-0-1) opened a 3-1 lead after one period and held off the Mules (0-7-2) in a non-conference game at Beverly, Massachusetts.

Jade Meier, Meredith Viachos, Lexi Klein and Micheala McNamara scored for Endicott.

Mikayla McLaughlin, Cassidy Holzer and Delaney Flynn scored for Colby.


BATES 73. BRANDEIS 66: Jerome Darling scored a career-high 20 points as the Bobcats (9-3) won their fourth straight, defeating the Judges (3-6) in a nonconference matchup at Waltham, Massachusetts.

The game was tied at 30 at the half, and there were nine lead changes and five ties in the second half until Bates took control for good at 52-49 on Darling’s 3-point jumper with 5:02 to play, sparking a 14-2 run.

BOWDOIN 88, BRIDGEWATER STATE 81: Blake Gordon’s 3-pointer gave Bowdoin (7-4) a 33-21 lead with 5:05 left in the first half.

The Polar Bears maintained a double-digit lead, which reached 21, until Michael Soares pulled the Bears (7-5) to within nine with a pair of free throws during the final minute of play in Bridgewater, Massachusetts.

Jack Bors scored 23 for Bowdoin. Keyon Armstrong led Bridgewater State with 17.

UNE 64, WESTERN NEW ENGLAND 59: Drew Coveney scored all of his game-high 16 points in the second half as the Nor’easters (4-7, 2-2 CCC) edged the Golden Bears (1-9, 0-4) at Harold Alfond Forum in Biddeford.

(13) WISCONSIN 75, (25) INDIANA 68: Ethan Happ scored 19 points and Bronson Koenig added 17 to lead the visiting Badgers (13-2, 2-0 Big Ten) over the Hoosiers (10-5, 0-2).

(14) NORTH CAROLINA 89, CLEMSON 86: Joel Berry II had a career-high 31 points and Kennedy Meeks’ basket with 1:12 left in overtime put the Tar Heels (13-3, 1-1 ACC) ahead for good as they beat the host Tigers (11-3, 1-1) for the ninth straight time.

(24) FLORIDA 70, MISSISSIPPI 63: Canyon Barry tied a season high with 20 points, KeVaughn Allen added 14 and the Gators (11-3, 2-0 SEC) topped the visiting Rebels (9-5, 0-2).


KEENE ST. 61, BATES 45: The Owls (7-4) opened the second quarter with a 9-2 run to break a 14-14 tie and pulled away from the Bobcats (3-8) in a nonconference game at Keene, New Hampshire.

Amanda Petrow had game highs in points and rebounds for Keene State, with 14 and 13.

Allie Coopola led Bates with 10 points, and Carly Christofi, Lyse Henshaw and Nina Davenport each chipped in with seven points.

WESTERN NEW ENGLAND 78, UNIVERSITY OF NEW ENGLAND 55: Dorothy O’Neill hit a 3-pointer, Meghan Gilhool made a basket and Western New England hit 7 of 8 free throws as the Golden Bears (8-2, 4-0 CCC) closed out the first half on a 12-5 run to open a 43-33 lead over the Nor’easters (6-4, 3-1) in Biddeford.

Aliyah Brito scored five points in the third period, including one of WNE’s three 3s, to help double the lead to 58-38 entering the final quarter.

Emily Anderson and Brito led the Bears with 14 and 13 points and O’Neill chipped in with 11. Alicia Brown’s 19 points highlighted UNE’s offense.

BOWDOIN 80, REGIS 55: Lydia Caputi scored 11 of her team-high 16 points in the first half and the Polar Bears (10-1) opened the fourth quarter with a 17-2 run to down the Pride (4-4) in Weston, Massachusetts.

]]> 0 Tue, 03 Jan 2017 22:54:54 +0000
College football notebook: Lane Kiffin calls departure from Alabama a mutual decision Wed, 04 Jan 2017 00:32:02 +0000 MONTGOMERY, Ala. — Lane Kiffin said he could have remained at Alabama as offensive coordinator through the national championship game if he had wanted.

Crimson Tide Coach Nick Saban, meanwhile, got testy Tuesday when asked several times about how the Kiffin-to-Steve Sarkisian move would change preparation.

“We’re in the planning stages right now, so I don’t know why y’all keep asking me what changes we’re going to make,” he said.

Saban also dismissed Kiffin’s talk of possibly helping the Tide in some capacity from the press box Monday. He made it clear that’s not happening.

“It’s really not even possible from a legal standpoint for him to do those things,” he said. “That’s not something that we’re interested in pursuing.”

Kiffin told ESPN’s Mike & Mike show that the decision to leave was mutual, even though the Tide’s offense could have performed better in the 24-7 semifinal win over Washington.

“I know this was a decision that I came up with, and it was very difficult to do,” said Kiffin, who’s taking over as Florida Atlantic’s head coach. “This was not something that Nick Saban forced me to do by any means.

“If I wanted to coach this game, I would have coached this game, and I just thought that it wasn’t the best thing for the players.”

MINNESOTA: The school fired Coach Tracy Claeys, just over two weeks after the football program became embroiled in a standoff with the administration over the suspension of 10 players in connection with allegations of sexual assault.

The Golden Gophers went 9-4 this season and beat Washington State in the Holiday Bowl. But that was overshadowed by a threatened boycott of the bowl by the entire team a week before the game. The players ultimately decided against a boycott.

TENNESSEE: Defensive end Derek Barnett and wide receiver Josh Malone are planning to forgo their senior seasons to enter the NFL draft.

FLORIDA: Cornerback Quincy Wilson and offensive tackle David Sharpe are the first Florida players to leave school early this season and declare for the NFL draft.

OKLAHOMA: Running back Samaje Perine said he will forgo his senior season and enter the NFL draft.

MICHIGAN: Junior linebacker Jabrill Peppers said he hasn’t made a decision on his future.

After a report on said he was heading to the NFL, a tweet calling the report “false” appeared on Peppers’ account. A subsequent tweet said: “This is going to be one of the hardest decisions in my life.”

WAKE FOREST: The school extended Coach Dave Clawson’s contract through the 2024 season.

Athletic Director Ron Wellman said the progress shown by the Demon Deacons “has been the type of progress we envisioned when Dave came on board.”

Adam Scheier, the tight ends coach and special teams cordinator, is leaving the staff.

WASHINGTON: Four key players who helped lead the team to the Pac-12 championship and an appearance in the College Football Playoff announced their decisions to forego their senior seasons and enter the NFL draft.

Wide receiver John Ross, safety Budda Baker, defensive tackle Elijah Qualls and cornerback Sidney Jones are all leaving early after leading Washington to its first conference title in 16 years.

INDIANA: Mike DeBord was hired from Tennessee to become the offensive cordinator.

DeBord replaced Kevin Johns, who served in the role under former coach Kevin Wilson. Wilson resigned abruptly in early December because of what Athletic Director Fred Glass called a difference in leadership styles.

]]> 0 coordinator Lane Kiffin, left, and head coach Nick Saban weren't always on the same page for Alabama this season. Kiffin has left to be the Florida Atlantic head coach.Tue, 03 Jan 2017 20:01:48 +0000
Commentary: Bowl game system isn’t going back to the old days Wed, 04 Jan 2017 00:27:33 +0000 Meaningless bowls. Too many bowls. Made-for-TV bowls. Shrinking bowl attendance.

There never have been more bowl games, and three years into the College Football Playoff era there are more questions than ever about why these games are being played at all. Especially when high-profile players such as Christian McCaffrey and Leonard Fournette choose to skip the postseason to protect their bodies for the NFL draft.

There is currently an NCAA-imposed freeze on the creation of new bowls that caps the field at 40 through 2019. Over the next few years the people invested in the bowls – commissioners, athletic directors and bowl executives – will consider ways to improve the bowl system and answer the question: What should bowls be?

Chances are there will be fewer bowls, data-driven limitations on how many bowls a conference can lock in and maybe even postseason games played on campus. But for those who long for the days when there were a dozen or so bowls that rewarded only the very best teams in college football, well, you might as well wish for the return of leather helmets. Neither is coming back.

Andy Bagnato is a former sports writer who also worked for four years as a public relations executive for the Fiesta Bowl. He now runs Bagnato Pflipsen Communications, a consulting firm that helped Phoenix land this year’s Final Four and last year’s College Football Playoff championship game.

“The question for people in college football is: What’s the utility of the bowl?” Bagnato said. “Is it a great trip for your alumni? For your student-athletes? Is it television exposure for four hours for your program? Is it a branding exercise for the school and for a conference? For the communities I think the questions become: Are they tourism magnets? Is the utility of a bowl game the fact that it attracts tourists? All those are factors.

“I don’t know there is one reason to have a bowl game.”

The main reason is the same as it ever was. “The first thing we want them to be is a reward for the players,” said Big 12 Commissioner Bob Bowlsby. The problem is bowls also reward competence.

Once the minimum for postseason eligibility was drawn at 6-6 when the regular season expanded to 12 games, pressure built on conference officials to place each eligible team in a bowl. Coaches want the extra bowl practices to develop players and the ability to sell a bowl game to recruits.

The bowl lineup grew to 40 games as Power Five conferences locked up spots in most existing games and other conferences worked to create new games. The result is that during the last two years 5-7 teams played in bowl games.

Benson said when Texas State went 6-6 in 2013 but was shut out of the postseason, the conference broached the idea of having the Bobcats play a 13th game on campus.

Maybe it would help attendance, which dropped 4.94 percent this season from last, according to data compiled by the Football Bowl Association.

“I think the industry is healthy,” said Pete Derzis, senior vice president for ESPN Events, which owns and operates 13 bowls, mostly matching teams from outside Power Five conferences. All but four of the 40 FBS bowl games are televised on an ESPN network.

Derzis called the TV ratings for this season’s bowls respectable. Waters said those final numbers were still being compiled. But ratings for one particular game provide part of the explanation why ESPN is so heavily invested in bowls.

The Las Vegas Bowl on Dec. 17, in which San Diego State beat Houston 34-10, drew 3.7 million TV viewers on ABC, ESPN’s parent network. At the same time, Kentucky and North Carolina, two of college basketball’s traditional powers, played a thrilling game won by the Wildcats 103-100. The game drew 3.6 million viewers on CBS.

The ratings for the Rose Bowl, a 52-49 victory by Southern California over Penn State, jumped 20 percent from last year, but at 9.4 they are still way behind the days when that game would consistently draw double-digit ratings.

Now the playoff draws the most attention and everything else feels more like an exhibition.

]]> 0 Tue, 03 Jan 2017 19:54:38 +0000
USC wins the Rose Bowl in a high-scoring thriller Tue, 03 Jan 2017 04:18:06 +0000 PASADENA, Calif. — After 98 combined points and 1,040 yards of spectacular offensive play, the highest-scoring Rose Bowl in history rested on the left foot of a Southern California kicker who had already missed two field goals.

Matt Boermeester somehow blocked out the cacophonous tension in the chilly air. He focused only on securing a perfect ending to an epic evening.

“Game was on the line, but you’ve got to keep true to your technique and trust it,” Boermeester said.

His technique was sound. His kick was true. And the Trojans got their storybook finish in Pasadena.

Boermeester hit a 46-yard field goal as time expired, and No. 9 USC rallied from a 14-point deficit in the fourth quarter for a 52-49 victory over No. 5 Penn State on Monday night in the 103rd edition of the Granddaddy of Them All.

Freshman Sam Darnold passed for 453 yards and five touchdowns while leading a stirring comeback by the Trojans (10-3), who won their ninth consecutive game and triumphed in their first Rose Bowl since 2009. USC trailed 49-35 with nine minutes to play, but persevered to win one of the greatest Rose Bowls ever played.

“It was just two really good football teams playing at the highest level and competing until the absolute, very end,” USC coach Clay Helton said. “The greatest players shined brightest on the biggest stage. It’s what fairy tales are made of.”

Deontay Burnett, who had three TD receptions, caught a tying 27-yard scoring pass from Darnold with 1:20 left to cap an 80-yard drive in 38 seconds with no timeouts available.

Leon McQuay III then intercepted an ill-advised long pass by Trace McSorley and returned it 32 yards to Penn State’s 33 with 27 seconds left. In an instant, the Trojans went from preparing for overtime to having a chance to win.

“I didn’t know whether to block or celebrate” after McQuay’s interception, USC defensive lineman Stevie Tu’ikolovatu said. “I kind of did both.”

The Trojans set up Boermeester, and he confidently drilled the Rose Bowl winner, sprinting away as it went through the uprights.

“It’s beautiful,” McQuay said. “This is a special group of guys. Oh man, this is the time to step up.”

McSorley passed for 254 yards and threw two of his four touchdown passes to Chris Godwin for the Nittany Lions (11-3), whose nine-game winning streak ended in heartbreaking fashion.

Saquon Barkley rushed for 194 yards and two TDs as the Nittany Lions (12-2) followed up their 21-point comeback in the Big Ten title game with another ferocious rally, only to watch the Trojans rally back.

“That game doesn’t really define us,” Penn State Coach James Franklin said. “I wouldn’t be any more proud tonight sitting here with a win … after what might have been the most exciting Rose Bowl game ever.”

With one jaw-dropping play after another from two talent-laden offenses, the teams obliterated the combined Rose Bowl scoring record in the third quarter, surpassing Oregon’s 45-38 victory over Wisconsin in the 2012 game.

]]> 0 California's Ronald Jones II celebrates with De'Quan Hampton, right, and Damien Mama after scoring during USC's Rose Bowl win Monday at Pasadena, Calif.Tue, 03 Jan 2017 08:07:08 +0000
College football: Wisconsin wins Cotton Bowl, 24-16 Tue, 03 Jan 2017 03:20:35 +0000 ARLINGTON, Texas — Wisconsin tight end Troy Fumagalli made a leaping 8-yard touchdown catch in the fourth quarter and the Badgers won 24-16 in the Cotton Bowl on Monday to deny Western Michigan an undefeated season.

The TD catch by Fumagalli with 14 minutes left, in the back of the end zone between two defenders, came three plays after a rare interception thrown by Zach Terrell and made it 24-10.

With their “Row The Boat” mentality inspired by young head coach P.J. Fleck, the 12th-ranked Broncos (13-1) made it from one win during his first season in Kalamazoo three years ago to the last FBS team other than No. 1 Alabama this season with a chance to be undefeated.

Eighth-ranked Wisconsin (11-3), which finished with 11 wins for the fourth time in seven seasons, was clearly bigger and stronger – especially up front. The Big Ten runner-up Badgers set the tone early, with rushing touchdowns on their first two drives to take a 14-0 lead against the Group of Five team.

Fumagalli had several other highlight catches, including a one-handed 20-yard grab on the Badgers’ opening drive, and a 26-yard catch to convert third-and-8 as they ran out the final 3:27 after Western Michigan scored.


(20) FLORIDA 30, (21) IOWA 3: Chauncey Gardner Jr. returned one of his two fourth-quarter interceptions 58 yards for a touchdown, and graduate transfer Austin Appleby threw for 222 yards and two TDs as the Gators routed the Hawkeyes at Tampa, Florida.

With Gardner grabbing game MVP honors, the Gators (9-4) held up their end of what many expected to be a day that defenses ruled, especially considering Florida entered ranked 115th in the nation in total offense – five spots ahead of the sputtering Hawkeyes.


MIAMI: Brad Kaaya rewrote the school’s record book in three years, and is off to a bigger challenge.

The Hurricanes’ quarterback is no longer the Hurricanes’ quarterback, after announcing he is skipping his senior season and entering the NFL draft.

Kaaya leaves Miami as the school’s career leader with 9,968 yards passing, 720 completions and 1,188 attempts. His four scoring passes in Wednesday’s 31-14 win over West Virginia in the Russell Athletic Bowl tied a Miami postseason record, and gave him 69 in his career – third in school history behind Ken Dorsey’s 86 and Jacory Harris’ 70.

VIRGINIA TECH: Quarterback Jerod Evans and receiver Isaiah Ford are giving up their final seasons of eligibility to enter the NFL draft.

The star Hokies each posted their decisions on their Twitter accounts.

Evans is a junior college transfer who played one season in Blacksburg, Virginia.

The 6-foot-3, 238-pound junior passed for 3,546 yards and 29 touchdowns and ran for 846 yards and 12 scores. He also threw eight interceptions.

Ford has been a three-year starter for the Hokies. He leaves as the school’s career leader in receptions (210), yards receiving (2,967) and touchdown catches (24).

OHIO STATE: All-American safety Malik Hooker is entering the NFL draft after one sensational season as a starter with the Buckeyes.

WASHINGTON: Wide receiver John Ross will reportedly forgo his senior season and enter the NFL draft.

ESPN and The Seattle Times reported that Ross will leave early. The school said it would not have any comment.

]]> 0 tight end Troy Fumagalli catches a touchdown pass between Western Michigan defenders Darius Phillips, left, and Caleb Bailey during the fourth quarter of Wisconsin's 24-16 Cotton Bowl win Monday at Arlington, Texas.Mon, 02 Jan 2017 22:20:35 +0000
Monday’s college basketball roundup: Krzyzewski to take leave of absence Tue, 03 Jan 2017 03:10:21 +0000 Duke Coach Mike Krzyzewski is taking a leave of absence from the team and will undergo back surgery on Friday.

Krzyzewski, who will turn 70 next month, has undergone treatment for lower-back problems for a while. During the surgical procedure, a fragment of a herniated disk will be removed, according to the school. Recovery time is estimated at four weeks. Jeff Capel, the associate head coach, will lead the team in Krzyzewski’s absence.

“Dr. William Richardson, Dr. Allan Friedman, and our medical team have worked tirelessly to help manage this issue for several weeks,” Krzyzewski said in a statement.

“Together, we have determined that surgery is the best course of action at this time. During my recovery process, the team will be in the capable hands of Coach Capel, Coach Nate James and Coach Jon Scheyer. As soon as the doctors clear me to do so, I look forward to returning and giving our team 100 percent of my energy and attention, which is certainly something that they deserve.”

Krzyzewski previously underwent back surgery during the 1994-95 season, when he took leave for the final 19 games. He underwent knee surgery in April.

Duke is 12-2 and next plays Saturday against Boston College in Durham, North Carolina.

COLUMBIA 98, MAINE 73: Luke Petrasek scored 22 points, Mike Smith had 21 and the duo combined to make six of Columbia’s season-high 13 3-pointers in a win at Bangor.

Jake Killingsworth added 12 points for Columbia (5-7) and Jeff Coby grabbed a season-high 12 rebounds. The Lions, who were 13 of 29 from long distance and 21 of 30 at the line, snapped a two-game slide.

The Lions led 49-39 at the break after making eight 3-pointers and grabbing nine offensive rebounds. Petrasek had 14 points and six rebounds, and Smith added 12 points.

Danny Evans led Maine (4-11) with a career-high 16 points and Marko Pirovic added 13. The Black Bears lost their fifth straight.

POLL: Villanova’s impressive win at No. 10 Creighton kept the Wildcats at No. 1 for a fifth straight week, while Baylor made the jump from fourth to second.

Rounding out the top 5 are Kansas (12-1), UCLA (14-1) and Gonzaga (14-0).


(7) NOTRE DAME 55, GEORGIA TECH 38: Arike Ogunbowale scored 14 of her 18 points in the first half and Brianna Turner had nine points and 11 rebounds in a win at Atlanta.

The Irish (13-2, 1-1 Atlantic Coast Conference) were never threatened after seeing a 35-game league winning streak end last week at North Carolina State.

NORTH CAROLINA STATE 70, (6) FLORIDA STATE 61: Ashley Wilson scored 19 points and Chelsea Nelson added 17 to help the visiting Wolfpack snap the Seminoles’ 12-game winning streak.

North Carolina State (12-3, 2-0 Atlantic Coast Conference) trailed 49-46 going into the fourth quarter before going on a 10-3 run to take the lead. Nelson scored seven points in the quarter. Wilson made all 14 of her free throws as the Wolfpack were 20 of 25 from the line.

Georgia Tech (11-3, 0-1) missed 22 of its first 28 shots from the field and had 12 turnovers when consecutive jumpers by Kristina Nelson made it 34-11 at the 2:14 mark of the second.

(13) DUKE 58, (8) LOUISVILLE 55: Lexie Brown scored 17 points as the host Blue Devils won their ninth straight.

Rebecca Greenwell had 10 points for Duke (13-1, 1-0 Atlantic Coast Conference), which shot 44 percent and forced 19 turnovers.

Myisha Hines-Allen had 16 points and 12 rebounds for the Cardinals (13-3, 1-1), who had won seven in a row.

(14) MIAMI 82, PITTSBURGH 50: Laura Cornelius made 8 of 8 from the field, including six 3-pointers to finish with a career-high 24 points in a win at Pittsburgh.

Jessica Thomas added 10 points for Miami (12-2, 1-1 ACC), which scored 30 points off Pitt’s season-high 26 turnovers.

(18) VIRGINIA TECH 76, NORTH CAROLINA 68: Regan Magarity scored 24 points and tied a career high with 17 rebounds to help the Hokies remain unbeaten with a win at home.

POLL: UConn keeps winning in a week that saw 10 of the Top 25 teams in The Associated Press women’s basketball poll lose.

The Huskies remain the unanimous No. 1 team in the poll after beating then-No. 4 Maryland and Central Florida to stretch their winning streak to 88 games.

UConn was followed by Baylor, Maryland, Mississippi State and South Carolina.

Florida State was sixth while Notre Dame fell five spots to No. 7 after losing at N.C. State on Thursday. Louisville, UCLA and Stanford round out the first 10 teams in the poll.

]]> 0 head coach Mike Krzyzewski yells to his players during the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Saturday, Dec 31, 2016, at Cassell Coliseum in Blacksburg, Va. Tech won 89-75. (AP Photo/Don Petersen)Mon, 02 Jan 2017 22:10:21 +0000
Kiffin’s departure at Alabama again has awkward feel Tue, 03 Jan 2017 01:14:09 +0000 The confetti had not stopped falling inside Georgia Dome, and Lane Kiffin stood on the turf, at about the 30-yard line, and considered his immediate future. He had straddled the line between Florida Atlantic head coach and Alabama offensive coordinator for a month. One game remained, the biggest game, after Alabama had throttled Washington in a College Football Playoff semifinal on Saturday. Kiffin imagined nothing would change.

“I’ll be back in Alabama,” Kiffin said. “We do stay here tonight. We’re going to leave in the morning. I’ll be with the team. It’s a recruiting dead period. It’s not like we’ve got a month. We basically just have a little bit longer of a week. It’ll all be dedicated to Alabama. The No. 1 focus will be finishing what we started.”

The stunning announcement Alabama made Monday afternoon may have blindsided Kiffin. Nick Saban declared Kiffin will “focus on his new head coaching job at Florida Atlantic.”

What that means is, Saban could not stand Kiffin being around his program, even for one more week, the seven days before the Crimson Tide face Clemson in a national title rematch.

Kiffin helped Saban during his three years in Alabama, modernizing an offense that had started to become dated, leading three different quarterbacks to three Southeastern Conference titles and three playoff appearances. But Saban helped Kiffin much more. Kiffin earned $1.4 million in a high-profile job. He landed on his feet after a humiliating exit as Southern Cal’s head coach, when Kiffin admitted there were few schools soliciting his services.

And now their relationship has ended awkwardly, as most relationships with Kiffin tend to do. When he parted ways with the Oakland Raiders, owner Al Davis used a slide show to illustrate his misdeeds. He left Tennessee with a disorganized, late-night news conference and with a crowd of angry students and fans gathered outside the football complex. USC fired him at a private airport in the wee hours.

And now Alabama has dismissed him on the eve of the national championship.

]]> 0 offensive coordinator Lane Kiffin walks the field during warmups before the Peach Bowl NCAA college football game against Washington, Saturday, Dec. 31, 2016, in Atlanta.Mon, 02 Jan 2017 20:14:09 +0000
A familiar matchup with a few twists in college football final Mon, 02 Jan 2017 02:38:23 +0000 GLENDALE, Ariz. — As with any sequel, Alabama-Clemson II will have some new characters and fresh plot lines.

The top-ranked Crimson Tide and No. 3 Tigers will meet in Tampa, Florida, on Jan. 9 in the College Football Playoff national championship game. Last year they played a wild 45-40 game won by Alabama. It gave Coach Nick Saban a fourth national title with the Tide and fifth overall.

The rematch is a chance for Saban and Alabama to add to an already unprecedented run of four national championships in seven years. For Clemson Coach Dabo Swinney, it is another opportunity to beat his beloved alma mater and snap a title drought for the Tigers that stretches back more than three decades.

Deshaun Watson is back. The Clemson quarterback was so good last season against the Tide that Saban was comparing him to Cam Newton.

O.J. Howard returns for Alabama, the tight end who had a career game in last year’s final. Both teams once again feature fearsome defensive lines, even though some of the stars have changed.

But there’s plenty new this time around:

HURTS SO GOOD: Alabama’s Jalen Hurts is a victory away from becoming the first true freshman quarterback to lead a team to a national championship since Jamelle Holieway did it with Oklahoma in 1985. Last season Jake Coker was the Tide’s quarterback, a more conventional drop-back passer who threw for 335 yards on 16 completions, including five for 208 to Howard.

With Hurts, the Tide has become far more reliant on the quarterback’s running game. Hurts is still a work in progress in the passing game. He went 7 for 14 for 57 yards in Alabama’s 24-7 victory against Washington in the Peach Bowl on Saturday. He did run 19 times for 50 yards and on the season he is up to 891 yards and 12 touchdowns.

TOP TARGET: Welcome to the national title game, Mike Williams.

Clemson’s top wide-receiver is 6-foot-3, 225 pounds and a few months away from becoming an NFL millionaire. He missed just about all of last season while recovering from a neck injury and returned this year to become Watson’s favorite target.

Alabama has NFL-caliber talent everywhere, of course, but Williams is a matchup nightmare even for good corners such as Marlon Humphrey and Anthony Averett. Williams had six catches for 96 yards against Ohio State in a 31-0 victory Saturday night.

MEN IN THE MIDDLE: The newest defensive line terror for Clemson is also the biggest. Freshman Dexter Lawrence checks in at 6-5 and 340 pounds and he has played like an All-American this season. He did not record a tackle against Ohio State but the Buckeyes seemed to shy away from even running in the middle of Clemson’s defense because of Lawrence and second-team All-America Carlos Watkins.

BO-DOZER: That huge tailback wearing a single-digit jersey number for Alabama probably reminds you of Derrick Henry.

The Heisman Trophy winner who ran for 158 yards and three touchdowns on 36 carries against Clemson last season is gone, but Bo Scarbrough, listed at 6-foot-2 and a questionable 228 pounds, does a pretty good Henry impersonation.

]]> 0 Watson and the Clemson Tigers are back in the national championship game and will face a familiar opponent for the title when they meet Alabama.Sun, 01 Jan 2017 21:54:41 +0000
Penn State, USC meet in surprising Rose Bowl matchup Mon, 02 Jan 2017 02:24:19 +0000 PASADENA, Calif. — The matchup in the 103rd Rose Bowl would have seemed preposterous in late September.

That was right before No. 5 Penn State (11-2) won nine straight games and No. 9 Southern California (9-3) won eight in a row, propelling these traditional powers out of the depths of disappointing starts and all the way back to the Granddaddy of Them All.

While both teams missed out on the College Football Playoff, a storybook ending is still possible for two teams whose comeback stories didn’t start in October. Both schools have risen from years of struggles and the depths of NCAA sanctions to meet in Pasadena.

“Their program and our program may be two of the hotter teams in college football at the end of the season,” Penn State Coach James Franklin said. “And both had similar stories. I don’t know if you could have written a better script for the Rose Bowl.”

Indeed, this season has been phenomenal for both teams since those rocky starts.

Penn State was a .500 team after a 39-point loss at Michigan to close September, but the Nittany Lions ended up as Big Ten champions amid record-setting statistical years for tailback Saquon Barkley and quarterback Trace McSorley, who starred in the conference title game.

“To be where they were at 2-2 and then run off nine straight just shows the resiliency of that team,” USC Coach Clay Helton said of the Nittany Lions.

USC was 1-3 after September and had already changed starting quarterbacks amid complaints about Helton’s first full season in charge. The Trojans then ran the table, with freshman passer Sam Darnold turning into a star and coordinator Clancy Pendergast’s defense becoming the envy of the West.

After a persuasive road victory over playoff-bound Pac-12 champion Washington, the Trojans are sharper than they’ve been since former coach Pete Carroll’s last trip to the Rose Bowl eight years ago – also to face Penn State. USC will also reap the usual benefits from being at home during bowl week before playing at the venerable stadium 14 miles from campus.

“(USC) is obviously one of the more storied and historic programs in college football,” Franklin said. “Very similar to a Penn State, just on a different coast.”

Along with the intriguing matchup of quarterbacks, two of the nation’s most interesting tailbacks will be at work in Pasadena. Barkley was the Big Ten’s Offensive Player of the Year with 1,320 yards rushing and 16 TDs, while speedy Ronald Jones II emerged from USC’s typically deep backfield with 1,027 yards and 11 TDs.

The Nittany Lions have repeatedly rallied from deficits to win this season, including a comeback from a 21-point deficit to Wisconsin in the Big Ten title game. The Trojans have been remarkably consistent during their eight-game surge, but they’re hoping to get off to a quick start that will cushion the vaunted Penn State defensive line’s ability to control the second half.

]]> 0 Sun, 01 Jan 2017 21:58:33 +0000
Sunday’s college roundup: UConn women’s streak reaches 88 Mon, 02 Jan 2017 01:28:48 +0000 ORLANDO, Fla. — Napheesa Collier had 22 points, five rebounds and five assists and Katie Lou Samuelson added 17 points and seven rebounds as the top-ranked Connecticut Huskies extended their winning streak to 88 games by cruising to an 84-48 win over Central Florida on Sunday.

The Huskies (13-0, 1-0 American Athletic Conference) are within two victories of matching their NCAA record of 90 straight wins and set an NCAA record with 31 straight road wins during their conference opener.

They also extended their winning streak against unranked opponents to 100 games.

After coming off a hard-fought win at No. 4 Maryland on Thursday, UConn dominated the overmatched Knights (10-4, 0-1) within the first 41/2 minutes.

In addition to Williams and Collier, Connecticut received strong production from Gabby Williams with 15 points, three blocks, three steals and six rebounds.

(3) BAYLOR 90, KANSAS 43: Nina Davis and Alexis Jones each scored 16 points and the Bears (13-1, 2-0 Big 12) beat the Jayhawks (6-7, 0-2) in Waco, Texas.

(4) MARYLAND 83, MINNESOTA 72: Brionna Jones scored 27 points and grabbed 13 rebounds and the Terrapins (13-1, 1-0 Big Ten) held off the Gophers (9-6, 0-2) in Minneapolis.

(5) MISSISSIPPI STATE 74, LSU 48: Victoria Vivians had 24 points and 12 rebounds and Chinwe Okorie added 17 points to help the Bulldogs (15-0, 1-0 SEC) rout the Tigers (11-3, 0-1) in Starkville, Mississippi.

(6) SOUTH CAROLINA 93, ALABAMA 45: A’ja Wilson scored 23 points and Alaina Coates had 19 points and 11 rebounds to help the Gamecocks (11-1, 1-0 SEC) beat the Crimson Tide (12-2, 0-1) in Columbia, South Carolina.

(22) OREGON STATE 73, (9) WASHINGTON 70: Sydney Wiese hit five 3-points and had 26 points and six assists, and the Beavers (13-1, 2-0 Pac-12) held on to beat the Huskies (14-2, 1-1) in Corvallis, Oregon.

(10) UCLA 87, (20) COLORADO 74: Monique Billings tied a career-high with 27 points and added 18 rebounds to lead the Bruins (11-2, 2-0 Pac-12) over the Buffaloes (10-3, 0-2) in Los Angeles.

KANSAS STATE 86, (12) WEST VIRGINIA 71: Breanna Lewis had 23 points and nine rebounds and the Wildcats (11-3, 1-1 Big 12) knocked off the Mountaineers (13-1, 1-1) in Manhattan, Kansas.

(13) STANFORD 77, ARIZONA 55: Erica McCall had 19 points and 16 rebounds, Karlie Samuelson hit five 3-pointers and scored 17 points and the Cardinal (12-2, 2-0 Pac-12) defeated the Wildcats (9-4, 0-2) in Tuscon, Arizona.


AMHERST 8, SOUTHERN MAINE 0: Alex Toupal scored three goals as the Purple & White beat the Huskies (3-7) in Gorham.

Lynndy Smith added a goal and three assists, and Katie Savage, Anne Malloy, Miriam Eickhoff and Jocelyn Hunyadi also scored.


(13) BUTLER 78, PROVIDENCE 61: Kelan Martin had 15 points and eight rebounds to help the Bulldogs (12-2, 1-1 Big East) beat the Friars (10-5, 0-2) in Indianapolis.

MINNESOTA 91, (15) PURDUE 82: Nate Mason scored 31 points, and Eric Curry scored seven of his 10 in overtime as the Gophers (13-2, 1-1 Big Ten) upset the Boilermakers (12-3, 1-1) in West Lafayette, Indiana.

]]> 0 Sun, 01 Jan 2017 20:58:03 +0000