Connect with us

NCAA News Wire

Louisville wins sloppy game vs. UCF



LOUISVILLE, Ky. — In a sloppy, foul-marred game, the No. 12 Louisville Cardinals never trailed and beat the Central Florida Knights 87-70 Saturday night at the KFC Yum! Center.

Senior All-American guard Russ Smith led Louisville (18-4, 7-2 American Athletic Conference) with 27 points, including eight of the Cardinals first 12 and 10 straight points midway through the second half.

Senior forward Luke Hancock had 16 points and five assists, sophomore forward/center Montrezl Harrell 14 points and seven rebounds, and junior forward Wayne Blackshear had 10 points. Blackshear got the start after coming off the bench the previous five games. Harrell slid over to the pivot.

UCF (9-10, 1-7), which has lost six straight, was led by senior forward Tristan Spurlock with 20 points. Senior guard Calvin Newell had 12 points, and junior forward Kasey Wilson had 10. Senior swingman Isaiah Sykes, the team’s leading scorer at 15.6 points-per-game coming in, got just eight and was 2-of-12 from the field. He was guarded most of the game by Blackshear. Sykes did have 11 rebounds.

“I’m proud of our team tonight,” said UCF coach Donnie Jones. “Obviously, we didn’t win, but we’re a team that’s building. This is our first time coming into this environment. … We’re not used to playing at this level. But I’m really proud of the way we came in here and playing against a terrific team; we knew they were coming off a loss and they were going to be a little scrappier, so I was proud of our effort.

“Louisville is a team of runs. They play with great emotion and their defense creates offense and they’ve got guys who can make shots and make plays. Russ Smith and Hancock, there’s a reason they’ve got a banner flying up there.”

UCF was in the bonus just 5:20 into the second half and had just two fouls at that point, but the Knights soon caught up, with both teams in the double bonus with 10:08 left to play.

“It was a very physical game,” said Louisville coach Rick Pitino. “But you can’t get mad at the officials. They call what they see. … The fans get all upset, but we have to adapt to the new rules.”

After getting off to a 12-1 start, Louisville led 37-27 at the half. The Cardinals scored the first five points of the second half, and UCF got no closer than nine points thereafter.

Smith had eight of the first 12 points for the Cardinals, hitting two 3-pointers and making two free throws.

Central Florida made just one of his first 11 shots from the field. The Knights then warmed up, hitting six of their next 12, several on runouts, and closed the gap to 26-21 with 6:38 left in the half.

Louisville made eight of its first 14 shots from the floor and then cooled, hitting just two of its next 12 and going four minutes without scoring.

The Cardinals ended the half making 13-of-32 for 41 percent. UCF was 8-of-26 for 31 percent.

Smith led Louisville with 14 first-half points despite sitting out the final six minutes of the half after making two straight sloppy turnovers. He didn’t start the second half either but came in after two minutes.

“The thing about Russ, when he gets balled out, and he got balled out a bunch tonight, he lets it roll off his back,” said Pitino. “He doesn’t care. No matter what you say, he’ll go out and do the same thing. Dribble behind his back in traffic when there’s a wide-open man that he should pass to. … But you have to live with it. He can score a flurry of points so fast. If you take away what he does, you’ll take away his greatness. When we have Senior Night, I’m going to have my second bachelor party.”

Louisville finished making 32-of-62 shots (51.6 percent). UCF was 21-of-55 (38.2 percent). UCF had a 38-35 rebounding edge. The Knights made 16 turnovers to nine for Louisville, which had seven steals to three for UCF.

NOTES: Only two players who started against Louisville when it won 90-65 on Dec. 31 — F Isaiah Sykes and G Calvin Newell — are still starting for UCF. Sykes had 19 points and nine rebounds on Dec. 31. Newell had nine

Up to the minute news and reports from the news wire of The Sports Xchange.


NCAA News Wire

Alabama fires head coach Grant



Alabama fired head basketball coach Anthony Grant on Sunday after six seasons.

The Crimson Tide struggled over the final two months of the season, finishing 18-14 and tied for eighth in the Southeastern Conference.

Grant, 48, won at least 20 games three times and made an NCAA Tournament appearance in 2012. His Alabama teams went 117-85, including two NIT appearances (2011 and 2013). He came to Alabama from Virginia Commonwealth University, where he went 76-25 and made two NCAA Tournament appearances.

“This has been a very difficult decision, as I have the highest respect for Anthony as a coach, as a molder of young men, and as a person,” Alabama athletic director Bill Battle said in a statement. “Anthony is a man of impeccable character who has been an excellent representative of our program. He has made tremendous contributions to our program and we always will be grateful for his efforts. Anthony, his wife Chris, and their children have been tremendous assets to our University and our community.

“In this business we are ultimately judged by wins and losses on the court and, for a variety of reasons, we haven’t made satisfactory progress in that area.”

Continue Reading

NCAA News Wire

Kentucky routs Arkansas for SEC tourney title



NASHVILLE, Tenn. — No. 1-ranked Kentucky will take a perfect 34-0 record into the NCAA Tournament this week after thrashing Arkansas 78-63 in the Southeastern Conference tournament championship game Sunday at Bridgestone Arena.

The conference tournament title is the 28th for Kentucky, meaning the Wildcats have won more than half of the 55 tournaments.

“This team has a lot of dog in it,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said. “Good, hard fought game. Arkansas is a ranked team, but we kind of did our thing.”

Junior forward Willie Cauley-Stein, who was named tournament MVP, paced Kentucky with a double-double of 15 points and 10 rebounds. It was his first double-double since the Columbia game on Dec. 10.

Cauley-Stein was joined on the all-tournament team by twins Andrew and Aaron Harrison of Kentucky, Michael Qualls of Arkansas and K.T. Harrell of Auburn.

Andrew Harrison, a sophomore guard, scored 15 points. Twin brother Aaron Harrison had 11 points and six assists. Freshman guard Tyler Ulis added eight points and six assists.

Guard Michael Qualls topped No. 21 Arkansas (26-8) with 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting. Forward Bobby Portis had 13 points.

“Our guys came out and scratched and clawed,” Arkansas coach Mike Anderson said. “But at the end, I thought their depth and size were hard to overcome. If a team is going to beat them, you’ve got to make shots as well as match their energy.”

The finals pitted the top two seeds in Kentucky and Arkansas, but the Wildcats wasted little time proving that winning the regular season by five games was no fluke. Kentucky roared out to an 8-0 lead within the first two minutes, forcing Anderson to call an early timeout. Point guard Andrew Harrison scored six of the eight on a pair of 3-pointers.

“If the other team is angry, mad, hateful, jealous, the physiology of that is real close to fear,” Calipari said. “When a team comes in that way, if you can just play and that thing turns into fear, you separate yourself. Joy, the love of playing, always beats angry, mean, hateful, jealous.”

Arkansas managed to score five unanswered points after the break and eventually tied the game at 10-10 on a 3-pointer by Portis. The SEC player of the year had missed 16 of his previous 17 shots in the tournament before the basket.

The game was tied 19-19 with 10:18 to play in the first half when Kentucky caught fire, scoring 16 points in 5:05 for a 35-23 lead. Aaron Harrison scored six points during the 16-4 run on a pair of 3-pointers. He also assisted on two dunks by Cauley-Stein and a basket in the paint by sophomore center Dakari Johnson. Freshman center Karl-Anthony Towns accounted for the remaining four points.

All six Kentucky field goals during the run were accompanied by an assist, including three by Aaron Harrison. At the time, Kentucky was shooting 59 percent (13 of 22), including 5 of 6 on three-pointers.

Kentucky went on to expand the lead to 16 points by halftime, 41-25, meaning the Wildcats outscored Arkansas 22-6 over the final 10:18 of the first half.

Cauley-Stein led the way in the first half with eight points and eight rebounds. Aaron Harrison added eight points and six assists. Andrew Harrison scored six points.

Kentucky shots 51.9 percent in the first half, and 12 of the 14 baskets came via assists. The Wildcats were 8-for-8 from the free-throw line.

Arkansas, which never led, shot just 29 percent in the first half. Portis topped the Razorbacks with seven points. Arkansas had just two assists and five turnovers in the first 20 minutes.

In the second half, Arkansas managed to trim Kentucky’s lead from 16 to nine at 48-39 at the 11:55 mark. During that time, Towns picked up his fourth personal foul with 14:07 to play.

“We cut it to nine points in the second half, but we couldn’t get over the hump,” Anderson said.

From that point forward the two teams battled mostly to a draw before Kentucky pulled away late in the half.

Kentucky pushed the lead back 18 points at 6:10 thanks to an 11-2 run.

Kentucky’s largest lead of the game was 21 points, which came with 2:41 to play.

Continue Reading

NCAA News Wire

Wisconsin earns top seed after conference tournament win



CHICAGO — The Wisconsin Badgers earned a historic NCAA top seed Sunday, but their approach going forward will be strictly business as usual.

Wisconsin (31-3) beat Michigan State 80-69 in overtime in Sunday’s Big Ten tournament title game to complete a championship sweep and were rewarded with the first No. 1 NCAA Tournament seed in program history.

“I’m sure it will sink in,” Badgers coach Bo Ryan said. “What we need right now is to get these guys back (home). We have class tomorrow, some of these guys have tests, they’ve got midterms this week. So it will be business as usual for our student-athletes.”

But players like forward Frank Kaminsky, the Big Ten tournament most outstanding player, are pretty pumped up.

“It’s awesome,” Kaminsky said. “First No. 1 seed in program history. That’s an accomplishment in and of itself, but we have a lot of goals and aspirations in the NCAA Tournament. So we’re going to prepare for our first game and be ready we tip the ball up.”

No. 6 ranked Wisconsin, the league’s regular-season champion, claimed the Big Ten’s automatic NCAA berth with the overtime win at the United Center and meets No. 16 Coastal Carolina (24-9) in Friday’s West Region opener in Omaha, Neb.

The overtime outcome was the first in Big Ten tournament history.

Michigan State (23-11) is also tourney bound with a No. 7 seed in the East Region. The Spartans will face Georgia, which is the 10th seed, on Friday in Charlotte, N.C.

Ryan was initially at a loss for words after the Badgers’ dramatic come-from-behind win.

“I’m speechless and that’s hard to do,” he said. “It was the fight in this group, and to do what they did when it seemed like Michigan State couldn’t do anything wrong. I just hope we have something left in us come NCAA Tournament time.”

The Badgers rallied from an 11-point second-half deficit and back into contention late in the game. They then scored 11 unanswered points in overtime behind seven points form forward Nigel Hayes.

Hayes closed with a game-high 25 points and was 12-for-12 from the free throw line. Kaminsky had 19, guard Bronson Koenig finished with 18 while reserve forward Duje Dukan added 11.

Michigan State, making its third title game appearance in four years, was led by forward Branden Dawson and guard Denzel Valentine with 16 apiece while reserve guard Bryn Forbes had 10.

“I thought we played one of the greatest games we’ve ever played for 32, 32 and one-half minutes or 35, 36 minutes,” Spartans coach Tom Izzo said. “And then we made a couple of mistakes and they made a couple of great shots and that’s the way the game goes.”

Wisconsin trailed 57-46 in the second half when Koenig launched a comeback with a 3-pointer and added another with 4:19 left to give the Badgers a temporary 60-59 lead.

“We were down eleven and they thought they had it in the bag,” Koenig said. “But I kept reminding my teammates that we were never going to give up.”

Guard Lourawls Nairn’s 3-pointer then put Michigan State up 62-60 as the teams exchanged leads three times and tied four times. The last in regulation came on Koenig’s two free throws for a 69-69 deadlock.

A potential game-winning shot by Dawson rolled in and out as regulation time expired.

In the first half, Michigan State outscored Wisconsin 10-5 in the final 3:25 for a 32-31 halftime lead after a half that saw with seven lead changes and five ties. The Spartans opened a 32-28 lead after a turnover by Koenig and a rebound put back by forward Marvin Clark with 25 seconds showing. But Wisconsin narrowed the deficit to 32-31 as Kaminsky hit a buzzer-beating 3-pointer.

It was the Badger’s fifth successful shot from beyond the arc in the half. Wisconsin ended 13-of-26 (50 percent) on 3-point shooting for the game.

NOTES: Sunday’s game was tied 13 times and had 14 lead changes. … The Badgers claimed a 68-61 win in March in the long regular season meeting behind F Frank Kaminsky’s season-high 31 points. … The Badgers’ two previous Big Ten tournament titles came in wins over Illinois in 2004 and 2008. … Wisconsin’s 31 wins match an all-time

Continue Reading

ZigZagSport - Best Online Sportsbook & Casino

American Casino Guide
NJ Casino
NJ Casino

NBA Team Salaries


Bet on NBA at BetNow Sportsbook


Insiders On Twitter

NBA On Twitter

Trending Now