UCONN Defeats St. Johns

Source: NY Times

URL: http://www.nytimes.com/2010/01/21/sports/ncaabasketball/21hoops.html?scp=3&sq=jan%2021%202010%20basketball&st=cse

The Associated Press

Playing its first game since Jim Calhoun took a medical leave of absence, Connecticut received 21 points from Jerome Dyson and the Huskies ended a three-game losing streak with a 75-59 win over St. John’s on Wednesday in Hartford.

Stanley Robinson had 18 points and 9 rebounds and Kemba Walker added 17 points and 6 assists for UConn (12-6, 3-3 Big East), which was coached by the longtime Calhoun assistant George Blaney.

“He’s just like Coach, except, of course, he doesn’t scream and stuff,” Walker said.

St. John’s (12-6, 2-4), which was coming off consecutive home wins over Cincinnati and DePaul, was led by D. J. Kennedy’s 19 points.

UConn led by just 31-28 at the half, but came out of intermission on an 11-4 run.

N.C. ST. 88, DUKE 74 Tracy Smith scored 23 points, Dennis Horner added 20 and North Carolina State stunned No. 7 Duke. Kyle Singler scored 22 points to lead the Blue Devils (15-3, 3-2 Atlantic Coast Conference), who fell behind by double figures in the first half and by as many as 17 points in the second half.

KANSAS 81, BAYLOR 75 Sherron Collins had 28 points and hit his fifth 3-pointer with just over a minute left, helping No. 3 Kansas (17-1, 3-0 Big 12) outlast No. 25 Baylor (14-3, 2-2).

VILLANOVA 94, RUTGERS 68 Dominic Cheek scored 17 points, Corey Stokes added 16 and No. 4 Villanova (17-1, 6-0 Big East) rolled to its eighth straight win. The freshman Dane Miller scored 22 of his 26 points in the second half for Rutgers (9-9, 0-6).

GEORGETOWN 74, PITT 66 Chris Wright scored 27 points and No. 12 Georgetown (14-3, 5-2 Big East) held No. 9 Pittsburgh (15-3, 5-1) scoreless for four minutes while taking control with a late 9-0 run, and the Hoyas ended the Panthers’ eight-game winning streak.

MICHIGAN ST. 70, IOWA 63 Raymar Morgan scored 16 points and No. 6 Michigan State (16-3, 6-0 Big Ten) held off Iowa’s furious comeback bid.

IN OTHER GAMES The freshman C. J. Harris scored a career-high 20 points and Wake Forest beat No. 24 North Carolina, 82-69, to send the Tar Heels to their first three-game losing streak under Coach Roy Williams. … The freshman Cody Ellis had 14 points and 9 rebounds in his first career start, helping St. Louis to a 75-48 victory over Fordham.

Women

TEXAS 77, OKLAHOMA ST. 63 Erika Arriaran scored 28 points, hitting eight 3-pointers, and No. 20 Texas (13-5, 2-2) beat No. 12 Oklahoma State (15-3, 3-1) in Austin..

OKLAHOMA 62, MISSOURI 61 Amanda Thompson scored off a rebound with 9.6 seconds left to give No. 13 Oklahoma (13-4, 3-1 Big 12) a win over host Missouri.

Gilbert Arenas

Source: NY Times

URL: http://topics.nytimes.com/top/reference/timestopics/people/a/gilbert_arenas/index.html?scp=2&sq=jan%2015&st=cse

Gilbert Arenas, a basketball player for the Washington Wizards, was charged with felony gun possession on Jan. 14, 2010. The charge carries a possible jail term of up to five years, but there were indications that a plea agreement was in the works.

He suspended indefinitely by the National Basketball Association on Jan. 6 in the wake of an investigation into his decision to bring several guns into the Wizards’ locker room in Washington, then later display them in what he called a misguided attempt at a joke.

Arenas reportedly stored four guns in his locker at his team’s home arena, the Verizon Center, and then, on Dec. 21, took several of them out in what he called a “misguided effort to play a joke on a teammate. Various news accounts identified that teammate as Javaris Crittenton and described a conflict that began on Dec. 19, when Arenas and Crittenton began arguing during a high-stakes card game aboard a flight from Phoenix to Washington.

Arenas never really stopped joking once accounts of the argument leaked out. Widely acknowledged and often hailed for his quirkiness, he kept turning to his Twitter account to offer irreverent commentary about the gun matter. The final straw for the league and its commissioner, David Stern, apparently came Jan. 5, when Arenas was photographed joking with his teammates by shooting them with his fingers pointed like guns.

Long considered one of the N.B.A.’s more intriguing personalities, Arenas wrote a popular blog on the N.B.A.’s official Web site. He was a three-time All-Star who averaged 22.8 points and 5.5 assists over parts of his first eight N.B.A. seasons, and at times was as dynamic as anyone on the court. But he played only a combined 15 games in the 2007-8 and 2008-9 because of recurring knee problems.

Alabama Defeats Texas in Title Game

Source: ESPN

URL: http://espn.go.com/ncf/recap?gameId=300070333

PASADENA, Calif. — The running game wears teams down. The defense changes games.

Yes, Alabama, this season’s version of the Crimson Tide could have been your dad’s Crimson Tide, too.

High Tide

Alabama rolled to the fifth-largest rushing total in BCS championship game history on Thursday, gaining 205 yards against a tough Texas defense.

Year School Yards Opponent
’06 Texas 289 USC
’00 Virginia Tech 278 Florida St.
’09 Florida 249 Oklahoma
’06 USC 209 Texas
’10 Alabama 205 Texas

Or Bear Bryant’s.

The Alabama ‘D’ knocked Texas quarterback Colt McCoy out of the Citi BCS Championship Game early, then made a big play late to stop a Longhorns comeback in a 37-21 victory Thursday that brought glory back to the program Bear built.

“We back,” said Mark Ingram, the Heisman Trophy winner who ran for 116 yards and two scores.

Instead of Bear’s houndstooth hat, it’s Nick Saban in a polo shirt who walks the sidelines these days. Nobody’s complaining. In the short span of three years, Saban took a program that had drifted far from what it had been and brought it back to championship caliber.

This was Alabama’s first title since 1992, its eighth since the advent of the polls in the 1930s and its seventh Associated Press championship. The top-ranked Tide (14-0) won the AP title unanimously.

Fast Facts

• The win gave Alabama its eighth major poll national championship, tying Notre Dame for the most ever.

• Alabama coach Nick Saban became the second coach (Urban Meyer) to win two BCS national championships. His other title came at LSU.

• Mark Ingram joined USC’s Matt Leinart (2004) as the only players to win a BCS title and the Heisman Trophy in the same season. Ingram also became the second running back in the last 64 years to win the Heisman and a national championship of any kind in the same season, joining Tony Dorsett’s (Pittsburgh) feat in 1976.

• Texas lost its first BCS bowl game in four tries, dropping to 3-1 all-time. Only LSU (4-0) had a better record in BCS games.

• The Longhorns’ Jordan Shipley finished with 10 catches for 122 yards, tying him for the second-most receptions in a BCS championship game.

— ESPN Stats & Information

Saban picked up the trophy Friday morning, and someday soon, his likeness will go up next to those of Bryant, his protege, Gene Stallings, and the other coaching greats whose statues stand outside Bryant-Denny Stadium.

“I feel good that I’ve been able to contribute something significant in this time,” Saban said Friday. “I feel there’s a tremendous responsibility and obligation to having a high standard of excellence. Because of that tradition, it makes me feel very good we’ve been able to contribute to that in a positive way.”

Saban’s defense changed the tenor of the title game suddenly and startlingly when Marcell Dareus hit McCoy, injuring the quarterback’s shoulder and knocking him out on Texas’ fifth offensive play.

“I just heard a thump when I hit him,” Dareus said. “I did lay it down pretty hard. I didn’t try to, but it felt great.”

McCoy said he lost feeling in his right shoulder but wasn’t in pain. He asked to come back in, but coach Mack Brown didn’t want to risk it — a decision that will certainly be discussed for a while down in Austin.

“I would have given anything to be out there, because it would have been different,” McCoy said.

Not to be, though, and when Dareus picked off backup quarterback Garrett Gilbert‘s shovel pass and returned it 28 yards for a score right before halftime, the Tide was rolling with a 24-6 lead that looked like it would get bigger.

But something funny happened.

Gilbert, the highly recruited freshman who had only thrown 26 college passes, grew up in a hurry. He led the No. 2 Longhorns (13-1) on touchdown drives of 59 and 65 yards, capping both with scoring passes to All-American Jordan Shipley.

The Alabama lead was only 24-21 with 6:15 left and all the momentum was in Texas’ favor.

“It’s a hard learning curve but he learned fast,” Brown said. “At one point, I thought he was going to win the ball game.”

Texas got the ball back on its 7-yard line with about 3 minutes left, still trailing by three. Gilbert had a chance to complete the comeback and go down as one of the most out-of-nowhere success stories in college football history.

Instead, another unlikely star, Alabama linebacker Eryk Anders, got a blindside sack and stripped the ball. Teammate Courtney Upshaw recovered. Three plays later, Ingram scored from the 1 to give ‘Bama some breathing room. A few minutes after that, Trent Richardson scored to make a close game look more lopsided than it really was.

“We said, ‘It’s on us, the defensive line,” said Alabama’s Terrence Cody, the 350-pound All-American. “We had to make plays to finish it off. There was no doubt in our huddle. We knew what we can do.”

The Alabama win brought a fourth consecutive title back to the Southeastern Conference.

Richardson ran for 109 yards and two touchdowns, and combined with Ingram’s effort, the Tide won despite a modest 6-for-11 passing night from Greg McElroy. Talk about getting it done on the ground: Dating to Bryant’s last title, in 1979, Alabama has thrown the ball a grand total of 32 times in its last three bowl games that led to national championships.

Ingram became the first running back to win the Heisman and the national title in the same season since Tony Dorsett in 1976.

Ingram was Alabama’s first Heisman Trophy winner. Before this year, the Tide used to point to all its championships and say winning those were better than winning Heismans (Remember that, Auburn?).

But Ingram showed it’s possible to have both.

“I was so happy to leave my heart out there for the team, and blood, sweat and tears,” Ingram said. “We were out there running 110 sprints in 110-degree heat. We were like, ‘Why are we doing this?”

For a night like this, celebrated on the hallowed ground of the Rose Bowl — not known as Alabama’s turf, but certainly part of its heritage. It’s mentioned in the team’s fight song, harkening to trips the team made in the 1930s, a much different era when the Tide was a more regular visitor.

Bryant’s arrival in 1958 turned Alabama into a powerhouse. He built it on his demanding, sometimes demeaning, work ethic that was accepted as part of the game back then and made him the quintessential college coach — houndstooth hat on his head, cigarette dangling from his mouth.

Saban arrived a couple generations later, hoping to clean up after more than a decade of turmoil that included the three Mikes — DuBose, Price and Shula — trouble with the NCAA and problems at almost every turn.

The new coach told the fans they’d have to let go of the expectations of the past if they were going to enjoy the future.

They believed, and now they have a coach who has become the first to win BCS titles at two schools. He adds this to the 2003 championship he won at LSU.

“It’s the whole work ethic, the mental thing, toughness, all the intangibles you’d like to see in players so they can be the best they can be,” Saban said.

The Bear would certainly approve.

The Tide is rolling again.

New York Jets and Buffalo Bills Defeat Indianapolis Colts Back-to-Back

Indianapolis had the perfect season on the line when they played the New York Jets last week.  They hung with Peyton Manning for the first half and the Colts went into halftime with a 9 to 3 lead.  Prior to this game, the Colts had already clinched their playoff birth and playing Manning was a sure bet that Indianapolis was now playing for the perfect season.  Then in the second half, millions watched as we found Peyton on the bench along with his 14 completions and 192 yards accumulated from the first half.  The Colts had decided to protect their Ace and bring in backup QB, Painter, for the remainder of the game.   Anyone who saw the game could see the frustration in Peyton’s face as he seemed disappointed with the decision, especially as he witnessed Painter earn a grim 4 completions for 44 yards in 30 minutes of play.  The Jets outscored Indianapolis 26 – 6 in the second half going on to win by an overall score of 29 – 15.  Most of us wondered how they could lay down a perfect season – how they could pass up the opportunity for immortality.  Millions felt robbed of the chance to become a permanent part of history.

The logic behind the move to bench Peyton seems flawed to me.  Why even bother playing Peyton at all if you are going to protect him for the playoffs. I understand how statisticians record who started the game and therefore, Peyton should start in order to keep his streak alive.  But, why not just bring him in for one drive then?  Why keep him in for a whole half?  Are the first 30 minutes of the game less of a risk for injury?  In other words, what is so different about the first half and the second half that protecting the quarterback didn’t seem necessary for the first 30 minutes.

I have to believe that Indianapolis figured they would bring Peyton in for one half and secure a lead, then let Painter go in to finish it out.  However, they probably didn’t assume they’d collapse the way they did once Peyton came out.  When they saw the game starting to slip away, they must  have at least second guessed keeping Peyton on the bench, right?  I bet they wanted to bring Peyton in just as bad as the fans wanted Peyton back in but they were too worried about their image and their reputation and what America would think if they decided to play for a perfect season instead of playing by the book.  I wanted someone to tell them to scrap the book, America has your back, play for the perfect season.  Additionally, I think stats show that there has been no real advantage to the teams that have rested their players before playoffs.  In fact, most teams that rest their players before playoffs actually have played subpar in the post season.  I sure hope their decision pays off for them in the playoffs. Especially after what happened in Buffalo this weekend.

Once again, the Colts brought Peyton in for the first half.  This was one of the sloppiest games imaginable.  The weather was dreadful.  It was the 4th coldest game day in Ralph Wilson stadium history.  Again I question the logic regarding Peyton’s playing time.  Why on earth would you let him play in that kind of scenario if you are truly resting him for playoffs and protecting him from injury.  I think the Colts were stuck in a difficult situation because they laid down against the Jets probably thinking they’d still be able to win, and now that they lost, they were facing two losses in a row by pulling Peyton and laying down against the Bills.  I don’t think losing two straight games was ever the game plan for the Colts.  I think they made some bad decision.  They should have just played all out for the perfect season and headed to playoffs on a good note.  Now, they went from potential immortality, to cut and bruised with a definite dose of reality.

We’ll see how the move pays off in the upcoming weeks.

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