Sports News   150205

The Gilmer Free Press

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Area High Schools Boys Basketball Game Results

(Wednesday, February 04)

Nicholas County 58     Greenbrier West 57

►  Area High Schools Girls Basketball Game Results

(Wednesday, February 04)

Clay County 80     Calhoun County 17

#1 Morgantown 59     Parkersburg 36

Grafton 60     Lewis County 49

Lincoln 70     Elkins

Robert C. Byrd 43     #9 Bridgeport 38

Parkersburg Catholic 67     Wirt County 49

Herbert Hoover 67     Nicholas County 60

<The Gilmer Free Press

►  Top-25 College Men’s Basketball Game Results

(Wednesday, February 04)

Final Score: (4) Duke 72, Georgia Tech 66

Quinn Cook totaled 17 points as No. 4 Duke fended off Georgia Tech by a 72-66 count on Wednesday at Cameron Indoor Stadium. Justise Winslow added 15 points and 10 rebounds with Jahlil Okafor adding 14 points for the Blue Devils (19-3, 6-3 ACC), who will host Notre Dame this Saturday. Chris Bolden produced 16 points and Marcus Georges-Hunt picked up 14 and nine boards for the Yellow Jackets (10-12, 1-9), losers in nine of their last 10.

Final Score: (7) Villanova 70, Marquette 52

Ryan Arcidiacono hit four 3-pointers and matched a season-high with 18 points as seventh-ranked Villanova shook off a slow start to post a 70-52 victory over Marquette at Wells Fargo Center on Wednesday night. Darrun Hilliard scored 12 points and Josh Hart added 11 with six rebounds for the Wildcats (20-2, 7-2 Big East), who have won three straight since a 20-point loss at Georgetown on Jan. 19. They will look to avenge the setback on Saturday. JaJuan Johnson was the lone Golden Eagles player to reach double figures, finishing with 10. Matt Carlino had nine points and as many rebounds for Marquette (10-12, 2-8), which has dropped six games in a row.

Final Score: (10) Notre Dame 71, Boston College 63

With a rematch against No. 4 Duke on the horizon, it would not be too much of a surprise to see 10th-ranked Notre Dame get caught looking ahead with Boston College entering Purcell Pavilion on Wednesday. The Irish used a strong start to get out to a large lead in the first half, then had to hold off the surging Eagles in the second for a 71-63 win. Jerian Grant and Steve Vasturia each scored 17 points to lead Notre Dame (21-3, 9-2 ACC), which has won six of its last seven entering Saturday’s game at Cameron Indoor Stadium. The Irish slipped past Duke at home last Wednesday before a 76-72 loss at Pittsburgh over the weekend. Zach Auguste had 16 points with five rebounds and Pat Connaughton added 11 points in the win. Olivier Hanlan poured in a season-high 28 points on 6-of-9 shooting from 3-point range for Boston College (9-12, 1-8).

Final Score: (16) Wichita State 62, Bradley 59

Ron Baker scored 14 points and No. 16 Wichita State held off Bradley for a narrow 62-59 victory on Wednesday. Baker shot 4- of-6 from the field, including 3-for-4 from 3-point range, Tekele Cotton had 10 points and seven rebounds and Darius Carter also finished with 10 for the Shockers (20-3, 10-1 MVC), who bounced back from a 70-54 loss to UNI on Saturday. Tramique Sutherland finished with a game-high 18 points and Auston Barnes supplied 13 points and 10 boards for the Braves, (7-17, 2-9), who have dropped eight of their past nine games.

Final Score: (17) Maryland 64, Penn State 58

Dez Wells had 23 points and seven rebounds and No. 17 Maryland defeated Penn State 64-58 on Wednesday night. Jake Layman finished with 10 points and nine rebounds for Maryland (19-4, 7-3), which had dropped two of its last three games coming in. D.J. Newbill posted 18 points, seven boards and five assists, while Geno Thorpe added 10 points for the Nittany Lions (14-9, 2-8), who have lost eight of their last 10 contests.

Final Score: (18) VCU 72, George Mason 60

Melvin Johnson scored 17 points to help 18th-ranked VCU overcome injuries to two key players and record a 72-60 victory over George Mason. The Rams played for the first time since NCAA steals leader Briante Weber tore the ACL and MCL in his right knee during Saturday’s upset loss to Richmond, while top scorer Treveon Graham sat out nearly all of the second half with a sprained ankle. VCU (18-4, 8-1 A-10) received strong contributions from their replacements, however. JeQuan Lewis posted 13 points filling in for Weber, while freshman Justin Tillman totaled 10 on 5-of-5 shooting with Graham limited to four points in 12 minutes. Jalen Jenkins finished with 15 points, Shevon Thompson racked up 16 rebounds and Patrick Holloway netted 13 points for George Mason (7-14, 2-7), but the Patriots shot just 30.8 percent in the second half after leading 34-32 at the break.

Final Score: (19) Baylor 77, TCU 57

Rico Gathers pulled down 17 rebounds while pacing a balanced Baylor attack with 14 points as the 19th-ranked Bears cruised to a 77-57 victory over TCU in Big 12 action. Four other players finished in double figures in the Bears’ fifth win in their last seven conference games, a stretch that began with a 66-59 overtime squeaker at TCU on Jan. 10. Kenny Chery had 13 points with six assists for Baylor (17-5, 5-4 Big 12), with Royce O’Neale chipping in 12 points and Taurean Prince and Lester Medford netting 11 and 10, respectively. TCU (14-8, 1-8), which has now dropped five straight—all to ranked teams—during a murderous portion of its schedule, was led by Amric Fields’ 14 points. Kenrich Williams and Trey Zeigler each scored 11 in defeat.

Final Score: Purdue 60, (20) Ohio State 58

Mackey Arena is not the place to be if you’re a ranked team. Just ask Ohio State. Rapheal Davis scored 20 points, Jon Octeus had 14 and Purdue knocked off the No. 20 Buckeyes 60-58 on Wednesday night in another Big Ten clash that went the Boilermakers’ way. It marked Purdue’s third consecutive win over a top-25 team at home following victories over Iowa and Indiana last month. Davis scored 12 of his 20 points in the second half and Octeus had 10 in the half as the Boilermakers (15-8, 7-3 Big Ten) extended their winning streak to four games overall. A.J. Hammons added seven points, seven rebounds and seven blocks in the win. Standout freshman D’Angelo Russell scored 20 points to lead Ohio State (17-6, 6-4), which had a three-game winning streak snapped.

Final Score: Providence 74, (24) Georgetown 71

Ben Bentil finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds as Providence defeated No. 24 Georgetown 74-71 in a back-and- forth affair at Verizon Center. LaDontae Henton also netted 16 points along with six rebounds, Carson Desrosiers had 14 points and Kris Dunn scored 12 with nine assists and six steals for the Friars (17-6, 7-3 Big East), who have won four of their last five games. D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera paced the Hoyas (15-7, 7-4) with a game-high 21 points and Joshua Smith, Isaac Copeland and Tre Campbell each contributed 10 points in defeat. Providence also defeated Georgetown 60-57 in overtime on Jan. 10.

Final Score: Oklahoma State 65, (25) Texas 63 (OT)

Phil Forte made two free throws with 2.1 seconds remaining in overtime to lift Oklahoma State to a 65-63 victory over No. 25 Texas on Wednesday night. Le’Bryan Nash led the Cowboys (15-7, 5-5 Big 12) with 17 points, while Forte finished with 14. The duo struggled shooting as they combined to go 9-of-32 from the floor. Anthony Hickey Jr. scored 15 points and recorded four steals for Oklahoma State. Isaiah Taylor had 18 points but committed seven of the Longhorns’ 18 turnovers. Demarcus Holland supplied 14 points and five rebounds for Texas (14-8, 3-6), which has lost four games in a row.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Rockets’ Howard out at least four weeks

Houston Rockets center Dwight Howard received a bone marrow aspirate injection in his right knee and will be re- evaluated in four weeks, the team announced Wednesday.

The procedure was conducted by Dr. Walt Lowe of the Memorial Hermann Sports Medicine Institute in Houston.

Howard has missed 16 games this season due to injuries. The Rockets are 11-5 without him on the floor.

In 32 games this season, Howard is averaging 16.3 points, 11.0 rebounds and 1.4 blocks.

Joey Dorsey will get the start at center for the time being. He is averaging 2.0 points and 3.7 rebounds in 38 games (four starts) this season.

►  Pulse of the NBA

The Golden State Warriors and Atlanta Hawks have grabbed plenty of headlines, as both teams have soared to surprising levels. But it would probably surprise you to learn that neither team is the most improved from last season. That’s not an opinion, but a fact.

That distinction belongs to the Milwaukee Bucks, who had the league’s worst record last year at 15-67, which translated to a .183 winning percentage. This year they’re playing .542 basketball with their record at 26-22. That means the Bucks have improved their winning percentage by 66.2%.

The Warriors winning percentage this season is .826, after playing at a .622 pace the previous year. That’s an improvement of 24.7%.

As for the Hawks, they’ve gone from playing .463 basketball last season, to their current pace of .816, which means an improvement of 43.2%.

The head coaches of the Warriors (Steve Kerr) and Hawks (Mike Budenholzer) have deservedly got plenty of praise, but it’s time for Milwaukee’s Jason Kidd to get his props. He’s the one big change from last season, and it looks like the controversial offseason move to fire Larry Drew and replace him with Kidd has paid off big time.

When you look at the disparity between last years’ numbers and this season, it’s easy to see how the former Brooklyn Nets coach has had such a dramatic impact on his new team:

Note: The numbers in parentheses are for the league rank

2013-14 2014-15

PPG: 95.5 (28) - 98.4 (29)

FG%: 43.8 (26) - 46.4 (6)

3-PT FG%: 35.3 (T-18) - 37.8 (5)

ASSISTS PER GAME: 21.5 (17) - 23.6 (7)

PT DIFF: -8.2 (29) - +1.8 (13)

OPP PPG: 103.7 (25) - 96.6 (4)

OPP FG%: 46.8 (T-25) - 44.3 (3)

OPP 3-PT FG%: 38.2 (30) - 32.6 (4)

STEALS PER GAME: 6.6 (28) - 9.5 (3)

On top of the team-wide improvement, we’ve seen a number of the Bucks players play significantly better than last season.

Starting point guard Brandon Knight, who was in the conversation for All-Star consideration, is having his best year as a pro. He’s currently putting up career-highs in field goal percentage (43.7), 3-point field goal percentage (40.5), free throw percentage (89.2) and assists (5.3).

Second-year forward Giannis Antetokounmpo has seen his game rise dramatically from his rookie season. “The Greek Freak” has been a versatile, high-level defender, able to guard multiple positions, and has made great strides offensively. Antetokounmpo, who turned 20 in December, is averaging 11.4 points, 6.3 rebounds and shooting 49.4% from the field this season, after putting up just 6.8 points and 4.4 rebounds and shooting 41.4% from the floor his rookie year.

Third-year shooting guard Khris Middleton, who was acquired from the Detroit Pistons along with Knight in the summer of 2013, is also playing the best ball of his young career. He’s third among shooting guards in 3-point field goal percentage at 45.1% and ranks sixth in field goal percentage at 47.5%.

The 23-year old Middleton, who was the 39th overall pick by the Pistons in 2012, has been even better since Jabari Parker went down for the season with a torn ACL in mid-December, averaging 12.4 points, and shooting 50.4% from the floor and 48.7% from 3-point range.

Two veterans have also stepped up their play.

Jerryd Bayless, who is averaging eight points off the bench, is hitting a career-high 45.3% from the field and leads the NBA in free throw shooting at 93.1%.

Meanwhile, Jared Dudley, who was basically a bust in his one season with the Los Angeles Clippers last year, has been a very productive role player for Milwaukee. The seven-year veteran is shooting a career-best 49.8% from the field while connecting on 41.7% from long range.

What’s even more impressive about the level of success the Bucks have achieved under Kidd, is the fact they’ve had to absorb a number of key losses, including the aforementioned Parker, who was the leading candidate for rookie of the year at the time of his injury. In addition, Larry Sanders has missed 21 games, Ersan Ilyasova 21 games, and backup point Kendall Marshall also went down for the season with a torn ACL in mid-January.

Despite the lack of star-studded talent that his division rivals in Cleveland and Chicago boast, Kidd’s team is miraculously three games back of the Cavaliers and 3 1/2 games behind the Bulls.

I guess, in Milwaukee, the Buck stops with Kidd.  ~~  Andy Roth ~~

►  NBA Game Results

(Wednesday, February 04)

Final Score: Indiana 114, Detroit 109

George Hill had a game-high 20 points in his first start in over a month and the Indiana Pacers beat the Detroit Pistons 114-109 on Wednesday night. Roy Hibbert added 16 points and 12 rebounds for the Pacers, who won for just the third time in their last 12 games. Hill started for the first time in six games since returning from an injury that kept him sidelined for most of January. He was 8-of-12 from the field and had six assists in the win. Indiana got 15 points from C.J. Miles and 14 each from David West and C.J. Watson.

Final Score: Atlanta 105, Washington 96

After having their franchise-record winning streak halted, it looks like the Atlanta Hawks are all set to start another one. Jeff Teague registered 26 points with eight assists in the Hawks’ 105-96 win over the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night. Atlanta, which had its 19-game winning streak end at New Orleans on Monday, got back in the win column for its 11th straight victory at Philips Arena. Al Horford went for 21 points and 13 rebounds despite shooting 10-of-24 from the floor, while DeMarre Carroll and Paul Millsap had 14 and 11 points, respectively, in the win. The Hawks now set their sights on the best from the West, the Golden State Warriors, who will visit on Friday. John Wall tallied 24 points with nine assists, Bradley Beal had 23 points and Nene added 17 points for Washington. The Wizards have dropped four straight games for the first time since Dec. 6-14, 2013.

Final Score: Boston 104, Denver 100

The Boston Celtics used a balanced attack to edge the Denver Nuggets, 104-100, on Wednesday. Avery Bradley and Marcus Thornton each scored 17 points to pace the Celtics in their second straight win while Tyler Zeller, Jae Crowder and Jared Sullinger all chipped in with 14 points. Denver trailed for much of the game but took a late and brief lead before ultimately falling to its fourth straight loss and 11th in its last 12 games. Ty Lawson led the Nuggets with 23 points and eight assists, Arron Afflalo scored 18, and Kenneth Faried contributed 17 points and 11 boards.

Final Score: Brooklyn 109, Toronto 93

Jarrett Jack scored 24 points and Alan Anderson added 22 to lead the resurgent Brooklyn Nets to a 109-93 victory over the Toronto Raptors at Air Canada Centre. The Nets built off Monday’s 102-100 win over the Los Angeles Clippers by pulling away in the fourth quarter to avenge a 127-122 home overtime loss to the Raptors just five days ago. Jack racked up a career-best 35 points in defeat that night, and hit 9- of-13 shots while dishing out six assists to spark a strong offensive effort from Brooklyn in the rematch. Joe Johnson contributed 12 points and seven assists to the triumph, while Bojan Bogdanovic hit a trio of 3-pointers in the fourth quarter and ended with 11 points. The winning streak is the Nets’ first since ripping off three straight from Dec. 29-Jan. 2. Terrence Ross tallied 23 points off the bench to pace Toronto. Kyle Lowry had 13 points and 10 assists in the loss, the fourth in the Atlantic Division- leading Raptors’ past six outings at home.

Final Score: Houston 101, Chicago 90

James Harden scored 27 points and the Houston Rockets defeated the Chicago Bulls 101-90 on Wednesday night. Donatas Motiejunas had 15 points and 10 rebounds, Trevor Ariza added 20 points and Josh Smith pulled down 13 boards for the Rockets, who have won five of their last six games. Houston announced earlier Wednesday that center Dwight Howard received a bone marrow aspirate injection in his right knee and will be re-evaluated in four weeks. Howard has missed 17 games this season due to injuries, but the Rockets improved to 12-5 without him on the floor. Jimmy Butler posted 27 points and six rebounds and Derrick Rose netted 23 points for Chicago, which has dropped three consecutive contests. Pau Gasol supplied 16 points and 12 boards and Joakim Noah snatched 19 rebounds in the loss.

Final Score: Milwaukee 113, LA Lakers 105 (OT)

O.J. Mayo and Giannis Antetokounmpo got the Milwaukee Bucks to overtime. Brandon Knight took over from there, leading the Bucks to their longest winning streak in almost three years. Mayo drained a game-tying 3-pointer in the final second of regulation and Knight scored 12 of his 24 points in overtime as the Bucks beat the Los Angeles Lakers 113-105 on Wednesday night. Antetokounmpo had a career-high 25 points in the win, including four during a 13-0 run in the third quarter that helped pull the Bucks out of a big hole. Later, they trailed by six with just 36 seconds left after Jeremy Lin hit a 3 for the Lakers. Milwaukee had three 3-pointers in the final minute of the game, with Knight’s cutting the deficit to 94-91 with 31 seconds left. After Lin missed a 3 at the other end, Mayo buried his tying 3 from the left corner with Wayne Ellington and Carlos Boozer in his face. The Lakers had just 0.5 seconds remaining and fumbled the inbounds pass as the buzzer sounded. Knight started overtime with a 3- pointer and the Bucks never trailed after that in their fifth consecutive win.

Final Score: Minnesota 102, Miami 101

Kevin Martin hit the go-ahead jumper with 41 seconds remaining to lift the Minnesota Timberwolves to a 102-101 win over the Miami Heat on Wednesday night. Martin poured in 30 points for the Timberwolves, who snapped a six-game home losing streak against the Heat. Thaddeus Young had 16 points and five steals, while Nikola Pekovic and Gorgui Dieng each scored 13 points. Hassan Whiteside made his first 11 shots and finished with 24 points and 20 rebounds for Miami, which squandered a 10- point lead in the fourth quarter. Luol Deng scored 18 points and Norris Cole added 15 as Miami lost for the fourth time in five games.

Final Score: Oklahoma City 102, New Orleans 91

Without Kevin Durant for the second straight game, Russell Westbrook had to step up and delivered in the Oklahoma City Thunder’s 102-91 win over the New Orleans Pelicans. Westbrook tied a career-high with 45 points and added six assists and six rebounds to end Oklahoma City’s four-game road losing streak. Anthony Morrow had 14 off the Thunder bench, while Serge Ibaka and Dion Waiters contributed 13 and 12 points, respectively. New Orleans struggled from the field in having its two-game winning streak halted. The Pelicans shot just 38.9 percent and made 7-of-25 shots from 3-point range. Anthony Davis led the way for New Orleans with 23 points and eight rebounds, and Ryan Anderson netted 19 points.

Final Score: San Antonio 110, Orlando 103

Tim Duncan contributed 26 points and 10 rebounds to the San Antonio Spurs’ 110-103 win over the scuffling Orlando Magic on Wednesday night. Kawhi Leonard scored 18 points with five rebounds and five assists, and Tony Parker added 15 points for San Antonio, which has won four of its last five games. Nikola Vucevic had 25 points with 13 rebounds and Tobias Harris chipped in 23 points and 10 boards for the Magic, who have lost 10 straight games overall. Orlando, which is now 4-23 all-time in San Antonio, has also dropped its last six games in the Alamo City.

Final Score: Memphis 100, Utah 90

Marc Gasol scored 23 points as the Memphis Grizzlies topped the Utah Jazz, 100-90, on Wednesday. Memphis tied a franchise record with its eighth straight win. Zach Randolph added 18 points and 11 rebounds, Mike Conley scored 17 and Jeff Green contributed 13 points. The Jazz lost for the fourth time in five games despite getting 21 points from Trey Burke off the bench. In a battle of tough frontcourts, Utah’s Enes Kanter held his own with 16 points and 10 boards. Gordon Hayward chipped in 15 points and Derrick Favors netted 11 in the loss.

Final Score: Golden State 128, Dallas 114

Stephen Curry knocked down 10 3-pointers and finished with 51 points as the Golden State Warriors defeated the Dallas Mavericks 128-114 on Wednesday night. Curry, who was 16-of-26 from the field and 10-of-16 from beyond the arc, netted 26 points in the third quarter and helped rally the Warriors from an early 22-point hole. Klay Thompson netted 18 points while Leandro Barbosa and Marreese Speights added 14 apiece off the bench for the Warriors, who have won three straight on the heels of a brief two-game skid. Tyson Chandler posted 21 points and 17 rebounds, while Chandler Parsons supplied 24 points for Dallas, which had its three-game winning streak snapped.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Rounding Third: Who is Yoan Moncada?

The casual baseball fan will tell you that right-hander James Shields is the best remaining free agent available.

They’d be wrong though.

The most sought after player on the market became available to everyone on Tuesday, as Major League Baseball eased up on its rules with regards to Cuban ballplayers and opened the doors for an all-out bidding war for 19-year-old infielder Yoan Moncada.

Cuban players had needed to obtain specific unblocking license from the Office of Foreign Assets Control before they were to enter into an agreement with a team.

But given the new relationship between the U.S. and Cuba, MLB took action and distributed a memo to teams stating that players who present sworn affidavits to it stating they are residents of another country, have no intention of returning to Cuba and are not Cuban government officials can sign with major league teams immediately.

Moncada, who has taken up residence in Guatemala, could fetch a deal close to $40 million. However, since he is under 23 years of age and considered an amateur, he is still subject to the international signing guidelines.

Basically how that works is that each team is allotted a $700,000 base and a bonus pool based on the team’s record in 2013 for the international signing period, which started on July 2 and ends on June 15.

Now, of course, teams have gone over their bonus pools and teams like the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox have actually gone over by more than 15-%, putting them in the maximum penalty range for the upcoming 2015-16 signing period.

More than likely, though, any team that goes after Moncada is going to exceed its pool.

The penalty will include a 100% tax on their pool, meaning, of course, that a potential Moncada investment could total close to $80 million.

But, don’t think for a second that means teams will stay away from a player like Moncada, who most observers think will become one of the best prospects in baseball the minute he puts his name on the dotted line.

After making a name for himself by dominating the 16-and-under and 18-and- under leagues in Cuba, Moncada debuted for Cienfuegos in Cuba’s Serie Nacional at age 17 and hit .277 during parts of two seasons. He’s a switch-hitting middle infielder - probably more of a second baseman - who hits for average, has power, above-average runner, good arm.

Still, some feel the 6-foot, 210-pounder’s future may be at third base.

Given the high price tag you can probably already guess who will be amongst the bidders. In addition to the Yankees and Red Sox, Moncada has also held private workouts for the San Diego Padres, San Francisco Giants, Texas Rangers, Tampa Bay Rays, Milwaukee Brewers and Detroit Tigers.

And you can’t count out the Dodgers, either, although, more than half the league will take interest now that he is freely available. That’s how good some people view him.

Quite simply, everyone will be in on him.

Speaking of Shields, he is supposedly close to finding a team and could be under contract by the end of the week. Where he is going, though, is anyone’s guess.

The St. Louis Cardinals have been the team most recently identified with him. Shields was believed to be in the market for a 5-year, $125 million deal. That probably won’t happen now, as he may have to settle for a 3- or 4-year deal in the $80 million range.

Shields has started 33 or 34 games for seven straight seasons and has never been injured. Maybe he rolls the dice and signs a monster 1-year deal and does this all again next winter?  ~~  Chris Ruddick ~~

►  Rockies sign Kyle Kendrick

The Colorado Rockies agreed to terms on a one-year contract with pitcher Kyle Kendrick on Wednesday.

Kendrick, 30, spent his first eight seasons in the league with the Philadelphia Phillies, posting a 74-68 record with a 4.42 ERA in 226 games/185 starts.

The right-hander went 10-13 with a 4.61 ERA in 32 starts for the Phillies in 2014. Both the 32 starts and 199.0 innings pitched were career-high marks for Kendrick, who has won at least 10 games in each of his last three seasons.

To make room on the 40-man roster for Kendrick, the Rockies designated left- handed pitcher Yohan Flande for assignment.

Flande, 29, made his major league debut for Colorado in 2014, going 0-6 with a 5.19 ERA in 16 games/10 starts.

►  Pirates acquire Caminero from Marlins

The Pittsburgh Pirates have acquired right-handed pitcher Arquimedes Caminero from the Miami Marlins in exchange for cash considerations.

Caminero went 4-1 with 10 saves, a 4.86 ERA and 79 strikeouts in 42 relief appearances with Triple-A New Orleans in 2014. He also made six relief appearances with the Marlins last season.

The 27-year-old Caminero made his MLB debut with the Marlins during the 2013 season and posted a 2.77 ERA in 13 games.

►  Cards sign P Villanueva to minor-league deal

The St. Louis Cardinals signed pitcher Carlos Villanueva to a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training on Wednesday.

The right-hander appeared in 42 games, with five starts, last season for the Cubs, going 5-7 with a 4.64 ERA.

Over nine seasons with the Brewers, Blue Jays and Cubs, Villanueva is 45-50 with a 4.26 ERA, appearing in 390 games, including 76 starts.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  NHL Game Results

(Wednesday, February 04)

Final Score: NY Rangers 3, Boston 2

Derick Brassard and Derek Stepan scored in the second period to turn a one-goal deficit into a one-goal lead, and the New York Rangers ended up with a 3-2 decision over Boston at Madison Square Garden. Rick Nash added a goal and one assist for the Rangers, who have won three in a row and six of eight overall. Cam Talbot, subbing for Henrik Lundqvist who has been ruled day-to-day with a neck issue, picked up the win thanks to 18 saves. Milan Lucic and Patrice Bergeron scored for the Bruins, while Tuukka Rask stopped 22 shots in the loss.

Final Score: Pittsburgh 2, Edmonton 0

Marc Andre-Fleury made 22 saves for his league-leading seventh shutout of the season as the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated the Edmonton Oilers 2-0 on Wednesday. Evgeni Malkin scored in his return to the lineup after missing five games with a lower-body injury and David Perron, who was traded from Edmonton on Jan. 2, lit the lamp for the Penguins, who bounced back from a 4-0 loss to Nashville on Sunday. Viktor Fasth allowed both goals on 26 shots in defeat and has yet to win a game at home this season. Edmonton has lost three of five.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Serena will end Indian Wells boycott

World No. 1 Serena Williams announced that she will return to the BNP Paribas Open in Indian Wells this year, a tournament she captured twice but hasn’t played for 14 years.

Williams made the announcement in an exclusive for Time Magazine on Wednesday, discussing everything from her happy memories from the tournament, her devastating experiences there in 2001 and now, after 14 years, what brought her to the decision to make her long-awaited return.

“It has been difficult for me to forget spending hours crying in the Indian Wells locker room after winning in 2001, driving back to Los Angeles feeling as if I had lost the biggest game ever—not a mere tennis game but a bigger fight for equality,“ Williams wrote in her exclusive piece for Time.

“I’m fortunate to be at a point in my career where I have nothing to prove. I’m still as driven as ever, but the ride is a little easier. I play for the love of the game. And it is with that love in mind, and a new understanding of the true meaning of forgiveness, that I will proudly return to Indian Wells in 2015.“

Indian Wells was one of Williams’ biggest conquering grounds early on in her career. She won the title in her main draw debut there as a 17-year-old in 1999, including beating Steffi Graf in a riveting final, reached the quarterfinals again the next year, falling to Mary Pierce, and then recaptured the Premier Mandatory-level title in 2001, rallying from a set down to beat Kim Clijsters in the final.

The victory over Clijsters in the ‘01 final was marred by the behavior of some fans who booed and heckled the American and her family, apparently in response to sister Venus withdrawing injured from their semifinal.

“I said a few times that I would never play there again. And believe me, I meant it,“ said Serena. “I admit it scared me. What if I walked onto the court and the entire crowd booed me? The nightmare would start all over.

“I’m just following my heart on this one,“ she adds. “Indian Wells was a pivotal moment of my story, and I am a part of the tournament’s story as well.

“Together we have a chance to write a different ending.“

Indian Wells will stage its lucrative tennis event next month.

►  Karlovic ousted on home soil

Marcos Baghdatis upset top seed Ivo Karlovic in a second-round affair Wednesday at the Zagreb Indoors tennis event.

The 2007 Zagreb champion and former Australian Open runner-up Baghdatis, of Cyprus, saved a match point before upending the 6-foot-10 Croatian crowd favorite Karlovic 3-6, 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (9-7) in just under two hours. The big-serving bout featured 37 aces, including 26 from the loser. The Zagreb native Karlovic also tallied the only service break of the match in the first set.

Meanwhile, former Zagreb champ Mikhail Youzhny was an easy second-round winner. The sixth-seeded Russian veteran vaulted past fellow former champion Sergiy Stakhovsky of Ukraine 6-2, 6-1 at Dom Sportova.

The 32-year-old Youzhny titled here in 2012. Stakhovsky was the 2008 Zagreb winner.

Youzhny will face Baghdatis in a quarterfinal on Friday.

The first round came to a close with four matches, as eighth-seeded Spaniard Marcel Granollers topped Austrian left-hander and 2013 Zagreb runner-up Jurgen Melzer 6-2, 7-6 (7-3); Croatian favorite and 2011 champion Ivan Dodig dismissed compatriot wild card Mate Delic 6-2, 6-3; Dutchman Igor Sijsling doused Canadian qualifier Frank Dancevic 6-4, 7-5; and Brit James Ward dismissed Croatian wild card Antonio Veic 6-2, 6-4.

“I felt really good today,“ Granollers said of his play against the former finalist Melzer. “I won a very tough match against a very good player.“

On Thursday, second seed Adrian Mannarino of France will play a second-rounder against Sijsling.

The 2015 Zagreb champion will collect $90,000.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Mutuel field favored for second Kentucky Derby Future Wager

Pool 2 of the Kentucky Derby Future Wager will take place beginning Friday, February 6 through Sunday, February 8.

There are 24 betting interests which include 23 individual 3-year-olds and the mutuel field of all others. The three-day Kentucky Derby Future Wager Pool 2 opens at noon Friday and concludes Sunday at 6 PMET. The morning line is by Churchill Downs handicapper Mike Battaglia.

The mutuel field is the even-money morning line for the pool after closing as the 3-5 favorite in Pool 1 last November.

Eclipse Award winner American Pharoah is the 10-1 second pick and was 12-1 for the Pool 1. Dortmund, the 9-1 second choice in November, is 12-1 along with Holy Bull Stakes winner Upstart.

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Texas Red is 15-1 in the morning line as is Juvenile runner-up Carpe Diem. Texas Red closed at 14-1 in Pool 1.

Pool 3 will be from Friday, February 27 through Sunday, March 1 and Pool 4 will be Friday, March 27 through Sunday, March 29. The 141st Run for the Roses will go off on Saturday, May 2.

Here are the 24 betting interests for the second Kentucky Derby Future Wager:

Number Wagering Interest Morning line odds Final odds:

1. American Pharoah 10-1

2. Carpe Diem 15-1

3. Competitive Edge 30-1

4. Daredevil 30-1

5. Dortmund 12-1

6. El Kabeir 20-1

7. Far Right* 50-1

8. Firing Line* 30-1

9. Frosted 30-1

10. Gorgeous Bird* 50-1

11. Imperia 30-1

12. International Star* 50-1

13. Itsaknockout* 50-1

14. J S Bach* 30-1

15. Khozan* 20-1

16. Lord Nelson 30-1

17. Mr. Z 50-1

18. Ocean Knight* 50-1

19. Ocho Ocho Ocho 30-1

20. Prospect Park* 50-1

21. Texas Red 15-1

22. The Great War 30-1

23. Upstart 12-1

24. All Others even

g - gelding

* - New wagering interest in Pool 2

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Charlie Sifford passes away at 92

World Golf Hall of Fame member and golf pioneer Charlie Sifford passed away at the age of 92.

Sifford was the first African American to join the PGA Tour in 1960. He was also the first African American inducted into the World Golf Hall of Fame when he was inducted in 2004.

“Charlie Sifford was a pioneer in our sport, breaking down barriers and paving the way for everyone able to compete at the highest level to succeed on the PGA Tour,“ PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem said. “Charlie’s induction into the World Golf Hall of Fame put an exclamation point on a remarkable career, where he proved to be a tenacious competitor and an outstanding player. We truly mourn his passing.“

Along with being a World Golf Hall of Fame member, Sifford was honored by President Barack Obama with the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest civilian honor. Sifford joined Arnold Palmer and Jack Nicklaus as the only golfers to earn that distinguished honor.

“On the tour, Charlie was sometimes banned from clubhouse restaurants. Folks threatened him, shouted slurs from the gallery,“ Obama said during the ceremony. “Because golf can be a solitary sport, Charlie didn’t have teammates to lean on. But he did have his lovely wife Rose, and he had plenty of guts and grit and that trademark cigar.“

Sifford, who was born in 1922, served in World War II. He was discharged in 1946 and shortly thereafter was competing in tournaments on the United Golf Association. He won 11 times over the next 14 years.

He won the right to compete on the PGA Tour in 1960 and went on the win a pair of events - the 1967 Greater Hartford Open and the 1969 Los Angeles Open. Sifford also won a Champions Tour event in 1980, the year that tour was founded.

Tiger Woods said that his father would have never taken up the game if it hadn’t been for what Sifford had done.

“Terrible loss for golf and me personally. My grandfather is gone and we all lost a brave, decent and honorable man. I’ll miss u Charlie,“ Wood said on his Twitter account.

Among the numerous other honors bestowed on Sifford was an honorary degree from the University of St Andrews as a Doctor of Laws. He received that honor in 2006.

PGA of America president Derek Sprague said: “It is with great sadness that the world of golf has lost a faithful ambassador in PGA Member Dr. Charles L. Sifford. His love of golf, despite many barriers in his path, strengthened him as he became a beacon for diversity in our game. By his courage, Dr. Sifford inspired others to follow their dreams. The PGA of America extends its thoughts and prayers to Dr. Sifford’s family. Golf was fortunate to have had this exceptional American in our midst.“

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Signing Day

While yesterday brought the culmination, West Virginia’s 2015 recruiting class had been developing for more than 17 months, ever since Stone Wolfley gave the first commitment way back on July 01, 2013. In actuality, the pitches and promises began long before that, with the Mountaineers desperate to ramp up the talent collection needed to compete in the Big 12.

Here is the timeline of event as it happened:

10:15 AM Three-star recruit Kevin Williams has signed. Was a top-100 cornerback according to one service and a top-60 safety according to another.

9:55 AM Recently added defensive line coach Bruce Tall, appearing on the school’s web stream, says he practically “jumped off the phone’ when Tony Gibson offered him the job. He said of the 3-3-5 stack: “That’s what you want to coach, with guys attacking and flying around. Everybody talks about being an attacking defense, but when you put the tape on are you really attacking?”

9:43 AM Four-star receiver Antonio Callaway, pursued heavily by West Virginia in recent weeks, has chosen Florida. Probably figures that offense can nowhere but up.

9:30 AM Ron Crook was at Stanford when he recruited Kyle Bosch, who ultimately chose Michigan. That relationship paid dividends when Bosch began looking to transfer last month. … Crook also just commented about WVU signing a gaggle of big O-linemen: “Hopefully I don’t screw ‘em up.”

9:01 AM West Virginia was among the gazillion teams that offered and missed out on four-star receiver Preston Williams. They also missed out on this …

8:58 AM Four-star receiver Jovan Durante has signed. He’s regarded as the most explosive offensive recruit in the class. Mountaineer Nation will love him because he can catch punts.

8:56 AM Jordan Adams has submitted his NLI, completing West Virginia’s twin signings out of Reisterstown, MD. He says “I’m part of the family now,” as he drops happy tears onto the fax machine.

8:50 AM David Long has signed. He’s a K.J. Dillon in waiting.

8:48 AM Stone Wolfley has signed, so it’s officially “Take Your Kid to Work Day” for Dale.

8:36 AM Defensive lineman Alec Shriner has signed out of Oviedo, Florida. Think he’s not serious about creating turnovers? Just look at how he’s trying to punch out that football …

8:21 AM Purdue commit Chazmyn Turner, a 6-5, 240-pound defensive lineman from North Carolina, reportedly was set to sign with the Boilermakers today. His Twitter account says otherwise, so West Virginia remains in the running.

8:16 AM Cornerback Antonio Howard has signed with Marshall, two days after decommitting from WVU. As the alternative version goes, Howard had his WVU offer yanked for visiting other schools late in the cycle.

8:12 AM Defensive end Adam Shuler has signed. He’s a lanky, athletic kid who hasn’t played much high school football, but hey, at least he’s fresh.

7:53 AM Offensive lineman Rob Dowdy has signed. Was a former Pitt commit before Wisconsin threw Paul Chryst a lifeline.

7:42 AM Athlete Jacquez Adams has signed. He’s not supposed to be as fast as twin bother commitment Jordan Adams, but he beat him to the fax machine.

7:40 AM Offensive lineman Jah’Shaun Seider has signed. He got the apostrophe JaJaun always wanted.

7:24 AM Offensive lineman Colton McKivitz has signed. He’s one of at least four Ohio prospects expected to join Mountaineer Nation today, including three on the O-line.

7:20 AM Offensive lineman Matthew Jones has signed. An Ohio kid who played two ways in high school, he’s only headed one way now—east.

7 AM There’s been an interesting development regarding Michigan transfer Michael Ferns. The kid who came out of St. Clairsville High School as a four-star linebacker is being listed by West Virginia as a tight end/fullback. He presumably won’t be eligible until 2016, but when that happens, it looks like Ferns will be on offense.

Needing to replace two game-breaking outside receivers, West Virginia was elated to land Gary Jennings on Wednesday afternoon.

Comfortable with its group of returning running backs, WVU shrugged off unsuccessful attempts to sway south Florida stars Jordan Cronkite and Mark Walton.

Such was the good-not-great signing day haul for the Mountaineers, whose class ranked No. 33 by Rivals and edged TCU for third-best in the Big 12.

The breakdown of the 21 signees—six defensive backs, five defensive linemen, four offensive linemen, three receivers, two quarterbacks and one linebacker—pleased Dana Holgorsen. Though some recent West Virginia classes received higher grades, the coach flashed attitude about the Mountaineers becoming choosier with their recruiting.

“For the first time in five years we were able to be selective at the end of this process,” he said. “There are a couple guys that I’m thrilled are not part of the Mountaineer family.

“We’re not interested in getting guys that want to commit and take a bunch of trips, so we shut some of that stuff down.”

Holgorsen lauded the loyalty of players such as four-star Miramar product Jovon Durante, the nation’s No. 163-rated recruit who committed last April and never wavered. With Kevin White and Mario Alford departing, Durante and Jennings may be in line for immediate playing time.

Jennings, a three-star receiver from Stafford, Va., chose West Virginia over North Carolina, Virginia and Notre Dame during an afternoon ceremony.

“It was a process where he wanted us to wait so we waited,” said lead recruiter Lonnie Galloway. “I told him if you want to come in and compete to play right away, this is the best place for you.

“He was my top guy. I’m very excited that we got him.”

  “I told (Gary Jennings) if you want to come in and compete to play right away, this is the best place for you. He was my top guy. I’m very excited that we got him.” — lead recruiter Lonnie Galloway.

Landing Jennings become even more crucial after two committed receivers flipped Wednesday—Shaquery Wilson back to Georgia, and Kahlil Lewis to Cincinnati.

West Virginia finished second in the chase for Cronkite, who signed with Florida, and Walton, who affirmed his commitment to Miami. Both are four-star prospects who WVU courted during the past two months— a push Holgorsen alluded to as assistant JuJuan Seider “trying to hit a couple of home runs” in the talent-rich coastal area.

“When you battle for the best players, you’re going to come up short sometimes,” Seider said. “We got in on those guys late, because we weren’t going to take (a running back). But we made it interesting and it was a 50-50 deal at the end.”

West Virginia returns four running backs with starting experience and a fifth, redshirt freshman Dontae Thomas-Williams, who was a consensus top-30 running back last season. “We’re not panicking,” Seider said, “because our stable is full.”

The secondary appears well-stocked with five returning starters, and only got deeper with the four-star additions of junior college standout Rasul Douglas and Miramar’s Tyrek Cole, the country’s No. 207 overall recruit.

Defensive coordinator Tony Gibson predicted the newcomers can flourish in his blitz-heavy scheme that trusts cornerbacks to play man coverage.

“I tell all those DBs, ‘If you’re afraid to play man coverage with no safety help, don’t come to West Virginia.’ That’s why I like the mentality and makeup of the kids we did sign. They understand how we want to play. Some kids aren’t a fit for it.”

Brother’s footsteps: Ka’Raun White didn’t have as many offers as his brother Kevin did coming out of junior college, but Holgorsen said “his tape looked remarkably similar to what Kevin did at Lackawanna.”

In-state duo: Along with Morgantown’s Stone Wolfley, defensive back Deamonte Lindsay of Martinsburg represented the Mountaineers’ home-state contingent.

Whereas Wolfley has a family lineage to the program, Lindsay caught the coaches’ attention during last summer’s camp.

“His camp performance was impressive, so we went back and looked at his junior tape and it was impressive,” Holgorsen said. “He followed it up with a great senior year—made a lot of plays, and played a lot of different (positions).”

Lone linebacker: Some recruiting services suggested Cincinnati’s David Long would become a Spur safety at WVU, but Gibson sees him at Will.

“He’s a very explosive kid, and I love the way he plays. He’s going right in at linebacker with me.”

Last fax in: Junior college defensive end Xavier Pegues sent his letter of intent around 3:45 p.m., becoming WVU’s final signee of the day. At 6-3, 270 pounds, Pegues could form a stout presence opposite Itawamba (Miss) Community College teammate Larry Jefferson, who enrolled last month.

“Xavier was a key to this class, giving us some help up front,” Gibson said. “Xavier’s a little thicker and can play tackle. Larry’s more of a true end.”

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Malcolm Butler’s journey from ‘good employee’ at Popeyes to Patriots’ Super Bowl XLIX hero

Shennelle Parker, the manager of the Popeyes Louisiana Kitchen in Vicksburg, Miss., could always count on Malcolm Butler. Parker hired Butler as a cashier, and before long Butler began to “cross train,” which meant he could perform every task in the store. Butler showed up on time, washed dishes, took orders up front and graduated to the batter station, where he would drop chicken into sizzling oil.

“He was a good employee,” Parker said Monday morning in a phone conversation. “He kept the customers happy and pleased. I was always pleased. He was a hard worker. Everybody in here really liked working with him.”

Parker last saw Butler about one month ago, during the New England Patriots’ bye week. Butler had gone home to Vicksburg, and every time he traveled home he still stopped by Popeyes to see his old boss and talk. “He was excited about the playoffs,” Parker said. Monday morning, Parker watched Butler give an interview on ESPN. She beamed when Butler mentioned he used to work at Popeyes.

The Gilmer Free Press

Butler, 24, had completed an inconceivable path from batter cook to Division II standout to undrafted rookie to Super Bowl hero. Sunday night, Butler sealed the Patriots’ 28-24 victory over the Seattle Seahawks with an interception at the goal line with 20 seconds remaining, both the deciding play of a classic Super Bowl and the culmination of Butler’s self-made ascension.

“The first thing I want to say is he’s a tremendous young man with a tremendous attitude,” said Will Hall, Butler’s coach at Division II West Alabama. “Every day he wakes up, every time he runs into somebody he makes their day better. He’s just one of those people.”

For the public, Butler’s interception turned him into an overnight sensation. Nothing about his story, though, is instant or easy. Butler earned his place in football history through years of perseverance, through overcoming challenges from childhood with honest, constant work.

Butler grew up in Vicksburg with no advantages. “Earlier in his life, he didn’t have the easiest childhood,” Hall said. “He didn’t have a whole lot of money, a whole lot of extra things.” Butler started working at Popeyes on the weekend in high school to help his mother make ends meet.

Butler struggled in school and did not make grades to qualify for Division I football. He attended Hinds Community College. He played five games before Hinds dismissed him. (According to the Providence Journal, he was arrested and charged with possession of drug paraphernalia.) Butler moved back to Vicksburg and worked at Popeyes, hoping for another chance.

Hinds took Butler back for his sophomore season, and he capitalized on his second chance. On weekends, he still returned home to work at Popeyes. Teams from Conference USA and the Sun Belt recruited Butler, but his grades still weren’t good enough to qualify for Division I. During his time at West Alabama, Hall coached seven players who played professionally, and all of them came to him for academic reasons.

“He’s never had anything given to him,” Hall said. “Anything he’s got in his life, he’s had to work for and get for himself. You see a lot of guys that are in that situation, and they go the other way. Malcolm realized early on no matter what hand you’re dealt, you’re responsible for your success and failures. Just like all of us, as he grew and got older, he realized what mattered.”

Butler continued to work away from football, taking a work-study job at the school fitness center under Hall’s wife. Butler sopped sweat off spinning bikes. He washed towels. He mopped locker room floors. He never complained.

“Malcolm’s just a guy that brightens your day,” Hall said.

Immediately, Hall saw Butler possessed the potential to play in the NFL. He had decent size and decent speed, though he wasn’t the biggest or fastest defensive back on his team. But Butler stood out with his ability to break on passes, to play the ball in the air. He also had a penchant for making his best plays in the biggest moments.

West Alabama had never won an outright Gulf Coast Conference championship. Those usually went to North Alabama, a league power that historically dominated West Alabama. In Butler’s senior season, North Alabama returned an interception for a touchdown to tie the score, and in the stadium, Hall said, a sense of inevitability set in that North Alabama would beat West Alabama again. Then Butler returned the ensuing kickoff for a touchdown. West Alabama beat North Alabama and won its first conference title.

“Obviously,” Hall said, “that’s not the biggest play that he’s made now.”

Early in his career at West Alabama, the Patriots showed interest in Butler. Joe Judge, the Patriots’ special teams coordinator, noticed Butler’s ability to return and cover kicks. The Patriots value versatility, and Butler showed promise as a special teams contributor. Hall knew New England wanted him, and after Butler went undrafted, the Patriots signed him as a free agent.

The Patriots do not affix numbers to players’ uniforms early in training camp, so it can be difficult even for veterans to identify new teammates. Quarterback Tom Brady kept seeing one defensive back on the scout team, a quick runner and a good leaper, make one play after another. “Who is that?” Brady asked himself. “Who’s that guy running down balls?” It was Butler.

During the season Butler played mostly on special teams, active for 11 of 16 games. He made an impression on his teammates with his tireless work and his improvement during the week, and his playing time grew late in the season.

“He’s been picking me off all season in practice,” Brady said at Monday morning’s post-Super Bowl news conference. “So it was nice to see him do it to someone else.”

All game long, Butler hounded Seahawks wide receiver Jermaine Kearse – he knocked away the pass that Kearse caught, miraculously, sitting on his back to set up the Seahawks with a first and goal at the 5-yard line in the final minute.

On second and goal from the 1, Butler set up on the right side of the Seahawks’ formation, the Patriots’ third cornerback. Defensive coordinator Matt Patricia had told him to look for Ricardo Lockette, the outside receiver, to run a slant and try to run him into another crossing receiver.

“I knew they were going to throw it,” Butler said.

Lockette slanted across the middle. For a moment, he came wide open at the goal line, with Butler standing three yards deep in the end zone. Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson fired the ball. Butler darted forward, doing what he did best during his time at West Alabama — making a play on the ball in the air. He knocked shoulders with Lockette as the ball arrived and snared the pass. Butler surged forward, dropped to his knees and rested his head on the turf.

“I was so emotional,” Butler said. “I had a feeling I was going to make a big play, but not this big.”

Back in Vicksburg, Shennelle Parker roared in celebration. Her former employee, her Facebook friend, had just won the Super Bowl, four years removed from frying chicken to make a living. Butler has not forgotten where he came from. “He always tells me he loved working at Popeyes,” Parker said.

Parker plans to buy a Patriots jersey with Butler’s name and number. She looks forward to seeing Butler again on his next trip home to Vicksburg. Parker knows he’ll stop by again. She plans to take a picture with Butler, the former batter cook turned Super Bowl hero. She will pin that picture on the wall, for every person who walks into the Vicksburg Popeyes to see.

►  Bill Belichick made a sneaky-smart decision that might have contributed to fateful play call by Pete Carroll

Pete Carroll’s confounding last-minute play call Sunday night will be dissected, debated and mocked for as long they play Super Bowls. It might have been prodded by a sneaky-brilliant decision by Bill Belichick.

With 1 minute, 6 seconds seconds left and the Seahawks down by four points, Marshawn Lynch rumbled to the 1-yard line on first down. The Patriots possessed two timeouts, and the Seahawks had one left. The clock ticked down, and at first it appeared odd for Belichick not to exhaust one of his timeouts. With the Seahawks on the doorstep, New England needed to conserve seconds for a desperation drive in response.

Belichick’s choice to not use a timeout, though, made life more difficult for the Seahawks by complicating their play-calling options. It may have even convinced them to throw their ill-fated pass on second down.

The Gilmer Free Press

Imagine Belichick had called a timeout in hopes of saving seconds for Tom Brady. The Seahawks would have had enough time to hand off the ball three times without fear of the clock running out, particularly because they had a timeout of their own.

But with Belichick allowing the clock to tick, Seattle’s calculus became more complex, especially as they used almost the entire play clock. They did not snap the ball until there were 26 seconds left in the game. If Seattle ran on second down and the Patriots stuffed them, the Seahawks would have needed to use their final timeout immediately, with about 20 seconds remaining.

The situation would have dictated their ensuing third down. The Seahawks would have no choice but to pass, or else they would have risked the clock running out on their season. The Patriots would have known this, too, which would have made the play far easier to defend. On a potential fourth down, the Seahawks would have had their entire playbook at their disposal.

It’s possible, if not likely, that Carroll passed on second down because he didn’t want to be in a position where the Patriots knew they would pass on third down. And that reality arose because Belichick kept his timeouts holstered.

Belichick would have known that Carroll didn’t want to box himself in on a possible third down, which is how the Patriots could have anticipated that second-down pass that Malcolm Butler intercepted to ice the game. Even with the ball on the goal line, the Patriots used three cornerbacks on the field. The third? Butler.

It should be noted that the Seahawks’ suboptimal clock management contributed to their downfall. After Jermaine Kearse’s circus catch set up Seattle with a first-and-goal at the 5, the Seahawks burned their second timeout because they didn’t get a play to Wilson quickly enough. That timeout could have made Belichick not calling one moot. And as noted above, the Seahawks took too long after Lynch’s first-down run.

Anyone could still argue the Seahawks should have relied on their strength and given the ball to Lynch or let Russell Wilson run a zone-read play at the 1. Studying all of the permutations of the clock could be overthinking it. But as you rip Carroll for not running the ball at the goal line, credit Belichick for making him have to consider it, for making a tiny decision that had an enormous impact.

►  NFL suspends Josh Gordon at least 1 year

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon has been suspended by the NFL for at least one year after his latest violation of the league’s substance-abuse policy.

It’s the second year in a row Gordon received such a suspension, although his ban for the 2014 season was eventually reduced to 10 games.

The Browns said in a statement Tuesday they were “disappointed to once again be at this point” with the talented but often in trouble wide receiver.

Gordon, 23, has said his latest positive test came after he consumed two beers and two drinks during a private flight to Las Vegas with several teammates on January 2, five days after the end of the regular season.

He said it was the first time he consumed alcohol since being charged with driving while intoxicated on July 4 of last year.

Under terms of his reinstatement this past season, Gordon agreed to abstain from drinking alcohol for the remainder of the season and to submit to drug and alcohol screens.

“Throughout his career we have tried to assist him in getting support like we would with any member of our organization,“ Browns general manager Ray Farmer said in a statement issued by the team. “Unfortunately our efforts have not resonated with him. It is evident that Josh needs to make some substantial strides to live up to the positive culture we are trying to build this football team upon.

“Our hope is that this suspension affords Josh the opportunity to gain some clarity in determining what he wants to accomplish moving forward and if he wants a career in the National Football League. We will have no further comment on Josh as he will not be permitted in our facility for the duration of his suspension.“

In an open letter posted on last week, Gordon addressed his many critics in the media for what he said was a rush to judge him over his latest failed test.

Gordon said he doesn’t have an alcohol problem and hasn’t smoked marijuana since before he was taken by the Browns in the supplemental draft in 2012, despite the public perception that he uses the drug.

His 10-game suspension to start the 2014 season included two games for the DWI charge and an eight-game ban over a positive test for marijuana that he says was due to inadvertently inhaling second-hand smoke.

Gordon’s initial season-long suspension was reduced under the NFL’s revamped drug policy.

He said he thought his league-imposed restriction on drinking alcohol expired at the end of the regular season, which is why he consumed the drinks on the flight to Las Vegas.

Gordon led the NFL in 2013 with 1,646 receiving yards on 87 catches despite missing the first two games because of a suspension over substance abuse.

In five games this past season, he had 24 receptions for 303 yards without a touchdown. The Browns suspended him for the final game of the season for a violation of team rules, which Gordon said was for missing a team walkthrough.

►  Two Irish guys sneaked into the Super Bowl without tickets and snagged $25,000 seats

While hundreds wallowed over their Super Bowl ticket deals falling through on Sunday, two NFL fans from Ireland managed to sneak into University of Phoenix stadium in Glendale, Ariz., and snag $25,000 seats for free.

“Our game plan was to be super confident,” Richard Whelan, who attended with friend Paul McEvoy, told RTE Radio One Morning Ireland (via the Independent). “We just thought if we pretend we belong there, nobody will question us.”

Apparently, no one did. The two said they took advantage of the hullabaloo at one gate at the stadium, where they saw crowds of first aid workers entering.

“Between one layer of security and another we just walked in behind these 20 first aid workers, straight up to the front door and hid in behind them,” Whelan said. Meanwhile, “Paul was looking at his phone, pretending to text me, as if we had just popped out to look at an email we got or something.”

From there, things got even better for the Irishmen. They were able to make it past another security guard who they say simply “wasn’t paying attention” before spending the first part of the game hopping from seat to seat when people would temporarily leave to grab food or go to the restroom. That was when they ran into a glorious stroke of luck — a man who presumably paid for his ticket told the pair that two women sitting by him in the fourth row would be permanently leaving in the second quarter so they could perform in the halftime show with Katy Perry.

“So we ended up in the fourth row, sitting beside a former Super Bowl champion Lawyer Milloy who gave us a play-by-play of the game,” Richard said. “It was pretty cool to have the Super Bowl champion sharing all the details.”

  .@LawyerMilloy Good to meet you man – can’t believe it made all the papers!

Whelan, a hardcore Seattle fan, wasn’t even upset by his team’s loss, which came due to a controversial slant pass call at the 1 yard line.

“It was a good day of hustling,” Whelan said. “What seemed like impossible came true.”

The Gilmer Free Press
Richard Whelan @richiewhelan
Getting ready for the long trip back to Dublin. Hopefully I’m allowed back home smile
4:43 AM - 03 Feb 2015

►  Colts LB Jackson arrested on assault charge

Indianapolis Colts linebacker D’Qwell Jackson was arrested Tuesday on a charge of simple assault, according to Washington, D.C., police.

A police report obtained Wednesday by reveals that Jackson was arrested after an argument with a driver over a parking space. The driver told authorities that Jackson punched him in the left side of the face and in the back of the head during the dispute.

Officers responded around 8 PM ET to a call about a disturbance at the 1900 block of 12th Street NW in Washington. Jackson was transported to the department’s third district and released later that night.

According to multiple media outlets in Washington, the driver was a pizza delivery man who told Jackson that he was going to use the parking spot momentarily. Jackson became upset and allegedly assaulted the driver.

Jackson, 31, started all 16 games for Indianapolis this past season, recording 140 tackles and four sacks. He signed with the Colts last spring after his release from the Cleveland Browns.

►  Cowboys’ Randle charged with pot possession

Dallas Cowboys running back Joseph Randle was charged with possession of marijuana over an incident in Wichita, Kansas, early Tuesday morning.

According to Wichita police, Randle was charged of unlawful possession of marijuana at 2:53 AM Tuesday.

Officers responded to a domestic violence call involving a weapon at a hotel in the city, according to KSN-TV. They found Randle and a 22-year-old woman and observed a small amount of marijuana in the room, which was rented to Randle.

According to the report, an associate of Randle’s had taken a handgun from the scene.

Randle was cited for possession and given a date to appear in court and police considered it an arrest because of the small amount of marijuana found in the room.

Randle’s agent, Erik Burkhardt, disputed the use of the term “arrest.“

“Joseph Randle was NOT arrested,“ Burkhardt tweeted. “He was cited with a ticket, and the police officer then left his hotel room.

“There was zero ‘violence’ of any kind, domestic or otherwise. He was asking 3 (people) to exit his room, who didn’t want to leave. It was loud. Cops were called. Ticket issued. People and officer left. He went to bed.“

In October, Randle was arrested at Dillard’s department store in Frisco, Texas, on a class B misdemeanor charge of theft between $50 and $500. The items he was accused of stealing were men’s underwear and cologne.

Randle carried the ball 51 times for 343 yards and three touchdowns this past season.

►  Cardinals name Bettcher defensive coordinator

The Arizona Cardinals named James Bettcher defensive coordinator on Wednesday.

Bettcher replaces Todd Bowles, who left the position to become head coach of the New York Jets in mid-January.

Bettcher, 36, coached the Cardinals outside linebackers the past two seasons after working in the same capacity with the Indianapolis Colts in 2012.

He was part of a defensive coaching staff that helped the Cardinals finish with the NFL’s top ranked run defense (84.4 yards per game) in 2013 while collecting 47 sacks, the third-highest total in franchise history.

In 2014, Arizona’s defense allowed just 18.7 points per game, the fifth-lowest average in the league while allowing 20 points or fewer in an NFL-high 13 games.

The Cardinals also named Bob Sanders linebackers coach and Wesley Goodwin assistant to the head coach, and promoted Mike Chiurco to defensive assistant/assistant defensive backs coach.

The Gilmer Free Press

ABC - American Broadcasting Company
CBS - Columbia Broadcast System
FOX - Fox Entertainment Group
NBC - National Broadcasting Company
JIP - Joined in Progress
TSN - Sports Network (Canada)
SNET/SN - Rogers SportsNet (Canada)
RDS - Reseau des sports
MSG - Madison Square Garden Network
TNT - Turner Network Television
TBS - Turner Broadcasting System
SNY - SportsNet New York
CBSSN - CBS - College Sports Network
CSN - Comcast SportsNet
TCN - The Comcast Network
NBCSN - NBC Sports Network
NESN - New England Sports Network
MASN - Mid-Atlantic Sports Network
ROOT - Root Sports (Pittsburgh, Northwest, Rocky Mountain)
CST - Cox Sports Television
FCS - FOX College Sports
FS - FOX Sports Regional
RSN - Regional Sports Networks
CPTV - Connecticut Public Broadcasting
TVG - Horse Racing Channel
FS1 - FOX Sports 1
TWC - Time Warner Cable Sports Channel
* - If Necessary

National Basketball Association
Washington at Charlotte, 7:00 PM - CSN-DC, SportSouth, DSS
LA Clippers at Cleveland, 8:00 PM - TNT
Dallas at Sacramento, 10:00 PM - FS-Southwest, CSN-California, DSS
Phoenix at Portland, 10:30 PM - FS-Arizona, TNT
National Hockey League
St. Louis at Buffalo, 7:00 PM - FS-Midwest, MSG-Buffalo, DSS
NY Islanders at Philadelphia, 7:00 PM - MSG+, CSN-Philadelphia, DSS
Los Angeles at Florida, 7:30 PM - FS-West, Florida, DSS
Washington at Ottawa, 7:30 PM - CSN-DC+, RDS, DSS
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College Basketball
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Samford at Western Carolina, 7:00 PM - SoCon Digital Network
William & Mary at College of Charleston, 7:30 PM - MyTV
Georgia State at Georgia Southern, 7:30 PM - WSAV
UTEP at Florida Atlantic, 8:00 PM - American Sports Network, MASN
Nebraska Omaha at North Dakota State, 8:00 PM - MeTV
Fairfield at Rider, 8:00 PM -
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Western Ill at South Dakota, 8:00 PM -
North Texas at Western Kentucky, 8:00 PM - FCS, WKU PBS
Texas-Pan American at UMKC, 8:05 PM - American Sports Network
Belmont at Eastern Kentucky, 9:00 PM - ESPN U
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UCLA at Stanford, 9:00 PM - ESPN 2
Louisiana Tech at UAB, 9:00 PM - CBSSN
Washington State at Oregon State, 10:00 PM - Pac-12 Network
UC Davis at UC Irvine, 10:00 PM -
USC at California, 11:00 PM - FS1
BYU at Pepperdine, 11:00 PM - Time Warner Sports
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Women’s College Basketball
Youngstown State at Wright State, 12:00 PM -
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LSU at Auburn, 7:00 PM -, FSN
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Maryland at Penn State, 7:00 PM - Big Ten Network+
Virginia at Notre Dame, 7:00 PM -
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Duke at Wake Forest, 7:00 PM -
Michigan at Michigan State, 7:00 PM - Big Ten Network+
Valparaiso at Detroit, 7:00 PM -
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Northwestern at Indiana, 7:00 PM - Big Ten Network+
Ohio State at Iowa, 8:00 PM - Big Ten Network+
Ole Miss at Vanderbilt, 8:00 PM - SEC Network+
Texas A&M at Missouri, 9:00 PM - SEC Network
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Chicago State at New Mexico State, 9:00 PM -
International Soccer
CAF Orange Africa Cup of Nations, 2st Semi-Final, 1:50 PM - beIN Sports
EUROPEAN - Malaysian Open, 2:00 AM - Golf Channel
LPGA - Pure Silk-Bahamas LPGA Classic, 11:30 AM - Golf Channel
PGA - Farmers Insurance Open, 3:00 PM - Golf Channel

#24 Pioneers Fall at Home to Fairmont State 79-72

The Gilmer Free Press

The #24 Glenville State Pioneers had four players score in double figures but would come up short as they dropped a home game to MEC rival Fairmont State, 79-72.

After an exciting and fast pace first half the Glenville State Pioneers would find themselves up by four points over Fairmont State, 38-34, at halftime.

In the second half Fairmont State would come out and tie the game up at 42 all at the 17:28 minute mark. After that tie the Fighting Falcons would go on a 9-2 run as Fairmont State took a, 51-44 lead with 14:40 left to play.

Fairmont State would then extend their lead to 11 points at the 10:12 minute mark, 59-48.

Glenville State would then make a late run as Brien Winston would make a layup and get fouled. Winston would then make the free-throw as the Pioneers pulled within three points, 71-68, with only 3:37 left to play.

Despite the late run the Pioneers would come up short as they fell at home to Fairmont State by seven, 79-72.

There were seven ties and four lead changes in the game.

Fairmont State scored 26 points off of turnovers while Glenville State only scored seven points. The Falcons also scored 26 second chance points while the Pioneers only scored nine second chance points.

Both teams shot 44 percent from the floor however Fairmont State shot 25 percent from behind the three-point line while Glenville State shot 23 percent from behind the three-point line.

Donte Morales scored a team high 21 points and grabbed a team high nine rebounds. Brett Morris scored 16 points, grabbed six rebounds, and finished the game with three blocks. Sedric Nady chipped in with 12 points while Reggie Williams finished the game with 10 points.

Fairmont State was led by Jamel Morris as he scored a game high 22 points.

The Pioneers (16-5, 12-3) will host West Virginia State on Thursday, February, 05, 2015. Game time is set for 7:30 PM.

Official Basketball Box Score
Fairmont State vs. Glenville State
02.02.15   7:30 PM   at Waco Center
VISITORS: Fairmont State 15-6 (12-3)

                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
00 Nick Harney…...... *  5-12   0-1    5-6    8  4 12   5  15  1  2  0  1  28
04 Shammgod Wells…... *  7-8    3-4    2-3    1  0  1   3  19  0  1  0  3  28
20 Thomas Wimbush…... *  1-3    0-1    2-4    1  4  5   3   4  1  1  2  0  27
21 Jamel Morris…..... *  6-19   2-11   8-10   2  2  4   3  22  4  1  0  2  37
30 Caleb Davis…...... *  4-8    0-1    1-2    1  4  5   3   9  0  1  0  0  30
01 Brandon Vega….....    1-2    0-0    2-2    0  1  1   2   4  0  2  0  1  12
03 Chase Morgan….....    1-6    1-6    0-0    1  1  2   1   3  0  1  0  1  25
24 Trevor Andrews-Evans    1-1    0-0    1-2    0  1  1   2   3  0  0  1  1  13
   TEAM….............                         1  3  4
   Totals…...........   26-59   6-24  21-29  15 20 35  22  79  6  9  3  9 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 13-32 40.6%   2nd Half: 13-27 48.1%   Game: 44.1%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  4-13 30.8%   2nd Half:  2-11 18.2%   Game: 25.0%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  4-8  50.0%   2nd Half: 17-21 81.0%   Game: 72.4%    3

HOME TEAM: Glenville State 16-5 (12-3)

                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
01 Sedric Nady…...... *  5-12   1-5    1-2    0  3  3   4  12  0  5  0  0  37
03 Donte Morales….... *  7-15   1-7    6-6    4  5  9   1  21  2  2  1  0  39
11 Reggie Williams….. *  3-8    1-2    3-6    1  4  5   5  10  2  1  0  0  24
12 Luke Campbell….... *  1-2    0-1    0-0    2  1  3   1   2  1  3  0  1  21
23 Brett Morris…..... *  5-10   2-5    4-5    3  3  6   3  16  2  1  3  1  39
00 Brien Winston…....    2-4    0-1    3-5    1  2  3   2   7  0  0  0  1  17
20 Marcus Schofield….    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   0   0  0  0  1  0   0
32 Juwan Wells…......    1-3    0-1    2-2    1  1  2   4   4  1  3  0  2  23
   TEAM….............                         1  4  5             2
   Totals…...........   24-54   5-22  19-26  13 23 36  20  72  8 17  5  5 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 13-26 50.0%   2nd Half: 11-28 39.3%   Game: 44.4%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  4-12 33.3%   2nd Half:  1-10 10.0%   Game: 22.7%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  8-10 80.0%   2nd Half: 11-16 68.8%   Game: 73.1%    4

Officials: Thomas Wilson, Anthony Chiazza, Michael Mckee

Technical fouls: Fairmont State-Nick Harney. Glenville State-None.

Attendance: 1058

Score by Periods                1st  2nd   Total
Fairmont State….............   34   45  -   79
Glenville State…............   38   34  -   72

Lady Pioneers Fall at Home to Fairmont State 92-83

The Gilmer Free Press

Glenville State’s Keyanna Tate scored 20 points and pulled down 11 rebounds but it wasn’t enough as the Lady Pioneers dropped a home game to the Fairmont State Lady Falcons on Monday night, 92-83.

In the first half Glenville State would build a seven point lead over Fairmont State at the 11:29 minute mark, 19-12. But the Lady Falcons would make a run and take a 10 point lead their selves, 32-22, with 5:32 left till halftime.

Fairmont State would eventually take an 11 point halftime lead over Glenville State, 47-36.

In the second half the Lady Pioneers would battle back and retake the lead at the 14:08 minute mark, 58-57. Glenville State would then stretch their lead to four points, 68-64, with 9:53 left to play.

However Fairmont State would go on a 10-0 run at the 8:45 minute mark as they led by six points, 74-68. Again the Lady Pioneers would battle back but they would not have enough gas in the tank as Glenville State fell at home to Fairmont State, 92-93.

There were three ties and 11 lead changes throughout the game. Glenville State would outscore Fairmont State in the paint 32 to 28, however Fairmont State scored 14 second points while the Lady Pioneers scored 11 second chance points.

Fairmont State finished the night shooting 55% while Glenville State shot 43%.

Keyanna Tate finished the night with a double-double as she scored a team high 20 points and game high 11 rebounds. It was also Tate’s third game in a row with a double-double.

Katrina Salins scored 15 points and dished out a team high four assists while Brittany Jackson scored 11 points in the game.

Fairmont State was led by Hailey Garrett as she scored a game high 29 points while Hallie Gunnoe chipped in with 26 points.

The Lady Pioneers (10-9, 8-7) will host the West Virginia State University Yellow Jackets this Thursday, February 05, 2015, tip-off is set for 5:30 PM.

Official Basketball Box Score
Fairmont State vs. Glenville State
02.02.15   5:30 PM   at Waco Center
VISITORS: Fairmont State 17-4 (11-4)

                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
02 Emily Lohr…....... *  4-10   2-5    2-3    3  5  8   3  12  3  2  0  0  39
05 Gabrielle Etter….. *  2-2    0-0    2-3    0  2  2   3   6  0  8  0  3  26
10 Emily Puskarich….. *  1-2    1-2    0-0    1  3  4   2   3  0  0  0  0  18
12 Hailey Garrett…... * 11-16   0-0    7-9    1  1  2   2  29  0  1  0  0  26
13 Hallie Gunnoe….... * 11-18   1-2    3-5    2  5  7   2  26  5  5  0  5  40
14 Amanda Ruffner…...    1-3    0-0    0-0    0  2  2   2   2  1  0  1  0   8
20 Tess Zufall…......    0-1    0-1    2-2    0  2  2   0   2  2  3  0  0  14
31 Kelli Jo Harrison…    1-2    0-0    4-4    0  1  1   2   6  0  0  0  1   7
32 Deidra Combs….....    3-7    0-1    0-0    0  6  6   3   6  1  1  1  0  22
   TEAM….............                         2  5  7
   Totals…...........   34-61   4-11  20-26   9 32 41  19  92 12 20  2  9 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 17-31 54.8%   2nd Half: 17-30 56.7%   Game: 55.7%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  3-5  60.0%   2nd Half:  1-6  16.7%   Game: 36.4%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half: 10-10 100 %   2nd Half: 10-16 62.5%   Game: 76.9%    0

HOME TEAM: Glenville State 10-9 (8-7)

                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
01 Katrina Salins…... *  6-12   1-6    2-2    0  0  0   2  15  4  1  0  1  22
04 Keyanna Tate…..... *  8-16   0-0    4-6    4  7 11   5  20  2  3  0  2  20
12 Kayla Tibbs…...... *  3-10   2-7    0-0    1  0  1   1   8  1  2  0  1  19
20 Briauna Nix…...... *  2-3    0-0    0-0    0  6  6   4   4  0  0  0  1  10
32 Brittany Jackson…. *  3-6    2-4    3-5    1  2  3   4  11  2  1  0  2  21
02 Paige Tuttle….....    0-6    0-3    0-0    0  0  0   5   0  1  2  0  4  20
03 Tayana Stewart…...    1-2    1-1    0-0    1  1  2   1   3  1  0  0  1  15
10 Skyy Lewis….......    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   0   0  0  1  0  0   5
13 Chanice Lee…......    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   0   0  0  0  0  0   1
24 Madison Martin…...    2-4    2-4    0-0    1  0  1   1   6  1  2  0  2  20
25 Briana Smythe…....    3-6    0-0    2-3    2  3  5   0   8  0  1  1  0  17
34 La’Shaughn Jones….    1-2    0-0    0-0    0  1  1   3   2  1  2  0  0  11
35 Julie Bishop….....    2-4    2-3    0-0    0  1  1   1   6  1  1  0  1  19
   TEAM….............                         1  3  4             1
   Totals…...........   31-71  10-28  11-16  11 24 35  27  83 14 17  1 15 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 13-31 41.9%   2nd Half: 18-40 45.0%   Game: 43.7%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  3-9  33.3%   2nd Half:  7-19 36.8%   Game: 35.7%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  7-12 58.3%   2nd Half:  4-4  100 %   Game: 68.8%    2

Officials: Christopher Derico, Jon Anderson, Jeff Feldhaus

Technical fouls: Fairmont State-None. Glenville State-None.

Attendance: 1002

Score by Periods                1st  2nd   Total
Fairmont State….............   47   45  -   92
Glenville State…............   36   47  -   83

Sports News   150204

The Gilmer Free Press

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Area High Schools Boys Basketball Game Results

(Tuesday, February 03)

#5 Gilmer County 67     Roane County 49

Doddridge County 72     South Harrison 47

Wirt County 65     Calhoun County 56

Ritchie County 58     Tyler Consolidated 56 (OT)

Tygarts Valley 59     Pocahontas County 53

#8 Lincoln 84     Liberty 53

Charleston Catholic 57     Parkersburg Catholic 41

Buckhannon-Upshur 54     Elkins 42

Parkersburg 71     Riverside 53

Grafton 76     Philip Barbour 56

Williamstown 69     Ravenswood 55

#5 Robert C. Byrd 70     East Fairmont 43

►  Area High Schools Girls Basketball Game Results

(Tuesday, February 03)

Wood County Christian 55     Calhoun County 28

#2 Parkersburg South 67     #1 Morgantown 60

#3 Tucker County 41     #9 Notre Dame 29

St. Marys 69     Williamstown 40

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Hield, No. 21 OU routs No. 15 WVU

Buddy Hield scored 21 points and No. 21 Oklahoma earned a bit of revenge with a 71-52 victory over No. 15 West Virginia on Tuesday.

The Mountaineers embarrassed the Sooners on January 13 in a 21-point rout that saw West Virginia force 22 turnovers, but it was Oklahoma (15-7, 6-4 Big 12) that won the turnover battle (15-13) in the rematch.

Hield shot an efficient 8-of-13 from the floor and 5-of-7 from 3-point range to highlight an offense that made 61% of its shots. Jordan Woodard added 12 points, and Ryan Spangler chipped in with 10 points and six rebounds in the Sooners’ third straight win.

“They were very, very good,“ West Virginia head coach Bob Huggins said of the Sooners.

Juwan Staten and Gary Browne went for 15 and 12 points, respectively, for West Virginia (18-4, 6-3), which had its three-game winning streak snapped.

Devin Williams, who had 14 points and 11 rebounds against the Sooners last month, sat out due to an illness, and the Mountaineers certainly missed his presence inside.

Backdoor cuts, pinpoint passes and forced turnovers sparked Oklahoma’s 13-0 run in the first half. Khadeem Lattin scored off a steal to cap the five- minute surge and give the Sooners a 27-11 cushion.

A Hield 3-pointer stretched the margin to 34-15 with under four minutes left in the half, and it was a 35-24 advantage in Oklahoma’s favor heading into halftime.

West Virginia trimmed its deficit down to nine, 49-40, with 10 minutes to play, but the Mountaineers missed their next 10 field goal attempts. The Sooners extended their lead to 59-43 during the drought, and led comfortably the rest of the way.

“I thought our guys responded with some good stops and boards and pushed it back out there midway in the second half,“ OU head coach Lon Kruger said. “Any Big 12 win is good and against a really good club like this it makes it even better.“

Game Notes

West Virginia did not attempt a free throw until 4:21 elapsed in the second half and finished 5-of-11 from the line ... Oklahoma only made half (11-of-22) of its free throws ... West Virginia fell to 10-2 away from home ... Oklahoma improved to 10-1 at home ... The Mountaineers came in No. 1 in the nation in turnover margin (10.0) ... The Sooners were playing their 10th game (5-5) against a ranked opponent.

<The Gilmer Free Press

►  Top-25 College Men’s Basketball Game Results

(Tuesday, February 03)

Final Score: (1) Kentucky 69, Georgia 58

Andrew Harrison scored 23 points and No. 1 Kentucky remained the country’s only unbeaten team with a 69-58 win over Georgia on Tuesday. Karl-Anthony Towns added 15 points and 13 rebounds in the win and was the only other Kentucky scorer in double figures. The Wildcats (22-0, 9-0 SEC) extended the program’s best start since 1965-66, when the team began the season 23-0. They led by as much as 18 early in the second half but allowed Georgia (14-7, 5-4) to get back into it with a 9-1 scoring burst over a couple of minutes.

Final Score: (5) Wisconsin 92, Indiana 78

The proverbial gap between Wisconsin and the rest of the Big Ten was never more evident than in Tuesday’s 92-78 victory over Indiana. Frank Kaminsky led the fifth-ranked Badgers (20-2, 8-1 Big Ten) with 23 points on 9-of-12 shooting, highlighting an offense that shot 60 percent from the field and 28-of-31 from the foul line. Nigel Hayes scored 16 points, Bronson Koenig added 15, and Sam Dekker checked in with 14 points and six rebounds in Wisconsin’s fifth straight win. All five Indiana starters finished in double figures, with Nick Zeisloft hitting five 3-pointers en route to a team-high 17 points. Robert Johnson and Troy Williams netted 16 and 14 points, respectively. The Hoosiers (16-7, 6-4) came in tied for second in the conference standings and were looking to snap a 12-game losing streak at Kohl Center.

Final Score: (9) Louisville 63, Miami-Florida 55

Rick Pitino’s salt-and-pepper scruff will remain. Terry Rozier had 22 points and six rebounds, Montrezl Harrell added 16 points and eight boards and No. 9 Louisville defeated Miami-Florida 63-55 on Tuesday night. The Cardinals began growing “rally beards” following their loss to Duke on Jan. 17, something the team also did last season. They’ve won four straight since and don’t plan on seeing a razor until they lose again. Louisville shot a scorching 68.2 percent (15-of-22) in the first half and held on over the final 20 minutes despite hitting on just 30.8 percent (8-of-26) of their attempts in the second.

Final Score: (14) Northern Iowa 61, Indiana State 51

No. 14 Northern Iowa took over control of the Missouri Valley Conference on Saturday and continued its roll with a convincing road win over Indiana State. Seth Tuttle scored 15 points with eight rebounds and five assists to lead the Panthers in their 10th straight win, a 61-51 decision over the Sycamores at Hulman Center. Northern Iowa (21-2, 10-1 MVC) grabbed first place in the conference standings with a 70-54 home win against then-No. 12 Wichita State over the weekend thanks to Tuttle, who supplied a career-high 29 points against the Shockers. The Panthers had not won 10 straight since a 15-game winning streak during their 30-win campaign in 2009-10. Jeremy Morgan had 12 points and nine rebounds in the win. Indiana State (11-12, 7-4), which entered the game ranked third in the conference standings, has lost four of its last six overall. The Sycamores had won five straight at home, all in conference play, until Northern Iowa sent them to their sixth straight loss against a Top-25 foe.

Final Score: (21) Oklahoma 71, (15) West Virginia 52

Buddy Hield scored 21 points and No. 21 Oklahoma earned a bit of revenge with a 71-52 victory over No. 15 West Virginia on Tuesday. The Mountaineers embarrassed the Sooners on Jan. 13 in a 21-point rout that saw West Virginia force 22 turnovers, but it was Oklahoma (15-7, 6-4 Big 12) that won the turnover battle (15-13) in the rematch. Hield shot an efficient 8-of-13 from the floor and 5-of-7 from 3- point range to highlight an offense that made 61 percent of its shots. Jordan Woodard added 12 points, and Ryan Spangler chipped in with 10 points and six rebounds in the Sooners’ third straight win. Juwan Staten and Gary Browne went for 15 and 12 points, respectively, for West Virginia (18-4, 6-3), which had its three-game winning streak snapped.

Final Score: (22) Butler 85, St. John’s 62

Kellen Dunham’s 21 points led the way as 22nd-ranked Butler rolled to an 85-62 victory over sliding St. John’s in a Big East matchup from historic Hinkle Fieldhouse. In a game it never trailed at any stage, Butler (17-6, 7-3 Big East) got strong contributions from all five starters in winning its fourth straight conference test. Alex Barlow went 5-of-5 from the field in a 15-point effort for the Bulldogs, who shot 56.4 percent as a team. Andrew Chrabascz tallied 14 points and Roosevelt Jones added 13, with Kameron Woods pulling down a game-high 12 rebounds in the rout. St. John’s (14-8, 3-6) shot just 37.3 percent and played the majority of the contest without top rebounder Chris Obekpa, ejected for elbowing Butler’s Tyler Wideman in the head with 8:26 remaining in the first half. Sir’Dominic Pointer paced the Red Storm with 19 points and Rysheed Jordan had 17 in the loss. St. John’s has now dropped seven of 10 after an 11-1 start.

►  The March To March: Backloaded schedules offer opportunity

The last 10 games of a college basketball season can make or break you when it comes to making the NCAA Tournament.

Just ask Iowa.

The Hawkeyes nearly missed out last year after a promising 19-6 start. They dropped six of their last seven games prior to the start of the tourney, including a loss to lowly Northwestern in the first round of the Big Ten Tournament. They then lost to Tennessee in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

A strong finish, however, can either help you sneak in or vault you up the seed line.

Virginia won 16 of its last 17 contests a year ago prior to the NCAA Tournament, defeated Duke in the ACC Tournament title game and earned a No. 1 seed. The aforementioned Volunteers got hot to close last season.

The stacked Big 12 has seven of its 10 teams inside the top 50 of the RPI rankings. While they might be beating up on each other, a few of those squads with backloaded schedules can improve their seedings in the NCAA Tournament come March. Of course, if some of those teams free fall, they might miss out on the tournament all together.

West Virginia has already built a case for being a potential top-four seed in the NCAA Tournament, but can strengthen its resume if it can navigate through its last 10 games.

WVU, which played just three top-50 teams over its first eight conference games en route to a 6-2 start, will square off with nine of them down the stretch. Six of those clashes will be against the top 25. The Mountaineers still have to play Kansas and Baylor twice and visit Oklahoma and Iowa State, respectively. If they can win five of those nine tilts, it may be enough to earn them a No. 2 or 3 seed.

Five of Oklahoma State’s last nine contests are against the top 25—six against the top 50. The Cowboys, who sport a 4-5 conference mark and sit seventh in the standings, have dropped four of their last six games. OK-State is currently in that 9-11 seed range and a dismal closing stretch may lead to an NIT appearance. Some signature wins, however, will get the Cowboys in.

Kansas State is an interesting case. The Wildcats have a respectable 4-6 mark against the top 50 of the RPI—2-4 against the top 25—but have already piled up 10 losses.

K-State, which has dropped three of its last four Big 12 games following a 4-1 start, can still get into the NCAA Tournament discussion. The Wildcats have five tilts remaining against the top 25 and seven of their last nine overall against the top 50. Kansas State is just 84th in the RPI and isn’t sniffing the NCAA Tournament discussion at the moment, but a red-hot finish and a run in the conference tourney just might be enough for a bid.

Moving away from the Big 12 and to another impressive league with a chance to accumulate key wins is the Atlantic Coast Conference.

Syracuse has yet to garner a top-50 win in four opportunities, but will have several chances to acquire signature victories to close the year.

The Orange have five games against the top 25 and six of their last 10 against the top 50. Jim Boeheim’s boys haven’t been in my projected bracket for weeks, but they play Duke twice, have Louisville and Virginia at home and will travel to Notre Dame and NC State. If they can get a pair of wins against the likes of Duke, Louisville, Virginia and Notre Dame, that might be enough to warrant an NCAA Tournament selection.

Washington has been in free-fall since an encouraging beginning to its campaign, but the Huskies have lost seven of their last 10 tilts and are 3-5 in Pac-12 play. They have also dropped four against teams outside of the top 100 of the RPI.

But UW still has a chance to turn its season around. It will have a pair of shots to knock off one of the Pac-12 heavyweights at home with matchups against Arizona and Utah. As long as it doesn’t keep recording bad losses, the Huskies could sneak into the tourney field.

Tulsa is atop the American Athletic Conference with an unblemished 9-0 mark, but has work to do to make the NCAA field of 68 if it doesn’t win the conference tourney. The Golden Hurricane are just 1-3 against the top 50 of the RPI, but has home games against Temple and Cincinnati and a road tilt at SMU. A win at Connecticut would also help.

Davidson has raced off to a respectable 5-3 Atlantic 10 record, although it suffered a bad loss at Saint Joseph’s Saturday. The Wildcats still have four key games remaining in conference, two against George Washington, a home showdown with top-25 RPI foe VCU and at Rhode Island. If they knock off the Rams, win three of those four games overall and don’t suffer any more bad losses, Davidson might be chosen for the NCAA tourney field.

Saint Mary’s is 17-5 and 9-2 in the West Coast Conference, but has only had two occasions to knock off top-50 RPI foes and dropped both. The Gaels also have a pair of defeats against schools outside the top 100. They will, however, get an opportunity to beat Gonzaga at home and a triumph at BYU should help as well. If they can finish the year undefeated and reach the final of the WCC tourney, that might allow them to dance come March.

The Southeastern Conference currently has just unbeaten Kentucky ranked in the polls and two in the top 25 of the RPI—the other is Arkansas. The league may struggle for several bids, but if any squad can knock off Kentucky, it could go a long way toward being selected.

Of the seven teams in the conference with above-.500 marks, Kentucky not included, five have games remaining against the Wildcats. Florida and Georgia will meet UK twice, LSU and Tennessee will get the opportunity to clip the ‘Cats at home and Arkansas will face them in Lexington.

While a strong finish can help solidify an NCAA Tournament selection, a woeful one may not garner an invitation at all.

Down the stretch they come.


MIDWEST (Cleveland)

1. Kentucky* vs. 16. New Mexico State*/Saint Francis-NY* winner

8. Xavier vs. 9. Colorado State

4. North Carolina vs. 13. Long Beach State*

5. Baylor vs. 12. Iona*

6. Oklahoma vs. 11. NC State/George Washington winner

3. Louisville vs. 14. Murray State*

7. Georgetown vs. 10. Georgia

2. Wisconsin* vs. 15. Florida Gulf Coast*

SOUTH (Houston)

1. Duke vs. 16. Albany*

8. Oklahoma State vs. 9. Dayton

4. Maryland vs. 13. Western Kentucky*

5. Wichita State vs. 12. Green Bay*

6. Providence vs. 11. Ole Miss

3. West Virginia vs. 14. William & Mary*

7. SMU vs. 10. Iowa

2. Arizona* vs. 15. High Point*

EAST (Syracuse)

1. Virginia* vs. 16. Sacramento State*/Bucknell* winner

8. San Diego State* vs. 9. Cincinnati

4. Utah vs. 13. Stephen F. Austin*

5. VCU* vs. 12. St. John’s/Michigan State winner

6. Ohio State vs. 11. Tulsa*

3. Iowa State vs. 14. NC Central*

7. Arkansas vs. 10. Miami-Florida

2. Villanova* vs. 15. Georgia Southern*

WEST (Los Angeles)

1. Gonzaga* vs. 16. Texas Southern*

8. Stanford vs. 9. LSU

4. Butler vs. 13. Yale*

5. Northern Iowa* vs. 12. Wofford*

6. Indiana vs. 11. Old Dominion

3. Notre Dame vs. 14. Akron*

7. Seton Hall vs. 10. Texas

2. Kansas* vs. 15. South Dakota State*


Texas A&M







Kansas State


* - denotes conference leader. In a result of a tie atop the standings, the team with the higher RPI was choSenator

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Nothin’ but Net: Still not buying Hawks, Warriors?

Two teams have clearly separated themselves this NBA season, and it’s not too early to start thinking of the Finals.

The Golden State Warriors have led the Western Conference wire-to-wire. The Atlanta Hawks have lost three times since Thanksgiving and own a seven-game lead in the Eastern Conference.

Their coaches - Steve Kerr for Golden State and Mike Budenholzer of the Hawks - are guiding the All-Star teams. Five members of the teams will be headed to Madison Square Garden in less than two weeks, and if Dwyane Wade’s hamstring remains Pringles-brittle, there could be a sixth.

Golden State’s Steph Curry is the favorite to win the MVP award. His teammate, Draymond Green, is likely to win NBA Defensive Player of the Year. One of the above-mentioned coaches will be the coach of the year, barring a miracle.

And what’s not to love about these teams, and I’d like you to stress the word “team” when reading. Both the Warriors and Hawks are units.

Golden State has two former All-Stars still in their prime in Andre Iguodala and David Lee, who were benched for children in Green and Harrison Barnes. That takes a lot for two veterans, who also combine to make $27.3 million this season, to accept coming off the bench. However, Kerr works them into the rotation effectively and even at the ends of games.

Budenholzer’s Hawks mirror the San Antonio Spurs. Bud studied at the altar of Gregg Popovich and Atlanta plays the same way. It’s a system based on passing, movement and unselfishness.

Both teams are two-way threats. The Hawks rank third in opponents’ scoring, while Golden State is 15th, but the Warriors are first in opponents’ field- goal percentage (Atlanta is fifth.) Offense isn’t a problem, either. The Warriors are the top-scoring squad in the NBA and the Hawks are sixth. Both are top 10 in forcing turnovers.

Depth is not an issue as evidenced by Iguodala and Lee for Golden State. Atlanta’s starters are relied on more heavily, but six second-unit guys average over 4.5 points per game.

So why then is there such little faith in both, or either, making the NBA Finals?

Read people like me or other pundits. Listen to the experts and few believe this is the matchup we’ll see in June.

The wise guys and gals still love the Cleveland Cavaliers. Most pick the Chicago Bulls in the Eastern Conference. Charles Barkley likes the Washington Wizards and Memphis Grizzlies. How can we forget the defending champion San Antonio Spurs?

Heck, some people fancy the chances of the Oklahoma City Thunder in the West more than Golden State. Let’s not dwell on the fact that OKC is three games behind the Phoenix Suns for the eighth seed and has to jump the New Orleans Pelicans for a postseason berth.

Why no love?

Most have not bought into the Warriors and Hawks completely for a few reasons, as best I can speculate.

(I’m sticking by my picks of Cleveland and the Los Angeles Clippers because I think it’s still possible and no need to flip. But the analytical side of me would take Golden State and Atlanta right now for the worst-imaginable Finals for the NBA.)

First, the coaches are sensational, but untested. Kerr is in his first season, Budenholzer is in his second. His Hawks took the Indiana Pacers to seven games as the eighth seed last year.

However, neither has been close to the cauldron of a conference finals, or an NBA Finals. How will they react to the Xs and Os? How will they react to the increased scrutiny, the media commitments that come with that ascension?

The players are another story. Postseason experience is light on both rosters. Only Atlanta’s Thabo Sefolosha has appeared in the Finals. His Hawks teammate Paul Millsap made a Western Conference Finals appearance with the Utah Jazz 10 years ago.

On the Warriors, Leonard Barbosa made it to a pair of conference finals with the Phoenix Suns.

The current incarnation of the Hawks has been together for a season-plus. Continuity is important, but even Al Horford and Jeff Teague, the longest- tenured Hawks, don’t have deep playoff runs under their belts.

This Warriors group has made the playoffs the last two seasons, but advanced past the first round once. Last season, the lost in the opening round. That doesn’t bathe oneself in confidence come playoff time.

Inexperience is one thing, but style comes into play. Both teams are primarily thought of as jump-shooting groups. Playoff basketball is a fistfight. Are these teams physically tough enough to endure?

The Warriors are the scrappiest litter in the zoo. They’ve started more fights than cheap beer. Andrew Bogut is a premiere defensive big man and a bad dude in the paint. Green is as well, although he’s less a bulky force than a versatile agitator.

Would you want to start a scrap with Horford over a game of Scrabble? Of course not, but the Hawks are a little softish. They could use help on the interior and a rim protector.

There’s nothing wrong with liking other teams more. My unconditional love in Memphis is unmatched, but the Grizzlies made one conference final. Everyone loves the Spurs and they may get it together by the summer, but this team hasn’t played at the level they’re capable.

The Thunder? I draw the line. The Warriors are 14 1/2 games ahead of OKC, so let’s dismiss them.

In the East, there’s a presupposition the Bulls or Cavaliers will get it together before the postseason. Fifty games is a pretty strong sample size, so why would one assume either was better positioned to make a deeper run than Atlanta?

Parity exists in the NBA and it’s a good thing. This season, there are several legitimate teams that could make a run at a ring, so the relative lack of fanfare for the Warriors and Hawks is explainable.

It’s also wrong. We aren’t talking about the two teams who happen to be atop the standings at the moment. The Warriors and Hawks have run through the league. They score, they defend, they’re deep, they’re professional and committed.

I, for one, looked at this point in the season and believe that Golden State and Atlanta can sustain high levels. I believe this is a future Finals matchup. Get on board, world.  ~~  Jim Brighters ~~

►  NBA Game Results

(Tuesday, February 03)

Final Score: Philadelphia 105, Denver 98

Hollis Thompson hit four 3-pointers and finished with 23 points as the Philadelphia 76ers defeated the Denver Nuggets 105-98 on Tuesday night. Michael Carter-Williams posted 15 points, 12 assists and eight rebounds and Robert Covington added 17 points and eight boards for the Sixers, who have won three of their last five games on the heels of a six-game slide. Danilo Gallinari netted 22 points off the bench, Wilson Chandler poured in 19 points and Ty Lawson dished out 14 helpers for Denver, which has dropped 10 of its last 11 games.

Final Score: Detroit 108, Miami 91

D.J. Augustin had 25 points and a season-high 13 assists and the Detroit Pistons never trailed over the last 3 1/2 quarters on the way to a 108-91 win over the Miami Heat on Tuesday. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope added 18 points and Andre Drummond scored 14 and had 14 rebounds for the Pistons, who have won two in a row on the heels of a four- game losing streak. Detroit got 13 points from Kyle Singler, 12 from Greg Monroe and 10 from Jodie Meeks in a well-balanced offensive output. Chris Bosh scored 21 of his points while shooting 9-for-9 in the third quarter for Miami, which played a third game without Dwyane Wade (hamstring). Hassan Whiteside had 11 points and 10 rebounds in a losing effort.

Final Score: Boston 108, New York 97

Avery Bradley scored 26 points on 11-of-14 shooting to lead the Boston Celtics to a 108-97 win over the New York Knicks on Tuesday night. Jared Sullinger posted 22 points with nine rebounds and six assists for Boston, which snapped its three-game losing streak. Marcus Smart and Jae Crowder each tallied 13 points for the Celtics. Carmelo Anthony contributed 21 points, while Jose Calderon and Tim Hardaway Jr. had 17 and 14 points, respectively, in the loss. New York had its four-game home winning streak halted.

Final Score: Portland 103, Utah 102

LaMarcus Aldridge finished with 22 points and 11 rebounds and hit the clinching free throws to give the Portland Trail Blazers a 103-102 victory over the pesky Utah Jazz. Damian Lillard scored 25 points on 10-of-17 shooting and Wesley Matthews added 21 for the Blazers, who had dropped three straight and eight of 10 coming in. Robin Lopez contributed 11 points in his return from missing 23 games with a broken hand. He suffered a facial laceration in the third quarter of this nip-and-tuck battle but returned in the fourth quarter. Gordon Hayward and Derrick Favors led the Jazz with 27 and 20 points, respectively.

Final Score: Golden State 121, Sacramento 96

Stephen Curry had 23 points, nine assists, five rebounds and three steals as the Golden State Warriors routed the Sacramento Kings 121-96 on Tuesday night. Klay Thompson finished with 14 points, half of that total coming in the third. Thompson famously set an NBA record for points in a quarter with 37 against the Kings on Jan. 23. Marreese Speights posted 17 points and eight boards off the bench, while Andre Iguodala added 17 points for the Warriors, who have won seven of their last nine games. DeMarcus Cousins tallied 26 points and 11 rebounds for Sacramento, which has lost nine of its last 10 games.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  WVWC Tabbed As MEC Softball Preseason Favorite

West Virginia Wesleyan has been picked by the coaches in the Mountain East Conference to win the 2015 softball conference title. 

The Bobcats finished with 116 points and were picked to finish first on six ballots. West Virginia Wesleyan won the MEC regular season title last year and advanced to the NCAA Atlantic Region finals. WVWC returns first team All-MEC performers Megan Malenstyn, who hit .365 and drove in 45 runs last year, and Olivia Gore, who led the team with a .379 batting average and 43 runs scored.

UVa-Wise was picked to finish second with 107 points and earned five first-place votes. The Cavs picked up the conference tournament championship last year and returns team captain Alexa Hernandez who hit .328, but coach Karen Bitter’s squad will have to replace seven seniors from last year’s squad.

Fairmont State was picked third with 93 points and had the final first-place vote, and Charleston was next with 92 points. Shepherd was fifth with 70 points, followed by Concord (62), Urbana (59), West Virginia State (56) and Notre Dame (51). Wheeling Jesuit (42), Glenville State (30) and West Liberty (14) rounded out the poll.

2015 MEC Softball Preseason Poll
1. West Virginia Wesleyan (6) 116
2. UVa-Wise (5) 107
3. Fairmont State (1) 93
4. Charleston 92
5. Shepherd 70
6. Concord 62
7. Urbana 59
8. West Virginia State 56
9. Notre Dame 51
10. Wheeling Jesuit 42
11. Glenville State 30
12. West Liberty 14
() Indicates first place votes * Coaches not able to vote for own team

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Shepherd Picked To Win 2015 MEC Baseball Title

The Shepherd Rams have been picked by the baseball coaches in the Mountain East Conference to repeat as conference champions in 2015.

The Rams, the MEC regular season champions in 2014, finished with 116 points and were picked to finish first on eight ballots. Catcher Spencer Wolfe, a preseason All-America honoree, returns to the lineup after hitting .388 and slugged a team-best .624 with seven home runs. Starter Ryan Pansch went 7-4 last year with a 2.81 ERA.  

West Virginia State and Concord finished in a tie for second with 107 points. The Yellow Jackets, the 2014 MEC Tournament champions, were picked first on three ballots. WVSU’s pitching staff will be led by Tyler Hall and first team All-MEC reliever Josh Falbo. The Mountain Lions had one first-place vote. CU returns second baseman Jerrod Groves, a second team All-MEC honoree last year, and will be led on the hill by Chris Kelly who went 8-2 with a 3.21 ERA in 2014.

Notre Dame was picked fourth with 87 points, followed by West Liberty (76), Urbana (75) and Charleston (60). Wheeling Jesuit was selected to finish eighth with 47 points, and West Virginia Wesleyan (36), UVa-Wise (32), Fairmont State (26) and Glenville State (14) completed the poll.

2015 MEC Baseball Preseason Poll
1. Shepherd (8) 116
2.(t) West Virginia State (3) 107
Concord (1) 107
4. Notre Dame 87
5. West Liberty 76
6. Urbana 75
7. Charleston 60
8. Wheeling Jesuit 47
9. West Virginia Wesleyan 36
10. UVa-Wise 32
11. Fairmont State 26
12. Glenville State 14
() Indicates first place votes * Coaches not able to vote for own team

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Royals, Moustakas agree on one-year deal

The Kansas City Royals and third baseman Mike Moustakas avoided arbitration, agreeing on a one-year contract Tuesday.

Moustakas, 26, hit just .212 with 15 homers and 54 runs batted in over 140 games last season. In the postseason, he batted .231 with a franchise-record five homers and seven RBI in 15 games for the AL champions.

For his career, the four-year veteran has a .236 average with 52 homers and 199 RBI. His best season came in 2012 when he hit .242 with 20 home runs and 73 RBI.

►  Angels avoid arbitration with Richards

The Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim avoided salary arbitration with pitcher Garrett Richards, agreeing to terms on a one- year deal.

Financial terms were not disclosed, but reports over the weekend indicated the contract to be worth $3.2 million.

Richards will enter the 2015 season recovering from a torn patellar tendon in his left knee. He was hurt last August while covering first base on a ground ball in Boston.

The 26-year-old right-hander was 13-4 with a 2.61 earned run average in 26 starts last season. He owns a career record of 24-17 with a 3.66 ERA in 110 games, including 55 starts, since making his major league debut in 2011.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Top Shelf: Dubnyk out to save reputation, Wild

The Minnesota Wild desperately needed a solution to their goaltending problems, but few people would have believed Devan Dubnyk could be the answer.

Considering the season Dubnyk has gone through, the Wild would have to be desperate to give him a chance. But beggars can’t be choosers and presently Minnesota couldn’t be happier with its choice.

Sometimes the most impactful moves come several weeks before the NHL trade deadline and are accompanied by little fanfare. Both Dubnyk and the Wild are hoping their union was one of those deals - the kind that makes hardly any splash at the time, but looks like a stroke of genius in retrospect.

The Wild’s issues in the crease have been well documented. The problems began before the season when Josh Harding broke his foot while reportedly kicking a wall in anger. Harding, who led the Wild with 18 wins last season, has since recovered from the broken bone, but is currently not an option for Minnesota due to issues related to multiple sclerosis.

Sans Harding, the Wild gave Niklas Backstrom and Darcy Kuemper plenty of chances to take the No. 1 job and run with it, but that plan didn’t work out for either guy.

Enter Dubnyk, who came to Minnesota from the Arizona Coyotes on January 15 for the price of a third-round draft pick in 2015. It marked the second straight year Dubnyk was traded on January 15, as he was shipped from Edmonton to Nashville on the same day in 2014.

After getting dealt from the Oilers, Dubnyk saw his reputation take a nose dive. Once a first-round pick by Edmonton (14th overall in 2004), the Saskatchewan native played in only two games with the Predators before getting shipped to Montreal and ending the season as the fourth-string goaltender in the Canadiens organization.

The lowest point came after the trade to Montreal when Dubnyk could barely stop pucks at the AHL level, posting a 3.33 goals against average and .893 save percentage in eight appearances for the Hamilton Bulldogs.

“It was a difficult time for me mentally and where I was with my game,“ Dubnyk said of the depths he reached at the end of 2013-14. “From a goalie standpoint, if a guy crosses the blue line with the puck and you are thinking about what you are doing, you are going to get torched, and that’s kind of where I was.“

Despite his awful stretch at the end of last season, the Arizona Coyotes thought Dubnyk deserved another chance. He signed a one-year deal to serve primarily as Mike Smith’s backup, and proved himself to be a competent No. 2 option, going 9-5-2 with a 2.72 GAA and .916 save percentage.

During his time in Arizona, Dubnyk regained the confidence needed to re- establish himself as an NHL-quality goalie. Former NHL netminder and Coyotes goaltending coach Sean Burke gets credit from Dubnyk for getting his mojo back.

“Right from the get-go, he just put so much confidence in me,“ Dubnyk said of Burke. “There’s no words, it’s not like he pumps your tires every day, it’s just the unspoken, you know he’s got your back, you know he believes in you and you know he’ll go to bat for you.“

Burke’s faith in the lost goaltender is paying dividends now that Dubnyk has traded the scorching deserts of Arizona for the frozen tundra of Minnesota. After proving himself as a worthy backup with the Coyotes, the Wild offered Dubnyk a chance to log No. 1 minutes and he’s been able to seize the opportunity.

In seven games since relocating to St. Paul, Dubnyk has outperformed Minnesota’s other goalies by leaps and bounds, going 5-1-0 with a 1.71 GAA and .935 save percentage. Dubnyk also has recorded two shutouts with the Wild, leaving him just one shy of Kuemper for the team lead less than three weeks into his tenure.

The Wild’s fortunes have risen right along with Dubnyk. It’s been a difficult season in Minnesota to say the least and it’s amazing head coach Mike Yeo survived the firing rumors and lasted long enough to see this Dubnyk-inspired turnaround.

With Dubnyk in tow, the team enters Tuesday’s game against Chicago only three points out of a playoff spot. The new goaltender will get his eighth consecutive start in net and hopes to continue the process of rehabilitating his own image while helping give another boost to Minnesota’s once slim postseason chances.

It’s always interesting when a trade that is barely a blip on the news cycle when it happens becomes a major story line only a few weeks later. In this case, it’s possible that both a player’s career and a team’s fading playoff hopes turned for the better thanks to one “minor” trade.

“With Devan coming in as a new face and fresh start, we knew he was a good goalie, so we just kind of wiped the slate clean and it clicked,“ said Wild center Charlie Coyle.

“He has definitely given us confidence, but it goes both ways.“    ~~  Dan Di Sciullo ~~

►  NHL Game Results

(Tuesday, February 03)

Final Score: New Jersey 2, Ottawa 1

NMike Cammalleri scored in the third period as the New Jersey Devils hung on for a 2-1 win over the Ottawa Senators at Prudential Center. Ottawa forward Bobby Ryan, a native of Cherry Hill, New Jersey, had an open net in the dying seconds but couldn’t get a shot off. Adam Henrique had the other goal for the Devils, who have earned a point in a season-high five straight games (4-0-1). Cory Schneider stopped 19-of-20 shots in his career-best 44th start. Curtis Lazar scored and Robin Lehner made 17 saves for Ottawa, which has dropped four of its last six games.

Final Score: Florida 4, NY Islanders 2

Jimmy Hayes potted a pair of goals, including the go-ahead score 2:10 into the third period, to lead the Florida Panthers to a much-needed 4-2 victory over the New York Islanders. Al Montoya stopped 32 shots to help the Panthers salvage the finale of a three-game road trip through the New York metro area, with Brandon Pirri contributing a goal and an assist to the win. Florida had gone 1-6-1 over its previous eight games and was outscored by a 9-4 margin in recent road setbacks to the Devils and Rangers. The Metropolitan Division-leading Islanders matched a season high with their third straight loss despite Anders Lee’s two-goal effort. Jaroslav Halak turned aside 26-of-29 chances in defeat.

Final Score: Washington 4, Los Angeles 0

Braden Holtby made 27 saves for his sixth shutout of the season to guide the Washington Capitals to a 4-0 win over the Los Angeles Kings on Tuesday. Troy Brouwer had two goals, Nicklas Backstrom had a goal and an assist and Eric Fehr lit the lamp for the Capitals, who had dropped six of seven coming into the game. Jonathan Quick allowed all four goals on 27 shots for the Kings, who have lost six of their last seven.

Final Score: Arizona 4, Columbus 1

Mike Smith stopped 30 shots, while Oliver Ekman-Larsson and Shane Doan netted power-play goals in the second period as Arizona claimed a 4-1 victory over Columbus at Nationwide Arena. Lucas Lessio and Tobias Rieder also rippled the net for the Coyotes, who have won three of their last four since losing seven in a row. Keith Yandle and Antoine Vermette added two assists each. James Wisniewski potted the lone goal for the Blue Jackets, losers of three straight and eight of their last 11. Anton Forsberg made 25 saves in defeat.

Final Score: Buffalo 3, Montreal 2

Finally! The Buffalo Sabres ended a pair of franchise-worst losing streaks by holding on for a 3-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday night. Buffalo snapped team-record skids that had reached 14 overall and on the road, posting its first victory since Dec. 27 against the New York Islanders. The club’s last road win came Nov. 29 against these same Canadiens. Drew Stafford, Matt Moulson and ex-Montreal captain Brian Gionta had first-period goals for the Sabres, who got 32 saves from Jhonas Enroth. Brandon Prust and David Desharnais scored for Montreal, which has dropped two straight following a five-game win streak. Carey Price, coming off consecutive shutouts, gave up three goals on 18 shots.

Final Score: St. Louis 2, Tampa Bay 1 (OT)

Jaden Schwartz scored 1:16 into overtime and the St. Louis Blues slipped past Tampa Bay, 2-1, at Scottrade Center. Vladimir Tarasenko picked up the other goal for the Blues, who have won six in a row and 11 of their last 12 to challenge Nashville for Central Division supremacy. Brian Elliott picked up the win thanks to 30 stops. Cedric Paquette provided early offense for the Lightning, who have recorded a point in six of their last seven games (5-1-1). Ben Bishop made just 16 saves.

Final Score: Nashville 4, Toronto 3

Colin Wilson recorded the game-winning goal with 8:42 remaining, sending the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 10th consecutive loss and giving the Nashville Predators a 4-3 come-from-behind victory. The Predators trailed 3-2 before goals by Wilson and Mike Fisher lifted the Central Division leaders to a franchise-record ninth straight win on home ice. Fisher added a pair of assists and Wilson had one of his own in support of Carter Hutton’s 25 saves. Seth Jones and Shea Weber also scored for the Predators. Toronto overcame a 2-0 deficit after one period on goals by Daniel Winnik, Nazem Kadri and Mike Santorelli, but couldn’t hold the lead in tying a club mark for consecutive defeats. The Leafs fell to 0-9-1 in their last 10 road outings as well. Santorelli also registered an assist and Jonathan Bernier finished with 24 saves for Toronto.

Final Score: Minnesota 3, Chicago 0

Devan Dubnyk turned away 24 shots for his third shutout of the season to lead the Minnesota Wild in a 3-0 win over the Chicago Blackhawks. Mikko Koivu had a goal and an assist while Jason Zucker and Mikael Granlund also scored for the Wild, who have ripped off four straight wins. Corey Crawford allowed all three goals on 43 shots for the Blackhawks, who have gone just 2-3-0 during a seven-game road trip.

Final Score: Colorado 3, Dallas 2 (SO)

Maxime Talbot scored in the 11th round of the shootout as the Colorado Avalanche rallied to beat the Dallas Stars 3-2 at American Airlines Center. Talbot skated in wide and fired the puck past Kari Lehtonen and in off the left post. Colorado wasted six earlier chances to win the shootout and were down to its last shot twice. Semyon Varlamov made 30 saves for the Avalanche, who erased a 2-0 third-period deficit with goals from Ryan O’Reilly and Tyson Barrie, the latter coming with 20 seconds remaining in regulation. Colorado improved to 9-3-3 in its last 15 games.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  PBZ Zagreb Indoors Men’s Tennis Update – February 03

Zagreb, Croatia

Total Prize Money: $560,000


Andreas Seppi (5) leads Robin Haase, 3-0
Mikhail Youzhny (6) defeated Blaz Kavcic, 6-3, 1-6, 6-4
Viktor Troicki (7) defeated Illya Marchenko, 4-6, 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (7-3)
Marcos Baghdatis defeated Toni Androic, 6-7 (3-7), 6-2, 6-3
Damir Dzumhur defeated Michael Berrer, 6-2, 0-6, 7-5
Go Soeda defeated Matthias Bachinger, 7-6 (7-4), 7-5

►  Open Sud de France Men’s Tennis Update – February 03

Montpellier, France

Total Prize Money: $560,000


Jarkko Nieminen defeated Jan-Lennard Struff (8), 7-6 (7-5), 6-3
Lucas Pouille defeated Alexander Kudryavtsev, 6-4, 7-6 (7-4)
Dudi Sela defeated Jurgen Zopp, 6-3, 6-4
Paul-Henri Mathieu leads Taro Daniel, 6-3, 1-2
Nikoloz Basilashvili vs. Benoit Paire
Edouard Roger-Vasselin defeated Andreas Beck, 3-6, 6-3, 6-4
Kenny De Schepper defeated Marsel Ilhan, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Bethpage Black to remain in Barclays rotation

New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo announced on Tuesday that Bethpage State Park’s Black Course will host The Barclays again in 2021 and 2027.

The Black Course, which opened in 1936, hosted the 2002 and 2009 U.S. Opens. The Barclays, the first FedExCup Playoff event, was first played there in 2012 and will again be contested there in 2016.

“Bethpage State Park is one of the best public golf courses in the nation, and we are proud to welcome The Barclays back for two more tournaments,“ Governor Cuomo said. “We look forward to welcoming golfers and spectators to these world-class competitions and urge them to also experience all that Long Island has to offer.“

Tiger Woods (2002) and Lucas Glover (2009) won the two U.S. Opens contested on the Black Course, while Nick Watney claimed the 2012 Barclays.

“Today’s announcement continues this tournament’s stellar rotation of playing on some of the area’s best courses. I’d like to thank the New York State Parks Department, Governor Cuomo and Parks Commissioner Rose Harvey for their partnership over the years at Bethpage State Park, which now extends well past the next decade,“ said PGA Tour Commissioner Tim Finchem. “We’re thrilled to bring the first event of the FedExCup Playoffs to such a well-respected and challenging course again in 2021 and 2027, and we look forward to announcing additional venues in the rotation in the near future.“

The PGA of America announced last year that the Black Course will host the 2019 PGA Championship and the 2024 Ryder Cup.

Bethpage is one of a four-course rotation for the Barclays. Plainfield Country Club, Liberty National Golf Club and Ridgewood Country Club, which hosted in 2014 when Hunter Mahan won the title, are also part of the Barclays rotation.

►  This Week in Golf—February 05-08

PGA TOUR - FARMERS INSURANCE OPEN, Torrey Pines Golf Club (North & South Courses), San Diego, California - The PGA Tour returns to California this week for the Farmers Insurance Open.

Torrey Pines has long been one of Tiger Woods’s favorite stops. He has won this event seven times, and claimed his last major there at the 2008 U.S. Open, when he beat Rocco Mediate in a playoff.

However, Woods is coming off a last place finish in Phoenix, so it is hard to say what we will see out of the 14-time major champion this week. Last year, Woods stumbled to a 79 in the third round and missed the secondary cut in his title defense.

With Woods out of contention last year, there was a battle for the title. Scott Stallings closed with a 4-under 68 to win by one stroke over five players and by two shots over three more.

The victory was the third for Stallings on the PGA Tour. Like Woods, Stallings is coming off a missed cut last week in Phoenix. After his win last year, Stallings went into a tailspin as he missed 13 cuts in his next 23 starts. However, his missed cut last week was the first in six starts this season for Stallings.

Along with Woods and Stallings, the field will include 13 of the top 25 players in the world. World No. 5 Justin Rose is the highest ranked player in the group that also includes Phil Mickelson, Dustin Johnson, Jimmy Walker and Bill Haas.

Johnson will make his first PGA Tour start since last years Canadian Open. His best finish at this event was a tie for third in 2011.

Golf Channel will have coverage all four days. Their coverage on Saturday and Sunday will be early, before they hand off to CBS.

The PGA Tour heads to Northern California next week for the AT&T Pebble Beach National Pro-Am. Walker stumbled to a 2-over 74 in the final round last year, but he held on for a 1-stroke win over Johnson and Jim Renner.


MAYBANK MALAYSIAN OPEN, Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club, Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia - The European Tour heads to Kuala Lumpur this week for the Maybank Malaysian Open, where Lee Westwood was a runaway winner last year.

Westwood did enough in the first two rounds to earn the title. He opened the week with rounds of 65-66 to end 36 holes at 13-under par. The Englishman picked up five more strokes over the final two rounds to end at 18-under par, seven shots clear of Louis Oosthuizen, Nicolas Colsaerts and Bernd Wiesberger.

The win was the 23rd on the European Tour for Westwood. In his first start of 2015 last week in Dubai, Westwood shared ninth place, eight strokes behind winner Rory McIlroy.

Westwood will be on hand to defend his title against a field that includes Miguel Angel Jimenez, Stephen Gallacher, Robert Karlsson, Victor Dubuisson and Graeme McDowell.

Golf Channel has early morning coverage of all four rounds this week.

The European Tour shifts to Thailand next week for the inaugural Thailand Classic.


PURE SILK BAHAMAS LPGA CLASSIC, Ocean Club Golf Course, Paradise Island, Bahamas - The LPGA Tour is in paradise this week with the third playing of the Pure Silk Bahamas LPGA Classic.

Jessica Korda broke par in all four rounds en route to a 1-stroke win over Stacy Lewis last year. Korda closed with a 7-under 66 on the par-73 Ocean Club Golf Course.

Korda rallied by third-round leader Na Yeon Choi, who closed with a 72. Korda picked up her third LPGA Tour win later last year when she won the Airbus LPGA Classic. She shared second place last week at the Coates Golf Championship, where Choi came from behind to win that crown.

Both Korda and Choi will be in the field this week, along with newly minted world No. 1 Lydia Ko as well as Inbee Park, Stacy Lewis, Paula Creamer, Suzann Pettersen, Lexi Thompson and Michelle Wie.

Golf Channel will have coverage of all four rounds of the event.

After a week off, the LPGA Tour heads to Australia and Asia for three events. First up is the ISPS Handa Women’s Australian Open. Karrie Webb rallied to win in her homeland last year as Chella Choi stumbled in the final round.


ALLIANZ CHAMPIONSHIP, The Old Course at Broken Sound, Boca Raton, Florida - After a week off, the Champions Tour is in Florida this week for the Allianz Championship.

Michael Allen fired a 12-under 60 in the opening round, then followed with a pair of 69s. Duffy Waldorf posted a 67 in the final round to catch Allen at 18-under-par 198, which set the tournament’s scoring record.

The duo headed back to the par-5 18th, where they both 2-putted for birdie on the first extra hole. Allen birdied the hole for a second time to fend off Waldorf and win for the sixth time on the Champions Tour.

Golf Channel will have coverage of all three rounds.

The Champions Tour shifts to Naples next week for the ACE Group Classic, where Kirk Triplett beat Waldorf, Bernhard Langer and Olin Browne by a single stroke last year.



Colombia - The Tour continues its trek through Central and South America this week with the Pacific Rubiales Colombia Championship.

Weather problems plagued the tournament last year when Alex Cejka was declared the winner after he wrapped up a third-round 63. He beat Andrew Putnam by three strokes.

All three rounds were finished the day after they started. Cejka played just one hole of his third round on Saturday, but had gotten nine holes into the fourth round before play was suspended on Sunday.

Players were unable to return to the course after that suspension so scores reverted back to the end of the third round and Cejka was declared the winner. It was his first Tour title.

There is no television coverage this week.

The Tour will take three weeks off before returning with a new event, the Karibana Championship, which is also in Colombia.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Marshall among possibilities for son of former West Virginia receiver Antonio Brown

Three-star cornerback Antonio Howard, the son of former West Virginia receiver Antonio Brown, decommitted from the Mountaineers on Monday.

The 5-foot-10 speedster from Hialeah, Florida, had pledged to West Virginia in August but reportedly put himself on shaky ground by visiting other schools recently. Howard previously decommitted from Florida International last April and Cincinnati in June.

antonio howard @speedyhoward:
“Just decommited from West Virginia gotta do what’s best for me I will announce Wea I’m going for college on signing day Wednesday at 11AM”

That preceded a curious exchange of tweets involving West Virginia assistant coach JaJuan Seider, who has plucked numerous players from south Florida and had served as the lead recruiter for Howard:

JaJuan Seider:
When you play game, eventually run out of tokens. #WVU

Seider’s tweet subsequently was deleted but not before Howard responded: “He really sneak dissing me this what happens at West Virginia.”

Finally, amid speculation that West Virginia pulled Howard’s scholarship offer when he continued checking out other programs, the player tweeted:

antonio howard @speedyhoward:
“Listen I never got cut loose from West Virginia I cut them loose remember no disrespect”

With players able to sign their national letters of intent Wednesday, Howard appears to be down to Marshall, UCF and Miami.

At various stages Howard, who was timed at 4.32 in the 40, also held offers from Kentucky, Pitt, Syracuse, South Florida, and Temple.

With 21 commitments as of Monday night, West Virginia’s class ranked No. 29 nationally and third-best in the Big 12, according to Rivals.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Shanahan, Smith join Falcons coaching staff

On the day Dan Quinn was introduced as head coach, the Atlanta Falcons named Kyle Shanahan offensive coordinator and Richard Smith defensive coordinator on Tuesday.

The Falcons also named Raheem Morris assistant coach/defensive passing game coordinator, Bobby Turner running backs coach and Mike LaFleur offensive assistant. Keith Armstrong will stay as special teams coordinator as will defensive line coach Bryan Cox, tight ends coach Wade Harman, wide receivers coach Terry Robiskie and assistant special teams coach Eric Sutulovich.

Shanahan joins the Falcons after spending last season with the Cleveland Browns. Prior to the Browns, Shanahan spent four years with the Washington Redskins as offensive coordinator.

“I was fortunate to get connected with Kyle Shanahan and look forward to the opportunity to be partnered with him,“ said Quinn during his press conference on Tuesday.

Quinn had long been rumored as the Falcons’ head coach choice, but the club had to wait until he finished his duties as defensive coordinator for the NFC champion Seattle Seahawks.

On the defensive side, Quinn said he will be involved, but didn’t commit on calling the plays over Smith, who spent the last four seasons as the linebackers coach for the Denver Broncos.

Prior to joining the Broncos, Smith was linebackers coach for two years with the Carolina Panthers. He has over 25 years of coaching experience in the NFL, having also coached for the Texans, Dolphins, Lions and Oilers.

Morris is the only coach on the staff with prior head coaching experience. He was head coach of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers from 2009-11 before spending the last three seasons as defensive backs coach for the Redskins.

Robiskie has been an interim head coach with Washington in 2000 and Cleveland in 2004.

►  Texans name Pasqualoni, Devlin line coaches

The Houston Texans named Paul Pasqualoni as defensive line coach and Mike Devlin as offensive line coach.

Pasqualoni spent the 2014 season as defensive line coach for the Chicago Bears and will enter his 40th year as a coach on the pro or college level. He was the head coach at Syracuse from 1991-2004, guiding the Orange to a record of 107-59-1 with nine bowl berths in 14 years, then struggled as head coach at Connecticut with a mark of 10-18 in two-plus seasons from 2011-13.

As an NFL assistant, he was the tight ends coach and linebackers coach for the Dallas Cowboys from 2005-07, then spent two years as defensive coordinator for the Miami Dolphins before returning to Dallas as defensive coordinator and line coach for the 2010 campaign.

Devlin spent the past nine seasons with the New York Jets, first as tight ends coach from 2006-12 and then as offensive line coach from 2013-14. He played seven years in the NFL with the Buffalo Bills (1993-95) and Arizona Cardinals (1996-99), and also spent time as an assistant coach with the Cardinals from 2000-03.

The Texans also named Pat O’Hara as offensive assistant and Brian Bell as a strength and conditioning assistant, while Anthony Pleasant will now serve as a defensive assistant after spending the 2014 season as a strength and conditioning assistant.

►  Extra Points: Quinn gets the big chair

He didn’t go out like he wanted but Dan Quinn’s reputation was already secured in Arthur Blank’s mind.

The worst-kept secret in football unveiled itself Monday when Quinn, one of the key architects of the generation’s best defense in Seattle, was officially named the new head coach of the Atlanta Falcons.

“This is an exciting day for the Atlanta Falcons franchise and our fans,“ said Blank, the Falcons’ owner. “Dan is a talented football coach who has a deep and diverse history in the game, which will serve us well. As we got to know Dan during the interview process, it became clear that he has a definitive plan for our football team and what it will take to win on a consistent basis.“

It was bittersweet for Quinn, who was less than 24 hours off a gut-wrenching 28-24 Super Bowl defeat to New England, one in which it was the Pats’ defense which made the signature play, a goal-line interception by little known cornerback Malcolm Butler in the waning seconds.

Quinn refused to discuss his impending move south after Super Bowl XLIX, preferring to honor the Seahawks and the game itself, a masterpiece which set a new U.S. television record with an average of 114 million viewers tuned in.

“In respect to this game, what a terrific game we were all a part of,“ Quinn said Sunday night. “So for tonight, I’d like to make the focus all about our players and both teams.

“It was a great contest. You could see how hard guys played. As a coach, that’s really what you’re looking for, great effort first. You see the guys in the locker room, they gave everything they had. You can’t ask for more than that as a coach.“

Quinn’s top charges did leave it out on the field.

All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman played with a compression sleeve on what was described as a hyperextended elbow until reports emerged after the game that the Stanford product would need Tommy John surgery to repair ligament damage.

Meanwhile, impact safeties Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor also played hurt with Thomas wearing a harness to protect a dislocated shoulder suffered in the NFC Championship Game against Green Bay, and Chancellor sporting a brace on a shaky knee tweaked in practice two days before the Super Bowl.

“My respect for so many of these players is so high, and we’re so connected,“ Quinn said. “I really feel for them. They put everything they had into this.“

That admiration is a two-day street and few Seattle defenders are feeling abandoned, with linebacker K.J. Wright calling his now ex-mentor “a defensive mastermind,“ while also praising the Falcons for waiting out the process and sticking with a guy who wasn’t free until February 2.

“I think he’ll be a really good head coach,“ Wright told The Sports Network. “I know a lot of guys want him (back), but he should’ve been gone last year with what he did.

“Let’s talk Atlanta. They’ve got a good offense, but the defense is struggling. So if he comes out there and gets that defense right, they’re an automatic playoff team.“

Quinn’s stifling defense was the calling card in the Pacific Northwest in the most offensively-skewed era in pro football history and it’s built on the K.I.S.S. principle—keep it simple stupid.

“We just honestly try to find unique guys and how fast we can play,“ Quinn said when describing his philosophy. “Then, within each team, there are unique guys and how you feature the players. Really, it is just about featuring the guys and the roles they can do best.“

The unique guys in Seattle for Quinn were athletic middle linebacker Bobby Wagner and the best secondary in football, led by Sherman as well as Thomas and Chancellor.

“(The Falcons) are getting a great coach,“ Wagner said. “I feel like he’s very open and easy to talk with. It’s not like you have to do it his way. He’s going to talk to you and say why his way is great. I think the biggest thing is that he’s a great communicator.“

The cupboard is not similarly stacked in Atlanta, though, where the Falcons allowed an NFL-worst 398.3 yards per game in 2014, a number fueled by their appalling third-down defense which permitted opponents to convert at nearly a 50% clip (46.8).

There is some moldable clay, however, especially at cornerback where Desmond Trufant and Robert Alford showed significant upside at times. Meanwhile, Quinn is set to get control of the Falcons’ 53-man roster so expect significant changes in the front seven.

“I am grateful for this opportunity, and I am excited to be the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons,“ Quinn said. “This felt like the right fit from the beginning, and I want to thank Mr. Blank for his resolve as this was an extended and complicated process. My goal is to build upon the foundation that has been laid here and to play a physical brand of football as we build a championship caliber team.“    ~~  John McMullen ~~

►  Carroll’s finest moment is in defeat

Mistakes were made and Pete Carroll took the heat.

That’s what leaders do and that’s why Carroll’s finest coaching moment came after his most gut-wrenching loss, a 28-24 setback to the New England Patriots in Super Bowl XLIX.

A second straight NFL title for the Seahawks was there for the taking if only Darrell Bevell made the right decision, or Russell Wilson took a poor choice and didn’t make it worse, or something called Malcolm Butler didn’t decide he was Mike Haynes in the waning seconds on the NFL’s biggest stage.

It was a perfect storm that slammed into the Seahawks and one that rendered all of Seattle helpless in one fell swoop, except for Carroll.

It would have been easy for the Seahawks mentor to pass the buck and point the finger of blame at his offensive coordinator or quarterback but those two had already earned his trust, along with the rope to hang themselves in front of a record 114 million television viewers.

The most casual fan knew what Seattle had to do. Just hand the football to Beast Mode, pass go, and collect your 200 dollars along with another Lombardi Trophy.

Yet, Bevell, in a classic case of over-thinking, called an ill-conceived slant for Ricardo Lockette out of a bunch formation.

Off the line, Lockette looked like he had plenty of separation and Wilson pulled the trigger just as Butler, who looked nothing like a third-stringer out of West Alabama, reacted.

He was more like Deion Sanders being shot out of a cannon, beating Lockette to the spot and stealing Super Bowl XLIX for the Pats.

Carroll had plenty of prospects to throw under the shuttle buses that they were evidently trying to hide from media at University of Phoenix Stadium but he took the high road, focusing the blame on himself.

“We sent in our personnel, they sent in goal line,“ Carroll said. “It’s not the right matchup to run the football.“

It’s always—repeat always—the right decision to run Marshawn Lynch from inside the 1-yard line.

Instead, Wilson threw the ill-conceived slant toward Lockette and Butler pounced, sending all of New England into a frenzy and giving Bill Belichick and Tom Brady their fourth Super Bowl title.

Carroll, meanwhile, was left to defend the tortured logic.

“On second down we throw the ball really to kind of waste the play,“ teh coach said. “If we score, we do, if we don’t then we’ll run it on third and fourth down.“

Unfortunately Seattle never got that opportunity.

“The guy (Butler) makes a great play and jumps in front of the route and makes an incredible play that nobody would ever think he could do and that changes the whole outcome,“ Carroll said.

“There’s really nobody to blame but me.“

If you broke out the Sodium pentothal and injected Carroll, the real answer would have been: “Bevell and Wilson earned my trust and I left them to do their jobs.“

Great coaches delegate to a superior supporting cast and that’s exactly whant Carroll did but on Sunday night, for one egregious play, a really good offensive coordiantor and the winningest third-year QB in NFL history failed their boss.

So the Jedi jumped on his own lightsaber for his Padawans.

“There’s no reservation in (the call), and don’t make it out like there is,“ Carroll said at his Monday press conference. “First off, Darrell is an incredible play-caller. He’s done a fantastic job. We are so lucky to have him. He has been absolutely instrumental in what we have done. He is an awesome guy on our staff and crucially important to our future, as well.

“And let me say this, too. We don’t ever call a play thinking we might throw an interception. I don’t ever think that. There was not a thought in my mind that we would make a mistake on the play. It was a tremendous play by the guy on the other side.“  ~~  John McMullen ~~

The Gilmer Free Press

ABC - American Broadcasting Company
CBS - Columbia Broadcast System
FOX - Fox Entertainment Group
NBC - National Broadcasting Company
JIP - Joined in Progress
TSN - Sports Network (Canada)
SNET/SN - Rogers SportsNet (Canada)
RDS - Reseau des sports
MSG - Madison Square Garden Network
TNT - Turner Network Television
TBS - Turner Broadcasting System
SNY - SportsNet New York
CBSSN - CBS - College Sports Network
CSN - Comcast SportsNet
TCN - The Comcast Network
NBCSN - NBC Sports Network
NESN - New England Sports Network
MASN - Mid-Atlantic Sports Network
ROOT - Root Sports (Pittsburgh, Northwest, Rocky Mountain)
CST - Cox Sports Television
FCS - FOX College Sports
FS - FOX Sports Regional
RSN - Regional Sports Networks
CPTV - Connecticut Public Broadcasting
TVG - Horse Racing Channel
FS1 - FOX Sports 1
TWC - Time Warner Cable Sports Channel
* - If Necessary

National Basketball Association
Detroit at Indiana, 7:00 PM - FS-Detroit, Indiana, DSS
Washington at Atlanta, 7:30 PM - CSN-DC, SportSouth, DSS
Denver at Boston, 7:30 PM - Altitude, CSN-New England, DSS
Brooklyn at Toronto, 7:30 PM - YES, TSN, DSS
Chicago at Houston, 8:00 PM - CSN-Chicago, ROOT-Southwest, ESPN
LA Lakers at Milwaukee, 8:00 PM - Time Warner Sports, FS-Wisconsin, DSS
Oklahoma City at New Orleans, 8:00 PM - FS-Oklahoma, New Orleans, DSS
Miami at Minnesota, 8:00 PM - SunSports, FS-North, DSS
Orlando at San Antonio, 8:30 PM - FS-Florida, Southwest, DSS
Memphis at Utah, 9:00 PM - SportSouth, ROOT-Northwest, DSS
Dallas at Golden State, 10:30 PM - FS-Southwest, CSN-Bay, ESPN
National Hockey League
Boston at NY Rangers, 8:00 PM - NBCSN
Pittsburgh at Edmonton, 8:00 PM - ROOT-Pittsburgh, SNET, DSS
San Jose at Calgary, 10:00 PM - CSN-California, SNET1, DSS
College Basketball
Ohio State at Purdue, 6:30 PM - Big Ten Network
Temple at South Florida, 6:30 PM - ESPNews
New Hampshire at Albany, 7:00 PM -
Navy at Boston University, 7:00 PM - Patriot League Network
Bowling Green at Central Michigan, 7:00 PM -
Youngstown State at Cleveland State, 7:00 PM -
Akron at Ohio University, 7:00 PM -
Georgia Tech at Duke, 7:00 PM - ESPN 2
East Carolina at Connecticut, 7:00 PM - ESPN U
Marquette at Villanova, 7:00 PM - FS1
Massachusetts at Fordham, 7:00 PM - SNY
VCU at George Mason, 7:00 PM - CBSSN
Bucknell at Lafayette, 7:00 PM - Patriot League Network
Army at Lehigh, 7:00 PM - Patriot League Network
Boston College at Notre Dame, 7:00 PM - NESN, RSN, FS-South, Florida, Detroit+
Texas A&M at Ole Miss, 7:00 PM - SEC Network
Eastern Michigan at Toledo, 7:00 PM -
Liberty at Winthrop, 7:00 PM - MASN,
Loyola-MD at American University, 8:00 PM - American Sports Network, MASN2
Wichita State at Bradley, 8:00 PM -
Oakland at Ill-Chicago, 8:00 PM -
Detroit at Valparaiso, 8:00 PM -
Jacksonville State at Memphis, 8:00 PM -
Oklahoma State at Texas, 8:00 PM - Longhorn Network
Southern Ill at Drake, 8:05 PM - MC22
TCU at Baylor, 8:30 PM - ESPNews
Penn State at Maryland, 8:30 PM - Big Ten Network
New Mexico at Air Force, 9:00 PM - ROOT-Rocky Mountain
Missouri at Alabama, 9:00 PM - SEC Network
Clemson at Florida State, 9:00 PM - RSN, FS-South, Florida, Detroit+, AZ, PT
Providence at Georgetown, 9:00 PM - CBSSN
Loyola-Chicago at Missouri State, 9:00 PM - CSN-Chicago, FS-Midwest,
Washington at Oregon, 9:00 PM - ESPN 2
Kansas State at Texas Tech, 9:00 PM - ESPN U
Creighton at Xavier, 9:00 PM - FS1
Colorado State at Wyoming, 9:00 PM - Mountain West Network
San Jose State at Fresno State, 10:00 PM - Mountain West Network
San Diego State at Nevada, 10:00 PM -
Women’s College Basketball
Iowa State at Oklahoma, 11:30 AM - Sooner Sports
Memphis at Temple, 12:00 PM - American Network
Cleveland State at Ill-Chicago, 6:00 PM -
Central Michigan at Bowling Green, 7:00 PM -
Toledo at Buffalo, 7:00 PM -
Texas at Kansas State, 7:00 PM - FS-Midwest
Miami-Ohio at Northern Ill, 8:00 PM -
Baylor at Oklahoma State, 8:00 PM - FS-Southwest
Texas Tech at Kansas, 8:00 PM - Jayhawk TV,
Oakland at Green Bay, 8:00 PM -
College Football
National Signing Day, 8:00 AM - ESPN U
International Soccer
Liverpool vs. Bolton, 2:30 PM - FS1

Sports News   150203

The Gilmer Free Press

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Area High Schools Boys Basketball Game Results

(Monday, February 02)

#4 Richwood 88     #5 Doddridge County 59

#1 St. Marys 59     #8 Meadow Bridge 42

►  Area High Schools Girls Basketball Game Results

(Monday, February 02)

Braxton County 48     South Harrison 16

#8 Ravenswood 61     Ritchie County 38

Parkersburg 76     Riverside 29

Parkersburg Catholic 59     Notre Dame 55

Williamstown 55     Wood County Christian 42

►  AP High School Boys Basketball Ranking

Class A
Team Record Pts Prv
  1. Wheeling Central (6)  13-2   96   1
  2. Bishop Donahue (3)  13-1   92   2
  3. Greater Beckley Christian (1)  13-2   82   3
  4. Magnolia   11-4   62   4
  5. Gilmer County   12-2   49   5
  6. Williamstown   12-2   44   7
  7. Notre Dame   10-5   42   6
  8. Tucker County   12-3   32   8
  9. Valley Fayette   10-2   24   9
  10. Tug Valley   8-4   15   10  
Others receiving votes: St. Marys 7, Charleston Catholic 3, Saint Joseph Central 1, Madonna 1.

Class AA
Team Record Pts Prv
  1. Poca (10)  13-0   100   1
  2. Bridgeport   14-0   86   2
  3. Fairmont Senior   14-0   82   3
  4. Westside   12-1   71   4
  5. Robert C. Byrd   9-5   50   5
  6. Mingo Central   10-6   39   8
  7. Ravenswood   10-3   36   9
  8. Scott   10-5   31   7
  (tie)Lincoln   12-2   31   6
  10. Sissonville   10-5   19   10  
Others receiving votes: Grafton 4, PikeView 1.

Class AAA
Team Record Pts Prv
  1. South Charleston (9)  14-1   99   1
  2. Morgantown   13-2   80   3
  3. Parkersburg South   13-2   69   4
  4. Greenbrier East   13-1   57   7
  5. Huntington   12-3   55   5
  (tie)Logan (1)  11-1   55   6
  7. Capital   11-3   51   8
  8. Woodrow Wilson   10-3   42   2
  9. Preston   12-2   20   9
  10. Wheeling Park   9-5   13   10  
Others receiving votes: Jefferson 4, Hurricane 2, George Washington 2, Martinsburg 1.

►  AP High School Girls Basketball Ranking

Class A
Team Record Pts Prv
1. Wheeling Central (7)      12-2   88 1
2. Saint Joseph Central (2)    9-5   78 2
3. Tucker County           12-2   74 3
4. Williamstown             12-4   65 4
5. Pocahontas County         11-4   55 5
6. Charleston Catholic       6-9   36 7
7. Clay-Battelle           13-5   33 6
8. Gilmer County           9-5   24 9
9. Notre Dame             10-5   20 8
10. Madonna               10-5   14 10
Others receiving votes: Trinity 4, Meadow Bridge 2, Fayetteville 1, Union Grant 1.

Class AA
Team Record Pts Prv
1. Wyoming East (5)          15-1   85 1
2. Fairmont Senior (2)        15-2   77 3
3. North Marion (2)          14-1   76 2
4. Sissonville             14-2   65 4
5. Keyser                 15-1   50 6
6. Summers County           13-3   40 5
7. Clay County             14-2   33 7
8. Ravenswood             15-1   21 8
9. Bridgeport             13-4   20 10
10. PikeView               10-4   17 9
Others receiving votes: Bluefield 8, Lincoln 3.

Class AAA
Team Record Pts Prv
1. Morgantown (9)          16-0   90 1
2. Parkersburg South         15-3   78 2
3. Logan                 13-3   68 5
4. Huntington             13-2   62 4
5. South Charleston         13-3   55 3
6. St. Albans             13-4   49 6
7. Greenbrier East           14-3   27 8
8. Spring Valley           11-5   24 9
9. Hurricane               11-4   23 7
10. Parkersburg             9-5   9   NR
Others receiving votes: Buckhannon-Upshur 5, Martinsburg 3, Jefferson 1, George
Washington 1.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  MEC Men’s Basketball Game Results

(Monday, February 02)

Charleston 67, Wheeling Jesuit 63 | Final Stats

Charleston trailed 30-27 at halftime, but opened the second half on a 14-3 run and went on to win 67-63 over Wheeling Jesuit on Monday night at the McDonough Center.

The Golden Eagles (15-6, 10-5) hit three three-pointers during the second half burst to help spark the run. Tino DiTrapano had 17 points to lead UC, and Octavius Green had 16 points, including four threes. Aleksander Kesic finished with 11 points.

Kyle Ritz had 18 points and six rebounds for WJU (11-8, 7-7). Pat Moseh scored 11 points.

Fairmont State 89, Glenville State 82 | Final Stats

Fairmont State used a 17-4 second half run to erase a four-point halftime deficit in an 89-82 win over Glenville State on Monday night at the Waco Center.

With the win, Fairmont State extended its winning streak to seven games and improved to 15-6 overall and 12-3 in the MEC. The Pioneers dropped to 16-5 overall and 12-3 in conference play. The two teams are now tied for second in the league, one game behind West Liberty.

Jamel Morris led FSU with 22 points. Nick Harney had a double-double with 15 points and 12 rebounds, and Shammgod Wells contributed 19 points.

GSC was paced by 21 points from Donte Morales. Brett Morris scored 16 and Sedric Nady added 12. The Pioneers were plagued by 17 turnovers, while Fairmont State committed just nine.

Shepherd 69, West Virginia Wesleyan 66 | Final Stats

Shepherd forced outscored West Virginia Wesleyan 12-2 in the final 3:35 to come away with a  69-66 win over the Bobcats on Monday night at the Rockefeller Center. 

After a Tanner McGrew dunk gave the Bobcats a 64-57 lead with 3:35 to go, the Rams forced turnovers on WVWC’s next seven possessions to help spark its rally. 

Morgan McDonald and Ryan McTavish each scored 15 points for the Rams (12-9, 7-8). Austin Cunningham had 13 points and six assists and Steffen Davis scored 10.

McGrew had a huge night for WVWC (8-13, 6-9) with 34 points, 15 rebounds and five assists. Chris Dewberry added 14 points for the Bobcats.

Notre Dame 69, UVa-Wise 65 | Final Stats

Tyree Gaiter scored Notre Dame’s final six points to help the Falcons defeat UVa-Wise, 69-65, on Monday night at the Prior Center. 

With the game tied at 63-63, Gaiter knocked down a jumper with 1:31 to go to put the Falcons in front. The Cavs failed to convert on a pair of free throws on the other end, and Gaiter went to the line and made two from the charity stripe to make it 67-63 with :18 seconds left. Charles George made a quick layup for UVa-Wise, but Gaiter got the ball and was fouled and again went 2-for-2 from the line to help seal the win.

Gaiter led all scorers with 17 points for NDC (11-10, 7-8). Will Vorhees scored 16 and pulled down seven rebounds, and Lawrence DeArmond had 15 points, eight rebounds and six assists. 

Matt Day had 18 points and nine rebounds to lead UVa-Wise (1-19, 0-15). Brian Sydnor had 16 points and six rebounds.

No. 10 West Liberty 119, West Virginia State 82 | Final Stats

Six players reached double figures and No. 10 West Liberty nailed 16 three-pointers in a 119-82 win over West Virginia State on Monday night at the ASRC.

The Hilltoppers (18-2, 13-2) took sole possession of first place in the league with the win. West Virginia State slipped to 3-19 overall and 3-11 in conference play.

Seger Bonifant scored 19 points, C.J. Hester scored 17 and Joe Lococo and Devin Hoehn each added 16 points. Mike Lamberti added 12 points and Brandon Smith chipped in 10. Indiana Faithful dished out 12 assists to go with eight points.

Markee Mazyck had 20 points for WVSU. Dominic Phillips scored 13 points and Damion Harris and Dimitrious Jelen-Joy each added 10.

Concord 91, Urbana 70 | Final Stats

Concord shot 53 percent from the field as it claimed a 91-70 win over Urbana on Monday night at the Carter Center.

The Mountain Lions (14-6, 10-5) shot 53 percent from the field and out-rebounded Urbana, 43-32. Mike Boyd led the way with 23 points and six assists, and Aaron Miller poured in 22 more for CU. Rob Reed had a double-double with 15 points and 11 rebounds. 

Carlas Jackson scored 20 points for Urbana (5-16, 2-13). Rodney Clark added 11.

►  MEC Women’s Basketball Game Results

(Monday, February 02)

Charleston 56, Wheeling Jesuit 53 | Final Stats

Kiara Johnson’s layup with :38 seconds left stood up as the game-winner as Charleston defeated Wheeling Jesuit, 56-53, on Monday night at the McDonough Center.

In a game that saw neither team lead by more than eight points at any point, Charleston trailed 53-52 with just over a minute remaining. Johnson executed on the other end to give UC the lead, and the two teams traded turnovers on ensuing possessions. The Golden Eagles forced another with just seven seconds left and Nichole Perry went to the line and made a pair of free throws to seal the win. 

Deja Gibson was the only player to reach double figures for Charleston (16-5, 11-4) scoring 12. LeAnne Ross scored nine and Johnson finished with five points to go with a game-high seven rebounds.

Jaila Bryant led Wheeling Jesuit (11-7, 8-6) with 19 points, six assists and five rebounds. 

Fairmont State 92, Glenville State 83 | Final Stats

Hailey Garrett scored 29 and Hallie Gunnoe added 26 to lead Fairmont State to a 92-83 win over Glenville State on Monday night at the Waco Center.

Trailing 19-12 with 11:29 to go, Fairmont State went on a 20-5 run over the next five minutes and never trailed the rest of the way. The Falcons shot 56 percent from the field in the win. 

Gunnoe finished with seven rebounds and five assists to go with her 26 points to lead FSU (17-4, 11-4). Emily Lohr added 12 points and eight rebounds in the victory.

Keyanna Tate registered a double-double with 20 points and 11 rebounds for the Pioneers (10-9, 8-7). Katrina Salins had 15 and Brittany Jackson scored 11. 

UVa-Wise 65, Notre Dame 57 | Final Stats

UVa-Wise jumped out to a 22-6 lead and fought off a late Notre Dame rally to defeat the Falcons, 65-57, at the Prior Center.

The Cavs (8-13, 7-8) were led by 18 points and six rebounds from Blair Harding. Kayla Carey scored 15, Kehana Grayer added 12, and Taylor Sandidge led the team in rebounds (7) and assists (6) to go with seven points.

Lauren Langenderfer led NDC (13-8, 9-6) with 16 points and six rebounds. Kelsey Miller scored 14 points and grabbed six rebounds. Martha Nagbe was limited to nine points but has seven assists and six rebounds.

Shepherd 72, West Virginia Wesleyan 62 | Final Stats

Shepherd snapped its two-game losing streak with a 72-62 win over West Virginia Wesleyan on Monday night at the Rockefeller Center.

The Rams (14-7, 11-4) were led by 18 points off the bench from Gabby Flinchum. Morgan Arden scored 12, Rachel Johnson had 11 and Liz Myers netted 10. Cara Mason scored nine points, had nine assists and pulled down six rebounds.

Mari Stewart had 18 points and eight rebounds to lead West Virginia Wesleyan (2-16, 2-13). Adrian Cunningham added 12 points.

Concord 83, Urbana 64 | Final Stats

Concord trailed by two at halftime, but went on a 15-0 run early in the second half on its way to an 83-64 win over Urbana on Monday night at the Carter Center.

The Mountain Lions (6-13, 6-9) outscored Urbana (1-20, 1-14) 50-29 in the second half. CU shot 68 percent from the field in the second half. 

Rachel Artrip led Concord with 23 points, seven assists and six rebounds. Kylie Molisee added 20 points and Jacqueline Kestner had 17 points. Melea Smith added 10 points off the bench.

Kennedy Boggs led all scorers with 28 points for Urbana. Jillian Conneely had 11 points and Katy Barkley scored 10.

West Liberty 89, West Virginia State 53 | Final Stats

Five players reached double figures to help West Liberty to an 89-53 win over West Virginia State on Monday night.

West Liberty out-rebounded West Virginia State, 54-29, including 17-3 on the offensive glass. The Hilltoppers (14-7, 11-4) were led by Liz Flowers who filled the box score with 18 points, eight rebounds and seven assists. Kailee Howe did the same with 16 points, 10 assists and six rebounds. Jenn Mohney hit four three-pointers and scored 14 points, and Jasmin Kiley added 13 points and Baylen Dyrlund finished with 12 points.

Aurreshae Hines led WVSU (6-13, 4-10) with 13 points. Shealyn Shafer had 10 rebounds to go with seven points.

►  MEC Men’s Basketball Players of the Week

Fairmont State’s Nick Harney has been named Mountain East Conference Player of the Week after helping the Falcons extend their winning streak to six games last week. 

Harney, a senior from Cleveland, Ohio, averaged 24.5 points and 7.5 rebounds as FSU picked up wins over West Virginia State and West Virginia Wesleyan. After scoring 24 points against the Yellow Jackets, he scored 25—including the game-tying layup to force overtime—in a win over the Bobcats. 

Other Top Performances

Justin Fritts (WJU) averaged 25 points as the Cardinals continued their winning ways ...

C.J. Hester (WLU) averaged 18 points and 10 rebounds to keep 10th-ranked West Liberty tied atop the conference standings ...

Aaron Miller (CU) averaged 20.5 points as the Mountain Lions went 2-0 ...

Donte Morales (GSC) scored 30 points in a win over Shepherd ...

Austin Cunningham (SU) averaged 16.5 points in two games ...

Tanner McGrew (WVWC) added two more double-doubles to his total averaging 21 points and 13.5 rebounds ...

Lawrence DeArmond (NDC) averaged 18.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists in a pair of games.

2014-15 MEC Players of the Week
Week Player (Team)
November17 Seger Bonifant (WLU)
November 24 Donte Morales (GSC)
December 01 Mike Boyd (CU)
December 8 C.J. Hester (WLU)
December 15 Devin Hoehn (WLU)
December 22 Morgan McDonald (SU)
January 06 Sedric Nady (GSC)
January 12 Seger Bonifant (WLU)
January 19 Jamel Morris (FSU)
January 26 Justin Fritts (WJU)
February 02 Nick Harney (FSU)

►  MEC Women’s Basketball Players of the Week

Notre Dame’s Martha Nagbe has been named Mountain East Conference Player of the Week for the third time this season after guiding the Falcons to a pair of conference victories.

Nagbe, a junior from Lakewood, Ohio, averaged 29.5 points, seven rebounds and three assists in two games last week. She poured in 33 as the Falcons toppled West Liberty, and then scored 26 points, grabbed seven rebounds and handed out four assists to pace NDC in a road win over Concord. Nagbe is second in the league in scoring averaging 18.8 points to go with 7.3 rebounds, 3.0 assists and 2.2 steals.

Other Top Performances

Keyanna Tate (GSC) averaged a double-double with 16.5 points and 11.5 rebounds as the Pioneers extended their winning streak to four games ...

Hailey Garrett (FSU) averaged 24.5 points and six rebounds in a pair of wins ...

Kailee Howe (WLU) filled the stat sheet with 20.5 points, 8.5 assists and 6.5 rebounds in a 1-1 week ...

LeAnne Ross (UC) went over 1,000 points for her career as UC split its two games ...

Mari Stewart (WVWC) helped the Bobcats to a 1-1 week averaging 17.5 points and 7.5 rebounds ...

Cara Mason (SU) averaged 15 points and four assists in two games for the Rams ...

Jacqueline Kestner (CU) averaged a double-double with 13.5 points and 10.5 rebounds.

2014-15 MEC Players of the Week
Week Player (Team)
November17 Hallie Gunnoe (FSU)
November 24 Hailey Garrett (FSU)
December 01 Nichole Perry (UC)
December 08 Jacqueline Kestner (CU)
December 15 Cara Mason (SU)
December 22 Martha Nagbe (NDC)
January 06 Emily Lohr (FSU)
January 12 Kailee Howe (WLU)
January 19 Martha Nagbe (NDC)
January 26 Monet Saunders (UC)
February 02 Martha Nagbe (NDC)

The Gilmer Free Press

►  West Virginia vs. Oklahoma

Rather astonishingly, No. 15 West Virginia finds itself in the thick of the Big 12 race. Staying there won’t be easy.

Beginning with Tuesday night’s trip to Oklahoma, the Mountaineers face a 10-game stretch against opponents with an average RPI of 26. Mathematically speaking, it’s the toughest stretch any West Virginia team has ever faced during the regular season.

Point guard Juwan Staten says bring it on.

“We’ve played tough teams. We’ve played teams with size. We’ve played athletic teams,” he said. “We’ve been tested.”

After ripping through the Sooners 86-65 in Morgantown on January 13, creating 22 turnovers in the process, West Virginia expects the return game to be much closer, though not impossibly daunting. After all, the Mountaineers are 10-1 away from home this season.

“I think the way we play cancels out a lot of normal factors other teams worry about on the road,” Staten said. “We feel like we have the tools and the bodies to make anybody turn the ball over.”

The Mountaineers, trapping baseline-to-baseline, are on pace to obliterate the single-season school record of 648 forced turnovers set in 1998. That pressure fuels transition opportunities that WVU leads the Big 12 in field-goal attempts and ranks second in scoring (77 points per game).

Freshman Daxter Miles, after making eight steals in the past three games, feels the Mountaineers’ press can be just as effective against Oklahoma the second time.

“I remember we had a lot of deflections, and I’m looking forward to same type of game,” he said. “The energy has to be crazy when we go on the road.”

After winning three straight, West Virginia (18-3, 6-2) enters Tuesday in sole possession of second place in the Big 12, only one loss behind Kansas.

No. 21 Oklahoma (14-7, 5-4) was tied for fourth place after winning 64-56 at Oklahoma State on Saturday, which brought the Sooners’ record to 3-6 when scoring fewer than 70 points. The celebration over a Bedlam sweep quickly gave way to talk about a rematch with the Mountaineers.

“We’ve got to stay positive and stay calm as a group,” said guard Buddy Hield, the league’s top scorer at 17.4 per game. “We’ve got a tough one against West Virginia. They’re going to be scrapping.”

The most striking stat from that first meeting was West Virginia’s massive 55-8 edge in bench scoring, which featured 18 points from Jevon Carter and 10 by Nathan Adrian.

“From the beginning what we tried to sell them was the fact that everyone can play and have an opportunity to play,” said coach Bob Huggins. “I wanted them to play as hard as they could play. Our rule is and always has been, if I take you out for not playing hard, you won’t get back in there.”

#15 WEST VIRGINIA (18-3, 6-2) vs. #21 OKLAHOMA (14-7, 5-4)

Tipoff: 8 PM Eastern at Norman, OK. (ESPN2)

Scouting the Sooners: Hield leads the league in 3-point tries (151) is fourth in accuracy at 37.7 percent.  … Junior guard Isaiah Cousins (12 points, 5.4 rebounds) is the most unpredictable of the Sooners. A 45-percent 3-point shooter, he hasn’t produced consecutive double-digit scoring games in a month and was held to two points at Oklahoma State. Though he scored 11 at WVU, he also committed a team-worst five turnovers. … 6-8 forward Ryan Spangler (10.3 points, 8 rebounds) is the Big 12’s second-leading rebounder, a deft passer and a guy who beats opposing bigs down the floor. He’s also the reigning conference player of the week. Spangler’s joined by 6-8 transfer TaShawn Thomas (10.8 points, 5.9 rebounds), who hasn’t missed a start in 117 college games. … Sophomore point guard Jordan Woodard (8.7 points, 4.4 assists, 3.5 rebounds) isn’t shooting 3s as well as last season, but he’s third in the Big 12 in assists.

Coaching the Sooners: Lon Kruger (551-349) is in his fourth season at Oklahoma, where he’s 72-45 and on pace for a third consecutive NCAA berth. Since the blowout loss at West Virginia he senses his team has improved at “being strong with the ball, more aggressive to loose balls and being more physical.”

Mountaineers musings: West Virginia’s Devin Williams (11.3 points, 8 rebounds) scored seven field goals against Texas Tech, one off his career high. He scored five times from point-blank range and made two short-corner jumpers. … Staten (14.8 points, 4.4 assists) is just 17-of-30 on free throws the past four games, dropping his overall rate to 71 percent. He’s averaging 30 minutes per game, with Williams the next highest at 23. … In his 33rd season, coach Bob Huggins (758-305) can move into a tie with Ed Diddle for 12th place on the NCAA all-time wins list. … Jonathan Holton (9.2 points, 6 rebounds) has sone basket and five turnovers in his past two games, but he grabbed eight boards vs. Texas Tech. … Gary Browne (6.8 points, 1.7 assists, 1.3 steals) explains how defense is fueling the Mountaineers: “It’s like when you get paid, you want more and more money. So every time we dive and get the ball, we get excited. There’s nothing that gets us more excited than getting the ball back.”

<The Gilmer Free Press

►  Top-25 College Men’s Basketball Game Results

(Monday, February 02)

Final Score: (3) Virginia 75, (12) North Carolina 64

Malcolm Brogdon had 17 points, Justin Anderson scored 16 with seven assists and third-ranked Virginia got back on track by topping No. 12 North Carolina 75-64 Monday night. Coming off their first loss of the season, the Cavaliers pulled away in the second half against the Tar Heels to post just their seventh win in 72 trips to Chapel Hill. London Perrantes finished with 15 points and Anthony Gill supplied 13 with seven rebounds as Virginia (20-1, 8-1 ACC) rebounded from Saturday’s 69-63 home loss to No. 4 Duke. Marcus Paige had 15 points to pace the Tar Heels (17-6, 7-3), who have dropped two straight on the heels of a six-game win streak.

Final Score: (8) Kansas 89, (11) Iowa State 76

Wayne Selden netted 19 of his 20 points in the second half and No. 8 Kansas defeated No. 11 Iowa State 89-76 on Monday night. Perry Ellis posted 17 points and six rebounds and Kelly Oubre Jr. added 16 points and five boards for Kansas (19-3, 8-1 Big 12), which had dropped its last two games against Iowa State. It was the first time the Jayhawks had lost two in a row to the Cyclones since a five-game slide from Feb. 1999-Feb. 2001. Georges Niang tallied 24 points, six boards and five assists for the Cyclones (16-5, 6-3), who had won four of their last five games coming in.

►  College Men’s Basketball Ranking – February 02

Associated Press Top 25
1. Kentucky
2. Gonzaga
3. Virginia
4. Duke
5. Wisconsin
6. Arizona
7. Villanova
8. Kansas
9. Louisville
10. Notre Dame
11. Iowa State
12. North Carolina
13. Utah
14. Northern Iowa
15. West Virginia
16. Wichita State
17. Maryland
18. VCU
19. Baylor
20. Ohio State
21. Oklahoma
22. Butler
23. Southern Methodist
24. Georgetown
25. Texas

Coaches Poll
1. Kentucky
2. Gonzaga
3. Virginia
4. Wisconsin
5. Duke
6. Arizona
7. Villanova
8. Louisville
9. Kansas
10. Notre Dame
11. Utah
12. West Virginia
13. North Carolina
14. Iowa State
15. Northern Iowa
16. Maryland
17. Wichita State
18. VCU
19. Baylor
20. Ohio State
21. Oklahoma
22. Butler
23. Southern Methodist
24. Georgetown
25. Indiana

Top 25 (and one)
1 Kentucky
2 Virginia
3 Gonzaga
4 Duke
5 Wisconsin
6 Villanova
7 Kansas
8 Arizona
9 Louisville
10 Notre Dame
11 North Carolina
12 Utah
13 Northern Iowa
14 Wichita State
15 Maryland
16 Iowa State
17 West Virginia
18 Baylor
19 Texas
20 Oklahoma
21 VCU
22 Butler
23 Southern Methodist
24 Ohio State
25 Georgetown
26 Seton Hall

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Rondo sidelined with facial fractures

Dallas Mavericks guard Rajon Rondo is sidelined indefinitely with facial fractures he suffered in Saturday’s game against Orlando.

Rondo was hurt early in the first quarter after a collision with teammate Richard Jefferson. Jefferson’s knee hit the face of Rondo, whose head then struck the floor.

The Mavericks updated Rondo’s status Monday, saying he has an orbital fracture to the left eye and a nasal fracture. He will be further evaluated during the week, but will sit out at least the next three games.

Rondo will miss Monday’s game against Minnesota and won’t travel to California for games Wednesday at Golden State and Thursday at Sacramento.

Since joining the Mavericks in a December trade with Boston, Rondo has averaged 9.2 points, 6.5 assists and 5.0 rebounds in 21 games.

►  Irving, Randolph named NBA Players of the Week

Cleveland Cavaliers guard Kyrie Irving and Memphis Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph were named NBA Players of the Week on Monday.

Irving led the league in scoring with 31.5 points per game, helping the Cavaliers win all four of their games last week.

The Grizzlies also went 4-0 behind Randolph, who averaged 20.5 points and 13.8 rebounds.

►  Budenholzer, Kerr named NBA’s top coaches for January

Mike Budenholzer and Steve Kerr, whose teams currently own the NBA’s best records, have been chosen as the NBA’s January Coaches of the Month.

Budenholzer claimed his third consecutive Eastern Conference monthly award after his Atlanta Hawks went a perfect 17-0 in January. It’s the first time in league history a team has won that many games without a loss in a single month.

The Hawks are currently riding a franchise-record 19-game winning streak and own victories in 33 of their last 35 outings while topping the NBA with a 40-8 overall mark.

Kerr guided the Golden State Warriors to a 12-3 record in January to earn the nod for the Western Conference. The Warriors presently pace the West with a 37-8 mark, the club’s best ever after 45 games.

Budenholzer and Kerr will serve as the head coaches for the upcoming All-Star Game, which will take place on February 15 at Barclays Center in Brooklyn.

►  NBA Game Results

(Monday, February 02)

Final Score: Cleveland 97, Philadelphia 84

Kyrie Irving totaled 24 points, five assists and five rebounds, and the Cleveland Cavaliers ran their winning streak to 11 straight with a 97-84 victory over the pesky Philadelphia 76ers. LeBron James scored all but four of his 18 points in the first half and added 11 assists for the streaking Cavs, who are two wins shy of matching the franchise record of 13 in a row set during the 2009-10 season. Jerami Grant and Robert Covington led the Sixers with 18 points apiece.

Final Score: Charlotte 92, Washington 88

Al Jefferson had 18 points and 12 rebounds to guide the Charlotte Hornets to a 92-88 win over the Washington Wizards. Brian Roberts had 18 points, Gerald Henderson added 17 points and five assists and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist gave 13 points and 13 boards for the Hornets, who have won three of their last four. Bradley Beal had 18 points and 11 rebounds and John Wall added 16 points and 10 assists for the Wizards, who have lost their past three.

Final Score: Brooklyn 102, LA Clippers 100

Jarrett Jack’s tie-breaking jumper with 1.3 seconds remaining capped a furious late comeback that lifted the Brooklyn Nets to a stunning 102-100 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers. The Nets were down by 10 with four minutes left before outscoring Los Angeles by a 21-9 margin the rest of the way to halt a seven-game home losing streak. Brook Lopez added 24 points to help the Nets overcome a monster 22-point, 20-point effort from Clippers center DeAndre Jordan. Los Angeles also received 20 points and eight assists from Chris Paul and 18 points from Jamal Crawford, but had its fate sealed by lousy free throw shooting. The Clippers went just 8-of-25 from the foul line, with Jordan missing 10 of his 12 attempts.

Final Score: Milwaukee 82, Toronto 75

Khris Middleton had 25 points and nine rebounds as the Milwaukee Bucks held off the Toronto Raptors 82-75 Monday night. Giannis Antetokounmpo posted 12 points and 12 boards and Jared Dudley added 14 points and five assists for the Bucks, who won their fourth straight game. Jonas Valenciunas tallied 12 points and 13 rebounds, while DeMar DeRozan netted 16 points for Toronto, which had its six-game winning streak snapped.

Final Score: New Orleans 115, Atlanta 100

The Atlanta Hawks’ surprising 19-game winning streak came to a crashing halt in New Orleans on Monday. Anthony Davis made sure of it, totaling 29 points and 13 rebounds in leading the Pelicans to a thorough 115-100 victory over the NBA’s hottest team. The Hawks suffered their first defeat since losing to the Bucks on Dec. 26. They went unbeaten in January (17-0) and were one win shy of becoming the sixth team in NBA history to win 20 in a row. Eric Gordon scored 20 points in 28 minutes, while Tyreke Evans finished with 15 points, 12 assists and no turnovers for the Pelicans, who are 4-1 on a six-game homestand that concludes Wednesday against the Thunder. Atlanta was beaten at its own game, as the Pelicans earned a 52-32 rebounding advantage and managed easy looks offensively with good ball movement. Jeff Teague scored a team-high 21 points, while fellow All-Stars Paul Millsap and Al Horford combined for 23 points on 9-of-23 (39 percent) shooting.

Final Score: Oklahoma City 104, Orlando 97

Russell Westbrook posted a triple double of 25 points 14 assists and 11 rebounds as Oklahoma City downed Orlando, 104-97, on Monday. Dion Waiters picked up 24 points and Serge Ibaka added 16 with eight boards for the Thunder, who had dropped four of five coming in. Victor Oladipo clocked in with 22 points and Nikola Vucevic had 20 for the Magic, whose losing skid reached nine games.

Final Score: Dallas 100, Minnesota 94

Monta Ellis scored 23 points and the Dallas Mavericks staved off a late comeback attempt from the Minnesota Timberwolves to hold on for a 100-94 win. The Mavericks led from start to finish in their first game since point guard Rajon Rondo fractured his nose and orbital bone in Saturday’s victory at Orlando. Boosted by Ricky Rubio’s long- awaited return from a serious ankle injury, the Timberwolves pulled within 96-94 with 1:52 left before missing their final four shots. Chandler Parsons added 18 points on 8-of-12 shooting for Dallas after missing two games due to illness, with Dirk Nowitzki going 7-of-10 from the field in a 16-point effort. Rubio finished with 10 points in 21 minutes in his first action since Nov. 7. Kevin Martin paced Minnesota with 19 points and Andrew Wiggins netted 14, though the star rookie was held to a 4-of-14 effort from the floor.

Final Score: Memphis 102, Phoenix 101

Jeff Green’s three-point play with 4.5 seconds remaining put the Grizzlies ahead, and Marc Gasol’s block just before the buzzer sealed Memphis’ hard-fought 102-101 road victory over the Phoenix Suns. The Grizzlies ended the game on an 8-0 run en route to their seventh straight victory. Mike Conley scored 23 points, Zach Randolph chipped in with 19 points and nine rebounds, and Gasol finished with 15 points, eight assists, six boards and three blocks for the victors. Thomas was held scoreless in the first half and still wound up with 24 points, 16 in the fourth quarter alone. Bledsoe added 21 points, eight assists and seven rebounds, while Goran Dragic and Morris scored 15 and 14 points, respectively.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Nats make Janssen signing official

The Washington Nationals agreed to terms with reliever Casey Janssen on a one-year contract, the team announced Monday.

The deal also includes a mutual option for 2016.

“We are happy to add Casey Janssen to our stable of relief arms,“ Nationals general manager Mike Rizzo said. “We’re excited about what he will bring to our bullpen - on the mound, as one of the most effective and consistent relievers the last several years, as well as in the clubhouse. He is a veteran guy who has a plethora of experience in late, high-leverage innings, and we’re thrilled to add him to our mix.“

Janssen, 33, joins the Nationals after spending 10 years in the Toronto Blue Jays organization. He spent the last three seasons as the club’s closer, converting 81 of 91 save opportunities.

The right-hander owns a career record of 29-24 with a 3.52 ERA in 389 games.

To make room for Janssen on the 40-man roster, the Nationals designated pitcher Eric Fornataro for assignment.

►  Former Tigers 1B Bergman dies

The Detroit Tigers announced Monday that former first baseman Dave Bergman died at the age of 61.

“It is with heavy hearts we extend our condolences to the family of Dave Bergman. Dave was as spirited a person as he was a player. He will forever hold a special place in Tigers history for the versatile roles he played, and his significant contributions as a member of the 1984 World Champion Tigers. We will miss seeing ‘Bergie’ at the ballpark and in the community,“ the club noted in a statement.

Bergman was already an eight-year pro by the time he was traded twice in one day, from San Francisco to Philadelphia and then to Detroit on March 24, 1984. The latter trade saw the Phillies ship Bergman along with future AL MVP and Cy Young winner Willie Hernandez to the Tigers for Glenn Wilson and John Wockenfuss.

In 1984, he hit .273 with seven homers and 44 RBI over 120 games, while also spending time in the outfield, but collected just one single in seven postseason at-bats as the Tigers beat the Royals in the ALCS and Padres in the Fall Classic. His most notable contribution to that 104-win team was a three- run, walk-off homer against the Blue Jays at Tiger Stadium on June 04, capping a 13-pitch plate appearance against Roy Lee Jackson.

“One of our best teammates. Bergman was a guy who knew his role. He was a competitor and just a good person too,“ said Hall of Fame pitcher Jack Morris of his former teammate.

Bergman remained with the Tigers until the end of his career following the 1992 season. In 1,349 career games for the Yankees, Astros, Giants and Tigers, he was a lifetime .258 hitter who collected 54 home runs, 100 doubles and drove in 289 runs.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Price, Paquette, Dubnyk earn NHL weekly honors

Montreal Canadiens goaltender Carey Price, Tampa Bay Lightning center Cedric Paquette and Minnesota Wild netminder Devan Dubnyk were named the NHL’s top players for the week on Monday.

Price earned the First Star after posting three wins with a goals-against average of 0.66, a .980 save percentage and two shutouts in three outings last week. He made 40 saves in a 3-2 win over Dallas, then followed with consecutive 1-0 shutouts against the Rangers and Capitals.

Paquette picked up the Second Star after leading the league with five goals last week. He scored at least once in each of his three games, including a hat trick against Detroit, to help the Lightning maintain first place in the Atlantic Division.

Dubnyk notched the Third Star after matching Price with three victories, but only one came by shutout. He did finish with a 1.00 GAA and a .967 save percentage.

►  NHL Game Results

(Monday, February 02)

Final Score: NY Rangers 6, Florida 3

Rick Nash scored twice and Henrik Lundqvist came up with 33 saves as the New York Rangers tripped up Florida, 6-3, at Madison Square Garden. Kevin Hayes, Marc Staal, Dan Boyle and Mats Zuccarello also lit the lamp for the Rangers, who have won two in a row and five of their last seven. Aleksander Barkov, Dave Bolland and Brandon Pirri tallied for the Panthers, losers in seven of their last eight. Roberto Luongo surrendered five goals on 37 shots but stopped a Carl Hagelin penalty shot late in the contest.

Final Score: Calgary 5, Winnipeg 2

Raphael Diaz scored the game-winning goal in the third period to guide the Calgary Flames in a 5-2 win over the Winnipeg Jets. David Jones, Mason Raymond, Sean Monahan and Brandon Bollig also scored for the Flames, who have won three of their last four. Jonas Hiller turned away 17 shots in the win. Bryan Little had a goal and an assist and Blake Wheeler also scored for the Jets, who have dropped their past four. Michael Hutchinson allowed four goals on 23 shots and was pulled early in the third period. Ondrej Pavelec stopped all four shots he faced in relief.

Final Score: Edmonton 5, San Jose 4 (SO)

Rob Klinkhammer scored in the 13th round of the shootout to give the Edmonton Oilers a 5-4 win over the San Jose Sharks. After Viktor Fasth turned aside Matt Irwin’s attempt, Klinkhammer flew in and buried a shot past Antti Niemi for the victory. Jordan Eberle had two goals, Justin Schultz added a goal and an assist and Derek Roy also lit the lamp for the Oilers, who have won two of their last three. Fasth stopped 33 shots and turned away 12-of-13 attempts in the shootout. Joe Pavelski had two goals and an assist, while Scott Hannan and Matt Tennyson also scored for the Sharks, who had a three-game winning streak snapped. Joe Thornton added three assists and Niemi had 36 saves.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Stakhovsky advances in Zagreb

Former champion Sergiy Stakhovsky was among Monday’s first-round winners at the Zagreb Indoors tennis event.

The 2008 winner from Ukraine handled promising Croatian teenager Borna Coric 6-2, 6-4, while another result saw Lithuanian Ricardas Berankis vanquish Slovak and 2012 runner-up Lukas Lacko 6-0, 6-2 at Dom Sportova.

Two-time reigning champion and four-time overall titlist Marin Cilic of Croatia is unable to defend his titles this week due to a shoulder injury.

This week’s top seeds are towering Croatian favorite Ivo Karlovic and Frenchman Adrian Mannarino.

The 2015 Zagreb champion will collect $90,000.

►  Ecuador Open Quito Men’s Tennis Update – February 02

Quito, Ecuador

Total Prize Money: $495,000


Horacio Zeballos leads Austin Krajicek, 7-6 (7-3), 4-3
Facundo Arguello vs. Albert Montanes

Paolo Lorenzi (5) vs. Adrian Menendez-Maceiras
Thomaz Bellucci (6) vs. Giovanni Lapentti
Dusan Lajovic (7) vs. Luca Vanni
Joao Souza vs. Alejandro Falla
Facundo Bagnis vs. Alejandro Gonzalez
Marton Fucsovics vs. Daniel Gimeno-Traver

►  Open Sud de France Men’s Tennis Update – February 02

Montpellier, France

Total Prize Money: $560,000


Jerzy Janowicz (5) defeated Dustin Brown, 2-6, 7-6 (7-1), 7-5
Joao Sousa (7) defeated Laurent Lokoli, 6-2, 6-4
Tobias Kamke defeated Vincent Millot, 2-6, 6-3, 7-5

Jan-Lennard Struff (8) vs. Jarkko Nieminen
Lucas Pouille vs. Alexander Kudryavtsev
Dudi Sela vs. Jurgen Zopp
Taro Daniel vs. Paul-Henri Mathieu
Nikoloz Basilashvili vs. Benoit Paire
Edouard Roger-Vasselin vs. Andreas Beck
Kenny De Schepper vs. Marsel Ilhan

►  At the Net: Serena, Djokovic keep on keepin’ on

Well, it was business as usual for the world’s No. 1 tennis stars at the 2015 Australian Open.

Serena Williams and Novak Djokovic entered the first Grand Slam event of the year as the top seeds and the favorites ... and they did not disappoint.

The irrepressible Serena captured her 19th career Grand Slam singles title by handling “rival” and former No. 1 star Maria Sharapova in straight sets in the women’s final, while Djokovic conquered good friend Andy Murray for a third time in the men’s Down Under finale.

Serena has now gotten the better of Sharapova in two Aussie finals and hasn’t lost to the Russian woman anywhere in 11 years (16 straight wins). The reigning French Open champion Sharapova is a former Aussie champ who has now lost in three finals in Melbourne.

Murray dropped to 0-4 in his career Aussie finals, including 0-3 versus the high-flying Djokovic.

The 33-year-old Serena is now the reigning U.S. and Aussie Open champ after nailing down an incredible Open Era-record sixth Aussie title, while the 27- year-old Djokovic now holds the Wimbledon and Aussie crowns after securing his men’s Open Era-record fifth Down Under championship.

Serena improved to 6-0 in her career Aussie finals, while Djokovic is 5-0 in his, including four titles there over the last five years.

Serena actually ran the table in Melbourne for the first time in five years.

Oddly enough, the Aussie also marked the first time that both Serena and Djokovic came out on top at the same Slam.

Serena surpassed Chris Evert (18) and Martina Navratilova (18) for the second- most Grand Slam titles in the Open Era, with only Steffi Graf (22) standing in her way to tennis immortality. The great Margaret Court is the all-time leader with 24 major championships, but only 11 of those came during the Open Era (or since 1968).

“I would love to get to 22,“ Serena said. “I mean 19 was very difficult to get to. Took me 33 years to get here, so I would love to get there.

“But I have to get to 20 first, and then I have to get to 21. There’s so many wonderful young players coming up, so it will be a very big task.“

With his victory, Djokovic joined legends Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl and Andre Agassi as an eight-time Grand Slam champ in the Open Era. That exclusive list is paced by Roger Federer (17), Pete Sampras (14), Rafael Nadal (14) and my tennis hero, Bjorn Borg (11).

Serena now has 65 career titles on the WTA, while Djokovic boasts 49.

Serena already has the career Grand Slam (all four major titles), while Djokovic still needs a French Open to complete his major resume.

Did You Know?: The last time Djokovic failed to reach a Grand Slam quarterfinal was at the 2009 French Open.

Djokovic is 3,800 points clear at the top of the ATP World rankings following his latest success in Oz. The Serbian star is well ahead of second-ranked Roger Federer, who lost ground to Djokovic with a stunning third-round exit in Melbourne.

Serena is 1,566 points ahead of Sharapova in the WTA rankings.

Serena is probably the early favorite for the next major - the French Open, beginning May 24 - while Djokovic may still have to take a backseat to the incomparable Nadal on the clay. Obviously, that’s the one tournament the Serb desperately wants to win from here on out.

Serena is a two-time French Open champ, while Djokovic is a two-time runner-up there to Nadal. Will this be the year for Nole to secure the career Slam?

We’ll find out in the first week of June.    ~~  Scott Riley ~~

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Texas Red begins his ‘Road to the Kentucky Derby’

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Texas Red began his 3-year-old campaign Sunday with a runner-up finish to Lord Nelson in Santa Anita’s $200,000 San Vicente Stakes.

The San Vicente did not offer any points as part of the “Road to the Kentucky Derby” points system, but the seven-furlong stakes serves as a prep for the Santa Anita Derby on April 04.

Lord Nelson, also making his 2015 debut, defeated the 2-5 favorite by a neck and covered the seven furlongs in 1:22.15.

“I had a perfect trip. He broke a little slow but then he took off and I was able to find position right away,“ said winning jockey Rafael Bejarano. “I let him go once we were clear and I knew at the five-eighths pole. Texas Red was the horse to beat and I was waiting for him. When he came to us I let him (Lord Nelson) go and my horse took off again.“

Texas Red will make his next start in the Risen Star at Fair Grounds, February 21 at 1 1/16 miles followed by the Santa Anita Derby at 1 1/8 miles.

Saturday at Tampa Bay Downs was the $250,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes which again offered no points. Ocean Knight, ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr., defeated pacesetter Divining Rod by a neck in the 1 1/16-mile race.

“I had ridden (Ocean Knight) before so I knew he would wait until I asked him. We were good from the gate,“ Ortiz noted, “and I was able to get position just outside the lead group. When I asked for run he just went after the horse on the lead like a good horse should. I really hope I get to ride him back in those big races coming up.“

The $350,000 Tampa Bay Derby is March 7 and offers 50 points to the winner.

El Kabeir and International Star are tied with 21 points followed by Upstart (16), Carpe Diem (14), Texas Red (12), Mr. Z (12), Far Right (12), Ocho Ocho Ocho (10), American Pharoah (10), Daredevil (10), Dortmund (10) and Lucky Player (10).

Coming up on Saturday are a pair of 1 1/16-mile stakes with 10 points going to the winners. At Aqueduct will be the Withers and at Santa Anita will be the Robert B. Lewis Stakes.

►  Untapable continues workouts at Fair Grounds

Champion filly Untapable had another four-furlong workout Monday morning at Fair Grounds as she prepares for her 2015 campaign.

Trained by Steve Asmussen, Untapable went the half-mile in 51 seconds, 4/5ths of a second faster than last Monday.

Owned by Winchell Thoroughbreds, Untapable won last November’s Breeders’ Cup Distaff and was the unanimous choice as 2014 champion 3-year-old filly.

She won the Cotillion Stakes at Parx Racing prior to winning the Distaff. The filly began 2014 with consecutive victories at Fair Grounds in the Rachel Alexandra and Fair Grounds Oaks. She won the Kentucky Oaks on May 02 by 4 1/2 lengths and posted a 9 1/4-length victory in the Mother Goose Stakes on June 28 at Belmont Park.

Her only loss of the year came when she finished fifth as the 7-5 favorite versus males in the Haskell Invitational at Monmouth Park on July 27. Bayern won that race going wire to wire and repeated in both the Pennsylvania Derby and Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Untapable has earned $2,996,725 in 11 lifetime starts with eight wins.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Koepka climbs to No. 19 in world rankings

Brooks Koepka rallied to win for the first time on the PGA Tour on Sunday, and that victory helped him enter the top 20 in the world rankings.

Koepka climbed 14 spots to No. 19 thanks to his win at the Phoenix Open.

Rory McIlroy won the Dubai Desert Open for the second time and he stretched his lead atop the world rankings from 3.36 average points to 4.04 average points.

Henrik Stenson remained the second-ranked player in the world. Bubba Watson shared second place at the Phoenix Open for the second straight year and he improved to No. 3 this week. That pushed Adam Scott down a spot to fourth.

Justin Rose held steady at No. 5 and he was again followed by Sergio Garcia, Jim Furyk, Jason Day, Jordan Spieth and Matt Kuchar.

Martin Kaymer inched up one to 11th and that bumped Rickie Fowler down a spot to No. 12, while Jimmy Walker stayed put at 13. Hideki Matsuyama, who shared second place with Watson and Ryan Palmer, jumped four to No. 14 and Victor Dubuisson climbed a notch to 15th.

Patrick Reed dipped one to 16, Billy Horschel fell three to 17 and Phil Mickelson slipped a spot to 18th. Koepka moved into the 19th position and Graeme McDowell was down one to 20th.

Chris Kirk tumbled out of the top 20 as he dropped two places to 22nd.

Tiger Woods, who missed the cut badly in Phoenix, tumbled nine spots to No. 56 and is in jeopardy of not qualifying for the first World Golf Championship of the season in four weeks at Doral.

►  Ko becomes youngest ever world No. 1

Lydia Ko failed to hang on to win the Coates Golf Championship on Sunday, but with her tie for second place, Ko earned enough points to become the new No. 1 in this week’s women’s world golf rankings.

The 17-year-old Ko becomes the youngest golfer ever, male or female, to ascend to the top spot in the rankings. She is nearly four years younger than Tiger Woods was when he first claimed the top spot in the men’s world rankings.

Inbee Park shared 13th in Ocala and she dipped 0.03 average points behind Ko. Stacy Lewis, who also could have moved to No. 1 with a win this past weekend, shared eighth at the Coates Golf Championship.

Lewis remained No. 3 and she was again followed by Shanshan Feng, Suzann Pettersen and Michelle Wie. So Yeon Ryu and Hyo-Joo Kim exchanged places with Ryu up to seventh. Karrie Webb, Lexi Thompson and Kyu Jung Baek were Nos. 9-11 again this week.

Coates winner Na Yeon Choi jumped five places to No. 12. Anna Nordqvist dipped one to 13, Azahara Munoz held steady at 14 and Cristie Kerr fell two to 15th.

Mi Rim Lee remained No. 16, while Sun Ju Ahn slid two to 17th. Ha Na Jang and Jessica Korda shared second place with Ko. Jang improved three to 18th and Korda jumped five to 19th.

Brittany Lincicome dipped two to No. 20. In Gee Chun and Paula Creamer both dropped out of the top 20 as they dipped three to 22nd and 23rd respectively.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  2015 Marshall football schedule announced

Marshall University has announced its 2015 football schedule.

Here is the schedule, according to Marshall Athletic Director Mike Hamrick:

September 05, Purdue

September 12, at Ohio

September 19, Norfolk State

September 26, at Kent State

October 03, Old Dominion

October 10, Southern Miss

October 17, at Florida Atlantic

October 24, North Texas

October 31, at Charlotte

November 07, at Middle Tennssee

November 14, Florida International University

November 21, Open

November 28, at Western Kentucky

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Browns’ Manziel enters rehab program

Cleveland Browns quarterback Johnny Manziel entered a rehab program last week.

The Browns confirmed the news in a statement Monday, saying the 2014 first- round pick began his treatment last Wednesday.

“We respect Johnny’s initiative in this decision and will fully support him throughout this process,“ said Browns general manager Ray Farmer in a statement Monday. “Our players’ health and well-being will always be of the utmost importance to the Cleveland Browns. We continually strive to create a supportive environment and provide the appropriate resources, with our foremost focus being on the individual and not just the football player. Johnny’s privacy will be respected by us during this very important period and we hope that others will do the same.“

Manziel had a rough rookie season, both on the field and off the field, in 2014.

Reports of his partying circulated all summer after the Browns used the 22nd overall pick to select the former Heisman Trophy winner in May’s draft. He was fined $12,000 by the NFL for a hand gesture he made in a preseason loss to the Washington Redskins, then started the season on the bench behind journeyman Brian Hoyer.

In late November, a fight at a high-end apartment complex in Cleveland between a fan and people associated with Manziel took place in the early morning hours.

Manziel eventually started two games late in the season, then was placed on injured reserve for the finale because of hamstring issue. He then overslept the day before the last game against Baltimore and was fined.

“Johnny knows there are areas he needs to improve on to help him be a better family member, friend and teammate, so he decided to take this step in his life during the offseason,“ said Brad Beckworth, a friend and advisor to Manziel and his family. “On behalf of Johnny and his family, we’re asking for privacy until he rejoins the team in Cleveland.“

Manziel’s starting debut was nothing short of a disaster in Week 15 against Cincinnati on December 14 when he managed just 80 passing yards with two interceptions in a 30-0 loss to the Bengals.

The former Texas A&M star was back on the field the following week against Carolina and was 3-for-8 for 32 yards before exiting late in the first half with the hamstring injury.

►  Sherman needs elbow surgery

Seattle Seahawks cornerback Richard Sherman will require elbow surgery.

Seahawks head coach Pete Carroll confirmed on Monday that Sherman will undergo Tommy John surgery, a procedure popular for baseball pitchers due to the strain on the elbow ligament.

Sherman is expected to be ready for next season.

He finished the regular season with 57 tackles and four interceptions. Over four professional seasons with the Seahawks, Sherman has 24 picks in 64 regular-season games.

Additionally, Carroll said Monday that defensive back Jeremy Lane suffered a broken arm after landing awkwardly after a first-quarter interception of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady. It’s unclear how much time he will miss.

Lane had 13 tackles and no interceptions in seven regular-season games for the Seahawks.

►  Sapp arrested, fired by NFL Network

Pro Football Hall of Famer Warren Sapp has been arrested on suspicion of soliciting a prostitute and assault.

Phoenix police arrested the 42-year-old Sapp at 7 AM MT on Monday at a downtown hotel.

A woman told police that she and another woman were working as escorts and an argument about money in a guest’s room turned physical. Sapp told investigators that he had paid one of the women for sex but denied any assault, according to police.

Sapp was in Arizona for Sunday’s Super Bowl, working for the NFL Network, which has terminated his contract.

►  Falcons announce Quinn as head coach

Just one day after directing the Seattle Seahawks’ defense in Super Bowl XLIX, Dan Quinn has been named the new head coach of the Atlanta Falcons.

Multiple reports earlier on Monday stated that Quinn, the Seahawks’ defensive coordinator for the past two seasons, had agreed to a five-year contract with the Falcons to take over for the fired Mike Smith. The 44-year-old is set to be formally introduced at a news conference scheduled for Tuesday.

The Falcons’ interest in Quinn, whose units in Seattle yielded the fewest yards and points in the NFL in both 2013 and 2014, was well known around league circles, and the team was willing to wait until the Seahawks completed their playoff run before finally making the move.

Atlanta, which fired Smith in late December after a second consecutive losing season, had previously interviewed Quinn twice for the job before making him its top choice.

“I would like to personally thank Seahawks coach Pete Carroll for his patience and support during our head coach search,“ said Falcons owner Arthur Blank. “I’m sure the Seahawks will be sorry to see Dan leave, but no one has been more supportive of this opportunity for Dan than Pete.“

Quinn emerged as a sought-after candidate by constructing a Seahawks defense that allowed just 14.4 points and 273.6 total yards per game during the 2013 season, which the group capped with a dominant performance in Seattle’s 43-8 rout of the Denver Broncos in Super Bowl XLVIII.

It was Quinn’s first season as an NFL defensive coordinator, though he previously served in that role at the University of Florida for two years prior to returning to Seattle. Quinn was the Seahawks’ assistant head coach and defensive line coach from 2009-10.

The Seahawks were equally as strong on the defensive side this past season. Seattle permitted 15.9 points and 267.1 yards per game en route to a second straight NFC title.

“This is an exciting day for the Atlanta Falcons franchise and our fans,“ said Blank. “Dan is a talented football coach who has a deep and diverse history in the game, which will serve us well. As we got to know Dan during the interview process, it became clear that he has a definitive plan for our football team and what it will take to win on a consistent basis.“

According to, the Seahawks will promote defensive backs coach Kris Richards to defensive coordinator in Quinn’s place.

Former Cleveland offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan is expected to join Quinn’s staff as the primary play-caller. Shanahan resigned from the Browns following the conclusion of this past season over differences with the team’s front office.

►  Colts snag Cris Carter’s son from CFL

The Indianapolis Colts on Monday agreed to terms with wideout Duron Carter—son of NFL Hall of Famer Cris Carter.

The Ohio State product and native of Florida totaled career highs in receptions (75), yards (1,030) and touchdowns (7) in his second season with the Montreal Alouettes.

In two CFL seasons, the younger Carter has compiled 124 catches for 1,939 yards and 12 TDs.

The Gilmer Free Press

ABC - American Broadcasting Company
CBS - Columbia Broadcast System
FOX - Fox Entertainment Group
NBC - National Broadcasting Company
JIP - Joined in Progress
TSN - Sports Network (Canada)
SNET/SN - Rogers SportsNet (Canada)
RDS - Reseau des sports
MSG - Madison Square Garden Network
TNT - Turner Network Television
TBS - Turner Broadcasting System
SNY - SportsNet New York
CBSSN - CBS - College Sports Network
CSN - Comcast SportsNet
TCN - The Comcast Network
NBCSN - NBC Sports Network
NESN - New England Sports Network
MASN - Mid-Atlantic Sports Network
ROOT - Root Sports (Pittsburgh, Northwest, Rocky Mountain)
CST - Cox Sports Television
FCS - FOX College Sports
FS - FOX Sports Regional
RSN - Regional Sports Networks
CPTV - Connecticut Public Broadcasting
TVG - Horse Racing Channel
FS1 - FOX Sports 1
TWC - Time Warner Cable Sports Channel
* - If Necessary

National Basketball Association
Denver at Philadelphia, 7:00 PM - Altitude 2, CSN-Philadelphia, DSS
Boston at New York, 7:30 PM - CSN-New England, MSG, DSS
Miami at Detroit, 7:30 PM - SunSports, DSS
Utah at Portland, 10:00 PM - ROOT-Northwest, CSN-Northwest
Golden State at Sacramento, 10:00 PM - CSN-Bay, California, DSS
National Hockey League
Ottawa at New Jersey, 7:00 PM - RDS2, TSN5, MSG+, DSS
Florida at NY Islanders, 7:00 PM - FS-Florida, MSG+2, DSS
Los Angeles at Washington, 7:00 PM - FS-West, CSN-DC, DSS
Arizona at Columbus, 7:00 PM - FS-Arizona, Ohio, DSS
Buffalo at Montreal, 7:30 PM - MSG-Buffalo, RDS, DSS
Tampa Bay at St. Louis, 8:00 PM - SunSports, FS-Midwest, DSS
Toronto at Nashville, 8:00 PM - TSN4, FS-Tennessee, DSS
Chicago at Minnesota, 8:00 PM - CSN-Chicago, NBCSN
Colorado at Dallas, 8:30 PM - Altitude, FS-Southwest, DSS
Winnipeg at Vancouver, 10:00 PM - TSN3, SNET-Pacific, DSS
Carolina at Anaheim, 10:00 PM - FS-Carolina, Prime Ticket, DSS
College Basketball
Hartford at Binghamton, 7:00 PM -
St. John’s at Butler, 7:00 PM - FS1
Radford at High Point, 7:00 PM -
Paine College at Kennesaw State, 7:00 PM -
Georgia at Kentucky, 7:00 PM - ESPN U
Miss State at Tennessee, 7:00 PM - SEC Network
Indiana at Wisconsin, 7:00 PM - ESPN
Northwestern at Nebraska, 7:30 PM - Big Ten Network
Saint Joseph’s at Saint Louis, 7:30 PM - CBSSN
Evansville at Illinois State, 8:00 PM -
Louisville at Miami-Florida, 8:00 PM - ACC Network,
West Virginia at Oklahoma, 8:00 PM - ESPN 2
UNC Greensboro at VMI, 8:00 PM - American Sports Network, MASN
NC State at Wake Forest, 8:00 PM - ACC Network,
South Carolina at Arkansas, 9:00 PM - SEC Network
Seton Hall at DePaul, 9:00 PM - FS1
Virginia Tech at Syracuse, 9:00 PM - ESPN U
Florida at Vanderbilt, 9:00 PM - ESPN
Rutgers at Illinois, 9:30 PM - Big Ten Network
Boise State at Utah State, 9:35 PM - CBSSN
Women’s College Basketball
Cincinnati at Connecticut, 7:00 PM - SNY,
UCF at South Florida, 7:00 PM - American Network
Tulane at SMU, 8:00 PM - American Network
International Soccer
Cambridge vs. Manchester United, 2:30 PM - FS1
Lille OSC vs. Paris Saint Germain, 2:55 PM - beIN Sports

Pioneers Pick Up Big Road Win at Shepherd 82-76

The Gilmer Free Press

Glenville State’s Donte Morales scored a game high 30 points as the Pioneers picked up a big road win on Saturday as they defeated the Shepherd University Rams, 82-76.

The Pioneers would fall behind early as Shepherd held an 11 point lead at the 15:16 minute mark of the first half, 18-7. But Glenville State would battle back and take a one point lead with 2:06 left till halftime, 34-33.

However the Rams would still lead the Pioneers at the half, 39-37.

In the second half both teams would go back and fourth. Glenville State would lead most of the second half however Shepherd would tie the game up at 70 all with just 2:30 left to play. After that tie the Pioneers would make a 6-0 run as they took a 76-70 lead with 1:19 on the clock.

The Pioneers would eventually hold off the Rams as Glenville State picked up a big road win, 82-76.

There were nine ties and 16 lead changes in the game. The Pioneers shot well from the floor as they shot 51 percent and shot 48 percent from behind the three-point line. The Rams shot 51 percent from the floor and 50 percent from behind the three-point line.

Glenville State also connected on 12 three-pointers in the game.

Donte Morales had a great game as he scored a game high 30 points for the Pioneers. Morales also grabbed seven rebounds and handed out three assists.

Sedric Nady scored 20 points and handed out a team high four assists while Brett Morris scored 12 points in the victory.

Shepherd was led by Ryan McTavish as he scored a team high 26 points.

The Pioneers (16-4, 12-2) are on a four game win streak. They will host rival Fairmont State on Monday, February 02, 2015 tip-off is set for 7:30 PM (TODAY).

Official Basketball Box Score
Glenville State vs. Shepherd
01.31.15   4:00 PM    at Shepherdstown, WV - Butcher Center
VISITORS: Glenville State 16-4, 12-2 MEC

                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
01 Sedric Nady…...... *  6-11   4-6    4-4    0  0  0   3  20  4  2  0  3  35
03 Donte Morales….... * 11-15   3-5    5-8    3  4  7   3  30  3  5  0  1  39
11 Reggie Williams….. *  2-6    0-2    1-2    0  3  3   4   5  2  1  0  3  28
12 Luke Campbell….... *  1-4    1-4    0-0    0  0  0   1   3  2  3  0  0  26
23 Brett Morris…..... *  4-7    3-4    1-2    1  2  3   1  12  2  2  1  2  25
00 Brien Winston…....    0-4    0-2    5-6    3  1  4   0   5  3  1  1  3  26
32 Juwan Wells…......    3-5    1-2    0-0    2  3  5   4   7  2  0  0  2  21
   TEAM….............                         1  1  2
   Totals…...........   27-52  12-25  16-22  10 14 24  16  82 18 14  2 14 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 14-26 53.8%   2nd Half: 13-26 50.0%   Game: 51.9%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  8-13 61.5%   2nd Half:  4-12 33.3%   Game: 48.0%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  3-4  75.0%   2nd Half: 13-18 72.2%   Game: 72.7%   2,1

HOME TEAM: Shepherd 11-9, 6-8 MEC

                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
02 Steffen Davis….... *  3-9    1-5    2-2    0  2  2   4   9  6  0  0  1  29
15 Ryan McTavish….... * 10-13   6-7    0-0    0  2  2   2  26  4  0  0  1  37
23 Austin Cunningham… *  6-11   4-7    2-3    0  1  1   1  18  3  3  1  0  29
32 Mike Reed…........ *  1-1    0-0    0-2    0  1  1   0   2  0  1  0  0   9
44 Morgan McDonald….. *  3-9    0-2    4-4    1  5  6   2  10  1  7  0  2  35
04 Naim Muhammad…....    1-2    0-0    1-2    3  0  3   1   3  0  2  0  0  16
11 Skyler Roman….....    0-2    0-1    0-0    1  1  2   0   0  2  2  0  1  11
25 AJ Carr…..........    1-3    0-0    4-4    2  2  4   4   6  2  3  0  2  13
33 Gavin McTavish…...    1-1    0-0    0-0    2  3  5   3   2  1  1  1  0  21
   TEAM….............                         4  1  5
   Totals…...........   26-51  11-22  13-17  13 18 31  17  76 19 19  2  7 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 13-26 50.0%   2nd Half: 13-25 52.0%   Game: 51.0%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  7-12 58.3%   2nd Half:  4-10 40.0%   Game: 50.0%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  6-9  66.7%   2nd Half:  7-8  87.5%   Game: 76.5%   1,1

Officials: Todd Gallupe, Dave Schattauer, Steve Settle

Technical fouls: Glenville State-None. Shepherd-None.

Attendance: 797

Score by Periods                1st  2nd   Total
Glenville State…............   39   43  -   82
Shepherd…...................   39   37  -   76

Lady Pioneers Win Fourth Straight Game as they Beat Shepherd 77-66

The Gilmer Free Press

The Glenville State Lady Pioneers pushed their win streak to four games as they went on the road Saturday and defeated the Shepherd University Lady Rams by 11 points, 77-66.

The Lady Pioneers would find their selves down early at the 18:04 minute mark of the first half as Shepherd led Glenville State, 8-0. However the Lady Pioneers would battle back and claim a nine point lead at halftime, 39-30.

In the second half Glenville State would extend their lead to 12 points, 44-32, with 19:29 left to play.

Despite the Lady Pioneers large lead Shepherd would cut Glenville State’s lead to just one point several times however the Lady Pioneers would answer back ever time they had to as they claimed an 11 point road win, 77-66 over Shepherd.

The Lady Pioneers defense caused 20 turnovers and converted them into 24 points. Glenville State also held the advantage in the paint as they outscored the Lady Rams 28 to 22 in the paint.

Glenville State had three players score in double figures with freshman Kayla Tibbs scoring a game and career high 19 points. Keyanna Tate finished the game with a double-double as she scored 16 points and pulled down 10 rebounds, Brittany Jackson chipped in with 11 points.

Shepherd was led by Cara Mason as she scored 15 points but also had five turnovers.

Glenville State (10-8, 8-6) returns home on Monday, February 02, 2015 when they welcome the Fairmont State University Fighting Falcons to the Waco Center. Game time is set for 5:30 PM (TODAY).

Official Basketball Box Score
Glenville State vs. Shepherd
01.31.15   2:00 PM   at Shepherdstown, WV - Butcher Center
VISITORS: Glenville State 10-8, 8-6 MEC

                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
02 Paige Tuttle…..... *  0-3    0-2    0-0    1  0  1   2   0  3  3  0  2  22
04 Keyanna Tate…..... *  6-9    0-0    4-6    3  7 10   2  16  0  5  0  2  23
21 Kristin DesRocher… *  1-6    1-5    0-0    1  4  5   1   3  1  4  0  1  19
25 Briana Smythe….... *  1-2    0-0    0-0    0  4  4   1   2  1  0  0  0  13
35 Julie Bishop…..... *  1-5    0-3    2-3    2  0  2   0   4  0  1  0  1  17
01 Katrina Salins…...    3-9    1-5    2-3    1  2  3   2   9  3  2  0  1  18
03 Tayana Stewart…...    0-1    0-1    0-0    0  1  1   0   0  0  0  0  0   4
12 Kayla Tibbs…......    6-10   4-8    3-4    0  0  0   0  19  2  2  0  1  20
20 Briauna Nix…......    3-6    0-0    2-2    1  1  2   3   8  0  1  0  1  21
24 Madison Martin…...    1-4    1-4    0-0    0  1  1   0   3  2  0  0  1  21
32 Brittany Jackson….    4-6    1-2    2-2    1  3  4   1  11  0  0  0  0  15
34 La’Shaughn Jones….    1-1    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   2   2  0  1  0  0   7
   TEAM….............                         1  3  4
   Totals…...........   27-62   8-30  15-20  11 26 37  14  77 12 19  0 10 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 15-35 42.9%   2nd Half: 12-27 44.4%   Game: 43.5%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  5-15 33.3%   2nd Half:  3-15 20.0%   Game: 26.7%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  4-4  100 %   2nd Half: 11-16 68.8%   Game: 75.0%   2,1

HOME TEAM: Shepherd 13-7, 10-4 MEC

                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
10 Cara Mason…....... *  7-18   0-2    1-2    2  2  4   1  15  0  5  0  1  39
11 Briana Vaden…..... *  3-10   1-4    6-6    3  4  7   5  13  2  3  0  1  26
14 Rachel Johnson…... *  2-12   0-4    0-0    2  5  7   1   4  4  1  0  1  30
20 Liz Myers…........ *  2-7    0-0    0-0    1  3  4   1   4  1  2  1  0  34
35 Alex Weakland….... *  2-4    0-1    0-0    2  4  6   4   4  2  1  0  2  21
00 Gabby Flinchum…...    5-8    0-0    2-6    2  3  5   2  12  0  3  2  2  15
03 Morgan Arden….....    3-9    1-3    0-0    3  2  5   2   7  1  3  0  1  28
22 Maggie McLoughlin…    2-2    1-1    0-0    0  0  0   0   5  0  0  0  0   1
24 Kristina Prange…..    1-3    0-2    0-0    1  2  3   0   2  1  2  0  0   6
   TEAM….............                         2  1  3
   Totals…...........   27-73   3-17   9-14  18 26 44  16  66 11 20  3  8 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 12-33 36.4%   2nd Half: 15-40 37.5%   Game: 37.0%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  2-10 20.0%   2nd Half:  1-7  14.3%   Game: 17.6%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  4-6  66.7%   2nd Half:  5-8  62.5%   Game: 64.3%   6,1

Officials: Tom Wolcott, William Morant, Mary Jane Mellott

Technical fouls: Glenville State-None. Shepherd-None.

Attendance: 911

Score by Periods                1st  2nd   Total
Glenville State…............   39   38  -   77
Shepherd…...................   30   36  -   66

Sports News   150202

The Gilmer Free Press

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Hamrick voices optimism for WVU-MU football renewal

Marshall University Athletic Director Mike Hamrick seems optimistic about the possible renewal of the aborted football series between Marshall and West Virginia University.

Hamrick spoke January 23 at Coffee & Conversation, a breakfast event hosted by the Huntington Regional Chamber of Commerce at the Cabell-Huntington Convention and Visitors Bureau at Heritage Station. After his prepared remarks, he took questions from the audience.

At that point, Hamrick was asked about a recent comment from WVU President E. Gordon Gee who said he thought it would be “fine” if the football series was renewed. Gee called the in-state rivalry games “healthy.”

Hamrick said he found Gee’s comment encouraging.

“We’re really the only state that has two Division I football programs in the United States that don’t really play,” Hamrick said. “We have two football teams in this state. They go and play someone that nobody’s heard of, and we have to go and play a team nobody’s heard of. Why can’t we play each other?”

In the distant past, Marshall and WVU played football regularly. It had been 74 years since the schools last played each other when a seven-year contract rekindled the in-state rivalry in 2006. That series ended in 2012.

Marshall repeatedly voiced interest in renewing the games, but WVU has shown no similar interest. Marshall fans who favor a renewed rivalry hope the departure of former WVU Athletic Director Oliver Luck might alter WVU’s stance. Luck will be succeeded in February by Shane Lyons, a Parkersburg native and WVU alumnus.

In his prepared remarks, Hamrick, a former Marshall linebacker now in his sixth year as MU athletic director, talked about the $30 million in new athletic projects funded by the school’s VISION Campaign.

The campaign saw the expenditure of $10 million in bond revenue and $20 million in private donations raised in the most ambitious fundraising effort in Marshall athletic history. Hamrick and former Herd star athletes Mike D’Antoni and Chad Pennington spearheaded the campaign.

The campaign built what Hamrick called “one of the best college soccer stadiums in the nation,” as the Hoops Family Field at the Veterans Memorial Soccer Complex opened in August 2013. In October 2014, the Chris Cline Athletic Complex was dedicated — a massive indoor facility with its 120-yard football field and 300-meter track; a sports medicine research center; a 14,000-square foot home for the Buck Harless Student-Athlete Program for academics, and a 1,200-square-foot home — its first ever — for the MU Athletics Hall of Fame.

The new facilities, Hamrick said, have significantly boosted the university’s profile among students considering attending Marshall.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Best of Super Bowl 2015: Patriots’ interception stuns Seahawks, Katy Perry’s lion ride, Nationwide’s downer and more

With Super Bowl XLIX in the books we’ve got breakdowns of all the drama from the desert, plus halftime shows, commercial reviews, national anthem antics and more. This one-stop-shot for Super Bowl coverage will serve up the best Super Bowl content The Washington Post has to offer. We’ll be curating this page all night to provide fresh content, so check back often.

The Gilmer Free Press

Seahawks hand Super Bowl to Patriots with poor play-call

With the game in the balance and the best running back in the NFL standing behind Russell Wilson, the Seahawks elected to pass. And they paid the price:

                            From the 1-yard line, with the Super Bowl on the line and a one-man demolition derby named Marshawn Lynch in the backfield, the Seahawks passed the ball. And that is why they lost.

Goal line interception caps crazy Super Bowl finish

It was looking like the Seahawks could ice the game with a go-ahead touchdown in the Super Bowl’s waning seconds, but an interception by the Patriots’ Malcolm Butler snatched the Super Bowl for New England:

                            The Seattle Seahawks had the New England Patriots right where they wanted them. And then Russell Wilson threw an interception which all but sealed their fate.

                            The Patriots’ win probability went from 72% with less than two minutes to play, to 27% with a minute left until finally reaching 99% after the interception.

Katy Perry steals show with halftime lion ride

From the moment the pop star entered the stadium, Katy Perry left a lasting impression:

                            Super Bowl XLIX will have an MVP, but it unfortunately won’t be Katy Perry, who put on one heck of a halftime show on Sunday. The program, which covered a montage of not just her hits but also of one of he “surprise” guests, blew people away. For instance, have you ever seen a woman not named Katniss Everdeen dress as fire and ride into a stadium on a robot tiger? No? Well, now you have thanks to Perry.

Nationwide sucks joy from first half with sad ad

Remember when people were lamenting the repetitive Peyton Manning Nationwide commercials? Those were the days … On Super Bowl Sunday, the insurance company took a different approach.

                            Nationwide alluded to a child’s death in a scary commercial warning parents of the dangers of household accidents. It did not go over well, although #MakeSafeHappen did trend on Twitter, just probably not for the reasons the company wanted.

Patriots strike first as Brady sets another record

Tom Brady bounced back from an early interception to fire the Super Bowl’s first touchdown pass, an 11-yard strike to Brandon LaFell. Not only did it stake New England to a 7-0 lead, it gave Brady yet another NFL record.

                            Tom Brady is now the first quarterback in NFL history with 50 postseason touchdown throws, five more than Joe Montana and 40 more than the opposing quarterback in today’s Super Bowl, Russell Wilson.

Idina Menzel anthem goes ‘over’ well

After a sports betting site took a national anthem prop bet off the board after a surge of suspicious money landed on the “over” of two minutes and one second, Idina Menzel did indeed go over with her rendition of “The Star Spangled Banner.” The Super Bowl Sunday version came in at two-minutes and four seconds.
Bill Belichick booed during national anthem

How much do non-Patriots fans loathe New England’s head coach? About this much:

                            There was an ugly moment during Idina Menzel’s lovely rendition of the national anthem before the Super Bowl and it involved Bill Belichick, through no fault of his.

                            As Menzel sang, the JumboTron at University of Phoenix Stadium suddenly cut to an image of the New England Patriots coach on the sideline and a highly-partisan Seattle Seahawks crowd let him have it with a chorus of boos.

President Obama weighs in on Super Bowl

President Barack Obama apparently took a break from craft brewing to speak with NBC’s Savannah Guthrie leading up to Super Bowl XLIX. With his beloved Chicago Bears already enjoying their offseason, he declined to pick a favorite in Sunday’s matchup.

                            “Since my Bears are not in it, I think it’s only wise for me not to choose a team because then I just alienate one big city, but I will say it’s going to be close and the question I have is whether Seattle’s secondary is healthy enough,” he said. “That’s the heart and soul of their team and they’ve got three guys back there who are hurt. I don’t know how that’s going to affect the game.”

Bryan Adams makes history in Puppy Bowl

No, that’s not the Canadian rocker of “Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves” ballad fame. That’s a pooch who penned his name into the record books Sunday.

                            Bryan Adams isn’t just the name of a singer of epic ’90s ballads. No, Bryan Adams is also a puppy in this year’s Puppy Bowl XI on Animal Planet, and if you aren’t watching, boy, are you missing out. Adams, a Labrador Retriever on Team Ruff, made history in the second quarter on Sunday by becoming only the second puppy ever to score by kicking a field goal.

►  Extra Points: Rodgers accepts his consolation prize

When you’re sitting next to Olivia Munn, it’s hard to imagine wanting to be anywhere else but Aaron Rodgers was a little antsy at Phoenix’s Symphony Hall on Saturday night.

The Packers’ star was about to receive his second NFL MVP award and his drop- dead gorgeous girlfriend was by his side yet he would have preferred to be at The Arizona Grand Hotel sequestered away from everyone while preparing to play in Super Bowl XLIX.

“You know, I’d rather be at the hotel right now waiting to play (Sunday). But this is a great, great night,“ Rodgers said.

Rodgers, who also won the award in 2011, garnered 31 of the 50 available votes from a nationwide media panel, beating out Houston Texans defensive lineman J.J. Watt to win the award.

Watt was a unanimous pick as Defensive Player of the Year after a dominant season, and received 13 nods—the most for any defensive player since the number of voters for the MVP was reduced to 50 in 1999.

Other vote getters were Dallas teammates Tony Romo (two) and DeMarco Murray (two), Patriots QB Tom Brady (one) and Seahawks linebacker Bobby Wagner (one).

“It’s tough (for Watt), to be honest with you,“ Rodgers admitted. “He knows this - it’s an offensive-geared league and a quarterback or a running back usually wins this award. So it’s going to be tough, but I think if anybody could do it, it’s him.“

Rodgers, 31, guided the Packers to a 12-4 record and an appearance in the NFC Championship game before imploding late against Seattle.

He completed 341-of-520 passes for 4,381 yards and 38 touchdowns with just five interceptions for a 112.2 passer rating but a late-season calf injury hampered him and could have cost the Packers a spot in the big game.

Rodgers’ TD-to-INT ratio was the fifth-best single-season mark in NFL history and second best among quarterbacks with at least 30 touchdown passes, trailing only Brady’s 36-touchdown, four-interception performance in the 2010 season.

“I mean, so much has to come together for (reaching the Super Bowl) to happen,“ he said. “It was a tough year, injury-wise. I had the unathletic hamstring and calf pulls, and just dealing with those.

“My training staff and my acupuncturist and my massage therapist deserve a lot of credit for getting me back on the field. But it was tough; it was a tough grind to get through it, but that’s what we do as players. Nobody’s healthy at the end of the season, and we all put our bodies on the line every week for our teammates.“

Rodgers is just the ninth player in NFL history to win multiple MVP awards, joining, among others, former teammate Brett Favre, a three-time winner, and Peyton Manning, who has a record five MVPs and presented A-Rod with his award on the NFL Honors telecast.

“That’s a great list,“ Rodgers said. “To be mentioned with those guys is an honor, and like I said up there with Peyton (Manning), ‘You set the gold standard.‘ He and Tom Brady, as far as quarterback play in my generation.

“Peyton’s won it five times; I mean, that’s incredible. But twice, it feels great. It just means that there’s been some consistent play. That’s what I pride myself on - a consistent approach every week and a good preparation and making the plays that my teammates expect me to make.“

Meanwhile, Rodgers keeps adding to Green Bay’s history of MVPs at the QB position, which is now six when you include Bart Starr’s honor in 1966.

“I think it can’t help but sink in when you play for the Packers,“ Rodgers said. “And when you live in Green Bay, you know about the (Vince) Lombardi years and Bart Starr and all the guys that made those teams special, and you’d like to be a part of something special yourself and hopefully we can keep it going.“

So, how about back-to-back MVPs in 2015?

“Peyton’s given me my MVP twice,“ Rodgers said. “So hopefully he’s up there (presenting) next year and I’m not.“    ~~  John McMullen ~~

►  Pats win Super Bowl XLIX behind Brady, goal-line stand

Tom Brady’s 3-yard touchdown pass to Julian Edelman put the New England Patriots ahead with 2:02 remaining, while Malcolm Butler’s goal-line interception with 20 seconds left preserved a 28-24 victory over the Seattle Seahawks in a Super Bowl XLIX that every bit lived up to its billing.

After Brady threw two of his four touchdown passes in the fourth quarter to bring the Patriots back from a 24-14 deficit against the NFL’s most feared defense, New England’s own unit came up with a game-saving play to sew up the AFC champions’ first NFL title in a decade.

The Gilmer Free Press

Seattle, vying to become the first repeat Super Bowl winner since the Pats accomplished the feat following the 2003 and 2004 season, moved down to the opposing 5-yard line in the final seconds after Jermaine Kearse came down with a miraculous 33-yard catch.

Marshawn Lynch was stopped just short of the goal line on the enusing play, but the Seahawks didn’t give the ball to their All-Pro back on the next snap.

Instead, Russell Wilson attempted a slant intended for Ricardo Lockette that Butler jumped and hauled in to give Brady his fourth Super Bowl triumph, tying Joe Montana and Terry Bradshaw for the most by a quarterback in league history.

►  Brady ties record with third Super Bowl MVP

New England quarterback Tom Brady was named the Most Valuable Player of Super Bowl XLIX after leading the Patriots to a 28-24 come-from-behind victory over the Seattle Seahawks for his fourth career Lombardi Trophy.

Brady threw two of his four touchdown passes in the fourth quarter, the last a 3-yard strike to Julian Edelman that put the Patriots ahead with 2:02 remaining. The 37-year-old finished 37-of-50 for 328 yards and shook off a pair of costly interceptions, the first coming at the goal line in the opening quarter and the other leading to a Seattle touchdown in the third.

Making a record sixth Super Bowl start at quarterback, Brady earned his third career MVP award to tie boyhood idol Joe Montana for the most in the game’s history.

Brady also earned his fourth career Super Bowl win, which was sealed by rookie Malcolm Butler’s interception of Russell Wilson at the Patriots’ 1-yard line with 20 seconds left. That ties him with Montana and Terry Bradshaw for the most by a quarterback.

The savvy veteran also broke Montana’s record for most career Super Bowl touchdown passes during the game, with the four giving Brady 13 all-time. His 37 completions against the Seahawks, meanwhile, established a new Super Bowl mark.

Brady was also the MVP of New England’s first two Super Bowl triumphs, which came in Super Bowls XXXVI (against St. Louis) and XXXVII (against Carolina).

<The Gilmer Free Press

►  Top-25 College Men’s Basketball Game Results

(Sunday, February 01)

Final Score: (11) Utah 67, Southern California 39

Jakob Poeltl had 14 points and nine rebounds and the 11th-ranked Utes routed Southern California 67-39 on Sunday afternoon. Delon Wright netted 11 points and Jordan Loveridge added 10 for Utah (17-4, 7-2 Pac-12), which bounced back in a big way following its 69-59 defeat at UCLA Thursday. The Utes have won three of their last four games. Malik Martin was the only double-digit scorer for USC (9-12, 1-8), finishing with 11 points.

Final Score: Florida State 55, (23) Miami-Florida 54

Montay Brandon scored 12 of his 18 points in the second half to help Florida State edge No. 23 Miami-Florida, 55-54, on Sunday. The Seminoles (12-10, 4-5 ACC) trailed by 11 at the break but gradually chipped away at that deficit in the second half before Kiel Turpin’s jumper with 1:41 to go accounted for the final margin. Sheldon McClellan led the Hurricanes (14-7, 4-4) with 13 points and Davon Reed added 11. Miami scored its last points of the game with 3:46 to go and missed its last three shots.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  NBA Game Results

(Sunday, February 01)

Final Score: Miami 83, Boston 75

Hassan Whiteside scored 20 points with nine rebounds in the Miami Heat’s 83-75 win over the Boston Celtics on Sunday. Chris Bosh supplied 18 points for the Heat, who snapped their two-game losing streak. Avery Bradley and Tyler Zeller each scored 17 points for the Celtics, while Marcus Smart dished out a career-high nine assists. Boston has lost four straight at home and three straight overall.

Final Score: New York 92, LA Lakers 80

Carmelo Anthony scored 31 points with eight rebounds to lead the New York Knicks to a 92-80 win over the Los Angeles Lakers. Langston Galloway contributed 13 points for the Knicks, who have won two of their last three. New York had seven players score at least six points. Carlos Boozer had 19 points with 10 rebounds and Jordan Clarkson added 19 points in the loss.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  NHL Game Results

(Sunday, February 01)

Final Score: Arizona 3, Montreal 2

In his first NHL start not far from his hometown, Louis Domingue shook off a poor start to help the Arizona Coyotes top the Montreal Canadiens, 3-2, on Sunday. After allowing two goals in the first five minutes, Domingue, a native of Quebec, finished with 18 saves as Arizona improved to 2-3-2 on its ongoing eight-game road trip. Lauri Korpikoski scored two goals, and Oliver Ekman-Larsson also lit the lamp for the Coyotes. Montreal had its five-game winning streak snapped, the last two of which were shutouts from starting goalie Carey Price, who had the day off. Dustin Tokarski allowed three goals on 32 shots. Both Canadiens goals came courtesy of Alex Galchenyuk.

Final Score: St. Louis 4, Washington 3

Alex Steen had two goals and an assist to guide the St. Louis Blues in a 4-3 win over the Washington Capitals on Sunday. Vladimir Tarasenko had a goal and an assist, Dmitrij Jaskin lit the lamp, and T.J. Oshie added three assists for the Blues, who have won 10 of their last 11 with the only loss during that run an overtime defeat to Detroit on January 15. Brian Elliott had 33 saves in the win. Alex Ovechkin scored twice and added a helper and Karl Alzner also scored for the Capitals, who have dropped six of their last seven. Justin Peters allowed all four goals on 40 shots.

Final Score: Nashville 4, Pittsburgh 0

Carter Hutton stopped all 21 shots he faced to earn his second career shutout in the Nashville Predators’ 4-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Sunday. The Predators got goals from four different players to snap their two-game skid. Roman Josi and Gabriel Bourque scored in the first period, while Eric Nystrom and Mike Fisher added insurance goals later in the game. Star rookie Filip Forsberg tallied two assists for Nashville. Marc-Andre Fleury allowed all four Nashville goals on 24 shots as the Penguins lost for the sixth time in eight games.

Final Score: Minnesota 4, Vancouver 2

Devan Dubnyk stopped 35 shots to lead the Minnesota Wild in a 4-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks. Zach Parise, Jason Zucker, Thomas Vanek and Jared Spurgeon all scored for the Wild, who have won their past three games. Daniel Sedin and Ronalds Kenins scored for the Canucks, who have dropped three of four. Ryan Miller allowed three goals on 19 shots in the loss.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Djokovic captures fifth Aussie Open title

Novak Djokovic captured a men’s Open Era-record fifth Australian Open title on Sunday by defeating Andy Murray in the final in Melbourne.

The world No. 1 great secured his fourth Aussie title in five years by handling the sixth-seeded Murray 7-6 (7-5), 6-7 (4-7), 6-3, 6-0 in 3 hours, 39 minutes at Rod Laver Arena. This was the first time that a men’s Aussie final ended with a love set.

It marked Djokovic’s eighth career Grand Slam title in 15 major finals. He’s also the reigning Wimbledon champ.

Djokovic joined Jimmy Connors, Ivan Lendl and Andre Agassi as an eight- time major champ in the Open Era.

The great Djokovic also joined Stefan Edberg and Roger Federer as the only men in the Open Era to play in five finals at the Aussie Open. He has won all five of his finals here, including three now against Murray, who also gave way to the Serb in the 2011 and 2013 finals, as well as a semifinal here in 2012.

Djokovic and the now four-time runner-up Murray are the only pair in the Open Era to contest three Aussie Open title tilts.

Djokovic snuck out the ultra-tight 72-minute opening set via tiebreak before Murray returned the favor in a grueling 80-minute second. Both stanzas featured fierce ball striking, lengthy and physical rallies, and gut-busting court coverage.

But the match would take a turn for Djokovic in the third.

After trailing 0-2, he broke an agitated Murray to even the set at 2-all, consolidated the break with a hold and then would simply manage to cruise from there.

The Serbian stalwart won 12 of the final 13 games, including nine in a row to seal the deal in Melbourne. The match came to a close when a weary Murray netted one final backhand.

Djokovic broke Murray a whopping nine times, while the British star settled for five breaks in a losing effort. Murray only managed to win 14 of his 41 second-serve points for a paltry 34%.

The mighty Djokovic is now 12-0 versus Murray after winning the first set of their encounters.

“I want to congratulate Andy for a great tournament. Bad luck tonight,“ Djokovic said. “But most importantly I want to congratulate you and Kim [Sears] on your engagement. I wish you a wonderful wedding and lots of kids.“

Djokovic also thanked his coach, Boris Becker, and his entourage: “They sacrifice their lives in order for me to be out here. Without their support, this wouldn’t be possible.“

A protester was stopped on court by security during the second set, causing a brief delay in play.

Tournament organizers said two people were arrested by police.

“Security responded immediately. Both were quickly removed with minimal disruption to play,“ tournament organizers said.

Security guards caught one court invader, who was wearing a white shirt with the message “Australia Open for Refugees,“ near the baseline during a changeover after the seventh game of the second set. The players were surrounded by security staff while stadium officials rushed into action.

A group of other people who had unfurled a large banner with the same message was escorted out of Laver Arena.

Djokovic improved to 16-8 lifetime against his fellow 27-year-old Murray, including 5-2 at Grand Slam events, and the Serb is now 3-2 in their career Grand Slam finals.

Djokovic is also now 5-2 versus Murray in best-of-five-set matches.

Murray had been 5-4 against Djokovic in their overall career finals matchups prior to Sunday.

“It’s been probably the most consistent Grand Slam of my career—I just haven’t been able to win it,“ said Murray after his first major final appearance since back surgery in late 2013.

“We put in a lot of hard work to get back into this position,“ he added, paying tribute to Amelie Mauresmo and his team. “I’m a little bit closer than I was a few months ago, and I’ll continue to work hard to get there.

“I’ll try and come back next year and have a different outcome in the final.“

Djokovic improved to 49-22 in his overall career finals, while Murray dropped to 31-15, including 2-6 at the majors.

Djokovic now owns 50 career match wins at the Aussie, where only Federer (75-12) and Edberg (56-10) have secured more victories at this hardcourt major in the Open Era.

The amazing Djokovic has won his last 10 matches against fellow Top-10 players.

Djokovic claimed a first-place check worth just over $2.4 million, while Murray settled for $1.2 million as the bridesmaid.

►  Australian Open Men’s Tennis Update – February 01

Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia

Total Prize Money: $14,000,000


Novak Djokovic (1) defeated Andy Murray (6), 7-6 (7-5), 6-7 (4-7), 6-3, 6-0

Novak Djokovic (1) defeated Stan Wawrinka (4), 7-6 (7-1), 3-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-0
Andy Murray (6) defeated Tomas Berdych (7), 6-7 (6-8), 6-0, 6-3, 7-5

Novak Djokovic (1) defeated Milos Raonic (8), 7-6 (7-5), 6-4, 6-2
Tomas Berdych (7) defeated Rafael Nadal (3), 6-2, 6-0, 7-6 (7-5)
Stan Wawrinka (4) defeated Kei Nishikori (5), 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (8-6)
Andy Murray (6) defeated Nick Kyrgios, 6-3, 7-6 (7-5), 6-3

Novak Djokovic (1) defeated Gilles Muller, 6-4, 7-5, 7-5
Rafael Nadal (3) defeated Kevin Anderson (14), 7-5, 6-1, 6-4
Stan Wawrinka (4) defeated Guillermo Garcia-Lopez, 7-6 (7-2), 6-4, 4-6, 7-6 (10-8)
Kei Nishikori (5) defeated David Ferrer (9), 6-3, 6-3, 6-3
Andy Murray (6) defeated Grigor Dimitrov (10), 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 6-3, 7-5
Tomas Berdych (7) defeated Bernard Tomic, 6-2, 7-6 (7-3), 6-2
Milos Raonic (8) defeated Feliciano Lopez (12), 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 6-7 (7-9), 6-3
Nick Kyrgios defeated Andreas Seppi, 5-7, 4-6, 6-3, 7-6 (7-5), 8-6

Novak Djokovic (1) defeated Fernando Verdasco (31), 7-6 (10-8), 6-3, 6-4
Andreas Seppi defeated Roger Federer (2), 6-4, 7-6 (7-5), 4-6, 7-6 (7-5)
Rafael Nadal (3) defeated Dudi Sela, 6-1, 6-0, 7-5
Stan Wawrinka (4) defeated Jarkko Nieminen, 6-4, 6-2, 6-4
Kei Nishikori (5) defeated Steve Johnson, 6-7 (7-9), 6-1, 6-2, 6-3
Andy Murray (6) defeated Joao Sousa, 6-1, 6-1, 7-5
Tomas Berdych (7) defeated Viktor Troicki, 6-4, 6-3, 6-4
Milos Raonic (8) defeated Benjamin Becker, 6-4, 6-3, 6-3
David Ferrer (9) defeated Gilles Simon (18), 6-2, 7-5, 5-7, 7-6 (7-4)
Grigor Dimitrov (10) defeated Marcos Baghdatis, 4-6, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-3
Feliciano Lopez (12) defeated Jerzy Janowicz, 7-6 (8-6), 6-4, 7-6 (7-3)
Kevin Anderson (14) defeated Richard Gasquet (24), 6-4, 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (8-6)
Gilles Muller defeated John Isner (19), 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (8-6), 6-4
Bernard Tomic defeated Sam Groth, 6-4, 7-6 (10-8), 6-3
Guillermo Garcia-Lopez defeated Vasek Pospisil, 6-2, 6-4, 6-4
Nick Kyrgios defeated Malek Jaziri, 6-3, 7-6 (8-6), 6-1

Novak Djokovic (1) defeated Andrey Kuznetsov, 6-0, 6-1, 6-4
Roger Federer (2) defeated Simone Bolelli, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2
Rafael Nadal (3) defeated Tim Smyczek, 6-2, 3-6, 6-7 (2-7), 6-3, 7-5
Stan Wawrinka (4) defeated Marius Copil, 7-6 (7-4), 7-6 (7-4), 6-3
Kei Nishikori (5) defeated Ivan Dodig, 4-6, 7-5, 6-2, 7-6 (7-0)
Andy Murray (6) defeated Marinko Matosevic, 6-1, 6-3, 6-2
Tomas Berdych (7) defeated Jurgen Melzer, 7-6 (7-0), 6-2, 6-2
Milos Raonic (8) defeated Donald Young, 6-4, 7-6 (7-3), 6-3
David Ferrer (9) defeated Sergiy Stakhovsky, 5-7, 6-3, 6-4, 6-2
Grigor Dimitrov (10) defeated Lukas Lacko, 6-3, 6-7 (10-12), 6-3, 6-3
Feliciano Lopez (12) defeated Adrian Mannarino, 4-6, 4-6, 7-6 (7-3), 4-0, Retired
Gilles Muller defeated Roberto Bautista Agut (13), 7-6 (7-5), 1-6, 7-5, 6-1
Kevin Anderson (14) defeated Ricardas Berankis, 6-2, 6-2, 7-6 (7-3)
Jerzy Janowicz defeated Gael Monfils (17), 6-4, 1-6, 6-7 (3-7), 6-3, 6-3
Gilles Simon (18) defeated Marcel Granollers, 7-6 (7-5), 6-2, 6-4
John Isner (19) defeated Andreas Haider-Maurer, 6-4, 7-6 (7-4), 4-6, 6-4
Marcos Baghdatis defeated David Goffin (20), 6-1, 6-4, 4-6, 6-0
Bernard Tomic defeated Philipp Kohlschreiber (22), 6-7 (5-7), 6-4, 7-6 (8-6), 7-6 (7
Nick Kyrgios defeated Ivo Karlovic (23), 7-6 (7-4), 6-4, 5-7, 6-4
Richard Gasquet (24) defeated James Duckworth, 6-2, 6-3, 7-5
Viktor Troicki defeated Leonardo Mayer (26), 6-4, 4-6, 6-4, 6-0
Dudi Sela defeated Lukas Rosol (28), 7-6 (7-2), 5-7, 7-5, 6-3
Andreas Seppi defeated Jeremy Chardy (29), 7-5, 3-6, 6-2, 6-1
Steve Johnson defeated Santiago Giraldo (30), 6-3, 6-4, 6-2
Fernando Verdasco (31) defeated Go Soeda, 6-3, 6-2, 7-6 (7-3)
Joao Sousa defeated Martin Klizan (32), 4-6, 7-6 (7-4), 6-4, 1-0, Retired
Malek Jaziri defeated Edouard Roger-Vasselin, 1-6, 6-3, 6-4, 1-6, 6-3
Jarkko Nieminen defeated Matthias Bachinger, 7-6 (7-4), 7-5, 7-5
Vasek Pospisil defeated Paolo Lorenzi, 6-7 (3-7), 7-6 (7-4), 6-3, 6-4
Guillermo Garcia-Lopez defeated Alejandro Gonzalez, 6-1, 6-3, 6-3
Benjamin Becker defeated Lleyton Hewitt, 2-6, 1-6, 6-3, 6-4, 6-2
Sam Groth defeated Thanasi Kokkinakis, 3-6, 6-3, 7-5, 3-6, 6-1

Novak Djokovic (1) defeated Aljaz Bedene, 6-3, 6-2, 6-4
Roger Federer (2) defeated Yen-Hsun Lu, 6-4, 6-2, 7-5
Rafael Nadal (3) defeated Mikhail Youzhny, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2
Stan Wawrinka (4) defeated Marsel Ilhan, 6-1, 6-4, 6-2
Kei Nishikori (5) defeated Nicolas Almagro, 6-4, 7-6 (7-1), 6-2
Andy Murray (6) defeated Yuki Bhambri, 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (7-3)
Tomas Berdych (7) defeated Alejandro Falla, 6-3, 7-6 (7-1), 6-3
Milos Raonic (8) defeated Illya Marchenko, 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (7-3), 6-3
David Ferrer (9) defeated Thomaz Bellucci, 6-7 (2-7), 6-2, 6-0, 6-3
Grigor Dimitrov (10) defeated Dustin Brown, 6-2, 6-3, 6-2
Thanasi Kokkinakis defeated Ernests Gulbis (11), 5-7, 6-0, 1-6, 7-6 (7-2), 8-6
Feliciano Lopez (12) defeated Denis Kudla, 3-6, 6-2, 4-6, 6-2, 10-8
Roberto Bautista Agut (13) defeated Dominic Thiem, 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 7-6 (7-5)
Kevin Anderson (14) defeated Diego Schwartzman, 7-6 (7-5), 7-5, 5-7, 6-4
Edouard Roger-Vasselin defeated Tommy Robredo (15), 2-3, Retired
Alejandro Gonzalez defeated Fabio Fognini (16), 4-6, 6-2, 6-3, 6-4
Gael Monfils (17) defeated Lucas Pouille, 6-7 (3-7), 3-6, 6-4, 6-1, 6-4
Gilles Simon (18) defeated Robin Haase, 6-1, 6-3, 6-4
John Isner (19) defeated Jimmy Wang, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4, 6-4
David Goffin (20) defeated Michael Russell, 6-3, 6-3, 5-7, 6-0
Paolo Lorenzi defeated Alexandr Dolgopolov (21), 6-4, 6-3, 6-2
Philipp Kohlschreiber (22) defeated Paul-Henri Mathieu, 6-2, 6-2, 6-1
Ivo Karlovic (23) defeated Ruben Bemelmans, 6-4, 6-2, 6-4
Richard Gasquet (24) defeated Carlos Berlocq, 6-1, 6-3, 6-1
Benjamin Becker defeated Julien Benneteau (25), 7-5, 5-7, 6-2, 6-4
Leonardo Mayer (26) defeated John Millman, 6-3, 6-3, 6-2
Matthias Bachinger defeated Pablo Cuevas (27), 7-6 (7-1), 6-3, 6-1
Lukas Rosol (28) defeated Kenny De Schepper, 4-6, 6-2, 6-7 (4-7), 6-3, 6-4
Jeremy Chardy (29) defeated Borna Coric, 3-6, 6-4, 7-5, 6-4
Santiago Giraldo (30) defeated Jan Hernych, 6-3, 6-2, 6-2
Fernando Verdasco (31) defeated James Ward, 2-6, 6-0, 7-6 (8-6), 6-3
Martin Klizan (32) defeated Tatsuma Ito, 7-6 (8-6), 6-2, 6-4
Marcos Baghdatis defeated Teymuraz Gabashvili, 6-2, 6-7 (5-7), 3-6, 6-4, 6-4
Lukas Lacko defeated Maximo Gonzalez, 4-6, 6-2, 7-5, 6-7 (4-7), 6-1
Andreas Seppi defeated Denis Istomin, 5-7, 6-3, 2-6, 6-1, 6-4
Simone Bolelli defeated Juan Monaco, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3, 6-1
Dudi Sela defeated Jan-Lennard Struff, 6-4, 4-6, 3-6, 6-3, 7-5
Tim Smyczek defeated Luke Saville, 7-6 (7-2), 7-5, 6-4
Ricardas Berankis defeated Igor Sijsling, 2-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7-2), 6-7 (6-8), 6-4
James Duckworth defeated Blaz Kavcic, 6-2, 5-7, 7-6 (9-7), 3-6, 6-2
Malek Jaziri defeated Mikhail Kukushkin, 6-2, 6-3, 2-6, 7-6
Nick Kyrgios defeated Federico Delbonis, 7-6 (7-2), 3-6, 6-3, 6-7, 6-3
Marinko Matosevic defeated Alexander Kudryavtsev, 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 4-6, 7-5, 6-3
Joao Sousa defeated Jordan Thompson, 6-4, 7-6 (7-5), 6-4
Adrian Mannarino defeated Blaz Rola, 7-6 (9-7), 6-3, 6-2
Jerzy Janowicz defeated Hiroki Moriya, 7-6 (7-5), 2-6, 6-3, 7-5
Andreas Haider-Maurer defeated Laurent Lokoli, 6-4, 7-5, 4-6, 6-3
Gilles Muller defeated Pablo Carreno Busta, 6-4, 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-3)
Andrey Kuznetsov defeated Albert Ramos-Vinolas, 6-1, 3-6, 6-3, 7-6
Go Soeda defeated Elias Ymer, 1-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 6-3
Marius Copil defeated Pablo Andujar, 6-2, 6-2, 7-5
Jarkko Nieminen defeated Andrey Golubev, 6-1, 6-2, 7-6
Lleyton Hewitt defeated Ze Zhang, 6-3, 1-6, 6-0, 6-4
Donald Young defeated Tim Puetz, 6-4, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2
Steve Johnson defeated Kyle Edmund, 6-4, 6-4, 6-3
Ivan Dodig defeated Joao Souza, 6-4, 7-5, 6-4
Vasek Pospisil defeated Sam Querrey, 6-3, 6-7 (5-7), 2-6, 6-4, 6-4
Guillermo Garcia-Lopez defeated Peter Gojowczyk, 6-7 (1-7), 7-5, 6-4, 1-0, Retired
Sergiy Stakhovsky defeated Dusan Lajovic, 6-3, 4-6, 6-4, 6-7 (3-7), 6-4
Marcel Granollers defeated Stephane Robert, 6-3, 6-4, 6-4
Bernard Tomic defeated Tobias Kamke, 7-5, 6-7 (1-7), 6-3, 6-2
Sam Groth defeated Filip Krajinovic, 6-3, 7-6 (7-4), 6-4
Jurgen Melzer defeated Victor Estrella Burgos, 6-1, 6-4, 6-2
Viktor Troicki defeated Jiri Vesely, 6-3, 3-6, 6-2, 6-3

►  Hingis, Paes win Aussie Open mixed doubles title

Swiss legend Martina Hingis and Leander Paes of India captured the Australian Open mixed doubles title Sunday with a 6-4, 6-3 win over France’s Kristina Mladenovic and Canadian Daniel Nestor.

Hingis was back in a final at the Australian Open, where she made her Grand Slam debut 20 years ago. It’s her first major title since returning from retirement.

Hingis won the 2006 Australian Open mixed doubles title with Paes’ countryman and former doubles partner, Mahesh Bhupathi. She won three straight singles titles at Melbourne Park from 1997-99.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Lord Nelson edges Texas Red to win San Vicente Stakes

Second choice Lord Nelson edged Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Texas Red at the wire to win Sunday’s $200,000 San Vicente Stakes at Santa Anita as both colts began their 3-year-old seasons

Trained by Bob Baffert, Lord Nelson went off as the 19-10 second pick in the six-horse field of 3-year-olds with Texas Red the 7-10 favorite.

Setting the pace in the seven-furlong San Vicente was 5-1 third choice Serbian Syclone with Lord Nelson and jockey Rafael Bejarano stalking along the inside after leaving from the rail and Texas Red trailing the field.

“I was concerned with the one hole,“ Baffert said, “but they were going easy and he was behind them. I thought they were going slow and he’s a fast horse, but Rafael’s been working him and he knows the horse really well.“

Texas Red, ridden by Kent Desormeaux, gained ground on the final turn and moved inside at the top of the stretch to take the lead with Lord Nelson to the outside.

“He had him going nice and easy and he went wide and looked like he was sort of hanging,“ commented Baffert. “I saw the Desormeaux horse (Texas Red) coming up the rail and I thought, ‘Well, he’s (Lord Nelson) gone.‘ But he sort of kicked back in.“

The two moved together to the wire with Lord Nelson posting a neck decision over Texas Red. Finishing third was Sir Samson followed by Bench Warrant, Jazzy Josh and Serbian Syclone. Punctuate and Magic Taste were both early scratches. The time for the seven furlongs was 1:22.15 on a fast track.

“It’s a little disappointing, you know, ‘cause it’s so close to winning, but the long-term goal is well within reach,“ Texas Red’s trainer Keith Desormeaux said. “Right now, the plans are still as I’ve been saying. He’s probably going to go to the Risen Star (at the Fair Grounds, February 21) and then we’ll come back for the Santa Anita Derby on April 04.“

Lord Nelson, owned by Peachtree Stable, nearly doubled his earnings by $120,000 to $249,571. The chestnut colt, ridden for the time by Bejarano, has won three of five starts.

“We’ll play it by ear (as to his next race),“ Baffert noted. “We’re just trying to stay healthy ... but I like what he did today. Coming up to the race he was really training well, but sometimes they’ll do that and won’t run. But he ran like he’d been working.“

Lord Nelson broke his maiden first time starting last July at Del Mar and was fourth in the FrontRunner Stakes at Santa Anita on September 27. He came back on October 13 with a win in the track’s Speakeasy Stakes as the 4-5 top pick. The colt was the 7-5 favorite for Churchill Downs’ Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes but finished fifth to El Kabeir.

Lord Nelson returned $5.80, $2.60 and $2.20. Texas Red paid $2.20 and $2.10, and Sir Samson paid $3.40 to show.

►  California Chrome has final San Antonio workout

The countdown can now begin for the 2015 return to the races of reigning Horse of the Year California Chrome.

The 4-year-old chestnut colt, trained by Art Sherman and ridden by Victor Espinoza, had his final workout Sunday for Saturday’s San Antonio Stakes. The champion went five furlongs at Los Alamitos in 1:01.60.

“I was looking for a minute and change,“ Sherman said. “That would have helped me a lot more going into this race. I think it’s a good work but I would have liked a sharper workout for this race. He’s doing so good though ... His gallop out was stronger than it has been. He galloped out in 1:11 and four (fifths) ... He’ll be fresh and ready, I can tell you that.“

California Chrome will move to Santa Anita on Tuesday and train on the track Wednesday.

“I think he went excellent,“ said Espinoza about Sunday’s work. “He was steady all the way around, just cruising in the middle of the racetrack. I thought he went in a minute flat, it felt like that anyway. I think it was a perfect work for him, he’s ready. The way he’s going and the way he’s been working tells me he’s ready to go.“

Owned by Steve Coburn and Perry Martin, California Chrome is expected to face Shared Belief for a second time in the 1 1/8-mile San Antonio at Santa Anita. The two raced against each other in last November’s Breeders’ Cup Classic won by Bayern. California Chrome finished third with Shared Belief, the 2013 champion 2-year-old, fourth. Bayern will miss Saturday’s race with an injury.

The San Antonio, won last year by Blingo, is expected to attract a field of between eight to 10 older horses and will be broadcast live on FOX Sports 1.

California Chrome posted six wins from nine starts in 2014 and earned more than $4 million for the year. Overall he has nine wins from 16 starts and $4,222,650.

►  Take Charge Brandi exits season debut ‘in good order’

Champion filly Take Charge Brandi came out of Saturday’s head victory in the $100,000 Martha Washington Stakes at Oaklawn Park in fine shape with the Kentucky Oaks still her main objective.

The filly’s owner Willis Horton speculated following the win that she might run in the Arkansas Derby and Kentucky Derby.

“He’s having fun with it, I think,“ trainer D. Wayne Lukas said of Horton’s post-race reference to running Take Charge Brandi in the Arkansas Derby and Kentucky Derby. “The plan is still the Honeybee (March 07), Fantasy (April 04) and Oaks (May 01).“

Take Charge Brandi, ridden for the first time by Jon Court, was the 2-5 favorite in the Martha Washington and held off Sarah Sis to win the mile race to begin her 3-year-old campaign.

“She’s very workmanlike,“ Lukas said. “She knows how to win races. She’s cruising along, very relaxed, and then that horse comes to her and she surges back and wins. At Los Alamitos, two or three of them did that to her, and she surged every time they came. Jon, I think, got a little bit complacent and relaxed there, too.

“We told him (Court) to just cruise around there, get the money and let’s go for the next one.“

Take Charge Brandi broke her maiden in her debut at Churchill Downs last June. She was second at Saratoga in the Schuylerville and fifth in the Adirondack Stakes. The filly followed with a fifth in the Pocahontas at Churchill and was eighth in Keeneland’s Alcibiades. She won the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita as a 61-1 longshot.

The Eclipse Award winner won the Starlet Stakes at Los Alamitos on December 13 to finish her 2014 season. That victory came just three weeks after capturing the Delta Downs Princess Stakes on November 22.

The filly has won five of nine starts for $1,680,126.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  McIlroy coasts to 3-shot win in Dubai

Rory McIlroy closed out the week with a 2-under 70 in Sunday’s final round and the No. 1 player in the world coasted to a 3-shot victory over Alex Noren at the Dubai Desert Classic.

McIlroy picked up his 10th career victory on the European Tour as he finished at 22-under-par 266, tying the tournament record set by Thomas Bjorn in 2001 and Stephen Gallacher in 2013. McIlroy also captured this event back in 2009, which was his first win as a professional.

“Fantastic week. We’re always treated so well here in Dubai. It’s always great coming back,“ McIlroy stated during the trophy presentation. “Nice to be able to cut my name on that trophy again.“

The victory is McIlroy’s first since rattling off three straight wins last season at the British Open, WGC-Bridgestone Invitational and PGA Championship. Prior to this week, McIlroy had finished in second place in each of his last four events.

“I felt like I was finishing second every time I was teeing it up so it was time for a change,“ McIlroy said. “Obviously the only way I wanted to go was one better and thankfully I was able to do that today. Played very, very nicely all week.“

Noren shot up the leaderboard and put pressure on the leader with a 7-under 65 on the Majlis Course at Emirates Golf Club, but it was not quite enough as he finished three shots back in the runner-up position at 19-under 269.

Two-time defending champion Gallacher fired a 3-under 69, which was good enough to put him in sole possession of third place at 16-under 272.

Two weeks after his collapse at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship, Martin Kaymer carded an 8-under 64 to vault into a tie for fourth place with Gary Stal (68), first-round leader Bernd Wiesberger (70), Andy Sullivan (70) and Morten Orum Madsen (70) at minus-15.

McIlroy began the day with a 4-shot lead and nobody got any closer until Noren got within three late in his round. Madsen, starting his final round four behind McIlroy, tripped to a triple-bogey at the first, extending McIlroy’s lead to five. Madsen rebounded a bit with birdies on two, three, nine and 12 to put his name back in the mix, but he stumbled down the stretch with a pair of bogeys on 15 and 16 to finish well off the pace.

After starting with back-to-back pars, McIlroy rolled in his first birdie on No. 3. Lee Westwood was the next player to pull within four after birdies on one, three and five, but he too struggled down the stretch with a double- bogey, three bogeys and just two birdies over his final 13 holes for a 72 to finish at 14-under.

A Westwood bogey on six dropped him five back at minus-16, where he was joined by Noren, who birdied four of his first six holes on the day. Noren then traded a bogey on nine for a birdie on 10 to remain at 16-under, while McIlroy bogeyed No. 7, snapping a streak of 42 straight holes without a dropped shot and his lead was back to four.

While a number of others moved up and down the leaderboard throughout the round, Noren proved to be the most consistent of the chasers down the stretch and it seemed as if he was the only one in the field with a chance of catching McIlroy in the end.

A birdie on No. 10 moved McIlroy’s advantage to five once again, which wound up being his biggest lead of the week. A long birdie putt by Madsen on 12 got him to within four once again, but it was the last gain of the day for him.

Sullivan briefly got into the mix with his fourth birdie of the day on No. 13, pulling him even with Madsen at minus-17. Noren joined them with a birdie on 15.

After just grazing the edge of the cup with his eagle effort on 13, McIlroy tapped in for birdie to get to minus-22 and extend his lead to five again.

While both Sullivan and Madsen fell off down the stretch with a couple bogeys each, Noren still stayed within striking distance. In fact, Noren finished up with back-to-back birdies on 17 and 18 to trim McIlroy’s lead to three, the closest it was all day. Unfortunately for Noren, he simply ran out of holes.

McIlroy, playing it safe down the stretch, remained calm like a true No. 1 player in the world as he closed with five straight pars to claim his 10th career title on tour.

“I did what I needed to do today,“ said McIlroy. “I didn’t play quite as well as the first three days, but I played a solid round of golf and did what I needed to do to keep my nose in front and be able to win.“

While Gallacher never got quite close enough, he also had a strong final day. After making the turn at even par following a bogey on one and a birdie on six, Gallacher ripped off a trio of birdies from 11 before making a bogey on 14. A birdie on 17 proved to be big for Gallacher as it helped him finish alone in third.

NOTES: In seven starts here, McIlroy still has not broken 70 in the final round. He also carded a 70 on the last day when he won in 2009 ... Noren, a three-time winner on tour, hasn’t won since the 2011 Nordea Masters. This is Noren’s best finish since that victory ... Alvaro Quiros made a hole-in-one on the par-3 fourth hole Sunday ... Richie Ramsay withdrew from the final round due to an illness ... With the win, McIlroy earned 378,779 euros ... The desert swing is done as the European Tour heads to eastern Asia next week for the Maybank Malaysian Open, where Westwood ran away with a 7-shot victory last season.

The Gilmer Free Press

ABC - American Broadcasting Company
CBS - Columbia Broadcast System
FOX - Fox Entertainment Group
NBC - National Broadcasting Company
JIP - Joined in Progress
TSN - Sports Network (Canada)
SNET/SN - Rogers SportsNet (Canada)
RDS - Reseau des sports
MSG - Madison Square Garden Network
TNT - Turner Network Television
TBS - Turner Broadcasting System
SNY - SportsNet New York
CBSSN - CBS - College Sports Network
CSN - Comcast SportsNet
TCN - The Comcast Network
NBCSN - NBC Sports Network
NESN - New England Sports Network
MASN - Mid-Atlantic Sports Network
ROOT - Root Sports (Pittsburgh, Northwest, Rocky Mountain)
CST - Cox Sports Television
FCS - FOX College Sports
FS - FOX Sports Regional
RSN - Regional Sports Networks
CPTV - Connecticut Public Broadcasting
TVG - Horse Racing Channel
FS1 - FOX Sports 1
TWC - Time Warner Cable Sports Channel
* - If Necessary

National Basketball Association
Philadelphia at Cleveland, 7:00 PM - CSN-Philadelphia, FS-Ohio, DSS
Charlotte at Washington, 7:00 PM - SportSouth, CSN-DC, DSS
Milwaukee at Toronto, 7:30 PM - FS-Wisconsin, TSN, DSS
LA Clippers at Brooklyn, 7:30 PM - FS-Prime Ticket, YES, DSS
Atlanta at New Orleans, 8:00 PM - SportSouth, FS-New Orleans, NBA TV, DSS
Orlando at Oklahoma City, 8:00 PM - FS-Florida, Oklahoma, DSS
Minnesota at Dallas, 8:30 PM - FS-North, Southwest, DSS
Memphis at Phoenix, 9:00 PM - SportSouth, FS-Arizona, DSS
National Hockey League
Florida at NY Rangers, 7:00 PM - FS-Florida, MSG, DSS
Winnipeg at Calgary, 9:00 PM - TSN3, SNET-West, DSS
Edmonton at San Jose, 10:30 PM - SNET-Oilers, CSN-California, DSS
College Basketball
Morgan State at Coppin State, 7:00 PM - ESPN U
Iona at Fairfield, 7:00 PM - MASN, SNY,
Virginia at North Carolina, 7:00 PM - ESPN
Bryant at Pittsburgh, 7:00 PM -
Rider at Siena, 7:00 PM - Time Warner Sports
American University at Holy Cross, 7:30 PM - CBSSN
Charleston Southern at Winthrop, 8:00 PM - American Sports Network, MASN 2
Green Bay at Wright State, 8:00 PM - WRGT-2
Iowa State at Kansas, 9:00 PM - ESPN
Alabama A&M at Texas Southern, 9:00 PM - ESPN U
Women’s College Basketball
Michigan State at Ohio State, 6:30 PM - Big Ten Network
Missouri at LSU, 7:00 PM - SEC Network
Louisville at Duke, 7:00 PM - ESPN 2
Radford at Liberty, 7:00 PM -
Syracuse at Florida State, 7:00 PM - RSN, FOX,
USC at Oregon, 8:00 PM - Pac-12 Network
Washington State at California, 8:00 PM - Pac-12 Network
Purdue at Indiana, 8:30 PM - Big Ten Network
Washington at Stanford, 10:00 PM - Pac-12 Network
UCLA at Oregon State, 10:00 PM - Pac-12 Network
International Soccer
Malaga CF vs. Valencia CF, 2:40 PM - beIN Sports

Sports News   150201

The Gilmer Free Press

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Expect Sherman on Sunday

When it comes to Richard Sherman and playing in the Super Bowl there is no right or wrong answer unless you are talking about the math itself.

“You’ve gotta time your conception a little better, I would say,“ Jets wide receiver Eric Decker quipped Friday on WFAN Radio.

Sherman’s girlfriend, Ashley Moss, is pregnant and due to give Seattle’s All- Pro cornerback a son in the coming days but if the baby decides to make a break for it early on Sunday, Sherman will be forced to choose between his teammates and his duty as a father.

“I think he’s going to be a disciplined young man and stay in there until after the game,“ Sherman joked on Thursday. “He’s going to do his father his first favor and stay in there for another week or two.“

Sherman’s current quandary signals a sharp generational shift.

Years ago there would have been no discussion—you play if it’s a Week 4 game never mind the Super Bowl but things have changed in today’s society and Seahawks coach Pete Carroll made sure to give his star a wide berth.

“Whenever our players have a personal family issue that comes up, it’s always about the family first,“ Carroll said on Friday morning.

Moss told one television station that Sherman will be suiting up on Sunday no matter what.

“He’s very locked in; football comes first,“ Moss told Seattle’s KING 5.

Sherman has hedged far more, though.

“I’ve thought about the possibility of his coming during the game or coming before the game,“ Sherman said earlier this week. “We have things in place in case that happens. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

“I would not like to miss the birth of my first kid,“ he added. “Hopefully, and God willing, we won’t have to cross that bridge.“

Others don’t think it should be a choice.

“I couldn’t miss (the birth of a child),“ Decker said. “That’s the Super Bowl of my life.“

Decker’s wife, country singer Jessie James Decker, gave birth to their first child last March.

Pro golfer Hunter Mahan famously passed on a chance for a huge pay day when he left the 2013 Canadian Open while leading after his wife went into labor before the final round.

Phil Mickelson was also prepared to leave the 1999 U.S. Open early despite being in the hunt for what would have been his first major tourney win.

Golfers, though, are independent contractors and their decisions aren’t going to impact 52 other men who have fought and clawed through 18 games to play on football’s biggest stage.

“This opportunity is rare in itself and unique in itself,“ Carroll said of playing in the Super Bowl.

And that’s why the easiest prop bet on Super Bowl Sunday is Sherman suiting up for the Seahawks despite a hyperextended elbow and the potential stork visit.

“I guess we’ll have a Super Bowl baby,“ Moss said when asked what will happen if she goes into labor, “and if you see Richard heading for the locker room right after it hits zero in the fourth quarter, don’t be surprised.“

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Area High Schools Boys Basketball Game Results

(Saturday, January 31)

#5 Gilmer County 80     Wirt County 40

#2 Bridgeport 64     #5 Robert C. Byrd 57

#6 Lincoln 74     Frankfort 65

North Marion 65     Webster County 58 (OT)

Tygarts Valley 63     Greenbrier West 48

Weirton Madonna 63     Clay-Battelle 54

St. Marys 59     Meadow Bridge 42

►  Area High Schools Girls Basketball Game Results

(Saturday, January 31)

#7 Charleston Catholic 43     #8 Notre Dame 30

#5 Logan 79     #10 Buckhannon-Upshur 46

Parkersburg South 84     Parkersburg 79

St. Marys 62     Clay-Battelle 52

►  Big Atlantic Classic

Friday’s Results

Game 13 — Wyoming East 72, Oak Hill 42 (girls co-consolation)

Game 14 — Parkersburg South 83, Princeton 76 (boys AAA)

Game 15 — Martinsburg 57, Shady Spring 49 (boys AAA)

Game 16 — Greenbrier East 80, Hampshire 64 (boys AAA)

Game 17 — Woodrow Wilson 56, Washington 36 (boys AAA)

Saturday’s Results

Game 18 — Huntington 95, Oak Hill 19 (girls co-consolation)

Game 19 — Princeton 69, Shady Spring 61, 2 OT (boys AAA co-consolation)

Game 20 — Washington 46, Hampshire 40 (boys AAA co-consolation)

Game 21 — Westside 63, Scott 50 (boys AA championship)

Game 22 — Morgantown 56, Greenbrier East 42 (girls co-championship)

Game 23 — Parkersburg South 53, Martinsburg 52 (boys AAA co-championship)

Game 24 — St. Albans 65, George Washington 44 (girls co-championship)

Game 25 — Greenbrier East 65, Woodrow Wilson 64 (boys AAA co-championship)

►  Shootout at the Big House - At Charleston Civic Center

Monday, February 09

10:00 AM — Man vs. Paden City (boys)

11:30 AM — Liberty Raleigh vs. St. Marys (boys)

1:00 PM — Webster County vs. Petersburg (boys)

2:30 PM — Parkersburg vs. Oak Hill (boys)

4:00 PM — George Washington vs. Hurricane (girls)

5:30 PM — South Charleston vs. Logan (girls)

7:00 PM — Magnolia vs. Valley Fayette (boys)

8:30 PM — Woodrow Wilson vs. Wesley Christian, Ky. (boys)

Tuesday, February 10

10:00 AM — Lincoln County vs. Chapmanville (girls)

11:30 AM — Lincoln County vs. Clay County (boys)

1:00 PM — Chapmanville vs. Williamstown (boys)

2:30 PM — Ravenswood vs. Point Pleasant (boys)

4:00 PM — Nitro vs. Charleston Catholic (boys)

5:30 PM — Parkersburg South vs. Logan (girls)

7:00 PM — Parkersburg South vs. Logan (boys)

8:30 PM — George Washington vs. Perry Central, KY (boys)

10:00 PM — Huntington Prep vs. team TBA (boys)

Wednesday, February 11

10:00 AM — Greater Beckley Christian vs. St. Joseph (girls)

11:30 PM — Greater Beckley Christian vs. St. Joseph (boys)

1:00 PM — Ripley vs. Westside (boys)

2:30 PM — Frankfort vs. East Fairmont (boys)

4:00 PM — Scott vs. Buffalo (boys)

5:30 PM — Wyoming East vs. Robert C. Byrd (boys)

7:00 PM — South Charleston vs. Elkins (boys)

8:30 PM — Parkersburg vs. Spring Valley (girls)

The Gilmer Free Press

►  MEC Men’s Basketball Game Results

(Saturday, January 31)

Glenville State 82, Shepherd 76 | Final Stats

Glenville State got past Shepherd, 82-72, on Saturday at the Butcher Center.

With the game tied at 70-70 with 2:30 to go, the Pioneers (16-4, 12-2) scored the next six points, capped by a Sedric Nady three-pointer that helped GSC pick up the victory. Both teams shot over 50% from the field, and Glenville State hit 12 threes while Shepherd made 11.

GSC’s Dontre Morales scored 30 points on 11-of-15 shooting and pulled down seven rebounds. Nady finished with 20 and Brett Morris scored 12.

Ryan McTavish scored 26 points to lead Shepherd (11-9, 6-8). Austin Cunningham had 18 and Morgan McDonald scored 10 points and had six rebounds.

Wheeling Jesuit 93, West Virginia State 89 | Final Stats

Wheeling Jesuit withstood a late charge from West Virginia State to pick up a 93-89 win over West Virginia State.

The Cardinals (11-7, 7-6) were led by 26 points from Justin Fritts. Eric Seifert scored 18 and Kyle Ritz tallied a double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds as WJU won its fifth-straight.

Markee Mazyck scored a game-high 27 points, 26 of which came in the second half, before fouling out. Damion Harris had 18 points and Dominic Phillips scored 12 as West Virginia State dropped to 3-18 overall and 3-10 in conference play.

Fairmont State 86, West Virginia Wesleyan 76 (OT) | Final Stats

Fairmont State needed overtime to pick up its league-best sixth-straight win, 86-76, over West Virginia Wesleyan at Joe Retton Arena.

After trailing by 14 early in the second half, WVWC battled all the way back to take a 66-63 lead with 1:07 to go after a Garrett Grantham layup. FSU forced overtime as Nick Harney laid it in with seven seconds left.

In the overtime session, Fairmont State hit 10-of-12 free throws and forced WVWC to go just 2-for-10 from the field to secure the victory.

FSU (14-6, 11-3) was led by 25 points and eight rebounds from Harney and 24 points from Jamel Morris. Shammgod Wells had 17 points, five rebounds and five assists.

Tanner McGrew scored 26 points and pulled down 15 rebounds for WVWC (8-12, 6-8). Grantham finished with 19 points and seven assists and Anthony Richards contributed 11.

#10 West Liberty 83, Charleston 65 | Final Stats

C.J. Hester scored 26 points and pulled down 14 rebounds to lead No. 10 West Liberty to an 83-65 win over Charleston on Saturday at Eddie King Gymnasium.

Seger Bonifant scored 17 and Devin Hoehn added 12 as West Liberty improved to 17-2 overall and 12-2 in league play.

Octavius Green came off the bench and scored 19 points to lead UC (14-6, 9-5). Jevonte Hughes contributed 14 points and Chris Evans tallied 11 points and five assists.

Concord 85, Notre Dame 72 | Final Stats

Concord broke a halftime tie by opening the second half on a 27-10 run to claim an 85-72 win over Notre Dame on Saturday at the Carter Center.

Aaron Miller scored 23 points, including 18 in the second half, to lead Concord (13-6, 9-5). Terry Hopewell scored 17 points and pulled down 16 rebounds, and Rob Reed added 17 points. Mike Boyd dished out eight assists to go with eight points.

Notre Dame (10-10, 6-8) was paced by 24 points from Tyree Gaiter. Lawrence DeArmond had 16 points and 10 rebounds, and Will Vorhees scored 16.

Urbana 76, UVa-Wise 64 | Final Stats

Urbana snapped a nine-game losing streak with a 76-64 win over UVa-Wise on Saturday at the Prior Center.

Urbana (5-15, 2-12) shot 48% from the field, committed just 10 turnovers and out-rebounded UVa-Wise, 41-34. Rodney Clark Jr. led a balanced attack for the Blue Knights with 14 points, and Carlas Jackson scored 12. Doug Hilson and Myles Busby each contributed 10 points.

Philip Owens led UVa-Wise (1-18, 0-14) with 21 points. Matt Day registered a double-double with 15 points and 13 rebounds.

►  MEC Women’s Basketball Game Results

(Saturday, January 31)

West Virginia State 77, Wheeling Jesuit 74 | Final Stats

A 10-0 run midway through the second half sparked West Virginia State to a 77-74 win over Wheeling Jesuit.

The Yellow Jackets (6-12, 4-9) were led by 23 points and 11 rebounds from Shealyn Shafer. Alexus Hobbs added 16 points and seven rebounds and Aurreshae Hines added 10 points off the bench. WVSU shot 50% from the field and had just 13 turnovers in the game. 

Wheeling Jesuit (11-6, 8-5) had 22 points and five assists from Jaila Bryant in the losing effort. Jaana Motton had 10 points to go with nine rebounds, and Breanna Butler tallied 15.

West Liberty 90, Charleston 83 | Final Stats

West Liberty held off Charleston, 90-83, on Saturday afternoon at Eddie King Gymnasium

The Hilltoppers (13-7, 10-4) had a 10-point advantage at halftime and increased it to 16 points with 15:52 left, but Charleston (15-5, 10-4) fought its way back into the game, eventually drawing even at 72-72 with 5:27 left. WLU regained control of the game by scoring 13 of the game’s next 17 points to take the win.

West Liberty’s Liz Flowers poured in 27 points, and Kailee Howe scored 24 and dished out 11 assists. Hillary Southworth added 17 points for the ‘Toppers.

Kiara Johnson registered a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds. LeAnne Ross finished with 18 points, and Nichole Perry scored 14 of her 16 points in the second half to help spark the comeback.

Glenville State 77, Shepherd 66 | Final Stats

An 11-0 run midway through the second half broke a close game open as Glenville State picked up its fourth-straight win, 77-66, on the road at Shepherd.

Kayla Tibbs led all scorers with 19 points for Glenville State (10-8, 8-6). Keyanna Tate had a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds, and Brittany Jackson contributed 11 points.

Shepherd (13-7, 10-4) was paced by 15 points from Cara Mason. Briana Vaden had 13 points and seven rebounds, and Gabby Flinchum came off the bench to score 12.

Fairmont State 62, West Virginia Wesleyan 53 | Final Stats

Holding a narrow 52-51 with under three minutes left, Hailey Garrett scored eight of Fairmont State’s 10 points in a 10-0 run as the Falcons came away with a 62-53 win over West Virginia Wesleyan.

Garrett finished with 24 points and eight rebounds to lead FSU (16-4, 10-4). Hallie Gunnoe and Emily Lohr each added 14 in the victory.

Mari Stewart scored 21 and Adrian Cunningham finished with 10 points for the Bobcats (2-15, 2-12).

UVa-Wise 75, Urbana 58 | Final Stats

Blair Harding scored 29 points and pulled down 13 rebounds to lead UVa-Wise to a 75-58 win over Urbana on Saturday at the Prior Center.

The Cavs (7-13, 6-8) forced 23 turnovers in the game and out-rebounded the Blue Knights 44-39. Taylor Sandidge scored 15 points and Kayla Carey added 12 for UVa-Wise in the win.

Urbana (1-19, 1-13) was led by 15 points apiece from Kennedy Boggs and Tori Purk. Kate Francisco had 13 points to go with five rebounds and four assists.

Notre Dame 76, Concord 62 | Final Stats

Notre Dame shot 50% from the field and Martha Nagbe went for 26 points to lead the Falcons to a 76-62 win over Concord.

In addition to 26 points, Nagbe had seven rebounds and four assists for NDC (13-7, 9-5). Kelsey Miller had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds and Lexi Hassing chipped in 10 points.

Kylie Molisee had 20 points and Jacqueline Kestner had 11 points and 10 rebounds for Concord (5-13, 5-9).

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Credit the Mountaineers with another 26 turnovers

Coach Tubby Smith hoped Texas Tech might better handle No. 17 West Virginia’s press the second time around.

Instead, the Red Raiders committed 26 turnovers, including 10 during a 6 1/2-minute span of the second half when the Mountaineers seized control on their way to a 77-58 romp Saturday.

“Awful. Just awful,” Smith said. “It was like we never saw it before.”

In fairness to Texas Tech’s flustered ballhandlers, West Virginia (18-3, 6-2 Big 12) has made numerous opponents look awful. The national leaders in steals grabbed 10 more and enjoyed a 33-9 edge in points off turnovers thanks to their tenacious press.

“It’s uncomfortable to play against,” said Bob Huggins. “If you were walking down the street and somebody just got in your face about 3 inches away for a few blocks, would that bother you? No one wants to play against that.”

Devin Williams scored 12 of his 18 points in the second half when West Virginia turned a six-point lead into a blowout. He also grabbed eight rebounds, sharing the team-high with Jonathan Holton.

Daxter Miles added 12 points and point guard Juwan Staten contributed 11 points and five assists as the Mountaineers surpassed last season’s win total before the end of January.

West Virginia opened the second half on a 16-2 run lined with transition layups and dunks fed by a flurry of turnovers. During one sequence Texas Tech coughed up the ball on five of seven possessions.

“We got inside their heads,” Miles said. “I heard them telling other players to come get the ball.”

Added Staten: “At halftime we talked about if you have a team down, you’ve got to put them away.”

Pressing company: Riddled by 22 turnovers earlier this month during a loss to West Virginia in Lubbock, Texas Tech (11-11, 1-8) aimed to be stronger and smarter with the basketball in the rematch. But the mistakes simply repeated themselves, with six Red Raiders committing at least three turnovers.

“We were overwhelmed by West Virginia’s pressure,” Smith said. “They stay after you. It reminds me of a team Billy Donovan had at Florida and some of the teams Rick Pitino coached at Louisville. They’re always attacking.”

From hot hand to forgotten man: Texas Tech guard Robert Turner scored 18 first-half points, keeping the deficit to 37-31, but was shut out during the final 20 minutes, smothered by the defense of WVU’s Gary Browne.

“We put Gary on him and said don’t let him catch it,” Huggins said.

After nearly matching his season-high of 19 points during the first half, Turner was 0-of-2 shooting after that in an additional 10 minutes.

Forward Aaron Ross scored 13 and Isaiah Manderson added 10 for Texas Tech, which was held to 16 fewer shot attempts overall and trailed by 21 points in the second half.

Browne finished with 10 for West Virginia, which led wire-to-wire and shot an atypical 51% in the second half.

Scuffling: After West Virginia ran off 12 unanswered to build a 30-14 lead, Turner was sent sprawling on a breakaway layup by Mountaineers forward Brandon Watkins. That led to a scuffle after which Texas Tech center Norense Odiase was ejected.

Along with Odiase’s technical, Ross was assessed a flagrant technical for swinging an elbow on a rebound, one of Texas Tech’s 15 first-half fouls.

The 31 first-half points must have felt like an avalanche after the Red Raiders managed only 36 in their previous loss at Oklahoma, setting a record for scoring futility in a Big 12 game.

Next up: West Virginia encounters the meat of its Big 12 schedule during the final regular-season 10 games, facing opponents with an average RPI of 26. That stretch starts Tuesday at Oklahoma.

►  Huggins: Team leaders rebuilt culture of commitment

West Virginia has won three straight games and six out of eight in the Big 12, which according to RPI calculations, is the deepest league in college basketball.

An NCAA tourney berth seems all but assured, after a two-year absence, and if grander dreams are your thing, the Mountaineers might—I say might—make a charge at Kansas for the conference championship.

Bob Huggins has fixed things, it appears, and he credits players being more committed and more immersed in the sport. After whipping Texas Tech 77-58 on Saturday, leadership commendations went to point guard Juwan Staten and forward Devin Williams, an inside-out duo who rebuilt the program from inside out.

“Leadership is not doing as I say, it’s doing as I do,” Huggins said. “Those are two guys who spend an enormous amount of time in the gym. So then you can get on somebody else about not improving and not working hard.

“That’s the culture we had here … and then we lost it.”

Blame Deniz Kilicli’s electric guitar. The Turkish forward enjoyed the Final Four as a freshman, a 13-19 sendoff as a senior and passion for music that spanned both. He was a multi-dimensional guy, but to hear Huggins tell it, basketball and rock-n-roll don’t mix.

“We had some guys who would rather go play in a band than they would play basketball,” the coach said. “When they’re your leaders and they can’t wait to sprint out of here to pick up a guitar … it creates the wrong culture.”

To be clear, this was Huggins appraising Kilicli, not bashing him, because the coach developed a somewhat paternal affinity for the big kid with the hook shot. “I love him to death and he’s one of my favorite people of all-time,” said Huggins, who just wished that Kilicli and others on the past two teams loved basketball more.

“I’ve had guys where that was their self-being, and when they didn’t play well they were miserable. Just miserable,” Huggins said. “But they did something about it.”

Things aren’t so miserable now. Starting 18-3 with a top-20 RPI makes all signs point up. The roster was recalibrated with players who are more single-minded. None of them have taken the stage at 123 Pleasant; their stage of preference arrives in March.

Huggins wants hobbies on hold. And as this West Virginia outfit transforms devotion into development, winning is the music they appreciate most.

<The Gilmer Free Press

►  Top-25 College Men’s Basketball Game Results

(Saturday, January 31)

Final Score: (1) Kentucky 70, Alabama 55

Willie Cauley-Stein and Karl-Anthony Towns each scored 12 points in the top-ranked Kentucky Wildcats’ 70-55 victory over the Alabama Crimson Tide. The Wildcats (21-0, 8-0 SEC), who are off their best start since beginning 23-0 in 1965-66, became the lone unbeaten team left in the country after No. 2 Virginia lost to fourth-ranked Duke on Saturday. Devin Booker and Aaron Harrison added 11 and 10 points, respectively, for Kentucky, which shot 58.5% from the field.

Final Score: (4) Duke 69, (2) Virginia 63

No. 4 Duke missed 10 of its first 11 looks from behind the arc and trailed by nine points late in the second half. Then the shots started falling. Quinn Cook made three 3-pointers in the final 4:38, Tyus Jones put the game away with a deep 3 with 10 seconds left and the Blue Devils went into Charlottesville and rallied late to stun No. 2 Virginia, 69-63, handing the Cavaliers their first loss of the season. Jones finished with 17 points while Cook and Justise Winslow netted 15 apiece for the Blue Devils (18-3, 5-3 ACC), who were primed to fall three games back in the ACC standings before closing the game on an 11-0 run. Malcolm Brogdon paced Virginia (19-1, 7-1) with 17 points, and Justin Anderson added 11.

Final Score: (3) Gonzaga 82, Memphis 64

Przemek Karnowski scored 17 points with six rebounds as No. 3 Gonzaga extended a pair of winning streaks with an 82-64 win over Memphis on Saturday. The Bulldogs (22-1) have won their last 15 games since their lone blemish on the season, a 66-63 overtime loss to Arizona on December 6, and are undefeated in their last 38 games at home, the longest current streak of its kind in the nation. Kyle Wiltjer had 15 points and seven boards, Domantas Sabonis netted 13 points with 11 rebounds and Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell Jr. scored 11 and 10 points, respectively, in the win. Nick King paced the Tigers (13-8) with 13 points and four steals and Austin Nichols provided 12 points in defeat.

Final Score: (5) Wisconsin 74, Iowa 63

Frank Kaminsky scored 24 points and Nigel Hayes added 14, leading fifth-ranked Wisconsin to a 74-63 victory over Iowa on Saturday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Josh Gasser and Sam Dekker each chipped in 11 for the Badgers (19-2, 7-1 Big Ten), who have won four straight since a stunning loss at Rutgers on January 11. Kaminsky, who missed the game against the Scarlet Knights because of a concussion, also grabbed a game-high nine rebounds on Saturday while making half of his field goal attempts and 8-of-9 from the free throw line. Wisconsin has won 12 of its last 13, including a season sweep of Iowa. The Badgers rolled to an 82-50 rout of the Hawkeyes just 11 days ago in Madison and have won five straight in the series. Aaron White scored 15 to lead Iowa (13-8, 4-4), which has lost three in a row. White had played just seven minutes in last week’s loss to Purdue because of a stinger.

Final Score: (7) Villanova 68, DePaul 55

Ryan Arcidiacono scored all of his 18 points in the second half to lead No. 7 Villanova to a 68-55 win over DePaul on Saturday. JayVaughn Pinkston went 10-for-10 from the free throw line on his way to 14 points, Darrun Hilliard added 11 points and Daniel Ochefu posted seven points with 12 rebounds in the win. The Wildcats (19-2, 6-2 Big East) have won six of their last seven contests. Billy Garrett Jr. netted 14 points and was the only double-figure scoring effort for the Blue Demons (11-12, 5-5), who have lost three straight.

Final Score: Pittsburgh 76, (8) Notre Dame 72

Robinson made a tough go-ahead runner in the lane with 12 seconds remaining as Pittsburgh took down No. 8 Notre Dame 76-72 in a wild finish on Saturday afternoon. The Fighting Irish nearly pulled off an improbable comeback when Jerian Grant shook off a slow start and went on a personal 9-0 run inside the final three minutes. Grant’s two free throws with 31.2 seconds left gave Notre Dame a 72-71 lead, but Robinson drove right, gained some space with a spin move and scored over Pat Connaughton for what proved to be the deciding bucket. Grant passed up a shot at the other end with Steve Vasturia open in the corner, and Vasturia’s shot was off the mark. Jamel Artis grabbed the rebound, made two free throws, and Pitt stole the ensuing inbounds pass to end its three-game losing streak. Artis finished with 20 points and eight rebounds, and Robinson added 15 points with 10 assists for the Panthers (14-8, 4-5 ACC), who shot 68% from the field in the second half and 59% overall. Demetrius Jackson led Notre Dame with 15 points, Grant chipped in with 14, and Vasturia and Zach Auguste each netted 12 in a losing cause. Notre Dame (20-3, 8-2) had won five in a row—four in comeback fashion—and was fresh off a signature victory over No. 4 Duke.

Final Score: (9) Kansas 68, Kansas State 57

Ellis had 16 points and 12 rebounds in the ninth-ranked Kansas Jayhawks’ 68-57 win over the Kansas State Wildcats on Saturday. Wayne Selden Jr. added 14 points and four blocks for the Jayhawks (18-3, 7-1 Big 12), who have won four in a row and sit atop the Big 12 standings. Brannen Greene tallied 11 points off the bench. Thomas Gipson and Marcus Foster each scored 19 points for the Wildcats (12-10, 5-4), who have lost three of four.

Final Score: (10) Louisville 78, (13) North Carolina 68 (OT)

Montrezl Harrell had 22 points and 15 rebounds and No. 10 Louisville rallied from 18 down in the second half to beat No. 13 North Carolina 78-68 on Saturday. Louisville outscored the North Carolina 53-25 over the last 22 1/2 minutes of the game to snap a six-game Tar Heels winning streak that began with a one-point victory over the Cardinals in Chapel Hill on January 10. Terry Rozier added 22 points and 10 rebounds, scoring eight in overtime to help Louisville (18-3, 6-2 ACC) pick up its third consecutive win since a loss to Duke two weeks ago. Chris Jones scored seven of his 17 points in overtime for the Cardinals. Marcus Paige had 15 points to lead North Carolina (17-5, 7-2) and J.P. Tokoto added 11 with 11 rebounds. Brice Johnson had two points and 10 rebounds before fouling out. The Tar Heels shot 43.3% from the field, down from a 50.8% mark during their winning streak. They are 0-3 all-time against the Cardinals in Louisville, also losing games in 1929 and 1999.

Final Score: (18) Northern Iowa 70, (12) Wichita State 54

Northern Iowa and Wichita State played the first Missouri Valley game between ranked opponents in 33 years. And it was the 18th-ranked Panthers who picked up a solid home win to snap No. 12 Wichita State’s 27-game regular-season winning streak in conference. Seth Tuttle scored a career-high 29 points with seven rebounds as Northern Iowa defeated Wichita State, 70-54, on Saturday. The Panthers (20-2, 9-1 MVC) made 60% of their field goals and converted 5-of-7 shots from beyond the arc in their ninth straight win. Fred VanVleet led the Shockers (19-3, 9-1) with 18 points and Ron Baker chipped in with 12 points on just 2-of-10 shooting from 3-point range.

Final Score: Richmond 64, (14) VCU 55

Kendall Anthony scored 22 points, and the Richmond Spiders upset cross-town rival No. 14 VCU, 64-55, on Saturday. The Spiders (12-9, 5-3 Atlantic 10) handled the Rams’ Havoc defense in a 42-point second half. The Rams shot just 40.7% overall and made just 3-of-20 attempts from 3-point range. Terry Allen added 15 points and seven rebounds for Richmond. VCU (17-4, 7-1) saw its 12-game winning streak come to an end. Treveon Graham paced the Rams with 18 points on 6-of-11 shooting and seven boards. Briante Weber chipped in 11 before leaving late in the game with a knee injury.

Final Score: (15) Iowa State 83, TCU 66

Georges Niang poured in 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds, leading 15th-ranked Iowa State to an 83-66 victory over TCU on Saturday at Hilton Coliseum. Monte Morris contributed 16 points and six assists for the Cyclones (16-4, 6-2 Big 12), who were coming off a three- point win on Monday against Texas and extended their home winning streak to 19 consecutive games. Iowa State owns the 10th-longest home winning streak in the country. Bryce Dejean-Jones also scored 16 points and Dustin Hogue added 12 in the victory. Each of the Cyclones’ first seven conference games had been decided by single digits, but Iowa State used a couple of second- half runs to make it a laugher after leading by only two at halftime. Trey Zeigler scored 14 points for TCU (14-7, 1-7), which has lost four in a row. The Horned Frogs were 13-0 before conference play began in January.

Final Score: (17) West Virginia 77, Texas Tech 58

Devin Williams contributed 18 points with eight rebounds in 17th-ranked West Virginia’s 77-58 win over Texas Tech on Saturday. Daxter Miles Jr. chipped in with 12 points and Juwan Staten scored 11 with five assists for the Mountaineers (18-3, 6-2 Big 12), who have won three straight and four of their last five. Robert Turner supplied 18 points for the Red Raiders (11-11, 1-8), while Aaron Ross and Isaiah Manderson went for 13 and 10, respectively, off the bench in the loss.

Final Score: (20) Baylor 83, (19) Texas 60

Kenny Chery totaled 23 points thanks to a 5- of-7 performance from long range, and Royce O’Neale added 20 with eight rebounds as No. 20 Baylor topped 19th-ranked Texas, 83-60, at the Ferrell Center. Taurean Price and Johnathan Motley each contributed 13 points for the Bears (16-5, 4-4 Big 12), while Rico Gathers clocked in with eight points and 15 boards as the Bears won for the third time in their last four. Jonathan Holmes had 17 points for the Longhorns (14-7, 3-5), who received 16 points and 10 assists from Isaiah Taylor in a losing effort.

Final Score: (21) Georgetown 67, Creighton 40

D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera and Jabril Trawick nearly outscored Creighton by themselves, combining for 39 points as No. 21 Georgetown cruised to a 67-40 victory over the cold-shooting Bluejays. Smith- Rivera totaled 24 points, Trawick added 15 and the Hoyas (15-6, 7-3 Big East) emphatically rebounded from Tuesday’s home loss to Xavier with a stout defensive showing. Creighton (10-13, 1-9) followed up its first Big East win with its worst shooting performance of the season. The Bluejays shot an embarrassing 21% (11-for-53) from the floor and did not have a single player score in double figures. Avery Dingman led the way with eight points.

Final Score: (22) Indiana 72, Rutgers 64

James Blackmon Jr. scored 20 points with five rebounds to help No. 22 Indiana in a 72-64 win over Rutgers on Saturday. Yogi Ferrell and Troy Williams each netted 14 points for the Hoosiers (16-6, 6-3 Big Ten), with Williams adding 11 rebounds in the win. Indiana snapped its two-game losing streak. Myles Mack did all he could for the Scarlet Knights (10-13, 2-8), scoring 24 points and handing out eight assists.

Final Score: (24) Oklahoma 64, Oklahoma State 56

Jordan Woodard led four Oklahoma players in double digits with 17 points as the No. 24 Sooners rebounded from a big early deficit and downed rival Oklahoma State, 64-56, at Gallagher-Iba Arena. Buddy Hield picked up 15 points, Ryan Spangler 13 with nine rebounds and six assists while TaShawn Thomas poured in 12 for the Sooners (14-7, 5-4 Big 12). Phil Forte recorded 15 points for the Cowboys (14-7, 4-5). Le’Bryan Nash had 12 and Anthony Hickey added 10 points for the hosts.

Final Score: (25) Butler 72, Marquette 68 (OT)

Andrew Chrabascz had 30 points and seven rebounds to lead No. 25 Butler to a 72-68 victory over Marquette on Saturday. Kellen Dunham posted 17 points, Alex Barlow scored 15 with five rebounds and five assists, and Kameron Woods had 18 rebounds for the Bulldogs (16-6, 6-3 Big East), who have won three straight. Matt Carlino and Duane Wilson each scored 18 points, Luke Fischer added 12 points and six rebounds and Juan Anderson had 10 and eight for the Golden Eagles (10-11, 2-7), who have lost their past five.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  NBA Game Results

(Saturday, January 31)

Final Score: Sacramento 99, Indiana 94

Rudy Gay scored 31 points, DeMarcus Cousins had another double-double and the Sacramento Kings snapped an eight- game losing skid with a 99-94 win over the Indiana Pacers on Saturday. Darren Collison scored 23 points with five rebounds and five assists, and Cousins overcame his worst shooting night of the season to post 20 points and 19 rebounds. The trio of Gay, Collison and Cousins combined for nearly 75% of Sacramento’s points. Cousins shot 6-for-24 from the floor and turned the ball over four times before fouling out late in the fourth quarter. C.J. Miles and David West had 17 points apiece to lead Indiana, while George Hill gave 14, six boards and four assists in limited minutes off the bench.

Final Score: Dallas 108, Orlando 93

In the absence of Rajon Rondo, Monta Ellis scored 25 points and handed out 13 assists to help the Dallas Mavericks top the Orlando Magic, 108-93, on Saturday. Just 1 1/2 minutes into the game, Rondo went down with a head injury and would not return. Leading by as much as 27, the Mavericks’ edge was cut to as little as five in the fourth quarter before they pulled away again. Tyson Chandler added 20 points and nine rebounds for Dallas in its second straight win, and Dirk Nowitzki netted 11 points. Orlando lost its eighth straight game despite a 17-point, 16-rebound effort from Nikola Vucevic. Evan Fournier and Willie Green each scored 15 points.

Final Score: Toronto 120, Washington 116 (OT)

Kyle Lowry scored seven of his 23 points in overtime and the Toronto Raptors escaped with a 120-116 win over the Washington Wizards on Saturday night. The Wizards rallied from 21 points down with 14 minutes left in the game, tying the score on Paul Pierce’s 3-pointer with 25 seconds remaining in regulation. Washington’s only lead in the game came 56 seconds into overtime on a free throw by Pierce. But Lowry scored four points during a quick 6-0 run that put the Atlantic Division-leading Raptors ahead for good on the way to a sixth consecutive win—their third winning streak of that length this season. It came a day after Toronto led Brooklyn by 17 points in the third quarter but needed overtime to knock off the Nets 127-122 Friday night. Lou Williams added 19 points in this one for Toronto, Amir Johnson scored 17, Patrick Patterson had 16 and DeMar DeRozan netted 15 with 10 rebounds. Greivis Vasquez added 12 points to finish off six Raptors players in double figures. John Wall flirted with a triple-double, scoring 28 points with 12 assists and eight rebounds for the Wizards, who have dropped two in a row and four of the last six. Bradley Beal added 26 points in the loss, Pierce scored 19 and Nene had 16 points. Kris Humphries added 10 points and 14 rebounds off the bench.

Final Score: Atlanta 91, Philadelphia 85

Al Horford had 23 points and 11 rebounds and the Atlanta Hawks held on to beat the Philadelphia 76ers 91-85 on Saturday night for their 19th consecutive win. The NBA-leading Hawks wrapped up a perfect 17-0 January, but it came harder than expected. They had to battle to stay ahead down the stretch despite leading by 21 points in the second quarter and 15 in the third. Michael Carter-Williams, Luc Mbah a Moute and Jerami Grant scored 13 points apiece for the Sixers, who were attempting to win three consecutive games for the first time this season.

Final Score: Detroit 114, Houston 101

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and D.J. Augustin each scored 28 points as the Detroit Pistons beat the Houston Rockets 114-101 on Saturday night. Augustin added 12 assists for one of three double- doubles by the Pistons. Greg Monroe had 19 points and 12 rebounds, while Andre Drummond finished with 11 points and 16 boards. Kyle Singler scored 14 points and Anthony Tolliver supplied 12 for Detroit, which snapped a four-game losing streak and ended a seven-game skid against Houston. James Harden left the game late in the second quarter with a bruised left knee, but returned for the Rockets at the start of the second half and went on to score 26 points with nine assists and seven rebounds. Donatas Motiejunas had 21 points and Trevor Ariza added 15 for the Rockets, who had won four games in a row. Josh Smith missed eight shots while scoring just seven points in his first game against the Pistons since they waived him in December.

Final Score: Memphis 85, Oklahoma City 74

Durant was not effective in his return after a two-game absence, and the Memphis Grizzlies’ tough defense shut down the Oklahoma City Thunder, 85-74, on Saturday. Durant and Russell Westbrook each shot 5-of-16 for Oklahoma City, losers in four of its last five. The Grizzlies were led by their frontcourt duo of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. Randolph paced the game with 21 points and 18 rebounds, and Gasol added 15 points, 12 boards and five assists. In his own return from a two-game absence, Mike Conley scored 10 points for Memphis, which has won six in a row.

Final Score: Cleveland 106, Minnesota 90

In his first game in Minnesota since being traded, Cavaliers forward Kevin Love got the boos he expected when he was introduced before the game. Love, who was booed every time he touched the ball, had 14 points and 17 rebounds in Cleveland’s 106-90 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday. After playing his first six NBA seasons for the Timberwolves, Love was dealt to Cleveland as part of a three-team deal in the offseason. Minnesota acquired Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett, the last two No. 1 overall picks in the draft. Wiggins himself a career night in a losing cause, scoring 33 points on 14- of-25 shooting. The 19-year-old matched the franchise record for most points by a teenager. All storylines aside, it was LeBron James who stole the show in the fourth quarter. James scored 16 of his 36 points in the final frame for the Cavaliers, who have won 10 in a row. Thaddeus Young ended with 19 points for the Timberwolves, who fell to 8-39 on the season. Nikola Pekovic and Kevin Martin had 14 points apiece, with Pekovic also pulling down 12 rebounds.

Final Score: Milwaukee 95, Portland 88

Jared Dudley scored 18 points with six rebounds to power the Milwaukee Bucks in a 95-88 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday. O.J. Mayo finished with 17 points and seven rebounds, John Henson supplied 14 points, eight boards and four blocks while Brandon Knight and Jerryd Bayless each netted 11 in the Bucks’ third straight win. Wesley Matthews and Damian Lillard each scored 19 points apiece for Portland, which has lost three in a row.

Final Score: Charlotte 104, Denver 86

Cody Zeller had 21 points and the Charlotte Hornets rolled to a 104-86 win over the Denver Nuggets on Saturday night. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist added 17 points and 13 rebounds and Al Jefferson and Jason Maxiell each scored 14 for the Hornets, who missed all 11 of their 3- point attempts but led by as many as 36. Danilo Gallinari had 15 points to lead the Nuggets, who have lost nine of their last 10.

Final Score: LA Clippers 105, San Antonio 85

Blake Griffin posted 31 points, 13 rebounds and five assists, and the Los Angeles Clippers got back on track with a 105-85 win over the San Antonio Spurs. Chris Paul had 20 points and six assists and DeAndre Jordan led a dominant effort on the glass with 19 rebounds. The Clippers, who improved to 2-1 on their season-long eight game road trip, outrebounded the Spurs 56-36. They were coming off a 108-103 loss to the Pelicans on Friday. San Antonio, which took the first two games in the season series, stumbled out of the gate and never recovered as its three-game win streak was snapped.

Final Score: Golden State 106, Phoenix 87

Steph Curry tallied 25 points and seven assists as the Golden State Warriors snapped a two-game slide with a convincing 106-87 win over the Phoenix Suns. Klay Thompson netted 22 points and Leandro Barbosa added 14 in his second straight strong bench effort for Golden State, which endured its third two-game losing streak of the season but has still not dropped three straight games. Draymond Green added 11 rebounds and four assists while Harrison Barnes and Andre Igoudala gave 13 and 12 points, respectively. Markieff Morris posted his second straight double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds for Phoenix, which hadn’t been away from home since an overtime loss to Memphis on January 11. The Suns have dropped three of five overall and lost three straight road games.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  NHL Game Results

(Saturday, January 31)

Final Score: Montreal 1, Washington 0 (OT)

Max Pacioretty scored the game’s only goal with 1:52 remaining in overtime to lift the Montreal Canadiens past the Washington Capitals 1-0 on Saturday afternoon. Pacioretty’s goal, coupled with Carey Price’s second consecutive shutout, ended Washington’s seven- game winning streak in Montreal and sent the Canadiens to a fifth straight victory. Price followed up his whitewash of the Rangers on Thursday with 36 saves. He improved to 10-1-1 since December 20, thanks in part to Pacioretty chipping in Tomas Plekanec’s centering feed in OT. Plekanec was skating down the right boards when he sent a backhand on net that a lunging Pacioretty got enough of to send over Braden Holtby’s left shoulder. Holtby, who was coming off his own shutout of the Penguins, made 29 saves in an otherwise stellar performance.

Final Score: Detroit 4, NY Islanders 1

Petr Mrazek stopped 22 shots and the Detroit Red Wings grabbed a 4-1 victory over the New York Islanders on Saturday. Brendan Smith, Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar and Jonathan Ericsson each lit the lamp for the Red Wings, who rebounded from a loss at Tampa Bay on Thursday to win for a seventh time in their past eight games. Lubomir Visnovsky had the only goal of the game for the Islanders, who have dropped their past two contests. Chad Johnson allowed all four goals on just 19 shots in the loss.

Final Score: Ottawa 7, Arizona 2

Robin Lehner made 35 saves, and the Ottawa Senators scored four goals in a 5 1/2 minute span in their 7-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday afternoon. Milan Michalek and Mark Stone each scored in the closing minutes of the second period, and Bobby Ryan and Jean- Gabriel Pageau added goals very early in the third period. Ottawa also got goals from Mike Hoffman, Erik Karlsson and Mika Zibanejad to win for the second time in three games. Marc Methot tallied a career-high three assists. Mike Smith allowed five Senators goals on 20 shots against him before getting the hook in the third period. Zbynek Michalek and Sam Gagner scored Arizona’s goals as the Coyotes fell to 1-3-2 on their ongoing eight- game road trip.

Final Score: Boston 3, Los Angeles 1

Brad Marchand scored two goals to lift the Boston Bruins to a 3-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday. Chris Kelly tallied the game-winning goal late in the third and Tuukka Rask made 30 saves for the Bruins, who were coming off a 5-2 win over the Islanders on Thursday. Jordan Nolan lit the lamp and Jonathan Quick stopped 30-of-32 shots for the Kings, who have dropped five of their last six games.

Final Score: New Jersey 3, Florida 1

Keith Kinkaid made 26 saves to backstop the New Jersey Devils to a 3-1 win over visiting the Florida Panthers on Saturday night. Kinkaid was bidding for his first NHL shutout, but allowed a goal to Brandon Pirri with 1:29 remaining. Steve Bernier had scored an empty-net goal a minute earlier to seal the Devils’ third win in four games. Jaromir Jagr and Mike Cammalleri had first-period goals for New Jersey, which registered just one shot in the second and two in the third. Roberto Luongo stopped 11 shots as the Panthers suffered their sixth loss in seven games.

Final Score: NY Rangers 4, Carolina 1

Henrik Lundqvist stopped 31 shots to lead the New York Rangers in a 4-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. Chris Kreider, Dan Boyle, Dominic Moore and Rick Nash all lit the lamp for the Rangers, who snapped a two-game slide. Brad Malone had the only goal of the game for the Hurricanes, who have dropped their last two games. Cam Ward allowed all four goals on 37 shots in the loss.

Final Score: Philadelphia 1, Toronto 0

Michael Del Zotto recorded the game’s lone goal and Steve Mason stopped 30 shots as Philadelphia claimed a 1-0 decision over Toronto on Saturday. Mason made his 100th career appearance for the club a memorable one, recording his second shutout of the season and 25th career whitewash for the Flyers, who have won a season-high four straight games. James Reimer made 17 saves for the Maple Leafs, whose losing skid reached nine consecutive outings.

Final Score: Dallas 5, Winnipeg 2

Klingberg had two goals and two assists in the Dallas Stars’ 5-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday. Shawn Horcoff, Patrick Eaves and Jason Spezza also lit the lamp for the Stars, who have won two in a row since a two-game skid. Kari Lehtonen made 38 saves. Dallas went 4-for-8 on the power play, while Winnipeg went 0-for-2. Andrew Ladd and Toby Enstrom scored for the Jets, who have lost three straight for the first time since a season-high four-game slide from October 11-19. Michael Hutchinson gave up all five goals on 32 shots.

Final Score: Tampa Bay 3, Columbus 1

Ben Bishop turned aside 34 shots to lead the Tampa Bay Lightning in a 3-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Cedric Paquette, Brett Connolly and Valtteri Filppula each lit the lamp for the Lightning, who have won five of their last six games. Ryan Johansen had the only marker for the Blue Jackets, who have lost three of their last four. Curtis McElhinney allowed all three goals on 34 shots in defeat.

Final Score: Calgary 4, Edmonton 2

Lance Bouma scored twice in a four-goal third period which lifted Calgary over Edmonton, 4-2, at the Saddledome. Paul Byron and Sean Monahan also tallied while Mikael Backlund and David Jones chipped in two assists each for the Flames, who had lost two of three coming in and have now taken six of eight overall. Jonas Hiller stopped 17-of-19 shots for the victory. Jordan Eberle and Benoit Pouliot scored for the Oilers, who have dropped five of their last eight. Ben Scrivens made 29 saves in the setback.

Final Score: San Jose 2, Chicago 0

Antti Niemi stopped 31 shots as the San Jose Sharks blanked the Chicago Blackhawks 2-0 on Saturday night. Joe Thornton and Melker Karlsson each had a goal and one assist for the Sharks, who have won three straight and improved to 5-1-1 in their last seven games. Antti Raanta made 18 saves for Chicago, which dropped two of three games in California. The Blackhawks were coming off Friday’s 4-1 win over Anaheim after beginning the stretch with Wednesday’s 4-3 loss to Los Angeles.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Serena wins another Aussie crown

Serena Williams is again the Australian Open champion.

The top-seeded American earned her sixth Aussie Open title and 19th career Grand Slam championship with a 6-3, 7-6 (7-5) triumph over Maria Sharapova on Saturday at Rod Laver Arena.

Williams won in Melbourne for the first time since 2010, finishing the match with an ace in the second-set tiebreaker on her third championship point. She now owns the second-most women’s Grand Slam titles in the Open Era, surpassing legends Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova. Only Steffi Graf has more with 22.

“Standing here with 19 majors is something I never thought would happen,“ said Williams during the trophy ceremony.

Sharapova was trying for a second Australian Open title. She fell to 2-17 lifetime against Williams and has lost the last 16 meetings.

“I haven’t beaten her in a really long time, but I love playing her because you want to play the best,“ said Sharapova. “And she’s the best.“

The 33-year-old Williams notched her 65th career title and has captured the last two Grand Slam events, taking the U.S. Open crown last September.

Williams had a break point opportunity in the opening game of the match when Sharapova fired a backhand wide. A double fault quickly gave Williams the early advantage.

The players were locked at 30-30 in the sixth game when rain forced the closing of the roof.

Williams, who was bothered by a cold and a cough, hardly seemed affected by the wait, following an ace with a strong forehand winner to complete the hold for a 4-2 lead. She actually threw up during the delay.

“I guess there’s a first time for anything,“ said Williams about vomiting. “I think in a way that just helped me—I felt better after that. My chest was really stuck at that point.“

A double fault gave Williams three break points in the next game, but she only needed one as Sharapova fired a backhand long. Sharapova broke back, but Williams responded to the poor service game with a break at love to take the first set.

Williams continued her strong play into the second set with a hold at love, then had two more break points in the next game. Sharapova, though, regrouped and managed to save both before holding.

Each player had a break chance midway through the second set, but Williams failed to convert her opportunity with a wide backhand in the sixth game and Sharapova sent a forehand wide in the seventh game.

Another Sharapova forehand error gave Williams her first championship point in the 10th game, but the Russian came up with a big serve that Williams barely returned. Sharapova followed with a blistering forehand that drew applause from the American.

“The match definitely got tough in the second set,“ said Williams. “Maria started playing a lot better. She started being a little more aggressive. I think I got a little more passive. Was just trying to get the ball back in play. But I also started serving better in the second set because I knew if I wasn’t having my groundstrokes where I wanted them to be, I knew I could serve it out.“

After Williams held with an ace, Sharapova held at love to force the tiebreak.

Sharapova won the first point of the tiebreak with a forehand return winner, but Williams won the next four to take control. At 6-4, Sharapova came up with a forehand that Williams could not return to save a second championship point.

Williams then blasted what appeared to be an ace to win the title, but it was ruled a let. She dropped her racket in disbelief, then followed with the same serve. This one did not tip the tape and she dropped her racket again, but in exultation.

“I thought after the let, ‘Man, I am not meant to win this tournament.‘ I had a couple of match points. She played great on those match points,“ said Williams, who excitedly jumped around the court after winning.

Sharapova fell to 5-5 all-time in Grand Slam finals, including 1-3 against Williams. The only victory came in the 2004 Wimbledon title match. Williams also beat Sharapova for the 2007 Australian Open crown and for the 2013 French Open title.

“It’s always tough getting to a final stage of an event where it’s down to two players and you end up the one that’s going home with the smaller trophy, there’s no doubt about it,“ Sharapova lamented. “No matter how you played, well or not, whatever the score line is, it’s always tough. But it will be all right.“

The 27-year-old Sharapova’s lone Australian Open championship came in 2008 against Ana Ivanovic. She also lost the 2012 final against Victoria Azarenka.

►  Bolelli and Fognini capture Australian Open men’s doubles

Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini won the men’s doubles title on Saturday at the Australian Open.

The Italian duo came away with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over the French tandem of Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut in the final. They became the first Italian pairing to win a Grand Slam doubles crown since Nicola Pietrangeli and Orlando Sirola captured the French Open title in 1959.

It’s the third overall doubles title for Bolelli and Fognini, who teamed for trophies at Umag in 2011 and Buenos Aires in 2013.

Herbert and Mahut were trying to give France its first men’s doubles title in Melbourne since Michael Llodra and Fabrice Santoro claimed the 2004 crown.

►  Australian Open Men’s Doubles Tennis Update – January 31

Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia

Total Prize Money: $2,600,000


S.Bolelli/F.Fognini defeated P.Herbert/N.Mahut, 6-4, 6-4

►  Australian Open Women’s Tennis Update – January 31

Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia

Total Prize Money: $14,000,000


Serena Williams (1) defeated Maria Sharapova (2), 6-3, 7-6 (7-5)

Serena Williams (1) defeated Madison Keys, 7-6 (7-5), 6-2
Maria Sharapova (2) defeated Ekaterina Makarova (10), 6-3, 6-2

Serena Williams (1) defeated Dominika Cibulkova (11), 6-2, 6-2
Maria Sharapova (2) defeated Eugenie Bouchard (7), 6-3, 6-2
Ekaterina Makarova (10) defeated Simona Halep (3), 6-4, 6-0
Madison Keys defeated Venus Williams (18), 6-3, 4-6, 6-4

Serena Williams (1) defeated Garbine Muguruza (24), 2-6, 6-3, 6-2
Maria Sharapova (2) defeated Peng Shuai (21), 6-3, 6-0
Simona Halep (3) defeated Yanina Wickmayer, 6-4, 6-2
Venus Williams (18) defeated Agnieszka Radwanska (6), 6-3, 2-6, 6-1
Eugenie Bouchard (7) defeated Irina-Camelia Begu, 6-1, 5-7, 6-2
Ekaterina Makarova (10) defeated Julia Goerges, 6-3, 6-2
Dominika Cibulkova (11) defeated Victoria Azarenka, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3
Madison Keys defeated Madison Brengle, 6-2, 6-4

Serena Williams (1) defeated Elina Svitolina (26), 4-6, 6-2, 6-0
Maria Sharapova (2) defeated Zarina Diyas (31), 6-1, 6-1
Simona Halep (3) defeated Bethanie Mattek-Sands, 6-4, 7-5
Madison Keys defeated Petra Kvitova (4), 6-4, 7-5
Agnieszka Radwanska (6) defeated Varvara Lepchenko (30), 6-0, 7-5
Eugenie Bouchard (7) defeated Caroline Garcia, 7-5, 6-0
Ekaterina Makarova (10) defeated Karolina Pliskova (22), 6-4, 6-4
Dominika Cibulkova (11) defeated Alize Cornet (19), 7-5, 6-2
Yanina Wickmayer defeated Sara Errani (14), 4-6, 6-4, 6-3
Venus Williams (18) defeated Camila Giorgi, 4-6, 7-6 (7-3), 6-1
Peng Shuai (21) defeated Yaroslava Shvedova, 7-6 (9-7), 6-3
Garbine Muguruza (24) defeated Timea Bacsinszky, 6-3, 4-6, 6-0
Victoria Azarenka defeated Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (25), 6-4, 6-4
Julia Goerges defeated Lucie Hradecka, 7-6 (8-6), 7-5
Madison Brengle defeated Coco Vandeweghe, 6-3, 6-2
Irina-Camelia Begu defeated Carina Witthoeft, 6-4, 6-4

Serena Williams (1) defeated Vera Zvonareva, 7-5, 6-0
Maria Sharapova (2) defeated Alexandra Panova, 6-1, 4-6, 7-5
Simona Halep (3) defeated Jarmila Gajdosova, 6-2, 6-2
Petra Kvitova (4) defeated Mona Barthel, 6-2, 6-4
Agnieszka Radwanska (6) defeated Johanna Larsson, 6-0, 6-1
Eugenie Bouchard (7) defeated Kiki Bertens, 6-0, 6-3
Victoria Azarenka defeated Caroline Wozniacki (8), 6-4, 6-2
Ekaterina Makarova (10) defeated Roberta Vinci, 6-2, 6-4
Dominika Cibulkova (11) defeated Tsvetana Pironkova, 6-2, 6-0
Sara Errani (14) defeated Silvia Soler-Espinosa, 7-6 (7-3), 6-3
Venus Williams (18) defeated Lauren Davis, 6-2, 6-3
Alize Cornet (19) defeated Denisa Allertova, 6-4, 6-7 (2-7), 6-2
Coco Vandeweghe defeated Samantha Stosur (20), 6-4, 6-4
Peng Shuai (21) defeated Magdalena Rybarikova, 6-1, 6-1
Karolina Pliskova (22) defeated Oceane Dodin, 7-5, 5-7, 6-4
Garbine Muguruza (24) defeated Daniela Hantuchova, 6-1, 1-6, 6-0
Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (25) defeated Kai-Chen Chang, 6-1, 7-5
Elina Svitolina (26) defeated Nicole Gibbs, 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (8-6)
Madison Keys defeated Casey Dellacqua (29), 2-6, 6-1, 6-1
Varvara Lepchenko (30) defeated Ajla Tomljanovic, 6-1, 7-6 (7-1)
Zarina Diyas (31) defeated Anna Schmiedlova, 3-6, 6-2, 8-6
Yanina Wickmayer defeated Lara Arruabarrena, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4
Bethanie Mattek-Sands defeated Kristina Mladenovic, 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (8-6)
Caroline Garcia defeated Stefanie Voegele, 6-3, 6-4
Carina Witthoeft defeated Christina McHale, 6-3, 6-0
Irina-Camelia Begu defeated Katerina Siniakova, 7-5, 6-4
Yaroslava Shvedova defeated Monica Puig, 6-2, 7-6 (8-6)
Madison Brengle defeated Irina Falconi, 6-1, 6-3
Camila Giorgi defeated Tereza Smitkova, 6-1, 6-4
Lucie Hradecka defeated Polona Hercog, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2
Julia Goerges defeated Klara Koukalova, 6-3, 4-6, 6-2
Timea Bacsinszky defeated Anna Tatishvili, 6-7 (5-7), 6-3, 6-2

Serena Williams (1) defeated Alison Van Uytvanck, 6-0, 6-4
Maria Sharapova (2) defeated Petra Martic, 6-4, 6-1
Simona Halep (3) defeated Karin Knapp, 6-3, 6-2
Petra Kvitova (4) defeated Richel Hogenkamp, 6-1, 6-4
Lucie Hradecka defeated Ana Ivanovic (5), 1-6, 6-3, 6-2
Agnieszka Radwanska (6) defeated Kurumi Nara, 6-3, 6-0
Eugenie Bouchard (7) defeated Anna-Lena Friedsam, 6-2, 6-4
Caroline Wozniacki (8) defeated Taylor Townsend, 7-6 (7-1), 6-2
Irina-Camelia Begu defeated Angelique Kerber (9), 6-4, 0-6, 6-1
Ekaterina Makarova (10) defeated An-Sophie Mestach, 6-2, 6-2
Dominika Cibulkova (11) defeated Kirsten Flipkens, 3-6, 6-3, 6-1
Camila Giorgi defeated Flavia Pennetta (12), 4-6, 6-2, 6-3
Madison Brengle defeated Andrea Petkovic (13), 5-7, 7-6 (7-4), 6-3
Sara Errani (14) defeated Grace Min, 6-1, 6-0
Timea Bacsinszky defeated Jelena Jankovic (15), 6-1, 6-4
Yaroslava Shvedova defeated Lucie Safarova (16), 6-4, 2-6, 8-6
Carina Witthoeft defeated Carla Suarez Navarro (17), 6-3, 6-1
Venus Williams (18) defeated Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor, 6-2, 6-2
Alize Cornet (19) defeated Zhang Shuai, 6-3, 6-2
Samantha Stosur (20) defeated Monica Niculescu, 6-4, 6-1
Peng Shuai (21) defeated Tatjana Maria, 6-4, 7-5
Karolina Pliskova (22) defeated Evgeniya Rodina, 7-5, 6-1
Yanina Wickmayer defeated Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (23), 4-6, 6-3, 6-3
Garbine Muguruza (24) defeated Marina Erakovic, 7-5, 6-0
Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (25) defeated Timea Babos, 6-4, 6-4
Elina Svitolina (26) defeated Jana Cepelova, 6-3, 7-5
Caroline Garcia defeated Svetlana Kuznetsova (27), 6-4, 6-2
Kristina Mladenovic defeated Sabine Lisicki (28), 4-6, 6-4, 6-2
Casey Dellacqua (29) defeated Yvonne Meusburger, 6-4, 6-0
Varvara Lepchenko (30) defeated Vitalia Diatchenko, 6-3, 6-3
Zarina Diyas (31) defeated Urszula Radwanska, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2
Julia Goerges defeated Belinda Bencic (32), 6-2, 6-1
Oceane Dodin defeated Alison Riske, 7-6 (7-5), 3-6, 6-3
Roberta Vinci defeated Bojana Jovanovski, 7-5, 6-1
Monica Puig defeated Arina Rodionova, 6-0, 6-3
Magdalena Rybarikova defeated Ana Konjuh, 6-4, 6-4
Bethanie Mattek-Sands defeated Duan Ying-Ying, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3
Jarmila Gajdosova defeated Alexandra Dulgheru, 6-3, 6-4
Kiki Bertens defeated Daria Gavrilova, 7-6 (10-8), 5-7, 6-2
Stefanie Voegele defeated Pauline Parmentier, 6-1, 3-6, 6-2
Anna Schmiedlova defeated Chanelle Scheepers, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2
Alexandra Panova defeated Sorana Cirstea, 7-5, 6-0
Christina McHale defeated Stephanie Foretz Gacon, 6-4, 1-6, 12-10
Katerina Siniakova defeated Elena Vesnina, 6-2, 7-5
Ajla Tomljanovic defeated Shelby Rogers, 4-6, 6-4, 6-0
Johanna Larsson defeated Alla Kudryavtseva, 6-4, 6-3
Coco Vandeweghe defeated Francesca Schiavone, 6-2, 6-2
Irina Falconi defeated Kaia Kanepi, 2-6, 6-4, 7-5
Tereza Smitkova defeated Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, 6-1, 6-1
Lauren Davis defeated Aleksandra Krunic, 6-1, 7-5
Silvia Soler-Espinosa defeated Annika Beck, 7-5, 6-4
Lara Arruabarrena defeated Renata Voracova, 6-1, 6-2
Polona Hercog defeated Wang Qiang, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2
Klara Koukalova defeated Storm Sanders, 7-5, 6-4
Mona Barthel defeated Donna Vekic, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2
Madison Keys defeated Lesia Tsurenko, 6-3, 7-5
Kai-Chen Chang defeated Zheng Jie, 6-1, 6-2
Victoria Azarenka defeated Sloane Stephens, 6-3, 6-2
Tsvetana Pironkova defeated Heather Watson, 6-4, 6-0
Denisa Allertova defeated Romina Oprandi, 6-0, 6-2
Daniela Hantuchova defeated Zheng Saisai, 6-4, 6-4
Anna Tatishvili defeated Kimiko Date-Krumm, 7-5, 6-4
Vera Zvonareva defeated Ons Jabeur, 6-2, 6-3
Nicole Gibbs defeated Olivia Rogowska, 6-4, 6-1

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Texas Red is favored for season debut San Vicente Stakes

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Texas Red is the 9-5 morning line favorite for Sunday’s $200,000 San Vicente Stakes at Santa Anita Park as he begins his 3-year-old season

Texas Red, trained by Keith Desormeaux and ridden by the trainer’s brother Kent, will start the seven-furlong race from post 4 in the eight-horse field.

Co-owned by his trainer, Texas Red won the Juvenile on November 01 by 6 1/2 lengths as a 13-1 longshot, just his second win in five starts. The son of Afleet Alex has earned $1,192,300.

Keith Desormeaux has plans to bring the colt along quickly leading to the Kentucky Derby on May 02.

“I’m thinking about wheeling him back pretty quickly in the Risen Star on (February 21) and then we’ll have a little gap between the Risen Star and the $1,000,000 Santa Anita Derby (on April 04),“ the trainer said.

“It’s still on schedule. It’s always been kind of a tentative schedule, like with all things concerning racehorses,“ Desormeaux continued. “It seems like the best plan for me at this point. It’s kind of quick, but I like the way it feels. If I can get him (to Fair Grounds) a week early, that would be perfect. I’ll be at the mercy of whoever is going to fly us and their schedule.

“For him to overcome the fact that he’s not really built to be an early horse - that’s what makes him great and that’s also what makes us so excited about this year. If he can do what he did as a juvenile, what can he accomplish as a 3-year-old?“

The 2-1 second choice is Lord Nelson owned by Peachtree Stable and trained by Bob Baffert. The chestnut colt will be ridden by Rafael Bejarano from the rail post.

Lord Nelson has two wins from four starts and has earnings of $129,571. He was fourth in the FrontRunner Stakes at Santa Anita last September 27 but came back on October 13 with a win in the track’s Speakeasy Stakes. He was the 7-5 favorite for Churchill Downs’ Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes but finished fifth to El Kabeir.

Trainer Peter Miller’s Serbian Syclone is the 3-1 third pick for the San Vicente. The colt, owned by Rockingham Ranch, will be ridden by regular rider Elvis Trujillo from post 2.

Serbian Syclone was eighth first time out but has won his last two races going gate to wire by a combined 8 1/2 lengths. He tries stakes company for the first time in the seven-furlong event.

Here is the field for the San Vicente in post position order: Lord Nelson, Rafael Bejarano, 2-1; Serbian Syclone, Elvis Trujillo, 3-1; Jazzy Josh, Flavien Prat, 15-1; Texas Red, Kent Desormeaux, 9-5; Punctuate, Martin Garcia, 9-2; Magic Taste, Omar Santos, 50-1; Bench Warrant, Tyler Baze, 12-1 and Sir Samson, Joe Talamo, 15-1.

Post time for the 74th San Vicente is approximately 4:30 PM ET.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  McIlroy moves 4 clear at Dubai Desert Classic

Rory McIlroy recorded his second straight bogey-free round on Saturday and his 6-under 66 on day three has moved him four shots clear heading into the final round of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.

McIlroy finished his third round at 20-under-par 196, which is four strokes better than Morten Orum MadSenator McIlroy has nine career wins on the European Tour, with four of them coming last season. The five-time major champion earned his first professional victory at this event back in 2009.

“To be bogey-free again today was important to me, especially when you’re going out with the lead,“ said McIlroy. “I’m very happy. I feel like I could be a little bit more but I’m not going to complain. I’m four ahead going into the final day, so I’ve put myself in a great position to win tomorrow.“

After shooting a 63 on Friday, Madsen matched McIlroy with a 66 of his own on day three and moved into sole possession of second place at 16-under 200. Two shots further back is 23-time tour winner Lee Westwood (69) at 14-under 202.

Two-time defending champion Stephen Gallacher, first-round leader Bernd Wiesberger, Andy Sullivan and Danny Willett all fired matching, 2-under 70s and are tied for fourth at 13-under 203.

McIlroy, last year’s British Open and PGA Championship winner, started the day with a 1-shot lead and quickly widened the gap. The 25-year-old Ulsterman jumped out to a fast start when he drained birdies on one, three and five to go along with pars on two, four and six.

Following the par on No. 6, McIlroy poured in back-to-back gains on seven and eight before finishing his front nine with a par on nine.

Making the turn with a 4-shot lead, it seemed as if McIlroy would extend his advantage even more on the back nine, but he slowed down a bit down the stretch. McIlroy made eight straight pars from No. 9 and saw his lead whittled down to three when Madsen birdied the last.

McIlroy broke the par streak when he drained a birdie putt from about 15 feet on the par-4 17th, moving his advantage back to four.

Now on the par-5 18th, a hole he had birdied in 14 of his last 18 rounds prior to Saturday, McIlroy found the water with his second shot and was in danger of making bogey. McIlroy remained calm, however, as his fourth shot landed about 10 feet from the hole and he knocked that in for par to make it 36 straight holes without a bogey.

“Not to make any mistakes makes it that much harder for anyone else,“ McIlroy said. “Just to get that up-and-down on the last was big for momentum going into tomorrow ... I just have to go and try and play similar golf to the way I have the first three days.“

Madsen, who holds the week’s low round with his 63 Friday, also went bogey- free and may stand the best chance of catching McIlroy on Sunday. Madsen started with a pair of pars on one and two before making his first birdie on No. 3. He then wrapped four more pars on four, five, seven and eight around a gain on No. 6.

The 26-year-old from Denmark made the turn in style with back-to-back birdies on nine and 10. Following his fifth gain of the day on 13, Madsen rattled off four straight pars from 14 before closing with a birdie at the last to pull within three of McIlroy at the time.

Three shots behind McIlroy to start the day, Westwood had a strong start to his round before struggling a bit in the middle. Westwood made a pair of birdies on two and three, but he made a mess of No. 9 and settled for double- bogey as the Englishman made the turn at even par.

A birdie on 10 got Westwood back into red figures and he traded a bogey on 12 for a birdie on 13. Westwood finished well to give himself an outside shot going into Sunday as three pars from 14 preceded back-to-back birdies on 17 and 18, putting him six strokes behind McIlroy.

NOTES: McIlroy’s last bogey came on the par-4 ninth hole, his last, in the first round ... McIlroy finished his third round just one shot off of Gallacher’s 54-hole record of 195. Gallacher also tied the tournament record of 266 that year in his first of two consecutive victories here ... McIlroy has finished runner-up in each of the last four events he has played in ... Madsen is seeking his second victory on tour, with his lone win coming at the South African Open Championship last season ... Westwood’s last win was at the Maybank Malaysian Open last year.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Elliott, Scott among those inducted into NASCAR HofF

Bill Elliott, a former Sprint Cup Series champion, and Wendell Scott, the first African-American to win a race in NASCAR’s premier racing circuit, were among the sixth five-member class inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Friday night.

Joe Weatherly, a two-time Cup champion, Fred Lorenzen, who won 26 races in the sport’s top series, including the Daytona 500 and the World 600 (Charlotte) in 1965, and Rex White, a former premier series champion as well, were also inducted during the two-hour ceremony, which was held at the Charlotte Convention Center.

Known as “Awesome Bill From Dawsonville (Georgia),“ Elliott had an illustrious 37-year career as a driver in NASCAR. His 44 wins rank him 16th all-time and his 55 poles rank eighth. He won the Cup Series championship in 1988 and scored victories in the Daytona 500 in ‘85 and ‘87. In addition, Elliott won NASCAR’s “Most Popular Driver” Award a record 16 times.

Elliott was introduced by driver Kasey Kahne and inducted by his former car owner Ray Evernham.

“It’s just an honor to be here,“ Elliott said. “At a young age, I dreamed of doing this, and I knew as time went on, my dad was so involved in racing, he had such a love for the sport. I’ve always said he was such a Ford fanatic, if you cut him, he bled Ford blue. That’s just the way the man was. He was just so involved.“

Elliott’s induction occurred one day after his 19-year-old son, Chase, the reigning Xfinity Series champion, was named as the replacement driver for Jeff Gordon in the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet after Gordon departs from the team following the conclusion of the 2015 season.

Scott was the first African-American to race full-time in NASCAR’s top series. His only win in the series came in December 1963 at Speedway Park in Jacksonville, Florida. Scott recorded 147 top-10 finishes in 495 starts during his 13-year on the premier circuit. Prior to that, he had won more than 100 races at local tracks, including 22 races at Southside Speedway in Richmond, Virginia, in 1959, en route to capturing both the Sportsman Division and NASCAR Virginia Sportsman championships. He died in 1990.

Members of Scott’s family attended the induction ceremony. His sons, Wendell Jr. and Franklin, honored him, while Gordon, a four-time Sprint Cup champion, introduced Scott.

“Wendell Scott fulfilled his destiny, and now we can proudly say that he is the first African-American inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame,“ Franklin Scott said. “We must carry his legacy to even greater heights with the same selflessness, honor, integrity, humility and perseverance that were his trademark.“

Weatherly’s titles in the Cup Series came in 1962 and ‘63. He also won 25 races during his career in the series. A decade earlier in 1952-53, Weatherly won 101 events in the NASCAR Modified division, claiming that title in ‘53. He competed in NASCAR’s short-lived Convertible Division from 1956-59, winning 12 times. Weatherly died in 1964 as a result of a racing accident at Riverside, California.

“Uncle Joe was a very competitive driver,“ said Joy Barbee, who is Weatherly’s youngest niece. “He was one of NASCAR’s first big stars, as his 25 wins and back-to-back championships in 1962 and 1963 will attest.

“In those days, the races were not televised in our home, and my mother would listen to them on the radio, but she sure got to know the local sportswriter at the newspaper. She knew exactly what time the races were over, and she would call the newspaper, and she would ask who won, and when she hung up the phone and she was crying and she was jumping with excitement, we knew that there was a ‘W’.“

Brad Keselowski, the 2012 Sprint Cup titleholder, introduced Weatherly, while Bud Moore, who was inducted into the second class in the NASCAR HofF in 2011, inducted him.

Lorenzen got his start in NASCAR as a mechanic with the famed Holman-Moody team in 1960, but he was elevated to lead driver by the end of the year. He won three races in only 15 starts the following season. Lorenzen’s best overall season came in 1963, posting six wins, 21 top-five finishes and 23 top-10s in 29 starts. Despite missing 26 races that season, he finished third in the standings.

Three-time Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart introduced Lorenzen. Amanda Gardstrom, who is Lorenzen’s daughter, inducted him.

“Our dad’s story began as a childhood dream,“ said Lorenzen’s son, Chris, who accepted the induction on behalf of his father. “All dad could think about was that he had to find a way to become a race car driver. He proceeded to live his life doing everything possible to make that dream come true. He always believed that anything is possible if you work hard enough and you put your mind to it, no matter what.“

Competing in the Cup Series during the 1950’s and 60’s, White was a short- track specialist in an era in which those tracks dominated the schedule. Of his 28 career wins in the series, only two came on tracks longer than one mile in length. White finished among the top-five in nearly a half of his 233 races and outside the top-10 only 30% of the time. He won six times during his 1960 championship season.

Reigning Sprint Cup champion Kevin Harvick introduced White.

“Words can’t express how honored I am to be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame along with the other Hall of Fame members, especially the 2015 fellow inductees,“ White said. “No driver wins a championship by himself. Nobody enters the Hall of Fame alone. I am a symbol of a team effort, my first race in 1953 until now. This effort spans 62 years.“

The Gilmer Free Press

ABC - American Broadcasting Company
CBS - Columbia Broadcast System
FOX - Fox Entertainment Group
NBC - National Broadcasting Company
JIP - Joined in Progress
TSN - Sports Network (Canada)
SNET/SN - Rogers SportsNet (Canada)
RDS - Reseau des sports
MSG - Madison Square Garden Network
TNT - Turner Network Television
TBS - Turner Broadcasting System
SNY - SportsNet New York
CBSSN - CBS - College Sports Network
CSN - Comcast SportsNet
TCN - The Comcast Network
NBCSN - NBC Sports Network
NESN - New England Sports Network
MASN - Mid-Atlantic Sports Network
ROOT - Root Sports (Pittsburgh, Northwest, Rocky Mountain)
CST - Cox Sports Television
FCS - FOX College Sports
FS - FOX Sports Regional
RSN - Regional Sports Networks
CPTV - Connecticut Public Broadcasting
TVG - Horse Racing Channel
FS1 - FOX Sports 1
TWC - Time Warner Cable Sports Channel
* - If Necessary

National Football League - Playoffs
Super Bowl Pregame, 1:00 PM - NBC
New England vs. Seattle (Super Bowl XLIX), 6:30 PM - NBC
National Basketball Association
Miami at Boston, 1:00 PM - SunSports, CSN-New England, DSS
LA Lakers at New York, 2:00 PM - Time Warner, MSG, ESPN
National Hockey League
Arizona at Montreal, 1:00 PM - CITY, RDS, DSS
St. Louis at Washington, 1:00 PM - NBCSN
Nashville at Pittsburgh, 2:00 PM - FS-Tennessee, ROOT-Pittsburgh, DSS
Minnesota at Vancouver, 3:30 PM - FS-North, SNET-Pacific, DSS
College Basketball
Miami-Florida at Florida State, 12:30 PM - ESPN U
Oakland at Youngstown State, 12:30 PM - MASN,
Cincinnati at East Carolina, 1:00 PM - CBSSN
Michigan at Michigan State, 1:00 PM - CBS
Marist at Canisius, 2:00 PM - Time Warner Sports
Fordham at Dayton, 2:00 PM - FS-Ohio
Manhattan at Monmouth, 2:00 PM -
Utahat USC, 2:30 PM - ESPN U
Connecticut at Houston, 3:00 PM - CBSSN
California at Washington, 3:00 PM - Pac-12 Network
Women’s College Basketball
Penn State at Rutgers, 12:00 PM - Big Ten Network
Wake Forest at Notre Dame, 1:00 PM - FS-South, Florida, Detroit+, San Diego
Texas at TCU, 1:00 PM - FS-Southwest+
Arizona at Colorado, 1:00 PM - Pac-12 Network
Miami-Florida at Pittsburgh, 1:00 PM -
Georgia at Kentucky, 1:00 PM - SEC Network
Boston College at North Carolina, 2:00 PM -
Kansas at Baylor, 2:00 PM - SportSouth, FS-Detroit, Midwest, Southwest
Connecticut at Temple, 2:00 PM - ESPN 2
Arkansas at Alabama, 2:00 PM - SEC Network+
Virginia at Clemson, 2:00 PM -
Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech, 2:00 PM -
Michigan at Nebraska, 3:00 PM - Big Ten Network+
Wisconsin at Illinois, 3:00 PM - Big Ten Network+
Auburn at Texas A&M, 3:00 PM - SEC Network+
Miss State at Tennessee, 3:00 PM - SEC Network
Florida at Vanderbilt, 4:00 PM - SportSouth, FS-Florida, Detroit, Southwest
Iowa at Maryland, 4:00 PM - ESPN 2
Minnesota at Northwestern, 4:00 PM - Big Ten Network+
South Carolina at Ole Miss, 4:30 PM - ESPN U
International Soccer
Arsenal vs. Aston Villa, 8:30 AM - NBCSN
Udinese Calcio vs. Juventus FC, 8:55 AM - beIN Sports
CAF Orange Africa Cup of Nations, Quarter-Finals, 10:55 AM - beIN Sports
Southampton vs. Swansea City, 11:00 AM - NBCSN
Sevilla FC vs. RCD Espanyol, 12:55 PM - beIN Sports
FC Barcelona vs. Villarreal CF, 2:55 PM - beIN Sports
EUROPEAN - Dubai Desert Classic, 4:00 AM - Golf Channel
PGA - Phoenix Open, 3:00 PM - CBS
Australian Open (Men’s Final), 3:00 AM - ESPN

#24 Pioneers Down UVa-Wise 75-57

The Gilmer Free Press

The #24 Glenville State Pioneer basketball team outscored the UVa-Wise Cavaliers 37-21 in the first as the Pioneers cruised to a big road victory.

In the first half Glenville State would see UVa-Wise take a 5-0 lead at the 17:45 minute mark however the Pioneers would then go on a 7-3 run as they took their first lead of the game at the 14:30 minute mark, 9-8.

After that Glenville State would not look back and take a 16 point halftime lead, 37-21.

In the second half it would be all Pioneers as they rolled to an 18 point victory, 75-57.

There was one tie and three lead changes in the game all coming in the first half. The Pioneers biggest lead of the game was 26 points.

The Pioneers scored 36 points in the paint while the Cavaliers only scored 14 points in the paint. Glenville State’s bench outscored UVa-Wise bench 24 to 12.

The Pioneers had four players score in double figures with Brett Morris scoring a game high 18 points. Sedric Nady scored 14 points while Donte Morales and Juwan Wells both chipped in with 10 points each. Wells also grabbed nine rebounds and handed out a team high four assists.

Brien Winston grabbed a team high 11 rebounds and scored nine points.

UVa-Wise was led by Brian Sydnor as he scored 16 points.

The #24 Pioneers (15-4, 11-2) are on a three game win streak and travel to Shepherd University for a showdown with the Rams. Game time is set for 4:00 PM.

Official Basketball Box Score
Glenville State vs. UVa-Wise
01.29.2015  7:30 PM  at Wise, VA (Prior Center)
VISITORS: Glenville State 15-4, 11-2

                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
01 Sedric Nady…...... *  5-9    4-6    0-0    1  1  2   2  14  2  0  0  0  27
03 Donte Morales….... *  3-8    1-3    3-4    1  5  6   3  10  1  3  3  0  29
11 Reggie Williams….. *  2-5    0-3    1-2    0  3  3   3   5  3  0  0  1  26
12 Luke Campbell….... *  2-8    0-6    0-0    0  4  4   1   4  3  0  0  0  31
23 Brett Morris…..... *  6-10   2-4    4-4    0  3  3   1  18  3  0  2  0  21
00 Brien Winston…....    3-7    0-1    3-4    5  6 11   2   9  2  3  0  3  24
22 Hunter Given….....    0-3    0-1    0-0    0  0  0   0   0  0  0  0  1   6
32 Juwan Wells…......    4-7    0-1    2-2    3  6  9   2  10  4  2  1  2  24
33 Alonzo Molina…....    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  4  4   1   0  0  0  0  0   3
50 ED Newell…........    2-3    0-0    1-2    2  2  4   1   5  0  3  0  0   9
   TEAM….............                            1  1
   Totals…...........   27-60   7-25  14-18  12 35 47  16  75 18 11  6  7 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 12-32 37.5%   2nd Half: 15-28 53.6%   Game: 45.0%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  5-16 31.3%   2nd Half:  2-9  22.2%   Game: 28.0%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  8-10 80.0%   2nd Half:  6-8  75.0%   Game: 77.8%    2

HOME TEAM: UVa-Wise 1-17, 0-13

                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
02 Philip Owens II….. *  5-13   3-6    1-2    0  4  4   2  14  6  4  0  0  37
20 Tyler Maggard….... *  0-3    0-3    0-0    0  0  0   0   0  1  0  0  0  20
22 Oliver Thompson….. *  3-9    2-7    0-0    1  5  6   3   8  2  0  0  1  34
32 Brian Sydnor…..... *  5-11   2-3    4-5    3  1  4   1  16  0  2  0  0  29
33 Matt Day…......... *  2-11   1-7    2-2    0  9  9   5   7  0  3  0  0  33
01 Charles George…...    1-4    0-0    2-3    1  1  2   2   4  3  1  0  1  23
03 Jordan Smith….....    3-7    2-6    0-0    0  1  1   3   8  1  0  0  0  15
14 Corey Dick….......    0-1    0-0    0-0    0  1  1   0   0  0  0  1  0   9
   TEAM….............                         2  1  3
   Totals…...........   19-59  10-32   9-12   7 23 30  16  57 13 10  1  2 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half:  8-29 27.6%   2nd Half: 11-30 36.7%   Game: 32.2%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  3-15 20.0%   2nd Half:  7-17 41.2%   Game: 31.3%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  2-3  66.7%   2nd Half:  7-9  77.8%   Game: 75.0%    1

Officials: Lewis Foreman, Greg Howard, and Austin Jones

Technical fouls: Glenville State-None. UVa-Wise-None.

Attendance: 247

Score by Periods                1st  2nd   Total
Glenville State…............   37   38  -   75
UVa-Wise…...................   21   36  -   57

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