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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

Lady Pioneers Win Thrid Straight, Down UVa-Wise 63-54

The Gilmer Free Press

Keyanna Tate scored a game high 17 points and grabbed 13 rebounds finishing with a double-double as the Lady Pioneers went on the road and defeated UVa-Wise, 63-54.

Glenville State would find themselves down early to UVa-Wise, 9-3, at the 16:17 minute mark of the first half. However the Lady Pioneers would tie the game up at 14 all at the 12:11 minute mark. Then Glenville State would take their first lead of the game at the 10:34 minute mark as they led the Lady Cavaliers, 18-17.

The Lady Pioneers would then end the first half on a 7-0 run as Glenville State led at halftime, 35-26.

The Lady Pioneers would start the second half on a 9-2 run as they took a 15 point lead over UVa-Wise, 44-29, with 13:50 left in the game.

UVa-Wise would try and make several runs throughout the second half but the Lady Pioneers would prove to be too much for the Lady Cavaliers as Glenville State won by nine, 63-54.

Glenville State shot 35 percent from the floor and 30 percent from behind the three-point line while UVa-Wise shot 29 percent from floor and only 20 percent from behind the three-point line.

The Lady Pioneers won the rebounding battle as they out-rebounded the Lady Cavaliers by seven, 53-46.

Keyanna Tate had a double-double as she scored 17 points and grabbed 13 rebounds. Briana Smythe scored 14 points and grabbed nine rebounds off the bench.

Paige Tuttle dished out a team high three assists to go along with her five points.

UVa-Wise was led by Kayla Carey as she scored 14 points and had 15 rebounds for a double-double.

The Lady Pioneers (9-8, 7-6) are on a three game winning streak and will return to the court this Saturday, January 31, 2015 (Today) when they travel to Shepherd University, tip-off is set for 2:00 PM.

Official Basketball Box Score
Glenville State vs UVa-Wise
01.29.2015 5:30 PM at Wise, VA (Prior Center)
VISITORS: Glenville State 9-8, 7-6

                          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…... *  1-5    0-3    0-0    0  2  2   0   2  2  5  0  0  18
03 Tayana Stewart…... *  0-1    0-0    0-0    1  0  1   1   0  1  0  0  1  11
04 Keyanna Tate…..... *  6-11   0-0    5-6    5  8 13   2  17  2  2  0  1  23
20 Briauna Nix…...... *  1-3    0-0    0-0    0  6  6   4   2  1  0  2  0  18
35 Julie Bishop…..... *  2-8    2-6    0-0    1  0  1   0   6  2  1  0  0  20
02 Paige Tuttle….....    1-8    1-4    2-2    1  1  2   2   5  3  3  0  0  21
10 Skyy Lewis….......    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   0   0  0  1  0  0   2
12 Kayla Tibbs…......    2-9    2-6    0-0    1  1  2   1   6  0  1  0  1  18
13 Chanice Lee…......    0-0    0-0    0-0    1  0  1   0   0  0  1  0  0   1
21 Kristin DesRocher…    2-4    2-3    0-0    1  3  4   0   6  1  1  0  0  18
22 Angenay Williams….    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   0   0  0  0  0  0   1
24 Madison Martin…...    1-3    1-3    0-0    2  1  3   1   3  0  1  0  1  19
25 Briana Smythe…....    7-10   0-0    0-0    3  6  9   3  14  1  0  0  1  15
32 Brittany Jackson….    0-2    0-1    0-0    1  1  2   2   0  1  2  0  0   6
34 La’Shaughn Jones….    1-3    0-0    0-0    0  3  3   5   2  0  1  0  0   9
   TEAM….............                         1  3  4
   Totals…...........   24-67   8-26   7-8   18 35 53  21  63 14 19  2  5 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 14-33 42.4%   2nd Half: 10-34 29.4%   Game: 35.8%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  7-19 36.8%   2nd Half:  1-7  14.3%   Game: 30.8%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  0-0   0.0%   2nd Half:  7-8  87.5%   Game: 87.5%    1

HOME TEAM: UVa-Wise 6-13, 5-8

                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
03 Taylor Sandidge….. *  1-8    0-1    1-2    3  3  6   3   3  2  1  0  1  33
20 Blair Harding….... *  4-17   1-10   3-7    3  2  5   0  12  3  3  0  1  37
23 Katie Jo Dockery…. *  2-10   2-7    0-0    3  4  7   4   6  2  3  0  0  33
25 Kehana Grayer….... *  1-7    0-0    2-5    4  1  5   1   4  2  3  1  0  29
42 Kayla Carey…...... *  6-18   0-0    2-5    5 10 15   1  14  2  2  0  1  32
11 Naya Williams…....    0-1    0-0    0-0    1  0  1   1   0  1  0  0  3   6
24 Allison Ball….....    5-7    1-2    2-2    1  2  3   1  13  1  5  0  1  22
30 Megan Smith…......    1-1    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   0   2  0  1  0  0   8
   TEAM….............                         2  2  4
   Totals…...........   20-69   4-20  10-21  22 24 46  11  54 13 18  1  7 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 10-33 30.3%   2nd Half: 10-36 27.8%   Game: 29.0%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  3-11 27.3%   2nd Half:  1-9  11.1%   Game: 20.0%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  3-8  37.5%   2nd Half:  7-13 53.8%   Game: 47.6%   3,1

Officials: Dwight Ford, Ben Smith, and Kim Crabtree

Technical fouls: Glenville State-None. UVa-Wise-None.

Attendance: 227

Score by Periods                1st  2nd   Total
Glenville State…............   35   28  -   63
UVa-Wise…...................   26   28  -   54

Sports News   150131

The Gilmer Free Press

The Gilmer Free Press

►  WVSSAC executive director Gary Ray retiring

The executive director of the West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission is retiring.

Gary Ray will step down next January after more than eight years as head of the agency that oversees interscholastic athletics, cheerleading and band activities among its member schools.

The SSAC board of directors accepted Ray’s retirement at a meeting Wednesday. A search will begin soon for Ray’s replacement.

Ray has been with the SSAC since 2001. Before that he served in several capacities in the Fayette County school system. He currently serves on the board for the National Federation of State High School Associations.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Roger Goodell on a season of ‘soul-searching,’ Deflategate and state of the NFL

As the NFL prepares for a Super Bowl that will cap a season marred by controversies, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell admitted that he’d had a year of “soul-searching” over how he and the league handled issues of domestic violence and sexual assault and, as it addresses its latest issue, he promised “a thorough and fair” investigation in his first comments about Deflategate.

Goodell also commented on Marshawn Lynch’s reluctance to speak to the media in an annual “state of the game” press conference that had an odd vibe Friday in Phoenix. Curiously, he chose to lead off with comments about point-after touchdowns, streaming games and business matters rather than the elephants in the room: domestic violence, sexual assault and Deflategate. Although his leadership was at times questioned during the season, Goodell reiterated that he, as the NFL’s $44-million-a-year chief executive, could envision no circumstances in which he would be bounced from his job.

The Gilmer Free Press

“No, I can’t,” he said to laughter. “It has been a tough year, a tough year on me personally. It’s been a year of humility and learning. We obviously as an organization have gone through adversity, but more importantly it’s been adversity for me. That is something we take seriously. It’s an opportunity for us to get better, it’s an opportunity for our organization to get better, so we’ve all done lot of soul-searching, starting with yours truly. We have taken action. A lot of the concerns that we had back in August where we didn’t have a policy to address a very complex issue–we didn’t have answers for that. We didn’t fully understand those issues. Well, now we experts in the field, they’re in our office, they’re helping us understand this.”

As for Deflategate, Goodell refused to say much while outside counsel Ted Wells investigates how footballs used by the New England Patriots in the first half of the AFC championship game became deflated. He noted that the investigation focuses on two questions: Why were some footballs used not in compliance with NFL rules and was this the result of deliberate action.

“I want to emphasize, we have made no judgments on these points and we will not compromise the investigation by engaging in speculation,” Goodell said. “When Ted Wells has completed the investigation and made his determination based on all available evidence, we will share his report publicly.”

Patriots owner Robert Kraft, a man considered so close to Goodell as to be called an “assistant commissioner” according to a new GQ article, opened Super Bowl week with a salvo at Goodell, saying he expected an apology from the NFL if no evidence of a deliberate act turns up in Deflategate. Goodell was asked about that comment and it was noted that Kraft was not in attendance. Typically, the owners of the two Super Bowl teams attend the press conference.

“My thoughts are this is my job. My responsibility is to protect the integrity of the game. I represent 32 teams,” Goodell said. “All of us want to make sure that the rules are being followed and if we have any information where the potential is that those rules were violated, I have to consider that and I have to pursue that aggressively. This is my job. This is the job of the league office. It’s what all 32 clubs expect and I believe our partners and our fans expect. We will do it vigorously and it is important for it to be thorough and fair.”

Lynch, the Seattle Seahawks running back, has made headlines for what he wouldn’t say and for how he wouldn’t say what he wouldn’t say during league-mandated sessions with the media. Lynch, who was fined $100,000 last fall for dodging the media, was available for the allotted time, but may be fined because he wore gear that is not sanctioned by the league. Goodell wouldn’t address whether there will be another fine.

“I’ve been very clear that when you’re in the NFL, you have an obligation, an obligation to the fans,” Goodell said. “It is part of your job and there are things that we all have to do in our jobs that we may not necessarily want to do. I think Marshawn understands the importance of the Super Bowl, the importance of his appearance and the importance of him as an individual in this game. Fans are curious. Fans want to know. The media would like to make that story clear to our fans. I understand it may not be on the top of his list, but everyone else is cooperating, everyone else is doing his part because it is our obligation. … It comes with the territory and the privilege of playing.”

In other comments, Goodell said the NFL would be hiring a chief medical officer and would look at making the extra point after touchdowns more difficult for kickers. In addition, the league will consider the expanded use of instant replay and rotating officials on crews.

Goodell bristled at the idea that he was usually unavailable to the media and at the idea that he and the league were more often reactive than proactive. When questioned just how independent Wells is, Goodell in a flat joke that seemed to contradict the claim of increased humility, responded to CNN’s Rachel Nichols by flippantly saying she didn’t seem to be “volunteering” to pay for the investigation. And he was asked bluntly if he deserved a pay cut based on his performance this season.

“That’s up to the owners. They evaluate my performance. They evaluate my compensation every year and I don’t argue,” he said with a smile.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Texas Tech comes to Morgantown after historically bad beatdown

Texas Tech coach Tubby Smith, struggling to explain his squad’s 81-36 cave-in at Oklahoma, found comfort in a cliche.

“You are never as bad as your worst loss,” he said.

He hopes they don’t come any worse than what transpired Wednesday night in Norman.

While the Red Raiders have rarely looked crisp offensively this season, the 36 points represented the fewest points ever in a Big 12 game. After producing only 11 baskets and shooting 21 percent, Texas Tech faces another difficult road trip Saturday at No.17 West Virginia.

“Knowing Tubby the way I know Tubby, he’ll have them ready,” said Mountaineers coach Bob Huggins. “The Oklahoma game—that’s probably never happened to him in his career. I think they went 1 for their first 18 (shooting), and that makes it hard to win.”

West Virginia won 78-67 in Lubbock earlier this month, shooting 47 percent (its fifth-best outing this season) and placing five players in double figures, led by Juwan Staten’s 16 points.

West Virginia’s point guard admitted it was strange watching Texas Tech cut-ups from the past week, when the Raiders upset then-No. 9 Iowa State before being embarrassed by Oklahoma.

“That’s just the makeup of our league,” Staten said. “The same thing sort of happened to us—we beat Oklahoma (by 21) and then we went out and lost to Texas (by 27).”

Fellow guard Gary Browne found deeper evidence as to why WVU can’t overlook Texas Tech:

“They beat Iowa State and Iowa State beat us, so we’ve got to come out ready.”

No. 17 WEST VIRGINIA (17-3, 5-2) vs. TEXAS TECH (11-10, 1-7)

Tipoff: Noon at Morgantown (ESPNU)

Scouting the Red Raiders:
Texas Tech has an 0-7 record away from Lubbock this season and stands just 6-43 the past four years. … Junior college transfer guard Devaugntah Williams (10.6 points) is the lone double-digits scorer, though he is 1-of-10 shooting in his past two road losses. … Senior guard Toddrick Gotcher, a career 5.4-point scorer, has averaged 15.3 in his last three meetings against West Virginia. … Robert Turner (9.2 points), … Tech’s primary bigs are freshmen, 6-9 Norense Odiase (6.6 points, 4.5 rebounds) and 6-10 Isaiah Manderson (4.3 points, 2.2 rebounds). “We have to remember that we have seven new faces on our team that are adjusting to Division I basketball in the toughest league in the country,” Smith said. “There is a learning curve.” … From 351 Division I teams, the Red Raiders rank 307th in field-goal percentage, 312th in assist-to-turnover ratio and 275th in scoring.

Coaching the Red Raiders: The 63-year-old Smith (536-254 in his 24th season) is the Big 12’s oldest head coach. After taking Tulsa and Georgia to the NCAA tournament, he won a national championship at Kentucky in 1998 and most recently enjoyed six years of moderate success at Minnesota.

Mountaineers musings:
West Virginia tops the nation in forced turnovers (22.1) and steals (12.6) and benefited from 22 Tech turnovers in the first meeting. … Forwards Devin Williams (11 points, 7.9 rebounds) and Jonathan Holton (9.4 points, 5.9 rebounds) and guard Daxter Miles (6.1 points, 2.3 rebounds) have started every game this season. … Despite ranking 270th in field-goal percentage, WVU ranks 23rd in scoring (77.1 per game). … Staten ranks fourth in the Big 12 in scoring (14.9), third in assists (4.3) and he’s tied for second in free-throw attempts (119). … The Mountaineers have won all five regular-season meetings since joining the Big 12 three years ago, while Texas Tech claimed the lone postseason matchup in the 2013 conference tournament. … Huggins owns a 757-303 record in 33 seasons, including a 167-94 mark at West Virginia.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Area High Schools Boys Basketball Game Results

(Friday, January 30)

Sherman 70     South Harrison 69

Parkersburg 63     Propel Charter, PA 56

Williamstown 88     Parkersburg Catholic 48

Wood County Christian 61     Teays Valley Christian 54

►  Area High Schools Girls Basketball Game Results

(Friday, January 30)

#10 Bridgeport 53     #10 Buckhannon-Upshur 43

#3 Fairmont Senior 66     Liberty 22

Wood County Christian 74     Teays Valley Christian 59

►  Big Atlantic Classic

Monday’s Results

Game 1 — Greater Beckley Christian 82, Moorefield 51 (boys A)

Game 2 — Gilmer County 71, Sherman 59 (boys A)

Tuesday’s Results

Game 3 — Westside 81, Wyoming East 67 (boys AA)

Game 4 — Scott 70, Liberty Raleigh 46 (boys AA)

Wednesday’s Results

Game 5 — Moorefield 78, Sherman 33 (boys A consolation)

Game 6 — Liberty Raleigh 48, Wyoming East 46 (boys AA consolation)

Game 7 — Oak Hill Academy (VA) 81, Blue Ridge 39 (boys national)

Game 8 — St. Albans 64, Wyoming East 59 (girls)

Thursday’s Results

Game 9 — George Washington 76, Brooke 34 (girls)

Game 10 — Morgantown 67, Huntington 57 (girls)

Game 11 — Greater Beckley Christian 81, Gilmer County 57 (boys A championship)

Game 12 — Greenbrier East 75, Oak Hill 39 (girls)

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)

Today’s Games

Game 18 — Brooke vs. Huntington (girls co-consolation), 9 AM

Game 19 — Princeton vs. Shady Spring (boys AAA co-consolation), 10:40 AM

Game 20 — Hampshire vs. Washington (boys AAA co-consolation), 12:20 PM

Game 21 — Westside vs. Scott (boys AA championship), 2 PM

Game 22 — St. Albans vs. Greenbrier East (girls co-championship), 4 PM

Game 23 — Parkersburg South vs. Martinsburg (boys AAA co-championship), 5:40 PM

Game 24 — George Washington vs. Morgantown (girls co-championship), 7:20 PM

Game 25 — Greenbrier East vs. Woodrow Wilson (boys AAA co-championship), 9 PM

<The Gilmer Free Press

►  Top-25 College Men’s Basketball Game Results

(Friday, January 30)

Final Score: (6) Arizona 57, Oregon State 34

T.J. McConnell’s solid all-around effort helped No. 6 Arizona avenge a recent loss to Oregon State with a 57-34 victory on Friday. McConnell finished with seven points, eight steals and six assists, Brandon Ashley scored 12 points with six rebounds and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson netted 11 for the Wildcats (20-2, 8-1 Pac-12), who won their sixth straight game since a 58-56 loss to the Beavers in Corvallis on Jan. 11. Olaf Schaftenaar paced Oregon State (14-7, 5-4) with eight points and six boards in the team’s second straight loss.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Cousins to replace Bryant in All-Star Game

Sacramento Kings center DeMarcus Cousins will replace injured Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant on the Western Conference All-Star team, NBA Commissioner Adam Silver announced Friday.

Cousins was not one of the seven Western Conference reserves named Thursday, but a spot opened up when Bryant had season-ending shoulder surgery this week.

Cousins, who will make his first NBA All-Star Game appearance, has averaged 23.8 points, 12.3 rebounds, 3.2 assists and 1.6 blocks in 32 games this season.

The 24-year-old Cousins is the first Kings’ All-Star since 2004.

►  Kings give Miller another 10-day deal

The Sacramento Kings have signed forward Quincy Miller to a second 10-day contract, the team announced prior to Friday’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Miller inked his first 10-day deal with the Kings on January 17 following a successful run with the NBA Development League’s Reno Bighorns, in which he led the D-League with averages of 26.3 points and 3.7 blocks over 14 games.

The 22-year-old has played in two games with Sacramento, totaling 14 points, eight rebounds and a pair of blocks over 40 minutes.

A second-round pick of Denver in the 2012 NBA Draft, Miller made 52 appearances and 16 starts with the Nuggets last season and averaged 4.9 points and 2.8 rebounds.

►  Knicks sign Amundson for rest of season

The New York Knicks have signed forward Lou Amundson for the remainder of the season.

Amundson is averaging 6.4 points, 6.0 rebounds and 2.0 assists in seven games (six starts) with the Knicks since signing the first of two consecutive 10-day contracts on January 10.

►  Nothin’ but Net: Explaining All-Star snubs

Outrage comes with the territory when the All-Star reserves are announced.

This year, DeMarcus Cousins of the Sacramento Kings, Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers and Kyle Korver of the Atlanta Hawks were the poster children for the snubbed.

The reason these gentlemen didn’t make their respective team is clear. They don’t carry the name recognition of the fellas who will be headed to New York City in a few weeks.

Cousins has a great argument to make the West team. He’s sixth in the league in scoring, third in rebounding, sixth in Player Efficiency Rating and 12th in blocked shots. Those numbers stop traffic, but Cousins had a few things going against him.

First, the Kings own a losing record. To make an All-Star team with a sub-.500 record a player needs other-worldly stats. Or, be a member of the Miami Heat. Ugh.

Cousins is very close to having those marks. Not close enough.

Secondly, coaches check familiar boxes way too often. Kevin Durant played about the same number of games as my mailman, but got the nod. Why? Well, he is an All-Star caliber player no matter how many games, but mostly the reason is, he’s Kevin Durant.

Angry Tim Duncan is on the team over Cousins? Same principals apply, but at least the San Antonio Spurs are a playoff team.

But here’s a more specific explanation why Cousins has Valentine’s weekend off and Duncan will be in the Big Apple. It was articulated much better than I could have by Jeff McDonald of the San Antonio Express-News Friday morning on Twitter.

“All things being equal, I think coaches tend to vote for players they would most like to coach. Duncan over Boogie Cousins, for example.“

There it is. Now, to be fair, numbers aren’t remotely close to equal, but the point is Cousins still suffers from a bad rap. He’s worked hard at changing that, but the perception exists. Duncan is a saint. There are probably shrines dedicated to his very existence. It’s easier to vote for that guy, than the one who causes havoc and not necessarily in a good way.

Lillard was something of a surprise in missing out. I had him on my ballot at the expense of LA Clippers’ perennial All-Star Chris Paul, but Cliff’s twin got the nod.

Winning can’t be the argument against Lillard’s shunning. The Blazers are 32-14 and have been near the top of the standings for almost the entire season. They’ve fallen on hard times of late, losing seven of nine, but the Trail Blazers share the fourth-best record in the NBA.

Can you name the two teams the Blazers share the fourth-best record with? The Houston Rockets and Los Angeles Clippers, so, for those who feel Paul didn’t deserve it, LA’s record can’t be the reason.

Let’s look at the numbers. Paul is averaging 17.5 ppg, 9.7 apg and 1.9 spg, while shooting 47% from the floor, 39% from long range and is seventh in PER.

Lillard averages 21.8 ppg, 6.2 apg and 1.3 spg. He shoots 43% from the field, 36.7% from 3-point land and is 20th in PER.

Let’s put it this way - Paul’s inclusion at Lillard’s expense is not as tragic a miscarriage of justice as say Nick Offerman never being nominated for an Emmy for “Parks and Recreation.“

No need to bother with Korver’s absence. It was a coin flip with Wade, and superstar won out. Wade also has All-Star numbers, just a hideous record in a hideous conference.

Superstardom trumps all and it always will. Plus, if Wade can’t go because of a hamstring injury, Korver is the only logical replacement in the East.

I don’t believe it’s a total laziness by the coaches. McDonald’s point is a great one. Coaches will always vote for the great player whose legacy is pristine.

My advice to Cousins is keep putting up those numbers, keep staying out of trouble with the attitude-related stuff and hope Sacramento improves in the standings.

For Lillard, it was five guys for four spots. The least-tenured got passed over. It’s disappointing, sure, and he may get in as a replacement for Kobe Bryant. Same goes for Cousins.

These young guys can’t overcome politics. Keep it in your mind and use it for motivation. They are both young enough to make plenty of All-Star games in the future.

The coaches aren’t going to change the way they vote. Their philosophy isn’t terrible, but it’s just boring to see the likes of Duncan and Durant go when they aren’t most deserving.

Not a thing we can do about it, so it’s probably just been a waste of 100 lines.


- Not a bold prediction, but after a snub at the All-Star Game and a snub for the US World Cup team, Lillard is going to go on a second-half tear. I’m serious. I think it’s going to be an MVP-type push.

- The Atlanta Hawks do something really cool with their Twitter handle. For every game during this winning streak, they add a “W” in the Hawks name. So many teams do hilarious work on Twitter, including, but not limited to the Portland Trail Blazers, Dallas Mavericks and Philadelphia 76ers.

- Per Yahoo’s Adrian Wojnarowski, Jacque Vaughn will coach the Orlando Magic on Saturday, but that could be it. There really has been no significant improvement during his tenure. There are a lot of puppies on that roster, but there should have been some growth.

- Movie moment - “Wedding Crashers” might go into my top-five all-time comedies. Back in the day when Richard Roeper worked on TV with Roger Ebert, he singled out Vince Vaughn’s performance as worthy of a Supporting Actor nomination. He’s right.

- TV moment - Not many people watched “Parenthood,“ but I did. Admittedly, I’m behind on this final season, but this was just solid, honest entertainment and apparently people don’t like that.    ~~  Jim Brighters ~~

►  NBA Game Results

(Friday, January 30)

Final Score: Philadelphia 103, Minnesota 94

Michael Carter-Williams scored 17 points with 10 assists and 10 rebounds for his fifth career triple-double, helping the Philadelphia 76ers to a 103-94 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Friday night. Luc Mbah a Moute paced the Sixers with 18 points, while Nerlens Noel contributed 14 points, six rebounds and a career-high six blocks in the win. The Sixers, who have won two straight home games since taking the first two at home last season, snapped their season-opening 17-game losing streak with a win over Minnesota on Dec. 3. Kevin Martin had 19 points, Nikola Pekovic tallied 18 points with seven rebounds and Gorgui Dieng posted 14 points and 10 rebounds for the Timberwolves, who looked to win two straight games for the first time this season.

Final Score: Atlanta 105, Portland 99

Atlanta’s All-Stars came through again. Paul Millsap, Al Horford and Jeff Teague had plenty of help as the Hawks pushed their franchise-record winning streak to 18 games. Millsap scored 21 points, Horford had 17 and Teague scored six of his 13 points in the fourth quarter as the Hawks held off LaMarcus Aldridge and the Portland Trail Blazers for a 105-99 victory on Friday night. Kyle Korver added 16 points and Kent Bazemore had 12 points in 40 minutes off the bench as the Hawks won without injured forward DeMarre Carroll, who sat with a left Achilles strain. Millsap, Horford and Teague were all named to the Eastern Conference All-Star team on Thursday, the first time since 1980 that three Hawks made the game. Atlanta’s Mike Budenholzer will coach the East in the Feb. 15 game at Madison Square Garden in New York. The Hawks haven’t lost since Dec. 26 in Milwaukee. And at 39-8, they surpassed last season’s win total (38-44). They could secure a perfect 17-0 month with a win Saturday against Philadelphia, which will end a seven-game homestand. Aldridge scored 37 points for Portland a day after he was named to the Western Conference All-Star team. Wesley Matthews added 16 points and Damian Lillard scored 13 with 11 assists.

Final Score: Houston 93, Boston 87

In the absence of Dwight Howard, Donatas Motiejunas had a career night to keep the Houston Rockets’ winning streak alive. Motiejunas scored a career-high 26 points with 12 rebounds to lead the Rockets to a 93-87 win over the Boston Celtics. Howard missed his third straight game with a knee injury. The team revealed earlier in the week that Howard is suffering from edema in the knee caused by fluid build-up in body tissues. Josh Smith deposited 15 points and James Harden added 14 with seven assists and six rebounds for Houston, which has won four straight both overall and in the series with Boston. Brandon Bass and Marcus Thornton each scored 17 points for the Celtics, who have lost three of their last four.

Final Score: Toronto 127, Brooklyn 122 (OT)

DeMar DeRozan finished with 26 points and nine assists as the Toronto Raptors defeated the Brooklyn Nets 127-122 for a thrilling overtime victory on Friday. Lou Williams netted 25 points, Amir Johnson had 24 points and seven rebounds and Jonas Valanciunas supplied 14 points and 11 boards for the Raptors, who won their fifth straight win. Jarrett Jack scored a career-high 35 points with 13 assists and Brook Lopez also had 35 and grabbed 12 rebounds for the Nets, who have dropped their last four games.

Final Score: Cleveland 101, Sacramento 90

LeBron James returned to the Cavaliers lineup and scored 19 points, and Cleveland used balanced scoring to top the Sacramento Kings 101-90, extending its season-long winning streak. Kevin Love had 23 points and 10 rebounds and Kyrie Irving scored 21 points with six assists. Irving carried the load offensively in Cleveland’s win over Portland on Wednesday, netting a career-high 55 of the team’s 99 points. James, who missed that game with a wrist injury, also contributed seven assists and four steals, and J.R. Smith added 16 points. The Cavs have ripped off nine straight wins since a six-game skid. DeMarcus Cousins led Sacramento with 21 points and 13 rebounds just hours after it was announced that he would make his first appearance in the All-Star game. Cousins will replace injured Lakers star Kobe Bryant, who had season- ending shoulder surgery. Rudy Gay chipped in 20 points in Sacramento’s eight straight setback.

Final Score: Dallas 93, Miami 72

The Dallas Mavericks made three shots in the first quarter, scored 33 points in the first half and beat the Miami Heat by 21. How? With a 39-3 run. Charlie Villanueva scored 20 points and the Mavericks held the Heat to just three points over a nearly 14-minute span in the third and fourth quarters on the way to a 93-72 win on Friday night. Miami’s stale finish—which came after Dallas started the game ice-cold from the field—tempered what was a career night for Hassan Whiteside, who set a franchise record with 14 rebounds in the first quarter. The 7-foot center ended with 16 points and a career-high 24 rebounds for the Heat, who were without Dwyane Wade because of a hamstring strain the All-Star guard suffered Tuesday against Milwaukee, which could sideline him for weeks. James Ennis added 15 points off the bench, All-Star Chris Bosh scored 12 and Mario Chalmers had 10 in Miami’s fourth loss in six games.

Final Score: New Orleans 108, LA Clippers 103

Eric Gordon scored a season-high 28 points to lift the New Orleans Pelicans to a 108-103 victory over the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday. Ryan Anderson netted 24 points and went 5-of-11 from 3-point range, while Alexis Ajinca supplied 17 points and nine rebounds off the bench and Tyreke Evans had 11 points and 12 assists for the Pelicans, who have won five of their last six games. Chris Paul finished with 24 points, Blake Griffin scored 19 and DeAndre Jordan contributed 12 points and 15 rebounds for the Clippers, who had their six-game winning streak come to an end.

Final Score: Utah 110, Golden State 100

Gordon Hayward’s career game led the Utah Jazz to an improbable 110-100 win over the Golden State Warriors on Friday. The Jazz improved to 12-10 on the season when Hayward scores at least 20 points, compared to 5-20 when he nets 19 or fewer. He finished with 26 in this one to go along with a career-high 15 rebounds and six assists. Utah also got a boost from its reserves, who had just nine fewer points between them than the starters. Trevor Booker scored 17 points, Trey Burke had 15 with seven assists and Rudy Gobert had 10 points and 10 boards for his sixth double-double in January. The young 7-footer had just two double-doubles in his career before this month. Steph Curry filled it up with 32 points, seven rebounds and six assists in Golden State’s second straight loss, but his running mate Klay Thompson contributed just 12 points and did not connect from deep on three tries. Curry and Thompson will both represent the Western Conference in the All-Star game on Feb. 15.

Final Score: Phoenix 99, Chicago 93

Eric Bledsoe scored 23 points, including the final four for Phoenix, to help the Suns pull away from the Chicago Bulls and cap an eight-game homestand with a 99-93 win. Goran Dragic scored 21 points for the Suns, who finished the homestand 6-2. Markieff and Marcus Morris both scored 12 points, with Markieff also contributing a season-high 14 rebounds. Derrick Rose, Jimmy Butler and Aaron Brooks combined for 66 of Chicago’s 93 points and Pau Gasol had 19 boards in the setback. Rose’s struggles from the floor continued on Friday despite scoring 23 points. He shot 8-of-23 and 0- for-6 from behind the arc. Rose is shooting 28-of-82 (34 percent) from the floor and 5-for-25 from 3 over his last three games.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Brewers sign Cotts

The Milwaukee Brewers signed reliever Neal Cotts to a one-year contract on Friday.

The deal is reportedly worth $3 million.

Cotts had a career year in 2013 for the Texas Rangers, going 8-3 with a 1.11 ERA in 58 appearances. He regressed last season, posting a 2-9 record with a 4.32 ERA in 73 games.

The 34-year-old will replace Zach Duke as a second left-handed option alongside Will Smith in Milwaukee’s bullpen. Duke signed a three-year deal with the Chicago White Sox this offseason.

Cotts is 20-24 with a 4.05 ERA in 415 career games (five starts) with the White Sox, Cubs and Rangers. He won a World Series with the White Sox in 2005.

He did not pitch in the majors from 2010 through 2012 because of injuries.

To make room on a full 40-man roster, the Brewers designated utilityman Elian Herrera for assignment.

►  Rockies acquire Hale from Braves in four-player trade

The Colorado Rockies have acquired right- handed pitchers David Hale and Gus Schlosser in exchange for catchers Jose Briceno and Chris O’Dowd.

Hale and Schlosser are the only players in the deal with major league experience.

After allowing just one earned run over two starts in 2013, the 27-year-old Hale went 4-5 with a 3.30 ERA in 45 games—six starts—for Atlanta last season.

Schlosser was roughed up for 16 runs—15 earned—over 17 2/3 innings over 15 appearances with the Braves in 2014.

Briceno, 22, has spent the past two seasons at Single-A Asheville, while the 23-year-old O’Dowd split 2014 between High-A Modesto and Double-A Tulsa.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  NHL Game Results

(Friday, January 30)

Final Score: Pittsburgh 2, New Jersey 1 (OT)

Simon Despres scored with 2:39 remaining in overtime and Pittsburgh rallied to post a 2-1 victory over New Jersey at Prudential Center. Holding the puck near the right-wing boards, Brandon Sutter passed to Kris Letang, whose own backhanded dish landed on the stick of Despres at the point. His harmless flip to the net beat a screened Cory Schneider to complete a comeback from one goal down late in regulation. Chris Kunitz registered a power-play goal with 3:11 remaining for the Penguins, who won for the second time in their last seven games. Marc-Andre Fleury needed to make only 13 saves. Steve Bernier tallied for the Devils, who had won two in a row. Schneider ended up with a season-high 41 saves in defeat.

Final Score: St. Louis 3, Carolina 2 (SO)

Kevin Shattenkirk scored the winner in the shootout to lead the St. Louis Blues in a 3-2 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. Shattenkirk was the second shooter for the Blues and he buried a wrister past Cam Ward, while Jake Allen stopped Eric Staal’s wrister for the win. Allen made 26 saves, while David Backes and Ryan Reaves scored in regulation for the Blues, who have won four straight. Justin Faulk and Ryan Murphy lit the lamp for the Hurricanes, who had a three-game winning streak snapped. Ward stopped the 29 shots he faced through overtime in relief of Anton Khudobin, who was pulled from the start after allowing two goals on three shots.

Final Score: Colorado 3, Nashville 0

Semyon Varlamov posted 23 saves for his fourth shutout of the season to lead the Colorado Avalanche in a 3-0 victory over the Nashville Predators on Friday. Maxime Talbot, Gabriel Landeskog and Jarome Iginla scored for the Avalanche, who had lost three of four coming into the game. Colorado avenged a loss to Nashville in its last game on Tuesday. It wasn’t a home-and-home series because the Predators played in St. Louis on Thursday. Marek Mazanec made 25 saves for the Predators, who have dropped four of their last five.

Final Score: Vancouver 5, Buffalo 2

Ryan Miller faced his former team for the first time and his 20 saves helped the Vancouver Canucks to a 5-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Friday. Miller played against the team he won a Vezina Trophy with for the first time since being traded to St. Louis last February. He had a chance to play them late last season while with the Blues, but opted to sit out. His strong game saw his former team drop its 14th straight game, all in regulation, as the team is suffering through a franchise-record losing streak. Bo Horvat, Radim Vrbata, Chris Higgins, Nick Bonino and Yannick Weber all scored for the Canucks, who had lost two straight coming in. Chris Stewart had both the goals for the Sabres, who have also lost 14 straight games on the road. Matt Hackett allowed four goals on 37 shots in the loss.

Final Score: Chicago 4, Anaheim 1

Patrick Kane scored two goals and set up another in helping the visiting Chicago Blackhawks beat the Anaheim Ducks 4-1 on Friday night. Patrick Sharp had four assists, and Jonathan Toews and Duncan Keith also scored for the Blackhawks. Rickard Rakell’s power-play goal midway through the third period spoiled the shutout bid for Corey Crawford, who made 21 saves as Chicago notched its third straight victory at Honda Center. Frederik Andersen stopped 29 shots for the Ducks, who have dropped two in a row following a six-game winning streak.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Djokovic outlasts Wawrinka to reach Australian Open final

Novak Djokovic battled to a five- set win over defending champion Stan Wawrinka to reach his fifth Australian Open final.

The world No. 1 Djokovic dismissed the fourth-seeded Wawrinka 7-6 (7-1), 3-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-0 on Friday.

The 27-year-old Djokovic joins Roger Federer and Stefan Edberg as the only men in the Open Era to make five finals at the Aussie Open. He has won all four of his previous finals here, including two against Andy Murray.

Djokovic will meet Murray in Sunday’s final. Murray advanced to his fourth final in the year’s first major with Thursday’s 6-7 (6-8), 6-0, 6-3, 7-5 semifinal victory over seventh-seeded Tomas Berdych. Djokovic holds a 15-8 record over Murray.

Djokovic and Wawrinka met for the third year in a row at Melbourne Park. Two years ago, Djokovic denied Wawrinka 12-10 in the fifth set of a fourth-round clash, but last year the Swiss got his revenge with a 9-7 fifth-set victory in the quarterfinals.

Wawrinka captured his first Grand Slam title here a year ago by stunning Rafael Nadal in the final.

Fans packed Rod Laver Arena on Friday in anticipation of another epic five-set match between Djokovic and Wawrinka. Their previous three grand slam encounters had all gone the distance.

“Yeah, well, I’m sure everybody who came to watch the match live and watched it on TV were expecting a five-set match,“ said Djokovic. “It’s what we delivered for them. Of course, it was not intentional from our side to play five sets, I’m sure. But, again, very, very few details, very few points, very few shots can decide a winner of these matches. That’s what happened tonight.“

Wawrinka broke serve in the seventh game—prompting a racquet bash from Djokovic at the change of ends. But Djokovic was able to break right back to love for 4-4. The set progressed to a tiebreak, where Wawrinka’s game fell apart.

The 29-year-old Wawrinka won the second set in just 36 minutes. It was the first set that Djokovic had lost at this 2015 fortnight.

Djokovic jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the third set, but Wawrinka found a way back to 3-3. A double fault by Wawrinka at 40-15 in the 10th game helped Djokovic win the set.

The world No.1 appeared to have the match in hand when he went up a break early in the fourth. But yet again, Djokovic failed to put Wawrinka away. The Swiss came all the way back to win the set this time.

Djokovic dominated the fifth set to record his 49th-match win at the Australian Open. Only Federer (75-12) and Edberg (56-10) have more victories at the hard-court major in the Open Era.

“Getting to the finals is already a great achievement, as I mentioned before,“ said Djokovic. “But now this is the match for which you have worked for now two months. This is where you want to be. This is why you put all these hours on and off the court, trying to get yourself in a position to win Grand Slam trophy, because that’s what matters the most. I’m going to give my best, of course.“

In addition, Djokovic won his ninth straight match against players in the Top 10 of the Emirates ATP Rankings. His last loss to a member of the elite came against Federer in the 2014 Shanghai Rolex Masters semifinals.

►  Mattek-Sands, Safarova win women’s doubles title

American Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Lucie Safarova made the most of their first Australian Open together, besting Chan Yung-Jan and Zheng Jie to win the women’s doubles title at the year’s first major.

Mattek-Sands and her Czech partner entered the tournament unseeded and only advanced to the final after Julia Goerges retired due to an illness in the semis.

They took the first set from the 14th-seeded duo with a break of serve and won a second set tiebreak to come away with a 6-4, 7-6 (7-5) victory at Rod Laver Arena.

The prize for capturing their first major title is splitting $575,000.

China’s Zheng was an Aussie and U.S. Open doubles champ in 2006, while Chan of Taipei was an Aussie and U.S. Open doubles runner-up in 2007.

►  Australian Open Men’s Tennis Update – January 30

Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia

Total Prize Money: $14,000,000


Novak Djokovic (1) defeated Stan Wawrinka (4), 7-6 (7-1), 3-6, 6-4, 4-6, 6-0

Novak Djokovic (1) vs. Andy Murray (6)

►  Australian Open Women’s Doubles Tennis Update – January 30

Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia
Total Prize Money: $2,600,000

B.Mattek-Sands/L.Safarova defeated Y.Chan/Z.Jie (14), 6-4, 7-6 (7-5)

Y.Chan/Z.Jie (14) defeated M.Krajicek/B.Zahlavova Strycova (13), 6-3, 6-2
B.Mattek-Sands/L.Safarova defeated J.Goerges/A.Groenefeld (16), 6-0, Retired

B.Mattek-Sands/L.Safarova defeated E.Makarova/E.Vesnina (3), 7-6 (7-5), 4-6, 6-2
M.Krajicek/B.Zahlavova Strycova (13) defeated R.Kops-Jones/A.Spears (5), 3-6, 6-3, 7
Y.Chan/Z.Jie (14) defeated K.Jans-Ignacik/A.Klepac, 6-1, 6-2
J.Goerges/A.Groenefeld (16) defeated K.Bertens/J.Larsson, 6-2, 7-5

J.Goerges/A.Groenefeld (16) defeated S.Errani/R.Vinci (1), 6-3, 4-6, 7-5
E.Makarova/E.Vesnina (3) defeated S.Soler-Espinosa/M.Torro-Flor, 6-1, 6-2
Y.Chan/Z.Jie (14) defeated M.Hingis/F.Pennetta (4), 6-3, 6-3
R.Kops-Jones/A.Spears (5) defeated A.Kudryavtseva/A.Pavlyuchenkova (12), 6-4, 6-4
B.Mattek-Sands/L.Safarova defeated C.Garcia/K.Srebotnik (7), 3-6, 6-2, 6-2
K.Jans-Ignacik/A.Klepac defeated A.Hlavackova/L.Hradecka (9), 7-6 (7-5), 6-7 (6-8),

M.Krajicek/B.Zahlavova Strycova (13) defeated G.Dabrowski/A.Rosolska, 6-2, 3-6, 6-4
K.Bertens/J.Larsson defeated S.Kuznetsova/S.Stosur, 7-6 (7-5), 6-3

S.Errani/R.Vinci (1) defeated M.Barthel/M.Minella, 6-0, 6-2
G.Dabrowski/A.Rosolska defeated S.Hsieh/S.Mirza (2), 7-6 (7-5), 6-4
E.Makarova/E.Vesnina (3) defeated D.Cibulkova/K.Flipkens, 6-4, 5-7, 6-2
M.Hingis/F.Pennetta (4) defeated D.Hantuchova/K.Knapp, 6-3, 6-7 (5-7), 6-2
R.Kops-Jones/A.Spears (5) defeated V.Diatchenko/M.Niculescu, 6-1, 3-6, 7-6 (7-5)
K.Jans-Ignacik/A.Klepac defeated G.Muguruza/C.Suarez Navarro (6), 7-6 (8-6), 6-4
C.Garcia/K.Srebotnik (7) defeated S.Rogers/D.Vekic, 6-3, 3-6, 6-3
A.Hlavackova/L.Hradecka (9) defeated M.Adamczak/O.Rogowska, 6-3, 6-2
B.Mattek-Sands/L.Safarova defeated T.Babos/K.Mladenovic (10), 4-6, 7-6 (7-2), 6-4
K.Bertens/J.Larsson defeated A.Medina Garrigues/Y.Shvedova (11), 3-6, 6-2, 6-4
A.Kudryavtseva/A.Pavlyuchenkova (12) defeated A.Panova/H.Watson, 6-0, 6-2
M.Krajicek/B.Zahlavova Strycova (13) defeated J.Gajdosova/A.Tomljanovic, 7-5, 6-3
Y.Chan/Z.Jie (14) defeated L.Arruabarrena/I.Begu, 6-4, 6-3
J.Goerges/A.Groenefeld (16) defeated Z.Diyas/C.Scheepers, 7-6 (7-4), 6-2
S.Kuznetsova/S.Stosur defeated A.Rodionova/A.Rodionova, 6-2, 6-4
S.Soler-Espinosa/M.Torro-Flor defeated P.Shuai/X.Yi-Fan, 7-5, 6-2

S.Errani/R.Vinci (1) defeated K.Pliskova/A.Schmiedlova, 6-2, 6-0
S.Hsieh/S.Mirza (2) defeated M.Irigoyen/R.Oprandi, 6-2, 6-0
E.Makarova/E.Vesnina (3) defeated M.Keys/A.Riske, 7-5, 6-1
M.Hingis/F.Pennetta (4) defeated B.Bencic/K.Siniakova, 7-6 (7-3), 6-2
R.Kops-Jones/A.Spears (5) defeated K.Birrell/P.Hon, 6-3, 7-5
G.Muguruza/C.Suarez Navarro (6) defeated V.Lepchenko/A.Tatishvili, 6-3, 6-2
C.Garcia/K.Srebotnik (7) defeated A.Petkovic/M.Rybarikova, 6-4, 5-7, 6-2
S.Kuznetsova/S.Stosur defeated H.Chan/K.Peschke (8), 6-3, 6-2
A.Hlavackova/L.Hradecka (9) defeated L.Kichenok/O.Savchuk, 6-0, 7-6 (7-4)
T.Babos/K.Mladenovic (10) defeated B.Jovanovski/K.Piter, 6-1, 6-3
A.Medina Garrigues/Y.Shvedova (11) defeated I.Falconi/P.Martic, 6-3, 6-3
A.Kudryavtseva/A.Pavlyuchenkova (12) defeated S.Aoyama/R.Voracova, 6-2, 7-6 (7-5)
M.Krajicek/B.Zahlavova Strycova (13) defeated M.Erakovic/M.Puig, 6-7 (9-11), 7-6 (8-
Y.Chan/Z.Jie (14) defeated K.Koukalova/S.Voegele, 6-3, 6-0
P.Shuai/X.Yi-Fan defeated K.Date-Krumm/C.Dellacqua (15), 6-4, 5-7, 6-5
J.Goerges/A.Groenefeld (16) defeated M.Inglis/A.Nancarrow, 6-4, 6-1
K.Bertens/J.Larsson defeated M.Lucic-Baroni/L.Raymond, 7-6 (9-7), 6-3
S.Soler-Espinosa/M.Torro-Flor defeated T.Bacsinszky/Y.Beygelzimer, 4-6, 6-2, 6-1
Z.Diyas/C.Scheepers defeated D.Jurak/M.Moulton-Levy, 4-6, 6-4, 7-6 (7-5)
L.Arruabarrena/I.Begu defeated Z.Yang/Q.Ye, 5-7, 6-4, 6-4
D.Hantuchova/K.Knapp defeated C.Chuang/Z.Shuai, 6-3, 6-3
A.Rodionova/A.Rodionova defeated N.Bains/S.Tomic, 6-2, 6-2
B.Mattek-Sands/L.Safarova defeated T.Maria/R.Olaru, 6-3, 6-2
A.Panova/H.Watson defeated A.Beck/S.Peer, 2-6, 7-5, 3-1, Retired
J.Gajdosova/A.Tomljanovic defeated J.Moore/A.Myers, 6-0, 6-0
D.Cibulkova/K.Flipkens defeated C.Vandeweghe/Y.Wickmayer, 6-3, 6-4
M.Barthel/M.Minella defeated O.Kalashnikova/K.Nara, 6-3, 7-5
S.Rogers/D.Vekic defeated A.Cornet/P.Parmentier, 4-6, 6-2, 6-4
K.Jans-Ignacik/A.Klepac defeated J.Jankovic/A.Parra Santonja, 7-6 (7-5), 5-7, 7-6 (7
M.Adamczak/O.Rogowska defeated D.Gavrilova/S.Sanders, 2-6, 6-3, 6-4
G.Dabrowski/A.Rosolska defeated C.Black/Z.Saisai, 6-1, 6-4
V.Diatchenko/M.Niculescu defeated L.Davis/C.McHale, 6-2, 4-6, 6-3

►  At the Net: The time is now for Madison Keys

Madison Keys may have lost the biggest match of her young career on Thursday ... but she sure made a believer of the great Serena Williams.

The world No. 1 superstar, Serena, prevailed in a semifinal showdown at the 2015 Australian Open, which might be remembered as the tournament where a new American star—Keys—was born.

Serena doesn’t dole out compliments to her opponents too often, but she thinks Keys “can be the best in the world.“ She also said, “The way she [Keys] played today, I definitely think she has potential to be No. 1—and win Grand Slams.“

Prior to this week, Keys had never advanced beyond the third round at Grand Slam event (her 11th), but this year’s Aussie marked many firsts for the 19-year-old from Chicago.

“Did I think it was going to happen here? Not particularly. But I’m very happy it did,“ said Keys, who won over fans with her infectious smile, sense of humor, and humble self-confidence ... not to mention her great tennis.

Under advisement from new coach Lindsay Davenport, the three-time Grand Slam champion and Tennis Hall-of-Famer, Keys stayed off Twitter and focused on her tennis at this fortnight. The advice appeared to pay off.

For the first time in her blossoming career, Keys overcame the psychological boundary of reaching the second week at a major.

En route to the final four in Melbourne, she stunned two-time Wimbledon champ Petra Kvitova in the third round and seven-time Grand Slam titlist Venus Williams in the quarterfinals to set up back-to-back matches with the veteran Williams sisters, whom Keys idolized as a youngster.

Going up against Serena marked the first time Keys had ever faced a No. 1 player—and she made the 18-time Grand Slam champ work for her supper.

Their semifinal was staged on a windy, chilly day at Melbourne Park and was the most-hyped women’s match of the tournament. The up-and-coming American teenager against her compatriot and one of the greatest champions of all-time. This time around, the great champion came out on top, in straight sets, 7-6 (7-5), 6-2, but the score did not tell the whole story.

Keys was gritty, fearless, and demonstrated powerful strokes, including a big serve. She was cool enough to stave off seven match points.

“This week has definitely shown me that I can play the top players, and I can do well against them,“ Keys said. “I can play the No. 1 player in the world in a pretty close match.“

Onlookers at Laver Arena were memorized, as tennis balls zoomed back and forth during hotly contested rallies with great speed and force.

Keys described Serena’s shots like this: “It comes hard; it comes deep… she’s one of the few who can hit like that.“

And Serena described Keys’ hitting in much the same way: “She hits a very, very hard ball, but she also hits it very deep. I wasn’t ready really for that.“

Keys said she’ll probably save most of her $510,000 prize money but will probably allow herself one extravagant purchase, like a Louis Vuitton purse.

She will move up in the world rankings from No. 34 to No. 20 as a result of her stellar Aussie run.

Keys was asked what makes her a good tennis player (or her Keys to success), and she chalked it up to her fighting spirit.

“For me, even this week, as great as it is, I still want more,“ Keys said. “For me, it’s just never being satisfied with what I’ve done and always wanting more and more.“

Keys was asked if she could sum up her two-week stay in the ‘Bourne with an emoji, which one would it be?

“I think pretty much just the smiley face,“ she said smiling, of course. “Can’t go wrong with the plain old smiley face.“

I think Keys is going to be doing a lot of smiling on the WTA circuit.  ~~  Scott Riley ~~

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Marathon champ Jeptoo banned 2 years for doping

Three-time Boston Marathon champion Rita Jeptoo has been handed a two-year ban from competition after testing positive for blood doping.

Athetics Kenya announced Friday that Jeptoo, who has won the last two Boston and Chicago Marathons and is the world’s top-ranked female long-distance runner, was found to have used the prohibited blood-booster EPO in two separate samples.

The suspension became effective as of October 30 and will run until October 29, 2016. Jeptoo can appeal the penalty to the Court of Arbitration for Sport.

According to the Chicago Tribune, Jeptoo will have to forfeit her title at the most recent Chicago Marathon, which took place on October 12. The International Track Federation told the newspaper that her suspension affects all results after September 25.

Jeptoo also will have to give back her $500,000 purse as the winner of the 2013-14 World Marathon Majors series if the suspension is upheld.

The 33-year-old, one of Kenya’s most recognizable athletes, set a course record of 2:18:57 in winning the Boston Marathon this past April.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Tiger Woods ties his worst nine-hole score ever at Phoenix Open

Tiger Woods struggled early in his first round of the year on Thursday at the Phoenix Open. He needed to scramble on his final nine holes just to reach 2-over-par 73, which was nine shots off the pace set by opening-day leader Ryan Palmer.

The Gilmer Free Press

His first nine holes in Friday’s second round were worse. Much worse.

Starting out on the back nine, Woods bogeyed the 11th, 17th and 18th holes, double-bogeyed the 14th and triple-bogeyed the 15th. He didn’t have any birdies.

Through 12 holes Friday, Woods stood in a tie for 131st place. That would be last place.

The Twitter wags were out in force.

►  McIlroy’s 64 gives him lead in Dubai

Rory McIlroy fired a second-round, 8-under 64 on Friday and that vaulted him into the outright lead heading into the weekend at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.

McIlroy, who earned his first professional victory here back in 2009, finished 36 holes at 14-under-par 130 and he leads Marc Warren by one stroke. The No. 1 player in the world has nine career victories on the European Tour, including four last year, two of which were major championship wins at the British Open and PGA Championship.

“I’m in a great position, obviously. But there are so many people that are close to the lead and it’s so bunched up there,“ said McIlroy. “Even though I’m in the lead, there’s so many people still in with a chance if they shoot a good round tomorrow. I’ve just got to go out there, stay aggressive, stick to the game plan and try to make as many birdies as I can.“

Warren also used a big day on Friday to move into sole possession of second place. Warren carded a 7-under 65 on the Majlis Course at Emirates Golf Club and he is right behind McIlroy at 13-under. Graeme McDowell (65) and Seve Benson (66) are one shot further back at 12-under.

First-round leader Bernd Wiesberger shot a 3-under 69 in his second round and he is now tied for fifth with two-time defending champion Stephen Gallacher (67), Danny Willett (66), Lee Westwood (68) and Andy Sullivan (68).

McIlroy, who began his day two shots behind the leader Wiesberger, was consistent throughout his round and was able to finish with a string of birdies to take the outright lead.

After making a par at the first, the 25-year-old Ulsterman drained three birdies in a four-hole stretch on Nos. 2, 3 and 5. McIlroy finished up his front nine with four pars from No. 6 and he made the turn at 3-under.

There was still much more to come from McIlroy as he began the back side with a pair of birdies on 10 and 11 before another set of four pars from No. 12 preceded McIlroys strong finish.

With Warren leading at 13-under at the time, McIlroy still sat two shots behind. He then ran off three straight birdies from No. 16 and McIlroy’s third straight birdie at the par-5 last put him in the lead at the end of two rounds.

“I couldn’t ask for much more. Bogey free, made birdies and set myself up for a good run over the next couple days,“ McIlroy said. “I didn’t play my best, but I definitely improved from tee to green out there and was able to make some putts. It was a great round and I’m going to need something similar over the next couple of days to stay in the position that I’m in.“

Warren used a hot start and a strong finish to take the lead before McIlroy caught him later on. Warren was even through three holes when he traded a birdie on 10 for a bogey on 12, but then he went on a big run by rattling off five birdies on his next six holes from No. 13.

After a pair of pars on one and two, Warren again traded a birdie on three for a bogey on four. He later finished things up with birdies on seven and nine to take the lead at the time.

McIlroy’s compatriot McDowell, playing the back nine first like Warren, made three birdies on his opening nine at 10, 13 and 16. McDowell then poured in five birdies over six holes from No. 2 to go along with a bogey on No. 6.

Benson had a hot start with four birdies on his first five holes from No. 10. A double-bogey on No. 18 tripped Benson up a bit, but he responded with a birdie on four and three straight gains from six to finish his round just two shots back of McIlroy.

NOTES: Over his last 28 rounds on the European Tour, McIlroy has shot in the 60s 24 times. He is 117-under par in those 28 rounds ... McIlroy has finished runner-up in each of his last four professional starts dating back to last season. He also came in second at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship two weeks ago ... Warren’s last victory was at the inaugural Made in Denmark last season. He has three total wins on tour ... Warren also finished runner-up at last week’s Qatar Masters ... Julien Quesne was disqualified in the second round ... With the cut falling at 2-under 142, 75 players advanced to play the weekend.

►  Golf Course Review - Poipu Bay Golf Course

FACTS AND STATS: Course Architect: Robert Trent Jones Jr. (1991, 2011). Year Opened: 1991. Location: Koloa, Kauai, Hawaii. Slope: 128. Rating: 74.5. Par: 72. Yardage: 7,123.


1 - Par 4 428 Yds 10 - Par 4 429 Yds

2 - Par 5 524 Yds 11 - Par 3 193 Yds

3 - Par 3 209 Yds 12 - Par 4 435 Yds

4 - Par 4 380 Yds 13 - Par 4 384 Yds

5 - Par 4 355 Yds 14 - Par 5 537 Yds

6 - Par 5 573 Yds 15 - Par 4 427 Yds

7 - Par 3 179 Yds 16 - Par 4 501 Yds

8 - Par 4 374 Yds 17 - Par 3 225 Yds

9 - Par 4 420 Yds 18 - Par 5 550 Yds

Par 36 3,442 Yds Par 36 3,681 Yds

Awards Won: Premier Resort by Golf Magazine (1994, 1997-2000, 2004, 2014-15), Rated one of Best Golf Courses in Hawaii - Hawaii Magazine (2013), Top 100 Greatest Courses in North America - Golf Digest (2013), Ranked #13 by Golf Digest - Best in State, Hawaii (2013-14), Top 125 Golf Resorts by Conde Nast Traveler (2012), Golf Week’s America’s Best Golf Resorts (2006-07, 09, 2011-12), Rated #7 Best Courses You Can Play in Hawaii (2011-12), Rated 4 1/2 stars by Golf Digest’s Best Places to Play.

Key Events Held: PGA Grand Slam of Golf (1994-2006), U.S. Women’s Amateur sectional qualifier (2014-15), USGA Senior Amateur qualifier (2014), U.S. Amateur Public Links qualifier (2011).

Course Record: 59 (Phil Mickelson, 2004).


HISTORY: Built near the site of the ancient Hawaiian village of Kaneiolouma, with remains of Hawaiian heiaus (place of worship), Poipu Bay Golf Course is a wonderfully crafted design by Robert Trent Jones II.

The Gilmer Free Press

Often considered Kauai’s father of golf, Jones II designed four of the nine venues on the island, with Poipu Bay being his last on the Garden Island.

With more than 270 courses in over 40 countries on six continents to his credit, RTJ II boasts more than 100 courses to have hosted tournaments on every major golf tour in the world. It will include the 2015 U.S. Open at Chambers Bay (Washington).

Poipu Bay features four archaeological sites on the course dating back over 500 years. The first of these special areas is on the ninth hole, which includes a lava rock heiau located to the right side of the fairway.

The final three areas where the remnants have been incorporated into the course are on holes 16-18. The 16th features a heiau, just short of the green on the left side, overlooking the Pacific Ocean, while the 17th hole sports another ancient structure next to the elevated tee and a stone wall down the right side of the cart path and through to the 18th tee.

“When we came upon a heiau, we obviously respected it and went around it, specifically on 16 and 17,“ Jones said. “In some cases, we worked with the historical society and rebuilt part of the heiau wall in the old-fashioned way. It wasn’t difficult, it was interesting and it added a cultural story to the course.“

The layout is built on the south shore on the island of Kauai, on 210 acres of breathtaking land, featuring rocky cliffs 150 feet above the mighty Pacific. Not only does the course possess ancient archaeological significance, it sports beautiful tropical foliage and flora, not to mention its mix of design strategy, making Poipu Bay Golf Course a unique, golfing experience.

What started out as a 6,959-yard venue has been stretched to over 7,100 yards with room to grow! The challenge and adventure of Poipu Bay is all about the design. RTJ II used the lay of the land to create a precise layout, not only to challenge the best players in the world, but to make for a most enjoyable visit by the resort golfer.

“Poipu Bay is on the dry and arid part of the island, and it’s more exposed to the wind,“ Jones said. “So our challenge at Poipu Bay was to lay it out as a continuous 18 that reaches way out and way back. This is similar to St. Andrews and Pebble Beach, so once you start playing golf, you have to play golf, you’re committed.

“The pillar of our design philosophy is that every project is site specific,“ Jones added. “We listen to the land and work with it to create the best golf design possible on every unique site.“

As with most courses in Hawaii, the elements can play havoc on your game and Poipu Bay is not without its share of weather, especially when discussing the trade winds, which whip throughout the layout.

“The course finishes along the coast and we laid it out in that direction, rather than in reverse of that, to take advantage of the prevailing winds finishing, so the winds are at your back,“ Jones continued. “The winds are a form of a hazard, so you can either learn to use it as a player or be abused by it. As a designer, we like you to finish happy, so we wanted you to play downwind.“

But Jones II did not create just up and back holes. His layout features holes that play with the wind, into the breeze and across, just enough to keep you guessing on each and every shot.

The word Poipu literally means “crashing waves” in Hawaiian and the final four holes run alongside and well above the Pacific Ocean’s mighty bounty.

Just under one mile in length, the closing four holes are without a doubt the signature grouping at Poipu Bay, with the world’s largest water hazard on the left. The 16th is what many consider RTJ II’s autograph. In fact, he considered this gem as “the Pebble Beach of the Pacific.“

It comes as no surprise that Poipu Bay Golf Course has received the accolades and awards that it has, such as one of Golf Digest’s “America’s 100 Greatest Public Golf Courses,“ and since 2000, Conde Nast Traveler considers the course and the Grand Hyatt Resort as one of the top resorts in the United States.

“We wanted to distinguish Poipu Bay from the other courses, so the greens are generally smaller and somewhat rounded on the edges,“ Jones said. “They’re a little like a Donald Ross concept, like an inverted concept and that’s pretty tricky in the wind. It’s a shorter course and compact and a real golf experience. It’s produced a lot of excitement and a lot of history and fun when the Grand Slam was here.“

After just three years of opening its tee boxes, the powers that be at the Professional Golfers Association of America decided to bring its premier after-season event to Poipu Bay.

The PGA of America was certainly pleased, as from 1994 through 2006 Poipu Bay hosted the Grand Slam of Golf, which features the winners of the four majors in that calendar year.

The champions during this time frame read like a who’s who of World Golf Hall- of-Famers, led by seven-time winner Tiger Woods. In addition, other HOFs who captured the Grand Slam at Poipu Bay were Greg Norman, Ben Crenshaw, Ernie Els and course record-holder Phil Mickelson. Two other winners, Tom Lehman and Jim Furyk, can possibly reach this pinnacle in the near future.

When Norman captured the 1994 event, he became the first alternate in the history of the event to win the title. Norman capped off his final round 66 with a 5-foot eagle on the last hole to win by three shots over Nick Price, who had recorded wins that year in the PGA Championship and the British Open.

A more dramatic finish came the next season, when Crenshaw holed his 50-yard approach on the last for an eagle to clip Steve Elkington and Corey Pavin by a shot. It should be noted that John Daly also eagled the closing hole by reaching the green in two and making the putt. According to Daly lore, the long-hitting lad from Arkansas leaped over part of the sacred ground (stone wall), but still made eagle. Call it irony or karma, but Daly has not won again on the PGA Tour since.

Els set a tournament record in 1997, as he finished the two-day event at 11- under-par 133, besting Woods, then a first-time participant, by three shots.

Woods started his streak of five consecutive wins at the Grand Slam of Golf by defeating Vijay Singh 2-up in match play as the PGA of America changed the format.

Following another match-play win the following year over Davis Love III, the PGA of America returned the format to stroke play, and Woods edged Singh again, this time in a playoff. Woods made eagle in regulation to force the playoff and then eagled the 18th hole again in the extra session.

In 2002, Woods obliterated the field by carding a 36-hole total of 127, which included a final-round 61 for a whopping 14-stroke win over Davis Love III and Justin Leonard.

Making his first appearance at the Grand Slam, Furyk cruised to an eight-shot win over Masters champion Mike Weir. Furyk, who captured his only major at the U.S. Open in 2003, had 11 birdies in the two-day event and needed just 55 putts.

Playing in the event for the first time, Mickelson made history when he carded a course-record 59 to win by five shots over three-time runner-up Singh in 2004. Mickelson played flawless golf during his record run, as he tied Woods for the lowest 36-hole total in event history. In his round, he made 11 birdies and an eagle and needed only 24 putts. The round could have been better if he had only made a 9-foot eagle putt on the last!

Woods returned to Poipu Bay for the final two seasons of this event in Hawaii and did not disappoint, as he captured the 2005 and ‘06 events. In all, Woods recorded seven wins and one runner-up finish in his eight appearances at Poipu Bay. Over the years, Woods recorded 87 birdies and eight eagles for a scoring average of 66.75 and earnings of $3.15 million. It’s hard to argue with success and Woods certainly has had his share. “This facility here, the Hyatt, is absolutely fantastic, all of the amenities that they have. It’s a pretty great place,“ said Woods.

In 2010, Poipu Bay underwent a facelift of sorts, as the greens were transformed from traditional Bermuda to the eco-friendly Seashore Paspalum. In addition, several of the bunkers and tee boxes were upgraded.

“The main thing we changed were the greens,“ said Chad Dusenberry, head golf professional at Poipu Bay. “Initially we had Tid Dwarf Bermuda, which wasn’t a consistent putting surface for the weather that we have. After researching to find the best product to fit our conditions that we have, such as ocean breeze, we settled on Seashore Paspalum. We were looking for more consistency, quality and something we could speed up more, so that in the future we might be able to host another event here.“

HOLE-BY-HOLE REVIEW: The opener is a pretty straightforward hole, playing uphill from tee to green. Bunkers guard both sides of the landing area off the tee, but with the trade winds at your back, a solid tee ball will certainly avoid the trouble. A medium to short iron should remain to a fairly large putting surface that slopes toward the front and to the right. Stay below the hole, avoid the bunker on the left and you’ll get off to a good start.

The second is a boomerang par-5 that stretches 524 yards from the back markers. Playing uphill from the tee to the fairway, the key here is to avoid the bunker down the right side of the landing area. Cut the corner if you dare, but missing the short grass might eliminate your shot at getting home in two. If you’re forced to lay up, this shouldn’t be a problem, as long as you stay left of the grouping of bunkers down the right. With a wedge in hand, the player should be able to stick one close to the flag and set up a great chance at birdie.

Although the yardage does not suggest that the third hole will be the longest of the par-3s, trust me, it is, as it plays directly into the wind. The trouble here is pin placement and club selection. The green wraps around a deep bunker on the right side of the putting surface, so when the flag is tucked, stay away and play toward the center. A gentle, left-to-right shot, riding the breeze is the play here. This is not the time to be heroic. Make your par and move on.

The fourth hole is an average par-4 of just 380 yards in length. Simple, right? Not so fast. At first blush, it might appear to be a real birdie chance, but with the elements in your face and a cross-bunker staring at you, you’d better be careful. With a successful tee shot, you’ll have a medium iron remaining and don’t forget to take enough club, as sand short of the green is not the place to be. The green is fairly simple, but if you miss right, you’ll finish in a tightly mown chipping area.

The shortest par-4 on the course, the fifth is just 355 yards in length, but it requires pinpoint accuracy off the tee as fairway bunkers tighten the landing area. Missing the fairway will most likely end in bogey, but a quality tee ball can produce a birdie.

From the shortest to the longest, as the Z-shaped sixth is a monster par-5 of 573 yards from the gold markers. One large fairway bunker guards the right corner of the first dogleg. Usually downwind, this hole can be had despite its length. A successful tee ball can set up a shot at the green in two, but a more sensible effort would be to lay up just past the bunkers on either side of the landing area, thus setting up a simple run to the pin. Your hardest choice will be what club to play to the putting surface, as this is one of the longest on the course with a huge slope splitting the green. Place your approach in the proper spot and you’ll have a great shot at birdie.

One of the prettiest holes on the course, No. 7, is also the shortest of the par-3s at 179 yards. Club selection is critical in more ways than one, as a large pond protects the entire right side of the hole and with a back-right pin placement, you’ll need to be spot on, otherwise a double-bogey or worse might mess up your scorecard. I know first hand of this!

A critical juncture of the golf course, the eighth, although short, is generally played back into the breeze, making this one of the more difficult par-4s. Two fairway bunkers squeeze the landing area off the tee and with the wind in your face, it would be best to avoid them at all costs. Your slightly uphill approach gets even more difficult with the fact that the putting surface is guarded by a dozen bunkers and is the smallest green at Poipu Bay. Let’s not forget the undulating and tiered surface and you have one diabolical hole.

The closing hole on the outward nine is rated as the most difficult on the course. A par-4 reaching 420 yards from the tips, this bad boy is also the first hole on the course to feature historical sites dating back over 500 years. Playing back into the trade winds, the ninth requires an accurate tee shot, as the bunkers lining the undulating landing area, crimp the fairway to just 24 yards. From here it’s a guessing game, as your approach plays uphill to an elevated green, so take an extra stick. To top it off, the first rock heiau (ancient worship site) is located on the right side of the hole and is a culturally sensitive area, where players are not allowed to enter or play from.

The back nine opens with the fourth-most difficult hole on the course. A long, 429-yard par-4, the 10th features fairway bunkering that narrows the landing area, so much so that many players will use 3-metal off the tee for accuracy. Now you’re faced with a 200-yard approach to a very tight putting surface, guarded by deep bunkers. Miss right of the green and you’ll be faced with a difficult up-and-down from a tight chipping area.

Number 11 is a slightly downhill par-3, just under 200 yards in length. A pond guards most of the green, from the center to right, while a pair of bunkers protect the left. The winds generally blow left to right, so play out to the left for your best chance at par, especially when the pin is tucked to the right behind the pond. Any shot long will end up in a deep, chipping area, so your best play is middle of the green.

Playing away from the ocean and toward the mountains, the 12th is a straightaway par-4 that reaches 435 yards in length. The large fairway bunker on the left side of the landing area off the tee pinches the short grass and must be avoided. Your approach to the green will be uphill and into the breeze, so choose the right club to bypass the bunker that fronts the putting surface. The green itself runs from front to back and is quite narrow, which will test your skill level. Missing the putting surface might result in bogey, as several bunkers lay in wait. This hole concludes a stretch of five holes that rank in the top 10 of most difficult on the course.

If there ever was a chance to get a stroke back, the 13th is certainly that chance. The final of four par-4s under 400 yards, No. 13 can be had, especially with a good tee shot. Playing back toward the water, the trade winds will once again blow from left to right, so avoiding the bunker left and the trees right will be important to your success. The difficulty will be with your approach. Although you’ll have a short iron, the tiered putting surface is protected on the left by sand and the right by another pond. Another back- right pin can spell doom, especially since the water wraps around the green, so be careful not to go long. Half of the green is encased beautifully by a surrounding rock wall, from the front-center to behind the green. Adjusting your ball flight will serve you well.

The final stretch of holes, starting with the 14th at Poipu Bay, are as rock- solid and as exciting as many of the courses in Hawaii. This par-5 is only 537 yards long, but plays longer than all of the three-shotters due to the uphill climb from tee to green and the fact that the wind blows against you. The landing area is one of the largest on the course, so let it fly off the tee. Your second shot, most definitely a layup, must avoid the long fairway bunker that stands right-center of the landing area. With a short iron in hand, your approach, again uphill, must be struck with precision, as the green is long with plenty of undulations.

The 15th is a dynamic par-4 of just 427 yards. Dynamic because of the huge water hazard to your left, the Pacific Ocean. From an elevated tee, this hole plays down breeze and does not play as long as the yardage indicates. It does, however, require an accurate tee shot, as three fairway bunkers down the right, tighten the landing zone. A successful tee ball with leave a short iron to a green that features a bunker on either side and a severe slope on the left. Don’t be cute, play toward the center of the putting surface and trust your putter. The final four holes play atop a 150-foot cliff overlooking the ocean.

Many believe the 16th is the signature hole at Poipu Bay, and with good reason. Stretching 501 yards from the back markers, this par-4 is as difficult as it is breathtaking. Again with the Pacific down the left, your tee ball must favor the right side, avoiding the fairway bunker. Although this hole also plays down wind and slightly downhill, it will plays almost as long as its yardage. Called “the Pebble Beach of the Pacific,“ by Jones II, since it hugs the coast and bends to the left, similar to its counterpart in California. Number 16 stifles the best of players, especially with your approach, which is played uphill from the fairway. With the ocean crashing down below and an ancient rock wall squeezing the fairway by the green, your target looks as small as a thimble. Toss in a back-left pin placement and you’ll be begging for bogey.

At 225 yards, the final par-3 on the course - the 17th - is outstanding and difficult, to say the least. Although downhill and down breeze, you’ll need a long iron or fairway metal to reach the putting surface. Be careful to avoid the heiau to the right of the green and, of course, the bunkers guarding the left and right portions of the putting surface. Take time to take a look back from behind the green at the wonder of the Pacific Ocean. Trust me, it’s worth it.

From the back tee, the closing hole plays like a dogleg right, as it bends around a stand of trees. Although it has been reached in two, No. 18 is really a three-shot, par-5 of 550 yards in length. Although the tee shot is important, it is the second shot that’s crucial, as it must play short of the pond fronting the green and the bunker to the right. Roughly 100 yards will remain to a putting surface that runs from middle to back, so land soft to set up a birdie chance. If you played your cards right, you will be rewarded.

FINAL WORD: Poipu Bay Golf Course is another Robert Trent Jones II classic on the island of Kauai, complete with rolling terrain, awesome elevation changes, dramatic views of the Pacific (as much of the golf course sits almost 90 feet above the ocean and 150 feet in some places), several water holes, over 85 bunkers and, yes ... the elements.

The trade winds blow on an average of 15-20 miles per hour each and every day, making Poipu Bay quite a challenge. Jones laid the golf course out so that the wind direction is diverse throughout the layout. In doing so, Jones made club selection and strategy crucial in playing the course. As if you didn’t have enough problems to worry about!

The average player should not be overly concerned, however, as Poipu Bay is for all levels of golf.

“The playability, depending upon what skill level you are, and the different tees, makes it enjoyable for all different player types,“ Dusenberry said. “From the high handicapper to the low handicapper, depending upon what tee boxes you play, it will provide a challenge. There are not a lot of forced carries, and you can miss it left and right and still keep your golf ball in play.“

Poipu Bay is a great mix of holes, such as three par-3s over water, with the quartet of one-shotters ranging from 179 to 225 yards. There are four par-4s under 400 yards in length, five over 420 yards and one over 500. Finally, the spectacular par-5s are all laid out in different directions, presenting their own set of problems.

“Our philosophy also calls for the creation of courses that combine playability for the average golfer with sufficient difficulty from championship tees to challenge the world’s best players,“ Jones said. “Providing alternative lines of play adds another crucial strategic component to our courses.“

Although not as flamboyant as The Prince Course on the north shore, Poipu Bay is itself quite unique, with its several archaeological sites that boast Heiaus and ancient stone walls.

The one aspect of the course that really stands out is the natural beauty of the layout. The conditioning of the layout is top notch and the flora and fauna throughout the course are stunning. From tropical flowers, such as the beautiful pink blossoms by the 18th green or the thick vegetation and timeless palms scattered throughout, make Poipu Bay a visual delight.

As mentioned before, the fact this course is playable for all levels makes it a favorite amongst the locals and, of course, the resort guests. The forward tees are 5,372 yards in length and are followed up by the white markers (6,127 yards), the blue (6,612 yards) and finally, the gold tees at 7,123 yards.

The inexperienced player, not to mention the medium handicap player, will enjoy the course, while the best of players will be extremely tested on a course that at times plays as difficult as any. You’ll be forced to play shots that you normally don’t on the mainland, such as knock-down shots with a 6- iron from 150 yards away or putting from 10 yards off the green.

So pick a spot or mix and match and you’ll have the time of your life. The fairways are generous, the greens are undulating and slick and the course as a whole is a top-caliber venue that will bring you back, time and time again.

Hey, if the golf doesn’t bring you back, then the dramatic views of the Pacific Ocean, the waves crashing down below, the seals sunbathing and the surfers hanging loose will.

Did I forget to mention the 21,000 square foot clubhouse, with a fully stocked pro shop, complete locker room facilities, a restaurant and a lounge.

To top it off, the Grand Hyatt Kauai Resort and Spa is just a short walk from the first tee, so take advantage of this beautiful resort and its 602 luxurious rooms.

As with all the courses on Kauai, Poipu Bay is a must play and should be on everyone’s proverbial bucket list.

Aces, pars or bogeys.  ~~  Phil Sokol ~~

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Jeff Gordon may be retiring, but Dale Earnhardt Jr. is still having ‘fun’

One week ago, the world of NASCAR suffered a blow when Jeff Gordon announced that this year would be his last as a full-time driver. On Thursday, the circuit got just about the best news possible: Dale Earnhardt Jr. isn’t going anywhere, anytime soon.

Earnhardt was engaging with the media at Charlotte Motor Speedway when he made some expansive comments, indicating an optimism about possibly racing for another decade. That’s music to the ears of NASCAR fans, as Earnhardt is easily the most popular driver going.

Gordon, of course, is also one of circuit’s top stars, a four-time Sprint Cup champion who helped the sport grow by breaking the mold of the traditional, Southern-boy stock-car ace. But the 43-year-old driver has been struggling with back ailments and grappling more with all the time he’s had to spend away from his two young children.

Earnhardt isn’t much younger, having turned 40 last year, but he has no children and said Thursday that he feels “like a 30-year-old.” Another thing the 16-year Sprint Cup veteran does not have is a championship, unlike Gordon, not to mention Earnhardt’s legendary father, who won seven Winston Cup titles.

                              “I’d love to win a championship,” Earnhardt told Fox Sports. “We try every year to win that championship. It’s either in the cards for me or it’s not. I don’t know that I will be affected by it — should it not happen to me — for a long time after my career. But that’s definitely one of the things I’d love to accomplish.

                              “Jeff made his decision based on factors in his life, whether it be his health or his kids. And factors in my life will affect the way I look at retirement or look at making a change in my career. Right now I’ve never had more fun driving a race car than I have in the last five years. I didn’t even know I could have this much fun.”

Earnhardt racked up four Sprint Cup wins in 2014, his most since 2004 (six). He finished eighth in the standings, notching consecutive top-10 seasons for the first time since 2003-04.

So there’s no doubt that Earnhardt can still compete with the best. And as long as that’s the case, it appears that he’ll be delighted to get out there and trade paint.

                              “I want to race as long as I am healthy and as long as I’m in cars that I feel like are competitive, and as long as I feel competitive,” Earnhardt told Fox Sports. “I think I’ll stop racing when my health is an issue or I don’t feel like I’m in a competitive car or I feel like that I’ve lost a step.

                              “Like a cornerback or wide receiver loses his step as they get into their mid-30s or get older, if I start to feel like I’m not carrying my weight out on the racetrack, I think that you’ll have to take a look at yourself.

                              “You don’t want to waste anybody’s time out there. You don’t want the team carrying you on the racetrack out there. I feel like this past year we had some really good success and I feel like that I’m getting better in some areas as a driver each year, and my health’s been great.

                              “I’ve really had the most fun that I’ve had in a long time in consecutive years. It’s not just because we won four races. I’ve had so much fun driving cars, and I think with that happening, it’s going to be very hard to consider doing anything different.”

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
Sacramento at Indiana, 7:00 PM - CSN-California, FS-Indiana, DSS
Dallas at Orlando, 7:00 PM - FS-Southwest, Florida, DSS
Toronto at Washington, 7:00 PM - SNET-360, CSN-DC, DSS
Philadelphia at Atlanta, 7:30 PM - TCN-Philadelphia, SportSouth, DSS
Houston at Detroit, 7:30 PM - ROOT-Southwest, FS-Detroit, DSS
Oklahoma City at Memphis, 8:00 PM - FS-Oklahoma, SportSouth, DSS
Cleveland at Minnesota, 8:00 PM - FS-Ohio, North, DSS
Portland at Milwaukee, 8:30 PM - CSN-Northwest, FS-Wisconsin, DSS
Charlotte at Denver, 9:00 PM - SportSouth, Altitude, DSS
LA Clippers at San Antonio, 9:00 PM - FS-Prime Ticket, KENS, ESPN
Phoenix at Golden State, 10:30 PM - FS-Arizona, CSN-Bay, DSS
National Hockey League
Washington at Montreal, 1:00 PM - CSN-DC, RDS, NHL Network, DSS
NY Islanders at Detroit, 2:00 PM - MSG+, FS-Detroit, DSS
Arizona at Ottawa, 3:00 PM - RDS2, TSN5, DSS
Florida at New Jersey, 7:00 PM - FS-Florida, MSG+, DSS
Toronto at Philadelphia, 7:00 PM - CBC, CSN-Philadelphia, DSS
Carolina at NY Rangers, 7:00 PM - FS-Carolina, MSG, DSS
Los Angeles at Boston, 7:00 PM - FS-West, NESN, NHL Network, DSS
Dallas at Winnipeg, 7:00 PM - TXA 21, CITY, DSS
Columbus at Tampa Bay, 7:30 PM - FS-Ohio, SunSports, DSS
Edmonton at Calgary, 10:00 PM - CBC, TVA, DSS
Chicago at San Jose, 10:30 PM - CSN-Chicago, California, DSS
College Basketball
Auburn at Tennessee, 12:00 PM - ESPN 2
Notre Dame at Pittsburgh, 12:00 PM - ACC Network, WTAE,
Xavier at Seton Hall, 12:00 PM - FS1
NC State at Georgia Tech, 12:00 PM - ACC Network,
Texas Tech at West Virginia, 12:00 PM - ESPN U
Boston College at Clemson, 12:00 PM - NESN, RSN, YES
Providence at St Johns, 12:00 PM - FOX
Wisconsin at Iowa, 12:00 PM - ESPN
Tulane at Temple, 12:00 PM - CBSSN
Davidson at Saint Josephs, 12:00 PM - NBCSN
South Florida at Tulsa, 1:00 PM - ESPNews
Penn State at Illinois, 1:00 PM - Big Ten Network
Arkansas at Florida, 1:00 PM - CBS
Lipscomb at Stetson, 1:00 PM -
Kennesaw St at Jacksonville, 2:00 PM -
LSU at Miss State, 2:00 PM - SEC Network
Virginia Tech at Wake Forest, 2:00 PM - MSG, ROOT-NW, PIT, SportsTime Ohio
Green Bay at Cleveland State, 2:00 PM - Time Warner,
Mount St Marys at Sacred Heart, 2:00 PM -
Illinois State at Loyola-Chicago, 2:00 PM - FS-Midwest, CSN-Chicago,
Kansas State at Kansas, 2:00 PM - ESPN
TCU at Iowa State, 2:00 PM - ESPN U
Villanova at DePaul, 2:00 PM - FS1
Georgetown at Creighton, 2:00 PM - CBSSN
Butler at Marquette, 2:00 PM - FS-Florida, Ohio, Prime Ticket, San Diego
Vermont at Hartford, 2:00 PM -
Richmond at VA Commonwealth, 2:00 PM - ESPN 2
Boston Univ at Lehigh, 2:00 PM - Patriot League Network
Valparaiso at Ill-Chicago, 3:00 PM - MASN, CSN-Chicago+, Altitude
Idaho State at North Dakota, 3:00 PM - MidcoSN
Loyola-Maryland at Army, 3:00 PM - Patriot League Network
Evansville at Drake, 3:05 PM - MC22
Rutgers at Indiana, 3:15 PM - Big Ten Network
Ball State at Miami-Ohio, 3:30 PM -
Winthrop at Radford, 4:00 PM - RUTV, Big South Network
North Carolina at Louisville, 4:00 PM - ESPN
George Washington at Rhode Island, 4:00 PM - Ocean State Network
Massachusetts at Saint Louis, 4:00 PM - CBSSN
Long Island at St Francis-NY, 4:00 PM - MSG
Loyola Marymount at Pacific, 4:00 PM - Time Warner, CSN-California, ROOT
William & Mary at James Madison, 4:00 PM - CSN-Baltimore, New England, TCN-Phi
Ole Miss at Missouri, 4:00 PM - SportSouth, SunSports, FS-Midwest, Det, Wisc
Wichita State at Northern Iowa, 4:00 PM - ESPN 2
Georgia at South Carolina, 4:00 PM - ESPN U
Eastern Ky at Morehead State, 4:15 PM - This TV, CW Lexington
Campbell at UNC-Asheville, 4:30 PM - Big South Network
Vanderbilt at Texas A&M, 4:30 PM - SEC Network
Ohio at Central Mich, 4:30 PM -
Detroit at Milwaukee, 5:00 PM - Time Warner Sports,
Western Carolina at UNC Greensboro, 5:00 PM - SoCon Digital Network
Idaho at Eastern Wash, 5:05 PM - SWX
Houston Baptist at Sam Houston St, 5:30 PM -
Louisiana at Texas State, 5:30 PM - KBVO
Marshall at Louisiana Tech, 5:30 PM - ASN, MASN2, Altitude, CSN-Chicago+
Denver at South Dakota St, 5:30 PM - MidcoSN,
Western Ky at Southern Miss, 6:00 PM - FCS
Texas at Baylor, 6:00 PM - ESPN 2
Nebraska at Minnesota, 6:00 PM - Big Ten Network
Purdue at Northwestern, 6:00 PM - ESPN U
Pepperdine at St Marys-CA, 6:00 PM - CSN-Bay
Dartmouth at Princeton, 6:00 PM - Ivy League Digital Network
Nevada at Wyoming, 6:00 PM - ROOT-Rocky Mountain, Northwest
Fresno State at Colorado State, 6:00 PM - CBSSN
Duke at Virginia, 7:00 PM - ESPN
Char Southern at Liberty, 7:00 PM - LFSN, MASN
Harvard at Penn, 7:00 PM - Ivy League Digital Network
Lafayette at Navy, 7:00 PM - Patriot League Network
La Salle at St Bonaventure, 7:00 PM - Time Warner Sports
Saint Peters at Iona, 7:00 PM -
Mercer at Wofford, 7:00 PM -
Colgate at Bucknell, 7:00 PM - Patriot League Network
Hawaii at Long Beach State, 7:00 PM -
Alabama at Kentucky, 7:00 PM - SEC Network
Northern Ky at Fla Gulf Coast, 7:00 PM -
USC Upstate at North Florida, 7:00 PM -
San Francisco at San Diego, 8:00 PM - Time Warner Sports
Rice at North Texas, 8:00 PM - American Sports Network
Oklahoma at Oklahoma State, 8:00 PM - ESPN 2
UCF at SMU, 8:00 PM - ESPN U
Toledo at Northern Ill, 8:00 PM -
Towson at Hofstra, 8:00 PM - SNY, American Sports Network
San Jose St at New Mexico, 8:00 PM - ROOT-Rocky Mountain, Northwest
Utah State at San Diego St, 8:00 PM - CBSSN
Southern Ill at Missouri State, 8:05 PM - CSN-Chicago+, WDKA,
Stanford at Washington St, 8:30 PM - Pac-12 Network
Santa Clara at BYU, 9:00 PM - BYUtv
Chicago State at Grand Canyon, 9:00 PM - COX 7
TX-Pan American at New Mexico St, 9:00 PM - FS-Southwest, Arizona+
Air Force at UNLV, 10:00 PM -
Cal Poly at UC Davis, 10:00 PM - ESPN U
Memphis at Gonzaga, 10:00 PM - ESPN 2
UMKC at Utah Valley U, 10:30 PM - MASN, American Sports Network
Colorado at UCLA, 10:30 PM - Pac-12 Network
Women’s College Basketball
Mount St. Mary’s at Sacred Heart, 11:30 AM -
UTEP at Middle Tennessee, 12:00 PM - SportSouth, FS-Florida, Ohio, Southwest
Ohio at Central Michigan, 1:00 PM -
UNC Greensboro at Wofford, 2:00 PM -
Presbyterian at UNC Asheville, 2:00 PM -
Houston at Cincinnati, 2:00 PM - American Network
North Florida at USC Upstate, 2:00 PM -
Jacksonville at Kennesaw State, 2:00 PM -
Milwaukee at Youngstown State, 2:00 PM -
South Florida at Memphis, 3:00 PM -
Houston Baptist at Sam Houston State, 3:00 PM -
East Carolina at Tulane, 3:00 PM -
Washington State at Stanford, 3:30 PM - Pac-12 Network
UCLA at Oregon, 3:30 PM - Pac-12 Network
Kansas State at Texas Tech, 4:00 PM - FS-South, Southwest, West
UCF at Tulsa, 4:00 PM -
Marist at Iona, 4:00 PM -
Cleveland State at Oakland, 4:00 PM -
Stetson at Lipscomb, 5:00 PM -
USC at Oregon State, 5:30 PM - Pac-12 Network
Washington at California, 5:30 PM - Pac-12 Network
Penn at Harvard, 6:00 PM -
Princeton at Dartmouth, 6:00 PM - Ivy League Digital Network
Florida Gulf Coast at Northern Kentucky, 7:00 PM -
Southern Utah at Northern Arizona, 7:30 PM - FS-Arizona
Green Bay at Illinois-Chicago, 8:00 PM -
CS Fullerton at Long Beach State, 9:30 PM -
College Hockey
New Hampshire at Notre Dame, 6:30 PM - NBCSN
Army at RIT, 7:00 PM - Time Warner
Minnesota at Wisconsin, 8:00 PM - Big Ten Network
North Dakota at Nebraska Omaha, 8:00 PM - FCS
National Lacrosse League
Calgary at Toronto, 7:00 PM -
Sioux Falls at Westchester, 7:00 PM - MSG2
International Soccer
Brentford FC vs. Middlesbrough FC, 7:10 AM - beIN Sports
Hull City vs. Newcastle United, 7:45 AM - NBCSN
Real Madrid vs. Real Sociedad, 9:55 AM - beIN Sports
Manchester United vs. Leicester City, 10:00 AM - NBCSN
Genoa vs. ACF Fiorentina, 11:55 AM - beIN Sports
Chelsea vs. Manchester City, 12:30 PM - NBC
AS Roma vs. Empoli FC, 2:40 PM - beIN Sports
EUROPEAN - Dubai Desert Classic, 4:00 AM - Golf Channel
PGA - Phoenix Open, 3:00 PM - CBS
LPGA - Coates Golf Championship, 3:00 PM - Golf Channel
Australian Open (Women’s Final), 3:00 AM - ESPN
Horse Racing
Sam F. Davis Stakes, 3:30 PM - TVG
Track and Field
Armory Track Invitational, 4:30 PM - NBCSN

Sports News   150130

The Gilmer Free Press

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Redskins’ RGIII says he wasn’t healthy last season and ‘it sucked’

Redskins quarterback Robert Griffin III joined ESPN 980′s Chris Russell on Wednesday to talk about his Family of 3 Foundation, recent changes to the coaching staff and the team’s dreadful 2014 season. Griffin said he can’t wait to work with new quarterbacks coach Matt Cavanaugh and “add more knowledge to the bank.” He’s also looking forward to being fully healthy again.

“Last year I wasn’t healthy, and it sucked, so there’s no other way to say it other than that,” Griffin said. “When you dislocate your ankle in the second week of the season, when you and your team have big things in mind. It’s just getting healthy, getting the mental break getting a chance to spend time with family, and then formulate my plan going forward for this year and we can go out there and win games and be playing at this time next year.”

Griffin opened up more about the ankle injury he suffered in Week 2 and Coach Jay Gruden’s decision to bench him before the Redskins’ Week 13 game at Indianapolis.

“For me, I rely heavily on my faith, and I feel like God allowed that to happen to me for a reason,” Griffin said of his injury. “It was to show me something, and yeah, it sucked. Nobody wants to have those things happen to them and we felt like we were going to be able to get on a roll after Jacksonville and put some wins together and have a much better season than we did. But the days after that, I had never suffered an ankle injury to that severity before, so I didn’t really know what to expect. And it just became more and more tough with the more games that we lost, because you know how hard the guys work and you want to get out there and help them win games. I could have sat out the rest of last year with as bad as the ankle was, but I felt like I could play, and I wanted to get out there and play with my guys and help them win games.

“And that didn’t happen when I got back out there, and coach made a decision. And that’s an unfortunate decision, and something we all had to go with because that was coach’s choice. But, at the end of the day I got to go back out there with my guys, we had a little bit of fun, we beat Philadelphia and the season didn’t close the way we wanted it to, but at the end of the day, we all know what we can do and we gotta go out there and do it, and there’s nothing that we can say that’s going to change what happened last year.”

Griffin said there’s no simple answer to how he can become a more consistent quarterback, but staying healthy, as much as a player can control that, is a start.

“For me, what I’ve learned is, at times like these you have to focus in on yourself a whole lot harder and that’s what I’ve tried to do,” Griffin said. “I’ve tried to figure what I can do to be more consistent, go out there and play the game that you love, the way that you know how to play it. Also for me, it’s to stay healthy so I don’t have to fight back from these injuries, because I know, as of late, I’ve made a habit of coming back from these injuries faster than other people. But that’s not by design, that’s because God has allowed me to do that. So stay healthy, go out and have fun and play the game, and the rest will fall into place. I think with the moves that we’ve made, that the coach and the GM have made, it will allow us to be in a better position to go out and win games, and I think all the guys are excited about that.”

Russell asked Griffin how he handles the speculation about his future in Washington.

“I’m indifferent to it, because if you’re riding those emotional roller-coasters based on what people say, it can really affect you and how you play all the time,” Griffin said. “For me, the way I put it is, I’m a Washington Redskin until they tell me I’m not. That’s all I can focus on, that’s all I’m going to focus on. Take care of my family, be there for my teammates, be there for the city. I know the city wants us to win just like we did in 2012, and we want that too, and we’re going to go to work to make sure that happens. We just have to put the work in and not really talk about it. I know we have to talk to the media, and that’s just part of what it is for us as players in the NFL, as you can see with Marshawn Lynch. But at the end of the day, we just have to go out and play, have fun, and not have any worries about anything else.”

Griffin also weighed in on the two biggest topics of Super Bowl week — Marshawn Lynch’s media appearances and Deflategate. Unlike teammate DeAngelo Hall, Griffin said he “can totally see where Marshawn’s coming from just from my own experience and just talking about myself.”

“I know they pump up the balls and they get inspected before every game, but I wasn’t aware that the ball had to be at a certain limit or higher, which is interesting,” Griffin said of Deflategate. “I think it’s very interesting. I think it could be something that we look at going into the future about how much we pump up the ball. But at the same time, for me, going this far in my career, all we worry about is can we grip the ball, not how much air is in it. We have our guy Pat rub the balls down with mud, and get the ball to where it’s not brand new, because a brand new ball is very slick. Other than that, we just make sure when we throw it that it feels good, and if it feels good, great, and if it doesn’t feel good, you throw it out.”

Finally, Griffin was asked whether he can take anything from watching Super Bowl quarterbacks Tom Brady and Russell Wilson to improve his own game.

“They are one of the greatest scramble drill teams in the league, broken play, second-reaction play, whatever you want to call it,” Griffin said of Wilson’s Seahawks. “They do a great job of that. I think it just comes with the organizational support that [Brady and Wilson] have as well to be the players that they are, to understand that this is our guy no matter what. I think the [NFC Championship] game with the Packers shows that more than anything. When a guy goes out there and throws four interceptions and then leads them to a victory, I think that guy knows in the back of his head that his entire team has his back, and the entire organization has his back. And I think that’s important, and I think it’s been the same way for Tom Brady. I can take different pieces of their game, but I also understand the situations that they’re in, and try to take that as well, and know that this is how you build a winner, this is how you build a family-like atmosphere. And that’s what we’re trying to do with the Redskins, and that’s what I want to be a part of.”

►  Eagles promote Marynowitz to VP of player personnel

Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly decided to go with youth over experience when picking his new vice president of player personnel on Thursday.

Ed Marynowitz, 30, is now Kelly’s right-hand man.

Marynowitz joined the Eagles in 2012 as the team’s assistant director of pro scouting and was promoted one year later to assistant director of player personnel.

“Ed is someone who has really impressed me going back to my interview process with the Eagles two years ago,“ said Kelly. “He’s very bright, detailed, organized and his vision was aligned with what we want to accomplish. I spoke with a lot of people outside of our organization over the past few weeks and in the end, Ed was the most impressive.“

The position opened up when the Eagles and Tom Gamble parted ways on December 31. A few days later owner Jeffrey Lurie did some more front-office reshuffling.

Howie Roseman, the Eagles’ general manager since 2010, was elevated to the role of executive vice president of football operations.

Kelly, who has led the Eagles to 10 wins in each of his first two seasons, took over full control of the player personnel department and led the search for a new personnel executive.

Marynowitz was part of the search team led by Lurie that brought Kelly to Philadelphia in 2013.

Prior to joining the Eagles, Marynowitz worked at the University of Alabama under Nick Saban as the school’s director of player personnel from 2008-11. The Crimson Tide won two BCS national championships during his time there.

“This is a great opportunity for Ed and I think Philadelphia made an excellent decision in terms of expanding his role and responsibilities in the organization,“ said Saban.

►  Patriots begin prep with Brady under the weather

They downplayed it but the New England Patriots conducted their first practice since arriving in Arizona for Super Bowl XLIX with a quarterback feeling under the weather.

Tom Brady was a little worse for wear at Tuesday’s Media Day and copped to a cold a day later when he spoke to the media at the Pats’ team hotel in Chandler, Ariz.

“It’s been lingering,“ Brady told the assembled reporters before the team’s practice at the Arizona Cardinals facility. “I’m just trying to get some rest, and a lot of garlic. An old remedy, so I’m trying everything I can.“

Brady said his kids were first struck by the illness, followed by his wife, supermodel Gisele Bundchen, and he arrived in Arizona with the bug.

“It will be good to be back on the field,“ he said. “There is a lot that goes with Super Bowl week, so it will be good to get on the field and re-focus. We have our game plan set, so now it’s refining it and making sure it’s where we want it to be.“

New England coach Bill Belichick said Brady “took all the snaps” at a two-hour session on Wednesday and claimed he wasn’t worried about his QB’s condition.

According to a pool report, after extensive individual drills, the Patriots’ work included third-down situations, red-zone snaps and a series of down-and- distance tests.

“There’s always things to work on, but we’re grinding away,“ Belichick said.

On the injury front, starting center Bryan Stork, who wasn’t able to practice when drills began last week due to a knee injury, was a full participant.

With 75 degree weather it’s no surprise Belichick called the field conditions “great,“ and went with a Chip Kelly-like environment with music pumping during a large portion of the team drills, an effort to keep the players energized and also help with communication.

“In this game, you know, it’s kind of a neutral field, so you’ve got to be ready for (a loud crowd),“ Belichick said.

The Seahawks also started their preparation at Arizona State University with a full deck. All 53 Seattle players and its 10-man practice-squad were healthy enough to practice on what coach Pete Carroll calls “Competition Wednesday.“

“Terrific work,“ Carroll said. “Terrific day. The energy was there, and guys got good work in. This was an unusual day for the guys, with the media stuff in the middle of the day. We had meetings in the morning, then the media, then more meetings to prepare for practice, and then came out here. But the guys worked hard.“

Star cornerback Richard Sherman, who is dealing with a hyperextended elbow suffered in the NFC Championship Game against Green Bay, had his arm wrapped but worked regularly with the defense and made a leaping interception.

All-Pro safety Earl Thomas suffered a dislocated shoulder against the Packers but was also showing no real ill effects on Wednesday, while offensive guard J.R. Sweezy alternated with the first-unit due to a balky ankle.

“We’re really fortunate to be this healthy,“ said Carroll. “If we can make it through practice (Thursday), we’ll be in great shape.“

►  Broncos bring back Phillips as defensive coordinator

The Denver Broncos have filled their vacant defensive coordinator position with a familiar face as they agreed to terms with Wade Phillips.

Phillips has ties both to new head coach Gary Kubiak and the Broncos. He served as Houston’s defensive coordinator under Kubiak starting in 2011 and took over as interim head coach in 2013, his last post in the NFL.

In his first season with Houston, Phillips inherited the league’s 30th-ranked defense and transformed it into a unit that finished second in total defense (285.7 ypg).

Phillips served as Denver’s defensive coordinator from 1989-92 and then took over as head coach from 1993-94. He led a third-ranked defense to a Super Bowl appearance in 1989.

The 67-year-old was also the defensive coordinator for Buffalo (1995-97), Atlanta (2002-03) and San Diego (2004-06). He was also the Bills’ vice president of football operations/head coach (1998-2000).

Phillips got his start under his father Bum Phillips, who was head coach of the Houston Oilers. He served as the Oilers’ defensive line coach from 1977-80 linebackers coach in 1979.

►  U.S. activists keep domestic violence in Super Bowl spotlight

As fans gather for Sunday’s Super Bowl in Arizona, billboard trucks are expected to travel around Phoenix with messages reminding revelers of what critics see as an inadequate NFL response to domestic violence involving star NFL players.

Dispatched by an anti-sexism group to the airport, hotels and other venues, the trucks will bear slogans including “55 Cases of Domestic Violence Unanswered” and call for commissioner Roger Goodell to resign.

“Plain and simple: The NFL doesn’t have the leadership to fix their violence against women problem, and Goodell needs to go for that to change,“ said Nita Chaudhary, cofounder of the group UltraViolet, which claims Goodell has ignored 55 incidents of domestic violence involving NFL players.

The NFL has faced criticism for its handling of domestic violence after Baltimore Ravens running back Ray Rice knocked out his then-fiancee in an elevator. Rice last year was first suspended for two games and later suspended indefinitely.

The initial punishment drew fire for being too soft. That criticism has echoed in Phoenix ahead of the Super Bowl between the New England Patriots and the Seattle Seahawks, even as the most popular U.S. sports league continues to court female fans.

“The NFL is big business, I get that,“ said Pat Riegel, a Philadelphia woman who flew to Phoenix for the Super Bowl with a fellow female Eagles fan.

“But you can’t cover up something like that,“ she said. “They probably could’ve done a bit better ... In the end they did, but they were pressured.“


Over a generation, women have turned from casual NFL fans to an important demographic, and females now comprise about 45% of the NFL audience on TV and at stadiums. That is important for a league that aims to boost annual revenue from $9 billion now to $25 billion by 2027.

The league has had some success attracting women in recent years, creating NFL clothing designed for women and sending players to charity events on women’s issues.

Compounding the challenges the NFL faces in growing its female fan base, the league saw a slight dip in the number of women viewing televised games this season even as male viewership rose, according to Nielsen data.

The data, which did not pinpoint a cause, showed male viewers of regular 2014 season games rose by some 230,000 to an average of 11.56 million per game, while women viewers fell slightly to 6.06 million from 6.09 million the year before.

To be sure, annual viewership fluctuations have been common, but 2014 marked the first time in four years that men and women’s viewership have not trended in the same direction. NFL officials did not immediately respond to queries about the numbers.

Mary Jo Kane, a University of Minnesota sports sociology professor, said the dip in women viewers could have many causes, including publicity over head injuries and drunken driving cases.

“One could argue that the whole issue of concussion and being concerned about their sons and not watching it could also be an issue,“ Kane said. “... You have a lot of negative issues going on,“ Kane said.

Some 20,000 former players have brought a class-action lawsuit against the NFL that accuses it of having encouraged them to continue playing with brain injuries. The league denies concealing information related to head or brain injuries that might occur while playing.

In addition, at least nine NFL players have been arrested for DUI since the start of last year, according to media reports.


Goodell has unveiled a tougher discipline policy for off-field misconduct, and has hired four female senior advisers to help shape domestic violence policies.

Among them is Lisa Friel, who led the New York County Sex Crimes Prosecution Unit for more than a decade.

“He is not just looking for the media attention to go away or for this to die down and then go back to business as usual,“ Friel said of Goodell.

But after the Rice incident, one notable sponsor, Procter & Gamble Co’s Crest, said in October it would no longer offer pink mouth guards to players for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

Other sponsors have expressed concerns to the league, underlining the risk to the NFL, which has almost maxed out its U.S. male audience, from any perception among women it has mishandled domestic violence cases.

Marti Barletta, author of “Marketing to Women,“ said the league stumbled early on, but she hailed a “No More” campaign against domestic violence launched in October.

A chilling “No More” ad, featuring a 911 call from a domestic violence victim who pretends to be ordering pizza because her attacker is with her, will air during Sunday’s game.

“If women see Roger Goodell is making a good faith effort to get caught up on the norms of 2015 culture, I think they will come around,“ Barletta said. Football “is just too much a part of American culture.“

►  Browns’ Josh Gordon defends himself in letter to Charles Barkley and his other critics

Cleveland Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon is facing a one-year suspension after again violating the NFL’s drug policy, this time following a positive test for alcohol. This latest misstep — Gordon missed 10 games last season stemming from a DUI arrest and a previous suspension for a failed marijuana test; he also was suspended for Cleveland’s final game for violating team policy — drew substantial criticism and worry from a number of commentators.

“This is very personal to me,” Charles Barkley said on ESPN’s “His and Hers.” “I have a brother who’s dead … Josh Gordon is going to die if he keeps going on this road he’s going.”

ESPN’s Stephen A. Smith, meanwhile, said he was “done” with Gordon. The network’s Cris Carter, who also faced problems with substance abuse during his NFL career and previously said the Browns should cut Gordon, also expressed concern for him following the latest incident.

Now Gordon is firing back at his critics. In a letter posted on The Cauldron, he apologized for recent events while also condemning Barkley and the others for not knowing the full story:

                          First, words cannot express the remorse and regret I feel over this latest incident. I acknowledge that the repeated transgressions that have led up to this point have damaged my credibility, and for that, the only person to blame is me.

                          I have let down many in Cleveland — my Browns teammates, our hard-working coaching staff, the team’s ownership, and the loyal fan base that wants nothing more than to win. Playing there is different than in many other cities. We feel the fans’ pain. We know how important this is to them.

Gordon then went on to describe his harsh upbringing in a poor section of Houston called Fondren. His father wasn’t around much, and his family moved around constantly. When his older brothers moved out, “I started hanging out with the wrong kind of people,” Gordon wrote, continuing:

                          The kind who would think nothing not only of carrying guns, but using them. Back then, smoking marijuana wasn’t an addiction for any of us — we were still boys, basically. It was just what everyone did. It was everywhere, just like alcohol was.

                          So Charles, Stephen A., Cris — you judge me now, but what if you came from where I come from? Heck, maybe you did experience similar upbringings, but I wouldn’t know, because I do not know you. Each of you have dealt with more than your fair shares of self-inflicted controversies, though, that I do know.

Gordon went on to describe the events that led to his latest failed test:

                          On January 02 of this year, just days after our season ended earlier than we all had hoped — and yes, my actions during the prior offseason definitely contributed to our failure to make the playoffs; it killed me seeing our guys fight so hard when I wasn’t out there with them — I boarded a private flight to Las Vegas with several teammates. During the flight, I had two beers and two drinks. It was the first time I had consumed so much as a drop of alcohol since July 4, 2014, the day of the DWI.

                          Anyone who knows me knows that I am not much of a drinker. Even calling me a social drinker would be an exaggeration, but at that moment, on that flight, I made a choice. The wrong choice, as it turned out.

                          Upon landing, I received the all-too-familiar notice by phone that I was to report to a testing location within four hours. I failed the test, obviously, and the rest is history … colored by media speculation and faux outrage.

                          In the end, of course, I failed myself.

                          It doesn’t matter if I thought that the league-imposed restriction on drinking had expired at the end of the regular season; what matters is that I didn’t confirm whether or not that was the case. Now, that oversight has further jeopardized my relationship with my team and our fans, my reputation, and maybe even my career.


The Gilmer Free Press

►  Area High Schools Boys Basketball Game Results

(Thursday, January 29)

#3 Greater Beckley Christian 81     #5 Gilmer County 57

Roane County 56     Braxton County 51

Clay County 64     Calhoun County 51

Lewis County 76     North Marion 38

Tyler Consolidated 52     Wirt County 47

#5 Robert C. Byrd 75     Grafton 46

#2 Bridgeport 57     Buckhannon-Upshur 47

#3 Fairmont Senior 84     Liberty 50

Philip Barbour 69     East Fairmont 61

►  Area High Schools Girls Basketball Game Results

(Thursday, January 29)

#4 Williamstown 69     Ritchie County 59

#7 Notre Dame 48     Parkersburg Christian 22

Parkersburg 89     Capital 49

Parkersburg Catholic 58     St. Marys 51

►  Big Atlantic Classic

Monday’s Results

Game 1 — Greater Beckley Christian 82, Moorefield 51 (boys A)

Game 2 — Gilmer County 71, Sherman 59 (boys A)

Tuesday’s Results

Game 3 — Westside 81, Wyoming East 67 (boys AA)

Game 4 — Scott 70, Liberty Raleigh 46 (boys AA)

Wednesday’s Results

Game 5 — Moorefield 78, Sherman 33 (boys A consolation)

Game 6 — Liberty Raleigh 48, Wyoming East 46 (boys AA consolation)

Game 7 — Oak Hill Academy (Va.) 81, Blue Ridge 39 (boys national)

Game 8 — St. Albans 64, Wyoming East 59 (girls)

Thursday’s Results

Game 9 — George Washington 76, Brooke 34 (girls)

Game 10 — Morgantown 67, Huntington 57 (girls)

Game 11 — Greater Beckley Christian 81, Gilmer County 57 (boys A championship)

Game 12 — Greenbrier East 75, Oak Hill 39 (girls)

Today’s Games

Game 13 — Brooke vs. Huntington (girls co-consolation), 2 PM

Game 14 — Parkersburg South vs. Princeton (boys AAA), 4 PM

Game 15 — Shady Spring vs. Martinsburg (boys AAA), 5:40 PM

Game 16 — Greenbrier East vs. Hampshire (boys AAA), 7:20 PM

Game 17 — Woodrow Wilson vs. Washington (boys AAA), 9 PM

Saturday’s Games

Game 18 — Wyoming East vs. Oak Hill (girls co-consolation), 9 AM

Game 19 — Game 14 loser vs. Game 15 loser (boys AAA co-consolation), 10:40 AM

Game 20 — Game 16 loser vs. Game 17 loser (boys AAA co-consolation), 12:20 PM

Game 21 — Westside vs. Scott (boys AA championship), 2 PM

Game 22 — St. Albans vs. Greenbrier East (girls co-championship), 4 PM

Game 23 — Game 14 winner vs. Game 15 winner (boys AAA co-championship), 5:40 PM

Game 24 — George Washington vs. Morgantown (girls co-championship), 7:20 PM

Game 25 — Game 16 winner vs. Game 17 winner (boys AAA co-championship), 9 PM

The Gilmer Free Press

►  MEC Men’s Basketball Game Results

(Thursday, January 29)

Concord 66, West Virginia Wesleyan 61 | Final Stats

Concord held off West Virginia Wesleyan late and picked up a 66-61 win over the Bobcats at the Carter Center.

The Mountain Lions (12-6, 8-5) saw its 12-point second half lead dwindle to a basket at 63-61 with 1:38 to go. WVWC (8-11, 6-7) had a chance to tie the game with a three-pointer in the final seconds, but it wouldn’t fall, and CU added two more free throws to ice the game.

Aaron Miller led the way for Concord with 18 points. Mike Boyd scored 17 points and Jametrius Wade finished with 10.

West Virginia Wesleyan’s Taylor Price led the Bobcats with 21 points and seven rebounds. Tanner McGrew recorded a double-double with 16 points and 12 rebounds.

Charleston 71, Shepherd 54 | Final Stats

Charleston pulled away from Shepherd in the second half to claim a 71-54 win over the Rams at the Butcher Center.

Jevonte Hughes led UC (14-5, 9-4) with 18 points. Cameron Dozier added 13 points for the Golden Eagles.

Shepherd (11-8, 6-7) was led by 13 points from Austin Cunningham. Morgan McDonald added a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. 

#10 West Liberty 108, Notre Dame 74 | Final Stats

West Liberty shot a tidy 58 percent from the field, committed just eight turnovers and out-rebounded Notre Dame 12 in a 108-74 win over the Falcons at Murphy Gym.

Seger Bonifant scored 27 points to lead the 10th-ranked Hilltoppers (16-2, 11-2). Devin Hoehn added 17 points, while C.J. Hester scored 15 and added six rebounds. Zach Grossenbacher had 13 points off the bench and pulled down a team-best eight rebounds for WLU.

Notre Dame (10-9, 6-7) was led by 21 points from Lawrence DeArmond. Tyree Gaiter had 14 points, and Will Vorhees had 13 points, six rebounds and three assists. 

Glenville State 75, UVa-Wise 57 | Final Stats

Glenville State took an early lead and never looked back in a 75-57 win over UVa-Wise on the road at the Prior Center.

Brett Morris scored a game-high 18 points to lead the Pioneers (15-4, 11-2). Sedric Nady scored 14, while Juwan Wells had 10 points and nine rebounds. Donte Morales also scored 10 points, and Brien Winsten had 11 rebounds to go with nine points.

UVa-Wise (1-17, 0-13) was led by Brian Sydnor’s 16 points. Philip Owens had 14 points, all of which came in the game’s final 20 minutes. 

Fairmont State 92, West Virginia State 75 | Final Stats

Nick Harney and Thomas Wimbush each poured in 24 points to lead Fairmont State to a 92-75 win over West Virginia State at Joe Retton Arena.

FSU (13-6, 10-3) shot 48 percent from the field and 10-of-20 from three-point range. Shammgod Wells added 13 points and six rebounds and Jamel Morris finished with 11.

Dominic Phillips scored 17 points to lead WVSU (3-17, 3-9). Tyrie Elliott scored 15, while Damion Harris added 14.

Wheeling Jesuit 87, Urbana 77 | Final Stats

Wheeling Jesuit continued its winning ways with an 87-77 win over Urbana at the Grimes Center.

The Cardinals, winners of four straight, improved to 10-7 overall and 6-6 in the MEC. Urbana dropped to 4-15 overall and 1-12 in conference play.

Justin Fritts led all scorers with 24 points for WJU. Tim Goff added 14 and Kyle Ritz scored 10 points and pulled down seven rebounds. Eric Seifert had 10 rebounds, eight assists and seven points.

Matt Csuhran led the Blue Knights with 19 points. Myles Busby and Ognjen Rebic each scored 14, and Rodney Clark Jr. scored all of his 13 points in the second half. 

►  MEC Women’s Basketball Game Results

(Thursday, January 29)

Charleston 71, Shepherd 62 | Final Stats

Charleston outscored Shepherd 17-3 in the final six minutes to claim a 71-62 win over Shepherd at the Butcher Center.

With the win, UC (15-4, 10-3) forged a tie at the top of the MEC standings with the Rams (13-6, 10-3).

A close game throughout, Shepherd took a 59-54 lead on an Alex Weakland free throw with 6:18 left. UC went 3-for-5 from the field and 10-of-15 from the free throw line to close the game, while Shepherd managed just one field goal and commited four turnovers in the final six minutes.

LeAnne Ross led the way for UC with 23 points, while Monet Saunders had a double-double with 12 points and 15 rebounds. Ashley Milligan added 11 off the bench, and Nichole Perry had 10.

Rachel Johnson had 17 points for Shepherd. Cara Mason contributed 15 points and a game-high eight assists. 

West Virginia Wesleyan 57, Concord 56 | Final Stats

Kiki DeVane’s with seven second left capped a 15-point second half rally as West Virginia Wesleyan defeated Concord, 57-56, at the Carter Center.

The Bobcats (2-14, 2-11) trailed by 15 with 15:10 to go, but chipped away over the next 11 minutes to cut the lead to just one at 47-46 with 4:03 left. Tied at 50-50, CU’s Rachel Artrip and WVWC’s Allie Browne traded threes, and then Browne added two more free throws giving the Bobcats a 55-53 lead. Atrip hit again from three putting the Mountain Lions up by a point, but DeVane’s jumper in the waning seconds fell, and WVWC held on for the win.

Mari Stewart led West Virginia Wesleyan with 14 points and 11 rebounds. Browne finished with 13 and Adrian Cunningham had 12.

Artrip led CU (5-12, 5-8) with 15 points. Kylie Molisee had 14 and Olivia Morgan scored 13.

Notre Dame 77, West Liberty 68 | Final Stats

 Martha Nagbe’s 33-point effort led Notre Dame to a 77-68 win over West Liberty on Thursday at Murphy Gym.

Notre Dame (12-7, 8-5) closed the game on a 10-1 run over the final two minutes that broke a 67-67 tie. WLU (12-7, 9-4) was just one for its last seven from the field in the game.

Lauren Langenderfer added 17 points for NDC. Kelsey Miller scored 10.

Kailee Howe paced the Hilltoppers with 19 points, nine rebounds and six assists. Hillary Southworth and Liz Flowers each scored 14, and Kierra Simpson had a double-double with 12 points and 11 rebounds. 

Glenville State 63, UVa-Wise 54 | Final Stats

Glenville State picked up its third-straight win with a 63-54 victory over UVa-Wise at the Prior Center. 

Keyanna Tate led GSC (9-8, 7-6) with a double-double scoring 17 points and pulling down 13 rebounds. Briana Smythe had 14 points and nine rebounds for the Pioneers.

UVa-Wise (6-13, 5-8) was led by 14 points and 15 rebounds from Kayla Carey. Allison Ball came off the bench to score 13 and Blair Harding had 12.

Fairmont State 78, West Virginia State 64 | Final Stats

Fairmont State shot 54 percent from the field in the second half to claim a 78-64 win over West Virginia State at Joe Retton Arena.

The Falcons (15-4, 9-4) were led by 24 points from Hailey Garrett. Hallie Gunnoe scored 14, Emily Lohr had 11, and Emily Puskarich and Deidra Combs each finished with 10. 

Shealyn Shafer led WVSU (5-12, 3-9) with 17 points and eight rebounds. Deyahnna Styles had 16 points to go with four assists.

Wheeling Jesuit 71, Urbana 61 | Final Stats

Wheeling Jesuit closed the first half on a 14-3 run that propelled it to a 71-61 win over Urbana at the Grimes Center.

Breanna Butler led all players with 25 points for WJU (11-5, 8-4). Jaila Bryant added 14 and Lydia Hyburg came off the bench to score 12 points and grab nine rebounds.

Urbana (1-18, 1-12) was led by 21 points from Kate Francisco. Kennedy Boggs scored 19 and Katy Barkley finished with 10.

<The Gilmer Free Press

►  Top-25 College Men’s Basketball Game Results

(Thursday, January 29)

Final Score: (1) Kentucky 69, Missouri 53

Andrew Harrison scored 15 points and No. 1 Kentucky stayed unbeaten with a relatively restrained 69-53 win over Missouri on Thursday. The Wildcats (20-0, 7-0 SEC) made only two 3-pointers, blocked just one shot and recorded a mere eight assists. Still, they trailed for just 59 seconds, in part because of their 27-13 free throw advantage, but largely from their seemingly impenetrable defense, which forced 15 turnovers. Aaron Harrison scored 11 points, Devin Booker added nine, and Dakari Johnson chipped in eight points and seven rebounds for the victors. Kentucky is off to its first 20-0 start under John Calipari and sent Missouri (7-13, 1-6) to its first six-game losing streak since the 2005-06 season. Wes Clark led the Tigers with 19 points, while Johnathan Williams III added 10 points in a losing cause.

Final Score: (3) Gonzaga 64, Portland 46

Domantas Sabonis had 13 points and 11 rebounds off the bench and No. 3 Gonzaga pulled away in the second half to defeat Portland 64-46 on Thursday night. Przemek Karnowski posted 10 points and 11 boards for the Bulldogs (21-1, 10-0 WCC), who have won 14 straight games since their lone loss at Arizona on Dec. 6. Volodymyr Gerun pulled down 15 rebounds to lead Portland (12-10, 3-7), which didn’t have a single player reach double figures in scoring.

Final Score: UCLA 69, (11) Utah 59

Norman Powell scored 23 points to help UCLA remain unbeaten at home in Pac-12 play and knock off No. 11 Utah, 69-59. The Bruins lost three players to the first round of the NBA draft in 2014 and haven’t been able to replace the productivity that Kyle Anderson, Jordan Adams and Zach LaVine provided. They are in the midst of one of the worst seasons in recent memory, though Thursday’s upset over Utah was certainly a step in the right direction. Bryce Alford had 14 points and seven assists and Isaac Hamilton scored 11 for UCLA, which exacted revenge from an embarrassing 71-39 loss to Utah on Jan. 4. Alford went scoreless on 0-for-10 shooting in that game. UCLA (12-9, 4-4 Pac-12) snapped its two-game losing skid. Delon Wright and Brandon Taylor gave 15 and 14 points, respectively, for the Utes (16-4, 6-2), who may have lost more than a game. Freshman center Jakob Poeltl, one of the best young 7-footers in college basketball, left the game with an apparent foot injury.

Final Score: Ohio State 80, (16) Maryland 56

Ohio State continues to pile up wins at home. Thad Matta’s Buckeyes and star freshman D’Angelo Russell beat another ranked opponent at Value City Arena. Russell had 18 points, 14 rebounds and six assists as Ohio State easily knocked off No. 16 Maryland 80-56 on Thursday night for its 103rd win at home since 2009. That’s the most in the country by a healthy margin over national powerhouses Kentucky and Syracuse. Russell continued to impress, making half of his 12 shots and four 3-pointers on the heels of being named Big Ten Player of the Week after scoring 55 points in wins over Northwestern and nationally-ranked Indiana. Marc Loving led the Buckeyes (17-5, 6-3) with 19 points, making all five of his 3s, and Jae’Sean Tate scored 16. Dez Wells scored 12 points to lead Maryland (18-4, 6-3) and Jake Layman had 10.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  NBA Game Results

(Thursday, January 29)

Final Score: Indiana 103, New York 82

Rodney Stuckey scored a game-high 22 points, Roy Hibbert recorded a double-double, and the Indiana Pacers cruised past the New York Knicks 103-82 on Thursday. Hibbert totaled 18 points and 10 rebounds for the Pacers, who snapped their three-game home losing streak by dominating the second and third quarters. Solomon Hill and David West each scored 10 points for an offense that connected on 53 percent of their shots and owned a 50-26 edge in the paint. Not even a surprise start by Carmelo Anthony could keep the Knicks close. The All-Star forward was questionable on the second game of a back-to-back and finished with 18 points, but New York’s defense did not duplicate its efforts over the past two weeks. During a five-game stretch that saw them go 4-1, the Knicks allowed just 91.4 points per game—more than 10 points fewer than their season average. They reverted back to their sieve-like ways against the Pacers, who scored 67 points during the second and third quarters on 63 percent shooting.

Final Score: Milwaukee 115, Orlando 100

Brandon Knight tallied 16 points, nine assists, five rebounds and four steals and the Milwaukee Bucks ended a 10- year winless drought in Orlando with a 115-100 victory over the Magic. Jerryd Bayless led seven Bucks in double figures with 19 points. Khris Middleton and Jared Dudley added 17 apiece and John Henson posted 12 points and 11 rebounds in Milwaukee’s first win in Orlando since Dec. 29, 2004, a stretch that included 17 straight losses. The win is fitting considering the Bucks had won six of seven road games against Eastern Conference opponents coming in, and the Magic were mired in a six-game losing skid. Nikola Vucevic had 17 points and 14 rebounds and Victor Oladipo scored 21 points in the setback. Orlando also fell to 0-16 this season when allowing 100-plus points at home.

Final Score: Memphis 99, Denver 69

Fresh off an All-Star snub, Zach Randolph continued to let his game speak for itself. And another double-double followed. Randolph had 15 points and 17 rebounds as the Memphis Grizzlies routed the Denver Nuggets 99-69 on Thursday night. It was Randolph’s 11th straight double-double. Jeff Green netted 13 points, while Marc Gasol added 10 points and seven rebounds for Memphis, which has won eight of its last nine games since Green was traded to the Grizzlies from the Boston Celtics two weeks ago. Mike Conley, who was another snub on the Western squad, sat for a second consecutive game due to a wrist sprain. Kenneth Faried posted 10 points and seven boards for the Nuggets, who have dropped eight of their last nine contests.

Final Score: LA Lakers 123, Chicago 118 (2-OT)

The Los Angeles Lakers spoiled Pau Gasol’s return to Staples Center. It turned out to be a lot harder than it should’ve been. Jordan Hill had 26 points and 12 rebounds as the Lakers defeated the Chicago Bulls 123-118 in double overtime on Thursday night. The Lakers squandered a 15-point second half advantage and a nine-point cushion late in regulation. Chicago didn’t take it first lead until the early moments of the first overtime when Derrick Rose knocked down a 3-pointer at the 4:42 mark. Hill, though, sent the game into another extra session with a late jumper from the left wing in overtime and LA pulled away in the second OT. Gasol, who helped the Lakers win two NBA titles during his six-plus seasons in the City of Angels, received a standing ovation from the crowd following a video tribute during his introduction. Gasol then walked out to halfcourt and waved to the fans. The spectators were given T-shirts that said “Thanks Pau” on the front with a list of his accomplishments with the Lakers on the back. Gasol, whose tip-in tied the game at 98-98 with 11 seconds left in regulation, finished with 20 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. Wayne Ellington posted 23 points and five rebounds for the Lakers, who snapped a nine-game losing streak. Jimmy Butler netted a career-high 35 points to go with seven boards, while Joakim Noah pulled down 17 rebounds and dished out nine assists for Chicago, which had won three of its last four games coming in. Derrick Rose, who was 7-of-26 from the floor, poured in 17 points to go with six helpers in defeat.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Former Mets GM Minaya joins MLBPA

Former New York Mets general manager Omar Minaya is joining the Major League Baseball Players Association staff as a senior advisor to executive director Tony Clark.

Minaya spent the past three years with the San Diego Padres as a senior vice president of baseball operations.

The 56-year-old Minaya will focus on the areas of domestic game development and international affairs and play.

“I have long considered myself a players’ administrator with a complete belief that the players are not only the face of the game, but they provide the sport with its heart and soul,“ said Minaya.

“I share the players’ and Tony’s views on the state of the game, especially as they relate to what active and inactive players are doing to help develop the game, widen its appeal and excite the next generation of players, while ensuring the integrity of the competition on the field is maintained.“

After injuries ended his playing career, Minaya joined the Texas Rangers’ scouting team in 1985, where he helped sign Sammy Sosa.

Minaya became baseball’s first Hispanic general manager when the Montreal Expos hired him in 2002. From 2005-10, he was the Mets’ GM.

“We feel fortunate to be in a position to hire someone with Omar’s experience and reputation,“ said Clark. “His vast and diverse knowledge of all aspects of the sport will afford the union and our members an unprecedented and invaluable level of expertise in any of a growing number of issues of importance to players, domestically and abroad.“

Minaya joined the Padres in 2011.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  With 12th goal this month, Alex Ovechkin overtakes NHL’s lead

Wednesday night, for the first time all season, the NHL’s leading goal-scorer received his team’s most prestigious internal honor. Forward Alex Ovechkin already had vaulted himself past Tyler Seguin and Rick Nash, the latest monstrous effort in a torrid January. Now, when the time came for forward Jason Chimera to pass along the beard and stovetop pipe hat bestowed upon the team’s designated Honest Abe, something he had waited to do through four straight losses, he offered a simple explanation for his choice.

“Leaders lead,” Coach Barry Trotz recalled Chimera saying. “And he led today.”

The scene for Wednesday night seemed to conspire against the Washington Capitals, with them limping home after falling to Columbus and their rivals starting a rested all-star goaltender in Marc-Andre Fleury. They had won only one of eight games in the tail sections of back-to-backs this season too. Ovechkin’s hot streak, with six points in his previous four games, boded well, but what good was it if the Capitals had lost all four?

A 4-0 romp over the Pittsburgh Penguins offered the best of both worlds. Ovechkin redirected Karl Alzner’s point shot past Fleury early into the first period, then blasted his typical power-play one-timer in the second, his 28th and 29th tallies of the season, respectively. The Capitals attempted 52% of the even-strength shot attempts with him on the ice, according to, and Ovechkin alone hammered nine pucks at Fleury.

This happened one night after Columbus all but left him alone on the power play, daring him to score, withstanding a first-period barrage and holding him without a goal.

“I just think when Alex is determined, the way he is, lately, he creates much good offense,” Coach Barry Trotz said. “He’s dangerous. Every night you look at the stat sheet. If he scores or not, he’s got 10 shots. There’s guys in the league who go a month without 10 shots sometimes. I think he’s having fun … He’s been doing a really good job.”

Parse the statistics any way you please. His plus-12 rating leads all Capitals forwards. Whenever he skates at even strength, Washington records 54.1% of the total shot attempts, most among any skater with at least 500 minutes, per He should be regarded as a front-runner to win his third straight Maurice “Rocket” Richard Trophy, and now leads all NHL skaters with 12 goals (and 15 points) in 12 games this month. No one his sniffing him either; Columbus’ Ryan Johansen ranks second, with eight goals in 11 games.

His scores against Pittsburgh came in wildly different ways. With the top line welcoming Jay Beagle into its midst, promoted there to replace Andre Burakovsky, the group adopted a cycle-heavy style that promoted its strength, and Ovechkin’s deflection reflected just that. After Beagle worked the puck into the offensive zone, somehow kept it alive while stumbling to his knees and dished to Nicklas Backstrom, Ovechkin circled around into the crease.

A cross-ice pass found Karl Alzner at the opposite point. Meantime, Ovechkin saw the sequence developing and moved into position. He boxed out defenseman Simon Despres, bending over and extending his stick forward. The puck hopped up and past Fleury.

“Ovi’s a big man, and Backie’s stronger than anybody even thinks, and Beags is one of those guys that’s really determined and he can keep pucks alive,” Trotz said. “I thought their cycle game was tight. It wasn’t 85 feet away. They were tight, they had good close support and they were working it right. They weren’t falling off the pile.”

The net-front deflection was Ovechkin’s first this season, a so-called greasy goal atypical of someone armed with his shooting precision, but his second goal came in more familiar fashion. Backtstrom to Mike Green to Ovechkin, right on his tape for a one-timer. A one-knee slide, a kiss of the hand, a two-goal lead.

“I was just trying to read their PK there,” Backstrom said. “I was just waiting. Sometimes that’s paying off. Good feed by Greener over to Ovi too, and obviously a good shot. Big goal.”

Still, the lingering image of Ovechkin’s Wednesday night might have come in the meaningless moments, when he and defenseman Christian Erhoff careened together toward the boards. Ovechkin reached the puck first, so Erhoff crunched him into the glass. Ovechkin extended his arms, bracing for impact and trying to shake the hit off him, but caught Erhoff in an awkward position. It must have looked, at first blush for the official who raised his hand, like Ovechkin crushed Erhoff backwards, his head bouncing off the ice, so two minors – roughing and holding – were called.

The aftermath, while Erhoff needed help standing up and leaving the ice, netted a two-minute roughing for Zach Sill, and the Capitals eventually killed off the difference.

“Probably naturally, the puck’s there, you’re pushing him off and going for the puck,” Trotz said. “Just Ovi’s so strong, the young man went down harder. The referee came over, said that’s a judgment call, I thought he pushed him hard and got injured there. Called a penalty. Use your arms, there’s a little bit of judgment. There’s nothing malicious. It’s just a hockey play. Unfortunately the young man got hurt a little bit.”

Had the penalty mattered more in the overall context, Trotz may have expressed a different opinion. But it didn’t. Ovechkin had scored twice. He had tied Peter Bondra for the franchise record with 93 multi-goal games. The leader had led.

►  NHL Game Results

(Thursday, January 29)

Final Score: Boston 5, NY Islanders 2

Tuukka Rask made 43 saves, Milan Lucic and Reilly Smith tallied three points each and the Boston Bruins beat the New York Islanders 5-2 on Thursday. Lucic and Smith each had a goal and two assists to help Boston win for the seventh time in its last nine games. Patrice Bergeron, Kevan Miller and Torey Krug also scored for the Bruins. The Islanders got goals from John Tavares and Michael Grabner but had a two-game winning streak snapped. Jaroslav Halak allowed four goals on 32 shots.

Final Score: Montreal 1, NY Rangers 0

Carey Price made 24 saves for his third shutout of the season, and the Montreal Canadiens blanked the New York Rangers 1-0 on Thursday. Max Pacioretty scored the lone goal with 4:17 remaining in the third period, helping the Canadiens extend their win streak to four games. Henrik Lundqvist finished with 25 saves for the Rangers, who have dropped two straight following the All-Star break. They had been on a 16-3-0 tear prior to the hiatus.

Final Score: Philadelphia 5, Winnipeg 2

Nick Schultz picked up the game winner in the second period, while Brayden Schenn and Sean Couturier scored in the third, as Philadelphia topped Winnipeg by a 5-2 count on Thursday. Wayne Simmonds and Chris VandeVelde also tallied for the Flyers, winners of three in a row and four of their last five. In his first start since Jan. 8, Steve Mason picked up his second straight positive result thanks to 36 saves. Mathieu Perreault potted both goals for the Jets, who have lost two straight since a five-game win streak. Michael Hutchinson took the loss despite 27 stops.

Final Score: Arizona 3, Toronto 1

Oliver Ekman-Larsson scored a short-handed goal five seconds into the third period—yes, five seconds—to kindle a rally that lifted the Arizona Coyotes to a 3-1 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday. The Coyotes snapped a seven-game losing streak and extended Toronto’s skid to eight games. Ekman-Larsson’s goal, which tied a franchise record for quickest to open a period, came from beyond center ice after Lauri Korpikoski won the faceoff. Martin Hanzal netted the go-ahead goal 3:42 later and Sam Gagner scored on a power play later in the period as Arizona broke out of an 0-5-2 slump. Mike Smith had 24 saves in the win, which also stopped a five-game road losing streak for the Coyotes, who are in the midst of an eight-game trek. It was their first win away from home since Dec. 23 in Edmonton.

Final Score: Dallas 6, Ottawa 3

John Klingberg snapped a tie in the latter stages of the third period before Trevor Daley and Jamie Benn added empty-net markers, and Dallas topped Ottawa by a 6-3 score on Thursday. Benn added a first-period goal, with Colton Sceviour and Ales Hemsky also lighting the lamp for the Stars, who put a two-game losing streak to rest. Kari Lehtonen provided a 25-save effort to back his offense. Mika Zibanejad, Bobby Ryan and Alex Chiasson scored once each for the Senators, who have lost seven of their last 10. Robin Lehner allowed four goals on 39 shots in the setback.

Final Score: Tampa Bay 5, Detroit 1

Cedric Paquette notched his first career hat trick to power the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 5-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday. Steven Stamkos and Mark Barberio also scored, Jonathan Drouin and Alex Killorn both tallied two assists and Ben Bishop made 27 saves for the Lightning, who set a franchise record with their ninth straight win at home. Darren Helm supplied the Red Wings’ lone goal as their six-game winning streak came to an end. Petr Mrazek allowed five goals on 15 shots, while Tom McCollum stopped all 17 shots he faced in the third period.

Final Score: Florida 3, Columbus 2

Sean Bergenheim’s goal with 6:52 remaining in the third period lifted the Florida Panthers to a 3-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday. Jonathan Huberdeau and rookie Aaron Ekblad both scored in the second period for the Panthers, who got 30 saves from Roberto Luongo. Florida ended a 10-game losing streak to the Blue Jackets, a six- game home skid and a five-game slide overall. Jack Johnson and rookie Alexander Wennberg had second-period goals for Columbus, which has dropped six of its last nine games. Curtis McElhinney gave up three goals on 31 shots.

Final Score: St. Louis 5, Nashville 4 (SO)

Brian Elliott made 33 saves and came up with three key stops in the shootout to help the St. Louis Blues beat the Nashville Predators, 5-4, on Thursday. On his 26th birthday, Kevin Shattenkirk scored the decisive goal in the shootout and added an assist in regulation. Jaden Schwartz, T.J. Oshie, Steve Ott and Ryan Reaves all tallied goals for the Blues in their third straight win. Mike Fisher scored twice for the Predators, who have lost three of their last four games. Filip Forsberg and James Neal also scored for Nashville, but Neal could not convert in the shootout to extend the game. Carter Hutton allowed four goals on 35 shots.

Final Score: Minnesota 1, Calgary 0

Devan Dubnyk stopped all 30 shots fired his way and made several big saves down the stretch for his third shutout of the season as the Minnesota Wild beat the Calgary Flames 1-0 on Tuesday. Zach Parise continued his solid offensive play with the lone goal for the Wild, who ended a two-game skid. Parise now has six goals in his past six games. Jonas Hiller turned aside 31 shots for the Flames, who entered the game with wins in five of their previous six games.

Final Score: Edmonton 3, Buffalo 2

In a game that could be key in determining draft lottery odds between teams at the bottom of their respective conferences, the Edmonton Oilers prevailed over the Buffalo Sabres, 3-2, on Thursday. Allowing two goals on 20 shots, Ben Scrivens was not particularly busy in net for Edmonton in its third win in its last four games. Oscar Klefbom and Anton Lander each scored their first goal of the season for the Oilers, and Lander also tallied two assists. Matt Fraser scored Edmonton’s first goal. Jonas Enroth stopped 31 of the 34 shots he faced as Buffalo dropped its 13th game in a row. Defensemen Tyler Myers and Rasmus Ristolainen each scored and Brian Gionta picked up assists on both goals.

Final Score: San Jose 6, Anaheim 3

Antti Niemi made 25 saves and six different Sharks scored as San Jose used a five-goal second period to ease past the Anaheim Ducks, 6-3, on Thursday. Patrick Marleau, Barclay Goodrow and James Sheppard each tallied a goal and an assist and Brenden Dillon, Matt Irwin and Joe Pavelski also scored for the Sharks, who have won seven straight home games against the Ducks. Andrew Cogliano, Patrick Maroon and Matt Beleskey all lit the lamp for the Ducks, who had their six-game winning streak come to a screeching halt. Ilya Bryzgalov gave up all six goals on 25 shots and Frederik Andersen turned aside all eight shots fired his way in relief.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Williams, Sharapova set to meet in Aussie Open final

Serena Williams and Maria Sharapova will meet in Saturday’s women’s Australian Open final after both women cruised to straight-set victories on Thursday.

Williams, looking to win her sixth Aussie Open title, took out fellow American Madison Keys 7-6 (7-5), 6-2 to reach the final.

With the first set all even at 5-5, Williams was on serve when Keys went up 30-15 in the 11th game, but Williams took the next three points before Keys smashed a backhand down the line to knot it up at 40-all. Williams ended up taking the next two points to win the game, then Keys kept the back-and- forth affair going with an ace to force a tiebreak.

Williams had set point, up 6-3, in the tiebreak when the 19-year-old Keys fired two aces to close within one, but Williams countered with an ace on her next serve to take the stanza.

Williams pressured her opponent from the onset of the second set, taking the first game and breaking Keys in the process. However, Keys maintained composure and went up 40-15 in the next game. But Williams ended up grinding her way back and taking the game. After the two maintained serve over the next two games, Williams broke the unseeded Keys again and eased her way to the finish line.

This was the first career meeting between Williams and Keys.

The 33-year-old Williams is seeking her 19th Grand Slam singles championship and 65th career title overall. She is a perfect 5-0 in Aussie Open finals.

Williams is tied with Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova for the second- most women’s Grand Slam titles in the Open Era behind Steffi Graf’s 22.

“I didn’t expect to get to the finals of this tournament when I first got here because I wasn’t playing great,“ Williams said after reaching her first Melbourne Park finale since 2010.

“I didn’t play well at Hopman. I was so off. I felt like I wasn’t moving well. I just wasn’t feeling great on the court.

“It’s been so long since I’ve even been in a final here. I was kind of like, ‘oh, let me just try’ (and) my theory now is to relax and play the match as best as I can.

“When I step on the court and hear the announcer, I don’t have to win anymore. I can just relax and have fun.“

Meanwhile, Sharapova reached her 10th career Grand Slam final by beating Russian countrymate Ekaterina Makarova in straight sets.

The former world No. 1 Sharapova, seeded No. 2 here behind Williams, rolled to a 6-3, 6-2 win over the left-handed 10th seed Makarova in 87 minutes.

The former Aussie Open champion double-faulted seven times, but tallied 23 winners, including three aces in the win.

Sharapova has won 22 of her last 23 matches against fellow Russians and improved to 6-0 lifetime against Makarova, including 3-0 at the Australian Open following quarterfinals wins in 2012 and 2013.

“It’s been a strange road for me to get to the finals, but I’m happy,“ said Sharapova. “Came from behind in a few, really behind in one—saving match points. I felt like I was given a second chance. I just wanted to take my chances.“

The 26-year-old Makarova appeared in her second straight Grand Slam semifinal. She lost to Williams at last year’s U.S. Open.

The 27-year-old Sharapova is chasing her sixth career Grand Slam championship and 35th overall WTA title.

She’s 5-4 in Grand Slam finals, including 1-2 at the Australian Open. Sharapova titled here in 2008 and lost in Melbourne in 2007, to Serena, and 2012, to Victoria Azarenka.

Sharapova has yet to lose in 2015, going 10-0, including a title run in Brisbane a few weeks ago.

The powerful Williams is 16-2 lifetime against Sharapova, who has gone winless in their head-to-head series since 2004. The American is 4-1 in their Grand Slam matchups, including 2-0 in Melbourne. Sharapova beat Serena in the 2004 Wimbledon final.

►  Murray advances to fourth Aussie Open final

Andy Murray is back in the Australian Open final.

This time, he’ll hope for a better result.

Murray advanced to his fourth final in the year’s first major with Thursday’s 6-7 (6-8), 6-0, 6-3, 7-5 semifinal victory over seventh-seeded Tomas Berdych.

After losing a tight opening set, which lasted 76 minutes, Murray gave himself a stern talking to at the sit down and proceeded to largely dominate. He converted six of his 10 break points and benefited from 56 unforced errors from Berdych.

Berdych snapped a 17-match losing run against Rafael Nadal in a straight- sets quarterfinal win over the Spaniard. His first-set victory over Murray marked his 16th successive set won in the tournament. It is the second year in a row that the Czech has fallen at the semifinal stage in Melbourne, having lost to Stan Wawrinka last year.

The 29-year-old Berdych, working with Murray’s former coach Dani Vallverdu, was trying to reach his second Grand Slam final after finishing runner-up to Nadal at Wimbledon in 2010.

Murray is now 5-6 lifetime against Berdych, who fell in 3 hours, 16 minutes at Rod Laver Arena. The Brit also topped the Czech in the 2012 U.S. Open semis.

Murray is coached by former women’s world No. 1 star Amelie Mauresmo.

“A lot of people criticized me working with her and I think so far this week we’ve shown that women can be very good coaches as well,“ Murray said. “Madison Keys, who reached the semis here and had her best tournament, is also coached by a woman in Lindsay Davenport. And I see no reason why that can’t keep moving forward in the future. So I’m very thankful for Amelie for doing it. It was a brave choice for her to do it and hopefully I can repay her in a couple of days.“

The sixth-seeded Scot, though, has yet to win in Melbourne, falling in the 2010 title match to Roger Federer before losing to Novak Djokovic in both 2011 and 2013. On Sunday, he could again face the world No. 1 Djokovic, who will meet the fourth-seeded defending champion Wawrinka on Friday in the other men’s semifinal.

Murray is bidding to become the first man in the Open Era to win the Australian Open title after losing three finals.

The 2012 Olympic gold medalist will play in his eighth career Grand Slam title match. He is 2-5 in such finals, winning the 2012 U.S. Open and Wimbledon in 2013.

The 27-year-old Murray is 31-14 overall in his career finals.

Berdych, meanwhile, was beaten in the Australian Open semis for the second year in a row. He lost to Wawrinka last year and has just one Grand Slam final on his resume—a loss to Nadal at Wimbledon in 2010.

On Friday, fans will be hoping for another epic when the four-time Aussie Open champ champion Djokovic faces Wawrinka for the third year in a row at Melbourne Park. Two years ago, Djokovic denied Wawrinka 12-10 in the fifth set of a fourth-round clash, but last year the Swiss got his revenge with a 9-7 fifth-set victory in the quarterfinals.

Djokovic is 16-3 lifetime against Wawrinka, including a 3-1 record at the majors.

The 27-year-old Djokovic is bidding to become the second man in history to win the Australian Open for the fifth time, joining Aussie great Roy Emerson. The Belgrade native won his first major title in Melbourne in 2008 and followed with three successive victories in 2011-13. He has a 48-6 match record at Melbourne Park.

Djokovic still has yet to drop a set in his ruthless run at this 2015 fortnight. He is through to his 25th Grand Slam semifinal, one behind Andre Agassi for the fourth most in the Open Era.

Wawrinka captured his first Grand Slam title here a year ago by stunning Nadal in the final.

►  Fognini reaches dubs final in Oz

Top-20 singles star Fabio Fognini will appear in the men’s doubles final at the 2015 Australian Open.

Fognini and fellow Italian Simon Bolelli upset a sixth-seeded tandem of Dutchman Jean-Julien Rojer and Romania’s Horia Tecau 6-4, 3-6, 6-3 at Melbourne Park.

Thursday’s other semifinal saw Frenchmen Nicolas Mahut and Pierre-Hugues Herbert outlast and upset a fourth-seeded duo of Croat Ivan Dodig and Brazilian Marcelo Melo 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 7-6 (7-5).

Mahut, who was a French Open doubles runner-up two years ago, is best known for playing in the longest-ever tennis match when he lost to John Isner in 11 hours, 5 minutes in five sets over a three-day span, including a mind-boggling 138-game fifth set, in the first round at Wimbledon back in 2010.

Saturday’s winning team will split $575,000.

►  Australian Open Men’s Tennis Update – January 29

Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia

Total Prize Money: $14,000,000


Andy Murray (6) defeated Tomas Berdych (7), 6-7 (6-8), 6-0, 6-3, 7-5

Novak Djokovic (1) vs. Stan Wawrinka (4), not before 3:30 AM ET

►  Australian Open Men’s Doubles Tennis Update – January 29

Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia

Total Prize Money: $2,600,000


P.Herbert/N.Mahut defeated I.Dodig/M.Melo (4), 6-4, 6-7 (5-7), 7-6 (7-5)
S.Bolelli/F.Fognini defeated J.Rojer/H.Tecau (6), 6-4, 3-6, 6-3

S.Bolelli/F.Fognini vs. P.Herbert/N.Mahut

►  Williams sisters, Keys to play Fed Cup next week

Serena and Venus Williams and teenage Australian Open semifinalist Madison Keys were selected to play Fed Cup tennis for the United States next week.

Team USA is trying to return to the World Group for 2016.

U.S. captain Mary Joe Fernandez announced that the 18-time major champion Serena and seven-time Grand Slam titlist Venus will be joined by Keys and 30th-ranked Varvara Lepchenko on a team that will face host Argentina in Buenos Aires from February 7-8.

The 19-year-old Keys upset Venus at the Aussie Open to reach her first major semifinal, where she lost to the top-ranked Serena on Thursday.

The Americans fell out of the Fed Cup’s World Group for just the second time since the current format was introduced back in 1995. They must defeat the Argentines then win another series in April to return to the top group next year.

Serena last played in the Fed Cup in 2013, the previous time the U.S. needed to win to get back into the World Group.

Former top-ranked junior Taylor Townsend will also join the team in Buenos Aires as a practice player.

►  Australian Open Women’s Tennis Update – January 29

Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia

Total Prize Money: $14,000,000


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) vs. Maria Sharapova (2)

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Ocean Knight gets nod as Sam F. Davis Stakes favorite

Ocean Knight, who will be making just his second career start, is the 5-2 morning line favorite for Saturday’s $250,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs.

The 1 1/16-mile Davis Stakes is the final local prep for the $350,000 Tampa Bay Derby on March 07 and has drawn a field of 12 3-year-olds.

Trained by Kiaran McLaughlin, Ocean Knight will be ridden by Irad Ortiz Jr. from post 11 for owner Stonestreet Stable. Ortiz was aboard when the colt won his debut start at Aqueduct December 13 as the 2-1 favorite.

Starting from the inside post will be 4-1 second choice Catalina Red with Daniel Centeno again riding. The chestnut colt is owned by Anthony A. Lenci and trained by Chad Stewart.

Catalina Red won his last two starts, both stakes at Tampa Bay, after failing to find the winner’s circle his first three career efforts. He won the $100,000 Inaugural Stakes at Tampa Bay by 7 1/4 lengths on December 06 and three weeks later took the $100,000 Pasco as the 3-5 favorite, setting a track record for seven furlongs in 1:21.40.

“He came out of the Pasco in good shape, and he’s ready to go,“ said Stewart. “He is just a very smart horse. He stays relaxed, he doesn’t show a lot of emotion and he likes his job.“

The 9-2 third pick is Ami’s Flatter who will be ridden again by Luis Contreras from post 3. The colt, bred in Ontario, is owned by Ivan Dalos and trained by Josie Carroll.

Ami’s Flatter won his debut race at Woodbine on November 09 and began 2015 with a second at 13-1 to Bluegrass Singer on January 03 in Gulfstream Park’s Mucho Macho Man Stakes.

Here is the field for the Sam. F. Davis from the rail out: Catalina Red, Daniel Centeno, 4-1; Royal Son, John Velazquez, 8-1; Ami’s Flatter, Luis Contreras, 9-2; Crittenden, Fernando De La Cruz, 15-1; Divining Rod, Luis Garcia, 20-1; Bandages, Ron Allen Jr., 20-1; Brother Bobo, Gabriel Saez, 20-1; G Five, Rajiv Maragh, 10-1; My Johnny Be Good, Antonio Gallardo, 6-1; Coomer, Julien Leparoux, 20-1; Ocean Knight, Irad Ortiz Jr., 5-2 and Bears Personality, Edgar Prado, 20-1.

The Sam F. Davis has an approximate post time of 5:20 PM ET.

►  Take Charge Brandi even-money for Martha Washington Stakes

Champion filly Take Charge Brandi is the even-money morning line favorite for Saturday’s $100,000 Martha Washington Stakes at Oaklawn Park.

Owned by Willis Horton and trained by D. Wayne Lukas, Take Charge Brandi begins her 3-year-old season in the mile stakes and will start from post 6 with veteran jockey Jon Court riding her for the first time. Six other 3-year-old fillies will take on the champ.

“I think the mile is a logical choice,“ the Hall of Fame trainer earlier said, referring to the Martha Washington distance.

Take Charge Brandi, who is being pointed toward the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill Downs on Friday, May 01, won the 2014 Eclipse Award as champion 2-year-old filly primarily based on her 61-1 upset victory in the Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies last November.

The filly finished her Eclipse Award-winning 2-year-old season by taking the Starlet Stakes at Los Alamitos on December 13. That victory came just three weeks after capturing the Delta Downs Princess Stakes on November 22. The filly has won four of eight starts for $1,620,126.

The 7-2 second choice is Indian Annie who will be ridden by Ricardo Santana Jr. from post 4. The filly is trained by Steve Asmussen and partly owned by Whispering Oaks Farm.

Indian Annie has won two of her three starts, reaching the winner’s circle the second time out at Fair Grounds on November 22 and claiming an allowance race at Oaklawn on January 17.

Here is the field for the Martha Washington in post position order: Perfect Fit, Cliff Berry, 8-1; Cape Town Stevie, Emmanuel Esquivel, 30-1; High Dollar Woman, Joe Rocco Jr., 6-1; Indian Annie, Ricardo Santana Jr., 7-2; Sarah Sis, Julio Felix, 5-1; Take Charge Brandi, Jon Court, even and Sweet Corinna, Channing Hill, 10-1

Post time for the Martha Washington will be approximately 5:38 PM ET.

►  Palace Malice throws shoe, bruises foot

Eclipse Award finalist Palace Malice suffered an injury Wednesday while training and bruised his foot.

Owned by Dogwood Stable and Three Chimneys Farm, Palace Malice has a bruise in the sole of his foot after throwing a shoe and did not train Thursday and will not have a scheduled workout Friday morning.

“When the bruise has dissipated, he’ll resume training and will either have another breeze here and then ship to Florida, or he will leave once he’s sound,“ Dogwood president Cot Campbell said on the stable’s website.

The 5-year-old was going have his second workout of the year on Friday and jog Saturday morning. He was then being shipped to trainer Todd Pletcher in Florida on Sunday afternoon, but that will be delayed.

Palace Malice has not raced since suffering a bone bruise during the running of the Whitney Stakes at Saratoga last August.

A five race campaign has been put together for Palace Malice. His season will begin with the Westchester Stakes at Belmont Park on May 02.

“The logic of the five-race campaign was easily determined by Three Chimneys, Dogwood and Todd Pletcher,“ Campbell said. “The Westchester is the ideal Belmont prep for an appearance in the Grade 1 Metropolitan Mile, in which he defeated Goldencents two-time Grade 1 Breeders’ Cup Mile winner this past year. We would follow with three Grade 1 stakes - the Whitney, early at Saratoga, the Jockey Club Gold Cup at Belmont in the fall and the Breeders’ Cup Classic at Keeneland.“

Palace Malice won last year’s Gulfstream Park and New Orleans Handicaps along with the Westchester and Met Mile. The colt has seven wins from 17 career starts for $2,676,135.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Wiesberger holds early advantage in Dubai

Bernd Wiesberger used a string of birdies down the stretch on Thursday to shoot a first-round, 8-under 64 and he holds a 1-shot lead in front of some big names at the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.

Wiesberger has won two times in his career on the European Tour, both of which came in 2012 at the Ballantine’s Championship and the Lyoness Open. The 29- year-old also played his way into the final pairing at last year’s PGA Championship, where he wound up finishing tied for 15th.

“It feels good right now,“ said Wiesberger. “I feel quite happy with what I expect out of my game. When I’m in trouble, I know I can scramble well, which is the part you don’t see right now because I’m hitting the ball quite nicely.“

Lee Westwood, a 23-time winner on tour, finished the first round with a 7- under 65 on the Majlis Course at Emirates Golf Club and he is tied for second with this year’s South African Open Championship winner Andy Sullivan, American Peter Uihlein and Nicolas Colsaerts.

World No. 1 Rory McIlroy, the 2009 champion, is just two shots back of the leader Wiesberger. McIlroy is tied for sixth at 6-under 66 with two-time defending champion and fellow European Ryder Cup team member Stephen Gallacher, Maximilian Kieffer, Anders Hansen, Seve Benson, Hennie Otto and Marc Warren.

After his collapse at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship two weeks ago, Martin Kaymer rebounded with a 5-under 67 and he is tied for 13th with six others.

Wiesberger got off to a neutral start when he made par on his first five holes from No. 1 before rolling in his first gain of the day on No. 6. Following a pair of pars on seven and eight, Wiesberger drained another birdie on No. 9 and followed that up with his second straight gain on the par-5 10th.

The best was still yet to come for Wiesberger. After making pars on 11 and 12, the Austrian rattled off five straight birdies from No. 13 to come from out of nowhere and take the lead. Wiesberger finished up with a par to finish alone atop the leaderboard after day one.

“It was a solid back nine I have to say,“ Wiesberger stated. “I got on a run at the end and could have birdied my last six holes there. Once I got the pace right on the greens, which were a bit slower than I expected, it went nicely.“

Westwood, beginning his day on the back nine, started off with a birdie at the 10th before making four straight pars from 11. Westwood then made birdie on three of his next six holes on 15, 17 and one.

A trio of pars from two preceded Westwood’s fifth birdie on five, and three holes later the Englishman ran off back-to-back birdies on eight and nine to end on a high note.

Sullivan continued his strong play early on this season as he made three birdies over his first five holes on 10, 13 and 14. Sullivan finished up his opening nine with an eagle on the par-5 18th and proceeded to make birdies on one and three after the turn. Sullivan concluded his first round with six straight pars from four.

Uihlein exploded out of the gate with a trio of birdies from No. 1 and he later made five birdies in a seven-hole span from No. 7, giving him the outright lead at minus-8. Down the stretch Uihlein tripped to his only bogey on No. 17 to fall back to 7-under and he finished up with a par at the last.

Colsaerts also had a strong start to his round with five birdies on his front nine on 11, 12, 13, 15 and 18. The Belgian continued his run around the turn with three more gains on one, three and seven, but a bogey on nine also saw Colsaerts fall back to 7-under at the end of the round.

McIlroy, who finished alone in second at the Abu Dhabi HSBC Golf Championship two weeks ago, is playing in his second event of the season and showed little to no rust on Thursday. McIlroy started off with gains on his first two holes on 10 and 11. After six straight pars from 12, McIlroy made the turn with a birdie on the par-5 18th.

The Ulsterman birdied four more on his closing nine at three, five, six and eight, but a bogey on nine dropped him back to minus-6 and he trails by two shots along with six others.

“I’d be disappointed if I didn’t shoot anything below 68 today, especially with the conditions and 66 is a nice start,“ McIlroy said. “I’d like to see it blow a little bit and make it more of a challenging golf course, you still need to hit the shots but it would be nice to play in some conditions that are a little different than this.“

NOTES: In two events this season, Wiesberger has finished tied for sixth in Abu Dhabi two weeks ago and he also ended in third at last week’s Qatar Masters ... Gallacher has three career victories, with two coming at this event the last two seasons ... Dating back to last season, McIlroy has finished inside the top 10 in six straight events and 10 of his last 11, including a stretch of three straight victories at the British Open, WGC- Bridgestone Invitational and PGA Championship ... His win here in 2009 was McIlroy’s first professional victory ... Louis Oosthuizen withdrew with a back injury prior to starting the first round and he was replaced in the field by Jason Barnes.

The Gilmer Free Press

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National Basketball Association
Minnesota at Philadelphia, 7:00 PM - FS-North, CSN-Philadelphia, DSS
Toronto at Brooklyn, 7:30 PM - TSN, YES, DSS
Portland at Atlanta, 7:30 PM - CSN-Northwest, SportSouth, DSS
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Florida State at Georgia Tech, 7:00 PM - RSN, FOX,
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Sports News   150129

The Gilmer Free Press

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Road to Super Bowl XLIX: Pats consistency trumped by controversy

The talk surrounding the New England Patriots ahead of their eighth—yes, eighth—Super Bowl appearance should be about how the club has been a model of consistency under owner Robert Kraft, head coach Bill Belichick and quarterback Tom Brady.

Instead, some missing PSI’s have deflated (see what I did there) the Patriots’ ability to solely focus on their upcoming matchup with the Seattle Seahawks and dug up some old skeletons as well.

Hey, at least the big game has its clear-cut villain.

In case you missed it, and that is highly unlikely, the NFL reportedly found that 11 of the 12 balls used by the Patriots during a 45-7 rout of the Indianapolis Colts in the AFC Championship Game were underinflated by two pounds of air pressure per square inch.

That has sparked some finger pointing and a joint investigation while also allowing detractors of the Patriots to jump up and down and remind everyone of “Spygate,“ the infamous 2007 incident in which New England was found guilty of videotaping defensive signals used by the New York Jets during a game in September.

So, instead of talking about key new additions the Patriots made this season or how the club didn’t let a slow start derail their season, the faces of the franchise have been forced to deflect the controversy away from the team.

Belichick went on the offensive Saturday, defending his team of any wrong doing and then having once again to defend past mistakes when “Spygate” was brought up.

“The guy’s in front of 80,000 people. ... Everybody (on the) sideline saw it. Everybody sees our guy in front of the 80,000 people. I mean, there he is,“ said Belichick of the past incident. “So, it was wrong, we were disciplined for it. That’s it. We never did it again. We’re never going to do it again and anything else that’s close, we’re not going to do either.“

The Pats coach also felt the need to remind everyone that it was talent that got his group of players to this point.

“This team was the best team in the AFC in the regular season,“ he said. “We won two games in the playoffs against two good football teams. The best team in the postseason, that’s what this team is. I know that because I’ve been with them every day and I’m proud of this team.“

Belichick has since shut down responding to any new questions about deflated balls, though each new report about the incident will bring new lines of question.

Until then, New England has been able to talk a bit about how it got to an eighth Super Bowl, which ties Dallas and Pittsburgh for the most Super Bowl berths in league history.

The Pats are aiming to become the sixth team with at least four Super Bowl titles, a distinction that was denied to them by losses to the New York Giants in the title game in both 2008 and 2012.

New England has not won a Super Bowl since claiming back-to-back titles in 2004-05. No other team has won consecutive championships since and the Pats will be looking to deny the Seahawks from joining that company this season.

The Patriots didn’t look like contenders early, with a bad 41-14 loss at Kansas City on September 29 dropping the club to 2-2. Questions about Brady being in the latter stages of his career surfaced, especially after he was limited to 159 yards passing while getting picked off twice by the Chiefs.

Brady responded the next game in a win over Cincinnati, logging 292 passing yards and a pair of scores while allowing the run game to rack up 220 yards.

That victory kicked off a seven-game win streak of the Pats, a span that saw them become the first team in NFL history to win three consecutive games by 20 or more points, each against an opponent with a record of at least three games above .500.

“I mean, we rallied,“ said defensive lineman Vince Wilfork, who appeared in only four games last season because of an Achilles injury. “One thing we always say is, ‘No matter what we go through, just stick with one another.‘ That’s exactly what we did. So it didn’t surprise me. It was something we had to go through, we went through. I think we handled it pretty well as a team and benefited from it.“

Offense played a big part in New England’s surge, with the club averaging just 20 points per game during the 2-2 start. The Brady-led Pats, though, went 10-2 after that while averaging 29.5 points per game over that stretch.

Perhaps Brady just needed time to get back on the same page as talented tight end Rob Gronkowski, who was limited to just seven games in 2013 due to back injury that held him out of the first six contests and a knee ailment that ended his season on December 9.

Gronkowski had just 13 receptions for 147 yards with three touchdowns over the first four games, but had six catches for 100 yards versus the Bengals and ended the campaign with 1,124 yards on 82 catches with 12 TDs in 15 games.

Then there is the defense, which brought back safety Patrick Chung and traded for linebacker Akeem Ayers while also bringing in former Pro Bowl cornerbacks Darrelle Revis and Brandon Browner.

The physical Browner won a Super Bowl with the Seahawks last season and helped bring an edge to a defense that ended up yielding 20 points per game this season.

Revis is, well, still playing like Revis.

“I think we added two, you know, really good players,“ said 27-year-old defensive back Devin McCourty. “I think when you do that of course you get better, and I think those two guys have done a good job of being leaders and fitting into the group. So I think we definitely got better on the field, but I thought we got two really good guys, too. They’ve showed the younger guys, direction, how to become good players, and it’s been joy to play with them, too.“

Still, the focus will be on Belichick and Brady, both for their success of having won 20 postseason games together and for the past and current controversies surrounding the club.

“To have an opportunity to play in this game is really unbelievable,“ said Brady, the NFL’s all-time leader with 49 postseason touchdowns. “I never thought I’d have the experience to play in one of these. To think that it’s my sixth time, I can’t imagine that I’d think I’d ever play anything professionally. Certainly to make the Super Bowl is a pretty amazing experience. To do it once and then six times is very, very special.“

For Brady and Belichick, they better win it clean. Their legacy may depend on it.

►  Seahawks to win second straight Super Bowl

Based on last year’s victory over Denver, it is hard to imagine Seattle as an underdog for a second straight Super Bowl. However, that is the scenario as New England is favored by one point for Sunday’s game.

Tom Brady is no Peyton Manning in the postseason, but the Seahawks’ defense is playing as well as it did this time last year. Given that, it is safe to apply “Super Bowl Betting 101” logic, which clearly states to take underdogs as they have covered 10 of the last 13 Super Bowls with seven outright victories.

It does not matter which conference the Super Bowl winner resides in as four different AFC franchises and five different NFC franchises have won the title over the last 13 years. The two conferences are basically even as they were from 1971 to 1995 when only four AFC clubs and just five NFC clubs won the Super Bowl.

The big difference between the two time frames is the NFC representative has been much more dominant over the last 13 years, covering the spread 10 times. In addition, when the NFC team is the underdog, its ATS record is 8-2 with five outright victories. That is the scenario for the third time in the last four years as Seattle is getting one point from New England.

Last season, the Seahawks received 1.5 points from Denver and destroyed the Broncos, 43-8. The game was never in doubt as Seattle led the AFC representative 22-0 at halftime and 36-0 near the end of the third quarter. It is true the Seahawks were plus-four in turnover margin, but it would not have mattered if the margin was zero.

Turnovers should not be an issue this time around as New England was tied with Green Bay for the top spot in the least number of giveaways at 13 while Seattle was next with just 14. Both clubs were in the middle of the pack in takeaways as New England had 25 and Seattle 23.

The game will be decided by which club is the better team, and right now that is Seattle. Sure the Seahawks needed a miracle to beat Green Bay and New England crushed Indianapolis, but the Packers were by far the more formidable opponent and they would have been favored by around a touchdown if matched up against the Colts.

It is another story of “what have you done for me lately” as not many bettors seem to recall how the Patriots were life and death to take down Baltimore.

Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson had one of his worst games versus Green Bay, so the likelihood of a reversal is extremely strong, especially against a mediocre New England pass defense. On the other side, Seattle was the No. 1 pass defense in the entire NFL while ranking third against the run.

It is ironic the team with the better defense has lost four of the last five Super Bowls (the lone winner was the Seahawks one year ago). The familiar adage “defense wins championships” has been hugely inaccurate as 10 years went by before the team that allowed fewer regular-season points covered the spread. Once again, Seattle was the team to snap the string.


In this new era of high-flying offenses, the last two Super Bowls (and three of the last four) have gone over the total. Last season’s over/under total was 47 and the over was in the bag early in the fourth quarter when the Seahawks scored their final touchdown. It was the fourth consecutive time the game went over the number when the total was in the 40s. Ironically, the last three times the posted total was in the 50s, the game went under. This year’s Super Bowl total is 47.5.

This year’s game should have many more passes than runs as both squads will be unsuccessful on the ground. Remember, Patriots quarterback Tom Brady threw 58 passes the last time these two teams met in 2012. Seattle rushed for just 3.3 yards per carry that game as Marshawn Lynch and Robert Turbin combined for just 68 yards.

New England had gone under the total in five of its last six regular-season games, but went over the number in both playoff games. Seattle also went under the total in five of its last six regular-season games, but went over the number in both playoff contests.


This is the second straight season (and third since 2009) the teams with the best record in each conference have reached the Super Bowl. Last year, Seattle won straight-up and against the spread, and in 2009, the New Orleans Saints also did so. Both winners were underdogs.

Look for similar results this time around as the Seahawks win and cover for the second consecutive season, matching the Patriots’ back-to-back titles in 2004 and 2005. Go with the over as well.

►  Extra Points: Quinn focuses on finishing the job

Dan Quinn has one foot out the door in Seattle but that doesn’t mean the next coach of the Atlanta Falcons is planning to give up on his security deposit.

The NFL’s worst-kept secret is that win or lose at Super Bowl XLIX, the Seahawks’ defensive coordinator will be soon be calling Buckhead home. For now, though, it’s all about finishing the job he already has as the steward of football’s best defense.

“I think all of us have those experiences where you have to juggle things at the same time,“ Quinn said at Super Bowl Media Day when asked about his pending job change. “For me, just being here, I am having an absolute blast.“

While quarterback Russell Wilson and stud running back Marshawn Lynch get most of the ink for the Seahawks, it’s Quinn’s stifling defense which serves as the team’s true calling card, and the New Jersey native has successfully built on what now-Jacksonville head coach Gus Bradley first cobbled together in the Pacific Northwest.

The Seahawks’ stop unit led the NFL in scoring defense for the third consecutive season in 2014, becoming the first to accomplish that feat since the famed 1969-71 “Purple People Eaters” of the Minnesota Vikings, and just the third all-time (Cleveland 1953-57).

Quinn’s unit also became only the fourth team in NFL lore to lead the league in fewest points and yards allowed in back-to-back seasons, and the first since the legendary 1985-86 Chicago Bears.

And the Seahawks D has done all of that in the most offensively-skewed era in pro football history.

“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 are athletic middle linebacker Bobby Wagner and members of the best secondary in football, featuring three All-Pro-caliber players in cornerback Richard Sherman as well as safeties Earl Thomas and Kam Chancellor.

Quinn particularly raved about his last line of defense on Tuesday.

“They are two unique guys: Kam Chancellor and Earl Thomas are both so different,“ Quinn said. “Kam Chancellor, we’d all look up at him right now at how big he is. We try to feature him in the things he does best like playing near the line of scrimmage and with Earl Thomas ... he is a speed backer, something that really jumps out in his game. The way he can play the middle of the field and coverages, the closing speed that he has, that is just one good example that you talked about with those guys and try to feature the guys in the best ways.

“With those, it is real clear what they do best.“

Over the Seahawks’ final six regular-season games, the club allowed a minuscule 6.5 points and 202 yards per game while collecting 24 sacks. It did not allow a point in the fourth quarter and yielded only 13 in the second halves during the six-game run.

“I think early on we got to the point where we were trying to be too perfect,“ Wagner said. “We had to go back to realizing that it’s not about perfection, it’s about having fun and enjoying that time you have with your brothers. Once we got back to that, we really got going.“

It was a bittersweet irony because that run solidified Quinn on a lot of head- coaching short lists, and his pupils understand he’s out the door after Sunday’s game.

Few are feeling abandoned, however, with linebacker K.J. Wright calling his soon to be ex-teacher “a defensive mastermind,“ while also lauding the Falcons for waiting out the process and sticking with a guy who won’t be free until February 02.

“I think he’ll be a really good head coach,“ Wright said. “I don’t expect him to be here next year. 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, though, has one more page to turn before making the Falcons that playoff team—one that reads beating Peyton Manning and Tom Brady in back- to-back Super Bowls.

“This is such a cool experience,“ Quinn said. “Where else would you rather be?“

Not in Atlanta ... at least not yet.    ~~  John McMullen ~~

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Area High Schools Boys Basketball Game Results

(Wednesday, January 28)

#4 Parkersburg South 77     University 66

#6 Notre Dame 76     Union 40

►  Area High Schools Girls Basketball Game Results

(Wednesday, January 28)

Wirt County 57     Calhoun County 30

#7 Clay County 55     Braxton County 27

Ravenswood 78     Roane County 43

Notre Dame 56     South Harrison 17

Lincoln 56     Robert C. Byrd 38

#10 Buckhannon-Upshur 53     Philip Barbour 35

Lewis County 55     East Fairmont 47

#10 Bridgeport 55     Elkins 37

Preston 67     Liberty 37

<The Gilmer Free Press

►  Top-25 College Men’s Basketball Game Results

(Wednesday, January 28)

Final Score: (8) Notre Dame 77, (4) Duke 73

The top-10 ACC showdown at Purcell Pavilion lived up to its billing, and it was Notre Dame—particularly Jerian Grant—providing the big plays down the stretch to steal a signature win from Duke. Grant finished with 23 points, 12 assists and six rebounds as the eighth- ranked Fighting Irish survived a 77-73 nail-biter against the fourth- ranked Blue Devils. Duke led by 10 midway through the second half before the Irish rallied for their fourth comeback victory during a five-game winning streak. Grant was the catalyst, but Notre Dame (20-2, 8-1 ACC) had plenty of contributors. Pat Connaughton chipped in 13 points and 12 rebounds, Zach Auguste scored 14 points and Steve Vasturia drained a huge 3-pointer in crunch time. There was a slight letdown for Duke (17-3, 4-3) following the celebration of Mike Krzyzewski’s 1,000th career victory over the weekend, as no one other than Jahlil Okafor made a field goal over the final 12-plus minutes. Okafor totaled 22 points and 17 rebounds but struggled at the foul line, making just 2-of-7 with two critical misses under three minutes remaining.

Final Score: (6) Arizona 90, Oregon 56

Seven players scored between nine and 16 points in No. 6 Arizona’s 90-56 rout of visiting Oregon on Wednesday. Gabe York’s 16 points off the bench led a remarkably balanced scoring attack for the Wildcats (19-2, 7-1 Pac-12), winners in five straight since their lone conference loss against Oregon State on Jan. 11. Four of those five wins have come by at least 14 points. Brandon Ashley scored 13 points, Stanley Johnson had 12 and Kaleb Tarczewski and Rondae Hollis-Jefferson finished with 11 apiece. T.J. McConnell scored 10 with a game-high six assists, and Dusan Ristic gave nine off the bench.

Final Score: (9) Kansas 64, TCU 61

Frank Mason III scored 16 points and No. 9 Kansas held off TCU for a 64-61 win on Wednesday. Landen Lucas finished with eight points, seven rebounds and three blocks off the bench and Perry Ellis also netted eight for the Jayhawks (17-3, 6-1 Big 12), who have won three straight and eight of their last nine games. Kyan Anderson had 17 points to pace the Horned Frogs (14-6, 1-6), who were coming off an 86-85 overtime loss to West Virginia on Saturday. Kenrich Williams scored 13 points with nine boards and Trey Zeigler supplied 12 points and 11 rebounds.

Final Score: (10) Louisville 81, Boston College 72

Chris Jones poured in 28 points and Terry Rozier added 23 as No. 10 Louisville downed Boston College, 81-72, at Conte Forum. Montrezl Harrell posted 12 points and Wayne Blackshear had 10 points for the Cardinals (17-3, 5-2 ACC), who have won two in a row since losing to Duke. Aaron Brown led the way with 28 points for the Eagles (9-10, 1-6), with Patrick Heckmann and Olivier Hanlan adding 14 and 11 points, respectively, in defeat. Hanlan dished out nine assists.

Final Score: (12) Wichita State 58, Loyola-Chicago 47

Fred VanVleet dropped 27 points and 12th- ranked Wichita State remained unbeaten in conference play with a 58-47 win over Loyola-Chicago on Wednesday. VanVleet, who leads the MVC in assists and ranks just third on the Shockers in points, was thrust into more of a scoring role with the rest of his team struggling and he delivered, shooting 10-for-16 from the floor and 4-of-7 from distance en route to the highest point total of his career. Ron Baker overcame a slow start and chipped in 16 points—14 in the second half—as Wichita State (19-2, 9-0 MVC) won its ninth straight game following a non-conference loss to George Washington. The win overshadowed a difficult week for the Shockers, as transfer guard Connor Frankamp was arrested over the weekend for suspicion of DUI. Frankamp, a Wichita native who began his career at Kansas, isn’t eligible to play this season but had been practicing with the team. Loyola (13-8, 3-6) lost its fourth straight game. Three of those have been without point guard Milton Doyle, who has been battling an ankle injury. Devon Turk scored nine points to lead a balanced Ramblers attack.

Final Score: (18) Northern Iowa 59, Southern Illinois 52

Seth Tuttle and Paul Jesperson each scored 13 points in the 18th-ranked Northern Iowa Panthers’ 59-52 win over the Southern Illinois Salukis on Wednesday. Tuttle also had 10 rebounds and three steals for the Panthers (19-2, 8-1 MVC), who have won eight in a row. Nate Buss tallied 11 points. Northern Iowa shot 52.6 percent from the field, while holding Southern Illinois to 39.2 percent. Ibby Djimde ended with 10 points off the bench for the Salukis (9-13, 2-7), who have lost two straight. Deion Lavender and Jalen Pendleton had eight points apiece.

Final Score: Purdue 83, (22) Indiana 67

Rapheal Davis scored a team-high 19 points as Purdue shut down No. 22 Indiana 83-67 in a battle of Hoosier State rivals on Wednesday. A sold out Mackey Arena watched their Boilermakers roll to a second straight win over a ranked opponent after knocking off No. 25 Iowa on Saturday. Purdue (13-8, 5-3 Big Ten) held Indiana to a season-low point total thanks to the inside presence of A.J. Hammons, who finished with eight blocks to go along with 11 points. Bryson Scott and Basil Smotherman contributed 11 and eight points, respectively, off the bench for the victors. Yogi Ferrell carried Indiana with 21 points while leading scorer James Blackmon Jr. was limited to 13 on 4-of-13 shooting.

Final Score: Georgia Tech 70, (23) Miami-Florida 50

Marcus Georges-Hunt had 24 points and six rebounds and Georgia Tech recorded its first ACC win of the season in a 70-50 rout over Miami-Florida on Wednesday night. Chris Bolden netted 13 points, while DeMarco Cox added 10 points and seven rebounds for the Yellow Jackets (10-10, 1-7 ACC), who snapped a seven-game losing streak. Tonye Jekiri posted 13 points and nine boards for Miami (14-6, 4-3), which had won four of its last five games coming in.

Final Score: (24) Oklahoma 81, Texas Tech 36

Ryan Spangler scored 20 points and 24th- ranked Oklahoma snapped out of its recent funk with a vengeance, dominating Texas Tech on both ends en route to an 81-36 rout at the Noble Center. After dropping four of their last five games—three to ranked opponents—a matchup with the Big 12’s last-place team was just what the Sooners needed. Oklahoma (13-7, 4-4 Big 12) shot 52.5 percent from the floor, held the Red Raiders to an 11-of-52 field goal rate and scored 20 straight points at one stage to get back on track. Buddy Hield chipped in 15 points with seven rebounds for the Sooners, with Isaiah Cousins adding 13 points in the easy win. Texas Tech (11-10, 1-7), coming off Saturday’s upset of then-No. 9 Iowa State, didn’t have a player score in double figures. Robert Turner and Stan Mays paced the Red Raiders with eight points each.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Lakers’ Bryant undergoes season-ending shoulder surgery

Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant had successful surgery to repair a torn rotator cuff in his right shoulder.

The procedure, performed by Drs. Neal ElAttrache and Steve Lombardo on Wednesday morning, lasted two hours.

“I expect Kobe to make a full recovery and if all goes as expected, he should be ready for the start of the season,“ said ElAttrache, who also noted recovery time will be approximately nine months.

The 19-year veteran and five-time NBA champion suffered the injury in last Wednesday’s 96-80 loss at New Orleans. It’s the third straight year Bryant has endured a season-ending injury, after a torn Achilles tendon in April 2013 and a broken bone in his knee last season.

The 36-year-old Bryant averaged 22.3 points, 5.7 rebounds and 5.6 assists in 35 games this season.

►  Hornets’ Walker has surgery, out 6 weeks

The Charlotte Hornets announced Wednesday that Kemba Walker underwent successful surgery to repair a torn lateral meniscus in his left knee.

Walker is expected to be sidelined a minimum of six weeks.

The fourth-year point guard is the Hornets’ leading scorer this season, averaging 18.8 points in 42 games. He also tops the club with 5.2 assists and 1.4 steals per game.

►  LeBron James out with sprained wrist

Cleveland Cavaliers star LeBron James could miss at least two games with a sprained right wrist, the team said Wednesday.

James was ruled out for Wednesday night’s game against Portland and is listed as doubtful to play Friday against Sacramento, the Cavs said.

The four-time NBA MVP suffered the injury against Detroit on Tuesday when he hit the floor awkwardly under the basket after jumping to block a shot.

A follow-up exam and MRI at Cleveland Clinic on Wednesday revealed the injury.

James recently missed two weeks with knee and back injuries but had helped the Cavs win a season-high seven consecutive games entering Wednesday.

He is averaging 26.4 points, 7.4 assists and 5.6 rebounds in 37 games since returning to the Cavs in the offseason.

They are 1-8 without him in the lineup this season.

►  Durant to miss second straight game

Oklahoma City Thunder star forward Kevin Durant will not play in Wednesday’s game against the New York Knicks as he continues to deal with a sprained left big toe.

Durant also sat out the Thunder’s 92-84 win over Minnesota on Monday due to the injury, which the reigning NBA MVP sustained in Sunday’s game at Cleveland.

Perry Jones will again draw the start in place of Durant on Wednesday.

The Thunder are just 9-15 this season without Durant, who missed the first 17 games recovering from surgery on his right foot. They have won six of their last nine contests with him out of the lineup, however.

►  Nets’ Teletovic to be discharged, full recovery likely

Brooklyn Nets forward Mirza Teletovic is expected to be discharged from a Los Angeles hospital Wednesday after being diagnosed with multiple blood clots in his lungs last week.

Teletovic left Thursday’s 123-84 loss to the Clippers after experiencing shortness of breath and was taken to a hospital.

Nets team physician Dr. Michel Farber provided an update on Teletovic’s condition Wednesday in a statement issued by the club.

“Mirza was diagnosed with pulmonary embolus on January 22 and started on the appropriate medications for this condition,“ the statement read. “Diagnostic testing was arranged and he was then observed until testing showed that he reached the expected therapeutic range. We are pleased to say that he reports no symptoms at this time and that he will be discharged to return home today.

“This was a true collaborative effort between our medical team and training staff and the local physicians at the Los Angeles hospital where Mirza was treated. I am really pleased with how Mirza has progressed. We will evaluate him upon return, personally review all of the testing he had done, and arrange for further testing if necessary.

“I expect Mirza to make a full recovery.“

Teletovic, who will miss the remainder of the season, averaged 8.5 points and 4.9 rebounds in 40 games.

►  Wiggins, Carter-Williams highlight Rising Stars rosters

Reigning NBA Rookie the Year Michael Carter-Williams and Andrew Wiggins, the current favorite to win the award this season, highlight the selections for the 2015 Rising Stars Challenge.

In a new format, 20 players will take part in the game as members of either the U.S. Team or World Team. The contest will be played on February 13 at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, two days before the NBA All-Star Game.

Carter-Williams, the face of the rebuilding Philadelphia 76ers, is averaging 15.3 points, 7.1 assists and 6.0 rebounds per game. Wiggins, picked first overall in the 2014 draft, has improved his game after a slow start. In 14 January games, the Minnesota Timberwolves forward is averaging 19.7 points on 46.6% shooting.

Joining Carter-Williams on the U.S. squad are 76ers teammate Nerlens Noel, Orlando’s Victor Oladipo and Elfrid Payton, Timberwolves teammates Zach LaVine and Shabazz Muhammad, Utah’s Trey Burke, Detroit’s Kentavious Caldwell-Pope, Brooklyn’s Mason Plumlee and Charlotte’s Cody Zeller.

Noel leads all rookies in rebounds, steals and blocks per game, while Oladipo is the sophomore class’ leading scorer.

Wiggins will be joined on the World squad by Minnesota teammate Gorgui Dieng, Jazz teammates Dante Exum and Rudy Gobert, Oklahoma City’s Steven Adams, Milwaukee’s Giannis Antetokounmpo, Brooklyn’s Bojan Bogdanovic, Chicago’s Nikola Mirotic, Boston’s Kelly Olynyk and Atlanta’s Dennis Schroder.

The U.S. team will be coached by Golden State assistant Alvin Gentry, while Atlanta assistant Kenny Atkinson is in charge of the World squad.

Timberwolves forward Anthony Bennett, chosen with the first pick in the 2013 draft, was not invited to the game in either season he was eligible.

►  Spurs sign Reggie Williams to 10-day contract

The San Antonio Spurs signed forward Reggie Williams to a 10-day contract on Wednesday.

The 28-year-old Williams has appeared in 180 games for Golden State, Charlotte and Oklahoma City during his five-year career. Known for his shooting touch, Williams is a career 37.1% 3-point shooter and has averaged 8.5 points and 2.6 rebounds.

In 13 games this season with the NBA D-League’s Oklahoma City Blue, Williams was averaging 16.8 points, 5.3 rebounds and 3.3 assists.

►  NBA Game Results

(Wednesday, January 28)

Final Score: Cleveland 99, Portland 94

Kyrie Irving started ice cold, missing his first seven shots. Hours later, his coach was asked to describe a performance he said was unlike anything he’d ever seen. Irving piled up a career-high 55 points with an injured LeBron James cheering from the sideline and the Cleveland Cavaliers beat the Portland Trail Blazers 99-94 on Wednesday night for their eighth consecutive win. Irving electrified Quicken Loans Arena by making a team-record 11 3-pointers, the last of them coming with 6.4 seconds left to give the Cavaliers the lead for good. His 55 points were the most ever scored by a Cavaliers player at home and one shy of James’ franchise- record 56 in a game in Toronto on March 20, 2005. The fourth-year point guard almost single-handedly extended Cleveland’s winning streak.

Final Score: Philadelphia 89, Detroit 69

Robert Covington made four 3-pointers en route to 19 points for the Philadelphia 76ers, who snapped a six-game losing streak with an 89-69 win over the Detroit Pistons on Wednesday. Michael Carter-Williams returned from a one-game absence to finish with 14 points, 10 assists and nine rebounds for the Sixers, who improved to 4-18 at home this season. JaKarr Sampson added 13 points and eight boards for Philadelphia. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute tallied 12 points and Henry Sims and K.J. McDaniels each scored 10 points.

Final Score: Toronto 119, Sacramento 102

Lou Williams netted 27 points off the bench and the Toronto Raptors defeated the Sacramento Kings 119-102 on Wednesday night. Greivis Vasquez posted 18 points and six assists, Jonas Valanciunas provided 15 points and nine rebounds and Kyle Lowry added 13 points and seven assists for Toronto, which has won four straight games. The Raptors had seven players reach double figures in scoring.

Final Score: Atlanta 113, Brooklyn 102

The longest winning streak in the NBA this season now belongs to the unselfish and red-hot Atlanta Hawks, who rolled to their 17th straight victory Wednesday with a 113-102 triumph over the Brooklyn Nets. Six Hawks scored in double figures and an impressive 76 percent (29- of-38) of their field goals came directly off an assist. Paul Millsap totaled 28 points and 15 rebounds, Jeff Teague orchestrated the offense with 13 points and 11 assists and Al Horford added 20 points and 10 boards for the victors. Kyle Korver made five 3-pointers and finished with 17 points for Atlanta, which has already matched its win total of 38 from last season. Joe Johnson scored a team-high 26 points and Jarrett Jack finished with 14 points and a career-high 13 assists in the Nets’ third straight loss.

Final Score: Houston 99, Dallas 94

James Harden walked up to the foul line with a slight limp in the closing moments, but still sunk both game-clinching free throws. Josh Smith had 18 points and six rebounds, Harden added 17 points, eight assists and four steals and the Houston Rockets defeated the Dallas Mavericks 99-94 on Wednesday night. Harden was slow to get up after banging knees with Monta Ellis near the left elbow during the middle to late stages of the fourth quarter following a drive. Harden, though, gutted it out, but was seen grimacing near the Rockets bench after knocking down his foul shots. Donatas Motiejunas posted 16 points and five rebounds for Houston, which has won three straight games. Ellis finished with 33 points and five assists and Chandler Parsons netted 21 points for the Mavericks, who have dropped four consecutive contests.

Final Score: Minnesota 110, Boston 98

Kevin Martin returned to score 21 points and the Minnesota Timberwolves snapped a 10-game home losing streak with a 110-98 win over the Boston Celtics on Wednesday night. Martin missed 34 games after suffering a fractured right wrist on Nov. 19 but led seven Timberwolves scorers in double figures while playing 29 minutes off the bench. Zach LaVine added 17 points in the win, Gorgui Dieng had 16 with 14 rebounds, Nikola Pekovic scored 14 and Andrew Wiggins and Thaddeus Young each had 12. The Timberwolves played without guard Mo Williams and won for the first time at home since a 90-82 victory over Portland on Dec. 10. The NBA basement dwellers snapped a five-game overall losing streak, winning for just the fourth time in the last 31 games.

Final Score: Denver 93, New Orleans 85

Arron Afflalo and Ty Lawson were both instrumental down the stretch to help the Denver Nuggets snap their seven-game losing streak. Afflalo had a team-high 20 points and Lawson distributed 13 assists in the Nuggets’ 93-85 win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday night. Lawson had just five points on 2-of-12 shooting, but his basket late in the fourth along with a pair of assists to Afflalo aided to the win. Tyreke Evans scored 15 of his 25 points in the third quarter to pace the Pelicans, who had their four-game winning streak halted. Anthony Davis, who temporarily left the game in the third after suffering a leg injury, supplied 24 points and 12 rebounds in the setback.

Final Score: New York 100, Oklahoma City 92

Carmelo Anthony tallied 31 points to help the New York Knicks continue their improved play of late with a 100-92 victory over a short-handed Oklahoma City Thunder squad. Anthony, who sat out Saturday’s game at Charlotte to rest his ailing left knee, added 10 rebounds in the Knicks’ fourth win in five outings since they lost a franchise-worst 16 in a row from Dec. 14-Jan. 15. While Anthony was back on the court, the Thunder played without reigning league MVP Kevin Durant for a second straight contest due to a sprained left toe. Russell Westbrook did all he could to offset Durant’s absence by pouring in 40 points, which still wasn’t enough to prevent Oklahoma City from a potentially costly loss to one of the NBA’s bottom-feeding teams.

Final Score: San Antonio 95, Charlotte 86

Tim Duncan posted his second straight double-double and five Spurs reached double figures in San Antonio’s 95-86 win over the Charlotte Hornets. Duncan had 12 points and 14 rebounds, while Tony Parker and Danny Green scored 17 and 16 points, respectively, in the Spurs’ third straight win. They have also won nine of 11 and haven’t lost consecutive games since late December. Duncan and Green finished with three blocks and two steals apiece. Al Jefferson tallied 17 points and 16 rebounds for Charlotte, which is 9-3 over its last 12 games, with two of those losses coming to the defending champs. Cody Zeller neared a triple-double in the setback, posting nine points, 13 boards and seven assists.

Final Score: LA Clippers 94, Utah 89

Chris Paul and Jamal Crawford each scored 21 points as the Los Angeles Clippers defeated the Utah Jazz 94-89 on Wednesday night. Blake Griffin had 17 points and seven rebounds for the Clippers, who have won 13 straight over the Jazz. Los Angeles, which opened up an eight-game road trip, has won six straight overall. Enes Kanter paced Utah with 21 points and 11 rebounds, while Derrick Favors contributed 18 points with nine rebounds and Gordon Hayward added 11 points in the loss.

Final Score: Phoenix 106, Washington 98

Goran Dragic posted 20 points in the Phoenix Suns’ 106-98 win over the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night. Isaiah Thomas had 18 points off the bench, Markieff Morris scored 16 and P.J. Tucker went for 12 points and 10 rebounds for the Suns, who snapped a two-game losing streak. Marcin Gortat and Otto Porter each netted 14 points in the loss, while Kris Humphries tallied 11 points and 15 rebounds. The Wizards had their two-game winning streak halted.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  White Sox bring back Gordon Beckham

The Chicago White Sox have agreed to terms on a one-year, $2-million contract with infielder Gordon Beckham.

Beckham hit .226 with 27 doubles, nine homers and 44 RBI in 127 games last season with the White Sox and Los Angeles Angels. He was traded to the Angels on August 21.

The 28-year-old Beckham is a career .245 hitter with 149 doubles, 63 homers and 284 RBI in 765 games with the White Sox and Angels. He was selected in the first round (eighth overall) of the 2008 draft.

“Adding Gordon improves the depth and flexibility of our roster,“ said Rick Hahn, White Sox senior vice president/general manager. “We are thrilled to have him back. Like Emilio Bonifacio, Gordon brings the ability to play solid defense at multiple positions or play on an everyday basis should the need arise. This also gives Robin the ability to play matchups more effectively when setting the lineup.“

The White Sox also designated outfielder Dayan Viciedo for assignment. He batted .231 with 21 home runs and 58 RBI in 145 games last season.

►  Braves announce 4-year deal for Toscano

The Atlanta Braves have agreed to terms with Cuban free-agent outfielder Dian Toscano on a four-year major league contract with a club option for 2019.

The deal was formally confirmed by Major League Baseball on Wednesday and financial terms were not announced.

Toscano hit .356 with a .440 on-base percentage and a .452 slugging percentage during the 2012-13 season for Villa Clara in Cuba’s Serie Nacional, considered the premier league in Cuba.

“We are very excited to come to terms with a player of Dian’s ability,“ said Braves president of baseball operations John Hart. “As we look to add depth to our organization, the international market is very important to us and expanding our search into Cuba is a significant step.“

To make room for Toscano on the 40-man roster, the Braves designated outfielder Jose Constanza for assignment. Constanza received just four at-bats with Atlanta in 2014.

►  Phillies’ Montgomery returns as chairman

Pat Gillick will continue as the Philadelphia Phillies’ president and David Montgomery, the club’s longtime president who had been on a medical leave of absence, will return as the team’s chairman, the Phillies announced Wednesday.

Gillick assumed the role of president back in August when Montgomery took a leave of absence. He has served as a senior advisor to the president and general manager for the Phillies since 2009.

“I am fortunate to be healthy enough now to resume some of my previous responsibilities,“ Montgomery said in a statement.

“I am very appreciative that Pat Gillick is willing and available to remain as the club’s president. Pat and I have become very close since he joined us in the fall of 2005. I look forward to returning to work as Phillies chairman.“

Montgomery was named president of the Phillies in 1997, succeeding Bill Giles. He first joined the Phillies in 1971 at an entry-level position and advanced through the sales and marketing departments to become the executive vice president in 1981, then was named chief operating officer in 1992.

Giles, the team’s current chairman, will take on the role of chairman emeritus.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Crosby good to go for Penguins-Caps tilt

Pittsburgh Penguins captain Sidney Crosby will play in Wednesday’s game against the Washington Capitals, the team announced on its Twitter account.

The reigning Hart Trophy recipient sat out the Penguins’ 5-3 home win over Winnipeg on Tuesday due to a lower-body injury that also prevented him from participating in Sunday’s NHL All-Star Game.

Crosby enters Wednesday’s matchup tied for second in the league with 36 assists, while his 51 points through 43 games are tied for fourth overall.

►  NHL Game Results

(Wednesday, January 28)

Final Score: New Jersey 2, Toronto 1 (SO)

Patrik Elias registered the winner in the shootout as New Jersey nipped Toronto 2-1 at Prudential Center on Wednesday. Adam Larsson scored for the Devils, who returned from eight days off and won for the third time in their last four contests. Cory Schneider came up with 29 saves in regulation and two in the shootout. James van Riemsdyk netted the lone goal for the Maple Leafs, who suffered their seventh straight defeat. Jonathan Bernier stopped 22 shots.

Final Score: Washington 4, Pittsburgh 0

Alex Ovechkin scored twice and Braden Holtby posted his fifth shutout of the season to lift the Washington Capitals to a 4-0 victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Wednesday. Mike Green tallied a goal and an assist, Eric Fehr also scored and Nicklas Backstrom supplied two assists as the Capitals ended a four-game skid. Holtby made 27 saves to earn his 16th career shutout. The Penguins lost their fifth game in their last six despite getting captain Sidney Crosby back from a lower- body injury which kept him from All- Star weekend. Marc-Andre Fleury allowed all four goals on 36 shots in the loss.

Final Score: Los Angeles 4, Chicago 3

Jake Muzzin scored the game-winning goal with 3:37 to play as the Los Angeles Kings rallied for a 4-3 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks on Wednesday. Tyler Toffoli returned to the lineup after a six-game absence due to mononucleosis and delivered the game- tying goal and Jeff Carter finished with two goals and an assist for the Kings, who halted a four-game slide. Jonathan Quick stopped 26-of-29 shots in the win. Patrick Sharp and Patrick Kane each finished with a goal and an assist, Andrew Shaw also lit the lamp and Corey Crawford allowed four goals on 27 shots for the Blackhawks, who won their two previous games.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Djokovic to meet Wawrinka in Aussie semis

Four-time champion Novak Djokovic handled Milos Raonic, while Stan Wawrinka kept his hopes of a repeat Australian Open title alive by besting fifth-seeded Kei Nishikori in straight sets on Wednesday.

The world No. 1 Djokovic dismissed the eighth-seeded Canadian star Raonic 7-6 (7-5), 6-4, 6-2, while the fourth-seeded Wawrinka fired 20 aces and was broken just once in a 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (8-6) quarterfinal victory over the U.S. Open runner-up Nishikori at Rod Laver Arena.

The 27-year-old Djokovic is bidding to become the second man in history to win the Australian Open for the fifth time, joining Aussie great Roy Emerson. The Belgrade native won his first major title in Melbourne in 2008 and followed with three successive victories in 2011-13. He has a 48-6 match record at Melbourne Park.

Djokovic still has yet to drop a set in his ruthless run at this 2015 fortnight. He is through to his 25th Grand Slam semifinal, one behind Andre Agassi for the fourth most in the Open Era.

Djokovic improved to 5-0 against Raonic, as he doused the Canadian in two hours. The Serb was not at his best in the first set, not quite finding his timing under the lights at Laver. But a costly forehand unforced error from Raonic at 5-6 in the tiebreak—having just saved two set points—gifted the Serb the opener.

From there, Djokovic was clinical. He lost just two points on serve in each of the second and third sets, while breaking Raonic three times in total.

“It was a close first set, but I thought I had more chances in the first set than him,“ said Djokovic. “Managed to stay tough in the right moments and win the crucial first set. Obviously winning it in a tiebreak and making the break of serve first game of the second set was definitely huge really for me. I could start swinging through a little bit more, be more aggressive into the court. After that first game of the second set I played a great match.“

The 24-year-old Raonic was looking to become the first Canadian in history to reach the Aussie Open semis. The Toronto resident reached his first Grand Slam semi last year at Wimbledon, losing to Roger Federer.

“I just think [the first set] gave him a bit more belief,“ said Raonic. “I wish I would have served better in certain moments, but I didn’t lose because of my serve. He just didn’t allow me to organize my game. Even when he was returning well, by the end of the match he was doing a good job of playing deep and never allowing me to go forward. Obviously if you watch the footage, he was pretty much on the baseline the whole time and I was further back.“

The reigning Wimbledon champion Djokovic is seeking an eighth Grand Slam title.

A five-set thriller was played between Wawrinka and Nishikori at last year’s U.S. Open, and it was Nishikori who survived a 4-hour, 15-minute marathon.

The evenly-matched opponents were on the court for less than half that on Wednesday.

The defending champ Wawrinka dominated the first set and did not face a break point until he was serving out the second ahead 5-4. Nishikori had three chances at pulling even, but Wawrinka’s overpowering serve closed it out.

Nishikori finally earned a break early in the third, but Wawrinka countered with one of his own at love. Three aces early in the tiebreak helped Wawrinka jump out to a healthy 6-1 lead.

After staving off five match points, Nishikori hit a drop shot that fell into the net, and Wawrinka finished him off with another big ace.

On Friday, fans will be hoping for another epic when Djokovic faces Wawrinka for the third year in a row at Melbourne Park. Two years ago, Djokovic denied Wawrinka 12-10 in the fifth set of a fourth-round clash, but last year the Swiss got his revenge with a 9-7 fifth-set victory in the quarterfinals.

“I take a lot of confidence [into the match],“ said Djokovic. “I try to carry that in every next match, next challenge. Obviously I’m going to play Stan, who is the defending champion here. We played five-set matches at the 2013 and ‘14 Australian Opens. I’m going to be ready for a fight. But knowing that I have raised the level of performance tonight, and probably playing the best match of the tournament so far is affecting my confidence in a positive way. Hopefully I can carry that into next one.“

Djokovic is 16-3 lifetime against Wawrinka, including a 3-1 record at the majors.

The first men’s semifinal will be staged on Thursday when sixth-seeded Andy Murray takes on seventh-seeded Tomas Berdych. The big Czech is 6-4 lifetime against Murray, including 1-1 at the Slams.

Murray is a two-time Grand Slam champion and three-time Aussie Open runner-up, while Berdych is a former Wimbledon finalist.

►  Serena vs. Keys in Aussie semis

There may not be an all- Williams semifinal at the Australian Open, but two Americans will square off as Serena Williams and Madison Keys won their respective quarterfinal matches on Wednesday.

The reigning U.S. Open champion Serena cruised past Dominika Cibulkova in 64 minutes, while Keys continued her impressive run with a three-set win over a her childhood idol Venus at Melbourne Park.

Serena looks poised for her sixth Aussie title and 19th major overall after running through last year’s Aussie runner-up Cibulkova, 6-2, 6-2.

The 11th-seeded Cibulkova stood no chance against the focused superstar, who fired 15 aces and 31 winners in the lopsided match.

The world No. 1 Serena made her win look easy Wednesday despite suffering from a bad cold.

“I’ve been sick the past few days, and it’s just getting worse and worse, but hopefully it will get better,“ she said. “I heard there’s a virus going around with a lot of the players, and I think I caught it.“

Meanwhile, the 19-year-old Keys, who had never traveled past the third round at a Grand Slam, battled through a thigh injury and overcame 45 unforced errors to pull out a 6-3, 4-6, 6-4 victory over her much-older countrymate Venus.

The unseeded Keys cruised in the first set but struggled with the thigh in the second. Venus took that set with an ace, and the third fittingly went back-and-forth.

The former top-ranked star Venus, who was seeded 18th and came into the match 9-0 on the year, twice went up a break, and Keys promptly answered with one of her own.

Up 5-4 on Venus’ serve, Keys closed things out with four consecutive points at love. On match point, she caught Venus on her heels with a deep forehand that was returned into the net.

“It’s amazing, you just have to embrace the moment,“ Keys said after the match. “And I get to enjoy another moment next round.“

“Sky’s the limit,“ Venus said of Keys. “There is no limit on what you can achieve. No one can stop you.“

“Sometimes you may not win every match, but there’s a lot of them you can win,“ said the seven-time Grand Slam champ. “Really, the sky’s the limit for her and anyone out there.“

At 34-years-old, Venus was trying to become the oldest woman to reach a Grand Slam semifinal in decades. She had her sights set on a potential eighth major and a Grand Slam matchup with her younger sister for the first time since the 2009 Wimbledon final.

Venus lost to Serena in the 2003 all-sibling Aussie Open final.

Serena and Keys have never met before, while the Thursday’s other women’s semifinal will pit second-seeded former world No. 1 Maria Sharapova against 10th-seeded fellow Russian Ekaterina Makarova. Sharapova is 5-0 lifetime against the left-handed Makarova, including quarterfinal wins at the last two Aussie Opens.

Sharapova owns five major titles, including last year’s French Open and the 2008 Aussie. She’s also a two-time runner-up in Melbourne.

►  American Mattek-Sands reaches Aussie dubs final

Friday’s women’s doubles final at the Australian Open will pit 14th seeds Chan Yung-Jan and Zheng Jie of China against an unseeded team of American Bethanie Mattek-Sands and Czech Lucie Safarova.

Wednesday’s semifinals at Melbourne Park saw Chan and Zheng whip 13th seeds Michaela Krajicek of The Netherlands and Czech Barbora Zahlavova Strycova 6-3, 6-2 and the 29-year-old Minnesota native Mattek-Sands and Safarova best a 16th-seeded German duo of Julia Goerges and Anna-Lena Groenefeld 6-0, retired.

Zheng was an Aussie and U.S. Open doubles champ in 2006, while Chan was an Aussie and U.S. Open doubles runner-up in 2007.

The winning team here will split $575,000.

►  Australian Open Men’s Tennis Update - January 28

Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia

Total Prize Money: $14,000,000


Novak Djokovic (1) defeated Milos Raonic (8), 7-6 (7-5), 6-4, 6-2
Stan Wawrinka (4) defeated Kei Nishikori (5), 6-3, 6-4, 7-6 (8-6)

Andy Murray (6) vs. Tomas Berdych (7), 3:30 AM ET

►  Australian Open Men’s Doubles Tennis Update – January 29

Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia

Total Prize Money: $2,600,000


I.Dodig/M.Melo (4) leads P.Herbert/N.Mahut, 4-6, 7-6 (7-5), 4-2
S.Bolelli/F.Fognini leads J.Rojer/H.Tecau (6), 6-4, 3-6, 4-3

►  Australian Open Men’s Doubles Tennis Update – January 28

Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia

Total Prize Money: $2,600,000


J.Rojer/H.Tecau (6) defeated D.Inglot/F.Mergea (14), 6-4, 7-6 (7-3)
S.Bolelli/F.Fognini defeated P.Cuevas/D.Marrero, 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-5)

I.Dodig/M.Melo (4) vs. P.Herbert/N.Mahut
J.Rojer/H.Tecau (6) vs. S.Bolelli/F.Fognini

►  Australian Open Women’s Tennis Update – January 28

Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia

Total Prize Money: $14,000,000


Serena Williams (1) defeated Dominika Cibulkova (11), 6-2, 6-2
Madison Keys defeated Venus Williams (18), 6-3, 4-6, 6-4

Serena Williams (1) vs. Madison Keys
Maria Sharapova (2) vs. Ekaterina Makarova (10)

►  Australian Open Women’s Doubles Tennis Update – January 28

Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia

Total Prize Money: $2,600,000


Y.Chan/Z.Jie (14) defeated M.Krajicek/B.Zahlavova Strycova (13), 6-3, 6-2
B.Mattek-Sands/L.Safarova defeated J.Goerges/A.Groenefeld (16), 6-0, retired

Y.Chan/Z.Jie (14) vs. B.Mattek-Sands/L.Safarova

The Gilmer Free Press

►  A dozen for Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay

A field of 12 3-year-olds has been entered for Saturday’s $250,000 Sam F. Davis Stakes at Tampa Bay Downs, the final local prep for the $350,000 Tampa Bay Derby on March 7.

Starting from the rail post in the 1 1/16-mile race will be stakes-winning colt Catalina Red with Daniel Centeno again riding. The chestnut colt will be making his 3-year-old debut for owner Anthony A. Lenci and trainer Chad Stewart.

Catalina Red has won his last two starts, both stakes at Tampa Bay, after failing to find the winner’s circle in his first three starts. He won the $100,000 Inaugural Stakes at Tampa Bay by 7 1/4 lengths on December 6 and three weeks later took the $100,000 Pasco as the 3-5 favorite and set a track record for seven furlongs in 1:21.40.

“He came out of the Pasco in good shape, and he’s ready to go,“ said Stewart. “He is just a very smart horse. He stays relaxed, he doesn’t show a lot of emotion and he likes his job.“

Catalina Red comes into Saturday with earnings of $74,680.

Stewart will also saddle Bandages in the Davis with Ron Allen Jr. riding from post 6.

“(The Sam F. Davis) is going to be a huge step up for Bandages, but he acts like he wants to go two turns,“ Stewart said.

Bandages, owned by World Thoroughbred Racing, opened his career on December 06 at Tampa Bay with a third and three weeks later at the track won for the first time as the 13-10 favorite.

Here is the field for the Sam. F. Davis from the rail out: Catalina Red, Daniel Centeno; Royal Son, John Velazquez; Ami’s Flatter, Luis Contreras; Crittenden, Fernando De La Cruz; Divining Rod, Luis Garcia; Bandages, Ron Allen Jr.; Brother Bobo, Gabriel Saez; G Five, Rajiv Maragh; My Johnny Be Good, Antonio Gallardo; Coomer, Julien Leparoux; Ocean Knight, Irad Ortiz Jr. and Bears Personality, Edgar Prado.

The Sam F. Davis has an approximate post time of 5:20 PM ET. The race has produced at least one Kentucky Derby starter in 10 of the last 11 years.

►  Shared Belief has another workout for San Antonio

Pacific Classic winner Shared Belief posted a Wednesday morning workout at Golden Gate Fields 10 days before his scheduled 2015 debut in the San Antonio Stakes at Santa Anita.

Trained and co-owned by Jerry Hollendorfer, Shared Belief worked six furlongs over Golden Gate Fields’ synthetic main track in 1:11.80.

Shared Belief was a finalist for 2014 champion 3-year-old. He finished third in the voting behind California Chrome, last year’s Horse of the Year as well, and Bayern. He will face California Chrome in the 1 1/8-mile San Antonio while Bayern is recovering from an injury.

The gelding has won eight of nine career starts for $2,032,200. He closed his 2014 campaign with a hard fought victory in Santa Anita’s Malibu Stakes on December 26.

Shared Belief finished fourth in the $5 million Breeders’ Cup Classic at Santa Anita on November 01 behind Bayern. He posted wins in 2014 in the Los Alamitos Derby, Pacific Classic and Awesome Again Stakes. A foot injury prevented the gelding from competing in the Triple Crown races. Shared Belief began 2014 with an allowance victory at Golden Gate Fields on May 26.

►  Take Charge Brandi begins season in Martha Washington Stakes

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile Fillies winner Take Charge Brandi will begin her 3-year-old season in Saturday’s Martha Washington Stakes at Oaklawn Park.

Owned by Willis Horton and trained by D. Wayne Lukas, Take Charge Brandi will be ridden for the first time by Jon Court and break from post 6 in the seven- horse field of 3-year-old fillies.

“I think the mile is a logical choice,“ the Hall of Fame trainer earlier said, referring to the Martha Washington distance.

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 Juvenile Fillies at Santa Anita as a 61-1 longshot.

The filly finished her Eclipse Award-winning 2-year-old season by taking the Starlet Stakes at Los Alamitos on December 13. That victory came just three weeks after capturing the Delta Downs Princess Stakes on November 22. The filly has won four of eight starts for $1,620,126.

Lukas has Take Charge Brandi pointed toward the Kentucky Oaks at Churchill on Friday, May 01.

Here is the field for the Martha Washington in post position order: Perfect Fit, Cliff Berry; Cape Town Stevie, Emmanuel Esquivel; High Dollar Woman, Joe Rocco Jr.; Indian Annie, Ricardo Santana Jr.; Sarah Sis, Julio Felix; Take Charge Brandi, Jon Court and Sweet Corinna, Channing Hill.

Post time for the Martha Washington will be approximately 5:38 PM ET.

►  Majestic Affair favored for redrawn Frank Whiteley Jr. Stakes

Majestic Affair is the even-money morning line favorite for Thursday’s $100,000 Frank Whitely Jr. Stakes at Laurel Park.

The seven-furlong stakes for 3-year-olds needed to have post positions redrawn following the cancellation of last Saturday’s racing program at Laurel Park.

Trained by Chad Brown, Majestic Affair will start from the far outside post in the nine-horse field with his regular jockey Kendrick Carmouche. The chestnut gelding is owned by James Covello, Thomas Coleman and Doheny Racing Stable.

Majestic Affair won the Frank Capossela Stakes on January 02 at Aqueduct by 5 3/4 lengths. He was second on November 15 in Laurel Park’s James F. Lewis Stakes.

Majestic Affair won his career debut last July at Canterbury Park, but five weeks later after being transfered to Brown, was eighth at 5-1 in the Saratoga Special. He came back in October with an allowance victory at Parx Racing. The gelding has earned $124,000.

Golden Years, the original 9-5 program favorite, is now the 2-1 second pick and has drawn post 6 with Victor Carrasco remaining as the colt’s rider. The 3-year-old is trained by Rodney Jenkins for Hillwood Stable.

Golden Years has only raced at Laurel winning three of four, including the Maryland Million Nursery on October 18 and Marylander Stakes on December 6. He was fourth in the Lewis Stakes.

“The horse is very intelligent and he picks up on things real quick,“ Jenkins said. “If you look into his eyes he is very, very intelligent and he is one of the best moving horses I have ever had.“

Golden Years has banked $146,760 as he begins his 2015 season.

Here is the field for the Frank Whitely from the rail out: Governmentshutdown, Julian Pimentel, 8-1; One More Time, Erik Ramirez, 20-1; Sizzling Quatorze, Angel Serpa, 20-1; Notional Debt, Sheldon Russell, 15-1; Bodhisattva, Victor Santiago, 8-1; Golden Years, Victor Carrasco, 2-1; Measured, Horacio Karamanos, 30-1; Mini Cosmo, Frankie Pennington, 20-1 and Majestic Affair, Kendrick Carmouche, even.

Post time will be approximately 4:27 PM ET.

►  ‘Chrome’ and Bayern lead Dubai World Cup nominations

The 20th running of the $10 million Dubai World Cup has attracted 296 nominations led by the first seven horses under the wire in last year’s Breeders’ Cup Classic.

Classic winner Bayern is joined on the nomination list by 2014 Horse of the Year California Chrome who was third in the Classic, Classic runner-up and 2014 UAE Derby winner Toast of New York, Eclipse Award winner and fourth in the Classic Shared Belief and Belmont Stakes winner Tonalist who was fifth behind Bayern. Also nominated are Candy Boy, Cigar Street.

Hall of Fame trainer Bob Baffert, who conditions Bayern, has won the Dubai World Cup previously with Silver Charm in 1998 and Captain Steve in 2001.

Breeders’ Cup Turf champ and two-time Eclipse Award winner Main Sequence has also been nominated to the 1 1/4-mile race. Main Sequence is trained by Graham Motion who saddled Animal Kingdom to win the race two years ago.

Godolphin Racing’s African Story is expected to defend his 2014 World Cup title. His trainer Saeed Bin Suroor has won the race six times.

The world’s richest thoroughbred race will be conducted on Saturday, March 28.

The Gilmer Free Press

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