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The Gilmer Free Press

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Ricky Williams, Bosworth among college football HOF class

Heisman Trophy winner Ricky Williams of Texas and former Oklahoma standout linebacker Brian Bosworth highlight the 2015 class for induction to the College Football Hall of Fame.

A total of 15 players and two coaches were selected for enshrinement. Induction ceremonies are set for December 08 in New York City.

This year’s class also includes linebackers Trev Alberts of Nebraska, Zach Thomas of Texas Tech and Bob Breunig of Arizona State; receivers Wes Chandler of Florida and Thom Gatewood of Notre Dame; running backs Dick Jauron of Yale, Clinton Jones of Michigan State and Rob Lytle of Michigan; offensive linemen Lincoln Kennedy of Washington and Ruben Brown of Pittsburgh; defensive linemen Art Still of Kentucky and Sean Brewer of Millsaps; and quarterback Michael Payton of Marshall.

Coaches Bill Snyder of Kansas State and Jim Tressel of Ohio State and Youngstown State will also join the class.

“We are extremely proud to announce the 2015 College Football Hall of Fame Class,“ said Archie Manning, Chairman of the National Football Foundation and a 1989 College Football Hall of Famer from Ole Miss. “Each of these men has established himself among the absolute best to have ever played the game, and we look forward to immortalizing their incredible accomplishments.“

Williams won the Heisman Trophy in 1998 and finished his four-year career at Texas as the NCAA’s all-time leading rusher with 6,279 yards while setting 46 school records. He was a unanimous First-Team All-American in his final two years and was the first two-time recipient of the Doak Walker Award as the nation’s top running back.

Bosworth spent three seasons at Oklahoma and led the Sooners to a trio of Big 8 titles with an appearance in the Orange Bowl each year, highlighted by a national championship in 1985. He was a consensus All-American in his final two years and is the only two-time recipient of the Butkus Award as the nation’s top linebacker.

Alberts was the first Butkus Award winner at Nebraska in 1993 and led the Cornhuskers to at least a share of three conference titles. He is Nebraska’s all-time sacks leader.

Thomas was a two-time First-Team All-American and the Southwest Conference’s top defensive player in 1994 and ‘95 at Texas Tech.

Breunig was the Western Athletic Conference’s top defensive player twice during his career at Arizona State from 1972-74, helping the Sun Devils to a pair of WAC titles while finishing his career as the Sun Devils’ all-time leader in tackles.

Chandler led Florida in receiving for three straight seasons during his career from 1974-77 and was 10th in the Heisman voting as a senior, finishing as the highest-scoring non-kicker in Gators history.

Gatewood set nearly every receiving record at Notre Dame in an All-American career from 1969-71, leading the Irish in receiving during each of his three seasons. He was also the first African-American captain in Notre Dame history.

Jauron was the Ivy League’s Player of the Year in 1972 as a senior at Yale and led the Bulldogs in rushing each of his three seasons.

Jones led Michigan State to consecutive national championships in 1965 and ‘66 in his final two seasons with the Spartans, finishing sixth in the 1966 Heisman voting.

Lytle, who died in 2010 following a heart attack, was the Big Ten MVP as a senior in 1976 when he finished third in the Heisman balloting after rushing for a then-school record 1,469 yards. He finished with 3,317 yards and helped the Wolverines to a pair of conference titles.

Kennedy helped Washington a national championship as a junior in 1991 and was a unanimous First-Team All-American in 1992, helping the Huskies to three Pac-10 titles.

Brown was a three-time All-Big East selection and a First-Team All-American as a senior in 1994.

Still led Kentucky to its last 10-win season as a senior in 1977, when he was voted the SEC’s top defensive player.

Brewer was the only defensive lineman in Division III history to earn First- Team All-America honors three times during his career from 1989-92.

Payton was Marshall’s quarterback from 1989-92 when the Thundering Herd played in Division I-AA. He was selected as the Walter Payton Award winner as the division’s most outstanding player as a senior in ‘92 while helping Marshall to the Division I-AA national championship.

Snyder has turned a moribund Kansas State program into a national championship contender during his 23-year career from 1989-2005 and 2009-present. He led the Wildcats to a pair of Big 12 titles and 16 of the school’s 18 bowl appearances, including 11 straight from 1993-2003, and joins Bobby Bowden, Joe Paterno and John Gagliardi as the only coaches to earn induction into the Hall of Fame while still actively leading a program.

Tressel won five national championships during his coaching tenure and is the only coach to win a title at both the Division I-A and Division I-AA levels. He guided Youngstown State to four I-AA championships during his tenure from 1986-2000 and guided Ohio State to the 2002 FBS title.

Among the notables not elected from the ballot of 87 players and 25 coaches were former Heisman Trophy winners Eric Crouch and Rashaan Salaam.

►  Cooper, Yeldon, Collins leaving Alabama for NFL

Alabama standouts Amari Cooper, T.J. Yeldon and Landon Collins have decided to enter the NFL Draft.

Alabama coach Nick Saban made the announcement Friday, calling it “business decisions,“ for the trio.

Cooper won the Bilietnikoff Award as the nation’s top wide receiver in 2014, finishing the campaign with 124 receptions for 1,727 yards with 16 touchdowns.

“I want to thank Coach Saban and all of my teammates,“ said Cooper on Friday. “I want to thank everyone who has had an influence in my time at Alabama.“

Yeldon was the Crimson Tide’s second-leading rusher this past season with 979 yards, just 11 behind Derrick Henry, and added 11 touchdowns. He eclipsed 1,000 yards in each of his first two seasons, and finished his career with 3,355 yards and 37 touchdowns.

Collins tied for the team lead with three interceptions this past season and was a finalist for the Thorpe Award as the nation’s top defensive back.

“My time has come for me to take the next step in my journey,“ said Collins.

Alabama finished 12-2 this season, falling to Ohio State on New Year’s Day in the College Football Playoff semifinals at the Sugar Bowl.

►  Mississippi State LB McKinney to enter NFL Draft

Mississippi State linebacker Benardrick McKinney has made the decision to forgo his senior season and declare for the 2015 NFL Draft.

McKinney, a top inside linebacker prospect, led the Bulldogs with 142 tackles over the past two seasons.

“I have decided to enter the NFL Draft and look forward to the next chapter,“ McKinney said in a press release. “It’s been a privilege to be a part of one of the best teams in school history. Mississippi State has developed me into the player I am today, and I will always be part of the Bulldog family.“

The first team All-American compiled 244 tackles, 7 1/2 sacks and six fumble recoveries in 39 games (36 starts) over the course of his collegiate career.

►  FSU’s Edwards, Darby to enter NFL draft

Florida State junior defensive end Mario Edwards, Jr. and junior cornerback Ronald Darby have decided to give up their remaining collegiate eligibility and enter the 2015 NFL Draft.

Edwards, a native of Mississippi, picked up 44 tackles and three sacks this past season. He departs campus having racked up 89 tackles and eight sacks over 36 games (26 starts) for the Seminoles.

“Mario was a tremendous player and person here at FSU and I want to thank him for three great years here,“ FSU head coach Jimbo Fisher said. “Mario improved each year since he arrived on campus and I’m excited to see him continue that growth in the NFL. I’m excited for him and his family and I think he will have a great professional career.“

Darby, the ACC Defensive Rookie of the Year in 2012, recorded 79 tackles, 16 passes defensed and one forced fumble over 42 lifetime appearances (23 starts).

“Ronald was a big part of our success here and helped us reach the next level over the last three years,“ Fisher added. “I’m excited for Ronald and his family. He was a phenomenal player for us here at Florida State, and I think he has a chance to be a great pro.“

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Patriots extend Chung, Bolden

The New England Patriots have reportedly extended the contracts of safety Patrick Chung and running back Brandon Bolden. said the deal for Chung is for three seasons and worth $3.4 million in guarantees, while the pact for Bolden is for two years.

Chung spent his first four NFL seasons with New England before playing the 2013 campaign in Philadelphia. He returned to the Patriots in April with a one-year deal and this season posted 85 tackles with an interception in 16 games, all but one as a starter.

Bolden has played each of his three NFL seasons in New England, mostly on special teams. He ran for 89 yards with a touchdown in 2014.

►  Extra Points: Luck is ahead of a pretty impressive curve

As the 2012 NFL Draft approached plenty of observers called Andrew Luck the best pure quarterback prospect since Peyton Manning.

It was a nice little narrative because the Indianapolis Colts just happened to have the No. 1 overall selection for the first time since 1998 when they selected Manning with the top overall spot.

Over the ensuing 13 years in Indy, Manning amassed a gaudy 141-67 regular- season record as a starter, passing for 54,828 yards with 399 touchdowns and a 94.9 passer rating as well as guiding the Colts to the playoffs 11 times, including a victory in Super Bowl XLI.

A neck injury that ultimately required four different surgical procedures sidelined Manning for the entire 2011 season which is the major reason Indianapolis fell off the cliff and was in a position to bridge a generation of greatness at the game’s most important position with another one.

Manning was eventually released by the Colts in March of 2012 and the divorce was hardly acrimonious. He was attempting to recover from the four procedures on his neck, and Indianapolis was focused on its future and Luck.

“(Manning) said, ‘You’ve got to take Andrew (Luck),‘ (in the 2012 draft)“ Colts owner Jim Irsay recalled during an interview with USA TODAY Sports. “‘You have to you’re crazy if you don’t.‘“

The Colts did draft Luck with the No. 1 overall pick out of Stanford after moving on from Manning, who subsequently signed with the Denver Broncos.

Whether the still emerging Luck, and perhaps more importantly his teammates, have progressed enough to take down the veteran Manning and the supremely talented Broncos in the AFC’s divisional round of the playoffs will be answered on Sunday afternoon.

“It was my hope and dream that this sort of situation would occur,“ Irsay said of squaring off with the former face of his franchise. “I feel blessed that it has. I think it’s going to be a great game and having these two great quarterbacks go against each other at this point in their careers is really exciting.“

Luck is not only bigger and stronger than Manning ever was, he’s far more athletic with elite arm talent, a signal caller with the body of a tight end, the fastball of Roger Clemens, impressive 4.65 speed, and a high-football IQ.

Luck showed off all of his immense talents during a 36-yard touchdown pass to Donte Moncrief in the Colts’ 26-10 wild-card win over the Cincinnati Bengals last weekend.

With the pocket collapsing the third-year star raced forward as Cincinnati’s best pass rusher, Carlos Dunlap, closed in. He shed that tackle easily with eyes firmly focused downfield as other defenders swarmed in before finally firing a perfectly placed pass to Moncrief over two defenders, all while falling down.

“(Luck) can make all the throws, and also he can make all the throws on the run,“ Broncos Pro Bowl cornerback Chris Harris said. “So that sets him apart from a lot of quarterbacks, and we know we’re going to have to cover a little bit longer.“

“I think he’s getting better and better,“ Denver star linebacker Von Miller added. “The concern with him is that he passes, runs, extends plays. He’s the heart of their offense. He’s the heart of their organization.“

Manning did so much for the Colts that it’s almost surreal to realize Luck is far ahead of the pace the future Hall of Famer set during his first three seasons in the Hoosier State.

Manning, a five-time NFL MVP, won 26 regular-season games during his first three NFL seasons with the Colts, throwing for 12,287 yards with two playoff starts, both losses. By comparison Luck has already won 33 in the regular season, tossed for 12,957 yards and won his second playoff game last week with the drubbing of the banged-up Bengals.

Manning didn’t get his second playoff victory until 2003, his sixth NFL campaign.

“What (Luck’s) accomplished may be better than any quarterback has ever accomplished early in a career,“ Broncos coach John Fox said. “He’s been as advertised.“

Manning hasn’t slowed down a bit in the Rockies, leading the Broncos to three straight AFC West crowns and a conference championship last season while earning his record fifth MVP award.

“To be honest, even since Day 1 here, it hasn’t been an issue,“ Luck said of the comparisons between he and Manning. “I never came in saying, ‘Oh, I have to replace a legend, one of the greatest of all-time.‘ Professional sports people, they come and they go. Someone’s going to replace me eventually, hopefully later rather than sooner.“

At this rate, it’s going to be a lot later because Luck has quickly developed into one of the NFL’s best quarterbacks and is already knocking on the door of the “elite club” headlined by talents like Manning, Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers.

Any he may kick in that door on Sunday in Manning-Luck III, the rubber match. Manning and Julius Thomas connected for three touchdowns during a 31-24 Broncos win during Kickoff Weekend this season, avenging a Week 7 39-33 loss to Luck and the Colts in 2013.

Manning has thrown for 655 yards with six touchdowns against his former team, while Luck has piled up 598 yards and five scoring tosses in the previous two meetings.

“It’s not the quarterback versus quarterback thing,“ Luck lamented. “We’re not on the field at the same time. I have a lot of respect for (Peyton), what he does, what he still does is amazing. He’s a stud. I’ll worry about the Denver defense, that’s what I worry about.“

Generally you want to be the guy who replaces the guy who replaced the legend.

For Luck, that’s something his eventual successor needs to think about.    ~~  John McMullen ~~

►  NFL investigating text messages sent to sideline during Browns games

It’s been a tough week for the Cleveland Browns, mostly because the team’s offensive coordinator Kyle Shanahan quit. While many pointed the finger at rookie quarterback/veteran party boy Johnny Manziel for Shanahan’s early exit, it’s now coming to light that he may have left because a non-coaching Browns employee thought it proper to send text messages about play calls to the sideline during games.


Yes, that’s the sound of Browns fans everywhere slamming their heads into their computer screens.

The NFL opened an investigation into the allegations on Friday, ESPN reports, just days after first reported about the text controversy on Tuesday in a single line in a larger article about the troubles between the Browns coaching staff and the team’s front office.

“One source said some coaches became upset when a high-ranking personnel member texted from the press box to the sidelines about play calls,” according to the report.

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NFL spokesman Michael Signora, who confirmed the NFL would open an investigation into the matter, did not reveal from whom or to whom the messages were sent, nor did Signora elaborate on the content of the messages. He did underlined that texting to the sideline during games violates the NFL’s electronic devices rules.

Upon hearing the news, Browns supporters expressed extreme dismay.

“If (the texting allegations are) remotely true, that’s pretty shameful. How an organization even has an outlet for something like that undercuts the coaching staff big time. If I were Shanahan, I’d be upset, too. Simply can’t let some exec try to call plays,” Jeremy Fowler wrote on ESPN’s Browns blog on Friday.

Others spoke out on Twitter, including @CLEsportsTalk, the account of a popular Cleveland blog, which joked about what the messages might’ve said.

►  Jerry Jones says two seats are waiting for Chris Christie at Cowboys-Packers game

New Jersey Governor Chris Christie is facing increasing pressure over the trips he’s taken to see his beloved Dallas Cowboys, but according to Cowboys owner Jerry Jones, Christie will be a welcome guest when Dallas visits the Green Bay Packers on Sunday in the second round of the NFC playoffs.

“I’ve got him two seats,” Jones said in an interview broadcast Friday on ESPN’s “Mike & Mike in the Morning.” (The interview was taped on Thursday afternoon.)

“He’s a friend. … He’s gonna be true blue. I admire that in him. I hope he just keeps coming to games for about the next three, stirring it up out here. … He’s our mojo.”

Jones said setting aside seats for political figures is nothing new for him. He said he’s done the same for Nelson Mandela and Bill Clinton.

But neither Mandela or Clinton had a business relationship with Christie the way that Jones does. Christie controls the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey along with New York Governor Andrew M. Cuomo. In 2013, the Port Authority awarded a contract to Legends Hospitality, which is co-owned by the Cowboys, to operate the observation deck at the Port Authority’s One World Trade Center.

In the wake of Christie’s Jones-paid trip to see the Cowboys beat the Lions in Texas last weekend, two New Jersey state legislators said Thursday they would consider having a legislative panel look into the Port Authority deal. The same panel already is investigating Christie’s role in the 2013 shutdown of lanes heading to the George Washington Bridge in New Jersey.

Specifically, the panel will look at why Christie and Cuomo publicly lobbied the Port Authority’s board of commissioners to approve the deal with Legends in a news release issued a day ahead of the vote in March 2013.

“The question you have to ask yourself is, ‘Why did the governors need to publicly urge the commissioners to vote for this?” New Jersey state assemblyman John Wisniewski (D), co-chair of the panel investigating the GW Bridge scandal, told “If this was a fair and open process, why did they feel compelled to advocate for the commissioners to vote to approve the agreement with Legends?”

State Senator Loretta Weinberg (D), the other co-chair of the committee, told that she found Christie and Cuomo’s public support of the Legends bid “a little strange.”

The committee likely will probe exactly when Christie and Jones became close friends. According to, Christie and has aides have given differing accounts:

                A spokesman for Christie on Wednesday said the start of Jones and Christie’s friendship began in the summer of 2013 – a few months after the late spring approval of the Legends bid, although Christie last month publicly stated the two men had become friends “over the last five years.”

                  “The more I hear about questions like, ‘When did you become friends?’ and then you have the governor saying one thing and his staff another, it becomes eerily familiar to the questions of ‘When did you first hear about the lane closures?’,” Wisniewski said.

                Weinberg derided it as “worthy of ‘Saturday Night Live.’”

►  Rodgers probable to face Cowboys

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers’ injured calf isn’t serious enough to keep the former league MVP out of Sunday’s NFC Divisional Playoff game against the Dallas Cowboys at Lambeau Field.

The Packers officially designated Rodgers probable for Sunday’s clash, with head coach Mike McCarthy telling reporters following Friday’s practice that he does not expect Rodgers to have any limitations during the game.

“Aaron came through the practice, everything OK,“ McCarthy said. “He looks like he’s moving fine to me right now, so we’re not going to change any approach for how we want to attack the Dallas defense.“

Rodgers has been dealing with a strained left calf, which various outlets reported earlier in the week to be a slight muscle tear, since Green Bay’s Week 16 game against Tampa Bay. The All-Pro signal-caller then aggravated the injury during the Packers’ division-clinching win over Detroit in the final week of the regular season.

After Rodgers sat out Wednesday’s practice, McCarthy said he took about 50- to-60% of the reps during Thursday’s workout.

On the Cowboys’ side, middle linebacker Rolando McClain and defensive end Jeremy Mincey each received medical clearance on Friday from concussions each sustained in last week’s victory over Detroit in the Wild Card Round. Both starters are listed as questionable, however.

Also questionable is linebacker Anthony Hitchens, the player involved in the controversial pass interference call that was later waved off during the fourth quarter of Dallas’ comeback win over the Lions. The rookie has not practiced this week as he attempts to recover from an ankle sprain.

Offensive tackle Doug Free is expected to miss a fourth straight game for Dallas with an ankle injury.

►  Chargers ink WR Pettis

The San Diego Chargers signed wide receiver Austin Pettis on Friday.

Pettis was released by the St. Louis Rams in October after making 12 catches for 118 yards and a touchdown in five games last season.

The 26-year-old’s best season came in 2013 when he set career highs in catches (38), receiving yards (399) and touchdowns (four).

Over 47 career games across four seasons with the Rams, Pettis has caught 107 passes for 1,034 yards and nine scores.

►  Seahawks healthy entering playoff matchup with Panthers

The Seattle Seahawks are mostly healthy heading into Saturday night’s NFC Divisional Round matchup with the Carolina Panthers.

Seattle had eight of its 10 players on Friday’s final injury report listed as probable.

Center Max Unger is one of those eight players and will most likely return from a six-game absence due to ankle and knee injuries.

Running back Marshawn Lynch (back), cornerbacks Tharold Simon (shoulder) and Byron Maxwell (illness), defensive ends Demarcus Dobbs (ankle) and Michael Bennett (not injury related), wide receiver Jermaine Kearse (hamstring) and tight end Cooper Helfet (ribs) are also listed as probable.

Tight end Tony Moeaki was listed as questionable with a calf injury, while backup safety Jeron Johnson was ruled out after he suffered a dislocated elbow in Week 17.

►  Ravens’ Monroe questionable vs. Patriots

Baltimore Ravens left tackle Eugene Monroe is questionable for Saturday’s AFC Divisional Playoff game against the New England Patriots.

Monroe (ankle) has missed the past two games, including last week’s playoff win over the Steelers. James Hurst has started the past two weeks with Monroe sidelined.

Backup defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan (foot/ankle) is probable after full participation in practice this week.

►  Panthers WR Brown questionable vs. Seahawks

The Carolina Panthers have listed wide receiver Philly Brown as questionable for Saturday’s NFC Divisional Playoff game against Seattle.

Brown hurt his shoulder in last week’s Wild Card Round win over the Cardinals. He was limited in practice the past two days.

The Ohio State product caught 21 passes for 296 yards and two touchdowns during the regular season.

If Brown is unable to play, Carolina could use No. 3 quarterback Joe Webb as a receiver.

Safety Thomas DeCoud (hamstring), linebacker A.J. Klein (ankle) and cornerback Melvin White (ankle) are also questionable. The Panthers had already ruled out defensive tackle Star Lotulelei due to a broken foot he sustained in practice earlier in the week.

►  NFL Play offs Game Results

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►  Which Smith is better?

The only upset during Wild Card Weekend occurred last Saturday night, when the sixth-seeded Baltimore Ravens took down their division rival, the third-seeded Pittsburgh Steelers.

Quarterback Joe Flacco continued where he left off from two postseasons ago, throwing for 259 yards, two touchdowns and zero interceptions. However, Flacco would not have the success he is having if it were not for the playmakers who catch his passes.

Torrey Smith and Steve Smith Sr. are Baltimore’s top receiving threats, and during the 2014 season both players performed for fantasy owners, in some capacity.

Yet, which Smith should owners consider rolling with for the Divisional Round against the New England Patriots?

Although he is technically the No. 2 wideout on the depth chart behind Torrey, Steve was the player who had better overall numbers during the regular season.

Through 16 games, Steve recorded 79 receptions for 1,065 yards and six touchdowns on 133 targets, while Torrey accumulated 49 catches for 767 yards and 11 scores on 93 targets.

Yes, Torrey found the end zone a bit more, but the disparity in the number of targets proves that Steve was Flacco’s go-to guy.

Both players have had postseason experience throughout their careers. Steve has played in 10 playoff games, and has averaged 5.6 receptions for 95.7 yards and scored a total of eight touchdowns during that span. Torrey has averaged 2.4 receptions for 50.3 yards over seven postseason contests and has totaled five scores.

Not only has he outperformed Torrey in both the 2014 regular season and through each of their postseason careers, but Steve was also more reliable during their first playoff game as teammates (Steve had five catches for 101 yards, Torrey had two catches for 28 yards and 1 TD).

Even though Torrey scored the only touchdown between the two, fantasy owners need to know it is clear that Steve was much more involved and made the most of his opportunities (Steve had seven targets, Torrey had six targets) in the game against the Steelers.

One of the bigger intangibles for Saturday’s contest against the Patriots, is which defensive back will lineup across from the “Smith brothers”? Steve will most likely draw All-Pro Darrelle Revis, which would allow Torrey to go up against cornerback Brandon Browner.

There is no denying the temptation to stay away from a player who will be shadowed by Revis, but Torrey’s postseason numbers simply make it difficult for owners to trust him.

Torrey has never had more than four receptions in a playoff game and during Baltimore’s Super Bowl run two seasons ago, he was clearly the second option behind receiver Anquan Boldin. (Torrey had 11 catches for 233 yards and 2 TD on 25 targets, Boldin had 22 catches for 380 yards and four TD on 36 targets).

It is not a ridiculous thought for owners to feel this could be the week Torrey has a monster playoff game, however, the numbers are just not there to support that.

Boldin became the top receiving threat during the Ravens’ run two years ago, and after what we have seen in 2014, Steve has become Flacco’s top option this season.

As a result, for owners who like to choose their players solely based on numbers; Steve is your guy this week versus New England.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Area High Schools Boys Basketball Game Results

(Friday, January 09)

#6 Robert C. Byrd 63     Lewis County 34

#9 Notre Dame 62     #5 Tucker County 57

Buckhannon-Upshur 66     Liberty 43

Ritchie County 48     Wirt County 47

Williamstown 69     Parkersburg Catholic 40

►  Area High Schools Girls Basketball Game Results

(Friday, January 09)

Webster County 67     #9 Gilmer County 63 (OT)

Clay County 58     Roane County 32

#2 North Marion 87     Philip Barbour 46

Buckhannon-Upshur 65     Liberty 32

Lincoln 59     East Fairmont 39

Robert C. Byrd 61     Lewis County 53

#3 Tucker County 59     #9 Notre Dame 31

Parkersburg 62     St. Albans 50

Parkersburg South 80     John Marshall 34

St. Marys 70     Tyler Consolidated 54

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►  No. 14 West Virginia welcomes No. 17 Iowa State to the Coliseum for what could be a telling matchup

Daxter Miles Jr. has yet to face Kansas or Texas or Iowa State or Oklahoma, yet the West Virginia freshman watches TV games, and he doesn’t blink in response to an entirely premature and slightly unfair question of the moment:

Are the Mountaineers good enough to win the Big 12?

“I believe so. I think we might be the toughest team,” Miles said. “I don’t want to toot that horn yet, but I believe we can do it. We’ve got enough people and enough energy, so why not? Let’s try to win it all.”

Currently at work on their second seven-game winning streak of the season, the No. 14 Mountaineers (14-1, 2-0) opened conference play by handling their chores against TCU and Texas Tech. While road victories should never be viewed as assumptions, those games represented mere appetizers to the schedule meat that awaits.

For the next proving ground, here comes Saturday night’s showdown against No. 17 Iowa State— the highest-scoring and least turnover-prone team West Virginia’s press has encountered this season. Are the skilled Cyclones immune to the press because of their slick passing or have they simply not faced a defense so assailing as the one WVU throws out?

“I think people are afraid to press them because of their skill level,” said Bob Huggins, who is afraid not to press this season.

The 33rd-year head coach realized months ago—not long after Eron Harris and Terry Henderson sought transfers—that his roster wasn’t going to exploit anybody in the halfcourt, at least not consistently. And taking the “best-available” replacement players so late in the spring recruiting cycle wasn’t about picking athletes who fit his system, but rather, retrofitting a system around whatever athletes eventually landed in Morgantown.

So, essentially, “Press Virginia” was born because two sophomore gunners opted to be reborn elsewhere. (However, Huggins contended Friday that even had Harris and Henderson remained, the team’s focus would have shifted toward defense. “We were going to start guarding again—either that was going to happen or they weren’t going to play,” he said. “We decided we weren’t going to keep trying to outscore people.”)

Now, with 15 regular-season games elapsed and another 16 to go, the product of all that attrition/addition is astounding. No WVU team has won so many games so soon since Reagan’s first term, and what’s more, the trickle-down effect of deploying pressure defense has Huggins’ offense scoring at a clip of 78.8 points-per-game. Last year’s team, blessed with two of the Big 12’s best 3-point shooters, averaged 77.2.

As the season began, West Virginia knew about Juwan Staten, Devin Williams and Gary Browne, though it was hard to calculate the worth of the newcomers. At the season’s midpoint, the value is glaringly apparent.

Miles and ball-hawking defender Jevon Carter, true freshmen roommates, have delivered contributions more crucial and more immediate than their recruiting rankings suggested. Jonathan Holton has fronted the press with bounce and exuberance. Jaysean Paige, shooting 47 percent from 3-point range, could be in line for explosive performances once he learns to stay on the floor for more than 14 minutes. Elijah Macon, riddled by injuries and personal loss, has shown scarcely a fraction of his capabilities.

That collection didn’t resemble anyone’s idea of a Big 12 contender in October, but as January unfolds, it’s obvious our first inclination was wrong.

No. 14 WEST VIRGINIA (14-1, 2-0) vs. No. 17 IOWA STATE (11-2, 1-0)

Tipoff: 8 p.m. Eastern at the WVU Coliseum (ESPN2)

Scouting the Cyclones: Georges Niang (15.2 points, 5.5 rebounds, 3.8 assists) is proof not all superstars can jump. The 6-foot-8 junior is savvy and skilled, though like the rest of the Cyclones, he has hit a slump the past two games, making only 6-of-25 from the floor. Iowa State split those games, losing 64-60 to lightly regarded South Carolina in Brooklyn and edging Oklahoma State 63-61 in Ames. … Transfers are always welcome at Iowa State and Bryce Dejean-Jones is spending his senior season there after stops at USC and UNLV. The 6-6 guard (13.4 points, 6.1 rebounds) is a matchup conundrum. … Point guard Monte Morris (10.1 points, 3.5 rebounds) owns a 4.8 assist-to-turnover ratio, which ranks No. 2 in the nation. Dustin Hogue (11.8 points) and guard Naz Long (12.8 points) round out the starting five.

Coaching the Cyclones: Fred Hoiberg, the unofficial “Mayor of Ames” only because he never officially sought office, owns a 101-49 mark in his fifth season. His last two teams might have been Final Four-bound if not for a bum call against Ohio State in 2013 and Niang’s untimely broken foot in 2014.

Mountaineer musings: Juwan Staten (16.1 points, 4.0 assists, 3.3 rebounds) matched his season-high with 37 minutes at Texas Tech. Amid the rigors of Big 12 action, will Huggins be unable to rest his point guard as much as he hoped? … With a 754-303 coaching record, Huggins needs one win to much Henry Iba for 13th on the career wins list. … Holton (10.4 points, 6.6 rebounds) and Devin Williams (10.6 points, 7.2 rebounds) are No. 2 and No. 5 in fouls committed among Big 12 players. … Gary Browne has strung together three double-digit scoring games for only the second time in his career. (The last streak was against Davidson, Oklahoma and VMI in November 2012.)

Pressing question: Will Iowa State—which ranks third nationally with an assist-to-turnover ratio of 1.62—become the first opponent to carve up “Press Virginia?” The Cyclones haven’t committed more than 15 turnovers in any game this season; the Mountaineers haven’t forced fewer than 18. How’s that for a gap of demarcation?

RPIs: West Virginia 10, Iowa State 36

Line: West Virginia favored by 5

Prediction: West Virginia 77-75

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Bucks add Kenyon Martin

The Milwaukee Bucks have signed veteran forward/center Kenyon Martin to a 10-day contract.

Martin was the first overall pick by the Nets in 2000 and played with current Bucks coach Jason Kidd from 2001-04 in New Jersey and again with the Knicks in 2012-13.

“Kenyon provides some needed depth to our front court and brings an additional veteran presence to help develop our young team,“ said Bucks general manager John Hammond in a statement Friday. “He has always been known for his tough- minded, physical approach to the game and we’re excited to welcome him to the Milwaukee Bucks.“

Martin last played for the Knicks in 2013-14, appearing in 32 games. He owns career averages of 12.5 points and 6.9 rebounds in 746 games with the Nets, Nuggets, Clippers and Knicks.

The Bucks opened a roster spot by waiving guard Nate Wolters, who averaged 2.3 points and 1.5 rebounds in 11 games this season.

“We appreciate everything Nate gave to the Bucks both on and off the court,“ said Hammond. “We know we will see him again in the NBA and wish him well in the future.“

Wolters has averaged 6.4 points, 2.9 assists and 2.4 rebounds in 69 NBA games.

►  Nothin’ but Net: Pistons firing without Smith

Addition by subtraction is a time- honored theory in team improvement.

A team gets rid of someone who is either, hurting the team with his attitude, or is standing in the way of someone else, normally younger, and said team thrives.

That appears to be the case with the Detroit Pistons. They have gone 7-0 since the shocking release of Josh Smith, a player who has infuriated coaches in the past, but also a player with about $25 million left on his contract.

To take such a drastic step as to waive Smith showed how little the Pistons wanted him. He’s mercurial. Truthfully, very little is said about him negatively in terms of being a teammate, or a pain in the posterior.

Smith’s rap is bad because of his propensity to take too many 3-pointers. He’s a power forward who has played out of position, out of necessity, for both the Pistons and Atlanta Hawks. Smith is an elite athlete and has buckets of talent, but it’s never truly materialized.

And let’s be clear, seven consecutive wins since cutting Smith is a reflection on Smith. If the Pistons had won say four games in a row after cutting him, that’s not necessarily a true representation of Smith. We could attribute that to the newness of the situation.

But, seven? That’s two weeks of perfection. There has to be a reason.

“How this has all happened, I really don’t know,“ Stan Van Gundy told

Van Gundy is not only the coach of the Pistons, but also the president of basketball operations. It was his call to send Smith packing, although, in Tim McMahon’s piece on ESPN. com, the author clearly states Van Gundy had no problem with Smith off the court, nor his work ethic.

“What we anticipated was giving different guys opportunities, our young guys. Josh’s a 10-year vet in a tough situation at 5-23, and I wanted to give other people opportunities, which was probably going to cut his minutes and take the ball out of his hands some,“ Van Gundy told “I didn’t really think it was fair in that regard. It was easier to do it this way, plus in the future we also get a cap-space benefit, so it helps us for the future.“

Let’s put aside Smith, the personality, for a moment.

On the court, this monstrous trio of Smith, Andre Drummond and Greg Monroe was an interesting idea that never worked. Smith and Monroe were both power forwards and Smith had to play small forward. It turned out to be a horrible fit, like me and anything with horizontal stripes.

So, the easiest explanation is that re-inserting Monroe into the starting lineup, alongside Kyle Singler at the three spot, is a more natural fit all the way along. You can’t emphasize the importance of everyone playing their natural positions.

With Singler out there and Monroe on the block and playing like a legitimate force on the interior (15.4 ppg), it’s opened the floor for the Pistons. They are shooting 40.7% from 3-point range during their winning streak. Jodie Meeks’ return has helped, but his playing time has increased since Smith left.

Another factor in stretching the floor has been Jonas Jerebko. He’s averaged 20-plus minutes a game since Smith’s departure and is scoring a shade under 6.5 ppg. He is, however, 6-for-12 from beyond the arc.

The other revelation has been Brandon Jennings. He’s averaging 19.2 ppg during the win streak, which is a tremendous output.

As for Smith’s personality, or mere presence, hampering the team, the proof is somewhat in the math. They are 7-0 and their average margin of victory has been 15 points. The wins have come on the road against the Cleveland Cavaliers, who still had LeBron James, albeit a hobbled one, in the lineup. They beat San Antonio on a last-second basket and Dallas in back-to-back nights on the road. That’s extremely impressive.

No one on the Pistons is saying anything about Smith, the person, or the teammate. But, it would be naive to ignore the on-court product without him. The Pistons sure seem crisper.

“Well, we’ve gotten better on both ends of the floor,“ Van Gundy said after the win over the Mavericks on Wednesday. “The ball is going in the basket that helps quite a bit when the ball goes in. It not only helps obviously for the reason that the ball goes in and you score a point, but I think it gets your energy up when things are going well. We’ve also defended a lot better.

“Also our group, I don’t know why, but started December 22 we had three days of practice and from then on it’s just been different. Guys have worked harder, they’ve been more attentive. A lot more together and again we don’t have guys that are getting concerned about who’s in the game or their playing time, or their shots, or anything else. They just want to win games.“

That’s not a shot at Smith. Van Gundy was commenting on the fact that, in those two wins in San Antonio and Dallas, different players were in the fourth-quarter lineup.

“You have guys, four guys that were in the game in a great win last night sitting on the bench on the sideline tonight and loving every minute of it,“ Van Gundy said. “You know Greg Monroe didn’t get in the game last night in the fourth quarter. Tonight Andre (Drummond) doesn’t get in, in the fourth quarter there at the end of the game. Brandon doesn’t get back in, KCP doesn’t get back in and guys are into the game.“

Morale is clearly high and confidence means everything. This group is extraordinarily positive and the scenes from the sidelines as Jerebko, Monroe, Caron Butler, Meeks and D.J. Augustin played the entire fourth quarter, and out-scored the Mavs by seven, tell a tale.

There’s a spring in the step of the Pistons right now. It’s not a coincidence it’s happened with Smith in a Houston Rockets’ uniform. It wasn’t a good fit. Now, Monroe and Drummond form the interior nucleus. Good 3-point shooters are taking 3-point shots. It’s all fitting.

Remember this, the Pistons are just 2 1/2 games out of the eighth seed in the Eastern Conference. The playoffs are more than in reach, so while Smith may have been a decent guy, his good-bye has the Pistons firing.


- At its surface, two first-round picks for Timofey Mozgov seems like a lot. But, both picks weren’t originally Cleveland’s so maybe the Cavs feel like it’s house money. They desperately need a center. Mozgov may not be an athletic, ideal fit, but he’s better than nothing. That’s what you want from someone who goes for two first-rounders - he’s better than nothing.

- The East backcourt situation is tough for the All-Star game. John Wall and Dwyane Wade are going to start, which is not terrible. Kyle Lowry and Jimmy Butler are going. Two guards get selected as reserves, three frontcourt players, then two additional players at any position. Jeff Teague of the Atlanta Hawks and Kemba Walker of the Charlotte Hornets both deserve consideration and the backup frontcourt situation is ... shaky, so maybe one of the two has a chance.

- It’s no surprise the Memphis Grizzlies want Luol Deng or Jeff Green. Deng probably isn’t available, but Green is incredibly available. He has a player option for $9.4 million, which I’d imagine he’ll pick up for next season. What does Boston want? Do they make someone take Gerald Wallace and his $10 million contract for next season?

- With the Baseball Hall of Fame on people’s minds, the only interesting first-ballot candidate worth discussing this year is Dikembe Mutombo. Four Defensive Player of the Year awards, eight All-Stars, three times on the All- NBA team makes him a pretty strong choice. He’s curried enough good favor in his lifetime that voters probably put him in this year. No beef from me.

- Movie moment - “Back to the Future” is on people’s minds since 2015 was a year in the trilogy and we clearly aren’t flying to work via jet pack. But, what always cracked me up, and I love the original and hate the sequels, was how Marty had time to sing another song at the dance. To say his plan was predicated on timing was an understatement. His only chance at traveling TO THE FUTURE, mind you, was based on the exact timing of a lightning strike to a clock tower. Maybe he passes on the encore at the Enchantment Under the Sea Dance to make sure everything is exactly where it needs to be for his intricate return home 30 years in the future.

- TV moment - I will miss “Parenthood.“ It’s a really great show. I hope they don’t kill Zeek.  ~~  Jim Brighters ~~

►  Derek Fisher’s unusual speech doesn’t work as Knicks fans wear bags over heads

Nothing has worked for Derek Fisher’s Knicks so far this season, so why not try reminding them that their opponents “put their shorts on the same way you put yours on”? That didn’t work, either, but at least it provided a few laughs.

New York’s game Thursday against the Rockets was nationally televised, for some reason, and TNT recorded Fisher giving his troops the kind of speech that usually doesn’t take place at the NBA level. Of course, the likes of Travis Wear, Langston Galloway and Cleanthony Early don’t usually receive major minutes at the NBA level, so these were unusual circumstances.

Here’s what Derek Fisher said to his Knicks players in one of the team’s early huddles vs. the Rockets tonight:

►  Celtics ship Wright to Suns

Brandan Wright is on the move again.

Just over three weeks after being acquired from the Dallas Mavericks in the Rajon Rondo trade, the seventh-year center was dealt by the Celtics to the Phoenix Suns just prior to the start of Boston’s game at Indiana on Friday.

The Suns will send a protected 2015 first-round pick they originally obtained from Minnesota as well as a trade exception to the Celtics.

According to Yahoo! Sports, the pick is protected if it falls between slots 1-12 in both the 2015 and 2016 drafts. Boston will receive two 2017 second- round choices in the event it doesn’t receive the pick in the next two years.

Wright saw action in just eight games with the Celtics after coming over in the December 18 trade involving Rondo, averaging 3.3 points, 2.1 rebounds and 10.8 minutes during his brief tenure with the team.

The well-traveled 27-year-old put together a strong 2013-14 season as a key reserve for Dallas, with Wright posting career bests of 9.1 points and 4.2 rebounds over 58 games and shooting 67.7% from the field.

Over 320 career NBA games, Wright owns averages of 7.1 points, 3.6 rebounds and a 60.9% field goal percentage.

The rebuilding Celtics may not be done dealing, as Yahoo! Sports also reported that the team has a tentative agreement in place with Memphis to send leading scorer Jeff Green to the Grizzlies for veteran forward Tayshaun Prince and another protected first-round pick. According to the report, the Celtics and Grizzlies are awaiting authorization from a third unidentified team to complete that trade.

Green was not spotted on the floor during Boston’s pregame warmups for Friday’s matchup with the Pacers.

►  NBA Game Results

(Friday, January 09)

Final Score: Indiana 107, Boston 103 (OT)

David West hit two free throws with 31.2 seconds remaining in overtime to lift the Indiana Pacers to a 107-103 win over a Boston Celtics team that continued shuffling its roster on Friday. The Celtics played without leading scorer Jeff Green amid reports that the forward will be traded to Memphis in exchange for veteran Tayshaun Prince and a future first-round draft pick. Boston did deal Brandan Wright just prior to tip-off, sending the reserve center to Phoenix for a protected 2015 first- round choice. Despite their absences, the Celtics fought back from a 13-point fourth-quarter deficit to force overtime on Avery Bradley’s triple with 4.3 seconds to go in regulation. Roy Hibbert shook off a sprained ankle to lead the Pacers with 19 points and 11 rebounds, while C.J. Miles tallied 17 points off the bench and C.J. Watson finished with 15 along with eight boards. Bradley scored 16 of his game-high 23 points in the fourth quarter and overtime, but his efforts weren’t enough to prevent Boston’s eighth loss in 10 games.

Final Score: Philadelphia 90, Brooklyn 88

Nerlens Noel’s slam with 3.2 seconds left lifted the Philadelphia 76ers over the Brooklyn Nets, 90-88, on Friday night. Noel ended with 12 points for the Sixers, who ended the game on a 10-2 run. Robert Covington added 20 points, seven rebounds and six steals. Luc Richard Mbah a Moute had 16 points and three steals in his return to the lineup for Philadelphia, which had lost it previous five trips to the Barclays Center. Mbah a Moute missed the past two games with turf toe. Brook Lopez tallied 18 points, six rebounds and two blocks for the Nets, who have lost four in a row. Mason Plumlee donated 15 points and 15 boards, Jarrett Jack had 14 points and 10 assists and Joe Johnson contributed 13 points.

Final Score: Atlanta 106, Detroit 103

Al Horford collected 19 points and 16 rebounds and the Atlanta Hawks held off a furious rally to beat the Detroit Pistons 106-103 on Friday night in a game between two of the NBA’s hottest teams. Sitting on a seven-game winning streak since releasing Josh Smith last month, the Pistons trailed by as much as 23 points but had a chance to tie the score at the buzzer after an out-of-bounds call went their way following a replay review. But Kentavious Caldwell-Pope’s off-balance 3- pointer from the right wing was short, ending the winning streak. Paul Millsap added 17 points for the Eastern Conference-leading Hawks, who extended their winning streak to seven games, improving to 21-2 since late November. They have won eight in a row and 12 of their last 13 on the road. Caldwell-Pope fired up 23 shots, including 16 3-pointers, and led Detroit with 20 points. The Pistons set a franchise record by attempting 43 3-pointers, making just 13 of them. Caldwell-Pope missed all seven of his 3-point attempts over the first three quarters, then made four to lead a Pistons rally in the fourth. It came just three days after Detroit erased an 18-point deficit to beat San Antonio on Brandon Jennings’ last-second shot Tuesday.

Final Score: New Orleans 106, Memphis 95

Jrue Holiday had 23 points and eight assists as the New Orleans Pelicans defeated the Memphis Grizzlies 106-95 on Friday night. Tyreke Evans posted 21 points and 10 rebounds, Anthony Davis supplied 20 points, nine boards and three blocks and Ryan Anderson added 20 points and six rebounds for the Pelicans, who had dropped three of their last four games coming in. Mike Conley tallied 19 points, seven assists and five rebounds for Memphis, which has dropped three of its last four contests. Marc Gasol netted 19 points and Zach Randolph provided 11 points and 11 boards in his return from a nine-game absence Randolph had been out with a sore right knee and the Grizzlies went just 4-5 without him in the lineup.

Final Score: Oklahoma City 99, Utah 94

Kevin Durant scored 10 of his 32 points in the fourth quarter as the Oklahoma City Thunder rallied for a 99-94 victory over the Utah Jazz. Six of Durant’s total came during a pivotal 10-1 run that turned a six-point deficit into a 94-91 lead with two minutes remaining, helping the Thunder bounce back from consecutive lopsided road defeats to Golden State and Sacramento. Russell Westbrook came up big for Oklahoma City as well, racking up 25 points and 12 assists, while newly acquired Dion Waiters put up 15 points off the bench in his second game with the Thunder. Utah, fresh off a 20-point triumph at Eastern Conference power Chicago on Wednesday, received 27 points from Gordon Hayward and 22 from Derrick Favors. Trey Burke added 20 points in the loss, with Favors finishing with 11 rebounds.

Final Score: Washington 102, Chicago 86

Marcin Gortat had 21 points and 13 rebounds in the Washington Wizards’ 102-86 victory over the Chicago Bulls on Friday night. Bradley Beal added 17 points for the Wizards, who have won three in a row. John Wall tallied 16 points and 12 assists, Nene contributed 15 points and 11 rebounds and Rasual Butler donated 13 points. Derrick Rose finished with 19 points for the Bulls, who have dropped two straight since a three-game winning streak. Aaron Brooks had 16 points and Pau Gasol added 12 points and 13 boards.

Final Score: Milwaukee 98, Minnesota 84

Brandon Knight had 14 points and four assists as the Milwaukee Bucks cruised past the Minnesota Timberwolves 98-84 on Friday night. O.J. Mayo and John Henson each netted 12 points off the bench, while Khris Middleton and Giannis Antetokounmpo added 10 points and seven rebounds apiece for the Bucks, who have won five of their last seven games. Andrew Wiggins posted 20 points, seven boards and five helpers to lead Minnesota, which has dropped 14 consecutive games.

Final Score: San Antonio 100, Phoenix 95

Patty Mills scored 13 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter as the San Antonio Spurs got a late spark from their bench to beat the Phoenix Suns 100-95 on Friday night. Mills and the Spurs reserves scored 30 of the team’s 41 points in the fourth quarter, leading them back from 10 points down over the final 12 minutes to cap what was a roller coaster game. Earlier, the Spurs led by 11 in the first quarter and by as much as 14 points in the second. The Suns used a big run spanning halftime to take a 12-point lead in the third quarter. Danny Green had 20 points to lead the Spurs and Tim Duncan scored 12, but only four after the first quarter. Cory Joseph added 11 off the bench, including nine in the fourth, and Tiago Splitter had a game-high 14 rebounds in the win. Eric Bledsoe and P.J. Tucker scored 19 points apiece to lead the Suns, who had a four-game winning streak snapped. It was only their third loss in the last 13 games. Goran Dragic added 17 points, Gerald Green scored 16 off the bench and Alex Len had 12 rebounds. The Suns acquired center Brandan Wright from Boston on Friday in exchange for a protected 2015 first-round draft pick. Wright appeared in just eight games for the Celtics after being acquired from Dallas in the Rajon Rondo deal last month.

Final Score: Denver 118, Sacramento 108

Ty Lawson scored 14 of his 22 points during a dominant third quarter, leading the Denver Nuggets to a 118-108 victory over the Sacramento Kings on Friday night. Arron Afflalo added 22 points for the Nuggets, who have won four in a row. Jusuf Nurkic and J.J. Hickson each had 16 points, with Nurkic also pulling down eight boards and blocking three shots. Denver outscored Sacramento by a 36-15 margin in the third. DeMarcus Cousins ended with 32 points, 13 rebounds, four blocks and three steals for the Kings, who got 22 points from Rudy Gay. Darren Collison contributed 15 points and seven assists.

Final Score: Golden State 112, Cleveland 94

Stephen Curry had 23 points and 10 assists as the Golden State Warriors defeated the Cleveland Cavaliers 112-94 on Friday night. Klay Thompson netted 24 points, while Draymond Green added 10 points, 11 rebounds and eight assists for the Warriors, who have won six straight games. Andrew Bogut posted four points, five boards and three assists in just under 20 minutes off the bench in his second game back from a knee injury. Kyrie Irving tallied 23 points, six rebounds, five assists and three steals, Kevin Love supplied 17 points and 14 boards and J.R. Smith scored a game-high 27 points for Cleveland, which has dropped seven of its last eight games. Six of those defeats have come without LeBron James, who was held out of the lineup for a seventh straight game due to knee soreness.

Final Score: LA Lakers 101, Orlando 84

Jeremy Lin scored 18 points and the Los Angeles Lakers beat the Orlando Magic without Kobe Bryant, pulling away for a 101-84 win on Friday night. Rookie Tarik Black got 10 of his career-high 14 points in the fourth quarter, when Los Angeles out-scored Orlando 28-17 while stretching a six-point lead to as high as 19 down the stretch. The Lakers out-rebounded the Magic 60-36, with Carlos Boozer collecting 14 boards and 12 points and Ed David getting 10 and 10. Ryan Kelly added 13 points and Jordan Hill scored 11 with nine rebounds. Bryant rested for the second time in three games. He sat out Monday’s loss to Portland, the second game of a back-to-back, then had a season-low four points on 2-of-12 shooting in a loss to the Clippers on Wednesday. The Lakers snapped their two-game losing streak without him, winning for the fourth time in their last 13 games. Victor Oladipo had 17 points and Tobias Harris scored 15 for the Magic, who have lost five in a row. Nikola Vucevic had 14 points and 11 rebounds in the loss and Luke Ridnour scored 12.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  The All-Improved Team

The NBA is the only sport, out of the four major ones, that has a “Most Improved Player of the Year Award.“

As a result, with teams nearing the 40-game mark, I decided to take a look at which players have drastically improved since last season.

This “All-Improved Team” consists of players, one at each position, just as the league presents it’s “All-NBA Team.“

Jeff Teague, PG, Atlanta

Atlanta Hawks’ point guard Jeff Teague has improved every season over his six- year career. After solid averages of 16.5 points per game, 6.7 assists per game, and 1.1 steals per game, along with a field-goal percentage of 44 percent and a free-throw percentage of 85 percent during the 2013-2014 season, Teague has been even better this season (17.7 ppg, 7.0 apg, 1.8 spg, 49 percent FG, 87 percent FT).

According to Yahoo, Teague finished last season as the 54th-ranked fantasy player, and came into the 2014-2015 season as the 57th overall player.

He is currently performing as the 14th-ranked guy.

Not only has he helped catapult the Hawks into first place in the Eastern Conference, but Teague has also returned great value to fantasy owners. He should be looking at his first All-Star appearance, but more importantly should continue his career-season for owners.

Jimmy Butler, SG, Chicago

One of the leading candidates for the “NBA Most Improved Player of the Year Award” has to be Chicago Bulls’ shooting guard Jimmy Butler. He has eligibility at both the shooting guard and small forward positions, but fits the mold of the No. 2 guard, for this specific team.

Heading into this season, Butler was viewed as a player who is a lockdown defender, and could potentially average 15 ppg.

Well, he has indeed become a dynamic defender, but Butler has also found a way to become a “go-to” offensive guy for fantasy owners.

He currently has career-high averages in a number of major categories (21.7 ppg, 6.3 rpg, 3.2 apg, 0.7 bpg, 1.0 three-pointers per game, 48 percent FG, 83 percent FT), and after shooting just 28 percent from downtown last season, Butler has improved to 35 percent in 2014-2015.

Butler finished the 2013-2014 season as the 77th-ranked player, and after entering this season as the 72nd fantasy player, owners are enjoying a player who is producing at No. 6 in all of fantasy basketball.

There really is not much more an owner can ask for.

Danny Green, SF, San Antonio

One guy who seems to get overlooked from the NBA Champion San Antonio Spurs is small forward Danny Green.

In no way will his numbers overwhelm you (12.4 ppg, 4.5 rpg, 2.1 apg, 2.4 3- pointers per game, 1.4 spg, 1.2 bpg, 44 percent FG, 81 percent FT), but the fact that he is such a versatile player, makes Green a solid fantasy option.

Green undoubtedly belongs on this list, as he finished last season as the 92nd-ranked player and came into 2014-2015 ranked 100th overall.

Since he essentially helps owners out in every fantasy category, Green has found himself inside the top-25 of the fantasy player rankings.

Draymond Green, PF, Golden State

Like Butler, Golden State Warriors’ power forward Draymond Green is definitely a candidate for the “NBA Most Improved Player of the Year Award,“ and like the other Green on this team, he is also versatile.

Golden State’s starting power forward has come out of nowhere this season, and is currently a top-20 option. This comes as a rather big shock, because Green ended last season as the 99th-ranked fantasy player, and entered this season ranked 105th overall.

However, there is no denying the improvement he has shown.

With the exception of free-throw percentage (71 percent), Green is averaging career-highs in every major fantasy category (11.9 ppg, 8.3 rpg, 3.7 apg, 1.5 3-pointers per game, 1.5 spg, 1.5 bpg, 44 percent FG), proving how much of an impact he is providing.

Green’s strong play has really hampered the value of teammate David Lee, who is now healthy (hamstring injury), yet still cannot crack the Warriors’ starting lineup. Lee is currently the 125th-ranked player, but came into the season ranked 56th overall.

Hopefully owners did not waste a fifth-rounder on Lee, and instead waited until the 10th or 11th round for Green.

Gorgui Dieng, C, Minnesota

When looking at the list of centers, and potential candidates to fill this spot on the “All-Improved Team,“ my initial thought was to go with Dallas Mavericks big man Tyson Chandler.

However, after some thought, I felt Chandler simply did not fit the makeup of this squad. Although he has improved a ton from a dreadful 2013-2014 season with the New York Knicks (155th-ranked player last season, and is currently the 22nd overall player), the other players on this team are in the midst of career-years. Chandler on the other hand, has had a number of solid seasons throughout his 13-year career.

So, the guy I decided to go with is Minnesota Timberwolves’ center Gorgui Dieng.

The biggest reason Dieng makes this team comes as a result of Minnesota’s big man Nikola Pekovic being limited to just nine games with an ankle injury.

Dieng, who is in just his second season, has filled in admirably.

He is easily averaging career-highs in each major fantasy category (9.8 ppg, 8.2 rpg, 2.1 apg, 1.6 bpg, 1.0 spg, 50 percent FG, 78 percent FT), but more importantly, Dieng is currently ranked as the 45th overall fantasy option (115th-ranked player coming into the season).

While it is nice to see him being recognized for his superb play, owners cannot expect Dieng’s numbers to stay this high. Pekovic has been cleared for contact, and could be back in a couple of weeks, which will likely send Dieng back to a reserve role.

Owners should act now on Dieng, and attempt to sell high. He has clearly improved since last season, and definitely will hold nice value until Pekovic’s return. It is important to play those cards correctly.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  White Sox finalize deal with Bonifacio

The Chicago White Sox have officially announced that the club has agreed to terms with utilityman Emilio Bonifacio on a one-year, $4 million contract that includes a team option for the 2016 season. reported Monday that the versatile Bonifacio was set to sign with Chicago. The eight-year major league veteran will earn $3 million this coming season, with the White Sox holding a $4 million option with a $1 million buyout for 2016.

Bonifacio began last season with the crosstown rival Cubs before being traded to Atlanta on July 31. The 29-year-old switch-hitter batted .259 with three home runs, 24 RBI and 26 stolen bases over a combined 110 games in 2014.

“Emilio brings an excellent mix of versatility, speed and experience to our club which will provide (manager) Robin (Ventura) with additional flexibility with the roster this year,“ said White Sox general manager Rick Hahn. “We expect Emilio’s ability to switch hit, help at multiple positions and steal a base to be very beneficial to us.“

Bonifacio started games at six different positions this past season, seeing time at all three outfield spots as well as second base, shortstop and third base. He owns a .262 career average with 164 steals over 722 MLB games.

Outfielder Jordan Danks was designated for assignment to create a space for Bonifacio on Chicago’s 40-man roster.

Danks, the younger brother of White Sox pitcher John Danks, hit just .227 with eight homers, 26 RBI and 15 stolen bases in 180 games with Chicago over the past three seasons. The 28-year-old batted .222 with two homers and 10 RBI in 51 contests in 2014.

►  Nats’ Werth to have shoulder surgery

Washington Nationals outfielder Jayson Werth will undergo surgery Friday to repair the AC joint in his right shoulder, according to the Washington Post.

Werth is expected to be sidelined between 2-to-3 months, putting his availability for the start of the 2015 season in question. The Nationals have yet to confirm that the veteran slugger is headed for the procedure.

The 35-year-old initially hurt his shoulder while making a catch against the Philadelphia Phillies in early August. Werth missed a week with the injury, but batted .339 over the final 35 games of the regular season after returning to the lineup.

In 147 overall regular season games in 2014, Werth hit .292 with 16 home runs and 82 RBI to help Washington win a National League-best 96 games.

Werth, entering the fifth season of a seven-year, $126 million contract he signed with Washington in December of 2010, has had an eventful offseason. He was sentenced to 180 days in jail, 170 of which were suspended, after being found guilty last month of reckless driving in Fairfax County, Virginia during the summer.

►  Cubs agree to terms with OF Denorfia

The Chicago Cubs have agreed to terms on a one-year contract with outfielder Chris Denorfia on Friday.

Denorfia, 34, split 121 games between the San Diego Padres and Seattle Mariners last season, compiling a .230 batting average with three home runs and 21 RBI.

Although his numbers were down last season, the nine-year veteran owns a career .272 batting average with 38 homers and 178 RBI over 705 career games with Cincinnati, Oakland, San Diego and Seattle.

To make room for Denorfia on the 40-man roster, the Cubs designated pitcher Mike Kickham for assignment.

►  Orioles bring back Delmon Young

Outfielder Delmon Young has returned to the Baltimore Orioles on a one-year contract, the team officially announced Friday. reported the deal to be worth a guaranteed $2.25 million and could earn Young up to $3 million with incentives.

Signed to a minor league contract by Baltimore last January, Young hit a solid .302 with seven home runs and 30 RBI in just 242 at-bats in 2014. The former No. 1 overall pick also led the majors with a .500 average (10-for-20) as a pinch hitter during the regular season, then delivered a go-ahead three-run double off the bench in the eighth inning that keyed the Orioles’ Game 2 win over Detroit in the American League Division Series.

Young may be in line for an increased role this season with Baltimore losing AL home run champion Nelson Cruz and outfielder Nick Markakis in free agency.

Catcher Ryan Lavarnway was designated for assignment to make room for Young on the 40-man roster.

Lavarnway, who played in 97 games for Boston from 2011-14, has been with three different organizations since being DFA’d by the Red Sox in late November. The Orioles claimed the 27-year-old off waivers from the Chicago Cubs, who previously claimed Lavarnway from the Los Angeles Dodgers, on December 23.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Laviolette, Sutter to coach NHL All-Star game

Peter Laviolette of the Nashville Predators and Darryl Sutter of the Los Angeles Kings were named the head coaches for the upcoming 2015 NHL All-Star Game in Columbus.

The coaching selections were determined by the team with the highest points percentage in the NHL through January 10 and the team that hoisted the Stanley Cup the prior season.

Laviolette, who also coached at the 2011 All-Star game in Raleigh, has guided the Predators to a 27-9-4 record (.725) and a top spot that will stay intact through Saturday’s games.

Sutter will be making his first All-Star appearance after his Stanley Cup champion Kings defeated the New York Rangers in five games last June.

The 2015 All-Star festivities will take place at Nationwide Arena on January 24-25.

►  NHL Game Results

(Friday, January 09)

Final Score: NY Islanders 3, New Jersey 2 (OT)

John Tavares tied the game late in the third period and won it in overtime with an impressive sequence, powering the New York Islanders to a 3-2 victory over the New Jersey Devils on Friday. Tavares lifted the stick of Devils defenseman Adam Larsson below the goal line to acquire the puck, moved in on net and finished the play with a wrister past the blocker of Keith Kinkaid for the win. Tavares also assisted on a goal by Josh Bailey and Jaroslav Halak made 21 saves in his sixth straight start for the Islanders, who ended a two-game skid. Travis Zajac and Scott Gomez lit the lamp for the Devils, who earned a point after being held to just 14 shots in Thursday’s 3-0 loss at Boston. Kinkaid turned aside 28 shots in defeat.

Final Score: Toronto 5, Columbus 2

James van Riemsdyk had two goals with one assist to help the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 5-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday night. Phil Kessel, Tyler Bozak and Daniel Winnik each registered a goal and one assist for the Maple Leafs, who got 18 saves from Jonathan Bernier. Toronto snapped a three-game skid and posted its first win under interim head coach Peter Horachek. Ryan Johansen extended his goal streak to a career-high five games, supplying both tallies in only Columbus’ fourth loss since the start of December (12-3-1). Sergei Bobrovsky gave up four goals on 31 shots hours after signing a four-year contract extension with the Blue Jackets.

Final Score: Tampa Bay 2, Buffalo 1

Steven Stamkos scored the game-winning goal late in the third period to lift the Tampa Bay Lightning to a 2-1 win over the Buffalo Sabres on Friday. Valtteri Filppula also scored and Ben Bishop made 20 saves for the Lightning, who have won seven of their last eight games. Cody McCormick provided a short-handed goal and Michal Neuvirth kept the Sabres in the game by stopping 45 shots in the team’s seventh straight loss.

Final Score: Florida 6, Calgary 5

Tomas Fleischmann scored with 3:09 remaining in the third period to lift the Florida Panthers to a 6-5 win over the Calgary Flames on Friday night. Fleischmann backhanded in a rebound from the slot 45 seconds after the Flames had tied it on Matt Stajan’s second goal of the game. Brad Boyes, who had a goal and an assist for Florida, was called for slashing with 2:25 left. The Flames pulled Jonas Hiller during the subsequent power play for a 6-on-4 advantage and Brian Campbell, who gave the Panthers a 5-4 lead at 9:29 of the third, bailed out goaltender Al Montoya. The puck sat in the crease, but the veteran defenseman alertly pinned it against Montoya to trigger a whistle. Jonathan Huberdeau, Jimmy Hayes and Sean Bergenheim also scored as Florida improved to 3-1-0 on its six-game road trip. TJ Brodie also had two goals for Calgary, which concluded a six-game homestand with a third straight loss.

Final Score: Edmonton 5, Chicago 2

Derek Roy finished with a goal and two assists, helping the Edmonton Oilers defeat the Chicago Blackhawks 5-2 on Friday night. Taylor Hall and Nail Yakupov both had one goal and an assist for the Oilers, who got 19 saves from Ben Scrivens. Edmonton has gone 3-1-2 over its last six games and beat a Central Division opponent for the first time this season (1-4-5). Brandon Saad scored both goals for Chicago, which posted a 7-1 win over the Oilers in its last trip to Rexall Place on Nov. 22. Antti Raanta stopped 17 shots in the loss.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Federer charges into Brisbane semis

Top-seeded Roger Federer was an easy quarterfinal winner Friday at the season-opening Brisbane International tennis event.

Federer and his other fellow top-four seeds all secured berths in the final four this weekend.

The 2014 Brisbane runner-up Federer whipped Aussie wild card James Duckworth 6-0, 6-1 in a laughable 40 minutes on the hardcourts at Queensland Tennis Centre.

“I had a great start to the match. Calmed the nerves,“ Federer said. “It was a bit tense yesterday. Today, I was serving well, returning well, playing aggressive.“

Federer, who lost to Aussie favorite Lleyton Hewitt in last year’s all-former- No. 1 Brisbane final, will meet “Baby Fed,“ fourth-seeded Grigor Dimitrov, on Saturday. The 2013 Brisbane runner-up Dimitrov eased past Slovak Martin Klizan 6-3, 6-4.

“I’m always excited when I get to play a match like that against a player like that,“ said Dimitrov, who has lost both of his previous matches against the 17-time Grand Slam champion Federer. “I have quite a bit of experience behind me now. I’ve learned from each match that I’ve played against him. I like my odds.“

The other semifinal will pit second-seeded U.S. Open runner-up Kei Nishikori against third-seeded Canadian slugger Milos Raonic. The Japanese star Nishikori rolled past Aussie Bernard Tomic 6-0, 6-4, while Raonic outgunned Aussie Sam Groth 7-6 (7-5), 3-6, 7-6 (7-2) in a 37-ace affair, including 22 from the loser.

Brisbane serves as a tune-up for the Australian Open, which will begin January 19 in Melbourne.

►  Sharapova, Ivanovic to clash in Brisbane final

Former world No. 1s Maria Sharapova and Ana Ivanovic will do battle in Saturday’s final at the season- opening $1 million Brisbane International tennis event.

The final berths were secured when the top-seeded Sharapova defeated rising Ukrainian Elina Svitolina 6-1, 6-3 and the second-seeded Ivanovic held off game American Varvara Lepchenko 7-6 (7-2), 6-4 at this Australian Open tune-up on the hardcourts at Queensland Tennis Centre.

Sharapova dropped just nine games in her three matches to get to the final and was ruthless against Svitolina, the 2010 junior French Open titlist.

“I expected her to play well. I think I did a lot of things good to try to take away her game,“ Sharapova said.

“In the end, it became a little bit more difficult. She became more free, went for her shots a little bit, a few unforced errors from my end, but overall I’m happy I stuck with it and finished the last point.“

When the reigning French Open champion Sharapova and Ivanovic meet on Saturday, it will mark their 14th encounter on the WTA, with the Russian leading the lifetime series 9-4. They split four meetings last season.

Sharapova is 33-22 in her career finals, including a perfect 4-0 mark last year.

Her fellow 27-year-old Ivanovic is 15-7 in her career title tilts, including 4-2 last year.

Sharapova beat Ivanovic in the 2008 Aussie Open final.

►  Wozniacki, Venus to meet in Auckland final

Caroline Wozniacki and Venus Williams were semifinal winners Friday and will meet for the title at the ASB Classic.

Wozniacki, the top seed in this season-opening event, was a 4-6, 6-3, 6-4 winner over fourth-seeded Barbora Zahlavova Strycova in the first match of the day.

The third-seeded Williams then made quick work of Lauren Davis, topping her fellow American in straight sets, 6-0, 6-3.

Williams was last year’s Auckland runner-up, dropping a 6-2, 5-7, 6-4 decision to Ana Ivanovic.

Wozniacki was down a set and a break on Friday before storming back to win. The Dane reached three finals in 2014, winning in Istanbul last July for her lone title of the year. She then lost consecutive finals in September, first falling to Serena Williams in the U.S. Open before losing to Ivanovic in Tokyo two weeks later.

Venus Williams was 1-3 in finals last year. After the loss to Ivanovic in Auckland, she beat Alize Cornet in February for her lone title of the season in Dubai, then lost finals last summer in Montreal and Quebec City.

Wozniacki will be trying for her 23rd career title, while Williams will be gunning for her 46th.

Williams has never lost a set to Wozniacki in five previous meetings, capturing a 6-3, 6-2 triumph in their last matchup last February in the Dubai semifinals.

►  Wawrinka reaches SFs in India

Top-seeded and defending champion Stan Wawrinka continued his winning ways in Chennai on Friday.

The reigning Chennai Open and Australian Open champ got past eighth-seeded Gilles Muller of Luxembourg 6-2, 7-6 (7-4) on the hardcourts at SDAT Tennis Stadium.

The two-time Chennai titlist Wawrinka, who also titled here in 2011 and was the runner-up in 2010, beat Frenchman Edouard Roger-Vasselin in last year’s finale in India.

His semifinal opponent on Saturday will be fourth-seeded rising Belgian David Goffin, who doused Austrian Andreas Haider-Maurer 7-5, 6-2 in the quarterfinals.

The other semi will pit third-seeded Spaniard Roberto Bautista Agut against upstart Slovenian Aljaz Bedene. The 2013 Chennai runner-up Bautista Agut edged out sixth-seeded Taiwanese Yen-Hsun Lu 7-6 (9-7), 6-4, while the qualifier Bedene bounced fifth-seeded Spaniard Guillermo Garcia-Lopez in come- from-behind fashion, 2-6, 6-3, 6-2.

Chennai serves as a tune-up for the Aussie Open, which will begin January 19.

►  Berdych, Ferrer reach Doha final

Former Wimbledon runner-up Tomas Berdych and former French Open finalist David Ferrer will be the combatants in Saturday’s championship match at the season-opening $1.22 million Qatar Open tennis event.

The third-seeded Czech Berdych cruised past unseeded Italian Andreas Seppi 6-2, 6-3, while the fourth-seeded Spaniard Ferrer edged out seventh-seeded 6- foot-10 Croat Ivo Karlovic in a three-tiebreak affair, 6-7 (2-7), 7-6 (7-5), 7-6 (7-4), on the hardcourts at Khalifa International Tennis Complex.

Berdych improved to 7-2 lifetime against Seppi, including wins in six straight, while Ferrer is now 4-1 all-time against Karlovic, who stunned world No. 1 star Novak Djokovic on Thursday. Karlovic clubbed 30 aces past Ferrer in a match where there were no breaks of serve.

Berdych and Ferrer will meet for a 13th time at the ATP level, with the Spaniard holding a 7-5 lifetime advantage. The big Czech, however, has won their last two meetings.

The 29-year-old Berdych is 10-14 in his career finals, including a 2-3 mark last year, while the 32-year-old Ferrer will appear in his 47th career final, seeking a 22nd title. The gritty Spaniard was 1-3 in his 2014 finals.

Doha serves as a tune-up for the Australian Open.

►  Halep, Bacsinszky advance to Shenzhen final

Top-seeded Simona Halep of Romania easily won her semifinal match Friday at the season-opening Shenzhen Open, but won’t face second-seeded Petra Kvitova in the expected final after Switzerland’s Timea Bacsinszky pulled off an upset of the Wimbledon champion.

Halep quickly dispatched Chinese crowd favorite Zheng Saisai in a 6-2, 6-3 rout, but Bacsinszky denied the blockbuster final with a 6-4, 6-4 triumph over Kvitova.

The eighth-seeded Bacsinszky was broken just once during Friday’s match and broke Kvitova three times to reach her third career final. The 25-year-old last played for a title in 2010, losing to Julia Goerges in Bad Gastein, and earned her lone tournament crown a year earlier in Luxembourg with a victory over Sabine Lisicki.

Halep, meanwhile, had no trouble on Friday and will play in her 15th career final. She is 8-6 all-time in title matches, including 1-3 last year. After a victory over Angelique Kerber in the Doha final in February, Halep lost title matches to Maria Sharapova at both Madrid and the French Open before also losing to Serena Williams at the season-ending WTA Finals.

Bacsinszky lost to Halep in their only previous meeting, dropping a 6-1, 6-3 decision five years ago in a lower-tier event in Belgium.

Shenzhen serves as a tune-up for the Australian Open. The first Grand Slam of the season will begin January 19 in Melbourne.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Woods to begin year at Phoenix Open

Tiger Woods announced on Twitter on Friday that he will begin his 2015 season at the Waste Management Phoenix Open followed by the Farmers Insurance Open at Torrey Pines the week after.

“Starting my year off at Phoenix & Torrey back-to-back weeks. I’m ready to go. Should be a lot of fun,“ Woods said on his Twitter account Friday.

Woods has made three career appearances at the Phoenix Open, with his last one coming all the way back in 2001. This year’s Phoenix Open will begin January 29, with the Farmers Insurance Open being played the following week from February 5-8.

“It will be great to return to Phoenix,“ Woods said on his website. “The crowds are amazing and always enthusiastic, and the 16th hole is pretty unique in golf. Torrey is a very important place to me. My pop took me there when I was younger, and I have a lot of special memories of watching the tour play there when I was growing up.“

Woods has never won the Phoenix Open in three starts, but he has had plenty of success at Torrey Pines. Back when the event was named the Buick Invitational, Woods won six times, including a stretch of four straight victories from 2005-08. After the event’s name changed to the Farmers Insurance Open in 2010, Woods added one more win in 2013.

Woods made his return to competition in early December at the Hero World Challenge, an unofficial event that he also hosts, where the 39-year-old finished tied for last in an 18-player field.

Prior to the Hero World Challenge, Woods had not played since missing the cut at the PGA Championship. Woods was limited to just eight events during the 2013-14 season as he was dealing with a number of back issues.

►  Sullivan takes outright lead at South African Open

Andy Sullivan carded a second-round, 2-under 70 on Friday and he will take a 1-shot lead into the weekend at the South African Open Championship.

Sullivan, who finished the first round tied atop the leaderboard with Jbe Kruger, finished 36 holes at 8-under-par 136. The Englishman has never won on the European Tour.

“When I get in these positions I find myself enjoying it more,“ Sullivan said. “It’s where you want to be, you practice to be in these situations and I am playing with the guys I always wanted to as a kid. It’s fantastic.“

South African Charl Schwartzel fired a 3-under 69 at Glendower Golf Club, which was good enough to put him alone in second place at 7-under 137.

Also playing on their home soil, JJ Senekal (67) and Colin Nel (70) are tied for third at 6-under 138 with Lasse Jensen (71).

Kruger struggled on day two, finishing with an 8-over 80, dropping him all the way into a tie for 58th at 2-over 146, just putting him above the cut line.

Five-time champion Ernie Els began the day tied for second and just one shot back, but he also ran into trouble and shot a 5-over 77. The 45-year-old South African is tied for 36th at even-par 144.

Starting on the back nine, Sullivan picked up where he left off on Thursday, starting with a par on 10 before pouring in back-to-back birdies on 11 and 12. Following four straight pars from No. 13, Sullivan drained his third gain on 17 and made the turn with a par on 18.

Much like the first round, Sullivan struggled a bit on the first nine at Glendower Golf Club on Friday. After making four more pars from No. 1, Sullivan bogeyed two of his next three holes on five and seven. He finished strong, however, with a birdie on eight and a par on nine to grab the outright lead.

“I thought it was going to be a really good knock on the front line, but a few little errant drives meant the rough got its payback on me today,“ said Sullivan. “But anything in red figures is good so I am really happy with the position I am in.“

Schwartzel had a very up-and-down day, but a strong finish propelled him into second place. Also beginning on the back nine, Schwartzel made a pair of bogeys on 10 and 11, but he got back to even par with back-to-back birdies on 14 and 15.

A bogey on 18 had Schwartzel making the turn at 1-over. Following a trio of pars from one, Schwartzel briefly got back to even par with a gain on four, but another bogey on five dropped him back another shot.

Then came the strong finish. After making his fourth birdie on No. 7, Schwartzel rolled in an eagle on No. 8 before making a birdie at the last to complete a 3-under 69.

NOTES: Sullivan had five top-10 finishes last season. His best finish was a runner-up at the Trophee Hassan II ... Schwartzel has nine career wins on the European Tour, including a victory at last season’s Alfred Dunhill Championship ... Schwartzel also claimed the 2011 Masters title ... Defending champion Morten Orum Madsen (71) finished 36 holes tied for 34th at even-par 144 ... With the cut falling at 2-over 146, 66 players advanced to play the weekend.

The Gilmer Free Press

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Pioneers Win Seventh Straight as They Down Urbana 89-78‏

The Gilmer Free Press

The Glenville State Pioneer men’s basketball team would cruise to an 11 point victory, 89-78, over Urbana despite trailing at halftime.

In the first half of action Glenville State and Urbana would go up and down but Urbana would take a three point lead into the break, 40-37.

In the second half the Pioneers would get going as they would erase the three-point halftime deficit and turn it into a 10 point Pioneer lead with only 9:30 left to play in the game.

After that turnaround the Pioneers would cruise to the 89-78 victory.

Glenville State shot 50% from the floor and 43% from behind the arc while Urbana only shot 35% from the floor and 29%t from behind the arc.

All five starters for the Pioneers scored in double figures with Donte Morales leading the way with 19 points. Luke Campbell scored a career high 15 points and grabbed five rebounds while Sedric Nady chipped in with 14 points.

Brett Morris scored 13 points and had a team high six rebounds while Reggie Williams scored 12 for the Pioneers.

Urbana was led by Mike Newton as he scored a game high 22 points.

The Pioneers (11-2, 7-0) have won seven straight games now and return to the court this Saturday, January 10, 2015 when they travel to Wheeling Jesuit University. Game time is set for 4:00 PM.

Official Basketball Box Score
Urbana vs. Glenville State
01.08.2015     7:30 PM    at Waco Center
VISITORS: Urbana 4-9 (1-6)

                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
12 Mike Newton…...... *  7-11   3-5    5-6    0  2  2   2  22  3  2  0  4  34
13 Myles Busby…...... *  1-4    0-1    1-4    1  3  4   3   3  0  1  0  1  16
22 Carlas Jackson…... *  2-12   0-3    2-2    1  3  4   2   6  1  1  0  0  22
31 Rodney Clark Jr….. *  1-7    1-5    2-2    0  1  1   4   5  0  0  0  0  16
33 Matt Csuhran…..... *  2-9    2-7    4-4    2  4  6   1  10  0  1  0  0  25
01 Ognjen Rebic….....    3-6    0-0    1-2    3  3  6   1   7  0  1  0  0  11
02 Ben Merritt…......    0-5    0-0    2-2    3  2  5   3   2  1  1  0  0  17
03 Christopher Cromity.    4-9    2-5    0-0    1  5  6   2  10  2  1  0  1  32
10 John Summers….....    4-8    0-1    1-2    5  4  9   1   9  1  1  2  0  20
24 Doug Hilson…......    2-2    0-0    0-0    1  0  1   0   4  0  1  0  0   7
   TEAM….............                         3  3  6
   Totals…...........   26-73   8-27  18-24  20 30 50  19  78  8 10  2  6 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 15-36 41.7%   2nd Half: 11-37 29.7%   Game: 35.6%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  6-15 40.0%   2nd Half:  2-12 16.7%   Game: 29.6%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  4-4  100 %   2nd Half: 14-20 70.0%   Game: 75.0%    5


HOME TEAM: Glenville State 11-2 (7-0)

                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
01 Sedric Nady…...... *  5-12   4-10   0-0    0  4  4   1  14  3  2  0  3  34
03 Donte Morales….... *  7-10   3-4    2-3    1  2  3   3  19  1  1  0  1  27
11 Reggie Williams….. *  4-12   2-5    2-4    0  3  3   1  12  5  1  0  2  32
12 Luke Campbell….... *  3-9    3-8    6-6    1  4  5   2  15  1  1  0  0  33
23 Brett Morris…..... *  5-9    1-1    2-4    2  4  6   4  13  1  2  3  2  29
00 Brien Winston…....    4-4    0-0    0-0    0  3  3   3   8  3  0  1  1  21
22 Hunter Given….....    0-0    0-0    0-2    0  1  1   0   0  0  1  0  0   2
32 Juwan Wells…......    3-4    0-1    2-2    0  3  3   4   8  2  1  1  0  13
33 Alonzo Molina…....    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   1   0  0  0  0  0   4
34 Kalleone Moret…...    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   2   0  0  0  0  0   3
50 ED Newell…........    0-2    0-1    0-0    0  0  0   1   0  0  1  0  0   2
   TEAM….............                         1  4  5
   Totals…...........   31-62  13-30  14-21   5 28 33  22  89 16 10  5  9 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 15-35 42.9%   2nd Half: 16-27 59.3%   Game: 50.0%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  4-15 26.7%   2nd Half:  9-15 60.0%   Game: 43.3%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  3-6  50.0%   2nd Half: 11-15 73.3%   Game: 66.7%    3


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

Attendance: 272

Score by Periods                1st  2nd   Total
Urbana….....................   40   38  -   78
Glenville State…............   37   52  -   89

Lady Pioneers Beat Urbana 97-64‏

The Gilmer Free Press

Keyanna Tate scored a game high 20 points as the Lady Pioneers ended a two game losing streak as they defeated the Urbana Blue Knight at home on Thursday night, 97-64.

Urbana would take an early 14-13 lead with about 17:00 minutes left in the first half but Glenville State would catch fire and would cruise to an eight point halftime lead, 38-30.

In the second half it would be all Lady Pioneers as they would build a commanding 27 point lead, 73-46, with under 10:00 minutes to play. Glenville State would go on to claim a 33 point victory 97-64.

The Lady Pioneers out-rebounded Urbana 55 to 40 and Glenville State’s defense caused 21 turnovers.

GSC’s senior forward Keyanna Tate led all scorers with 20 points and nine rebounds. Paige Tuttle scored 15 points and dished out a game high five assists. Also for the Lady Pioneers Kayla Tibbs scored 14 points while Juile Bishop scored a career high 14 points.

Urbana was led by Jeni Jordan as she scored 15 points and had five rebounds.

Glenville State (4-6, 3-4) returns to action this Saturday, January 10, 2015 when they travel to Wheeling Jesuit University. Tip-off is set for 2:00 PM.

Official Basketball Box Score
Urbana vs. Glenville State
01.08.2015   5:30 PM   at Waco Center
VISITORS: Urbana 1-12 (1-6)

                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
15 Kennedy Boggs….... *  2-9    0-2    0-0    0  4  4   1   4  4  6  0  1  30
20 Katy Barkley…..... *  5-8    1-3    1-1    1  6  7   2  12  2  1  0  0  37
23 Kate Francisco…... *  5-10   0-1    0-0    0  5  5   3  10  0  7  2  0  30
25 Jeni Jordan…...... *  4-13   1-1    6-7    3  4  7   3  15  2  3  0  1  30
34 Tori Purk…........ *  2-7    0-0    6-6    4  4  8   2  10  0  1  0  1  33
03 Elizabeth Catoe…..    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   0   0  0  0  1  0   0
04 Brittany Atkinson…    0-1    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   0   0  0  1  0  0  19
10 Megan Hatfield…...    4-10   0-4    2-2    1  0  1   0  10  0  1  0  0  16
33 Jillian Conneely….    1-1    0-0    1-2    1  1  2   0   3  0  0  0  0   5
   TEAM….............                         2  4  6             1
   Totals…...........   23-59   2-11  16-18  12 28 40  11  64  8 21  3  3 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 12-31 38.7%   2nd Half: 11-28 39.3%   Game: 39.0%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  1-3  33.3%   2nd Half:  1-8  12.5%   Game: 18.2%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  5-6  83.3%   2nd Half: 11-12 91.7%   Game: 88.9%    0

HOME TEAM: Glenville State 4-6 (3-4)

                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
02 Paige Tuttle…..... *  5-9    3-7    2-2    0  2  2   0  15  5  0  0  2  16
04 Keyanna Tate…..... *  8-15   0-1    4-4    6  3  9   2  20  2  1  1  0  18
12 Kayla Tibbs…...... *  5-10   4-7    0-0    1  1  2   1  14  0  2  0  1  18
20 Briauna Nix…...... *  1-1    0-0    0-0    3  5  8   1   2  1  1  0  1  16
32 Brittany Jackson…. *  1-4    1-4    0-0    1  1  2   4   3  2  1  0  1   9
01 Katrina Salins…...    3-5    2-4    0-0    3  2  5   0   8  3  0  0  3  18
03 Tayana Stewart…...    1-5    0-1    0-0    2  0  2   0   2  3  0  0  0  12
10 Skyy Lewis….......    1-1    0-0    1-2    0  1  1   1   3  0  0  0  0  13
13 Chanice Lee…......    0-4    0-1    1-2    0  0  0   0   1  1  1  0  0   9
21 Kristin DesRocher…    2-5    2-4    0-0    0  2  2   1   6  2  1  0  0  13
24 Madison Martin…...    1-8    1-7    0-0    1  1  2   1   3  1  0  0  0  16
25 Briana Smythe…....    1-7    0-0    2-2    4  3  7   2   4  0  0  0  1  14
34 La’Shaughn Jones….    1-2    0-0    0-0    3  3  6   4   2  0  0  0  1  11
35 Julie Bishop….....    5-14   4-12   0-0    2  0  2   2  14  0  1  0  1  17
   TEAM….............                         3  2  5
   Totals…...........   35-90  17-48  10-12  29 26 55  19  97 20  8  1 11 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 12-43 27.9%   2nd Half: 23-47 48.9%   Game: 38.9%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  8-27 29.6%   2nd Half:  9-21 42.9%   Game: 35.4%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  6-8  75.0%   2nd Half:  4-4  100 %   Game: 83.3%    0

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

Attendance: 261

Score by Periods                1st  2nd   Total
Urbana….....................   30   34  -   64
Glenville State…............   38   59  -   97

Sports News   150109

The Gilmer Free Press

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Contract details emerge for WVU’s 3 assistants and newcomer Bruce Tall

Incoming West Virginia defensive line coach Bruce Tall signed a two-year deal worth $250,000 annually and three other assistants received extensions.

Running backs coach JaJuan Seider received a $75,000 raise and cornerbacks coach Brian Mitchell a $50,000 bump, increasing their annual salaries to $275,000. Receivers coach Lonnie Galloway, who some believe remains a candidate for a promotion to offensive coordinator, was renewed for two years at his current $300,000.

MetroNews received the contract details Wednesday through a Freedom of Information Act request. A request for Joe DeForest’s possible new deal included only the current contract that expires January 30. He was being paid $500,000 under that agreement, an amount tied to his original post of defensive coordinator. That salary is expected to drop if DeForest is retained.

The incentives for Tall, Seider, Galloway and Mitchell are identical:

12 wins: $15,000

11 wins: $10,000

10 wins:  $7,500

9 wins: $5,000

Big 12 championship: $7,500

Non-playoff bowl appearance: $10,000

College Football Playoff appearance: $15,000

CFP semifinal victory: $5,000

National title appearance: $20,000

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Why isn’t anyone talking about the college football national title game?

The first-ever college football playoff title game is four days away, so everyone should be talking about it, right? Well, no.

Take a look at screengrabs of the front pages of some major national sports Web sites, taken Thursday morning.

Here’s ESPN. There’s one story on the front, and you have to click on a tiny picture of Michigan State Coach Mark Dantonio with the headline “Spartans’ Take” to find it. Michigan State played both Oregon and Ohio State this season. But hey, when else do you get a chance to blow out a story on the Detroit Pistons in January?

Here’s Lookit all these college football players! And … it’s a package about the NFL draft, which is months from now.

Yahoo Sports will have some white-hot college football championship game takes, right? //scans page. “Watch: Puppies pick Ducks to win title on Fallon” WE’RE MAKING PROGRESS.

Of a limited though far-reaching sample, only SBNation has the national title game front and center.

Yes, this is a limited sample size, and the the importance of Web-site front pages has lessened in the age of Google searches and Twitter. And I realize that last weekend’s semifinal games drew the largest television audiences in cable television history. But I think it’s illustrative of a larger point: Namely, that with the introduction of the four-team playoff, all the attention has been shifted to the semifinals, especially now that they’ll be broadcast on a holiday.

The championship game, at least this year, is hardly making a dent in the discussion, not with the NFL playoffs going strong, Jameis Winston declaring for the draft and his accuser suing Florida State (oh, if only the seminoles had beaten Oregon), sports fans having their annual “Hey, college basketball is in full swing!” realization and ESPN’s Stuart Scott sadly passing away. All of this is sucking the air out of the room.

This will change by the weekend, obviously. Most non-entrenched reporters will be arriving in Texas on Friday, and media day is Saturday. But it just seems so odd that the buzz about the playoff — which was so passionately clamored-for — has died now the bracket has been reduced to two.

►  Ducks and Bucks collide for national title

The Oregon Ducks and Ohio State Buckeyes are the two teams left standing and will face off against one another in the first-ever College Football Playoff National Championship game at AT&T Stadium on Monday, January 12.

Mark Helfrich’s Ducks earned their way into the playoff, by going 12-1 during the season, including routing Arizona in the Pac-12 title game. The team than steam-rolled defending national champion Florida State in the Rose Bowl (59-20) to post its 13th victory and a spot in the national title game. The 59 points set a new Rose Bowl record.

Star offensive lineman Hroniss Grasu put the Rose Bowl win in perspective after the game.

“It’s a huge deal to win the Rose Bowl—but it’s a playoff semifinal now. We’re not done yet, and we’ve got one more to go.“

Oregon is attempting to win its first-ever national title. The Ducks had a chance in the 2011 season to pick up that elusive championship, but lost to Auburn, 22-19 in the BCS Title Game. Overall, OU is 13-15 in bowl history and now 4-2 in BCS/CFB bowl games.

Urban Meyer has done it again, as he has brought Ohio State to the pinnacle of the college football world, after leading Florida to a couple of national titles a few years ago.

This one has to be sweeter though, as the Buckeyes battled adversity all season long with the loss of key personnel, but still found their way to the CFP by winning the Big Ten title in emphatic fashion with a 59-0 blanking of Wisconsin, setting up a showdown with top-ranked Alabama in the Sugar Bowl. Ohio State fell behind early, but rallied and earned its 13th win of the season with a 42-35 defeat of the Crimson Tide.

Ohio State’s postseason resume is a bit longer than Oregon’s. The Buckeyes own seven national championships (four AP national titles), have 44 bowl appearances and five BCS bowl wins (most in the nation). The Buckeyes are playing in their fourth national title game in the last 13 years (2002, 2006, 2007).

This marks the ninth all-time meeting between these two programs. It has been all Ohio State, which has won all eight previous matchups, the last of which was the 2010 Rose Bowl, a 26-17 victory for Ohio State.

Oddly enough, the Oregon and Ohio State participated in the first-ever NCAA basketball championship in 1939 in Evanston, Ill. Oregon won that matchup, 46-33.

Anyone that considers Oregon a finesse team, need only look at last week’s matchup with Florida State to change their mind. The Ducks punched the Seminoles in the mouth on both sides of the football en route to the lopsided victory, ending FSU’s 29-game win streak. A lot of that had to do with the pace in which Oregon runs its offense.

No one in the nation does it better than quarterback Marcus Mariota, who brought the Heisman Trophy to Eugene, the first in school history.

Oregon’s star quarterback is the architect of an offense that averages 47.2 ppg on 552.9 yards of offense per outing. The Ducks have the ability to move the chains both on the ground (241.9 ypg) and through the air (311.0 ypg), but the key is the team’s star under center.

Meyer is certainly impressed with Mariota as the complete package.

“I’ve been around him when he first when he was a young player, I went out and visited and I remember them telling me about him. I think Chip (Kelly) recruited him when he was was it which high school was it, Puna? St. Louis, yeah, the other great one. Was a backup for a while and just a great kid. I think that’s so good for college football to see a guy like that go out and win it. Great, great player. Great, great person, great leader, you can tell. Plays his best when it’s hard.“

The 6-4 Mariota has been remarkable in his time in Eugene and this, his junior year, has been nothing short of amazing. Mariota enters this contest, having completed 68.6% of his passes, for 4,121 yards, with 40 TDs against just three interceptions (one of which came against FSU). Perhaps the nation’s top dual threat, Mariota also found the time to rush for 731 yards and 15 more scores. If it isn’t Mariota running with the football, it is likely either freshman Royce Freeman (1,343 yards, 18 TDs) or sophomore Thomas Tyner (511 yards, 5 TDs) getting the ball. Tyner is coming off a season-high 124 yards and two TDs against Florida State.

Converted tailback Byron Marshall (66 receptions, 834 yards, five TDs) has settled in as Mariota’s favorite target downfield. However, the team did lose a key contributor in the passing game with last week’s injury to Devon Allen (41 receptions, 684 yards, 7 TDs) on the opening kickoff. With Allen expected to miss this game (knee), Marshall will need to step up even more, along with Dwayne Stanford (39 receptions, 578 yards, 6 TDs) and Darren Carrington (37 receptions, 704 yards, 4 TDs), who

The offensive eruption against the Seminoles had a lot to do with the defensive effort by Oregon. A close game (25-20) turned into a rout, thanks to five total FSU turnovers, four in the third-quarter, all of which the Ducks cashed in for touchdowns.

Defensive backs coach John Neal summed up that third quarter.

“That was almost freaky,“ Neal said. “There was a point where they’re moving the ball as easy as they want. But the study of the game still goes back to, from a defensive point of view, takeaways. If you win the takeaway battle, you win games.“

That has really been the way Oregon has played defensively all season long. The Ducks don’t completely shut teams down, as evidenced by the 421.9 yards yielded per contest. However, this is an opportunistic bunch, with 36 sacks and a whopping 30 forced turnovers to date.

Safety Erick Dargan is the defensive leader on the field now that star cornerback Imo Ekpre-Olomu is out due to injury. Really, Dargan has performed at a high level all season long. The 5-11, 210-pound senior posted eight tackles, a forced fumble and an interception in the Rose Bowl and currently leads the team in tackles (90) and interceptions (7).

Senior linebacker Tony Washington was named the Rose Bowl Defensive MVP after returning a fumble 58 yards for a TD to really end Florida State’s hopes of a comeback. Washington (53 tackles, 11.0 TFL. 6.0 sacks) teams with junior linebacker Christian French (24 tackles, 7.5 TFL, 6.5 sacks) to put pressure on opposing QBs.

It was quite the 2014 season in Columbus. The Buckeyes were dealt a harsh blow when their Heisman candidate quarterback Braxton Miller was injured before the season started. The team had to go to “Plan B” which was J.T. Barrett and despite an ugly loss early on at home to Virginia Tech, Barrett and the rest of the team rallied, as the young signal caller was phenomenal in his own right, and actually picked up some Heisman chatter along the way, by throwing for 2,834 yards and 34 TDs, while rushing for 938 yards and 11 more scores.

However, Barrett went down near the end of the season with his own injury, setting the stage for sophomore Cardale Jones to step in. All Jones has done is lead the Buckeyes to huge wins over Wisconsin and Alabama of late in his only career starts. Against Alabama, Jones passed for 243 yards and one TD, and led the team back from a 21-6 deficit to earn the victory.

The running game is still the preferred mode of travel for Ohio State, which averages 262.2 yards per game on the ground. Tailback Ezekiel Elliott has been a revelation in OSU’s backfield. The 6-0, 225-pound sophomore has amassed 1,632 yards and 14 TDs on the season. He comes into this game red-hot, having rushed for a Sugar Bowl-record 230 yards and two TDs against Alabama, including an 85-yard scamper in the fourth quarter to keep Alabama at arm’s length.

The Buckeyes are as balanced as they come, as the passing game generates well over 200 yards per game. The team has a deep pool of quality pass catchers, headlined by Michael Thomas (50 receptions, 746 yards, 9 TDs), Jalin Marshall (33 receptions, 447 yards, 6 TDs) and speedster Devin Smith (32 receptions, 886 yards, 12 TDs).

The Buckeyes have gotten the job done on the defensive side of the ball as well this season. Ohio State is limiting foes to just 333.6 yards per game (17th nationally), while amassing 43 sacks and forcing 32 turnovers, including 24 interceptions (second-most in school history).

Junior linebacker Joshua Perry leads the team in tackles with 118. However, playmakers can be found at every level of the OSU defense.

The secondary is headlined by a pair of ball hawks in sophomore safety Vonn Bell (86 tackles, 6 INTs) and senior cornerback Doran Grant (58 tackles, 5 INTs).

The defensive line is highlighted by All-American sophomore Joey Bosa at end and senior Michael Bennett in the middle. Bosa was named the Big Ten Defensive Player of the Year. Of his 53 total tackles, 20 have come behind the line of scrimmage, including 13.5 sacks. He has also forced a team-high four fumbles. Bennett penetrates from the inside with 40 tackles, 14.0 TFL and 7.0 sacks to his credit.

►  Don’t expect a shootout in National Championship game

Two of the highest scoring teams in FBS play meet in the first College Football Playoff National Championship Game. Oregon is second averaging 47 points per game while Ohio State is fifth at 45 ppg.

Given the fact both teams have lit up the scoreboard this season, one would assume the final score in the title game will reach epic numbers. Even the posted total is high at 75 points.

Playing into that method of thinking, it is easy to roll with the over, especially since Ohio State has gone under the number just once since its opening game against Navy and that came in the snow against Minnesota.

However, try not to get suckered into wagering on the over so quickly. Remember, only three of the Buckeyes’ posted totals this season were higher than 60 points, which is over two touchdowns less than the number for this matchup.

Ohio State is averaging 43 points per game in its last five contests with the Buckeyes scoring over 42 points just once. Most folks would say the semifinal game against Alabama was a high-scoring affair but 42 and 35 comes to 77, which is only two points higher than the posted total of 75 for this game.

It is true Oregon is more explosive offensively than the Crimson Tide but not by much. The Ducks are averaging about 70 more yards per game - akin to about one touchdown drive per contest. Furthermore, the Ducks don’t turn the ball over like Alabama does, which means their defense will not allow easy points for the opposition.

Oregon is No. 1 in FBS play with just 10 turnovers, two less than the next closest set of teams. Don’t forget, over one quarter of the 77 points scored in the Ohio State-Alabama game were off turnovers while almost half of the 79 total points in the Oregon-Florida State contest came off turnovers.

Oregon has topped the 100-point mark in its last two games combined, while reaching the 40-point mark in nine straight contests. Still, the Ducks have been known to score far fewer points in bowl games than they have during the regular season.

During the regular season, the Ducks averaged 36, 47, 46, 50, 46 and 47 points per game, respectively, since 2009. Their bowl totals since 2009 have been 17, 19, 45, 35, 30 and 59, respectively. The one outlier from the second set is the 59 points in this year’s game versus Florida State, a game Oregon scored just 18 first-half points, with five of the six second-half touchdowns coming off turnovers.

Offense is not the only area where these two teams excel. Ohio State is 26th nationally in scoring defense while Oregon is 27th. Ohio State’s defense allowed just 21 points (not counting points off turnovers) to Alabama and held Wisconsin scoreless in the previous game.

Oregon has held its opponents to 20 points or less in four consecutive contests and six of the last eight. Oregon’s offensive postseason woes have been well documented but the defense usually comes to play. Over the last three years, the Ducks have allowed fewer points in the bowl game than their defensive point per game average during the regular season.

This championship game certainly won’t be a defensive struggle but it also won’t be an offensive shootout. Look for both teams to score in the 30s meaning the final tally will be somewhere in the 60s to low 70s.

Take under 75 points (a one-star play for those keeping track).


This year’s final regular season record was 104-87-6 (54%). The five- star selections finished at 10-8. The three-star plays went 22-14-2. The two- star choices wound up at 33-30 and the one-star plays finished 39-35-4.

The bowl record was hideous with just seven wins in 20 games. However, the lone five-star play (Wisconsin plus the points versus Auburn) won outright. In addition, all three headline games (Wisconsin, Penn State and Air Force) proved victorious. Overall, the headline games went 12-6 this season for a 67% winning percentage.


1) Oregon, 112; 2) TCU, 108.5; 3-T) Ohio State and Michigan State, 104; 5) Alabama, 103; 6) Georgia, 102.5; 7-T) Georgia Tech and Baylor, 98.5; 9-T) Arkansas and Ole Miss, 97.5; 11-T) Mississippi State and Stanford, 97

(The Dirty Dozen is not a reflection of a given team’s won-loss record. It is based on power ratings used to predict spreads for the upcoming week. At the beginning of the season, all FBS teams are assigned a power number, which changes on a week-to-week basis depending on the results of the previous week.)

►  College football parity?

Two worthy candidates will vie for the first-ever CFP National Championship and the funny thing is that neither is from the SEC.

The Southeastern Conference held the rest of the college football world at bay over the last decade or so, as a member of the conference had played in every BCS National Title game since 2007 and won seven championships in a row prior to Florida State’s victory over Auburn last year.

With a new system in place in 2014, the times are changing. Not only is there no SEC member playing in the final game next week in Arlington, but the conference as a whole took it on the chin in the postseason.

Alabama won the conference crown and did represent the SEC in the College Football Playoff, but faltered against Ohio State in the Sugar Bowl (42-35). That was the marquee matchup for the conference but not the only disappointment, especially in the vaunted SEC West.

The powerhouse division went just 2-5 in the bowl season this year, with losses by Alabama, LSU, Auburn, Ole Miss and Mississippi State. It was an embarrasing overall performance by a division that had as many as four teams with realistic shots at staking claims to spots in the first-ever playoff system at some point this year.

So, did we witness the demise of the SEC, or are we privy to the start of a college football revival across the country. I am leaning towards the latter.

The much maligned Big Ten took some harsh criticism as the weakest among the Power Five conferences this season. Well, outside of Michigan’s total collapse, the Big Ten has re-establushed itself as a powerful entity going forward. Ohio State, under Urban Meyer, has been consistently spectacular and this season is no different. The Buckeyes, who play the Oregon Ducks for the national title, have been so successful, that their Heisman candidate quarterback (Braxton Miller) may be looking for somewhere else to play now that OSU’s quarterback depth has proved to be second to none.

Michigan State, Wisconsin and Nebraska failed to win the conference title this season, but all three are powerhouses in their own right and will be for years to come.

Penn State has now had its bowl sanctions lifted and celebrated with a thrilling victory over Boston College in the Pinestripe Bowl. With a star QB under center (Christian Hackenberg) much more is expected of the Nittany Lions in 2015. Even Michigan’s collapse has brought about a change in Ann Arbor, as Jim Harbaugh has been brought in from the NFL to lead the Wolverines into a new era.

The Big Ten is not the only conference to step up in 2014. It just so happens that the Pac-12’s star is on the rise as well. The other conference represented in next week’s championship game, the Pac-12 had a revival of sorts in 2014. Oregon is clearly the cream of the conference crop and proved that by winning back-to-back lopsided decisions over Arizona in the Pac-12 Championship Game (51-13) and Florida State in the Rose Bowl (59-20).

With the reigning Heisman winner under center in Marcus Mariota, Oregon is favored next week against Ohio State to capture its first national title.

It didn’t come as easy as it has looked over the last couple of games, as the Pac-12 competition was tight. The Ducks were able to avenge their only loss of the season in the Pac-12 championship, but don’t forget that the Arizona Wildcats went into Eugene early on and took out Oregon on its own field (31-24).

Stanford took a step back and had a down year for sure, but Arizona State, UCLA, Utah and USC all had strong seasons as well, capped off by bowl victories.

Add the Big 12 to the mix. It wasn’t the usual teams like Oklahoma or Texas making their presence felt, but rather, Baylor and TCU that made things extremely difficult on the CFP selection committee down the stretch. In fact, there were plenty of naysayers around the country when the four spots were decided and neither the Horned Frogs nor the Bears were invited to the party.

One thing is for sure—the Big 12 is on the upswing heading into 2015

It remains to be seen if the NCAA finally got it right with the long sought-after playoff in college football. It’s hard to argue its merits after year one, though.

In the world of college football, this year’s changes have opened the door to possibilities beyond just the SEC.

In that case, change is definitely a good thing.    ~~  Scott Haynes ~~

The Gilmer Free Press

►  New Redskins GM Scot McCloughan brings new level of talent acquisition to franchise

Back when Scot McCloughan was an NFL scout, tasked with ferreting out football talent in a region of the country much like scent hounds track prey, what impressed his boss was the joy he took in the pursuit and the conviction he felt about the players he discovered.

Andrew Brandt, a former vice president of the Green Bay Packers, took a special interest in McCloughan from that point on, struck by an enthusiasm and geniality that set him apart from the rest. And he followed McCloughan’s ascent after he moved on and up through the ranks of National Football League executives, helping construct Super Bowl contending rosters at San Francisco and Seattle.

“He’s a gem in terms of finding talent,” Brandt said of McCloughan, a former scout who honed his skills at Green Bay in the late 1990s. “That’s the name of the game.”

Now 43, McCloughan is expected to be introduced this week as Washington’s general manager, accorded full responsibility for selecting the team’s players going forward.

The hiring of McCloughan, who has been hailed as a football savant for his success in divining professional potential among college prospects, will bring to the job a level of professionalism and expertise in the front office that Washington has lacked the past 15 years, nearly the full tenure of Daniel Snyder’s ownership.

It also will usher in a fundamental shift in front-office philosophy, with McCloughan hailing from a Packers management tree that believes in identifying and developing young players rather than cherry-picking established veterans on the free agent market.

As McCoughan told the Boston Globe in 2008: Free agent splashes “can look good on paper because it’s a quick fix and fans can say, ‘They’re trying to get better.’ But you can’t lose sight of the bigger picture.”

Brandt, now an NFL business analyst for ESPN, explains that bigger picture.

“Our philosophy in Green Bay was always the same: Draft and develop,” Brandt said. “Build through the draft. Trust your coaches to play young players. Avoid and eschew quick fixes. Work toward long-term success, which is the ultimate goal. I think that is what he’s going to bring to Washington.”

Long-term success has become the stuff of nostalgia for the Redskins, who have finished last in the NFC East six out of the last seven years.

Four days after the team’s final indignity under first-year Coach Jay Gruden, a 44-17 loss December 28 to the Dallas Cowboys that dropped its record to 4-12, the Redskins fired longtime defensive coordinator Jim Haslett. That afternoon, Redskins President and general manager Bruce Allen stood at a podium at the team’s headquarters in Ashburn and insisted he was capable of continuing in both roles.

The hiring of McCloughan relieves Allen of his title as general manager and all responsibility for acquiring players.

In McCloughan, Washington gets a former NFL scout, as well as the son of a veteran NFL scout, with a keen appreciation of football’s nuances in his blood. He’s a former general manager of the 49ers and former senior personnel executive for the defending Super Bowl champion Seahawks.

“He has a good eye for talent,” said former San Francisco coach Mike Nolan, who hired McCloughan as the 49ers’ personnel director for both the college and pro ranks. “That’s critical. The most important job of a general manager is to be able to choose players.”

Among the standouts McCloughan is credited with signing are San Francisco running back Frank Gore, tight end Vernon Davis and linebacker Patrick Willis — all recipients of Pro Bowl honors during NFL careers that have spanned 10, nine and eight years, respectively.

At Seattle, McCloughan was the driving force behind drafting Russell Wilson, convinced the undersize quarterback had big-game potential few others saw. Wilson went on to lead Seattle to last season’s Super Bowl championship.

Former Seahawks fullback Michael Robinson, now an analyst with the NFL Network, told his hometown radio station, Richmond’s Fox Sports 910, that McCloughan also has a knack for assembling locker rooms of quality, committed players.

“He’s not just looking for your attributes on the field,” Robinson said Wednesday. “He’s looking for how can I infuse you into this locker room to make this . . . a place where it’s conducive to winning.”

McCloughan joins the Redskins’ front office after spending the past nine months running a scouting service based in his remote Washington state home. The Redskins were among the NFL teams that paid him a reported $75,000 to evaluate players they were considering signing.

Running his own scouting service had been an idea he had toyed with in the past.

McCloughan had learned football talent evaluation, more art than science, from his father, Kent, who spent more than 30 years as a scout with the Oakland and Los Angeles Raiders. Baseball was the son’s forte as an athlete, and Scot McCloughan spent three seasons in the minor leagues’ Class A after being picked by Toronto in the 10th round of the 1992 major league draft. He went to work as an NFL scout in Green Bay in 1995.

But after resigning from his second stint with the Seahawks two weeks before the 2014 NFL draft, McCloughan realized the scouting service also was his best career option.

Affable and admired in NFL circles, McCloughan spoke frankly about his periodic bouts of alcohol abuse in interviews last fall with Seth Wickersham, a writer with ESPN The Magazine. Wickersham’s profile, published last month, portrays a man who had managed to keep his longtime love of beer, shared by many scouts and coaches in the league, from interfering with his work until his marriage faltered.

McCloughan revealed in the article that he got treatment at the Betty Ford Center, which helped for a time. But after divorce proceedings were initiated, he substituted vodka for beer and ended up resigning as San Francisco’s general manager in 2010 to address what was identified as a private matter.

He was not out of work long — a tribute, friends and associates say, to the loyalty he engenders among co-workers and employers and his sought-after expertise in identifying talent.

Nolan, the former San Francisco coach who had hired him as vice president of football operations in 2005, is a case in point. After three seasons, the team’s owner stripped Nolan of his additional duties as general manager and assigned them to McCloughan. Roughly six months later, Nolan was fired, while McCloughan was retained.

Currently defensive coordinator for the Atlanta Falcons, Nolan doesn’t hesitate to enumerate McCloughan’s strengths, calling him “a good fit” for the Redskins.

“The number one thing someone needs to do is have the ability to pick players. Some [NFL team] buildings don’t have anyone who can do that, and Scot’s ability sets him above all the others,” said Nolan, who served as Washington’s defensive coordinator from 1997 to 1999. “Scot is a good person. He’s not an undermining kind of guy. He’s a good person, and I’m pulling for him.”

During the interview process with Washington, the Redskins had a chance to ask McCloughan about his personal demons, according to someone familiar with the process. McCloughan, in turn, had a chance to ask the Redskins about their history of front-office turnover. Washington got its man, and McCloughan came away with a four-year contract.  ~~  Liz Clarke ~~

►  Peyton Manning to blame for Broncos recent red-zone issues

The Denver Broncos take on the Indianapolis Colts in what will certainly be billed as two of the NFL’s best quarterbacks squaring off for the right to advance to the AFC title game. However, Peyton Manning appears to have been taken off his red-zone game ever since the win against the Miami Dolphins in Week 12.

Peyton Manning in the red zone: Weeks 1-12: 78% completion (1st), 97 Total QBR (1st) Weeks 13-17: 39% completion (30th); 18 Total QBR (22nd)

That downturn has dropped the Broncos from having the second-highest red zone efficiency in Weeks 1-12 (74%) to 24th over the season’s final five weeks (44%). And the answer to why lies somewhere in the passes from Manning to Demaryius Thomas.

Thomas was targeted 23 times in the red zone over Weeks 1 to 12 and caught 17 of those passes. Six of them for touchdowns.

But from Week 13 to 17, he made just one catch 16 targets.

So who is at fault? Manning is. Of the 15 passes that weren’t caught:

  •  Ten were either poor throws, forced into double coverage or out of bounds
  •  Two were well defended one-on-one
  •  One was a bad throw
  •  One was intercepted
  •  One was dropped

Having a healthy Julius Thomas, one of the Broncos best scoring threats when healthy, would certainly help.

            Over the first eight games, the Broncos scored 31 touchdowns compared to just 24 touchdowns over the final eight games. Of those scores, only 25.8% of them came on third or fourth down in the first half, but 42.3% of them came on late downs in the second half of the season.

            Not only did the Broncos not score as many touchdowns, but they also needed to execute on the later downs to do it. A key stop here and there can swing a game, and it was easier to stop the Broncos in the second half despite similar total point outputs.

              Of Thomas’ 12 touchdowns, 10 came in the first half and all 12 before he hurt his ankle against the St. Louis Rams in Week 11. Thomas had 54 targets before he was injured and just eight since. Thomas turned his eight targets into three receptions for 63 yards, so he’s still proving capable of making big plays even while hurt.

“We’ve tried to find different ways to win football games, and hopefully that prepares us well when we get into these playoff games and anything can go on,” Manning said. “You never know what it’s going to be, and [I] think we’ve proven we can win games different ways. Hopefully that serves us well potentially on Sunday.”

One of those ways will have to be to find another red-zone target that isn’t Demaryius Thomas.

►  Panthers lose Lotulelei to broken foot

Carolina Panthers defensive tackle Star Lotulelei will miss Saturday’s NFC playoff game against Seattle because of a broken bone in his foot.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Wednesday that Lotulelei was hurt during practice Tuesday when he stepped on another player’s foot. He underwent surgery Wednesday morning.

Lotulelei, in his second NFL season, notched 25 tackles and two sacks in 14 regular-season games.

►  Bears CB Jennings arrested

Chicago Bears cornerback Tim Jennings was arrested Wednesday by the Gwinnett County police in Georgia on charges of speeding, reckless driving and driving under the influence of alcohol.

“We are aware of the reports regarding Tim Jennings’ arrest. We are currently gathering information to learn more about the circumstances surrounding the situation,“ the Bears said in a statement.

According to Gwinnett County Detention Center records, Jennings was released at 3:41 PM ET and the three charges held a bond total of $2,711.

The 31-year-old Jennings, who played collegiately at Georgia, had a disappointing 2014 season in which he went without an interception. He registered 50 tackles in 16 starts with seven pass breakups and one forced fumble.

►  Former Cowboys DL Pugh dies

Jethro Pugh, a defensive lineman on two Dallas Cowboys Super Bowl champion teams in the 1970s, died Wednesday at the age of 70.

The Cowboys released a statement confirming Pugh’s passing, which the team said was from natural causes.

Pugh spent his entire 14-year NFL career with Dallas after joining the Cowboys as an 11th-round draft choice in 1965. The North Carolina native played in 183 regular-season games and recorded 95 1/2 sacks, the sixth-highest total in franchise history.

“This is a sad day for Cowboys fans, and our thoughts and prayers go out to Jethro’s family,“ Cowboys owner Jerry Jones said in a statement. “He was loved and appreciated by his teammates and Cowboys fans for decades, and his spirit will be felt when our team travels to Green Bay this weekend.“

Pugh was a part of the Cowboys’ first two Super Bowl victories (VI, XII) as well as five NFC championships, playing in a total of 23 postseason games during his tenure with the organization.

►  Falcons adjust front office

A week after firing coach Mike Smith, the Atlanta Falcons announced more changes.

Atlanta’s general manager Thomas Dimitroff, reportedly on the hot seat after the team failed to make the postseason in consecutive years, will remain on the job, managing the salary cap, player affairs, equipment, sports medicine and performance, and video activities.

Assistant general manager Scott Pioli, who was hired last February, will now be in charge of pro and college scouting, including the NFL draft. Pioli will still report to Dimitroff.

“After reviewing all of our options—internally and externally—I have no reservations that this is the best approach to setting up our player personnel groups for future success,“ said Falcons owner and chairman Arthur Blank. “It maximizes the talents of Scott, allows for more time and focus on all areas of our football operations groups managed by Thomas, and is in line with other player personnel groups in the league.

“While this decision was not tied to the head coach search currently underway, we also believe that independent thinking and collaboration will contribute to taking us to the next level in our league. Therefore, our new head coach and Thomas will report separately to me.“

Dimitroff was hired prior to the 2008 season along with the now-departed Smith. In his tenure, the Falcons drafted players including quarterback Matt Ryan, wide receiver Julio Jones and safety William Moore. Atlanta has reached the playoffs four times under Dimitroff.

►  NFL Play offs Game Results

The Gilmer Free Press

►  So much talent but only pick one

There is a smorgasbord of talent available for fantasy owners this weekend.

With the return from their first-round bye, the four best teams in the NFL Seattle, Green Bay, New England and Denver will see action Saturday and Sunday and they bring with them the talents that won them the elite top-two spots in their conferences.

The situation is particularly difficult for fantasy owners at quarterback. All eight quarterbacks on display this weekend are extremely talented and capable of posting a big fantasy total.

We will analyze this decision based on three criteria; past playoff performance, expected weather and the defense on the other side of the ball.

Who to choose? Who to choose?

The obvious choice would seem to be between the two signal-callers who scored the most points in fantasy football this season (Aaron Rodgers edged out Andrew Luck for the top spot 342-336). But with Rodgers limping and Luck’s mediocre career record on the road in two playoff games, fantasy owners may want to continue looking at all the other options.

Below is an analysis of all eight quarterbacks.

Aaron Rodgers - Rodgers has actually been a better playoff road warrior than at Lambeau Field. On the “frozen tundra” he’s won one of three games while averaging just 238 ypg in the air. That’s in stark contrast to his 2014 regular season record at home where he threw for 291.8 ypg and 25 touchdowns without an interception in eight Green Bay victories.

The game-time weather will certainly be very cold, as one would expect from Green Bay in January, but at least it appears it will be dry and without much wind. And the Dallas defense is very “giving” having yielded 4,031 passing yards during the regular season (26th best). That’s good news because fantasy owners already have enough to be concerned about in Rodgers’ leg. He’s certainly a possible option.

Andrew Luck - Luck is a career 58.6% passer, but in two road playoff games he is a 50.5% passer with a 2:5 TD-to-interception ratio. The weather in Denver appears to be the best of any of the four venues (44 degrees, no precipitation, negligible wind). The real problem with choosing Luck is the fierce pass rush he’ll face led by DeMarcus Ware and Von Miller and the high quality secondary with Aqib Talib and Chris Harris at the corners. So keep searching.

Peyton Manning - It’s a tough thing to say - don’t pick Manning, but that’s what you are about to hear. Manning hasn’t been the same guy that we saw break records in 2013. For one thing, the offensive line hasn’t been as secure and Manning has felt opposing pass rush pressure. And while Emmanuel Sanders has successfully replaced Eric Decker, Wes Welker has not played well and Julius Thomas (ankle) has spent the second half of the season as a shell of himself. The Broncos have been featuring the running game down the stretch and for those reasons we will say - “don’t pick Manning this weekend.“

Tony Romo - Romo has probably been the hottest quarterback over the past month. He has played five playoff games, and while last weekend’s performance was the best of his career, from a fantasy standpoint it still wasn’t great. Romo has yet to pass for more than 293 yards in any playoff game and averages 225 ypg and 1.2 TD passes. That just won’t get it done.

Tom Brady - The Patriots’ signal-caller is a career 18-8 including 12-3 at home with 27 TDs, 14 INTs and averaging 246 ypg. Unfortunately, two of those three home playoff losses were to the Ravens, including last season. The weather in Gillette Stadium on Saturday is expected to be a Green Bay-like 15 degrees, but at least it won’t be windy. Keep Brady in the running.

Cam Newton - The 25-year-old has only played two NFL playoff games and has yet to post anything exciting in either one. He won last weekend, but didn’t even reach the 200-yard passing mark. And he’ll face the best pass defense in the league in the Seahawks. Scratch Newton.

Russell Wilson - Wilson is a career 4-1 with six touchdown passes against just one interception, averaging 219.2 ypg in the air in the postseason. He’s also a running threat averaging another 33 yards on the ground and scoring once. Those rushing yards are the equivalent to more than 75 yards passing. But his playoff numbers are skewed by a 385-yard game against Atlanta in 2013. The weather in Seattle is expected to be nice, 47 degrees and overcast, so should not be a factor. The Panthers’ defense has played well this season despite all the changes to their lineup, but Wilson is still an option.

Joe Flacco - Flacco is a career 10-4 in the playoffs and a stunning 8-4 on the road in the postseason. He’s thrown 21 touchdowns against just eight interceptions. In his early years, Flacco was used as a “game manager,“ but that hasn’t been the case over his past two playoff seasons. In his last five playoff starts, Flacco is averaging 279.8 ypg with 13 touchdowns and zero interceptions. Bingo!

The weather in New England won’t exactly be like a day on the beach in Maui, but it shouldn’t prevent Flacco from continuing to produce. The numbers don’t lie and our surprise fantasy selection at quarterback for this weekend is the Baltimore Ravens signal-caller.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Area High Schools Boys Basketball Game Results

(Thursday, January 08)

Braxton County 69     Clay County 66

Calhoun County 60     Roane County 51

Parkersburg 58     St. Albans 55

Wood County Christian 81     Grace Christian 64

Postponements and Cancellations:

Gilmer County vs. Doddridge County

Lewis County vs. Robert C. Byrd

Grafton vs. Bridgeport

Liberty (Harrison) vs. Buckhannon-Upshur

Lincoln vs. East Fairmont

North Marion vs. Philip Barbour

Parkersburg Catholic vs. Tyler Consolidated

Parkersburg South vs. Morgantown

Tygarts Valley vs. South Harrison

►  Area High Schools Girls Basketball Game Results

(Thursday, January 08)

#4 Williamstown 50     Ritchie County 40

Belpre, Ohio 80     Wood County Christian 56

The Gilmer Free Press

►  MEC Men’s Basketball Game Results

(Thursday, January 08)

#1 West Liberty 102, Shepherd 83 | Final Stats

Seger Bonifant, the nation’s leading scorer, added 34 more to lead top-ranked West Liberty to a 102-83 win over Shepherd.

The win improved West Liberty’s record to 12-0 overall and 7-0 in the MEC. Shepherd fell to 9-4 overall and 4-3 in conference play.

Bonifant hit 10 three-pointers in the game and added seven rebounds. Devin Hoehn scored 14 and dished out seven assists, and Zac Grossenbacher had 10 points and eight rebounds. West Liberty shot 55% from the field and had assists on 23 of its 36 baskets.

Shepherd was paced by 20 points from Steffen Davis and Skyler Roman added 16.

Fairmont State 75, Wheeling Jesuit 69 | Final Stats

Fairmont State trailed by as many as 18 points in the first half, but rallied to pick up a 75-69 win over Wheeling Jesuit. 

Trailing 43-34 at halftime, Fairmont State started the second half on a 17-3 run over the first six minutes. Jamel Morris keyed the run with 12 of FSU’s 17 points during that span. 

Morris finished with 33 points on 11-of-22 shooting, including 6-of-10 from behind the arc, to lead Fairmont State (8-5, 5-2). Nick Harney added 19 points and nine rebounds. 

Justin Fritts scored 17 points and had four assists for the Cardinals (6-5, 2-4). Eric Siefert had 14 points and nine rebounds. The Cardinals were plagued by 20 turnovers in the game. 

Charleston 70, Concord 65 | Final Stats

Charleston withstood a late Concord rally and hung on to defeat the Mountain Lions, 70-65.

UC’s lead swelled to 10 with just over four minutes to play, but Concord came up with the next nine points to make it a 66-65 game with 1:03 left. Concord got the miss it was looking for, but Tino DiTrapano pulled down the offensive rebound and was then sent to the line where he made both free throws. CU turned the ball over on its next possession and Chris Evans sealed the game with two more free throws.

Aleksander Kesic led Charleston (9-4, 4-3) with 18 points, including 5-of-9 shooting from behind the arc. Cameron Dozier scored 14, Evans finished with 12 and Jevonte Hughes had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds. The Golden Eagles finished with 13 three-pointers in the game.

Concord (7-5, 3-4) was led by 15 points and eight rebounds from B.J. Hamlet. Rob Reed added 12 for the Mountain Lions. 

Glenville State 89, Urbana 78 | Final Stats

Glenville State erased a halftime deficit by shooting 60% form the field in the second half to pick up its seventh-straight win, 89-78, over Urbana.

The Pioneers (11-2, 7-0) trailed 40-37 at the break, but went on a 17-6 run in the first 6:30 of the second half to seize control of the game. GSC finished the game shooting 50% from the field. Urbana out-rebounded GSC 50-33 and had a 23-7 edge in second chance points, but shot 36% from the field.

All five starters reached double figures for Glenville State led by 19 from Donte Morales. Luke Campbell had 15, Sedric Nady had 14, Brett Morris finished with 13 and Reggie Williams netted 12. 

Mike Newton led Urbana (4-9, 1-6) with 22 points. Matt Csuhran and Christopher Cromity each scored 10.

West Virginia State 90, UVa-Wise 77 | Final Stats

West Virginia State snapped a seven-game losing streak by handling UVa-Wise, 90-77.

WVSU (2-12, 2-4) got 21 points and 12 rebounds from Damion Harris and 20 points from Markee Mazyck. Dominic Phillips came off the bench to add 11. The Yellow Jackets dominated the glass, 49-34.

Philip Owens II scored a game-high 33 points for UVa-Wise (1-11, 0-7). Oliver Thompson scored 18 and Brian Sydnor contributed 11 points and nine rebounds. 

West Virginia Wesleyan 80, Notre Dame College 64 | Final Stats

West Virginia Wesleyan picked up its second-straight win after stifling Notre Dame, 80-64.

West Virginia Wesleyan improved to 5-8 overall and 3-4 in conference play. Notre Dame slipped to 7-6 overall and 3-4 in the MEC.

Tanner McGrew had his league-best sixth double-double of the year in the victory.

►  MEC Women’s Basketball Game Results

(Thursday, January 08)

West Liberty 90, Shepherd 87 | Final Stats

West Liberty forged into a tie atop the Mountain East Conference standings with a 90-87 win over Shepherd. 

West Liberty and Shepherd now have identical 9-4 records and are both 6-1 in conference play.

Kailee Howe led the way for the ‘Toppers with 30 points to go with seven assists and four rebounds. Her jumper with :43 left gave WLU the lead for good. Liz Flowers scored 18 points and Kierra Simpson had 16 points and 10 rebounds before fouling out. 

Morgan Arden came off the bench to lead the Rams with 20 points. Liz Myers had 15 points and nine rebounds, and Rachel Johnson and Gabby Flinchum each had 13. 

Shepherd had the edge in field goal percentage, 49-43, but West Liberty compensated by making 15-of-21 free throws compared to just 8-of-15 for the Rams.

Fairmont State 87, Wheeling Jesuit 79 | Final Stats

Fairmont State used a 14-4 run over three minutes late in the second half to pull away from Wheeling Jesuit, 87-79.

The Falcons (11-2, 5-2) were led by 22 points apiece from Emily Lohr and Emily Puskarich. Hallie Gunnoe scored 18 and Hailey Garrett had 14 points and nine rebounds. The Falcons were 26-of-29 from the free throw line in the victory. 

Jaila Bryant and Taylor Lubinsky each scored 17 for the Cardinal (6-4, 3-3). Mariah Callen came off the bench and added 16.

Charleston 61, Concord 46 | Final Stats

Charleston’s Nichole Perry scored her 1,000th career point as the Golden Eagles cruised to a 61-46 win over Concord.

Perry finished with 10 points for UC (10-3, 5-2). Monet Saunders led the squad with 14 points and Marissa Koob had 11. Kiara Johnson pulled down a game-high 15 rebounds.

Rachel Artrip led Concord (3-7, 3-4) with 13 points. Jacqueline Kestner added 10 points. 

Glenville State 97, Urbana 64 | Final Stats

Glenville State snapped a two-game losing streak with a 97-64 home victory over Urbana. 

The Pioneers (4-6, 3-4) had four players in double figures led by 20 points from Keyanna Tate. Paige Tuttle had 15, while Julie Bishop and Kayla Tibbs added 14. The Pioneers forced 21 turnovers and drained 17 three-pointers in the game.

Jeni Jordan led Urbana (1-12, 1-6) with 15 points and seven rebounds. Katy Barkley had 12 and Kate Francisco, Tori Purk and Megan Hatfield each scored 10.

UVa-Wise 71, West Virginia State 58 | Final Stats

UVa-Wise broke a 44-44 tie with 10:56 left by scoring 22 of the game’s next 30 points and closing out West Virginia State, 71-58.

The Cavs (5-8, 4-3) started in a 9-0 hole, but roared back and took a 10-point halftime lead, 35-25. The game stayed close in the second half until the Cavs hit four three-pointers to key the critical 22-8 run. 

Kayla Carey led the way for UVa-Wise with 14 points and 13 rebounds. Blair Harding added 11 points, and Katie Jo Dockery and Megan Smith contributed 10. 

West Virginia State (4-7, 2-4) was paced by Trina Current’s 13 points. Deyahnna Styles had 12 points to go with six rebounds and five assists. Alexus Hobbs contributed 11 and Shealyn Shafer netted 10.  

Notre Dame 73 West Virginia Wesleyan 56 | Final Stats

Notre Dame shot 50% from the field to snap a four-game conference losing streak with a 73-56 triumph over West Virginia Wesleyan. 

Kelsey Miller and Jessica Garcia led NDC (7-6, 3-4) with 13 points apiece. Lauren Langenderfer contributed 11 points, seven assists and five rebounds in the victory. 

Mari Stewart led all players with 16 points for the Bobcats (0-10, 0-6). Adrian Cunningham scored 15 points and Alexa Mortenson had 11

The Gilmer Free Press

►  No. 3 Texas too much for West Virginia women

After facing the depth of No. 3 Texas first-hand, West Virginia coach Mike Carey was reminded of the team he had last year. The one that earned a share of the Big 12 championship.

This season, it could be the Longhorns’ turn.

Nneka Enemkpali had 11 points and 12 rebounds as Texas stayed unbeaten with a 61-55 win at the Erwin Center on Wednesday night.

The Mountaineers (10-4, 0-2 Big 12), who trailed by 14 in the first half, climbed within four with 7:09 left in the game as Bria Holmes hit a jumper for two of her game-high 22 points. However, back-to-back layups stretched the lead to eight for Texas (13-0, 2-0 Big 12).

“That’s the defending Big 12 champion over there. We knew it was going to be a dogfight,” said Texas coach Karen Aston.

Neither team did much from deep: West Virginia made just 3-of-19 from 3-point range and Texas only 2-of-9.

The Longhorns led 38-33 in rebounding, including a 24-9 edge in the first half.

“We lost five seniors. The same team is not walking through the locker room,” said West Virginia coach Mike Carey said. “Texas has the numbers I could play last year, 10 or 11. This year I can play about six.

“We got tired. We don’t have substitutions. It’s going to be the same thing all year.”

Point guard Linda Stepney was held to one point on 0-of-5 shooting for West Virginia, which finished the game 34.5% from the field. Texas made 46.2%.

Averee Fields scored 12 points on 6-of-10 shooting while freshman Teana Muldrow added 10 points.

The Mountaineers slipped to 0-3 in Austin.

“I thought both teams played extremely hard,” said Carey. “Both teams battled. I told the team after the game, that even after 10 wins, we’ve played with more emotion than we have played with all year. That was good to see.”

With her bucket at the 14:50 mark in the second half, Holmes became the 31st WVU player to reach 1,000 points.

“I feel like my team never gave up and we fought all the way to the end,” she said.

Carey described Holmes as “a great player.” “We knew she was going to be a 1,000/2,000-point scorer coming in here because that’s the type of player she was coming out of high school. I am proud of her.”

WVU hosts No. 5 Baylor on Saturday at 3 PM.

<The Gilmer Free Press

►  Top-25 College Men’s Basketball Game Results

(Thursday, January 08)

Final Score: (6) Gonzaga 88, San Francisco 57

Kevin Pangos had 17 points and five assists and No. 6 Gonzaga cruised to an 88-57 win over San Francisco on Thursday night. Przemek Karnowski netted 16 points and Kyle Wiltjer added 15 points and five rebounds for the Bulldogs (15-1, 4-0 WCC), who have won eight straight games since their lone loss at Arizona on December 6. Kruize Pinkins led the Dons (7-10, 1-4) with 20 points.

Final Score: (7) Arizona 80, Oregon 62

T.J. McConnell came out uncharacteristically aggressive and it paid off, as the redshirt senior scored 21 points to lead No. 7 Arizona in a 80-62 win over Oregon. McConnell, who transferred from Duquesne after two seasons with the Dukes, had never scored more than 19 points in an Arizona uniform. All five starters reached double figures for the Wildcats (14-1, Pac-12), who snapped Oregon’s six-game win streak with a result that was never really in doubt. Stanley Johnson had 14 points and seven rebounds, Rondae Hollis-Jefferson gave 13 with nine boards and Kaleb Tarczewski posted his first double-double of the season after totaling 11 points and 10 rebounds. Joseph Young scored 12 points on 4-of-15 shooting to lead Oregon (11-4, 1-1).

Final Score: (25) Old Dominion 72, Marshall 51

Jonathan Arledge had 13 points to help 25th-ranked Old Dominion extend its best-ever start as a Division I program with an easy 72-51 victory over Marshall in a Conference USA clash. Trey Freeman and Jordan Baker chipped in 11 points each in the Monarchs’ 10th straight win. Freeman added eight rebounds for ODU (13-1, 2-0 C-USA), playing for the first time in school history as a team ranked in the Associated Press Top 25. Marshall (4-11, 0-2), which had dropped 11 of 12 since a 3-0 start, was paced by Austin Loop’s 15 points. Ryan Taylor and Jay Johnson each finished with 13 for the Thundering Herd, but Taylor was charged with eight of Marshall’s 22 turnovers.

►  No. 25 Old Dominion vs. Marshall

The 25th-ranked Old Dominion Monarchs moved into the nation’s top 25 for the first time in program history, and will do everything they can to remain there as they face the Marshall Thundering Herd in a Conference USA matchup at Cam Henderson Center.

Old Dominion enters this game with a 12-1 record on the season, and is searching for its 10th consecutive victory. The only loss the Monarchs suffered was back in November to Illinois State, 64-45. ODU took down Charlotte, 61-54, on Sunday before earning its spot in the Top-25.

Marshall, on the other hand, is off to a rough start to the 2014-15 season. The Herd have dropped four consecutive games, and have lost 10 of their last 11 altogether. Marshall is coming off an 81-62 demolition at the hands of Western Kentucky, which dropped the team to 4-10 on the season and 0-1 in conference play.

Old Dominion and Marshall, two relatively new conference rivals, have met 10 times on the floor before in their series history. The Monarchs own a 6-4 all- time mark over the Herd, which includes a season sweep by ODU in 2013-14.

A strong first half lifted Old Dominion to a 29-18 lead over Charlotte at halftime, which provided the Monarchs with enough of a cushion to simply coast the rest of the way through the contest. ODU connected on 50% of its first-half shots, and ended the game shooting 42.9% from the floor. Trey Freeman netted 14 points to pace Old Dominion, adding in six assists with five turnovers. Richard Ross scored 12 points with six rebounds, and Aaron Bacote added 10 points. Jonathan Arledge chipped in with nine points and seven boards for ODU.

Old Dominion isn’t the most explosive team offensively, as the Monarchs enter Thursday’s matchup scoring 66.3 ppg on the season, connecting on 42.3% of its field goal tries from the floor. It’s a middle-of-the-road scoring average in terms of Conference USA rankings, but the team’s scoring defense (55.1 ppg allowed) is by far the best in the conference this season. Freeman is the only Monarchs player to average a double-digit scoring total coming into Thursday, with 16.4 ppg and a team-best 45 assists. ODU is 2-0 on the road so far, and is 2-1 in neutral-site games.

Once again, it was just not Marshall’s night, this time versus Western Kentucky. The Thundering Herd connected on a mere 33.3% shooting from the field (25.8% in the second half), and shot 5-of-23 from beyond the 3-point arc as the Hilltoppers ran to an 81-62 victory. Ryan Taylor once again led Marshall in scoring, netting 15 points with six rebounds (10 of his points came from the free-throw line). Aleksa Nikolic and Austin Loop each had 10 points, while Nikolic grabbed a team-high eight boards in the defeat.

Marshall’s offense hasn’t been all that bad in 2014-15, although the Thundering Herd are tied for last in the Conference USA standings in field goal percentage (38.7% from the floor). The Herd are averaging a pedestrian 67.4 ppg this season. It’s the scoring defense that hasn’t been able to keep up (70.9 ppg allowed to opponents). Taylor owns team leads in scoring (14.1 ppg) and rebounding (8.3 rpg), and is second in passing (42 assists). Loop is the only other active Marshall player with a double-digit scoring average (10.3 ppg). The Herd could really use Shawn Smith back, who has been out for awhile with a shoulder injury.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  NBA Game Results

(Thursday, January 08)

Final Score: Charlotte 103, Toronto 95

Gerald Henderson netted 20 of his 31 points in the second half, Kemba Walker added 29 and the Charlotte Hornets defeated the Toronto Raptors 103-95 on Thursday night. Marvin Williams posted 13 points and nine rebounds, while Michael Kidd-Gilchrist provided 10 points and 12 boards for the Hornets, who have won four straight games. Kyle Lowry recorded 24 points, seven rebounds and seven assists to lead Toronto, which has dropped four straight on the heels of an 8-1 stretch.

Final Score: Houston 120, New York 96

Another home game at Madison Square Garden, another embarrassing loss for the Knicks. James Harden totaled 25 points and nine assists and the Houston Rockets routed New York, 120-96, on Thursday. All five starters reached double figures for Houston, which has dominated the Knicks in recent years. The Rockets have won 11 straight against New York and are 19-1 in the last 20 meetings. Dwight Howard posted his fourth straight double-double with 13 points and 10 boards. Trevor Ariza scored 18 points, Donatas Motiejunas had 17 with seven rebounds and four steals and Patrick Beverley added 14 points on 4-of-6 shooting from behind the arc. Travis Wear scored 21 points and Langston Galloway, in his first home game since being signed to a 10-day contract from New York’s D-League affiliate, netted 19. Cleanthony Early gave 16 points. New York’s starters did not attempt a free throw, and none of the five reached double digits. The Knicks extended the worst home losing streak in franchise history to 11 games.

Final Score: Portland 99, Miami 83

LaMarcus Aldridge had 24 points and 12 rebounds as the Portland Trail Blazers defeated the Miami Heat 99-83 on Thursday night. Wesley Matthews netted 18 points and Damian Lillard added 16 for the Blazers, who have won six of their last seven games. Dwyane Wade tallied 23 points and seven rebounds, while Chris Bosh provided 18 points, five boards and five assists for Miami, which has dropped five of its last six contests.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  NHL Game Results

(Thursday, January 08)

Final Score: Boston 3, New Jersey 0

Milan Lucic potted a pair of goals in support of a lightly tested Niklas Svedberg in the Boston Bruins’ 3-0 victory over the New Jersey Devils. Boston’s second win in as many nights came even easier than the final score indicated, as the Bruins put up 43 shots to New Jersey’s 14 to make Svedberg’s second career shutout a relatively stress-free one. Carl Soderberg added a goal to help Boston record a point for a seventh consecutive home game (4-0-3). After putting up nine goals in back-to-back wins over Philadelphia and Buffalo coming in, the Devils generated little offense on this night. Cory Schneider managed to keep New Jersey in it most of the way by stopping an outstanding 40-of-42 attempts.

Final Score: Philadelphia 3, Washington 2 (OT)

Jakub Voracek’s game-winning goal occurred on the power play just 1:28 into overtime, as Philadelphia claimed a 3-2 victory over Washington on Thursday. Matt Niskanen was sent off for hooking 71 seconds into the extra session and it didn’t take long for the hosts to capitalize. Claude Giroux drew the primary assist, as he held the puck in the left circle until Voracek moved into position and uncorked a shot which was slowed by the stick of Caps forward Nicklas Backstrom before sliding underneath Braden Holtby. Sean Couturier and R.J. Umberger also tallied for the Flyers, who have won the first two in a four-game homestand. Matt Read and Nick Schultz each had a pair of assists to aid Steve Mason’s 26-save effort. Mason won back-to-back starts for the first time since early November. Alex Ovechkin and Karl Alzner scored for the Capitals, who were coming off a 6-2 win in Toronto on Wednesday. Holtby ended up with 30 saves in defeat.

Final Score: Carolina 5, Buffalo 2

After having scored more than two goals only once in their last 18 games, the Carolina Hurricanes scored three in less than 1 1/2 minutes en route to a 5-2 win over the Buffalo Sabres. Jiri Tlusty put Carolina up 2-1 on a 5-on-3 marker at the 13:50 mark of the second period. Less than a minute later, Eric Staal was credited with a wrap- around goal, and Victor Rask followed that up with a goal on a deflection 26 seconds later. Jeff Skinner and Riley Nash also scored for the Hurricanes, while Ryan Murphy and Justin Faulk each had two assists. Cam Ward stopped 18-of-20 shots to help Carolina win its third straight home game. Both Sabres goals were scored by Philip Varone, who entered the contest with one goal in 10 NHL games. Chris Stewart assisted on both tallies. Jhonas Enroth allowed all five Hurricanes goals on 31 shots as Buffalo fell for the 10th time in its last 11 games.

Final Score: St. Louis 7, San Jose 2

Brian Elliott stopped 24 shots and seven different St. Louis players recorded a goal in the Blues’ 7-2 rout of the San Jose Sharks at Scottrade Center. Alex Steen, Jay Bouwmeester, Paul Stastny, Jori Lehtera, T.J. Oshie, Patrik Berglund and David Backes all lit the lamp for the Blues, who have won three in a row and tied a season high for offensive output set in an identical 7-2 victory at San Jose five days ago. Logan Couture and Melker Karlsson scored for the Sharks, who have dropped five of their last eight contests. Antti Niemi was pulled after giving up five goals on 21 shots in 33-plus minutes. Alex Stalock finished up and yielded the other two St. Louis scores.

Final Score: Nashville 3, Dallas 2 (OT)

Shea Weber had two goals, including the game winner 17 seconds into overtime, as the Nashville Predators topped the Dallas Stars 3-2 on Thursday. After Nashville forced a turnover in the offensive zone, Weber’s shot from the right circle bounced off the shoulder of Kari Lehtonen and fluttered over the goal line to end the game. Mikka Salomaki scored in his first NHL game, Roman Josi supplied two assists and Pekka Rinne made 18 saves for the Predators, who moved into a tie with the idle Anaheim Ducks for league’s top spot with 58 points. Jason Spezza and Trevor Daley for the Stars, who have lost three straight games. Lehtonen allowed all three goals on 21 shots in defeat.

Final Score: Chicago 4, Minnesota 2

Under siege for much of the last two periods, Corey Crawford made 42 saves to lead the Chicago Blackhawks to a 4-2 win over the Minnesota Wild. Minnesota outshot Chicago 37-10 after the first period, but Crawford was up to the task by stopping 35 of them to help the Blackhawks win for the second time in three games. Chicago got a pair of goals from Bryan Bickell in the third period to pull away. Patrick Sharp and Patrick Kane also scored for the Blackhawks. Jason Zucker and Jason Pominville scored the Minnesota goals, with Niklas Backstrom making 16 saves on 16 shots. Minnesota was without forward Zach Parise due to the death of his father, J.P., on Wednesday. The elder Parise was a long-time NHL player himself and played nine seasons for the Minnesota North Stars.

Final Score: Colorado 5, Ottawa 2

Jarome Iginla led a Colorado scoring blitz with a pair of goals as the surging Avalanche delivered a 5-2 victory over the Ottawa Senators at Pepsi Center. Iginla’s big night was aided by markers from Brad Stuart, Erik Johnson and Daniel Briere, as well as another tremendous performance from Semyon Varlamov, in Colorado’s fourth win in five games. Coming off a spectacular 54-save effort in Tuesday’s shutout of Chicago, Varlamov was busy again in turning aside 36-of-38 Ottawa shots. Craig Anderson didn’t come close to matching Varlamov’s level of play, allowing three goals on just nine chances before being pulled for Robin Lehner just past the midway mark of the second period. Mark Stone and Bobby Ryan had the Ottawa goals in the Senators’ third straight loss.

Final Score: Arizona 4, Winnipeg 1

Mikkel Boedker’s three-point night lifted the Arizona Coyotes to a 4-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday. Boedker finished with two goals and an assist, Shane Doan tallied a goal and two helpers and Oliver Ekman-Larsson also lit the lamp for the Coyotes, who bounced back from a 6-0 loss to the Blues on Tuesday. Mike Smith was stellar in between the pipes, stopping 34-of-35 shots to earn just his second win since December 1. Mathieu Perreault supplied Winnipeg’s lone goal and Ondrej Pavelec gave up all four goals on 30 shots.

Final Score: Florida 3, Vancouver 1

Roberto Luongo was victorious in his return to Vancouver as he turned aside 32 shots to help the Florida Panthers to a 3-1 victory over the Canucks on Thursday. The veteran netminder, who set franchise records with 252 wins and 38 shutouts over eight seasons with the Canucks, tied Sabres great Dominik Hasek for 11th on the NHL’s all-time win list with 389. Jonathan Huberdeau posted two goals and an assist and Aleksander Barkov scored for the Panthers, who rebounded from a 4-3 loss to Washington on Sunday. Daniel Sedin lit the lamp and Ryan Miller allowed all three goals on 30 shots for the Canucks, who won their previous two games.

Final Score: NY Rangers 4, Los Angeles 3

Cam Talbot made 28 saves and the surging New York Rangers went into Staples Center and beat the Los Angeles Kings 4-3 in a rematch of last year’s Stanley Cup Finals. The Kings led 2-0 early on a pair of first-period goals, but New York scored four straight to claim control. Justin Williams’ second goal of the game with 4:03 remaining made it a one-goal game and LA went on a power play following Rick Nash’s tripping penalty with 36 seconds left, but Talbot turned aside the only shot he saw before the final horn sounded. Dan Boyle, Kevin Klein, Lee Stempniak and Martin St. Louis lit the lamp for New York, winners in four straight and 12 of its last 13 games. The Kings, meanwhile, are trending the opposite direction having lost four of five. Williams scored twice and Tanner Pearson found the back of the net while Jonathan Quick was responsible for all four goals on 26 shots.

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
Boston at Indiana, 7:00 PM - CSN-New England, FS-Indiana, DSS
Philadelphia at Brooklyn, 7:30 PM - CSN-Philadelphia, YES, DSS
Atlanta at Detroit, 7:30 PM - SportSouth, FS-Detroit, DSS
Memphis at New Orleans, 8:00 PM - SportSouth, FS-New Orleans, DSS
Chicago at Washington, 8:00 PM - CSN-DC, ESPN
Utah at Oklahoma City, 8:00 PM - ROOT-Northwest, FS-Oklahoma, DSS
Minnesota at Milwaukee, 8:30 PM - FS-North, Wisconsin, DSS
Phoenix at San Antonio, 8:30 PM - FS-Arizona, Southwest, DSS
Denver at Sacramento, 10:00 PM - Altitude, CSN-California, DSS
Orlando at LA Lakers, 10:30 PM - FS-Florida, Time Warner, DSS
Cleveland at Golden State, 10:30 PM - FS-Ohio, CSN-Bay, ESPN
National Hockey League
NY Islanders at New Jersey, 7:00 PM - MSG+, MSG, DSS
Columbus at Toronto, 7:30 PM - FS-Ohio, TSN4, DSS
Buffalo at Tampa Bay, 7:30 PM - MSG-Buffalo, SunSports, DSS
Florida at Calgary, 9:00 PM - FS-Florida, SNET-1, DSS
Chicago at Edmonton, 9:30 PM - CSN-Chicago, SNET-West, DSS
College Basketball
Quinnipiac at Monmouth, 7:00 PM -
Akron at Toledo, 7:00 PM - ESPN U
Green Bay at Milwaukee, 9:00 PM - ESPN U
Women’s College Basketball
Xavier at Seton Hall, 7:00 PM - Pirate Sports Network
DePaul at Marquette, 7:00 PM - Big East Digital Network
Butler at St. John’s, 8:00 PM - FS1
California at Washington State, 8:00 PM - Pac-12 Network
UCLA at Utah, 8:00 PM - Pac-12 Network
Oregon at Oregon State, 10:00 PM - Pac-12 Network
Stanford at Washington, 10:00 PM - Pac-12 Network
College Hockey
Minnesota at Michigan, 6:30 PM - Big Ten Network
Ohio State at Penn State, 7:00 PM - American Sports Network
Dartmouth at New Hampshire, 7:30 PM - NBCSN
Notre Dame at Western Michigan, 7:30 PM - CBSSN
Miami-Ohio at St. Cloud State, 8:30 PM - FSN
International Soccer
Montpellier vs. Olympique de Marseille, 2:25 PM - beIN Sport
EUROPEAN - South African Open, 7:30 AM - Golf Channel
PGA - Tournament of Champions, 4:30 PM - Golf Channel
Brisbane, 5:30 AM - Tennis Channel
Qatar Open, 7:30 AM - beIN Sport
Qatar Open, 11:00 AM - beIN Sport

Sports News   150108

The Gilmer Free Press

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Shane Lyons, WVU AD says college expenses for athletes more than tuition, room and board

New WVU Athletics Director Shane Lyons he supports the movement to pay college athletes the full cost of their college attendance.

“The Cost of Attendance being more adequately putting money into their pockets as opposed to just the full Grant-in-Aid cost,” Lyons said Tuesday during an interview on MetroNews Talkline.

The Big 12 Conference is already moving toward such a Cost of Attendance provision. Lyons said it has a lot of momentum.

“This is giving them (athletes) a little bit extra money to cover some of the expenses that are not covered now. A trip home and things like that,” he said.

The Big 12 Conference Board of Directors announced its intentions last month.

A full Grant-in-Aid includes tuition and fees, room and board and textbooks. Cost of Attendance includes those items and other expenses “reasonably related to attendance at the institution” the Big 12 said last month.

“I think we can make it work and I think it’s in the right direction for our student athletes and all the athletic departments. I think it has a lot of momentum and there’s a possibility that’s going to happen,” Lyons said.

The new athletics director and his family will be introduced during Saturday’s basketball game in Morgantown. He said on he hopes to be on the job full-time sometime in February.

The Parkersburg native is currently the deputy athletics director at Alabama.

►  Lyons’ deal: New AD can make $3.9 million over 5 years

New West Virginia athletics director Shane Lyons can earn more than $3.9 million during the five-year agreement with the university, according to the terms sheet obtained Tuesday.

The deal includes $550,000 base salary with up to $150,000 per year in incentives. He also is scheduled to receive a retention bonus that escalates annually from $75,000 to $150,000.

Lyons was introduced as the university’s new AD on Monday, stepping in after Oliver Luck resigned last month to take a post within the NCAA.

The agreement lists Lyons’ start date as sometime in February. He is in the process of moving from Tuscaloosa, Ala., where for the last three years he served as the Crimson Tide’s deputy director of athletics.


The complete Shane Lyons terms sheet:

Contingent upon adequate funding and successful completion of a background check this term sheet will serve as a temporary contractual agreement between the undersigned and the West Virginia University Board of Governors on behalf of West Virginia University.
  1. Basic Position Information.
    1. Director of Intercollegiate Athletics and Associate Vice President
    2. Appointment is for a five-year term beginning on a date in February, 2015 (to be determined) and concluding in February, 2020. Such term may be extended upon mutual agreement of the parties.
  1. Compensation
  1. Annual Base: $550,000
Annual Incentive Available: $150,000 (see b)
Total Available Annual Salary: $700,000
Total Additional Retention Incentives Available: $450,000 (see b)
Total Available Compensation: $3,950,000
  1. Incentives
    1. Performance Incentive. 75% of incentive payments made to the various coaches of NCAA athletic teams at WVU; however, your maximum allowable incentive payment will cap at $150,000.00 per year.
  1. Retention Incentive(s) to be paid on annual anniversary dates as follows:
    1. February __, 2017, you shall receive a single payment of $ 75,000
    2. February __, 2018, you shall receive a single payment of $100,000
    3. February __, 2019, you shall receive a single payment of $125,000
    4. February __, 2020, you shall receive a single payment of $150,000.
  1. Courtesy Automobile(s): You may elect to receive two (2) courtesy automobiles during your service as Director of Intercollegiate Athletics.
  1. Employee Benefits. Employee will be eligible to participate in all employee benefit programs available to other University nonclassified employees.
IN WITNESS WHEREOF, the parties shall consider this Term Sheet to be effective on the 5th date of January, 2015.
West Virginia University Board of Governors
on behalf of West Virginia University
Gordon Gee, President
Shane Lyons

The Gilmer Free Press

►  WLU a Finalist for Major NCAA Division II Award

West Liberty University has been honored as a finalist for the 2015 NCAA Division II Award of Excellence.

“This is great news for West Liberty University and its athletic department,“ Athletic Director James Watson said. “It’s evidence of our student-athletes’ hard work in the community and I’m extremely proud and grateful for their efforts.“

The West Liberty University Student-Athlete Advisory Committee (SAAC) spearheaded an event that hosted local Miracle League athletes at Kovalick Field on the WLU campus during the Hilltoppers’ May 3 baseball doubleheader against Ohio County rival Wheeling Jesuit University.

“It was a meaningful and fun experience for everyone involved and showed the sportsmanship and willingness of both baseball teams to get involved in this important community outreach,“ said WLU head volleyball coach and SAAC advisor Kayla Fetsko.

Before the opening game, the Hilltopper players distributed T-shirts to each child and spent time tossing balls, running bases and just talking baseball with the Miracle League participants. The Miracle Leaguers participated in the singing of the National Anthem and were treated to pizza as guests of honor while watching the game.

“This was a great learning opportunity which gave our student-athletes the opportunity to spend time with individuals who really appreciated it,“ Fetsko said when told about the NCAA Division II honor. “We are proud to be a part of the Miracle League of Wheeling and are always willing to assist them in their work.“

The Gilmer Free Press

The NCAA selects only one finalist from each of the 25 Division II conferences across the nation. Each finalist receives a $500 grant and advances to consideration for national honors. Examples of events the award seeks to recognize include activities associated with Division II partner Make-A-Wish®, Team IMPACT, military appreciation, community engagement, game environment, student-athlete leadership development and educational programming.

Out of the 25 finalists, the NCAA will select the 2015 Division II Award of Excellence winner along with two runners-up. The national winner will receive a grant of $1,500 and a nationally televised football or basketball game during the 2015-16 season. The first runner-up will receive a $1,250 grant with a $1,000 grant going to the second-runner-up to be used toward future community engagement initiatives.

The winner of the 2015 Division II Award of Excellence will be announced, along with the first and second runners-up, during the Division II Business Session at the 2015 NCAA Convention on January 17, 2015 in Washington, D.C.

West Liberty is a member of the NCAA and Mountain East Conference and offers a wide range of intercollegiate athletics at the NCAA Division II level, including men’s football, cross country, basketball, wrestling, track, tennis, baseball and golf; women’s softball, volleyball, cross country, basketball, track, tennis, golf and soccer.

Led by President Robin C. Capehart, West Liberty University is accredited by The Higher Learning Commission of the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools. For more information, please visit or call 1.866.WESTLIB.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Giants axe defensive coordinator

The New York Giants fired defensive coordinator Perry Fewell on Wednesday.

Fewell had served as the team’s defensive coordinator since 2010.

The Giants’ defense struggled this season, finishing 29th in yards allowed per game. The club suffered numerous injuries on the defensive side as well with cornerbacks Walter Thurmond and Prince Amukamara, defensive linemen Robert Ayers and Mathias Kiwanuka and linebacker Jon Beason all falling to injury.

A year prior the Giants finished as a top-10 defensive unit.

“No one person is responsible for what happened in this year,“ said Giants head coach Tom Coughlin. “That has to be loud and clear. If there is any one person responsible, it is me. The simple fact of the matter is in the circumstance that we find ourselves, change is necessary. That may not be the most eloquent way of saying it, but that is what I am confronted with. The hope always is invigoration. You are going to stimulate. It is with great deliberation over a lengthy period of time throughout a thorough investigation and evaluation of what went on that I came to the conclusion that change was necessary.“

This is the second straight season the Giants made significant coaching changes. Last year, offensive coordinator Kevin Gilbride retired, giving way to Ben McAdoo. However, Coughlin remains at the helm.

The Giants, who finished 6-10 in 2014, also fired secondary/cornerback coach Peter Giunta.

►  Ravens should believe in Flacco

It was one of those throw away lines you almost expect a head coach to say after a big win.

“He’s the best quarterback in football,“ Baltimore head coach John Harbaugh said after watching Joe Flacco lead the Ravens to an upset of the Pittsburgh Steelers in last Saturday’s wild-card round.

That’s a stretch of course and mentors like Mike McCarthy, John Fox and Bill Belichick, whose Patriots play Baltimore in the division round on Saturday, have a far different take and probably should.

However, if Harbaugh had added one word and made his declarative statement “He’s the best playoff quarterback in football,“ the sentiment is a little tougher to dismiss.

Since Harbaugh took over the Ravens in 2008, Flacco has 10 postseason wins, the most of any NFL signal caller over that span and more than twice the number of his upcoming counterpart in the divisional round, Patriots future Hall of Famer Tom Brady, who has four over that seven-year stretch.

Flacco already has the most road playoff wins in NFL history (seven) and he’s never reached the dance and not come away with at least one win, a stunning level of consistency when the calendar turns to January.

“The guy is a great player,“ Belichick admitted. “I think he’s a really solid performer all the way around. He’s good on play-action; he’s obviously good on the deep ball. He’s as good a deep ball passer as there is in football. (He’s a) smart guy, takes care of the ball; really complete game.“

Complete is an understatement during Baltimore’s current five-game playoff run, Flacco has thrown 13 touchdown passes and no interceptions, attempting 166 consecutive passes without a pick and amassing a truly elite 116.6 passer rating.

“In the regular season, the cliche line is one play at a time, one game at a time,“ Flacco said when discussing his postseason success. “At this point (the playoffs), you really are. You don’t have any choice but to be totally locked in on this one game. There’s nothing really to look forward to. You don’t know what’s going to happen after this. It’s definitely an interesting mindset that you take as a team, and it’s a lot of fun.“

Baltimore is hoping that fun continues in Foxborough this weekend against the top-seeded Pats.

Most teams arrive at Gillette Stadium and are beaten before they get off the bus, in awe of perhaps the best coach/QB tandem (Belichick and Brady) in NFL history.

Not the Ravens, who have already topped the Pats twice in the postseason in Foxborough, including a 28-13 win in the AFC Championship Game back in January of 2013 en route to their Super Bowl XLVII title.

“Your mindset is the same,“ Flacco said of playing on the road. “You’re feeling the same thing before a game, you’re feeling the same thing standing on a sideline getting ready to take the field for the first time. That’s my mindset. I believe that it’s the same.“

It’s not the same of course but Flacco has his teammates thinking it is.

“We feel comfortable going on the road when we’re going on the road with Joe Flacco,“ Baltimore wide receiver Torrey Smith said.

“It’s no different,“ Flacco added. “It’s going out there and playing a football game. I’m doing the best I can to put everybody in a position to do good things, put the ball in their hands and let them take over. I think we’ve just come together and played well as a unit.“

Flacco’s point is not a bad one.

Too often, people get caught up in the quarterback battles whether it’s Flacco versus Brady on Saturday or the much-anticipated Luck-Manning III in Denver a day later. There are 45 others fighting to help those particular QBs to succeed on any given weekend, though.

“I think we’re a good team,“ Flacco continued. “So put us in enough situations and put us in tough situations and we’re going to react well to them.“

The self-deprecating act doesn’t always work, however, especially among those who understand Flacco is the fulcrum to the Ravens’ success.

“I’m always bringing up Joe Flacco,“ cornerback Lardarius Webb said. “He’s very important to our team. The way he comes out and he performs, the way he carries the week, the way he’s prepared. We look up to him, we see him. When he plays that well, we expect to win.“

WILD-CARD WEEKEND (All Times Eastern)

Baltimore (11-6) at New England (12-4) (-7), Saturday, 4:35 PM - The Ravens and Pats will be meeting in the postseason for the fourth time in the past six seasons. All three of the previous meetings have been at New England and Baltimore has won two of those contests.

“You have to play these games to win,“ Flacco said. “We’re fighting for the big prize. You have to go out there and you let everything go. You can’t worry about the outcome.“

The Patriots have won six consecutive AFC East titles and earned a first-round bye for the fifth season in a row. At 12-4, New England is the sixth team in NFL history to post at least 14 consecutive winning seasons and the first to do so since San Francisco (1983-98, 16 seasons). Brady has 18 career postseason wins, the most in NFL history, and Belichick has 19 playoff victories and can tie Tom Landry (20) for the most in NFL history.

“In the playoffs, it’s the same for everybody—one loss and you go home,“ Brady said. “You try to play to your strengths and get ready to go so you can be at your best when you really need it the most. There’s only one team out of 32 that gets to win it each year. Hopefully you’re the one that gets the chance to do it.“

Patriots 24, Ravens 20

Carolina (8-8-1) at Seattle (12-4) (-10 1/2), Saturday, 8:15 PM - Defense is on the docket in Seattle. Since December 1, the Seahawks lead the NFL in points and yards allowed (8.3 points per game, 211.3 yards per game) and Carolina is second in both categories (11.8 ppg, 238.2 ypg)

The Panthers are a heavy underdog but have won five consecutive games and averaged 27.6 points per game during that stretch, which includes a 27-16 win over Arizona in the wild-card round last weekend, the franchise’s first postseason win since January 15, 2006. Carolina limited the Cardinals to 78 total net yards, the fewest allowed in a postseason game in NFL history.

“Guys have come together and bought into what we are doing,“ said Panthers All-Pro middle linebacker Luke Kuechly. “We took the first step and it’s an absolutely awesome feeling.“

It may not be an awesome feeling in Seattle, though, where the Seahawks are an imposing 24-2 over the past three seasons. The defending Super Bowl champs won the NFC West and secured home-field advantage on the NFC side for the second consecutive year. The Seahawks enter the postseason having won six in a row and are the first team since the 1976 Pittsburgh Steelers to win their final six regular-season games and allow less than 40 total points (39).

“We’re exactly where we want to be,“ said Seattle quarterback Russell Wilson, who is 40-13 as a starter in the NFL. “To be going into the playoffs, have a first-round bye and be the No. 1 team in the NFC, that’s what you want. Most importantly, we get to play at home again and in front of the best fans in the world. We’re high on confidence, like always. But we have to play great football, one game at a time.“

Carolina and Seattle have met once prior in the postseason, a 34-14 Seahawks win in the NFC Championship Game on January 22, 2006.

Seahawks 23, Panthers 10

Dallas (13-4) at Green Bay (12-4) (-6), Sunday, 1:05 PM - Early indications say “Ice Bowl II” won’t be quite as frigid as the famous 1967 NFL Championship Game which the Packers won 21-17. The high is forecasted to be 23 in Green Bay on Sunday with the low dipping into the single digits so the biggest factor may be Aaron Rodgers’ health, not the weather.

The likely NFL MVP is expected to play but his strained left calf is clearly bothering him, although a week of rest has certainly helped.

“It feels better,“ Rodgers said Tuesday on his ESPN Milwaukee radio show. “We’ll see what happens this week as far as practice reps. Everybody’s so concerned about them. I’m not, and thankfully my teammates aren’t either.“

Rodgers set an NFL single-season record with a 133.2 passer rating at Lambeau Field this season and had 25 touchdowns without an interception at home. The veteran has now thrown it 477 consecutive times at Lambeau without a pick and thrown 38 touchdown passes over that span, video-game-like statistics..

“This is a fun team to be on and the guys believe in each other, fight for each other and we stick together,“ said Rodgers, who ranks second in NFL postseason history with a 103.1 passer rating. “Winning the division was important as was getting that home playoff game. We’re 8-0 at home so we want to keep that streak alive.“

Conversely the Cowboys, who topped Detroit 24-20 in the wild-card round, rallying from a 14-point deficit, have been perfect on the road, posting an 8-0 record and outscoring opponents 275-181 in those games, making this the first playoff game in NFL history with a team that went 8-0 at home (Green Bay outscored its opponents at Lambeau by a 318-163 margin) hosting a club that went 8-0 on the road.

“To be among the final eight teams, it’s something we certainly feel good about,“ said Dallas head coach Jason Garrett. “Challenges are ahead and we’re excited to be a part of it.“

Cowboys 27, Packers 23

Indianapolis (12-5) at Denver (12-4) (-7), Sunday, 4:40 PM - Luck-Manning III caps the divisional round of the NFL playoffs as the Colts visit the Broncos in a rematch of their Kickoff Weekend meeting. Peyton Manning and Julius Thomas connected on three touchdowns in that one as Denver won 31-24. Luck and Co, did get the best of the Broncos back in 2013, winning a Week 7 shootout 39-33.

Manning did so much for the Colts that it almost surreal to think Luck is far ahead of the pace Manning set during his first three seasons in the Hoosier State. Manning, the five-time NFL MVP, won 26 regular-season games during his first three NFL seasons with the Colts, throwing for 12,287 yards with two playoff starts, both losses. By comparison Luck has already won 33 in the regular season, tossed for 12,957 yards and won his second playoff game last week, a 26-10 drubbing of the banged-up Cincinnati Bengals.

“We played great team football and we’re moving on to the next round,“ said Luck. “We’ve got a tall order playing Denver at Denver but we’re excited about that and up for the challenge.“

Manning didn’t get his second playoff victory until 2003, his sixth NFL season. He has won nine postseason games overall—including Super Bowl XLI—with the Colts and has 6,589 passing yards and nine 300-yard games on his playoff resume, both tops in NFL history.

“We’re excited and looking forward to the postseason,“ said Manning. “This is always an exciting time for football. This is why you work so hard all season to get this opportunity. Playoff football takes on different twists and turns. You’re going to play some really good football teams.“

The Broncos, who won the AFC West, finished the regular season 8-0 at home, outscoring opponents 283-166 in those games. Over the past two seasons, including the playoffs, Denver has won 17 of its past 18 at Sports Authority Field at Mile High.

“We’re excited and glad to be playing at home,“ said Manning. “We know our crowd will be into it and be a big factor.“

Broncos 30, Colts 20

►  Giants’ Beckham headed to Pro Bowl

New York Giants rookie wide receiver Odell Beckham Jr. is heading to the Pro Bowl.

Considered among the most notable snubs when the initial rosters were announced, Beckham was the first alternate at receiver and will replace the injured Calvin Johnson of Detroit.

“It is definitely awesome,“ said Beckham on Wednesday. “It is something that means a lot to me, and I am definitely going to cherish the moment. I’m very excited to be going to the Pro Bowl.“

Beckham is the first Giants rookie wide receiver to earn a Pro Bowl spot and the first Giants rookie to make the trip since tight end Jeremy Shockey in 2002.

In just 12 games this season, Beckham set Giants rookie records with 91 catches for 1,305 yards and 12 touchdowns. He had nine straight games with 90 or more yards receiving to match an NFL record set by Michael Irvin in 1995.

►  Green Bay Packers to debut $20 burger with ground beef, bacon and venison

The concessions craze continues.

The Gilmer Free Press

In the latest entry of how much food can you pile together, the Green Bay Packers will be serving the Big Game Burger, which includes:

• ½ pound ground venison
• ½ pound ground bacon
• ½ pound ground certified Angus beef

The burger, which costs $20, will be on a pretzel bun and be topped with:

• Housemade jalapeno cheese BBQ sauce
• Six strips of crispy jalapeno smoked bacon
• Fried onions
• Shredded lettuce
• Sliced tomato
• Pickles
• Secret sauce

Delaware North, the concessionaire behind the behemoth, says that the burger is currently only planned for the postseason and will make its debut Sunday when the Packers take on the Dallas Cowboys in the NFC second-round playoff matchup.

►  Redskins complete deal to hire Scot McCloughan

The Washington Redskins have finalized a deal that will bring well-respected talent evaluator Scot McCloughan aboard as general manager, according to two people with knowledge of the situation.

McCloughan has agreed to a four-year deal, one person familiar with the negotiations said.

The move signals a front-office restructure that strips Bruce Allen of top talent-evaluation duties and gives them to McCloughan, who brings with him 20 years of experience as a scout and front-office executive and most recently helped shape the Seattle Seahawks into a Super Bowl-winning team.

Allen, whom owner Daniel Snyder hired as general manager in 2009, shortly before hiring Mike Shanahan as head coach and top personnel decision-maker, will remain team president, however. Allen received that promotion last offseason following the firing of Shanahan, and also handled general manager duties.

The Redskins hope that McCloughan can help reverse a long-standing problem in the area of talent evaluation – particularly in the college draft, where in the past five years and 42 selections, Washington has managed to hit on a handful of sure-fire building blocks, such as Pro Bowlers left tackle Trent Williams, inside linebacker Ryan Kerrigan and running back Alfred Morris. Inside linebacker Keenan Robinson and cornerback Bashaud Breeland rounding out a select group of promising players. Meanwhile, the team has several question-mark players and blunders in those years.

McCloughan, meanwhile, has a track record of success in the college draft. From 2005 to 2014, when he joined the San Francisco 49ers’ front office and eventually rose to general manager (the final season there being 2010) and then spent two seasons with the Seahawks as a top executive, he was credited with drafting players who were selected to the Pro Bowl 41 times between the two teams.

McCloughan, the son of longtime Raiders scout Kent McCloughan, broke into the NFL’s scouting ranks with the Green Bay Packers in 1995 – the year after a brief minor league baseball career, which included a 57-game stint in Hagerstown in 1994.

The Redskins’ talks with McCloughan reached advanced stages Tuesday afternoon, but McCloughan’s representatives continued to talk with other suitors, including the New York Jets and Oakland Raiders.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Area High Schools Boys Basketball game Results

(Wednesday, January 07)

Wirt County 54     Roane County 51

►  Area High Schools Girls Basketball game Results

(Wednesday, January 07)

Parkersburg 68     Hurricane 65

►  High School Boys’ Basketball AP Rankings (January 05)

The Associated Press high school boys’ basketball poll with first-place votes in parentheses and total points:
  Team   Record   Pts   Prv

Class AAA:
  1. South Charleston (5)  5-0   95   -
  2. Woodrow Wilson (3)  5-0   84   -
  3. Huntington (1)  5-1   77   -
  4. Parkersburg South (1)  7-0   66   -
  5. Morgantown   6-1   44   -
  6. Spring Valley   5-1   37   -
  7. Wheeling Park   4-2   36   -
  8. Greenbrier East   6-1   23   -
  9. Jefferson   3-1   18   -
  10. Hurricane   2-4   16   -
  (tie) Capital   3-1   16   -
Others receiving votes: Hedgesville 13, George Washington 7, Parkersburg 6, Logan 5, Preston 4, Martinsburg 2, Washington 1.
Class AA:
  1. Poca (9)  6-0   99   -
  2. Bridgeport   5-0   83   -
  3. Fairmont Senior   9-0   79   -
  4. Westside   5-1   69   -
  5. Scott   5-1   52   -
  6. Robert C. Byrd (1)  1-2   45   -
  7. Mingo Central   5-2   35   -
  8. Ravenswood   5-1   20   -
  9. Lincoln   6-0   17   -
  10. Bluefield   3-4   12   - 
Others receiving votes: PikeView 11, Chapmanville 11, Wyoming East 7, Grafton 6, Sissonville 4.
Class A:
  1. Wheeling Central (2)  5-2   86   -
  2. Magnolia (2)  4-1   85   -
  3. Greater Beckley Christian (6)  6-0   83   -
  4. Gilmer County   5-0   56   -
  5. Tucker County   6-1   39   -
  6. Charleston Catholic   5-2   34   -
  7. Saint Joseph Central   4-3   33   -
  8. Valley Fayette   3-1   29   -
  9. Notre Dame   4-3   27   -
  10.Bishop Donahue   6-1   25   - 
Others receiving votes: Williamstown 21, Tug Valley 18, St. Marys 8, Cameron 6.

►  High School Girls’ Basketball AP Rankings (January 05)

The Associated Press high school girls’ basketball poll with first-place votes in parentheses and total points:

Team   Record   Pts   Prv

Class AAA:

1. Morgantown (8) 6-0 97 -
2. South Charleston (1) 7-0 80 -
3. Parkersburg South (1) 4-1 78 -
4. Huntington 6-0 75 -
5. Greenbrier East 8-0 60 -
6. Logan 6-2 44 -
(tie) Spring Valley - 44 -
8. Hurricane 5-0 27 -
9. St. Albans - 20 -
10. Jefferson 5-1 10 -

Others receiving votes: Buckhannon-Upshur 6, Cabell Midland 3, Martinsburg 3, George Washington 1, John Marshall 1, Preston 1.

Class AA:

1. Fairmont Senior (2) 8-2 86 -
2. North Marion (5) 7-0 85 -
3. Wyoming East (2) 7-0 74 -
4. Summers County 5-1 62 -
5. Sissonville - 60 -
6. Keyser (1) 10-0 59 -
7. PikeView 6-1 37 -
8. Westside 3-3 24 -
9. Clay County 6-2 23 -
10. Bluefield 5-2 15 -

Others receiving votes: Bridgeport 6, Nicholas County 5, Herbert Hoover 5, Oak Glen 5, Ravenswood 1, Robert C. Byrd 1, Lincoln 1, James Monroe 1.

Class A:

1. Saint Joseph Central (9) 6-2 95 -
2. Wheeling Central (1) 6-1 89 -
3. Tucker County 6-1 74 -
4. Williamstown 8-2 68 -
5. Pocahontas County 7-2 51 -
6. Clay-Battelle 6-2 47 -
7. Charleston Catholic 1-6 42 -
8. Gilmer County 5-3 20 -
9. Notre Dame 8-2 12 -
(tie) Parkersburg Catholic 5-4 12 -

Others receiving votes: Madonna 10, Magnolia 9, St. Marys 9, Meadow Bridge 5, Fayetteville 3, Trinity 3, Greater Beckley Christian 1.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  MEC 2014-15 Men’s Basketball Standings

West Liberty 11-01.0006-01.0007-04-00-0W11
Glenville State 10-20.8336-01.0006-14-10-0W6
Shepherd 9-30.7504-20.6677-12-20-0W4
Fairmont State 7-50.5834-20.6674-43-10-0W2
Charleston 8-40.6673-30.5005-12-21-1L1
Concord 7-40.6363-30.5002-14-21-1W1
Notre Dame 7-50.5833-30.5005-00-52-0L2
Wheeling Jesuit 6-40.6002-30.4003-01-42-0L1
WV Wesleyan 4-80.3332-40.3332-31-41-1W1
WV State 1-120.0771-40.2000-51-50-2L7
Urbana 4-80.3331-50.1673-40-41-0L2
UVa-Wise 1-100.0910-60.0000-50-51-0L10

►  MEC 2014-15 Women’s Basketball Standings

Shepherd 9-30.7506-01.0005-13-21-0W2
West Liberty 8-40.6675-10.8333-13-22-1W2
Fairmont State 10-20.8334-20.6678-22-00-0W4
Charleston 9-30.7504-20.6674-13-22-0W2
Wheeling Jesuit 6-30.6673-20.6004-12-20-0W3
Concord 3-60.3333-30.5000-23-20-2L3
UVa-Wise 4-80.3333-30.5001-33-40-1L4
WV State 4-60.4002-30.4003-41-20-0W2
Notre Dame 6-60.5002-40.3334-11-51-0L2
Glenville State 3-60.3332-40.3332-31-30-0L2
Urbana 1-110.0831-50.1671-40-50-2L5
WV Wesleyan 0-90.0000-60.0000-40-50-0L9

<The Gilmer Free Press

►  Top-25 College Men’s Basketball Game Results

(Wednesday, January 07)

Final Score: (2) Duke 73, Wake Forest 65

Freshman Justise Winslow scored a season-high 20 points and No. 2 Duke pulled away down the stretch for a 73-65 win over Wake Forest on Wednesday night. After trailing for a total of 6 minutes and 13 seconds in its first 13 games, Duke found itself behind by two points with under five minutes remaining. But Quinn Cook’s three-point play sparked a 9-2 burst that gave the Duke the lead for good. It was part of an overall run of 16-4 by the Blue Devils (14-0, 2-0 ACC). ACC scoring leader Jahlil Okafor had 12 points and 11 rebounds and Cook also scored 12 it Duke’s tightest win of the season. The Blue Devils, who are 14-0 for the seventh time under Mike Krzyzewski, had won each of their first 13 games by double digits, Devin Thomas had 24 points to lead Wake Forest (8-8, 0-3) and Codi Miller- McIntyre scored 13. The Demon Deacons, coming off an 85-76 loss to No. 5 Louisville on Sunday, hosted back-to-back games against top-five teams for the first time in program history.

Final Score: (3) Virginia 61, North Carolina State 51

Justin Anderson posted 16 points and nine rebounds and No. 3 Virginia stayed unbeaten with Wednesday’s 61-51 win over North Carolina State. Malcolm Brogdon gave 14 points and Anthony Gill had 12 with seven rebounds for Virginia, which was coming off a double-overtime win over Miami in its ACC opener last Saturday. Virginia (14-0, 2-0 ACC) entered Wednesday’s tilt ranked second in the nation in points allowed, giving up just 50.8 per game despite its last two opponents scoring 72 and 80, respectively. It got back to form on Wednesday and caused fits for the Wolfpack, who had a six-plus minute scoreless stretch in each half. Ralston Turner led NC State (11-5, 2-1) with 14 points, and Kyle Washington tallied 13 with 10 rebounds.

Final Score: (4) Wisconsin 62, Purdue 55

Frank Kaminsky scored 21 points to lead fourth-ranked Wisconsin to a 62-55 win over Purdue on Wednesday. Josh Gasser added 15 points and Traevon Jackson contributed 13 for the Badgers (15-1, 3-0 Big Ten), whose win streak reached a season-high eight games. The win was Bo Ryan’s 159th in conference play since arriving at Wisconsin, setting a new program record. Jon Octeus poured in 15 points to go with eight rebounds for the Boilermakers (10-6, 2-1), who have dropped four of their last six. A.J. Hammons picked up 11 points in a losing cause.

Final Score: (5) Louisville 58, Clemson 52

Chris Jones scored 22 points and helped key a huge Louisville run to begin the second half that lifted the fifth- ranked Cardinals to a hard-earned 58-52 victory over Clemson. Louisville (14-1, 2-0 ACC) was down 22-18 at halftime after shooting a woeful 22.2 percent over the first 20 minutes, but went on a 17-0 tear following the intermission and never trailed again in its first conference home game as an ACC member. Terry Rozier netted six of his 15 points during the pivotal spurt, while Jones had all but two of his points in the second half. Wayne Blackshear added 11 points for Louisville, but finished 3-of-13 from the floor. The Cardinals shot just 32.7 percent for the game, but held Clemson to a 30.8 percent success rate in a defensive slugfest. Clemson (8-6, 0-2), coming off a 24-point home loss to No. 18 North Carolina on Saturday, was led by Jaron Blossomgame’s 15 points. Damarcus Harrison finished with 12 in defeat.

Final Score: (9) Utah 74, Colorado 49

Delon Wright had 13 points, six assists and four steals to lead No. 9 Utah in a 74-49 victory over Colorado on Wednesday. Brandon Taylor tallied 14 points and five assists, while Dakarai Tucker added 11 points for the Utes (13-2, 3-0 Pac-12), who have won six straight games. Askia Booker had 12 points and six rebounds and Jaron Hopkins added 12 points for the Buffaloes (9-6, 2-1), who had won their previous two coming in.

Final Score: Illinois 64, (11) Maryland 57

Malcolm Hill’s career-high 28 points helped Illinois overcome the loss of Rayvonte Rice and upset No. 11 Maryland 64-57 on Wednesday. Hill made four of Illinois’ seven made 3s and finished 9- for-18 from the floor. Nnanna Egwu added 11 points and nine rebounds for the Fighting Illini (11-5, 1-2 Big Ten). Rice, the leading scorer and senior leader for the Illini, was lost for 3-to-6 weeks with a broken hand.

Final Score: (12) Kansas 56, (21) Baylor 55

Jamari Traylor scored 13 points on 6-of-7 shooting as No. 12 Kansas opened Big 12 play with a 56-55 victory over 21st- ranked Baylor on Wednesday. Brannen Greene scored 12 points off the bench and Frank Mason III netted 11 with five assists for the Jayhawks (12-2, 1-0 Big 12), who have won 24 straight conference openers dating back to the 1991-92 season. Kenny Chery had a game-high 25 points and Rico Gathers supplied nine points and 13 rebounds for the Bears (11-3, 0-2), who were coming off a 73-63 loss to Oklahoma on Saturday. Wayne Selden Jr. scored seven points in a row for the Jayhawks as they took a 54-51 lead on his layup with 1:19 to play. Chery’s jumper moments later pulled Baylor within a point.

Final Score: (15) Wichita State 63, Bradley 43

Darius Carter led the way with 19 points and seven rebounds as No. 15 Wichita State continued its dominant conference play with a 63-43 victory over Bradley on Wednesday. Ron Baker scored 12 points and Shaquille Morris chipped in 10 points and seven rebounds off the bench for the Shockers (13-2, 3-0 MVC), who have won 21 straight games against MVC opponents. Ka’Darryl Bell finished with 11 points and Auston Barnes and Tramique Sutherland each netted 10 for the Braves (6-10, 1-2), who have dropped its last 10 games against Wichita State. Bradley shot just 4-for-22 from the field (18.2 percent) in the second half after leading at the break.

Final Score: Xavier 69, (19) Seton Hall 58

Dee Davis had 14 points with six assists, Trevon Bluiett scored 13 with seven rebounds and Xavier posted a 69-58 win over No. 19 Seton Hall on Wednesday night. James Farr, Matt Stainbrook and Myles Davis each contributed eight points to help the Musketeers (11-4, 2-1 Big East) improve to 9-0 at home this season. Angel Delgado scored 12 points to pace Seton Hall (12-3, 2-1), which climbed into the Associated Press Top 25 after back-to-back wins over ranked opponents last week. The Pirates beat then-No. 15 St. John’s and then-No. 6 Villanova, the first time in 23 years that they won consecutive games against AP Top 15 teams. Sterling Gibbs, the reigning Big East Player of the Week, finished with eight points and seven assists in defeat.

Final Score: (20) VCU 71, Davidson 65

Treveon Graham had 15 points and 10 rebounds to guide No. 20 VCU to a 71-65 victory over Davidson on Wednesday. Terry Larrier and Melvin Johnson each gave 11 points, while Briante Weber had four points, four rebounds, six assists and four steals for the Rams (12-3, 2-0 A-10), who have won their past seven. Brian Sullivan scored 19 points, Tyler Kalinoski gave 16 with nine rebounds and six assists, and Jack Gibbs had 11 points, seven rebounds and five assists for the Wildcats (10-3, 1-1), who have dropped two of their last three.

►  College Men’s Basketball Latest Polls

Associated Press Top 25
1. Kentucky
2. Duke
3. Virginia
4. Wisconsin
5. Louisville
6. Gonzaga
7. Arizona
8. Villanova
9. Utah
10. Texas
11. Maryland
12. Kansas
13. Notre Dame
14. West Virginia
15. Wichita State
16. Oklahoma
17. Iowa State
18. North Carolina
19. Seton Hall
20. Virginia Commonwealth
21. Baylor
22. Ohio State
23. Arkansas
24. St. John’s
25. Old Dominion

Coaches Poll
1. Kentucky
2. Duke
3. Virginia
4. Wisconsin
5. Louisville
6. Arizona
7. Gonzaga
8. Villanova
9. Maryland
10. Texas
11. Utah
12. Notre Dame
13. Kansas
14. West Virginia
15. Wichita State
16. Iowa State
17. North Carolina
18. Oklahoma
19. Seton Hall
20. Ohio State
21. Virginia Commonwealth
22. Baylor
23. Northern Iowa
24. St. John’s
25. Arkansas

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

The Gilmer Free Press

►  NBA Game Results

(Wednesday, January 07)

Final Score: Charlotte 98, New Orleans 94

Kemba Walker scored nine of Charlotte’s last 10 points to lead the Hornets to a 98-94 comeback win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Wednesday. Walker totaled 31 points, giving him his third 30-point game in a row for the Hornets, who have won all three. Gerald Henderson added 16 points, and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist chipped in 13 points and 12 rebounds. Anthony Davis had 32 points, 12 rebounds and four blocks for the Pelicans, who have lost three of their last four. New Orleans led by as much as 13 in the second half but could not hang on. The Pelicans also got 16 points, nine assists and six rebounds from Jrue Holiday, and Eric Gordon contributed 14 points.

Final Score: Houston 105, Cleveland 93

James Harden missed 12 of his 18 shots but scored a team-high 21 points and the Houston Rockets pulled away in the fourth quarter for a 105-93 win over the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday. Dwight Howard finished with 17 points and a season-high 19 rebounds and Josh Smith scored 16 points off the bench, including seven in the fourth quarter when the Rockets outscored the Cavaliers 32-19 on the way to their third win in five games. Corey Brewer had eight of his 12 points in the fourth quarter and Trevor Ariza ended with 13 in the victory. Kyrie Irving returned to score a season-high 38 points to lead the Cavs, including 34 in the first three quarters. He didn’t make a field goal in the fourth quarter until there was around a minute left, drawing Cleveland within seven points. He missed his last two shots, both from 3-point range. J.R. Smith went scoreless in his Cavaliers debut, missing all five of his shots in more than 17 minutes off the bench.

Final Score: Milwaukee 97, Philadelphia 77

Khris Middleton and Brandon Knight each scored 18 points as the Milwaukee Bucks demolished the Philadelphia 76ers, 97-77, on Wednesday night. Middleton also had five steals for the Bucks, who have won four straight against Philadelphia. O.J. Mayo and Jerryd Bayless added 15 and 12 points, respectively, while Zaza Pachulia contributed 11 points and 12 rebounds. K.J. McDaniels ended with 14 points for the Sixers, who beat the short-handed Cavaliers on Monday for their first home victory of the season. Nerlens Noel and Tony Wroten had 13 and 12 points, respectively.

Final Score: Washington 101, New York 91

Nene scored 20 points and helped the Washington Wizards pull away for a 101-91 win over the New York Knicks, who were dealt a franchise-record 13th consecutive loss. John Wall aided Washington’s cause as well by tallying 18 points and eight assists, with Rasual Butler adding 14 points off the bench and Marcin Gortat posting a double-double of 12 points and 11 rebounds. A makeshift Knicks team that has seen most of its core players either sidelined or traded away lost for the 23rd time in its last 24 games. New York’s previous longest slide had come to conclude the 1984-85 season. Calderon paced the Knicks with 17 points, while Jason Smith had 13 in 21 minutes before fouling out late.

Final Score: Atlanta 96, Memphis 86

Jeff Teague and Kyle Korver made 3-pointers to key a tiebreaking 10-0 run in the fourth quarter that led the Atlanta Hawks over the Memphis Grizzlies 96-86 on Wednesday in a clash of conference powers. Teague scored 25 points to pace Eastern Conference-leading Atlanta, including five during a 12-2 burst over the last three minutes of the game. Korver, Paul Millsap, Al Horford, and Pero Antic all scored at least 11 points as the Hawks earned a sixth straight win. They are 20-2 since late November and have a nine-game winning streak against Western Conference teams. Mike Conley had 17 points and Marc Gasol scored 16 to lead the Grizzlies, who are battling for first place in the Southwest Division.

Final Score: Boston 89, Brooklyn 81

Avery Bradley scored 21 points and the Boston Celtics beat the Brooklyn Nets, 89-81. Tyler Zeller gave 18 points for Boston, which won on the road for the first time since trading longtime point guard Rajon Rondo to Dallas on Dec. 18. Evan Turner only scored six points but posted team highs of eight rebounds and seven assists, and five Celtics reserves scored between five and nine points. Brooklyn got 16 points and 12 rebounds from Mason Plumlee and 17 points from Joe Johnson in its third straight defeat.

Final Score: Utah 97, Chicago 77

Derrick Favors scored 14 of his 20 points in the second half, and the Utah Jazz dominated the final two quarters en route to a startling 97-77 road rout of the Chicago Bulls. Favors added 11 rebounds and Trey Burke deposited 17 points—12 of which came after halftime—in a game where the Jazz outscored a cold-shooting Bulls squad by a 61-45 count after intermission. Gordon Hayward contributed 18 points to the win, Utah’s fifth in its last seven away outings. Trevor Booker chipped in 15 points and eight rebounds off the bench, with Rudy Gobert recording a double-double of 11 points and 14 rebounds for the Jazz.

Final Score: Detroit 108, Dallas 95

Greg Monroe scored 27 points and grabbed 18 rebounds to lead the Detroit Pistons to a 108-95 win over the Dallas Mavericks on Wednesday. Detroit has now won seven straight since waiving forward Josh Smith. D.J. Augustin scored 17 of his season-high 26 points for the Pistons in the fourth quarter to end any hopes for a Mavericks comeback. Brandon Jennings scored 14 points, and Andre Drummond finished with 19 boards. The Mavericks got 19 points from Dirk Nowitzki as they saw their six-game winning streak come to an end. Monta Ellis had 16 points, and Tyson Chandler contributed nine points and 15 rebounds. Detroit used a 60-43 rebounding advantage to lead Dallas in second-chance points by a 17-7 margin and points in the paint by a 56-44 edge.

Final Score: Denver 93, Orlando 90

Ty Lawson scored 23 points in the Denver Nuggets’ 93-90 win over the Orlando Magic on Wednesday night. Arron Afflalo added 17 points and six rebounds for the Nuggets, who have won six in a row at home against Orlando. Nate Robinson and Wilson Chandler tallied 13 and 12 points, respectively, while J.J. Hickson contributed 11 points and 10 rebounds. Rookie center Jusuf Nurkic ended with eight points and two blocks for the Nuggets in his first NBA start. Prior to the game, Denver traded center Timofey Mozgov along with a 2015 second round pick to the Cleveland Cavaliers in exchange for two protected 2015 first round picks (via Oklahoma City and Memphis). Nikola Vucevic had 20 points and 11 boards for the Magic, who have lost four in a row. Victor Oladipo and Evan Fournier donated 17 and 14 points, respectively, with Oladipo also dishing out six assists.

Final Score: Phoenix 113, Minnesota 111

After trailing for much of the game, the Phoenix Suns staged a late comeback to top the Minnesota Timberwolves, 113-111, on Wednesday. Goran Dragic paced the Suns with 25 points and Gerald Green added 21 off the bench in Phoenix’s fourth straight win. Eric Bledsoe and Isaiah Thomas each netted 17 points. The Timberwolves had a chance to win the game at the buzzer with an Andrew Wiggins 3-pointer, but his shot was off to extend their losing streak to 13 games. Wiggins led Minnesota with 25 points, his fifth straight game with 20-or-more points. Mo Williams shot 4-of-7 from beyond the arc and finished with 23 points, while Anthony Bennett chipped in 14 points and 10 boards off the bench.

Final Score: Sacramento 104, Oklahoma City 83

Rudy Gay had 28 points and nine rebounds in the Sacramento Kings’ 104-83 rout of the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night. Darren Collison made a career-high five 3-pointers en route to 24 points for the Kings, who snapped a 12-game losing streak against Oklahoma City. DeMarcus Cousins contributed 23 points and 15 rebounds. Kevin Durant ended with 24 points and nine boards for the Thunder, who have dropped two straight. Reggie Jackson had 14 points and Serge Ibaka tallied 11 points, 10 rebounds and a season-high eight blocks. Dion Waiters scored four points on 1-of-9 shooting in his debut with Oklahoma City, which acquired him from the Cleveland Cavaliers as part of a three-team deal on Monday in exchange for a first-round pick. The Thunder dealt Lance Thomas to the New York Knicks as part of the trade.

Final Score: Golden State 117, Indiana 102

Klay Thompson and the Golden State Warriors remained perfect against the Eastern Conference. Thompson scored 15 of his 40 points in a big third quarter and the Warriors pulled away after halftime to beat the Indiana Pacers 117-102 on Wednesday night. Thompson erupted for 10 points in the first 2 1/2 minutes of the second half to help the Warriors take a sudden 11-point lead with a 12-1 run. He knocked down two 3-pointers during the flurry, which ended an overall run of 31-9 after Golden State trailed by 11 in the second quarter. The Pacers trimmed their deficit to one later in the third quarter, but Golden State scored 13 of the last 19 points in the frame and led comfortably the rest of the way. Stephen Curry had 21 points and 15 assists and Marreese Speights scored 18 for the NBA-leading Warriors, who improved to 5-0 on a six-game homestand that ends Friday against short-handed Cleveland. They extended their home winning streak to 13 games and moved to 11-0 against the Eastern Conference this season.

Final Score: LA Clippers 114, LA Lakers 89

Blake Griffin flirted with a triple- double and the Clippers embarrassed their LA rival, beating the Lakers 114-89 on Wednesday. Griffin needed less than 31 minutes to post 27 points, nine rebounds and eight assists while Chris Paul tallied 24 and 11 assists in just over 31 minutes. All five Clippers starters reached double figures, with Matt Barnes scoring 19 points and DeAndre Jordan and J.J. Redick finishing with 10 apiece. The Clippers have now won five in a row against the Lakers since a 116-103 loss on opening night last season. Jordan Hill and Wayne Ellington both had 13 points for the Lakers. Kobe Bryant finished 2-for-12 shooting for a season-low four points. He also had teams highs of eight rebounds, seven assists and six turnovers.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  NBA power rankings: Warriors back on top; Hawks up, Grizzlies down

Here are this week’s power ratings along with each team’s points scored and allowed per 100 possessions.

1. Golden State Warriors (27-5), Last week’s ranking: 2
Offensive Rating: 110.2
Defensive Rating: 99.4

The Warriors are in the top five for offensive and defensive efficiency and have a 41.5% chance at winning the 2015 NBA title.

2. Dallas Mavericks (26-10), Last week’s ranking: 3
Offensive Rating: 114.4
Defensive Rating: 106.4

Dirk Nowitzki is averaging 22.6 points, 7.3 rebounds and 2.7 assists per game plus moved past Moses Malone and into seventh place on the all-time list for most NBA points scored.

3. Portland Trail Blazers (27-8), Last week’s ranking: 1
Offensive Rating: 108.6
Defensive Rating: 101.4

Slipping from the top spot after one week, they still allow the second fewest points per 100 possessions this season (101.4).

4. Toronto Raptors (24-10), Last week’s ranking: 4
Offensive Rating: 114.6
Defensive Rating: 107.8

One of two Eastern Conference teams that fit the championship profile, the Raptors will have a six-game home stand after dropping three straight on the road.

5. Atlanta Hawks (26-8), Last week’s ranking: 7
Offensive Rating: 108.2
Defensive Rating: 103.0

The Hawks are for real and have won five straight. They also had the NBA Eastern Conference player of the week in Jeff Teague, who scored more than 20 points in all three games.

6. Chicago Bulls (25-10), Last week’s ranking: 6
Offensive Rating: 108.8
Defensive Rating: 104.3

Jimmy Butler is now being included in the MVP conversation in addition to possibly most improved player and all-star nods. Plus, he had this stuff on James Harden.

7. Los Angeles Clippers (23-12), Last week’s ranking: 8
Offensive Rating: 112.4
Defensive Rating: 105.9

The Clippers have the second highest effective field goal percentage in the NBA.

8. Memphis Grizzlies (25-9), Last week’s ranking: 5
Offensive Rating: 108.7
Defensive Rating: 104.1

Grizzlies are off to the best start in franchise history behind top-10 performance for offensive and defensive efficiency.

9. Houston Rockets (23-11), Last week’s ranking: 9
Offensive Rating: 105.3
Defensive Rating: 101.5

The honeymoon may be over for Josh Smith, who is shooting 14.3% form beyond the three-point arc and on the floor for just 80 points per 100 possessions since signing with Houston.

10. San Antonio Spurs (21-15), Last week’s ranking: 11
Offensive Rating: 107.0
Defensive Rating: 103.3

Gregg Popovich says Kawhi Leonard is still “weeks” away from his return, and without him, the Spurs went 8-10 in December. It was the first time since drafting Tim Duncan they had a losing record in that month.

11. Washington Wizards (23-11), Last week’s ranking: 10
Offensive Rating: 105.9
Defensive Rating: 103.4

Wizards remain a middle-of-the-road playoff team in the Eastern Conference. According to the Simple Rating System, they are just 1.6 points per game better than average, which would rank them 11th in the West instead of fourth in the East.

12. Cleveland Cavaliers (19-16), Last week’s ranking: 12
Offensive Rating: 109.0
Defensive Rating: 107.6

Coach David Blatt got a vote of confidence from General Manager David Griffin but will need Kevin Love to continue his hot streak with LeBron James sidelined.

13. Phoenix Suns (21-16), Last week’s ranking: 14
Offensive Rating: 109.6
Defensive Rating: 107.0

The Suns take the third most three-point shots as a percentage of all field goals and rank sixth in three-point percentage (37.3%).

14. Oklahoma City Thunder (17-18), Last week’s ranking: 13
Offensive Rating: 105.0
Defensive Rating: 103.7

Kevin Durant returned and scored 44 and 34 in two wins before dropping an egg against Golden State (14 points, minus-14 plus/minus).

15. New Orleans Pelicans (17-17), Last week’s ranking: 16
Offensive Rating: 108.7
Defensive Rating: 108.3

Eric Gordon finally returned after missing 21 games with a shoulder injury but was underwhelming against Washington, scoring six points and shooting 25% from the field.

16. Sacramento Kings (14-20), Last week’s ranking: 19
Offensive Rating: 106.8
Defensive Rating: 109.4

The Kings are 3-7 since they fired their coach but get to the free throw line more than any other team (30.2% of all shots are from free throw line).

17. Milwaukee Bucks (18-18), Last week’s ranking: 15
Offensive Rating: 103.6
Defensive Rating: 103.5
Center Larry Sanders is finding no joy in the game anymore.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Mets agree to terms with Parnell

The New York Mets agreed to terms with pitcher Bobby Parnell on a one-year contract Wednesday.

Parnell, 30, appeared in one game last year before undergoing season-ending elbow surgery. The right-hander may not be ready for the start of the season, but he is reportedly progressing as scheduled. When healthy, he is expected to vie as the Mets’ closer, a role he held before his injury.

For his career, Parnell is 18-24 with a 3.57 ERA and 36 saves in 299 games, eight starts.

Parnell was one of six arbitration eligible players for the Mets.

►  Bucks add minority owners

The Milwaukee Bucks have announced five new members to the franchise’s ownership.

Wesley Edens and Marc Lasry purchased the club from Herb Kohl in April 2014 for approximately $550 million and on Wednesday revealed a quintet of new owners with minority shares in the team.

Included in that group are Marc and Adam Stern, who already own a minority stake in baseball’s Milwaukee Brewers. Also joining the group will be local business leaders Agustin and Austin Ramirez, as well as Jeffrey Joerres.

“We couldn’t think of a better way to begin the year than by adding such remarkable local leaders to our effort to help transform the community,“ said Edens in a statement Wednesday. “We’re incredibly proud of the diverse, talented and distinguished team that has come together and look forward to working closely with everyone to build something very special in Milwaukee.“

All of the new owners’ bids have been approved by the NBA.

►  Braves sign Pierzynski, Outman to 1-year deals

The Atlanta Braves signed veteran catcher A.J. Pierzynski and pitcher Josh Outman to one-year contracts on Wednesday.

Pierzynski, 38, split 2014 with the Boston Red Sox and St. Louis Cardinals, finishing the season with a .251 batting average, five homers and 37 RBI in a combined 102 games.

The two-time All-Star is a career .281 hitter with 368 doubles, 177 homers and 837 RBI over 1,865 games. He has also played for the Minnesota Twins, San Francisco Giants, Chicago White Sox and Texas Rangers.

Outman was 4-0 with a 3.28 ERA in 31 relief appearances last season for the Cleveland Indians, who traded him to the New York Yankees in late August. He didn’t allow a run in nine games for the Yankees.

The 30-year-old lefty has a career record of 16-11 with a 4.43 ERA in 161 games (32 starts) for the Oakland Athletics, Colorado Rockies, Indians and Yankees.

►  Padres ink P Johnson to 1-year deal

The San Diego Padres signed pitcher Josh Johnson to a one-year contract on Wednesday.

Johnson, 30, will reportedly make $1 million guaranteed with $6-7 million in incentives.

The right-hander signed a one-year deal with the Padres on November 20, 2013, but he missed the entire 2014 season after undergoing Tommy John surgery in April.

The two-time All-Star has a career record of 58-45 with a 3.40 ERA in 170 games, all but 10 as a starter, for Miami and Toronto.

To make room on the 40-man roster, the Padres designated infielder/outfielder Jake Goebbert for assignment.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  NHL Game Results

(Wednesday, January 07)

Final Score: Washington 6, Toronto 2

Eric Fehr and Marcus Johansson each registered a pair of goals, as Washington spoiled the head coaching debut of Peter Horachek by picking up a 6-2 victory in Toronto on Wednesday. Alex Ovechkin and Brooks Laich also lit the lamp for the Capitals, who have won three in a row and recorded points in each of their last five (4-0-1). John Carlson and Troy Brouwer each chipped in a pair of assists to back a 31-save effort by Braden Holtby. Daniel Winnik and Trevor Smith supplied offense for the Maple Leafs, who fired Randy Carlyle on Tuesday and have lost eight of 10 overall. Jonathan Bernier allowed five goals on 25 shots in the setback.

Final Score: Boston 3, Pittsburgh 2 (OT)

Patrice Bergeron scored two goals, including the game-winner with 2:17 remaining in overtime, as the visiting Boston Bruins edged the Pittsburgh Penguins 3-2 on Wednesday night. Bergeron got behind Pittsburgh defenseman Simon Despres and redirected Milan Lucic’s shot from the point. After a lengthy review to determine if the puck was hit by a high stick, Bergeron was ruled to have deflected the puck in legally. Tuukka Rask made 37 saves for the Bruins, who snapped a three-game losing streak. Each defeat during the skid came after regulation. Evgeni Malkin had a goal and one assist and Marc-Andre Fleury made 21 saves for Pittsburgh, which has dropped six of eight.

Final Score: Detroit 3, Calgary 2

Henrik Zetterberg and Justin Abdelkader each posted a goal and an assist to lead the Detroit Red Wings in a 3-2 win over the Calgary Flames on Wednesday. Riley Sheahan had the other goal and Petr Mrazek stopped 28 shots for the Red Wings, who have won three of their last four. Mikael Backlund had a goal and an assist and Mason Raymond notched the other marker for the Flames, who have lost their last two. Starting goaltender Karri Ramo left halfway through the second period after a collision with his own player when he came out to play the puck. He took a knee to the head and was escorted into the locker room after stopping 12-of-13 shots. Jonas Hiller allowed two goals on nine shots in relief.

Final Score: NY Rangers 4, Anaheim 1

Henrik Lundqvist made 24 saves and the New York Rangers scored three goals during the third period en route to a 4-1 victory over the Anaheim Ducks on Wednesday. Rick Nash, Mats Zuccarello and Dominic Moore each scored in the final stanza and Derick Brassard lit the lamp in a third straight game for the Rangers, who have won three straight games and 11 of their last 12. Francois Beauchemin scored on the power play and Ilya Bryzgalov stopped 26-of-29 shots fired his way in his second start of the season as the Ducks were unable to build upon their 4-3 shootout win in Nashville on Sunday.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  California Chrome and Bayern finalists for 2014 Horse of the Year

California Chrome, Bayern and Main Sequence have been named finalists for 2014 Horse of the Year.

The announcement came as the finalists for the 2014 Eclipse Awards were revealed Wednesday morning at Santa Anita Park by the National Thoroughbred Racing Association, National Turf Writers And Broadcasters and Daily Racing Form.

Winners in the 17 Equine and Human categories will be announced at the 44th annual Eclipse Awards on Saturday evening, January 17 at Gulfstream Park Racetrack and Casino in Hallandale Beach, Florida.

California Chrome, winner of the Kentucky Derby and Preakness Stakes, as well as Breeders’ Cup Classic champ Bayern are also finalists for champion 3-year- old colt and gelding. Joining them as a finalist is 2013 Eclipse Award winner Shared Belief, who won the Pacific Classic and Awesome Again Stakes.

Main Sequence won the Breeders’ Cup Turf to go undefeated in four starts last year. He is also a finalist in the Older Male and Male Turf categories.

Wise Dan, the 2012-13 Horse of the Year, has the opportunity to win his third straight Eclipse Award as champion Older Male and Male Turf Horse.

The 2014 Eclipse Awards Finalists:

Horse of the Year: Bayern, California Chrome, Main Sequence

2-Year-Old Male: American Pharoah, Hootenanny, Texas Red

2-Year-Old Filly: Condo Commando, Lady Eli, Take Charge Brandi

3-Year-Old Male: Bayern, California Chrome, Shared Belief

3-Year-Old Filly: Stopchargingmaria, Sweet Reason, Untapable

Older Male: Main Sequence, Palace Malice, Wise Dan

Older Female: Close Hatches, Dayatthespa, Don’t Tell Sophia

Male Sprinter: Goldencents, Private Zone, Work All Week

Female Sprinter: Artemis Agrotera, Judy the Beauty, Sweet Reason

Male Turf Horse: Karakontie (JPN), Main Sequence, Wise Dan

Female Turf Horse: Crown Queen, Dayatthespa, Stephanie’s Kitten

Steeplechase Horse: Demonstrative, Divine Fortune, Makari (GB)

Owner: Kaleem Shah, Midwest Thoroughbreds, Ken and Sarah Ramsey

Breeder: Adena Springs, Ken and Sarah Ramsey, Winchell Thoroughbreds

Trainer: Bob Baffert, Chad Brown, Todd Pletcher

Jockey: Javier Castellano, Joel Rosario, John Velazquez

Apprentice Jockey: Angel Cruz, Taylor Rice, Drayden Van Dyke

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Muhammad Ali released from hospital after suffering severe urinary tract infection

Boxing legend Muhammad Ali has been released from an undisclosed hospital after undergoing treatment for a severe urinary tract infection, the Associated Press is reporting.

Ali, who turns 73 on January 17, was initially thought to have pneumonia when he was first hospitalized in December. But doctors later determined that he had the urinary tract infection and not pneumonia, family spokesman Bob Gunnell told the AP.

Ali’s brother, Rahman, said in October that Ali’s health had declined and that he had been too ill to speak. But Ali disputed that in mid-October with a tweet in which he wrote: “Don’t believe the hype. Feeling great…”

The three-time world heavyweight champion has been battling Parkinson’s disease for 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 Basketball Association
Charlotte at Toronto, 7:30 PM - SportSouth, SNET, DSS
Houston at New York, 8:00 PM - TNT
Miami at Portland, 10:30 PM - TNT
National Hockey League
Washington at Philadelphia, 7:00 PM - CSN-DC, Philadelphia, DSS
New Jersey at Boston, 7:00 PM - MSG+, NESN, DSS
Buffalo at Carolina, 7:00 PM - MSG-Buffalo, FS-Carolina, DSS
Chicago at Minnesota, 8:00 PM - CSN-Chicago, FS-North, NHL Network, DSS
San Jose at St. Louis, 8:00 PM - CSN-California, FS-Midwest, DSS
Dallas at Nashville, 8:00 PM - FS-Southwest, Tennessee, DSS
Ottawa at Colorado, 9:00 PM - TSN5, RDS, Altitude, DSS
Winnipeg at Arizona, 9:00 PM - TSN3, FS-Arizona, DSS
Florida at Vancouver, 10:00 PM - FS-Florida, SNET-Pacific, DSS
NY Rangers at Los Angeles, 10:30 PM - MSG, FS-West, NHL Network, DSS
College Basketball
Western Carolina at Chattanooga, 7:00 PM - SoCon Digital Network
Radford at Gardner-Webb, 7:00 PM - ESPN U
LSU at Missouri, 7:00 PM - ESPN 2
Michigan State at Iowa, 7:00 PM - ESPN
George Mason at Richmond, 7:00 PM - NBCSN
Niagara at Siena, 7:00 PM - Time Warner Sports
Dayton at St. Bonaventure, 7:00 PM - CBSSN
Liberty at UNC Asheville, 7:00 PM - Big South Network
Wright State at Youngstown State, 7:00 PM -
Oakland at Cleveland State, 7:30 PM -
Hofstra at College of Charleston, 7:30 PM - MyTV
William & Mary at Elon, 8:00 PM - American Sports Network
North Dakota State at Nebraska Omaha, 8:00 PM -
Sacramento State at North Dakota, 8:00 PM - FS-North, FCS-Pacific
Southern Miss at TX-San Antonio, 8:00 PM - American Sports Network, MASN
Ill-Chicago at Valparaiso, 8:05 PM -
San Francisco at Gonzaga, 9:00 PM - ROOT-Northwest
Rutgers at Nebraska, 9:00 PM - ESPN U
Arizona State at Oregon State, 9:00 PM - FS1
Memphis at SMU, 9:00 PM - ESPN 2
Stanford at UCLA, 9:00 PM - ESPN
Arizona at Oregon, 10:30 PM - Pac-12 Network
Long Beach State at UC Irvine, 10:30 PM - FS-Prime Ticket, San Diego
Pepperdine at BYU, 11:00 PM - ESPN U
Loyola Marymount at San Diego, 11:00 PM - Time Warner Sports
Women’s College Basketball
Purdue at Maryland, 6:30 PM - Big Ten Network
South Carolina at Alabama, 7:00 PM - SEC Network+
Auburn at Kentucky, 7:00 PM - SEC Network+
Ole Miss at Florida, 7:00 PM - SportSouth, SunSports, FS-Detroit, San Diego
Ohio State at Indiana, 7:00 PM - Big Ten Network+
Missouri at Georgia, 7:00 PM - SEC Network+
Texas A&M at Tennessee, 7:00 PM - SEC Network
Iowa at Illinois, 8:00 PM - Big Ten Network+
Nebraska at Michigan State, 8:30 PM - Big Ten Network
Arkansas at Miss State, 9:00 PM - SportSouth, SunSports, FS-Detroit
Vanderbilt at LSU, 9:00 PM - SEC Network
International Soccer
FC Barcelona vs. Eiche CF, 3:55 PM - beIN Sport
EUROPEAN - South African Open, 3:30 AM - Golf Channel
EUROPEAN - South African Open, 7:30 AM - Golf Channel
Brisbane, 4:00 AM - Tennis Channel
Qatar Open, 7:30 AM - beIN Sport
Qatar Open, 11:00 AM - beIN Sport

Lady Pioneers Fall at Home to UC 73-57

The Gilmer Free Press

Keyanna Tate scored a game high 21 points and grabbed seven rebounds but it wouldn’t be enough as the Lady Pioneers dropped their second straight game as they fell at home to the University of Charleston Golden Eagles, 73-57.

The Golden Eagles would take a 15 point lead into halftime over the Lady Pioneers, 37-22.

In the second half of action Charleston would build on their lead and extend it to 21 points, 45-24, with under 15:00 minutes left in the game. However the Lady Pioneers would not given in and they would battle back and cut the Golden Eagles lead to just six points, 58-52, with just 3:12 left.

But that’s as close as Glenville State would get as they would fall at home to Charleston by 16 points, 73-57. The loss would be the Lady Pioneers second straight.

The Lady Pioneers never lead in the game as they shot a miserable 29% from the floor while Charleston shot 38 percent. Charleston also won the rebounding battle as they out rebounded Glenville State, 51 to 43.

Tate led all scores with 21 points and seven rebounds. She also finished with a game high three steals.

Katrina Salins was the only other Lady Pioneer to score in double figures as she chipped in with 12 points.

Charleston was led by Monet Saunders who had a great night as she scored 20 points and pulled down 18 rebounds as she finished with a double-double. Also for the Golden Eagles Nichole Perry scored 13 points and DeJanique Reddix chipped in with 12 points.

The Lady Pioneers (3-6, 2-4) return to the court this Thursday, January 08, 2015 at home when they host Urbana University, tip-off is set for 5:30 PM.

Official Basketball Box Score
University of Charle vs. Glenville State
01.05.2015   5:30 PM  at Waco Center
VISITORS: University of Charle 9-3 (4-2)

                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
05 Kiara Johnson….... *  2-5    0-0    2-2    4  3  7   3   6  0  1  1  0  21
11 Nichole Perry….... *  3-9    3-8    4-4    2  3  5   1  13  1  3  0  0  36
15 DeJanique Reddix…. *  3-9    0-1    6-8    1  4  5   2  12  1  9  0  2  32
22 LeAnne Ross…...... *  3-12   2-10   1-2    0  5  5   3   9  1  0  1  0  37
35 Monet Saunders…... *  7-10   1-1    5-10   6 12 18   3  20  2  3  0  1  35
21 Char-Dell Dunnigan..    1-1    0-0    1-2    1  0  1   2   3  1  0  0  0   4
23 Ashley Milligan…..    0-1    0-0    0-0    1  0  1   1   0  0  0  0  0   9
30 Deja Gibson…......    2-6    1-3    5-6    1  0  1   1  10  3  2  0  0  20
33 Padyn Ludewig…....    0-2    0-2    0-0    1  0  1   0   0  0  0  0  0   6
   TEAM….............                         2  5  7
   Totals…...........   21-55   7-25  24-34  19 32 51  16  73  9 18  2  3 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 13-32 40.6%   2nd Half:  8-23 34.8%   Game: 38.2%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  3-10 30.0%   2nd Half:  4-15 26.7%   Game: 28.0%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  8-13 61.5%   2nd Half: 16-21 76.2%   Game: 70.6%    3

HOME TEAM: Glenville State 3-6 (2-4)

                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
04 Keyanna Tate…..... *  7-16   0-0    7-11   3  4  7   4  21  1  1  1  3  26
12 Kayla Tibbs…...... *  2-8    1-5    1-1    0  3  3   2   6  0  2  0  2  21
20 Briauna Nix…...... *  2-3    0-0    0-0    2  1  3   4   4  0  0  0  0  24
32 Brittany Jackson…. *  2-8    0-3    2-2    2  0  2   3   6  0  2  0  0  15
34 La’Shaughn Jones…. *  0-2    0-0    0-0    4  1  5   3   0  0  0  1  0   7
01 Katrina Salins…...    4-11   1-8    3-3    2  2  4   4  12  0  2  0  1  20
02 Paige Tuttle….....    3-5    1-2    1-2    0  0  0   1   8  2  1  0  2  20
03 Tayana Stewart…...    0-5    0-2    0-0    3  0  3   2   0  1  0  0  1  14
10 Skyy Lewis….......    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   0   0  0  0  0  0   1
13 Chanice Lee…......    0-0    0-0    0-0    1  2  3   0   0  1  0  0  0   9
21 Kristin DesRocher…    0-2    0-2    0-0    0  0  0   0   0  0  0  0  0   7
24 Madison Martin…...    0-4    0-3    0-0    0  1  1   3   0  0  0  0  0  16
25 Briana Smythe…....    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   2   0  0  0  0  0  10
35 Julie Bishop….....    0-5    0-4    0-0    1  1  2   0   0  1  1  0  0  10
   TEAM….............                         3  7 10
   Totals…...........   20-69   3-29  14-19  21 22 43  28  57  6  9  2  9 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half:  7-36 19.4%   2nd Half: 13-33 39.4%   Game: 29.0%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  2-17 11.8%   2nd Half:  1-12  8.3%   Game: 10.3%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  6-7  85.7%   2nd Half:  8-12 66.7%   Game: 73.7%    1

Technical fouls: University of Charle-None. Glenville State-None.

Attendance: 513

Score by Periods                1st  2nd   Total
University of Charle….......   37   36  -   73
Glenville State…............   22   35  -   57

Pioneers Men’s Basketball Team Downs UC 67-60‏

The Gilmer Free Press

The Glenville State men’s basketball team won their sixth straight game as they defeated the University of Charleston Golden Eagles at home on Monday night, 67-60. It was also the Pioneers fifth win at home since losing to Slippery Rock back on November 15, 2014.

The Pioneers would build an early five point lead, 11-6, over Charleston but the Golden Eagles would come right back and take their first lead, 14-13, with under 10 minutes to play till halftime.

But Glenville State would continue their good play and take a four point halftime lead, 36-32.

In the second half of action the Pioneers and Golden Eagles would battle back and fourth giving each team there best shot however Glenville State would build an eight point lead with 9:59 to play, 54-46, as Sedric Nady drilled a deep three-pointer.

From there on out it would be all Pioneers as Glenville State would go on to win by seven points, 67-60.

The Pioneers shot an outstanding 47% from the floor and 40% from behind the arc while the Golden Eagles shot 38% from the floor and only 18% from behind the three-point line.

Glenville State also won the rebounding battle as they out rebounded Charleston 40 to 34.

Sedric Nady scored a game high 20 points for the Pioneers as he shot 7 of 13 from the floor and 4 of 8 from behind the arc. Reggie Williams chipped in with 14 points while Donte Morales scored nine points in the victory.

Juwan Wells came off the bench for Glenville State as he led the Pioneers in rebounding with eight he also dished out a team high three assists and added six points.

Charleston was led by Chris Evans as he scored 14 points while Jevonte Hughes finished with a double-double as he scored 11 points and 10 rebounds.

The Pioneers (10-2, 6-0) hit the court again this Thursday, January 08, 2015 when Urbana University travels to Glenville. Game time is set for 7:30 PM.

Official Basketball Box Score
Charleston vs. Glenville State
01.05.2015   7:30 PM   at Waco Center
VISITORS: Charleston 8-4 (3-3)

                          TOT-FG  3-PT         REBOUNDS
## Player Name            FG-FGA FG-FGA FT-FTA OF DE TOT PF  TP  A TO BLK S MIN
01 DOZIER, Cameron….. *  2-11   0-6    3-3    0  1  1   1   7  2  1  0  4  31
03 DITRAPANO, Tino….. *  3-8    2-6    0-0    1  2  3   3   8  3  2  0  2  32
05 HUGHES, Jevonte….. *  5-10   0-0    1-4    2  8 10   1  11  0  0  0  2  32
11 EVANS, Chris…..... *  4-10   1-2    5-8    0  1  1   3  14  2  0  0  2  38
24 KESIC, Aleksander… *  4-10   1-4    0-0    3  4  7   3   9  0  1  0  1  32
04 LEATHERWOOD, Deandre    0-0    0-0    0-0    1  0  1   1   0  0  1  0  0   7
13 DILLARD, Vincent….    2-6    0-3    1-4    2  2  4   3   5  1  2  0  0  16
22 GREEN, Octavius…..    3-5    0-1    0-0    2  2  4   0   6  0  0  0  0  10
32 COOLEY, Charles…..    0-0    0-0    0-0    0  0  0   1   0  0  0  0  0   2
   TEAM….............                         2  1  3
   Totals…...........   23-60   4-22  10-19  13 21 34  16  60  8  7  0 11 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 13-32 40.6%   2nd Half: 10-28 35.7%   Game: 38.3%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  1-9  11.1%   2nd Half:  3-13 23.1%   Game: 18.2%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  5-5  100 %   2nd Half:  5-14 35.7%   Game: 52.6%    4

HOME TEAM: Glenville State 10-2(6-0)

                          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…...... *  7-13   4-8    2-4    0  6  6   2  20  2  3  0  0  38
03 Donte Morales….... *  3-11   2-8    1-2    0  6  6   4   9  2  4  2  1  28
11 Reggie Williams….. *  6-10   2-4    0-0    2  1  3   1  14  2  2  1  1  37
12 Luke Campbell….... *  1-2    1-2    0-0    1  1  2   4   3  0  0  0  0  14
23 Brett Morris…..... *  3-5    1-2    1-2    1  5  6   2   8  1  2  3  0  31
00 Brien Winston…....    3-6    0-0    1-1    4  1  5   1   7  0  0  1  0  25
32 Juwan Wells…......    2-6    0-1    2-4    1  7  8   1   6  3  2  0  1  27
   TEAM….............                         2  2  4
   Totals…...........   25-53  10-25   7-13  11 29 40  15  67 10 13  7  3 200

TOTAL FG% 1st Half: 13-23 56.5%   2nd Half: 12-30 40.0%   Game: 47.2%  DEADB
3-Pt. FG% 1st Half:  7-14 50.0%   2nd Half:  3-11 27.3%   Game: 40.0%   REBS
F Throw % 1st Half:  3-3  100 %   2nd Half:  4-10 40.0%   Game: 53.8%    2
Technical fouls: Charleston-None. Glenville State-None.

Attendance: 538

Score by Periods                1st  2nd   Total
Charleston….................   32   28  -   60
Glenville State…............   36   31  -   67

2014-15 College Football Bowl and Playoff Results - 01.04.15

The Gilmer Free Press

2014-15 College Football Bowl and Playoff Results

Bowl Winner Score Winner’s Conference
College Football Playoff National Championship Presented By AT&T
No. 2 Oregon vs. No. 4 Ohio State

The Gilmer Free Press      
R+L Carriers New Orleans Bowl
Nevada vs. Louisiana-Lafayette

The Gilmer Free Press Louisiana-Lafayette 3-16 SUN BELT
Gildan New Mexico Bowl
Utah State vs. UTEP

The Gilmer Free Press Utah State 21-6 MWC - MOUNTAIN
Royal Purple Las Vegas Bowl
Utah vs. Colorado State

The Gilmer Free Press Utah 45-10 PAC 12 - SOUTH
Famous Idaho Potato Bowl
Western Michigan vs. Air Force

The Gilmer Free Press Air Force 24-38 MWC - MOUNTAIN
Raycom Media Camellia Bowl
South Alabama vs. Bowling Green

The Gilmer Free Press Bowling Green 28-33 MAC - EAST
Miami Beach Bowl
BYU vs. Memphis

The Gilmer Free Press Memphis 48-55 AMERICAN
Boca Raton Bowl
Marshall vs. Northern Illinois

The Gilmer Free Press Marshall 52-23 C-USA - EAST
San Diego County Credit Union Poinsettia Bowl
Navy vs. San Diego State

The Gilmer Free Press Navy 17-16 FBS INDEPENDENT
Popeyes Bahamas Bowl
Central Michigan vs. Western Kentucky

The Gilmer Free Press Western Kentucky 48-49 C-USA - EAST
Hawaii Bowl
Fresno State vs. Rice

The Gilmer Free Press Rice 6-30 C-USA - WEST
Zaxby’s Heart of Dallas Bowl
Illinois vs. Louisiana Tech

The Gilmer Free Press Louisiana Tech 18-35 C-USA - WEST
Quick Lane Bowl
Rutgers vs. North Carolina

The Gilmer Free Press Rutgers 40-21 BIG TEN - EAST
BITCOIN St. Petersburg Bowl
NC State vs. UCF

The Gilmer Free Press NC State 34-27 ACC - ATLANTIC
Military Bowl presented By Northrop Grumman
Cincinnati vs. Virginia Tech

The Gilmer Free Press Virginia Tech 17-33 ACC - COASTAL
Hyundai Sun Bowl
Arizona State vs. Duke

The Gilmer Free Press Arizona State 36-31 PAC 12 - SOUTH
Duck Commander Independence Bowl
Miami vs. South Carolina

The Gilmer Free Press South Carolina 21-24 BIG TEN - EAST
New Era Pinstripe Bowl
Boston College vs. Penn State

The Gilmer Free Press Penn State 30-31 BIG TEN -EAST
National University Holiday Bowl
Nebraska vs. USC

The Gilmer Free Press USC 42-45 PAC 12 - SOUTH
AutoZone Liberty Bowl
Texas A&M vs. West Virginia

SEC - WEST vs. BIG 12
The Gilmer Free Press Texas A&M 45-37 SEC - WEST
Russell Athletic Bowl
Oklahoma vs. Clemson

The Gilmer Free Press Clemson 6-40 ACC - ATLANTIC
AdvoCare V100 Texas Bowl
Arkansas vs. Texas

SEC - WEST vs. BIG 12
The Gilmer Free Press Arkansas 31-7 SEC - WEST
Franklin American Mortgage Music City Bowl
Notre Dame vs. LSU

The Gilmer Free Press Notre Dame 31-28 FBS INDEPENDENT
Belk Bowl
Georgia vs. Louisville

The Gilmer Free Press Georgia 37-14 SEC - EAST
Foster Farms Bowl
Maryland vs. Stanford

The Gilmer Free Press Stanford 21-45 PAC 12 - NORTH
Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl
Mississippi vs. TCU

SEC - WEST vs. BIG 12
The Gilmer Free Press TCU 3-42 BIG 12
VIZIO Fiesta Bowl
Boise State vs. Arizona

The Gilmer Free Press Boise State 38-30 MWC - MOUNTAIN
Capital One Orange Bowl
Mississippi State vs. Georgia Tech

The Gilmer Free Press Georgia Tech 34-49 ACC - COASTAL
Buffalo Wild Wings Citrus Bowl
Missouri vs. Minnesota

The Gilmer Free Press Missouri 33-17 SEC - EAST
Outback Bowl
Auburn vs. Wisconsin

The Gilmer Free Press Wisconsin 31-34 BIG TEN -WEST
Goodyear Cotton Bowl Classic
Michigan State vs. Baylor

The Gilmer Free Press Michigan State 42-41 BIG TEN - EAST
Rose Bowl Game Presented By Northwestern Mutual
College Football Playoff Semifinal

Oregon vs. Florida State

The Gilmer Free Press Oregon 59-20 PAC 12 - NORTH
Allstate Sugar Bowl
College Football Playoff Semifinal

Alabama vs. Ohio State

The Gilmer Free Press Ohio State 35-42 BIG TEN - EAST
Lockheed Martin Armed Forces Bowl
Houston vs. Pittsburgh

The Gilmer Free Press Houston 35-34 AMERICAN
TaxSlayer Bowl
Iowa vs. Tennessee

The Gilmer Free Press Tennessee 28-45 SEC - EAST
Valero Alamo Bowl
Kansas State vs. UCLA

BIG 12 vs. PAC 12 - SOUTH
The Gilmer Free Press UCLA 40-35 PAC 12 - SOUTH
TicketCity Cactus Bowl
Washington vs. Oklahoma State

PAC 12 - NORTH vs. BIG 12
The Gilmer Free Press Oklahoma State 22-30 BIG 12
Birmingham Bowl
East Carolina vs. Florida

The Gilmer Free Press Florida 20-28 SEC - EAST
GoDaddy Bowl
Toledo vs. Arkansas State

The Gilmer Free Press Toledo 63-44 MAC - WEST

Sports News   150107

The Gilmer Free Press

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Bruce Tall, Former Rich Rod assistant reportedly returning to WVU defense

Bruce Tall, the former West Virginia assistant who served as defensive coordinator at UNC Charlotte the past four seasons, reportedly has agreed to return to the Mountaineers. reported the hire, which likely means a current West Virginia assistant won’t be returning. Cornerbacks coach Brian Mitchell and special teams/safeties coach Joe DeForest are the only two with expiring contracts.

Tall has history with Mountaineers defensive coordinator Tony Gibson. He coached safeties at West Virginia from 2003-2007 and joined the Rich Rodriguez staff at Michigan for three seasons, where he coached defensive line. Tall is expected to work with the line at WVU, a unit that Tom Bradley and Damon Cogdell coached this season.

Tall’s addition could allow Bradley to refocus on the linebackers, the primary position where he made his name as a longtime coach at Penn State.

Before Bradley’s surprising hire last February, Tall was a candidate to rejoin the West Virginia staff. A year later, that move has come to fruition.

West Virginia continues to search for an offensive coordinator as well, following the departure of Shannon Dawson to Kentucky.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Heupel out: Stoops fires offensive coordinators

Oklahoma head football coach Bob Stoops fired co-offensive coordinators Josh Heupel and Jay Norvell on Tuesday.

Stoops also announced that defensive line coach Jerry Montgomery will take on additional responsibilities as co-defensive coordinator along with Mike Stoops.

Heupel has served as co-offensive coordinator for the Sooners since 2011, having served on Stoops’ staff since 2005.

He played for Stoops at Oklahoma and was the Heisman Trophy runner-up and Walter Camp Award winner in 2000. He recorded a 20-5 record and 7,456 passing yards and 53 TDs during his time under center for the Sooners.

The Oklahoma offense put up solid numbers this year, averaging 36.4 points and 464.7 yards, but the team faltered to an 8-5 mark and lost to Clemson 40-6 in the Russell Athletic Bowl. As a result, both Heupel and Norvell took the fall.

“They’re great people, they’re great family men,“ Stoops said of Heupel and Norvell. “I thank them though for what they have contributed and their dedication and hard work through all these years, and I’m sure they’ll continue to have successful coaching careers as they move forward.“

Stoops indicated that no decisions have been made relative to filling the open positions on his staff.

“I just want to also say I’m more determined than ever to get Oklahoma back in the position to competing for national championships like we have so many other times,“ Stoops added.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Potentially fatal flaws for Patriots, Broncos, Seahawks, Cowboys and remaining teams

No team is perfect, even with the NFL now down to its final eight postseason participants.

Everyone has a flaw, something that potentially could be exploited to force that team from the playoffs.

Here is the issue most likely to factor in the possible downfall of the remaining teams, ranked in order of how potentially damaging each shortcoming is:

1. Panthers: Run Defense

Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly led the NFL in tackles during the regular season but the Carolina defense struggled at times against the run. The Panthers ranked 16th in the league during the regular season in rushing defense, based on yards allowed per game (and 27th in rushing yards per play). That didn’t matter in last weekend’s opening-round playoff win over Arizona, in which the Cardinals managed only 27 rushing yards on 15 attempts. But it could matter quite a bit this weekend at Seattle. The Seahawks have Marshawn Lynch and led the league in rushing offense during the regular season.

2. Colts: Hits on Luck

It’s not so much the sacks. Colts quarterback Andrew Luck was sacked 27 times during the regular season, his fewest number of sacks in a season in his three-year NFL career. It’s that Luck absorbs a sometimes-alarming number of hits on plays on which he’s not sacked. Some have attributed that to Luck’s savvy, poise and toughness, saying he has great pocket awareness and is willing to hold the ball until the last possible moment to give his receivers time to get open. But he’s a tremendous young quarterback and no one should want to see him take too many hits too early in his career. The Colts play at Denver this weekend and the Broncos have productive pass rushers in Von Miller and DeMarcus Ware, who combined for 24 sacks during the regular season.

3. Ravens: Which Flacco Shows Up?

At one point during the Ravens’ loss at Houston in the second-to-last game of the regular season, Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco was four for 22 with three interceptions. He also struggled for three quarters in the regular season finale against the Browns before having a perfect passer rating in the fourth quarter as the Ravens just squeezed into the playoffs. Then the postseason began, and Flacco was back to being Mr. January. He threw a pair of touchdown passes during the Ravens’ opening-round triumph at Pittsburgh and now has 13 touchdown passes and no interceptions in his last five postseason games, including a Super Bowl in which he was named the most valuable player. The Ravens need his run of postseason excellence to continue Saturday at New England, rather than having him revert to his form of late in the regular season.

4. Broncos: Manning’s Postseason Past

Peyton Manning is the greatest regular season quarterback in NFL history. He is a five-time league MVP. He holds the single-season records for passing yards and touchdown passes. He became the NFL’s career leader in touchdown passes this season. But when he last was seen playing a postseason game, he and the Broncos were being overrun by the Seahawks in last season’s Super Bowl. That dropped Manning’s career postseason record to 11-12. His teams have been one-and-done in the playoffs eight times. A second career Super Bowl triumph would greatly bolster the case that Manning is the greatest quarterback ever, with no qualifier attached.

5. Packers: Rodgers’s Calf

Quarterback Aaron Rodgers had an extra week to rest his injured calf muscle, thanks to the Packers’ first-round playoff bye. But the fact that the injury has lingered as long as it has, forcing Rodgers to exit the regular season finale against the Lions temporarily before returning to the game, should be worrisome for the team and its fans. The Packers simply are not a Super Bowl team without Rodgers in the lineup and playing at something relatively close to full strength.

6. Cowboys: Defense

A Dallas defense that widely was expected to be historically bad this season actually was nowhere close to that. Instead, it was a middle-of-the-road NFL defense, good enough for the Cowboys to win the NFC East title. The Cowboys ranked 19th in the league in total defense and 15th in the NFL in scoring defense during the regular season. Defensive coordinator Rod Marinelli did a superb coaching job. But an offense that featured NFL rushing leader DeMarco Murray certainly helped, as the Cowboys were among the league leaders in time of possession and usually kept their defense from being on the field for long stretches and exposed. That must continue if the Cowboys are going to extend their postseason run.

7. Patriots: Safeguarding Brady

The Ravens are a problematic matchup for the Patriots because they have pass rushers — in Elvis Dumervil, Terrell Suggs and Haloti Ngata — who can win individual matchups and bother Tom Brady. The New England quarterback had a terrific season with 33 touchdown passes and only nine interceptions. He was sacked a modest 21 times, down from the 40 sacks he endured last season. But the fact remains the best way to disrupt the usually smooth operation of the New England offense is to get pressure on Brady, make him uncomfortable in the pocket and force him to move around and reset his feet before delivering passes. The Ravens don’t seem at all bothered by the assignment of playing at New England, where they have a 2-1 postseason record under Coach John Harbaugh. If their pass rushers can find a way to keep Brady from being dominant, the Ravens have a chance.

8. Seahawks: Which Wide Receiver Will Make Plays?

The Seahawks are back to resembling the team that steamrolled the rest of the league last season en route to a Super Bowl title. Someone will have to go to Seattle and win during the NFC playoffs to prevent the Seahawks from making a return trip to the Super Bowl, and that won’t be easy. The Seahawks led the league in rushing offense and total defense during the regular season. The one potential downfall for the Seahawks is their lack of proven playmakers among their receivers, if an opponent can somehow get them out of their comfort zone and into a downfield passing duel. The Seahawks traded wideout Percy Harvin during the season and had no one with even 900 receiving yards during the regular season. They ranked 27th in the league in passing offense. That doesn’t mean they don’t have wide receivers capable of contributing a big play or two. It just means they usually aren’t forced to rely on that. So good luck to their opponents getting that to matter. It probably would mean building a significant lead, and that isn’t easily done against this defense.

►  Dolphins hire former Jets GM Tannenbaum

The Miami Dolphins have hired former New York Jets general manager Mike Tannenbaum to a position in the front office.

The Dolphins said Tuesday that Tannenbaum will be the executive vice president of football operations.

Tannenbaum and coach Joe Philbin will both report to Dolphins owner Stephen Ross, the team said.

General manager Dennis Hickey, who was hired last January, will report to Tannenbaum.

The Jets fired Tannenbaum in December 2012 after the team went 57-55 in his seven seasons on the job, which included back-to-back trips to the AFC title game. He had worked for the Jets since 1997.

The Dolphins were 8-8 for the second season in a row and haven’t made the playoffs since 2008, the last time they had a winning record.

►  Former Giants coach Allie Sherman dies at 91

Allie Sherman, who led the New York Giants to NFL championship games in his first three seasons as head coach, died Saturday in Manhattan. He was 91.

Sherman coached the Giants from 1961-68 and compiled a 57-51-4 regular-season record.

The Giants lost to Green Bay in the 1961 and 1962 championship games and to Chicago in the 1963 title game.

Sherman was the Giants’ backfield coach from 1949-53 and returned to the club as a scout in 1957 after coaching the Canadian Football League’s Winnipeg Blue Bombers for three years. He was named offensive coordinator two years later when Vince Lombardi left for the Packers.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Surprise: Tony Romo is a postseason performer

When most NFL fans and fantasy football owners discuss Dallas Cowboys’ quarterback Tony Romo, it seems rather natural to simply think about the failures that have occurred in the months of December and January throughout his 10-year career.

However, while there are numerous examples of poor play throughout the years during the tail-end of regular seasons, it is unfair to label Romo a “poor playoff performer.“

The image that comes to mind in regards to Romo’s postseason play, is his botched hold, on a field-goal attempt during Wild Card Weekend of the 2006 season, against the Seattle Seahawks. Romo fumbled the snap, on what would have been the go-ahead 19-yard field goal with 1:19 left in the game. The kick would have put Dallas ahead 23-21.

Although that mishap devastated Cowboys’ fans across the country, Romo still went 17-of-29 for 189 yards, one touchdown, zero interceptions, and an 89.6 passer-rating.

Not too shabby.

Romo has now played in five postseason games, and after defeating the Detroit Lions on Sunday, he recorded his second playoff victory and first since the 2009 season.

With fantasy football still going on until the conclusion of the Super Bowl, owners need to know that Romo is a solid option, when it comes to daily fantasy.

Through his five postseason performances, Romo has averaged 225 passing yards per game, and thrown a total of six touchdowns against one interception, along with compiling an 87.9 passer-rating.

To get a better idea of how good those numbers really are; New England Patriots’ signal-caller Tom Brady has averaged 283 passing yards over his previous five playoff games, and has tossed a total of seven scores versus three interceptions with an 88.1 passer-rating during that span.

Very comparable.

On top of his solid postseason numbers, Romo has seemingly found a way to win during December and January of this current season, to respond to critics and potentially conquer any personal demons.

Since the calendar flipped to the month of December, Dallas has a 5-0 record, with Romo being the main reason why.

Throughout the past five games he has averaged 256 passing yards, and has thrown a total of 14 touchdowns and just one interception, to go along with a stunning 127.8 passer-rating.

He is as hot as they come at this moment in time, and owners who are still competing in any type of fantasy playoff league, need to consider playing Romo this weekend against the Green Bay Packers.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Area High Schools Boys Basketball Game Results

(Tuesday, January 06)

Gilmer County 68     Braxton County 51

Webster County 53     Calhoun County 44

Hurricane 68     Parkersburg 41

Nicholas County 54     Richwood 48

Postponements and Cancellations:

Bridgeport vs. Preston, to February 14.

Buckhannon-Upshur vs. Grafton

Liberty Harrison vs. Philip Barbour

Lincoln vs. Lewis County

South Harrison vs. Doddridge County, to January 10.

Tyler Consolidated vs. Ravenswood

University vs. Parkersburg South, to January 07.

Wood County Christian vs. Grace Christian

►  Area High Schools Girls Basketball Game Results

(Tuesday, January 06)

Clay County 58     Herbert Hoover 46

Postponements and Cancellations:

Parkersburg South vs. Morgantown, to February 03.

Ravenswood vs. Williamstown

Wood County Christian vs. Grace Christian

The Gilmer Free Press

►  MEC Men’s Basketball Player of The Week

The Gilmer Free Press

Glenville State’s Sedric Nady has been named Mountain East Conference Player of the Week after helping the Pioneers remain unbeaten in league play.

Nady, a junior from Virginia Beach, VA, averaged 14.5 points, 7.5 rebounds and 2.5 assists as GSC picked up wins over West Virginia State and Charleston.

After scoring nine and pulling down nine rebounds in a road win at WVSU, he scored a game-high 20 points to go with six rebounds as the Pioneers downed rival Charleston, 67-60.

Other Top Performances

C.J. Hester (WLU) averaged 25 points and 9.5 rebounds in a 2-0 week for the top-ranked Hilltoppers ...

Thomas Wimbush (FSU) averaged 17 points and six boards in a pair of victories ...

Skyler Roman (SU) scored a career-high 27 points in a win over Notre Dame and averaged 18.5 points for the week ...

Terry Hopewell (CU) averaged a double-double (21 points and 11.5 rebounds) in a 1-1 week ...

Tanner McGrew (WVWC) averaged 22 points and 11.5 rebounds as the Bobcats went 1-1.

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 08 C.J. Hester (WLU)
December 15 Devin Hoehn (WLU)
December 22 Morgan McDonald (SU)
January 06 Sedric Nady (GSC)

►  MEC Women’s Basketball Player of The Week

Fairmont State’s Emily Lohr has been named Mountain East Conference Player of the Week after leading the Falcons to a pair of league wins last week.

Lohr, a senior from Stoystown, PA, averaged 19.5 points in wins over Notre Dame College and Urbana. 

Emily Lohr averaged 19.5 points and 7.5 rebounds as Fairmont State opened up January with a 2-0 start in MEC play. Lohr, who currently leads NCAA Division II in three-point field goal percentage, went 6-of-9 from three and tallied a team-high 20 points and seven rebounds as FSU rallied to a 66-56 win over the Blue Knights.

She then wrapped up the week hitting 5-of-6 from three and finishing with 19 points, eight rebounds, four assists and three steals against the Falcons of NDC

Other Top Performances

Shealyn Shafer (WVSU) averaged 16 points and 7.7 rebounds in a 2-1 week ...

Rachel Johnson (SU) averaged 18.0 points as the Rams remained perfect in MEC play ...

Kailee Howe (WLU) averaged 10 points, 9.8 assists and 4.7 rebounds as the Hilltoppers went 2-1 ...

She also dished out a MEC-best 16 assists against Concord ...

Monet Saunders (UC) helped the Golden Eagles to a 2-0 week by way of her 20-point, 18-rebound effort against Glenville State ...

Jacqueline Kestner (CU) averaged 16 points and nine rebounds in a pair of contests ...

Mari Stewart (WVWC) contributed 15.5 points and 6.5 rebounds in two games for the Bobcats.

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)

<The Gilmer Free Press

►  Top-25 College Men’s Basketball Game

(Tuesday, January 06)

Final Score: (1) Kentucky 89, Ole Miss 86 (OT)

Aaron Harrison scored a season-high 26 points and No. 1 Kentucky needed overtime to take down Ole Miss, 89-86, in the SEC opener. Kentucky asserted itself as the most dangerous team in the nation during non- conference play, beating perennial powers Kansas, Texas, North Carolina and UCLA by a combined 97 points before edging in-state rival Louisville, 58-50, on Dec. 27. But the Wildcats (14-0, 1-0 SEC) had a nine-day layoff since that win over the Cardinals and the rust showed as Ole Miss, which lost at home to Charleston Southern earlier this season, took the top- ranked Wildcats to the wire. Harrison made five 3-pointers and 9-of-10 from the foul line while his brother Andrew posted 12 points and five assists. Willie Cauley-Stein provided his usual stellar defense, racking up four blocks and three steals on top of a game-high 12 rebounds. Stefan Moody paced Ole Miss (9-5, 0-1) with 25 points, but missed most of overtime with a leg cramp. Jarvis Summers scored 23 points and Ladarius White added 15.

Final Score: (8) Villanova 90, (24) St. John’s 72

Darrun Hilliard scored 21 points and No. 8 Villanova downed No. 24 St. John’s, 90-72, at a lively Madison Square Garden on Tuesday night. The Big East Top-25 clash had a March feel with fans of both schools providing plenty of energy in the back-and-forth battle. The Wildcats (14-1, 2-1 Big East) silenced the Red Storm supporters down the stretch, however, and recovered nicely from their first loss of the season. Daniel Ochefu led a dominant frontcourt effort that owned a commanding 40-21 rebounding advantage. Ochefu finished with 13 points and 12 boards, while Dylan Ennis added 15 and nine for the victors. D’Angelo Harrison led St. John’s (11-4, 0-3) with 25 points, while Phil Greene IV netted 14 in the club’s third straight loss. The Red Storm went 11-1 in non-conference play before falling to Seton Hall, Butler and now Villanova over the past week.

Final Score: (17) Iowa State 63, Oklahoma State 61

Dustin Hogue finished with 17 points and eight rebounds and No. 17 Iowa State used two key blocks in the waning seconds to hold off Oklahoma State for a 63-61 win in its Big 12 opener. Hogue shot 7- for-9 from the floor, including 3-for-4 from 3-point range, Georges Niang and Matt Thomas each scored 10 points and Monte Morris contributed eight points and six assists for the Cyclones (11-2, 1-0 Big 12), who bounced back from a 64-60 loss to South Carolina on Saturday. Phil Forte paced the Cowboys (11-3, 1-1) with 21 points and Le’Bryan Nash supplied 19 points, six boards and six assists in the loss.

Final Score: (22) Ohio State 74, Minnesota 72 (OT)

Marc Loving’s floater in the final seconds of overtime gave No. 22 Ohio State a 74-72 win over Minnesota on Tuesday. D’Angelo Russell scored 25 of his game-high 27 points in the first half. Loving added 13 points for the Buckeyes (13-3, 2-1 Big Ten), who ended Minnesota’s 14-game home win streak. With time winding down in overtime, Loving came off a curl on the left side of the court, caught a feed from Sam Thompson and got a one-handed push shot to fall. Minnesota had a timeout left but opted not to use it, instead rushing the ball up the court. Thompson deflected a pass, knocking the ball towards midcourt, and the clock hit zero before Minnesota’s desperation heave. Maurice Walker tallied 18 points and nine rebounds and DeAndre Mathieu scored 17 for Minnesota (11-5, 0-3).

Final Score: (23) Arkansas 79, Georgia 75

Bobby Portis had a game-high 21 points as No. 23 Arkansas opened SEC play with a close 79-75 victory over Georgia on Tuesday. Michael Qualls finished with 17 points and seven rebounds and Alandise Harris supplied 15 points, three boards and three steals for the Razorbacks (12-2, 1-0 SEC), who won their sixth straight game. Nemanja Djurisic had 16 points and seven rebounds and Marcus Thornton and Juwan Parker each netted 11 as the Bulldogs’ (9-4, 0-1) six-game winning streak came to an end.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Nothin’ but Net: Analyzing the trade

Dion Waiters was introduced as a starter on Monday.

Problem was, he was getting traded. He did not start and reserve big men were seen hugging head coach David Blatt good-bye. It was a strange sight, but it foreshadowed a very intriguing trade on a few levels.

The main stars in our play are: Waiters, J.R. Smith, Iman Shumpert, Phil Jackson, the Cavs, New York Knicks, Oklahoma City Thunder, Kevin Durant and somehow, some way, LeBron James.


The Cavs acquired Smith and Shumpert from the Knicks and received a conditional first-round pick from the Oklahoma City Thunder. They gave up Waiters, Lou Amundson, Alex Kirk and a 2019 second-round pick.

Waiters was doomed from arrival in Cleveland. He never fit in, battled with Kyrie Irving and became a poster boy for those who hate high-volume and ineffective shooters.

This season did nothing to improve the situation. Waiters started at the beginning of the season, then was relegated to the bench, a situation he did not love. He was the “fourth banana” if such a phrase existed about how a pecking order related to fruit. Waiters was behind James, Irving and Kevin Love, another situation that probably didn’t bring a smile to Waiters’ face.

What Cleveland needed from that fourth guy was a shooter who could play defense, or, one or the other exceptionally well, preferably off the bench. Waiters fit none of that criteria. He almost literally offered no value to the Cavaliers. Moving him broke few hearts in the Cavs’ organization.

Shumpert is a nice fit in Cleveland. He’s a better career 3-point shooter than Waiters (34.3% to 32.8) and of course is better defensively. I say “of course” because everyone in your phone book is a better defender than Waiters. Shumpert had a big-time defender rep, which is not quite there anymore. He’s still solid though, just not on that upper tier with Klay Thompson, Andre Iguodala ... pretty much any Warriors wing.

Shumpert is also inexpensive. He’s playing on his rookie contract with no extension in place. He’s free as a bird after the season, so if it doesn’t work, no hard feelings.

Smith is the rub. He’s the cost of business. To get Shumpert, the Cavs had to take Smith, who is still a potential nightmare off the court and some times on. He’s a high-volume shooter with a propensity to do dumb things at dumb times. Smith is not a good defender, but he can still score.

The problem with Smith, aside from the bizarre behavior, and shot-happy nights, is his salary. He signed a three-year deal after his 2013 Sixth Man of the Year season, but the third year is a player option. His favor has fallen so precipitously in the league, he’ll almost assuredly pick up his own option. Smith won’t get anywhere near the almost $6.4 million his third year offers on the open market.

That’s a financial albatross that could keep Cleveland from making moves in the offseason. Although, for having three All-NBA performers, the Cavs are in decent shape with the coin. Brendan Haywood has a very strange, movable contract.

The odd thing about this trade from the Cavs’ perspective is, it’s almost like they got everything they wanted Waiters to be in these two former Knicks. They thought Waiters could defend and Shumpert can. They thought he could be a perimeter threat, Shumpert is a better one. They then thought he could be an explosive bench scorer, Smith can be.

Plus, a protected first-round pick (protected through 18 in 2015, then through 15 in 2016 and 17), is always nice. First-round picks are like uncashed lottery tickets in today’s NBA.

All in all, a solid trade, although Smith’s antics may need to be checked. And, the Cavs did improve their pathetic depth, but did nothing to improve their biggest weakness - an interior defender. They still have time.


The Knicks acquired Amundson, Kirk and a 2019 second-round pick from the Cavs, and forward Lance Thomas from the Thunder. They gave up Shumpert and Smith.

This is a 100% salary dump and addition by subtraction-type trade. They are waiving Amundson and Kirk, but do plan to keep Thomas.

In jettisoning themselves of Smith, the Knicks shed his option for next season, freeing up $6.4 million. The Knicks were going to pay luxury tax, but this trade means Mr. Dolan will pay substantially less of it.

Plus, they rid themselves of Smith, the person. He may not be a bad guy, but he’s a goofball who does things that hurt the team, be it untying an opponent’s sneakers or smoking weed. Smith has talent and he’s almost as important as Carmelo Anthony was to the Atlantic Division championship team of two seasons ago.

But, he’s not worth the aggravation. He’s just not and coupled with his salary hamstrings, Phil Jackson should get a lot of credit for getting Smith out of New York. I wasn’t sure it could be done.

And trading Smith, and releasing Samuel Dalembert as reports indicate, show Jackson’s most important moves to date—Jackson is shedding this organization of all problem people:

Tyson Chandler - Dallas Maverick (Although I never believed he was a problem.)

Raymond Felton - Dallas Maverick

Smith - Cleveland Cavalier

Dalembert - who cares?

In less than a year, Jackson rid his team of problems financially and personality-wise. He got nothing for Shumpert, which hurts because the Knicks probably could’ve had Kenneth Faried for him a year ago, but the Knicks didn’t care about Shumpert. If they did, they’d have offered him a contract extension.

This trade frees up time for Tim Hardaway, Jr. and Cleanthony Early, who I loved in the second round, but hasn’t found much time. Develop youth.

Also, let’s be honest about the Knicks. Season’s over. Melo is going to shut it down soon. (Predicted at the office it would have been Monday. Settled for a big trade.) The Knicks’ lottery status keeps improving. That’s fine for them at the moment.

Plus, expectations, however preposterously over-inflated they might have been in Knicks’ world, are shut down. That’ll help head coach Derek Fisher, who has appeared a little over his head. There’s almost no pressure on Fisher now, which is good considering his performance to date has elicited “Fire Fisher” chants from Woody Allen, Taylor Swift and everyone in the Garden.

Jackson will take about $30 million in cap space to the sweltering heat of a New York summer. He’ll be in the best position to try and lure Marc Gasol, Rajon Rondo, LaMarcus Aldridge, or Kevin Love. That’s assuming those last two don’t go through with the formality of re-signing.

That’s very impressive work by the Zen Master.


The Thunder acquired Waiters. They gave up a protected first-round pick to the Cavs, and Thomas to the Knicks.

This is the murkiest one for me to understand.

If the Thunder don’t make another move before the deadline, this makes little sense. In OKC’s backcourt, there is Russell Westbrook, Andre Roberson, Reggie Jackson, Anthony Morrow and Jeremy Lamb. Where does Waiters fit in there? Lamb barely plays as is. Roberson is a stud defender. Morrow is a great shooter.

How does Waiters crack the lineup, already being so far behind in learning the systems? I’m not sure he does ... unless ...

The Thunder trade Jackson.

Until about a half hour into various reports, it seemed like Jackson was going to New York. He’s a free agent at the end of the season, so the plan might be to trade him, or for Waiters to replace Jackson next season.

Waiters is viewed as a combo-type of guard in the vein of Jackson, although Waiters is nowhere near as good running an offense. Jackson could get them a decent haul, although not a fortune with his summer status.

The Waiters acquisition also flies in the face, to some degree, of how the Thunder operates. His deal puts them over the luxury tax line and Oklahoma City never pays the luxury tax. The Thunder’s small-market, girl next door type of feel is what’s held them back from being able to pay someone like James Harden in seasons past.

Now, they’re all of a sudden a financial powerhouse capable of absorbing a few million in the pursuit of a title? And, the one that puts them over the top is someone who may not be able to meaningfully crack the rotation until the ides of March?

That doesn’t make sense. That indicates GM Sam Presti will make a move prior to the deadline. The Thunder also trade someone they don’t feel like they can sign. Think Harden. Think Jeff Green.

So, if the intention is to use Waiters in the Jackson role, it’s dicey. I’ve never considered him a point guard. But, Waiters can score. He’d fill that role for sure.

Assuming Oklahoma City keeps the pick this year, if the Thunder are as good as assumed next season, they lose maybe the 26th pick in the draft. Is that worth it for someone three years removed from being the fourth pick in the draft? It’s certainly a good value move, even if Waiters was taken too high.

Maybe Waiters is misunderstood. Maybe no one could get through to him properly. Maybe he just hated Irving that much. The onus is now on Kevin Durant, Russell Westbrook and Scott Brooks.

“We’re gonna make him feel wanted. I don’t think he felt that the last couple years,“ Durant said after Monday’s loss to the Golden State Warriors. “He’s gonna fit in well. He’s gonna get comfortable real quick. It’s on the leaders - Russell, myself, Nick (Collison) - to make him feel at home and feel special and let him play his game.“

Maybe, the Thunder will have better luck. Even if it doesn’t work, the price tag wasn’t punitive enough to pass.

►  Bucks’ Parker has surgery to repair torn ACL

Milwaukee Bucks rookie forward Jabari Parker had surgery to repair the torn anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee, the team announced Monday night.

The No. 2 pick in the 2014 draft, Parker is expected to miss the remainder of the season. A timeline for a return to basketball activity will be established at a later date.

Parker suffered the injury in the third quarter of Milwaukee’s win at Phoenix on December 15. He averaged 12.3 points, 5.5 rebounds and 1.7 assists in 25 games.

►  NBA Game Results

(Tuesday, January 06)

Final Score: Phoenix 102, Milwaukee 96

Markieff Morris finished with 26 points and 10 rebounds and the Phoenix Suns opened a four-game road trip on a winning note with a 102-96 victory over the Milwaukee Bucks. Isaiah Thomas donated 19 points off the bench, Goran Dragic added 16 and the Suns won their third straight despite turning it over 20 times. Brandon Knight paced the Bucks with 26 points, and Giannis Antetokounmpo totaled 16 with 12 rebounds in Milwaukee’s fourth straight home loss.

Final Score: Detroit 105, San Antonio 104

Brandon Jennings raced down the court following a San Antonio turnover and made the game-winning shot with 0.1 seconds left, lifting the red-hot Detroit Pistons over the Spurs, 105-104, on Tuesday. The Spurs left the door open after going 4-of-8 from the foul line over the final 1:52. Jennings ended with 13 points and seven assists for the Pistons, who have won six in a row. Jeff Ayres finished with 16 points for the Spurs, who had a brief two-game winning streak snapped. San Antonio point guard Tony Parker played just 13 minutes in his return from a five-game absence due to a hamstring injury. He ended with three points.

►  Pacers’ Watson fined $5K for flopping

Indiana Pacers guard C.J. Watson was fined $5,000 by the NBA on Tuesday for violating the league’s anti-flopping rules for the second time this season.

Watson threw his arms out and went to the ground after Utah Jazz center Rudy Gobert put his hands on his back as the two positioned themselves for a rebound in the first quarter Monday night.

Indiana won the game 105-101.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Six NBA teams fit the profile of an NBA champion this season

There are four Western teams (Warriors, Trail Blazers, Clippers and Mavericks) and two in the East (Raptors and Hawks) who meet or should meet this threshold by their 35th game.

The Gilmer Free Press

The Gilmer Free Press

One could determine a team’s probability of winning a championship based on a team’s points per 100 possessions and the following formula:

    Probability of a Championship = ~1 / (1 + EXP(5.5573404 – (0.5306148 * Offense) + (0.6129486 * Defense)))

If the formula is applied to each NBA team, scaling the odds to add up to 100% we will have:


The Gilmer Free Press

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Johnson, Martinez, Smoltz, Biggio elected to Hall of Fame

Randy Johnson, Pedro Martinez, John Smoltz and Craig Biggio were voted into the National Baseball Hall of Fame on Tuesday.

This marks the first time in 60 years that as many as four players were elected and the first time in history that three pitchers were honored in the same election. The Baseball Writers’ Association of America last elected four candidates in 1955, when Joe DiMaggio, Gabby Hartnett, Ted Lyons and Dazzy Vance earned election.

Johnson led the group by being named on 97.3% of the 549 ballots cast, while Martinez was on 91.1% and Smoltz garnered 82.9% of the vote. The trio were appearing on the ballot for the first time. Biggio, who was appearing on the ballot for a third time and fell two votes shy a year ago, was on 82.7% of the ballots. Seventy-five% of the vote is needed for induction.

They will be inducted July 26 as part of the Hall’s Induction Weekend July 24-27 in Cooperstown, N.Y.

Johnson pitched 22 seasons for the Expos, Mariners, Astros, Diamondbacks, Yankees and Giants, posting three 20-win seasons (1997, 2001-02) and winning five Cy Young Awards.

The hard-throwing left-hander ended his career with a 303-166 mark and a 3.29 ERA, finishing in the top 10 of his league’s Most Valuable Player Award voting twice: 1995 (6th) and 2002 (7th) and was named to 10 All-Star Games, starting four times.

Known as a strikeout pitcher, Johnson led his league in strikeouts nine times (1992-95, 1999-2002, 2004) and is second on the all-time strikeout list with 4,875.

Martinez played 18 seasons for the Dodgers, Expos, Red Sox, Mets and Phillies, going 219-100 with a 2.93 ERA. He had two 20-win seasons (1999, 2002) and captured three Cy Young Awards (1997, 1999-2000).

An eight-time All-Star, the right-hander finished in the top 10 of his league’s Most Valuable Player Award voting twice: 1999 (2nd) and 2000 (5th). He won 1999 American League Pitching Triple Crown after leading the league in wins (23), earned run average (2.07) and strikeouts (313).

Smoltz made a name for himself as a starter and closer, pitching 21 seasons for the Braves, Red Sox and Cardinals. He had a career record of 213-155 with a 3.33 ERA with 154 saves. He won the 1996 National League Cy Young Award and was named to eight All-Star Games.

As a reliever, the right-hander topped the 40-save mark three times (2002-04), the only three full seasons he served as his team’s closer. His 3,084 strikeouts rank 16th all-time.

Smoltz appeared in 25 postseason series over 14 seasons with the Braves and Cardinals, posting a 15-4 record with four saves and a 2.67 ERA in 41 appearances (27 starts).

Biggio was a seven-time All-Star, collecting 3,060 hits during a 20-year career with the Houston Astros. Known for his ability to play multiple positions, he appeared in 428 games as a catcher, 363 as an outfielder and 1,989 at second base. He had 291 career homers, 1,175 RBI, 1,844 runs scored and a .281 batting average. He is the only player in baseball history with at least 3,000 hits, 600 doubles, 400 stolen bases and 250 home runs.

The player closest to election was Mike Piazza, who was on 69.9% of the ballots. That is an increase from the 62.2% of the ballots he appeared on a year ago. Jeff Bagwell (55.7 %) and Tim Raines (55 %) were the next two players to not receive the nod.

The others receiving votes who will remain on the ballot are: Curt Schilling (39.2%), Roger Clemens (37.5%), Barry Bonds (36.8%), Lee Smith (30.2%), Edgar Martinez (27.0%), Alan Trammell (25.1%), Mike Mussina (24.6%), Jeff Kent (14.0%), Fred McGriff (12.9%), Larry Walker (11.8%), Gary Sheffield (11.7%), Mark McGwire (10.0%), Sammy Sosa (6.6%) and Nomar Garciaparra (5.5%).

Don Mattingly was appearing on the ballot for the final time and received 50 votes.

Coming off the ballot next year because they didn’t receive five% of the vote are Carlos Delgado (3.8%), Troy Percival (0.7%), Aaron Boone (0.4%), Tom Gordon (0.4%), Darin Erstad (0.2%), Rich Aurilia, Tony Clark, Jermaine Dye, Cliff Floyd, Brian Giles, Eddie Guardado and Jason Schmidt (0.0%).

►  Gorzelanny, Tigers agree to 1-year deal

The Detroit Tigers and left-hander Tom Gorzelanny agreed to terms on a one-year contract Tuesday.

Gorzelanny, 32, had a 0.86 earned run average while making 23 appearances out of the Milwaukee bullpen last season. He missed two-plus months recovering from offseason shoulder surgery.

“We are pleased to add a veteran pitcher like Tom to our ball club,“ said Tigers president, chief executive officer and general manager David Dombrowski. “Tom is an established reliever who can help solidify the bullpen on the left side and will be a nice addition to our roster.“

Gorzelanny has a career record of 47-51 with a 4.27 ERA in 259 games (121 starts) for the Pittsburgh Pirates, Chicago Cubs, Washington Nationals and Brewers.

To create room for Gorzelanny on the 40-man roster, the Tigers designated pitcher Luke Putkonen for assignment.

►  BBWAA almost gets it right

The Baseball Writers’ Association of America continued to serve as the moral police on Tuesday.

First of all, congratulations to the newest electees to the National Baseball Hall of Fame, as pitchers Pedro Martinez, Randy Johnson and John Smoltz, all got in on their first time on the ballot, while Craig Biggio enters one year after coming up just two votes shy.

There is no question all four deserved to be in and while the general consensus is that this is a good day for baseball, I’m not so sure.

Yes, Cooperstown will be rocking next July with four people going in, but I’m still focused on the guys who did not get in. And I am not even talking about the Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens types. I am talking about the guys who have now been labled steroid abusers without a shred of evidence by the BBWAA.

If I had a vote Bonds and Clemens would be on my ballot, but I can at least understand why they are not on others. Someone, though, has to explain to me why Mike Piazza is not in the Hall of Fame. It was ridiculous that he wasn’t in last year and it’s even more absurd that he has to wait for a third ballot.

Piazza is the best hitting catcher of all-time. There is no dispute about that. But, the rank and file of the BBWAA has pegged him as someone who may have taken performance-enhancing drugs without any evidence.

Piazza was the closest of those not elected and received 69.9% of the vote and was 28 votes shy of election. He is going to get in at some point and he’s far from the best player not to get elected on his first or even second try. Ryne Sandberg, Roberto Alomar and even Joe DiMaggio were passed over their first time around too.

Yes, Joe DiMaggio was not a first-ballot Hall of Famer.

This isn’t some grass-roots campaign to get Piazza in, I just can’t take the fact that people chose not to vote him in because, maybe, just maybe he may have dabbled with PEDs. Although nobody knows for sure.

There is no paper trail like there is with guys like Bonds or Clemens. The only red flag for him are the obscene offensive numbers produced by a catcher in an era where the numbers were skewed by the guys we know were using. That and speculation from blogger Murray Chass, who once noted that Piazza had a case of back acne.

So, of course, that means he is guilty. Career tarnished.

And you can throw Jeff Bagwell into that same mix too.

Now if you held a gun to my head and asked me if either of those two guys took PEDs, I’d say yes, especially in the case of Bagwell. But a whole lot of other people did in that time, too. Is it the 75-percent that Jose Canseco once claimed? I’m not sure, but it’s probably not far from that number and I’d be willing to bet some of them who did take them have already been elected.

Remember, the Mitchell Report flat out stated that as far back as 1973 performance enhancing drug use in baseball was “alarming.“

Now, there is nothing to suggest that Pedro, Unit or Smoltz ever used PEDs, but why are they not under the same scrutiny that Piazza seems to be?

Pedro and Unit were as dominant as any pitchers we have seen in the last 50 years and Smoltz had to overcome Tommy John surgery in 2000 and eventually became one of the more dominant closers in the league.

Are we 100-percent sold Smoltz did not take anything to speed up that recovery?

If you smile a lot and get along well with the press, those questions don’t seem to come up I guess.

Forget Piazza, though, the Hall will always be tarnished for me until it opens its doors to Bonds and Clemens. The same group of people who chose to give Darin Erstad and Tom Gordon Hall of Fame votes are the ones who decided to keep Bonds and Clemens out.

Makes perfect sense.

When you go to a museum about American history, are the bad times just ignored? Of course not.

And what exactly are they trying to keep so sacred up in Cooperstown?

The Hall of Fame features a guy like Ty Cobb, someone who may have been a better racist than he was a ballplayer. And that’s saying something. And Cobb is nowhere near the only bad guy in the Baseball Hall of Fame.

That’s the point.

For some reason, though, PEDs are the hill BBWAA will die on.

Now, Piazza stands a good chance at getting in next year, as Ken Griffey Jr. is really the only lock candidate on the ballot. Don’t get me started on Trevor Hoffman. He’ll probably get in at some point, but it won’t be his first time on the ballot.

Regardless, balloting has become the all powerful BBWAA getting up on their high horse and letting the world know that they are the ones who judge the game’s most extraordinary individual honor.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  NHL Game Results

(Tuesday, January 06)

Final Score: New Jersey 4, Buffalo 1

Patrik Elias reached 1,000 career points with a goal and two assists and the New Jersey Devils beat the Buffalo Sabres 4-1 on Tuesday night. Elias scored his 399th career goal in the first period and picked up assists Nos. 600 and 601, becoming the 82nd player in NHL history with at least 1,000 points. Jordin Tootoo, Travis Zajac and Mike Cammalleri also scored for the Devils, who won the last two games of a three-game homestand for their first back-to-back victories since Nov. 11 and 14. Cory Schneider made 20 saves in his NHL-leading 37th start of the season. Mikhail Grigorenko scored for the Sabres, who have lost five in a row and nine of their last 10 games. Jhonas Enroth surrendered three goals on 27 shots in the loss.

Final Score: Philadelphia 2, Ottawa 1 (SO)

Wayne Simmonds netted the tying goal in the third period before adding the shootout winner, as Philadelphia snapped a five-game skid with a narrow 2-1 decision over Ottawa on Tuesday. Steve Mason came up with 41 saves and halted four of the Sens’ five breakaway chances for the Flyers, who dropped the final batch of games on their season-long eight- game road trip. Mike Hoffman tallied and Craig Anderson made 33 saves in defeat for the Senators, who have dropped five of their last seven.

Final Score: Tampa Bay 4, Montreal 2

Tyler Johnson scored twice to lead the Tampa Bay Lightning in a 4-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Tuesday. Brett Connolly and J.T. Brown also scored, while Ben Bishop made 20 saves for the Lightning, who have won six of their last seven. Dale Weise and Max Pacioretty scored for the Canadiens, who had a six-game winning streak broken. Carey Price allowed all four goals on 36 shots in the loss.

Final Score: Nashville 3, Carolina 2

Roman Josi’s game winner was the last of three goals in the third period, and Nashville claimed a 3-2 victory over Carolina at Bridgestone Arena. Ryan Ellis and Mike Fisher also lit the lamp in the final 20 minutes for the Predators, who have reeled off seven wins in their last 10 outings. Pekka Rinne made 23 saves to back the Central Division frontrunners. Eric Staal and Justin Faulk scored once each for the Hurricanes, while Cam Ward stopped 23 pucks in defeat.

Final Score: San Jose 4, Minnesota 3 (OT)

Marc-Edouard Vlasic scored the winner again, burying a slap shot with 1:52 remaining in overtime to lift the San Jose Sharks to a 4-3 victory over the Minnesota Wild on Tuesday night. The Sharks snapped a seven-game losing streak against the Wild at Xcel Energy Center when Vlasic’s shot from above the left circle near the boards flew past Darcy Kuemper on the near side. The defenseman also gave San Jose a dramatic 3-2 win on Monday in Winnipeg, scoring with 4.5 seconds left in regulation. Melker Karlsson, Joe Pavelski and Tommy Wingels scored three consecutive goals to give the Sharks a 3-2 lead in the third period, but Jason Zucker’s second goal of the game tied it for Minnesota. Zucker added an assist for three points and Jared Spurgeon also scored for the Wild, who fell to 2-4-4 in their last 10 games. They were coming off a 7-1 loss in Dallas on Saturday. Alex Stalock made 28 saves for San Jose and Kuemper stopped 22 shots for the Wild.

Final Score: Colorado 2, Chicago 0

Semyon Varlamov more than earned his third shutout of the season as he made a career-high 54 saves to lift the Colorado Avalanche to a 2-0 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Tuesday. Varlamov’s 54 saves are the most in Avalanche history and second most in a regular-season shutout since the 1982-83 season. Nathan MacKinnon and Max Talbot each scored early in the game for the Avalanche, who bounced back from a 4-3 loss to Columbus on Sunday. Corey Crawford allowed both goals on 24 shots in defeat.

Final Score: Columbus 4, Dallas 2

Ryan Johansen had a goal and an assist to lead the Columbus Blue Jackets in a 4-2 win over the Dallas Stars on Tuesday. Nick Foligno had three assists while Kevin Connauton, James Wisniewski and Mark Letestu all scored for the Blue Jackets, who have won four of five. Sergei Bobrovsky stopped 24 shots in the win. Antoine Roussel and Ales Hemsky each scored a goal for the Stars, who have dropped their past two. Anders Lindback allowed four goals on 20 shots.

Final Score: St. Louis 6, Arizona 0

David Backes had four goals and Brian Elliott stopped 23 shots for his second shutout of the season to give the St. Louis Blues a 6-0 win over the Arizona Coyotes on Tuesday. Paul Stastny had a goal and an assist while Jaden Schwartz also scored for the Blues, who have won their past two. Mike Smith allowed all six goals on 39 shots for the Coyotes, who have lost two of three.

Final Score: Detroit 4, Edmonton 2

A costly penalty by Benoit Pouliot led to the Reds Wings’ game-winning goal with 34 seconds remaining in regulation as Detroit pulled out a 4-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday. Jordan Eberle’s second goal of the night evened things at 2-2 late in the third period, but Pouliot’s head-scratching spearing penalty with 2:29 on the clock put the Oilers in a bind. A scrum in front resulted in the puck getting accidentally knocked into the net by Edmonton’s Matt Hendricks with time winding down. Pavel Datsyuk was credited with the goal, and Luke Glendening sealed things with an empty-netter. Justin Abdelkader and Kyle Quincey also scored for the Red Wings, who have won eight straight against the Oilers and four of six overall. Jimmy Howard made 21 saves to pick up the win, while his counterpart, Vikor Fasth, posted 37 saves in defeat.

Final Score: Vancouver 3, NY Islanders 2

Linden Vey scored the eventual game-winner late in the second period, sending the Vancouver Canucks to a 3-2 victory over the New York Islanders on Tuesday night. Ryan Stanton and Nick Bonino also lit the lamp for the Canucks, who have won two in a row. Eddie Lack made 21 saves. Matt Martin and Mikhail Grabovski scored for the Islanders, who have dropped two straight since a three-game winning streak. Jaroslav Halak gave up all three goals on 20 shots.

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
New York at Washington, 7:00 PM - MSG, CSN-DC+, DSS
Milwaukee at Philadelphia, 7:00 PM - FS-Wisconsin, CSN-Philadelphia, DSS
Houston at Cleveland, 7:00 PM - ROOT-Southwest, FS-Ohio, ESPN
New Orleans at Charlotte, 7:00 PM - FS-New Orleans, SportSouth, DSS
Memphis at Atlanta, 7:30 PM - SportSouth, DSS
Boston at Brooklyn, 7:30 PM - CSN-New England, YES, DSS
Utah at Chicago, 8:00 PM - ROOT-Northwest, CSN-Chicago, DSS
Detroit at Dallas, 8:30 PM - FS-Detroit, Southwest, DSS
Orlando at Denver, 9:00 PM - FS-Florida, Altitude, DSS
Phoenix at Minnesota, 9:30 PM - FS-Arizona, ESPN
Oklahoma City at Sacramento, 10:00 PM - FS-Oklahoma, CSN-California, DSS
LA Lakers at LA Clippers, 10:30 PM - Time Warner, FS-Prime Ticket, DSS
Indiana at Golden State, 10:30 PM - FS-Indiana, CSN-Bay, DSS
National Hockey League
Washington at Toronto, 7:00 PM - CSN-DC, SNET, DSS
Boston at Pittsburgh, 8:00 PM - NBCSN
Detroit at Calgary, 9:30 PM - FS-Detroit+, SNET, DSS
NY Rangers at Anaheim, 10:30 PM - MSG+, NBCSN
College Basketball
Lehigh at Army, 7:00 PM - Patriot League Network
Lafayette at Bucknell, 7:00 PM - Patriot League Network
Holy Cross at Colgate, 7:00 PM - Patriot League Network
Syracuse at Georgia Tech, 7:00 PM - ESPN U
Florida at South Carolina, 7:00 PM - SEC Network
Temple at Tulane, 7:00 PM - ESPNews
Davidson at VCU, 7:00 PM - MASN
NC State at Virginia, 7:00 PM - ESPN 2
Purdue at Wisconsin, 7:00 PM - Big Ten Network
Seton Hall at Xavier, 7:00 PM - CBSSN
Missouri State at Indiana State, 7:05 PM -
American at Loyola-MD, 7:30 PM - Patriot League Network
Drake at Illinois State, 8:00 PM -
Boston Univ at Navy, 8:00 PM - Patriot League Network, MASN2
Southern Ill at Northern Iowa, 8:00 PM -
IUPUI at Oral Roberts, 8:00 PM -
Bradley at Wichita State, 8:00 PM - COX-KS,
Loyola-Chicago at Evansville, 8:05 PM - CSN-Chicago,
San Jose State at Air Force, 9:00 PM - Mountain West Network
Kansas at Baylor, 9:00 PM - ESPN U
SIU Edwardsville at Belmont, 9:00 PM - CBSSN
Wyoming at Colorado State, 9:00 PM - Mountain West Network
DePaul at Creighton, 9:00 PM - FS1
Maryland at Illinois, 9:00 PM - Big Ten Network
TCU at Kansas State, 9:00 PM - ESPNews
Clemson at Louisville, 9:00 PM - ACC Network,
Tennessee at Miss State, 9:00 PM - SEC Network
Colorado at Utah, 9:00 PM - ESPN 2
Duke at Wake Forest, 9:00 PM - ACC Network,
Utah State at Fresno State, 11:00 PM - ROOT-Rocky Mountain
Nevada at UNLV, 11:00 PM - CBSSN
California at USC, 11:00 PM - ESPN U
Cal Poly at Hawaii, 12:00 AM - OCSports
Women’s College Basketball
Vermont at Stony Brook, 11:00 AM -
Tulsa at Connecticut, 7:00 PM - SNY,
Green Bay at Wright State, 7:00 PM -
Milwaukee at Detroit, 7:00 PM -
Memphis at UCF, 7:00 PM -
Miami-Ohio at Ball State, 7:00 PM -
Buffalo at Central Michigan, 7:00 PM -
Tulane at East Carolina, 7:00 PM -
Oklahoma at Kansas, 8:00 PM - Jayhawk TV,
West Virginia at Texas, 8:00 PM - Longhorn Network
International Soccer
Club Atletico de Madrid vs. Real Madrid CF, 2:55 PM - beIN Sport
Qatar Open, 7:30 AM - beIN Sport
Qatar Open, 11:00 AM - beIN Sport

WVSSAC Girs Basketball AP Poll - 01.06.15

The Gilmer Free Press

The Associated Press high school girls basketball poll with first-place votes in parentheses and total points:

Team Rec Pts Prv

Class A

1. Saint Joseph Central (9) 6-2 95 -

2. Wheeling Central (1) 6-1 89 -

3. Tucker County 6-1 74 -

4. Williamstown 8-2 68 -

5. Pocahontas County 7-2 51 -

6. Clay-Battelle 6-2 47 -

7. Charleston Catholic 1-6 42 -

8. Gilmer County 5-3 20 -

9. Notre Dame 8-2 12 -

(tie) Parkersburg Catholic 5-4 12 -

Others receiving votes: Madonna 10, Magnolia 9, St. Marys 9, Meadow Bridge 5, Fayetteville 3, Trinity 3, Greater Beckley Christian 1.

Team Rec Pts Prv

Class AA

1. Fairmont Senior (2) 8-2 86 -

2. North Marion (5) 7-0 85 -

3. Wyoming East (2) 7-0 74 -

4. Summers County 5-1 62 -

5. Sissonville 6-1 60 -

6. Keyser (1) 10-0 59 -

7. PikeView 6-1 37 -

8. Westside 3-3 24 -

9. Clay County 6-2 23 -

10. Bluefield 5-2 15 -

Others receiving votes: Bridgeport 6, Nicholas County 5, Herbert Hoover 5, Oak Glen 5, Ravenswood 1, Robert C. Byrd 1, Lincoln 1, James Monroe 1.

Team Rec Pts Prv

Class AAA

1. Morgantown (8) 6-0 97 -

2. South Charleston (1) 7-0 80 -

3. Parkersburg South (1) 7-2 78 -

4. Huntington 6-0 75 -

5. Greenbrier East 9-0 60 -

6. Logan 6-2 44 -

(tie) Spring Valley - 44 -

8. Hurricane 5-0 27 -

9. St. Albans 5-2 20 -

10. Jefferson 5-1 10 -

Others receiving votes: Buckhannon-Upshur 6, Cabell Midland 3, Martinsburg 3, George Washington 1, John Marshall 1, Preston 1.

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