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The Gilmer Free Press

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Area High Schools Boys Basketball Game Results

(Saturday, February 28)

#1 Parkersburg South 81     Lewis County 59

#5 Robert C. Byrd 63     #3 Fairmont Senior 52

#8 Notre Dame 68     #9 Tucker County 66

►  Area High Schools Boys Basketball Sectional Game Results

(Saturday, February 28)

Calhoun County 61     Doddridge County 49

Grafton 72     Philip Barbour 55

Harman 55     South Harrison 41

#6 Lincoln 66     Liberty 33

Grafton 72     Philip Barbour 55

Valley Wetzel 56     Tyler Consolidated 46

►  Area High Schools Girls Basketball Sectional Game Results

(Saturday, February 28)

St. Marys 79     #10 Trinity 74 (OT)

The Gilmer Free Press

►  MEC Men’s Basketball Game Results

(Saturday, February 28)

No. 4 West Liberty 95, Wheeling Jesuit 92 | Final Stats

Indiana Faithfull hit a pair of free throws with 7.6 seconds left to snap a 92-92 deadlock and lift No. 4 West Liberty to a 94-92 revenge win against Wheeling Jesuit in a mutual regular-season finaleon Saturdayat the McDonough Center.
The hosts shot nearly 60 percent from the floor in the first half with Ben Siefert draining a pair of 3-pointers in the final two minutes of the half to send WJU into the locker room with a 57-42 halftime lead. WJU remained in front, 87-78, with four minutes to go, but would not hit another shot from the field. This allowed the Hilltoppers to rally and eventually Faithfull’s game-winning free throws.

Seger Bonifant scored 20 of his game-high 25 points in the second half – including a 3-for-3 showing from the 3-point arc to lead WLU (25-2, 20-2). Devin Hoehn added 18 points, C.J. Hester weighed in with 14 points and seven rebounds while Joe Lococo tossed in 11 points.

JustinFritts paced Wheeling Jesuit (19-9, 14-8) with 21 points – 18 of them in the first half – and Moseh finished with 19 points. Haywood Highsmith had 14 points and 11 rebounds while Kyle Ritz and Eric Siefert each scored 13 points.

Fairmont State 64, Shepherd 60 | Final Stats

Nick Harney scored 21 points and grabbed 11 rebounds to lead Fairmont State to a 64-60 win over Shepherd on Saturday at the Butcher Center.

Fairmont State improves to 19-9, 16-6, whileShepherd falls to 14-14, 9-13 in MEC play.

Caleb Davis added 13 points for the Falcons, while Jamel Morris tossed in 12.

Ryan McTavish led the Rams with 14 points, while guard Austin Cunningham had 13 points and four assists.Morgan McDonald and Naim Muhammad each had nine points.

Glenville State 75, West Virginia Wesleyan 49 | Final Stats

Glenville State raced past West Virginia Wesleyan, 75-49, on Saturday afternoon at the Waco Center.

Reggie Williams led the Pioneers (18-10, 14-8) with 14 points, and Donte Morales chipped in 13 and Sedric Nady finished with 10.

The Bobcats (11-17, 9-13) were paced by 12 points and seven rebounds from Tanner McGrew. Austin Shell added 11 points and seven rebounds.

Charleston 87, West Virginia State 71 | Final Stats

The University of Charleston picked up an 87-71 win over West Virginia State in the final game of the Eddie King Gymnasium.

The Golden Eagles (19-9, 14-8) also earned a first-round bye in next week’s MEC Tournament. WVSU dropped to 6-24 and 6-16 in the league.

Octavius Green led the way for UC with 19 points, and Vincent Dillard and Tino DiTrapano each netted 12.

WVSU was led by 19 points from Damion Harris and 17 from Markee Mazyck.

Notre Dame 109, Urbana 98 | Final Stats

Notre Dame’s Oliver Megins hit a three-pointer as time expired to force overtime and help the Falcons to a 109-98 win over Urbana on Saturday afternoon at Murphy Gymnasium.

NDC (15-13, 11) outscored the Blue Knights (6-22, 3-19) by a 17-6 margin in the extra session to earn the victory.

Tyree Gaiter scored 27 points to go with 11 assists to lead Notre Dame. Will Vorhees added 25 points and 10 rebounds, and Lawrence DeArmond finished with 20.

Urbana’s Myles Busby led all scorers with 31 points to go with 12 rebounds, and Carlas Jackson scored 27 points.

Concord 74, UVa-Wise 50 | Final Stats

Concord had four players finish in double figures on Saturday to defeat UVa-Wise 74-59 in the Prior Center.

The Mountain Lions (20-8, 15-7) were led by Mike Boyd who finished with a team-high 17 points, six rebounds and seven assists. Aaron Miller added 16 points and six rebounds, Rob Reed finished with 14 points and Jametrius Wade added 12 points, eight rebounds and three blocks.

Matt Dayled the way for the Cavaliers (2-23, 1-21) finishing with a game-high 22 points and six rebounds.Philip Owens IIadded with 19 points and five assists.

►  MEC Women’s Basketball Game Results

(Saturday, February 28)

Shepherd 82, Fairmont State 75 | Final Stats

Shepherd erased a 14-point second half deficit with a 25-7 run over nine minutes to help it to an 82-75 win over Fairmont State and a share of the Mountain East Conference championship.

The Rams (20-8, 17-5)were led by seniors Gabby Flinchum who scored a team-high 21 points and Rachel Johnson who contributed 17.Morgan Arden tossed in 12 points and added four assists. Briana Vaden had 11 points, while Cara Mason added 10 points, six rebounds, and a game-high five assists.

The win gave Shepherd just their fourth 20-win season in program history after registering just four a season ago. The Rams are the No. 2 seed in next week’s MEC Tournament.

Fairmont State (21-7, 15-7) was led by Emily Lohr had a game-high 24 points to lead the Falcons. Hailey Garrett added 21 points and a game-high 10 rebounds.

West Liberty 60, Wheeling Jesuit 48 | Final Stats

West Liberty clinched a share of the Mountain East title with a 60-48 win over rival Wheeling Jesuit on Saturday.

With the win, the Hilltoppers (20-8, 17-5) earn the top seed in next week’s MEC Tournament by virtue of tiebreakers. Wheeling Jesuit (18-8, 15-7) saw its eight-game winning streak snapped.

Kailee Howe led WLU with 14 points, four rebounds and three assists. Kierra Simpson had 12 points to go with 13 rebounds, and Hillary Southworth had 13 points, six rebounds and four assists.

WJU was led by 12 points from Jaila Bryant and 10 more off the bench from Jaana Motton.

Charleston 71, West Virginia State 60 | Final Stats

Charleston earned a piece of the Mountain East Conference title with a 71-60 win over West Virginia State on Saturday afternoon at Eddie King Gymnasium.

UC (22-6, 17-5) had to rally from a six-point halftime deficit to claim the victory. The Golden Eagles were led by 20 points from Nichole Perry, and Kiara Johnson had 20 rebounds and 17 points in the win. Monet Saunders chipped in 15 points.

WVSU (8-19, 6-16) was paced by Deyahnna Styles who scored 21 points, pulled down six rebounds and handed out eight assists. Alexus Hobbs contributed 13 points for the Yellow Jackets.

Notre Dame 88, Urbana 77 | Final Stats

Martha Nagbe and Kelsey Miller each scored 20 points to help Notre Dame pull away from Urbana, 88-77, on Saturday afternoon at Murphy Gymnasium.

Lexi Hassing scored 11 and Molly Ritz finished with 10 in the victory for NDC (17-11, 13-9).

Kennedy Boggs scored 15, Stefanie Davis scored 14 and Brittany Atkinson added 12 for the Blue Knights (1-27, 1-21).

Glenville State 104, West Virginia Wesleyan 55 | Final Stats

Glenville State forced 27 turnovers to help it to 104-55 win over West Virginia Wesleyan on Saturday afternoon at the Waco Center.

Five players reached double figures for the Pioneers (14-12, 12-10), led by 25 from Kayla Tibbs. Keyanna Tate scored 16 points, Briana Smythe had 14, Julie Bishop netted 12 and Tayana Stewart finished with 10. GSC shot 52 percent from the floor in the win.

Alexa Mortenson paced WVWC (4-22, 3-19) with 17 points and Mari Steward added 11.

Concord 65, UVa-Wise 48 | Final Stats

Concord used an 11-0 run to break a 34-34 tie mid-way through the second half to post a 65-48 win over UVa-Wise at the Prior Center Saturday.The win secured the eighth seed in next week’s Mountain East Conference Tournament for the Mountain Lions and secured a season-series sweep of the Cavaliers.

With the win, Concord improved to 8-19 overall and 8-14 in the league. UVa-Wise fell to 9-19 overall and 8-14 in conference play.

Concord’s Kylie Molisee finished the game 6-of-9 from the floor and grabbed 10 rebounds as she tied teammate Melea Smith for game-high point honors with 14. Jacqueline Kestner also registered a double-double with 11 points and 10 rebounds and Danielle Catron added 10 points and seven boards off the bench.

Taylor Sandidgewas the only Cavalier to finish in double figures as she went 5-6 from the free throw line to score 10 points.SeniorKatie Jo Dockeryposted nine points, seven rebounds, and three assists in her final home game.

►  Men’s Basketball Tournament Field Set

The seedings and pairings for the Mountain East Conference men’s basketball tournament have been set after the final day of regular season play today.

Regular season champion West Liberty, along with Fairmont State, Concord and Glenville State earn the top-four seeds, respectively, and a first-round bye. Glenville State (fifth), Wheeling Jesuit (sixth), Notre Dame (seventh) and Shepherd (eighth) will have a first round home game on Tuesday evening. West Virginia Wesleyan is seeded ninth, West Virginia State is 10th, Urbana is 11th and UVa-Wise is 12th.

MEC Tournament Seeds
1. West Liberty (25-2, 20-2)
2. Fairmont State (19-9, 16-6)
3. Concord (20-8, 15-7)
4. Charleston (19-9, 14-8)
5. Glenville State (18-10, 14-8)
6. Wheeling Jesuit (19-9, 14-8)
7. Notre Dame (15-13, 11-11)
8. Shepherd (14-14, 9-13)
9. West Virginia Wesleyan (11-17, 9-13)
10. West Virginia State (6-24, 6-16)
11. Urbana (6-22, 3-19)
12. UVa-Wise (2-25, 1-21)

First Round Games (Tuesday, March 03)
#12 UVa-Wise at #5 Glenville State, 7:30 PM
#11 Urbana at #6 Wheeling Jesuit, 7 PM
#10 West Virginia State at Notre Dame, 7:30 PM
#9 West Virginia Wesleyan at Shepherd, 7 PM

►  Women’s Basketball Tournament Field Set

The seedings and pairings for the 2015 Mountain East Conference Tournament have been finalized after the conclusion of today’s action.

Three teams split the regular season championship with West Liberty, Shepherd and Charleston tying atop the standings with identical 17-5 records. The Hilltoppers earned the top seed via tiebreakers, with Shepherd seeded second and Charleston seeded third. Wheeling Jesuit earned the fourth and final first-round by earning the tiebreaker over Fairmont State.

After FSU in fifth, Notre Dame finished sixth, Glenville State was seventh and Concord earned the right to the the final first-round home game by claiming the No. 8 seed. UVa-Wise is seeded ninth, West Virginia State is 10th, West Virginia Wesleyan is 11th and Urbana is 12th.

The first round games will be played on Tuesday, March 03.

MEC Tournament Seeds
1. West Liberty (20-8, 17-5)
2. Shepherd (20-8, 17-5)
3. Charleston (22-6, 17-5)
4. Wheeling Jesuit (18-8, 15-7)
5. Fairmont State (21-7, 15-7)
6. Notre Dame (17-11, 13-9)
7. Glenville State (14-12, 12-10)
8. Concord (8-19, 8-14)
9. UVa-Wise (9-19, 8-14)
10. West Virginia State (8-19, 6-16)
11. West Virginia Wesleyan (4-22, 3-19)
12. Urbana (1-27, 2-21)

MEC First Round Games
#12 Urbana at #5 Fairmont State, 5 PM
#11 West Virginia Wesleyan at #6 Notre Dame, 5:30 PM
#10 West Virginia State at #7 Glenville State, 5:30 PM
#9 UVa-Wise at #8 Concord, 7 PM

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Baylor cruises past West Virginia in top-20 matchup

Taurean Prince scored 20 points off the bench and Rico Gathers recorded a double-double as Baylor won handily, 78-66, and never trailed in a top-20 matchup against injury-depleted West Virginia.

The 19th-ranked Bears (22-7, 10-6 Big 12) have won four in a row, including consecutive wins over ranked opponents for the first time in school history. They were in control from start to finish Saturday and only committed eight turnovers—nearly 13 less than West Virginia’s opponents coming in.

Gathers totaled 17 points and 10 rebounds, and Royce O’Neale chipped in with 18 points and seven assists in the convincing victory.

West Virginia was without leading scorer Juwan Staten due to a knee injury and lost starting guard Gary Browne three minutes into the game when his ankle was rolled up on during a loose ball scrum.

Jevon Carter led the 20th-ranked Mountaineers (22-7, 10-6) with 25 points.

Both teams trail Big-12 leading Kansas by 1 1/2 games with two left in the regular season. West Virginia plays at Kansas on Tuesday.

The Bears shot a blistering 65.4% from the field in a lopsided first half. They scored nine of the game’s first 11 points, led by as many as 19 and brought a 45-29 cushion into the break.

West Virginia committed nine turnovers in the first half, the last leading to Gathers’ rim-rattling windmill dunk that ignited the home crowd.

The Mountaineers cleaned up their mistakes in the second half, and Baylor cooled off considerably. Still, the deficit never dipped below nine, and Baylor pulled away for good with an 11-3 run. Prince and O’Neale both hit 3- pointers during the string, and the lead grew to 20 down the stretch.

Game Notes

Baylor upended No. 12 Iowa State on Wednesday ... Carter was making his first career start ... The Mountaineers have beaten Baylor just once in seven meetings, including an 87-69 loss in Morgantown earlier this month ... Baylor outscored West Virginia at the foul line 22-8 ... Baylor shot 33% from the field in the second half ... West Virginia shot 40.3% overall.

<The Gilmer Free Press

►  Top-25 College Men’s Basketball Game Results

(Saturday, February 28)

Final Score: (1) Kentucky 84, (18) Arkansas 67

Andrew Harrison and Trey Lyles each scored 18 points and No. 1 Kentucky stayed unbeaten with a 84-67 dismantling of 18th- ranked Arkansas. Lyles shot 8-for-10 from the floor, while Harrison converted all eight of his free throws tries for Kentucky (29-0, 16-0 SEC), which is three wins shy of matching the longest win streak in program history. The Wildcats won 32 straight from 1953 to 1955. Tyler Ulis and Devin Booker contributed 14 and 10 points, respectively off the bench, and Willie Cauley- Stein finished with seven points, nine rebounds and four blocks. Arkansas (23-6, 12-4) got 17 points and nine rebounds from Michael Qualls and 15 points from Bobby Portis, but lost its three-game win streak in this series.

Final Score: (2) Virginia 69, Virginia Tech 57

Malcolm Brogdon had 19 points and eight rebounds as No. 2 Virginia defeated Virginia Tech 69-57 on Saturday afternoon. Darion Atkins posted 16 points and six rebounds, while Anthony Gill added 16 points and five boards for the Cavaliers (27-1, 15-1 ACC), who have won eight straight and are a win away from clinching their first ever back-to- back outright ACC titles. Point guard London Perrantes, who tallied 11 points and six assists, returned from a brief one-game absence for Virginia following a scary collision with Brogdon against Florida State on Sunday. Adam Smith netted 19 points to lead the Hokies (10-19, 2-14).

Final Score: BYU 73, (3) Gonzaga 70

Kyle Collinsworth finished with 20 points and eight rebounds as BYU pulled off a memorable upset over third-ranked Gonzaga for a 73-70 win on Saturday. Gonzaga suffered just its second loss of the season and had three lengthy winning streaks come to an end. The Bulldogs entered the game with a school-record 22 straight wins, the nation’s longest home winning streak at 41 games in a row and 22 consecutive conference victories. Skyler Halford scored 14 points, while Chase Fischer and Tyler Haws netted 13 and 10 points, respectively, for the Cougars (23-8, 13-5 WCC), who won their first game over a team ranked third or higher since a win over No. 2 UCLA on Nov. 27, 1981. Byron Wesley paced Gonzaga (29-2. 17-1) with 17 points and nine rebounds, while Domantas Sabonis scored 12 with eight boards in the loss.

Final Score: (4) Duke 73, Syracuse 54

Justise Winslow and Duke kept on rolling, with the freshman forward pouring in a season-best 23 points to lead the fourth-ranked Blue Devils to a 73-54 triumph over Syracuse. Duke (26-3, 13-3 ACC) also turned in a strong effort on defense in posting its ninth consecutive win and keeping its ACC regular-season title hopes alive. The Blue Devils held the Orange to 30.6 percent shooting, including a 3-of-20 performance from 3-point range, and forced 15 turnovers. Winslow has averaged 16.6 points and 8.9 rebounds over Duke’s run. Syracuse (18-11, 9-7) failed to build on the momentum gained from Tuesday’s 65-60 win over No. 9 Notre Dame, largely due to its offensive woes and inability to contain Winslow or Jahlil Okafor, who contributed 13 points and 14 rebounds to the rout. Quinn Cook added 17 points for Duke. Tyler Roberson’s 16 points and nine boards paced the Orange, with Trevor Cooney and Duke transfer Michael Gbinije finishing with 13 and 12 points, respectively.

Final Score: (6) Villanova 78, Xavier 66

Dylan Ennis posted 16 points, five rebounds and five assists and No. 6 Villanova went into Cintas Center and knocked off Xavier 78-66 to win its 10th straight game. Ryan Arcidiacono had 15 points and Kris Jenkins went 4-for-7 from distance for 14 for Villanova (27-2, 14-2 Big East), which wrapped up the Big East regular- season crown with Saturday’s win. The Wildcats had already earned a first-round bye in the Big East Tournament at Madison Square Garden, which will take place from March 11-14. Jalen Reynolds made all six of his shots to lead Xavier with 15 points, and Trevon Bluiett netted 12. Dee Davis tallied seven points, nine assists and six rebounds in the setback. Xavier (18-12, 8-9) had won nine of its last 11 games at home against ranked opponents.

Final Score: (7) Arizona 63, (13) Utah 57

Kaleb Tarczewski had 13 points and six rebounds to lead No. 7 Arizona to a 63-57 victory over 13th-ranked Utah on Saturday. Stanley Johnson posted 12 points and 11 rebounds and Gabe York added 12 points for the Wildcats (26-3, 14-2 Pac-12), who claimed a share of the Pac-12 title with the victory. Delon Wright scored 17 points with five rebounds and Jordan Loveridge added 10 points and six boards for the Utes (22-6, 12-4), who have lost two of their last three games.

Final Score: (8) Kansas 69, Texas 64

Perry Ellis boosted his claim for Big 12 Player of the Year with another dominant performance, as No. 8 Kansas held off Texas 69-64 to remain unbeaten at home. Ellis tallied 28 points and 13 rebounds for the Jayhawks (23-6, 12-4 Big 12), who improved to 14-0 at Allen Fieldhouse this season. It was Ellis’ third straight 20-point game. Kelly Oubre Jr. finished with 15 points and nine rebounds and sealed the win with a pair of late free throws. Frank Mason III added 12 points. The Longhorns (17-12, 6-10) were projected to challenge Kansas for the Big 12 title, but uneven offensive performances have contributed to them dropping four straight games and eight of 11.

Final Score: (11) Wichita State 74, (10) Northern Iowa 60

Ron Baker had 17 points, Fred VanVleet scored 13 and Wichita State won a showdown with Northern Iowa on Saturday to capture the Missouri Valley Conference regular-season title for the second year in a row. Darius Carter, Tekele Cotton and Evan Wessel added 11 points each the No. 11 Shockers led by as much as 18 in a 74-60 win over the 10th- ranked Panthers to extended their home winning streak to 32 games. Wichita State will again be the No. 1 seed in the conference tournament, which starts Thursday at Scottrade Center in St. Louis. It was the first time in 50 years that the Shockers won back-to-back Missouri Valley Conference regular-season titles.

Final Score: Kansas State 70, (12) Iowa State 69

Wesley Iwundu scored four of his 11 points in the final 43 seconds, including a dunk off a stolen inbounds pass that gave Kansas State a dramatic 70-69 win over No. 12 Iowa State on Saturday. Down 12 with under 10 minutes remaining, Kansas State took the lead with a 20-6 run that was punctuated by Iwundu’s block on Georges Niang, which led to a layup at the other end for the sophomore forward. Later, Iwundu jumped Georges Niang’s pass on the Kansas State side of the court and broke to the basket to dunk with 16 seconds remaining to give the Wildcats the lead. After a foul stopped play at the other end, Naz Long airballed a 3-pointer at the buzzer for Iowa State.

Final Score: (14) Maryland 66, Michigan 56

College Park, MD ( - Melo Trimble posted 19 points and five assists as 14th-ranked Maryland beat Michigan 66-56 on Saturday afternoon. Dez Wells chipped in 13 points and six rebounds on Senior Day, helping the Terrapins complete a perfect home record in conference play for the first time since the 2001-02 season. Jake Layman scored 10 points for Maryland (24-5, 12-4 Big Ten), while former Wolverine Evan Smotrycz grabbed nine rebounds. The Terrapins notched their fifth straight win and closed to within 1 1/2 games of first-place Wisconsin in the Big Ten standings with two to play. Spike Albrecht and Zak Irvin each had 15 points for the Wolverines (14-14, 7-9), who have dropped six of their last seven games.

Final Score: (15) North Carolina 73, Miami-Florida 64

Brice Johnson had 22 points and 11 rebounds as No. 15 North Carolina pulled away late to defeat Miami-Florida 73-64 on Saturday afternoon. Marcus Paige netted 15 points, while J.P. Tokoto added 10 points and 10 boards for the Tar Heels (20-9, 10-6 ACC), who had dropped five of their last seven games coming in. Sheldon McClellan and Ivan Cruz Uceda poured in 11 points apiece for Miami (18-11, 8-8), which had won three of its last four games prior to Saturday.

Final Score: (16) Oklahoma 67, TCU 60

Buddy Hield scored 21 points and grabbed a career-high 13 rebounds to help No. 16 Oklahoma come back to beat TCU 67-60 on Saturday. TaShawn Thomas scored six of his 15 points in a crucial 8-1 surge that gave the Sooners (20-8, 11-5 Big 12) the lead for good. Oklahoma got 10 points apiece from Ryan Spangler and Isaiah Cousins. The Horned Frogs (17-12, 4-12) scored just nine points in the final 10 minutes as Oklahoma pulled ahead. Kyan Anderson and Trey Zeigler each scored 16 to lead TCU.

Final Score: (17) Louisville 81, Florida State 59

Wayne Blackshear scored 18 points and No. 17 Louisville rolled to an 81-59 win over Florida State on Saturday to cap a tumultous week. Montrezl Harrell added 16 points and Anton Gill scored 14 for the Cardinals (23-6, 11-5 ACC), who have won three in a row, the last two while dealing with the situation surrounding Chris Jones. Jones, the talented senior guard who was dismissed from the team last Sunday, pleaded not guilty on Thursday to charges of felony rape and sodomy in a case involving the alleged assault of two women last weekend. The Cardinals shot over 48 percent in the first half to lead by 10 at the break and went up by as much as 26 points in the second half. Quentin Snider added 11 points in the win and Terry Rozier scored 10. Montay Brandon scored 13 points to lead Florida State (15-15, 7-10), which has lost three in a row. The Seminoles got 12 points each from Xavier Rathan-Mayes and Devon Bookert and 11 from Boris Bojanovsky. It was the first meeting between the teams since Florida State beat Louisville 76-69 in the Metro Conference title game on March 9, 1992. The teams were both members of the Metro Conference from 1976-91. Louisville joined the ACC this season.

Final Score: (19) Baylor 78, (20) West Virginia 66

Taurean Prince scored 20 points off the bench and Rico Gathers recorded a double-double as Baylor won handily, 78-66, and never trailed in a top-20 matchup against injury-depleted West Virginia. The 19th-ranked Bears (22-7, 10-6 Big 12) have won four in a row, including consecutive wins over ranked opponents for the first time in school history. They were in control from start to finish Saturday and only committed eight turnovers—nearly 13 less than West Virginia’s opponents coming in. Gathers totaled 17 points and 10 rebounds, and Royce O’Neale chipped in with 18 points and seven assists in the convincing victory. West Virginia was without leading scorer Juwan Staten due to a knee injury and lost starting guard Gary Browne three minutes into the game when his ankle was rolled up on during a loose ball scrum. Jevon Carter led the 20th-ranked Mountaineers (22-7, 10-6) with 25 points.

Final Score: Dayton 59, (22) VCU 55

Dayton received 19 points from Jordan Sibert and held on down the stretch to earn a 59-55 victory over 22nd-ranked VCU in an Atlantic 10 clash with major ramifications. The win, the Flyers’ fifth in six games, enabled Dayton (22-6, 12-4 A-10) to keep a share of first place in the tight conference race with two to go in the regular season. The Flyers entered Saturday’s matchup in a four-way tie with VCU, Davidson and Rhode Island for the A-10’s top spot. Dayton will host Rhode Island, which downed La Salle earlier in the day, on Tuesday. VCU (21-8, 11-5), meanwhile, continued its recent downward spiral. The Rams owned a comfortable lead atop the A-10 in late January after getting off to a 7-0 start, but have since gone 4-5 in league play. Kendall Pollard added 16 points and six rebounds for the Flyers, but fouled out with under five minutes remaining and the Rams began to draw closer after trailing 51-45 at the time of the disqualification.

Final Score: (23) Butler 67, DePaul 53

Kellen Dunham scored 24 points and No. 23 Butler continued its push for the second seed in the Big East tournament with a 67-53 victory over reeling DePaul. Roosevelt Jones had 16 points, five rebounds and four assists for the Bulldogs (21-8, 11-5 Big East), who hold a one-game lead over Georgetown for the conference’s No. 2 seed. Kameron Woods posted 14 points and six rebounds for a Butler team that pulled away in the second half with a 26-3 run. Jamee Crockett was the lone player to reach double figures in scoring for DePaul, finishing with 20 points. The Blue Demons (12-18, 6-11) suffered a season high-tying sixth consecutive defeat.

Final Score: Boise State 56, (24) San Diego State 46

Derrick Marks had 18 points and five rebounds as Boise State took a 56-46 win over No. 24 San Diego State in a critical Mountain West Conference matchup. James Webb III scored 16 points with 12 rebounds for the Broncos (22-7, 12-4), who have won four straight to move into a tie with San Diego State for first place in the conference. Winston Shepard had 16 points while J.J. O’Brien added eight points for the Aztecs (22-7, 12-4), who had a school-record 29-game home winning streak snapped.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  NBA Game Results

(Saturday, February 28)

Final Score: Washington 99, Detroit 95

John Wall had 22 points and six assists as the Washington Wizards snapped their six-game losing streak following a 99-95 win over the Detroit Pistons on Saturday night. Nene posted 21 points and seven rebounds, while Marcin Gortat added 16 points and 17 boards for the Wizards, who led by as many as 21 in the third quarter before holding the Pistons off down the stretch. Greg Monroe tallied 21 points and 10 rebounds and Spencer Dinwiddie supplied 20 points and eight helpers for Detroit, which has lost three in a row.

Final Score: Atlanta 93, Miami 91

Paul Millsap scored 22 points, Dennis Schroder added 16 with 10 assists and the Eastern Conference-leading Atlanta Hawks downed the Miami Heat 93-91 on Saturday night. The Hawks, who are already on the brink of clinching a postseason berth, nearly squandered an 18- point lead but pulled away for their fourth straight victory. Though they committed 20 turnovers, they forced 23 and limited Miami to 39.5 percent shooting. Kent Bazemore and John Jenkins tallied 15 and 12 points, respectively, for an Atlanta squad playing without regulars Al Horford (personal), Jeff Teague, DeMarre Carroll and Pero Antic—the last three all getting the night off on the second of a back-to-back. Dwyane Wade led the Heat with 22 points, while Hassan Whiteside pulled down 24 rebounds and scored 14 points in the club’s second straight loss.

Final Score: New York 103, Toronto 98

Tim Hardaway Jr. scored 18 of his 22 points in the first half, Andrea Bargnani had 19 and the New York Knicks beat the Toronto Raptors 103-98 on Saturday. Alexey Shved tallied 15 points with five assists off the bench for New York, winners in two straight following an eight-game slide. Louis Williams scored 22 points to lead the Raptors, who have lost a season-high five straight games. Jonas Valanciunas added 16 and eight rebounds in defeat. Toronto was without All-Star point guard Kyle Lowry, who was given the night off to rest. He is considered day- to-day.

Final Score: Memphis 101, Minnesota 97

Marc Gasol had 27 points and 11 rebounds as the Memphis Grizzlies defeated the Minnesota Timberwolves 101-97 on Saturday night. Mike Conley netted 17 points, Jeff Green added 13 and Zach Randolph pulled down 11 boards for the Grizzlies, who blew a 15-point third quarter lead, but Conley bailed them out with a go-ahead 3-pointer with 30.3 seconds left. Andrew Wiggins poured in 25 points for Minnesota, which has dropped three of its last four games.

Final Score: Brooklyn 104, Dallas 94

Deron Williams scored 12 of his 25 points in the third quarter to lead the Brooklyn Nets past the Dallas Mavericks, 104-94, on Saturday. Williams went 4-of-6 from beyond the arc and pulled down six rebounds for the Nets, who have won four straight in Dallas. Thaddeus Young tallied 16 points and eight rebounds. Joe Johnson contributed 15 points and eight boards for Brooklyn, which went 3-5 on its eight-game road trip. Mason Plumlee and Jarrett Jack each scored 14 points, with Plumlee also pulling down 10 boards. Dirk Nowitzki ended with 20 points and six rebounds for the Mavericks, who have lost two in a row. Devin Harris added 14 points and Al- Farouq Aminu and Monta Ellis had 12 points apiece.

Final Score: San Antonio 101, Phoenix 74

The Phoenix Suns, not the San Antonio Spurs, looked like they were the ones finishing up a nine-game road trip on Saturday. Kawhi Leonard scored a game-high 22 points and pulled down 10 rebounds as the Spurs took the listless Suns to the woodshed in a lopsided 101-74 victory. The Suns set a franchise low for scoring in a half (24) and were on pace for record lows in points and shooting percentage before San Antonio took its foot off the gas in the fourth quarter. They shot 29.8 percent overall. The Spurs led by 34 after three, and their regulars were given well-deserved rest in closing out an otherwise disappointing 4-5 road trip in winning fashion. Marcus Morris scored 15 of his 19 points in the fourth quarter for the Suns, who failed to build off an emotional overtime victory over the Thunder on Thursday.

Final Score: Utah 82, Milwaukee 75

Trey Burke had 23 points and six assists as the Utah Jazz beat the Milwaukee Bucks by an 82-75 margin on Saturday. Burke went 5-of-10 from beyond the arc for the Jazz, who have won 13 in a row against Milwaukee in Salt Lake City. Derrick Favors added 16 points, 12 rebounds, three steals and three blocks. Khris Middleton ended with 18 points and six rebounds for the Bucks, who have lost four of five. Michael Carter-Williams contributed 16 points and four steals.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  White Sox ace Sale out with broken foot

Chicago White Sox ace Chris Sale is expected to miss three weeks with a broken foot that could affect his availability for Opening Day.

Sale suffered an avulsion fracture on the lateral side of his right foot in an accident at home on Friday, the White Sox announced Saturday.

The left-hander underwent X-rays Saturday morning at Banner Estrella hospital near the team’s spring training facility in Glendale.

His status for Opening Day will be clearer once the swelling in his foot goes down and further tests are performed, the White Sox said.

They begin the season April 6 in Kansas City.

Sale, 25, had a 2.17 ERA in 26 starts last season with a 12-4 record and 208 strikeouts in 174 innings. He ranked fifth in the majors with a 0.97 WHIP and finished third in voting for the AL Cy Young Award.

He went on the disabled list for the first time in his career on April 22 with a flexor muscle strain in his left arm, missing a month.

Sale is 44-29 with a 2.76 ERA in 165 career games for the White Sox, including 85 starts. He has been a starter for the past three seasons after pitching out of the bullpen from 2010-11.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  NHL Game Results

(Saturday, February 28)

Final Score: Florida 5, Buffalo 3

Jaromir Jagr got all the headlines prior to his Panthers debut, but it was Brandon Pirri starring for Florida on Saturday after missing the previous nine games with an upper-body injury. In just 83 seconds, Pirri scored a pair of power play goals to get Florida on track to a 5-3 win over the Buffalo Sabres. Florida also received goals from Nick Bjugstad, Scottie Upshall and Derek MacKenzie while Jagr was scoreless with three shots on goal. Roberto Luongo was not busy and made 11 saves to help the Panthers improve to 1-1-0 on their seven-game homestand. The Sabres lost their first two-game winning streak in 2015 despite jumping out to a 2-0 lead with first-period goals from Cody Hodgson and Andrej Meszaros. Torrey Mitchell also lit the lamp for Buffalo. Michal Neuvirth allowed four Panthers goals but made 42 saves in the setback.

Final Score: Detroit 4, Nashville 3

Tomas Tatar and Alexey Marchenko each scored third-period goals to rally the Detroit Red Wings to a 4-3 win over Nashville and deal the Predators their first home losing streak of the season. Drew Miller added a goal and an assist and Jonas Gustavsson came up with 37 saves to help the Red Wings prevail against a Nashville team that owns the NHL’s best home record at 26-5-1. The Predators were coming off a 4-2 setback to Minnesota Thursday at Bridgestone Arena, however, and Saturday’s result marked the first time this season the Western Conference leaders have dropped back-to-back games in regulation. Pekka Rinne stopped just 21-of-25 shots in this one, failing to protect a 3-2 lead he was given on consecutive second-period goals from Matt Cullen, Mike Fisher and Shea Weber.

Final Score: Carolina 5, NY Islanders 3

A four-goal second period boosted the Carolina Hurricanes in their 5-3 win over the New York Islanders on Saturday. Jay McClement scored two goals for his first multi-goal game since a 2010 hat trick, Brad Malone tallied a goal and an assist, and Justin Faulk and Michal Jordan also scored in Carolina’s third straight win. Cam Ward made 21 saves in the victory. The Islanders lost a two-game winning streak after Chad Johnson allowed all five Carolina goals on 41 shots. Michael Grabner, Nikolay Kulemin and John Tavares scored New York’s goals.

Final Score: New Jersey 2, Columbus 0

Cory Schneider made 33 saves and Andy Greene netted the deciding goal in the New Jersey Devils’ 2-0 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Schneider backstopped the Devils to their fifth win in seven games by posting his second shutout in six days, having turned aside 38 chances in Monday’s 3-0 triumph over Arizona. Travis Zajac added an empty-net score in the final minute that sealed the Blue Jackets’ fifth loss in a row. Curtis McElhinney stopped 17-of-18 shots for Columbus.

Final Score: Boston 4, Arizona 1

Tuukka Rask stopped 31 shots to lead the Boston Bruins in a 4-1 victory over the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday. Milan Lucic, Zdeno Chara, Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand all scored for the Bruins, who have won three of four following a six-game losing streak. Martin Erat had the only goal of the game for the Coyotes, who have lost nine in a row. Mike Smith was pulled in the second period after allowing four goals on 20 shots, while Louis Domingue turned aside all 14 shots he faced.

Final Score: Montreal 4, Toronto 0

Carey Price turned in another solid performance between the pipes as he posted his sixth shutout of the season in the Montreal Canadiens’ 4-0 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday. Price made 30 saves and improved to 10-0-1 over his last 11 starts, last losing in regulation on Feb. 3 against Buffalo. He leads the NHL with 36 wins. David Desharnais scored twice, while Manny Malhotra and Tomas Plekanec and also lit the lamp in Montreal’s fourth straight win. Jonathan Bernier allowed three goals on 22 shots for the Maple Leafs, who had their two-game winning streak came to an end.

Final Score: Philadelphia 4, NY Rangers 2

In his first start since Feb. 8, Steve Mason made 34 saves to lead the Flyers to a 4-2 win over the New York Rangers on Saturday. Mason made 16 of those saves in the third period to end Philadelphia’s two-game losing streak and stay firmly in the playoff race. Matt Read, Michael Raffl and Wayne Simmonds scored goals for the Flyers, and the winner came early in the third period when Michael Del Zotto scored short- handed. The Rangers lost their 10-game point streak despite goals from J.T. Miller and John Moore. Cam Talbot made 30 saves in the loss.

Final Score: Minnesota 3, Colorado 1

Devan Dubnyk stopped 33 shots to lead the Minnesota Wild in a 3-1 victory over the Colorado Avalanche on Saturday. Justin Fontaine and Erik Haula had a goal and an assist, while Jason Pominville also scored for the Wild, who have won five of their last six. Maxime Talbot had the only goal of the game for the Avalanche, who had won three of four coming into the game. Semyon Varlamov allowed all three goals on 32 shots in defeat.

Final Score: St. Louis 2, Edmonton 1

Paul Stastny scored the game-winning goal with 5:40 left in regulation to lift the St. Louis Blues to a 2-1 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday. Stastny also assisted on Dmitrij Jaskin’s marker and Brian Elliott made 21 saves for the Blues, who were coming off a 2-1 shootout win over Winnipeg on Thursday. Justin Schultz supplied Edmonton’s lone goal and Ben Scrivens allowed both goals on 27 shots in defeat.

Final Score: Ottawa 4, San Jose 2

Mike Hoffman scored two goals in the third period to lift the Ottawa Senators over the San Jose Sharks, 4-2, on Saturday. Mark Stone also lit the lamp in the final stanza for the Senators, who have won a season-high five straight games. Erik Karlsson also scored. Andrew Hammond made 28 saves and has now won the first five starts of his NHL career. He entered Saturday’s contest on a two-game shutout streak. Tommy Wingels and Patrick Marleau scored for the Sharks, who have lost eight in a row at home. Antti Niemi stopped 27-of-30 shots.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Nishikori, Ferrer to meet in Acapulco final

Kei Nishikori and David Ferrer will meet in the final of the $1.4 million Mexican Open on Saturday.

Both players won their Friday semifinal matches in three sets, as the top- seeded Nishikori outlasted fourth-seeded Kevin Anderson, and the second-seeded Ferrer pummeled qualifier Ryan Harrison after falling behind early.

Nishikori broke Anderson’s serve twice in the final set en route to a 6-2, 3-6, 6-3 victory, moving him into uncharted territory in the ATP rankings. As it stands, the Japanese star will enter next week ranked no less than No. 4 in the world.

Anderson was last year’s runner-up in this event to Grigor Dimitrov.

Harrison, who has never reached an ATP final, won a lengthy first set but wound up dropping the final 12 games as Ferrer went on to win 4-6, 6-0, 6-0 on the hardcourts at the Fairmont Acapulco Princess.

Nishikori has won seven of the 10 all-time meetings against Ferrer, including a straight-set triumph in the round-of-16 at the Australian Open last month.

Ferrer captured three straight Acapulco titles from 2010-12 and was the runner-up to fellow Spaniard Rafael Nadal in 2013.

This year’s champion will earn $343,000.

►  Federer beats Djokovic in Dubai final

Roger Federer posted a 6-3, 7-5 victory over top-seeded Novak Djokovic in the final of the Dubai Championships on Saturday.

The second-seeded Swiss star won the tournament for the second straight year and seventh time overall.

After fighting off two set points to level the second set at 5-5, Federer broke Djokovic’s serve in the next game and then saved a break point to capture his 84th career title and second of 2015. He also won the season- opening event in Brisbane.

“I think the first set belonged to me; whereas the second set belonged to him more,“ Federer said. “He created many more opportunities. I struggled to get into his service games more frequently. It seemed like the moment I wasn’t serving great he created chances for himself and put a lot of pressure on me.“

The 33-year-old Federer swatted 12 aces and saved all seven break points he faced while improving to 20-17 lifetime against Djokovic.

Djokovic, 27, lost for the first time in five Dubai finals.

“I thought it was a good match,“ Djokovic said. “I thought there wasn’t much difference, a few points decided a winner.“

Federer or Djokovic have won the Dubai title 11 of the last 13 years.

►  Nadal to meet Monaco in Buenos Aires final

Rafael Nadal is a step closer to another clay court title after beating Carlos Berlocq in the semifinals of the Argentina Open on Saturday.

The top-seeded Nadal battled to a 7-6 (9-7), 6-2 win over the local favorite Berlocq and will try to win his 46th career clay court title Sunday at Buenos Aires Lawn Tennis Club.

Nadal, who has 64 titles overall, will face another Argentine favorite, past Buenos Aires winner Juan Monaco.

Monaco defeated 2011 champion Nicolas Almagro 6-3, 6-7 (6-8), 6-4 in two hours and 27 minutes and is chasing his ninth career title. He captured the Buenos Aires crown in 2007.

Nadal is 5-1 all-time against Monaco, with the only loss coming at the 2007 ATP Masters tournament in Cincinnati when he retired during the second set because of knee and wrist injuries.

Sunday’s winner will collect $91,050.

►  Safarova wins Qatar Open

Czech Lucie Safarova beat two-time champion Victoria Azarenka 6-4, 6-3 to win the Qatar Open on Saturday.

Safarova broke the Belarusian to begin the match and again for a 5-4 lead. She then saved a break point before serving out the opening set.

The 28-year-old Safarova offered Azarenka four break point opportunities in the second set and saved all of them. She won the first three points in the ninth game and converted on her third match point.

Safarova captured her sixth career title and first since winning the Bell Challenge in Quebec City in September 2013.

Saturday’s win marked her first in seven head-to-head meetings with Azarenka, who won this tournament in 2012 and 2013.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Harrington leads by 1 at halted Honda Classic

Padraig Harrington finished up his second round and took a 1-shot lead on Saturday before third-round play was suspended due to inclement weather.

The second round was concluded earlier Saturday morning and only a few groups were able to tee off for the third round before rain and heavy winds halted play at 12:51 PM After a lengthy delay, play was called for the day. Players are scheduled to get back out on the course at 10 AM Sunday.

Harrington, who will have to wait until Sunday to start his third round along with most of the 71 players who made the cut, fired a second-round 4-under 66 to take the outright lead at 7-under 133 through 36 holes on the Champion Course at PGA National Resort & Spa.

“I feel like I’ll have to play better or at least up to the way I played maybe my first 27 holes,“ Harrington said about what he has to do in the final two rounds. “You keep your head on, you get it up and down when you need to. It will be a tough weekend no matter what.“

The three-time major champion has five career wins on the PGA Tour, but he has not won since the 2008 PGA Championship. Harrington also won the British Open the same year.

Patrick Reed, who finished his second round on Friday, is alone in second at 6-under 134 following two straight 67s. Ian Poulter (64) and Brendan Steele (69) are tied for third at 5-under 135 through two rounds, while Luke Donald (67) sits one shot further back in fifth at minus-4.

First-round leader Jim Herman carded a 2-over 72, dropping him into a tie for sixth with Russell Knox (68). Defending champion Russell Henley (70), who had just teed off to start his third round before play was called, is tied for 38th at 3-over 143 after narrowly making the cut.

Harrington, starting his second round on the back nine, began with a pair of pars on 10 and 11 before rolling in his first birdie of the day on the par-4 12th.

Following three more pars from 13, Harrington surged as he made the turn, making three birdies in a four-hole stretch on 16, 17 and one.

Harrington tripped to his first bogey on No. 3, but he rebounded in a big way by draining three straight birdies from No. 4, vaulting him to a 3-shot lead.

That advantage quickly shrunk to just one, however, as Harrington finished bogey-bogey on eight and nine. Despite the poor finish to his round, Harrington still held the outright lead through 36 holes.

“Certainly for the first 27 holes I was really feeling very positive about my game,“ said Harrington after his second round. “I struggled coming home. That was disappointing ... Disappointed as I said about my finish, but I’m in a good place going through to the weekend.“

Steele held a 2-shot lead through four holes of his second round before play was suspended due to darkness on Friday. The 31-year-old was on fire when he finally started his round on Friday, draining four straight birdies from No. 1 to grab the lead.

When he got back underway Saturday morning, Steele began to struggle right away as he made a bogey on five. He rebounded with a birdie on six, but he then tripped to a pair of bogeys on seven and eight.

Steele made the turn with a birdie on nine, but that was his last gain of the day. Steele made eight pars on the back nine to go along with a double-bogey on 16 and he finished the day tied for third.

Poulter got off to a roaring start in his second round, making birdies on three and five. He also holed out from 116 yards for eagle on the par-4 fourth.

Poulter got to 5-under for his round with another gain on eight. Following five straight pars from nine, Poulter traded a birdie on 14 for a bogey on 15. He finished up with pars on 16 and 18 to go along with a gain on 17.

NOTES: A total of 24 players had completed at least one hole of their third rounds ... In eight events this season, Harrington has five missed cuts and he missed one secondary cut. Harrington’s best finish was a tie for 56th at last week’s Northern Trust Open ... World No. 1 Rory McIlroy missed the cut after finishing 36 holes at 7-over 147 ... The cut fell at 4-over 144. Other big names who missed the cut were Justin Rose, Zach Johnson, Graeme McDowell, Billy Horschel and Dustin Johnson.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Harvick wins another Xfinity Series race at Atlanta

Kevin Harvick won a Xfinity Series race at Atlanta Motor Speedway for the third year in a row after holding off his fellow Sprint Cup Series competitor and reigning Daytona 500 champion Joey Logano in the closing laps of Saturday’s Hisense 250.

Harvick, the defending Sprint Cup champion, led 101 of 163 laps, driving the No. 88 Chevrolet for JR Motorsports. He claimed his 45th career victory in the Xfinity Series. Harvick now holds the record for most Xfinity wins at this 1.54-mile racetrack with four.

Logano started on the pole and led the first 49 laps before Harvick took over the top spot during a round of green-flag pit stops. Logano, though, pulled ahead of Harvick and reclaimed the lead on lap 127.

The third and final caution for fluid on the track late in the race set up the last round of pit stops. Harvick edged Logano out of the pits to retain the lead and then held it for the final 27 laps.

“That (final) pit stop is what won this race,“ Harvick said. “Joey probably had a little bit better of a car the second half of a run, so it really played out for us there at the end as we were able to have that short run and take off.“

On Friday, Logano and Harvick placed 1-2 in qualifying for Sunday’s 500-mile Sprint Cup race at Atlanta. But Harvick will have to start from the rear of the field in that event due to an engine change. He blew the motor in his No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing Chevrolet during Saturday’s final practice.

Logano started gaining on Harvick in the closing laps of the Xfinity race but experienced a bad vibration on his No. 22 Team Penske Ford due to a loose wheel. He wound up finishing 1.2 seconds behind Harvick.

“That was as close as anyone’s been to beating Kevin here in a long time,“ said Logano, who led a total of 59 laps. “I was starting to catch him, and then I had this huge vibration. I think the left-rear (tire) was loose. At that point, I was just trying to survive and hope the left-rear didn’t pass me. Overall, we had a fast race car, but we just came up a little bit short.“

Ty Dillon finished third, followed by Chris Buescher and Chase Elliott, the defending Xfinity champion.

Paul Menard, Brian Scott, Matt Kenseth, Regan Smith and Kyle Larson completed the top-10.

Erik Jones, substituting for the injured Kyle Busch in the No. 54 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota, placed 13th. Busch suffered a compound fracture of his right lower leg and a mid-foot fracture of his left foot during an accident in last Saturday’s Xfinity season-opener at Daytona International Speedway. He underwent surgery on his right leg in Daytona Beach, Florida and then had an operation on his left foot in North Carolina. Busch was hospitalized six days before his release on Friday. His return to racing is not known at this time.

Ryan Reed, who claimed his first career Xfinity win at Daytona, finished 16th.

Buescher and Dillon share the lead in the point standings, while Reed is eight points behind them.

►  Crafton dominant in Truck Series race at Atlanta

Two-time defending Camping World Truck Series champion Matt Crafton won at Atlanta Motor Speedway for the first time with a dominating performance in Saturday’s Hyundai Construction Equipment 300.

The 200-mile truck race capped off a NASCAR doubleheader at this 1.54-mile racetrack. Earlier in the day, Kevin won the 250-mile Xfinity Series event here.

Crafton, who started 15th, led 85 of 130 laps in his No. 88 ThorSport Racing Toyota. Erik Jones, running a full-schedule in the series for Kyle Busch Motorsports this season, led 37 of the first 44 laps before Crafton passed him and took command from there.

Crafton crossed the finish line nearly nine seconds ahead of his closest competitor, Ty Dillon, for his sixth win in his 340th consecutive and career truck start. His first win at Atlanta came in his 14th attempt. The series did not compete here the previous two seasons.

Last year, Crafton became the first driver to win back-to-back championships in the 20-year history of the Truck Series.

Dillon won the last truck race at Atlanta in August 2012. He is now a regular in Xfinity.

Ben Kennedy, the pole sitter, finished third, followed by Daniel Suarez and Tyler Reddick, who won the February 20 truck season-opener at Daytona.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Frampton keeps IBF belt with TKO of Avalos

Carl Frampton stopped challenger Chris Avalos in the fifth round to retain his IBF Super Bantamweight title in his hometown.

Frampton hit Avalos with a flurry of combinations to prompt referee Howard John Foster to halt the scheduled 12-round bout at 1:33 of the fifth.

The title defense was the first for Frampton (20-0, 14 KO) of the belt he won from Kiko Martinez with a unanimous decision in September.

Avalos (25-3) entered the fight with six straight victories, the last three by knockout, and was the IBF’s top-ranked contender.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Rooney’s brace powers United past Sunderland

Wayne Rooney scored a pair of second-half goals on Saturday as Manchester United cruised to a 2-0 victory over 10-man Sunderland at Old Trafford.

With fellow striker Robin van Persie picking up an injury in last week’s loss against Swansea City, United manager Louis van Gaal deployed Radamel Falcao in the No. 9 role with captain Rooney playing in an attacking midfield spot.

Rooney found the back of the net in the 66th and 85th minutes to lift United into third place in the Premier League on 50 points, two ahead of Arsenal and five behind rivals Manchester City, both of which play on Sunday.

The Sunderland defense held firm and kept United off the score sheet in the first half, but the Red Devils broke the deadlock in the 66th minute when Falcao broke free into the penalty area and was hacked down by Sunderland defender Wes Brown, resulting in a penalty for United and a straight red card to Brown.

Rooney entered the match in a bit of a slump as he had gone eight straight contests without a goal, but confidently headed to the spot and blasted his penalty low into the left corner with pace, leaving Sunderland goalkeeper Costel Pantilimon with no chance to make a save.

Rooney completed his double five minutes from time when he was in the correct spot in front of goal to smash home a rebound effort to seal an important three points for Van Gaal’s side.

For Sunderland, the defeat keeps the Black Cats in 16th place in the Premier League with 25 points, just three clear of the bottom three.

Elsewhere in the Premier League on Saturday, Crystal Palace maintained its unbeaten away record under manager Alan Pardew on Saturday with a 3-1 victory over West Ham United at Upton Park.

The Eagles opened the scoring through Glen Murray in the 41st minute and Scott Dann doubled the advantage early in the second half, while Murray added a second goal in the 63rd minute.

The Hammers pulled one back in the 76th minute through Enner Valencia after Murray was sent off for a second yellow-card offense, but the hosts were unable to salvage anything as the club’s dream of a top-four finish slipped further out of reach.

Swansea City claimed its second consecutive win in league play on Saturday with a 1-0 win over Burnley thanks to an own goal by Burnley defender Kieran Trippier.

Newcastle United rebounded from a 5-0 thrashing at the hands of Manchester City last week with a 1-0 win over Aston Villa at St. James’ Park. Papiss Cisse collected the only goal of the match in the 37th minute.

Peter Crouch’s tally 18 minutes from time held up as the winner to give Stoke City a 1-0 result over Hull City, while Saturday’s final fixture saw West Bromwich Albion knock off Southampton, 1-0, thanks to a goal in the second minute of play from Saido Berahino.

►  Motherwell snaps skid with win over Inverness

Motherwell put an end to a lengthy winless run in league play on Saturday with a 2-1 victory over Inverness at Fir Park.

Motherwell started the day at the foot of the table in the Scottish Premier League, and while the victory keeps them in that position, some confidence from the win could allow the club to put together a run of positive form.

After a scoreless opening half, Louis Laing gave the home side the lead in the 48th minute. Edward Ofere collected an equalizer in the 76th minute, but Lionel Ainsworth netted the winner five minutes from time to give Motherwell its first win since a 1-0 result over Partick Thistle on December 27.

Also in the Scottish Premier League on Saturday, Partick Thistle claimed a 2-0 victory over Dundee United on the strength of goals from Stephen O’Donnel and a Jaroslaw Fojut own goal, while Jamie Reckord’s 67th-minute tally handed Ross County a 1-0 victory over Dundee.

Steven Thompson struck just past the hour mark to lift St. Mirren to a 1-0 win over Hamilton, while St. Johnstone and Kilmarnock played to a scoreless draw.

►  Dortmund downs Schalke in Revierderby

Borussia Dortmund’s ascent up the Bundesliga table continued on Saturday with a comfortable 3-0 victory over Schalke at Signal Iduna Park in the latest edition of the Revierderby.

It’s been a massive struggle for Jurgen Klopp’s team in league play for most of the campaign as the club has been rooted to the bottom of the table for a significant chunk of time.

But it seems Dortmund is rounding into form just in time as Saturday’s win is the club’s fourth straight to move to 10th place.

It was a tight affair until the final quarter-hour and the home side finally broke the deadlock with 12 minutes to play as Pierre Emerick Aubameyang fired it past Schalke goalkeeper Timon Wellenreuther.

The hosts doubled the lead in the 79th minute through a goal from Henrik Mkhitaryan and Marco Reus wrapped up all three points with a goal four minutes from time.

With the win, Dortmund moves to within eight points of fourth-place Bayer Leverkusen for a Champions League qualification place.

Also in the Bundesliga on Saturday, Simon Rolfes’ 33rd-minute tally handed Leverkusen a 1-0 win over Freiburg at the BayArena, while Christian Gentner and Lars Stindl traded goals as Hannover and Stuttgart played to a 1-1 draw at the AWD Arena.

Salomon Kalou scored two minutes from time to lift Hertha Berlin to a 1-0 victory against Augsburg, while Kevin Volland and Eugen Polanski scored second-half goals to power Hoffenheim to a 2-0 win against Mainz.

In Saturday’s final Bundesliga fixture, Alexander Meier netted a pair of goals to lift Eintracht to a 2-1 win over Hamburg.

►  Lyon stumbles against Lille

Lyon wasted an opportunity to widen their lead atop the Ligue 1 table on Saturday as the club stumbled to a 2-1 defeat against Lille at the Grand Stade Lille Metropole.

Lyon entered the contest holding a two-point lead over second-place Paris Saint-Germain, but Saturday’s result opens the door for the two-time league champions to claim the top spot if they defeat Monaco on Sunday.

Things got off to a flying start for Lyon as Corentin Tolisso found the back of the net after just three minutes and took the lead into the intermission, but Lille seized control in the second half.

Idrissa Gana Gueye connected for the equalizer in the 57th minute and Marcos Lopes scored the winning tally just three minutes later.

Lyon pushed numbers forward looking to get a least a point out of the match, but an equalizer never came as Lille held on for an important three points.

The victory moves Lille into eighth place in Ligue 1 on 35 points.

Also in the French top flight on Saturday, Abdoulaye Doucoure’s 36th-minute tally held up as the winner to give Rennes a 1-0 victory over Lens, while Francois Bellugou and Gianni Bruno lifted Lorient to a 2-0 win over Bastia.

Gilles Sunu buried the winning strike in the 73rd minute to help Evian to a 2-1 result against Metz, while Max-Alain Gradel and Jean-Daniel Akpa-Akpro traded goals as Toulouse and Saint Etienne played to a 1-1 draw.

In Saturday’s final match, Isaac Kiese Thelin and Gaetan Charbonnier swapped goals as Bordeaux and Reims finished level at 1-1.

►  Messi, Suarez lead Barca over Granada

Lionel Messi and Luis Suarez found the back of the net in the second half on Saturday as Barcelona ran out 3-1 winners over Granada at Los Carmenes.

The Catalan club suffered a shock 1-0 defeat against Malaga last week in La Liga play, but rebounded from that setback a few days later as Suarez netted a pair of goals to help Barcelona claim a 2-1 win over Manchester City in the Champions League.

Saturday’s affair against strugglers Granada caused Barcelona little trouble as Ivan Rakitic opened the scoring in the 25th minute and Suarez, the former Liverpool man, doubled the lead four minutes into the second half.

Granada pulled one back in the 53rd minute when Fran Rico dispatched a penalty kick, but Messi scored with 20 minutes to play to ensure all three points went the way of Barcelona.

The result pulls the Catalan club to within one point of rivals Real Madrid for the top spot in La Liga, while Granada remains in the relegation zone with 19 points from 25 matches played.

Also in La Liga on Saturday, Alberto Bueno powered home an impressive four goals in a span of 15 first-half minutes at the Campo de Futbol de Vallecas as Rayo Vallecano rolled to a 4-2 win over Levante, while Almeria and Deportivo played to a scoreless draw.

In Saturday’s final fixture, Sergi Darder, Juanmi and Ricardo Horta all found the back of the net to lead Malaga to a 3-2 win over Getafe.

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

SUNDAY, MARCH 01, 2015
National Basketball Association
LA Clippers at Chicago, 1:00 PM - ABC
Cleveland at Houston, 3:30 PM - ABC
Portland at Sacramento, 6:00 PM - CSN-Northwest, California, DSS
Philadelphia at Indiana, 6:00 PM - CSN-Philadelphia, FS-Indiana, DSS
Golden State at Boston, 6:00 PM - CSN-Bay, New England, DSS
Charlotte at Orlando, 6:00 PM - SportSouth, FS-Florida, DSS
Oklahoma City at LA Lakers, 6:30 PM - ESPN
New Orleans at Denver, 8:00 PM - FS-New Orleans, Altitude, DSS
National Hockey League
Los Angeles at Winnipeg, 4:00 PM - FS-West, TSN3, DSS
Columbus at Pittsburgh, 5:00 PM - FS-Ohio, ROOT-Pittsburgh, DSS
Tampa Bay at Florida, 5:00 PM - SunSports, FS-Florida, DSS
Toronto at Washington, 7:00 PM - CITY, CSN-DC, DSS
Anaheim at Dallas, 8:00 PM - NBCSN
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The Gilmer Free Press

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Expect Sherman on Sunday

When it comes to Richard Sherman and playing in the Super Bowl there is no right or wrong answer unless you are talking about the math itself.

“You’ve gotta time your conception a little better, I would say,“ Jets wide receiver Eric Decker quipped Friday on WFAN Radio.

Sherman’s girlfriend, Ashley Moss, is pregnant and due to give Seattle’s All- Pro cornerback a son in the coming days but if the baby decides to make a break for it early on Sunday, Sherman will be forced to choose between his teammates and his duty as a father.

“I think he’s going to be a disciplined young man and stay in there until after the game,“ Sherman joked on Thursday. “He’s going to do his father his first favor and stay in there for another week or two.“

Sherman’s current quandary signals a sharp generational shift.

Years ago there would have been no discussion—you play if it’s a Week 4 game never mind the Super Bowl but things have changed in today’s society and Seahawks coach Pete Carroll made sure to give his star a wide berth.

“Whenever our players have a personal family issue that comes up, it’s always about the family first,“ Carroll said on Friday morning.

Moss told one television station that Sherman will be suiting up on Sunday no matter what.

“He’s very locked in; football comes first,“ Moss told Seattle’s KING 5.

Sherman has hedged far more, though.

“I’ve thought about the possibility of his coming during the game or coming before the game,“ Sherman said earlier this week. “We have things in place in case that happens. We’ll cross that bridge when we get there.

“I would not like to miss the birth of my first kid,“ he added. “Hopefully, and God willing, we won’t have to cross that bridge.“

Others don’t think it should be a choice.

“I couldn’t miss (the birth of a child),“ Decker said. “That’s the Super Bowl of my life.“

Decker’s wife, country singer Jessie James Decker, gave birth to their first child last March.

Pro golfer Hunter Mahan famously passed on a chance for a huge pay day when he left the 2013 Canadian Open while leading after his wife went into labor before the final round.

Phil Mickelson was also prepared to leave the 1999 U.S. Open early despite being in the hunt for what would have been his first major tourney win.

Golfers, though, are independent contractors and their decisions aren’t going to impact 52 other men who have fought and clawed through 18 games to play on football’s biggest stage.

“This opportunity is rare in itself and unique in itself,“ Carroll said of playing in the Super Bowl.

And that’s why the easiest prop bet on Super Bowl Sunday is Sherman suiting up for the Seahawks despite a hyperextended elbow and the potential stork visit.

“I guess we’ll have a Super Bowl baby,“ Moss said when asked what will happen if she goes into labor, “and if you see Richard heading for the locker room right after it hits zero in the fourth quarter, don’t be surprised.“

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Area High Schools Boys Basketball Game Results

(Saturday, January 31)

#5 Gilmer County 80     Wirt County 40

#2 Bridgeport 64     #5 Robert C. Byrd 57

#6 Lincoln 74     Frankfort 65

North Marion 65     Webster County 58 (OT)

Tygarts Valley 63     Greenbrier West 48

Weirton Madonna 63     Clay-Battelle 54

St. Marys 59     Meadow Bridge 42

►  Area High Schools Girls Basketball Game Results

(Saturday, January 31)

#7 Charleston Catholic 43     #8 Notre Dame 30

#5 Logan 79     #10 Buckhannon-Upshur 46

Parkersburg South 84     Parkersburg 79

St. Marys 62     Clay-Battelle 52

►  Big Atlantic Classic

Friday’s Results

Game 13 — Wyoming East 72, Oak Hill 42 (girls co-consolation)

Game 14 — Parkersburg South 83, Princeton 76 (boys AAA)

Game 15 — Martinsburg 57, Shady Spring 49 (boys AAA)

Game 16 — Greenbrier East 80, Hampshire 64 (boys AAA)

Game 17 — Woodrow Wilson 56, Washington 36 (boys AAA)

Saturday’s Results

Game 18 — Huntington 95, Oak Hill 19 (girls co-consolation)

Game 19 — Princeton 69, Shady Spring 61, 2 OT (boys AAA co-consolation)

Game 20 — Washington 46, Hampshire 40 (boys AAA co-consolation)

Game 21 — Westside 63, Scott 50 (boys AA championship)

Game 22 — Morgantown 56, Greenbrier East 42 (girls co-championship)

Game 23 — Parkersburg South 53, Martinsburg 52 (boys AAA co-championship)

Game 24 — St. Albans 65, George Washington 44 (girls co-championship)

Game 25 — Greenbrier East 65, Woodrow Wilson 64 (boys AAA co-championship)

►  Shootout at the Big House - At Charleston Civic Center

Monday, February 09

10:00 AM — Man vs. Paden City (boys)

11:30 AM — Liberty Raleigh vs. St. Marys (boys)

1:00 PM — Webster County vs. Petersburg (boys)

2:30 PM — Parkersburg vs. Oak Hill (boys)

4:00 PM — George Washington vs. Hurricane (girls)

5:30 PM — South Charleston vs. Logan (girls)

7:00 PM — Magnolia vs. Valley Fayette (boys)

8:30 PM — Woodrow Wilson vs. Wesley Christian, Ky. (boys)

Tuesday, February 10

10:00 AM — Lincoln County vs. Chapmanville (girls)

11:30 AM — Lincoln County vs. Clay County (boys)

1:00 PM — Chapmanville vs. Williamstown (boys)

2:30 PM — Ravenswood vs. Point Pleasant (boys)

4:00 PM — Nitro vs. Charleston Catholic (boys)

5:30 PM — Parkersburg South vs. Logan (girls)

7:00 PM — Parkersburg South vs. Logan (boys)

8:30 PM — George Washington vs. Perry Central, KY (boys)

10:00 PM — Huntington Prep vs. team TBA (boys)

Wednesday, February 11

10:00 AM — Greater Beckley Christian vs. St. Joseph (girls)

11:30 PM — Greater Beckley Christian vs. St. Joseph (boys)

1:00 PM — Ripley vs. Westside (boys)

2:30 PM — Frankfort vs. East Fairmont (boys)

4:00 PM — Scott vs. Buffalo (boys)

5:30 PM — Wyoming East vs. Robert C. Byrd (boys)

7:00 PM — South Charleston vs. Elkins (boys)

8:30 PM — Parkersburg vs. Spring Valley (girls)

The Gilmer Free Press

►  MEC Men’s Basketball Game Results

(Saturday, January 31)

Glenville State 82, Shepherd 76 | Final Stats

Glenville State got past Shepherd, 82-72, on Saturday at the Butcher Center.

With the game tied at 70-70 with 2:30 to go, the Pioneers (16-4, 12-2) scored the next six points, capped by a Sedric Nady three-pointer that helped GSC pick up the victory. Both teams shot over 50% from the field, and Glenville State hit 12 threes while Shepherd made 11.

GSC’s Dontre Morales scored 30 points on 11-of-15 shooting and pulled down seven rebounds. Nady finished with 20 and Brett Morris scored 12.

Ryan McTavish scored 26 points to lead Shepherd (11-9, 6-8). Austin Cunningham had 18 and Morgan McDonald scored 10 points and had six rebounds.

Wheeling Jesuit 93, West Virginia State 89 | Final Stats

Wheeling Jesuit withstood a late charge from West Virginia State to pick up a 93-89 win over West Virginia State.

The Cardinals (11-7, 7-6) were led by 26 points from Justin Fritts. Eric Seifert scored 18 and Kyle Ritz tallied a double-double with 17 points and 12 rebounds as WJU won its fifth-straight.

Markee Mazyck scored a game-high 27 points, 26 of which came in the second half, before fouling out. Damion Harris had 18 points and Dominic Phillips scored 12 as West Virginia State dropped to 3-18 overall and 3-10 in conference play.

Fairmont State 86, West Virginia Wesleyan 76 (OT) | Final Stats

Fairmont State needed overtime to pick up its league-best sixth-straight win, 86-76, over West Virginia Wesleyan at Joe Retton Arena.

After trailing by 14 early in the second half, WVWC battled all the way back to take a 66-63 lead with 1:07 to go after a Garrett Grantham layup. FSU forced overtime as Nick Harney laid it in with seven seconds left.

In the overtime session, Fairmont State hit 10-of-12 free throws and forced WVWC to go just 2-for-10 from the field to secure the victory.

FSU (14-6, 11-3) was led by 25 points and eight rebounds from Harney and 24 points from Jamel Morris. Shammgod Wells had 17 points, five rebounds and five assists.

Tanner McGrew scored 26 points and pulled down 15 rebounds for WVWC (8-12, 6-8). Grantham finished with 19 points and seven assists and Anthony Richards contributed 11.

#10 West Liberty 83, Charleston 65 | Final Stats

C.J. Hester scored 26 points and pulled down 14 rebounds to lead No. 10 West Liberty to an 83-65 win over Charleston on Saturday at Eddie King Gymnasium.

Seger Bonifant scored 17 and Devin Hoehn added 12 as West Liberty improved to 17-2 overall and 12-2 in league play.

Octavius Green came off the bench and scored 19 points to lead UC (14-6, 9-5). Jevonte Hughes contributed 14 points and Chris Evans tallied 11 points and five assists.

Concord 85, Notre Dame 72 | Final Stats

Concord broke a halftime tie by opening the second half on a 27-10 run to claim an 85-72 win over Notre Dame on Saturday at the Carter Center.

Aaron Miller scored 23 points, including 18 in the second half, to lead Concord (13-6, 9-5). Terry Hopewell scored 17 points and pulled down 16 rebounds, and Rob Reed added 17 points. Mike Boyd dished out eight assists to go with eight points.

Notre Dame (10-10, 6-8) was paced by 24 points from Tyree Gaiter. Lawrence DeArmond had 16 points and 10 rebounds, and Will Vorhees scored 16.

Urbana 76, UVa-Wise 64 | Final Stats

Urbana snapped a nine-game losing streak with a 76-64 win over UVa-Wise on Saturday at the Prior Center.

Urbana (5-15, 2-12) shot 48% from the field, committed just 10 turnovers and out-rebounded UVa-Wise, 41-34. Rodney Clark Jr. led a balanced attack for the Blue Knights with 14 points, and Carlas Jackson scored 12. Doug Hilson and Myles Busby each contributed 10 points.

Philip Owens led UVa-Wise (1-18, 0-14) with 21 points. Matt Day registered a double-double with 15 points and 13 rebounds.

►  MEC Women’s Basketball Game Results

(Saturday, January 31)

West Virginia State 77, Wheeling Jesuit 74 | Final Stats

A 10-0 run midway through the second half sparked West Virginia State to a 77-74 win over Wheeling Jesuit.

The Yellow Jackets (6-12, 4-9) were led by 23 points and 11 rebounds from Shealyn Shafer. Alexus Hobbs added 16 points and seven rebounds and Aurreshae Hines added 10 points off the bench. WVSU shot 50% from the field and had just 13 turnovers in the game. 

Wheeling Jesuit (11-6, 8-5) had 22 points and five assists from Jaila Bryant in the losing effort. Jaana Motton had 10 points to go with nine rebounds, and Breanna Butler tallied 15.

West Liberty 90, Charleston 83 | Final Stats

West Liberty held off Charleston, 90-83, on Saturday afternoon at Eddie King Gymnasium

The Hilltoppers (13-7, 10-4) had a 10-point advantage at halftime and increased it to 16 points with 15:52 left, but Charleston (15-5, 10-4) fought its way back into the game, eventually drawing even at 72-72 with 5:27 left. WLU regained control of the game by scoring 13 of the game’s next 17 points to take the win.

West Liberty’s Liz Flowers poured in 27 points, and Kailee Howe scored 24 and dished out 11 assists. Hillary Southworth added 17 points for the ‘Toppers.

Kiara Johnson registered a double-double with 19 points and 10 rebounds. LeAnne Ross finished with 18 points, and Nichole Perry scored 14 of her 16 points in the second half to help spark the comeback.

Glenville State 77, Shepherd 66 | Final Stats

An 11-0 run midway through the second half broke a close game open as Glenville State picked up its fourth-straight win, 77-66, on the road at Shepherd.

Kayla Tibbs led all scorers with 19 points for Glenville State (10-8, 8-6). Keyanna Tate had a double-double with 16 points and 10 rebounds, and Brittany Jackson contributed 11 points.

Shepherd (13-7, 10-4) was paced by 15 points from Cara Mason. Briana Vaden had 13 points and seven rebounds, and Gabby Flinchum came off the bench to score 12.

Fairmont State 62, West Virginia Wesleyan 53 | Final Stats

Holding a narrow 52-51 with under three minutes left, Hailey Garrett scored eight of Fairmont State’s 10 points in a 10-0 run as the Falcons came away with a 62-53 win over West Virginia Wesleyan.

Garrett finished with 24 points and eight rebounds to lead FSU (16-4, 10-4). Hallie Gunnoe and Emily Lohr each added 14 in the victory.

Mari Stewart scored 21 and Adrian Cunningham finished with 10 points for the Bobcats (2-15, 2-12).

UVa-Wise 75, Urbana 58 | Final Stats

Blair Harding scored 29 points and pulled down 13 rebounds to lead UVa-Wise to a 75-58 win over Urbana on Saturday at the Prior Center.

The Cavs (7-13, 6-8) forced 23 turnovers in the game and out-rebounded the Blue Knights 44-39. Taylor Sandidge scored 15 points and Kayla Carey added 12 for UVa-Wise in the win.

Urbana (1-19, 1-13) was led by 15 points apiece from Kennedy Boggs and Tori Purk. Kate Francisco had 13 points to go with five rebounds and four assists.

Notre Dame 76, Concord 62 | Final Stats

Notre Dame shot 50% from the field and Martha Nagbe went for 26 points to lead the Falcons to a 76-62 win over Concord.

In addition to 26 points, Nagbe had seven rebounds and four assists for NDC (13-7, 9-5). Kelsey Miller had a double-double with 10 points and 10 rebounds and Lexi Hassing chipped in 10 points.

Kylie Molisee had 20 points and Jacqueline Kestner had 11 points and 10 rebounds for Concord (5-13, 5-9).

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Credit the Mountaineers with another 26 turnovers

Coach Tubby Smith hoped Texas Tech might better handle No. 17 West Virginia’s press the second time around.

Instead, the Red Raiders committed 26 turnovers, including 10 during a 6 1/2-minute span of the second half when the Mountaineers seized control on their way to a 77-58 romp Saturday.

“Awful. Just awful,” Smith said. “It was like we never saw it before.”

In fairness to Texas Tech’s flustered ballhandlers, West Virginia (18-3, 6-2 Big 12) has made numerous opponents look awful. The national leaders in steals grabbed 10 more and enjoyed a 33-9 edge in points off turnovers thanks to their tenacious press.

“It’s uncomfortable to play against,” said Bob Huggins. “If you were walking down the street and somebody just got in your face about 3 inches away for a few blocks, would that bother you? No one wants to play against that.”

Devin Williams scored 12 of his 18 points in the second half when West Virginia turned a six-point lead into a blowout. He also grabbed eight rebounds, sharing the team-high with Jonathan Holton.

Daxter Miles added 12 points and point guard Juwan Staten contributed 11 points and five assists as the Mountaineers surpassed last season’s win total before the end of January.

West Virginia opened the second half on a 16-2 run lined with transition layups and dunks fed by a flurry of turnovers. During one sequence Texas Tech coughed up the ball on five of seven possessions.

“We got inside their heads,” Miles said. “I heard them telling other players to come get the ball.”

Added Staten: “At halftime we talked about if you have a team down, you’ve got to put them away.”

Pressing company: Riddled by 22 turnovers earlier this month during a loss to West Virginia in Lubbock, Texas Tech (11-11, 1-8) aimed to be stronger and smarter with the basketball in the rematch. But the mistakes simply repeated themselves, with six Red Raiders committing at least three turnovers.

“We were overwhelmed by West Virginia’s pressure,” Smith said. “They stay after you. It reminds me of a team Billy Donovan had at Florida and some of the teams Rick Pitino coached at Louisville. They’re always attacking.”

From hot hand to forgotten man: Texas Tech guard Robert Turner scored 18 first-half points, keeping the deficit to 37-31, but was shut out during the final 20 minutes, smothered by the defense of WVU’s Gary Browne.

“We put Gary on him and said don’t let him catch it,” Huggins said.

After nearly matching his season-high of 19 points during the first half, Turner was 0-of-2 shooting after that in an additional 10 minutes.

Forward Aaron Ross scored 13 and Isaiah Manderson added 10 for Texas Tech, which was held to 16 fewer shot attempts overall and trailed by 21 points in the second half.

Browne finished with 10 for West Virginia, which led wire-to-wire and shot an atypical 51% in the second half.

Scuffling: After West Virginia ran off 12 unanswered to build a 30-14 lead, Turner was sent sprawling on a breakaway layup by Mountaineers forward Brandon Watkins. That led to a scuffle after which Texas Tech center Norense Odiase was ejected.

Along with Odiase’s technical, Ross was assessed a flagrant technical for swinging an elbow on a rebound, one of Texas Tech’s 15 first-half fouls.

The 31 first-half points must have felt like an avalanche after the Red Raiders managed only 36 in their previous loss at Oklahoma, setting a record for scoring futility in a Big 12 game.

Next up: West Virginia encounters the meat of its Big 12 schedule during the final regular-season 10 games, facing opponents with an average RPI of 26. That stretch starts Tuesday at Oklahoma.

►  Huggins: Team leaders rebuilt culture of commitment

West Virginia has won three straight games and six out of eight in the Big 12, which according to RPI calculations, is the deepest league in college basketball.

An NCAA tourney berth seems all but assured, after a two-year absence, and if grander dreams are your thing, the Mountaineers might—I say might—make a charge at Kansas for the conference championship.

Bob Huggins has fixed things, it appears, and he credits players being more committed and more immersed in the sport. After whipping Texas Tech 77-58 on Saturday, leadership commendations went to point guard Juwan Staten and forward Devin Williams, an inside-out duo who rebuilt the program from inside out.

“Leadership is not doing as I say, it’s doing as I do,” Huggins said. “Those are two guys who spend an enormous amount of time in the gym. So then you can get on somebody else about not improving and not working hard.

“That’s the culture we had here … and then we lost it.”

Blame Deniz Kilicli’s electric guitar. The Turkish forward enjoyed the Final Four as a freshman, a 13-19 sendoff as a senior and passion for music that spanned both. He was a multi-dimensional guy, but to hear Huggins tell it, basketball and rock-n-roll don’t mix.

“We had some guys who would rather go play in a band than they would play basketball,” the coach said. “When they’re your leaders and they can’t wait to sprint out of here to pick up a guitar … it creates the wrong culture.”

To be clear, this was Huggins appraising Kilicli, not bashing him, because the coach developed a somewhat paternal affinity for the big kid with the hook shot. “I love him to death and he’s one of my favorite people of all-time,” said Huggins, who just wished that Kilicli and others on the past two teams loved basketball more.

“I’ve had guys where that was their self-being, and when they didn’t play well they were miserable. Just miserable,” Huggins said. “But they did something about it.”

Things aren’t so miserable now. Starting 18-3 with a top-20 RPI makes all signs point up. The roster was recalibrated with players who are more single-minded. None of them have taken the stage at 123 Pleasant; their stage of preference arrives in March.

Huggins wants hobbies on hold. And as this West Virginia outfit transforms devotion into development, winning is the music they appreciate most.

<The Gilmer Free Press

►  Top-25 College Men’s Basketball Game Results

(Saturday, January 31)

Final Score: (1) Kentucky 70, Alabama 55

Willie Cauley-Stein and Karl-Anthony Towns each scored 12 points in the top-ranked Kentucky Wildcats’ 70-55 victory over the Alabama Crimson Tide. The Wildcats (21-0, 8-0 SEC), who are off their best start since beginning 23-0 in 1965-66, became the lone unbeaten team left in the country after No. 2 Virginia lost to fourth-ranked Duke on Saturday. Devin Booker and Aaron Harrison added 11 and 10 points, respectively, for Kentucky, which shot 58.5% from the field.

Final Score: (4) Duke 69, (2) Virginia 63

No. 4 Duke missed 10 of its first 11 looks from behind the arc and trailed by nine points late in the second half. Then the shots started falling. Quinn Cook made three 3-pointers in the final 4:38, Tyus Jones put the game away with a deep 3 with 10 seconds left and the Blue Devils went into Charlottesville and rallied late to stun No. 2 Virginia, 69-63, handing the Cavaliers their first loss of the season. Jones finished with 17 points while Cook and Justise Winslow netted 15 apiece for the Blue Devils (18-3, 5-3 ACC), who were primed to fall three games back in the ACC standings before closing the game on an 11-0 run. Malcolm Brogdon paced Virginia (19-1, 7-1) with 17 points, and Justin Anderson added 11.

Final Score: (3) Gonzaga 82, Memphis 64

Przemek Karnowski scored 17 points with six rebounds as No. 3 Gonzaga extended a pair of winning streaks with an 82-64 win over Memphis on Saturday. The Bulldogs (22-1) have won their last 15 games since their lone blemish on the season, a 66-63 overtime loss to Arizona on December 6, and are undefeated in their last 38 games at home, the longest current streak of its kind in the nation. Kyle Wiltjer had 15 points and seven boards, Domantas Sabonis netted 13 points with 11 rebounds and Kevin Pangos and Gary Bell Jr. scored 11 and 10 points, respectively, in the win. Nick King paced the Tigers (13-8) with 13 points and four steals and Austin Nichols provided 12 points in defeat.

Final Score: (5) Wisconsin 74, Iowa 63

Frank Kaminsky scored 24 points and Nigel Hayes added 14, leading fifth-ranked Wisconsin to a 74-63 victory over Iowa on Saturday at Carver-Hawkeye Arena. Josh Gasser and Sam Dekker each chipped in 11 for the Badgers (19-2, 7-1 Big Ten), who have won four straight since a stunning loss at Rutgers on January 11. Kaminsky, who missed the game against the Scarlet Knights because of a concussion, also grabbed a game-high nine rebounds on Saturday while making half of his field goal attempts and 8-of-9 from the free throw line. Wisconsin has won 12 of its last 13, including a season sweep of Iowa. The Badgers rolled to an 82-50 rout of the Hawkeyes just 11 days ago in Madison and have won five straight in the series. Aaron White scored 15 to lead Iowa (13-8, 4-4), which has lost three in a row. White had played just seven minutes in last week’s loss to Purdue because of a stinger.

Final Score: (7) Villanova 68, DePaul 55

Ryan Arcidiacono scored all of his 18 points in the second half to lead No. 7 Villanova to a 68-55 win over DePaul on Saturday. JayVaughn Pinkston went 10-for-10 from the free throw line on his way to 14 points, Darrun Hilliard added 11 points and Daniel Ochefu posted seven points with 12 rebounds in the win. The Wildcats (19-2, 6-2 Big East) have won six of their last seven contests. Billy Garrett Jr. netted 14 points and was the only double-figure scoring effort for the Blue Demons (11-12, 5-5), who have lost three straight.

Final Score: Pittsburgh 76, (8) Notre Dame 72

Robinson made a tough go-ahead runner in the lane with 12 seconds remaining as Pittsburgh took down No. 8 Notre Dame 76-72 in a wild finish on Saturday afternoon. The Fighting Irish nearly pulled off an improbable comeback when Jerian Grant shook off a slow start and went on a personal 9-0 run inside the final three minutes. Grant’s two free throws with 31.2 seconds left gave Notre Dame a 72-71 lead, but Robinson drove right, gained some space with a spin move and scored over Pat Connaughton for what proved to be the deciding bucket. Grant passed up a shot at the other end with Steve Vasturia open in the corner, and Vasturia’s shot was off the mark. Jamel Artis grabbed the rebound, made two free throws, and Pitt stole the ensuing inbounds pass to end its three-game losing streak. Artis finished with 20 points and eight rebounds, and Robinson added 15 points with 10 assists for the Panthers (14-8, 4-5 ACC), who shot 68% from the field in the second half and 59% overall. Demetrius Jackson led Notre Dame with 15 points, Grant chipped in with 14, and Vasturia and Zach Auguste each netted 12 in a losing cause. Notre Dame (20-3, 8-2) had won five in a row—four in comeback fashion—and was fresh off a signature victory over No. 4 Duke.

Final Score: (9) Kansas 68, Kansas State 57

Ellis had 16 points and 12 rebounds in the ninth-ranked Kansas Jayhawks’ 68-57 win over the Kansas State Wildcats on Saturday. Wayne Selden Jr. added 14 points and four blocks for the Jayhawks (18-3, 7-1 Big 12), who have won four in a row and sit atop the Big 12 standings. Brannen Greene tallied 11 points off the bench. Thomas Gipson and Marcus Foster each scored 19 points for the Wildcats (12-10, 5-4), who have lost three of four.

Final Score: (10) Louisville 78, (13) North Carolina 68 (OT)

Montrezl Harrell had 22 points and 15 rebounds and No. 10 Louisville rallied from 18 down in the second half to beat No. 13 North Carolina 78-68 on Saturday. Louisville outscored the North Carolina 53-25 over the last 22 1/2 minutes of the game to snap a six-game Tar Heels winning streak that began with a one-point victory over the Cardinals in Chapel Hill on January 10. Terry Rozier added 22 points and 10 rebounds, scoring eight in overtime to help Louisville (18-3, 6-2 ACC) pick up its third consecutive win since a loss to Duke two weeks ago. Chris Jones scored seven of his 17 points in overtime for the Cardinals. Marcus Paige had 15 points to lead North Carolina (17-5, 7-2) and J.P. Tokoto added 11 with 11 rebounds. Brice Johnson had two points and 10 rebounds before fouling out. The Tar Heels shot 43.3% from the field, down from a 50.8% mark during their winning streak. They are 0-3 all-time against the Cardinals in Louisville, also losing games in 1929 and 1999.

Final Score: (18) Northern Iowa 70, (12) Wichita State 54

Northern Iowa and Wichita State played the first Missouri Valley game between ranked opponents in 33 years. And it was the 18th-ranked Panthers who picked up a solid home win to snap No. 12 Wichita State’s 27-game regular-season winning streak in conference. Seth Tuttle scored a career-high 29 points with seven rebounds as Northern Iowa defeated Wichita State, 70-54, on Saturday. The Panthers (20-2, 9-1 MVC) made 60% of their field goals and converted 5-of-7 shots from beyond the arc in their ninth straight win. Fred VanVleet led the Shockers (19-3, 9-1) with 18 points and Ron Baker chipped in with 12 points on just 2-of-10 shooting from 3-point range.

Final Score: Richmond 64, (14) VCU 55

Kendall Anthony scored 22 points, and the Richmond Spiders upset cross-town rival No. 14 VCU, 64-55, on Saturday. The Spiders (12-9, 5-3 Atlantic 10) handled the Rams’ Havoc defense in a 42-point second half. The Rams shot just 40.7% overall and made just 3-of-20 attempts from 3-point range. Terry Allen added 15 points and seven rebounds for Richmond. VCU (17-4, 7-1) saw its 12-game winning streak come to an end. Treveon Graham paced the Rams with 18 points on 6-of-11 shooting and seven boards. Briante Weber chipped in 11 before leaving late in the game with a knee injury.

Final Score: (15) Iowa State 83, TCU 66

Georges Niang poured in 23 points and grabbed eight rebounds, leading 15th-ranked Iowa State to an 83-66 victory over TCU on Saturday at Hilton Coliseum. Monte Morris contributed 16 points and six assists for the Cyclones (16-4, 6-2 Big 12), who were coming off a three- point win on Monday against Texas and extended their home winning streak to 19 consecutive games. Iowa State owns the 10th-longest home winning streak in the country. Bryce Dejean-Jones also scored 16 points and Dustin Hogue added 12 in the victory. Each of the Cyclones’ first seven conference games had been decided by single digits, but Iowa State used a couple of second- half runs to make it a laugher after leading by only two at halftime. Trey Zeigler scored 14 points for TCU (14-7, 1-7), which has lost four in a row. The Horned Frogs were 13-0 before conference play began in January.

Final Score: (17) West Virginia 77, Texas Tech 58

Devin Williams contributed 18 points with eight rebounds in 17th-ranked West Virginia’s 77-58 win over Texas Tech on Saturday. Daxter Miles Jr. chipped in with 12 points and Juwan Staten scored 11 with five assists for the Mountaineers (18-3, 6-2 Big 12), who have won three straight and four of their last five. Robert Turner supplied 18 points for the Red Raiders (11-11, 1-8), while Aaron Ross and Isaiah Manderson went for 13 and 10, respectively, off the bench in the loss.

Final Score: (20) Baylor 83, (19) Texas 60

Kenny Chery totaled 23 points thanks to a 5- of-7 performance from long range, and Royce O’Neale added 20 with eight rebounds as No. 20 Baylor topped 19th-ranked Texas, 83-60, at the Ferrell Center. Taurean Price and Johnathan Motley each contributed 13 points for the Bears (16-5, 4-4 Big 12), while Rico Gathers clocked in with eight points and 15 boards as the Bears won for the third time in their last four. Jonathan Holmes had 17 points for the Longhorns (14-7, 3-5), who received 16 points and 10 assists from Isaiah Taylor in a losing effort.

Final Score: (21) Georgetown 67, Creighton 40

D’Vauntes Smith-Rivera and Jabril Trawick nearly outscored Creighton by themselves, combining for 39 points as No. 21 Georgetown cruised to a 67-40 victory over the cold-shooting Bluejays. Smith- Rivera totaled 24 points, Trawick added 15 and the Hoyas (15-6, 7-3 Big East) emphatically rebounded from Tuesday’s home loss to Xavier with a stout defensive showing. Creighton (10-13, 1-9) followed up its first Big East win with its worst shooting performance of the season. The Bluejays shot an embarrassing 21% (11-for-53) from the floor and did not have a single player score in double figures. Avery Dingman led the way with eight points.

Final Score: (22) Indiana 72, Rutgers 64

James Blackmon Jr. scored 20 points with five rebounds to help No. 22 Indiana in a 72-64 win over Rutgers on Saturday. Yogi Ferrell and Troy Williams each netted 14 points for the Hoosiers (16-6, 6-3 Big Ten), with Williams adding 11 rebounds in the win. Indiana snapped its two-game losing streak. Myles Mack did all he could for the Scarlet Knights (10-13, 2-8), scoring 24 points and handing out eight assists.

Final Score: (24) Oklahoma 64, Oklahoma State 56

Jordan Woodard led four Oklahoma players in double digits with 17 points as the No. 24 Sooners rebounded from a big early deficit and downed rival Oklahoma State, 64-56, at Gallagher-Iba Arena. Buddy Hield picked up 15 points, Ryan Spangler 13 with nine rebounds and six assists while TaShawn Thomas poured in 12 for the Sooners (14-7, 5-4 Big 12). Phil Forte recorded 15 points for the Cowboys (14-7, 4-5). Le’Bryan Nash had 12 and Anthony Hickey added 10 points for the hosts.

Final Score: (25) Butler 72, Marquette 68 (OT)

Andrew Chrabascz had 30 points and seven rebounds to lead No. 25 Butler to a 72-68 victory over Marquette on Saturday. Kellen Dunham posted 17 points, Alex Barlow scored 15 with five rebounds and five assists, and Kameron Woods had 18 rebounds for the Bulldogs (16-6, 6-3 Big East), who have won three straight. Matt Carlino and Duane Wilson each scored 18 points, Luke Fischer added 12 points and six rebounds and Juan Anderson had 10 and eight for the Golden Eagles (10-11, 2-7), who have lost their past five.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  NBA Game Results

(Saturday, January 31)

Final Score: Sacramento 99, Indiana 94

Rudy Gay scored 31 points, DeMarcus Cousins had another double-double and the Sacramento Kings snapped an eight- game losing skid with a 99-94 win over the Indiana Pacers on Saturday. Darren Collison scored 23 points with five rebounds and five assists, and Cousins overcame his worst shooting night of the season to post 20 points and 19 rebounds. The trio of Gay, Collison and Cousins combined for nearly 75% of Sacramento’s points. Cousins shot 6-for-24 from the floor and turned the ball over four times before fouling out late in the fourth quarter. C.J. Miles and David West had 17 points apiece to lead Indiana, while George Hill gave 14, six boards and four assists in limited minutes off the bench.

Final Score: Dallas 108, Orlando 93

In the absence of Rajon Rondo, Monta Ellis scored 25 points and handed out 13 assists to help the Dallas Mavericks top the Orlando Magic, 108-93, on Saturday. Just 1 1/2 minutes into the game, Rondo went down with a head injury and would not return. Leading by as much as 27, the Mavericks’ edge was cut to as little as five in the fourth quarter before they pulled away again. Tyson Chandler added 20 points and nine rebounds for Dallas in its second straight win, and Dirk Nowitzki netted 11 points. Orlando lost its eighth straight game despite a 17-point, 16-rebound effort from Nikola Vucevic. Evan Fournier and Willie Green each scored 15 points.

Final Score: Toronto 120, Washington 116 (OT)

Kyle Lowry scored seven of his 23 points in overtime and the Toronto Raptors escaped with a 120-116 win over the Washington Wizards on Saturday night. The Wizards rallied from 21 points down with 14 minutes left in the game, tying the score on Paul Pierce’s 3-pointer with 25 seconds remaining in regulation. Washington’s only lead in the game came 56 seconds into overtime on a free throw by Pierce. But Lowry scored four points during a quick 6-0 run that put the Atlantic Division-leading Raptors ahead for good on the way to a sixth consecutive win—their third winning streak of that length this season. It came a day after Toronto led Brooklyn by 17 points in the third quarter but needed overtime to knock off the Nets 127-122 Friday night. Lou Williams added 19 points in this one for Toronto, Amir Johnson scored 17, Patrick Patterson had 16 and DeMar DeRozan netted 15 with 10 rebounds. Greivis Vasquez added 12 points to finish off six Raptors players in double figures. John Wall flirted with a triple-double, scoring 28 points with 12 assists and eight rebounds for the Wizards, who have dropped two in a row and four of the last six. Bradley Beal added 26 points in the loss, Pierce scored 19 and Nene had 16 points. Kris Humphries added 10 points and 14 rebounds off the bench.

Final Score: Atlanta 91, Philadelphia 85

Al Horford had 23 points and 11 rebounds and the Atlanta Hawks held on to beat the Philadelphia 76ers 91-85 on Saturday night for their 19th consecutive win. The NBA-leading Hawks wrapped up a perfect 17-0 January, but it came harder than expected. They had to battle to stay ahead down the stretch despite leading by 21 points in the second quarter and 15 in the third. Michael Carter-Williams, Luc Mbah a Moute and Jerami Grant scored 13 points apiece for the Sixers, who were attempting to win three consecutive games for the first time this season.

Final Score: Detroit 114, Houston 101

Kentavious Caldwell-Pope and D.J. Augustin each scored 28 points as the Detroit Pistons beat the Houston Rockets 114-101 on Saturday night. Augustin added 12 assists for one of three double- doubles by the Pistons. Greg Monroe had 19 points and 12 rebounds, while Andre Drummond finished with 11 points and 16 boards. Kyle Singler scored 14 points and Anthony Tolliver supplied 12 for Detroit, which snapped a four-game losing streak and ended a seven-game skid against Houston. James Harden left the game late in the second quarter with a bruised left knee, but returned for the Rockets at the start of the second half and went on to score 26 points with nine assists and seven rebounds. Donatas Motiejunas had 21 points and Trevor Ariza added 15 for the Rockets, who had won four games in a row. Josh Smith missed eight shots while scoring just seven points in his first game against the Pistons since they waived him in December.

Final Score: Memphis 85, Oklahoma City 74

Durant was not effective in his return after a two-game absence, and the Memphis Grizzlies’ tough defense shut down the Oklahoma City Thunder, 85-74, on Saturday. Durant and Russell Westbrook each shot 5-of-16 for Oklahoma City, losers in four of its last five. The Grizzlies were led by their frontcourt duo of Zach Randolph and Marc Gasol. Randolph paced the game with 21 points and 18 rebounds, and Gasol added 15 points, 12 boards and five assists. In his own return from a two-game absence, Mike Conley scored 10 points for Memphis, which has won six in a row.

Final Score: Cleveland 106, Minnesota 90

In his first game in Minnesota since being traded, Cavaliers forward Kevin Love got the boos he expected when he was introduced before the game. Love, who was booed every time he touched the ball, had 14 points and 17 rebounds in Cleveland’s 106-90 victory over the Minnesota Timberwolves on Saturday. After playing his first six NBA seasons for the Timberwolves, Love was dealt to Cleveland as part of a three-team deal in the offseason. Minnesota acquired Andrew Wiggins and Anthony Bennett, the last two No. 1 overall picks in the draft. Wiggins himself a career night in a losing cause, scoring 33 points on 14- of-25 shooting. The 19-year-old matched the franchise record for most points by a teenager. All storylines aside, it was LeBron James who stole the show in the fourth quarter. James scored 16 of his 36 points in the final frame for the Cavaliers, who have won 10 in a row. Thaddeus Young ended with 19 points for the Timberwolves, who fell to 8-39 on the season. Nikola Pekovic and Kevin Martin had 14 points apiece, with Pekovic also pulling down 12 rebounds.

Final Score: Milwaukee 95, Portland 88

Jared Dudley scored 18 points with six rebounds to power the Milwaukee Bucks in a 95-88 victory over the Portland Trail Blazers on Saturday. O.J. Mayo finished with 17 points and seven rebounds, John Henson supplied 14 points, eight boards and four blocks while Brandon Knight and Jerryd Bayless each netted 11 in the Bucks’ third straight win. Wesley Matthews and Damian Lillard each scored 19 points apiece for Portland, which has lost three in a row.

Final Score: Charlotte 104, Denver 86

Cody Zeller had 21 points and the Charlotte Hornets rolled to a 104-86 win over the Denver Nuggets on Saturday night. Michael Kidd-Gilchrist added 17 points and 13 rebounds and Al Jefferson and Jason Maxiell each scored 14 for the Hornets, who missed all 11 of their 3- point attempts but led by as many as 36. Danilo Gallinari had 15 points to lead the Nuggets, who have lost nine of their last 10.

Final Score: LA Clippers 105, San Antonio 85

Blake Griffin posted 31 points, 13 rebounds and five assists, and the Los Angeles Clippers got back on track with a 105-85 win over the San Antonio Spurs. Chris Paul had 20 points and six assists and DeAndre Jordan led a dominant effort on the glass with 19 rebounds. The Clippers, who improved to 2-1 on their season-long eight game road trip, outrebounded the Spurs 56-36. They were coming off a 108-103 loss to the Pelicans on Friday. San Antonio, which took the first two games in the season series, stumbled out of the gate and never recovered as its three-game win streak was snapped.

Final Score: Golden State 106, Phoenix 87

Steph Curry tallied 25 points and seven assists as the Golden State Warriors snapped a two-game slide with a convincing 106-87 win over the Phoenix Suns. Klay Thompson netted 22 points and Leandro Barbosa added 14 in his second straight strong bench effort for Golden State, which endured its third two-game losing streak of the season but has still not dropped three straight games. Draymond Green added 11 rebounds and four assists while Harrison Barnes and Andre Igoudala gave 13 and 12 points, respectively. Markieff Morris posted his second straight double-double with 17 points and 11 rebounds for Phoenix, which hadn’t been away from home since an overtime loss to Memphis on January 11. The Suns have dropped three of five overall and lost three straight road games.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  NHL Game Results

(Saturday, January 31)

Final Score: Montreal 1, Washington 0 (OT)

Max Pacioretty scored the game’s only goal with 1:52 remaining in overtime to lift the Montreal Canadiens past the Washington Capitals 1-0 on Saturday afternoon. Pacioretty’s goal, coupled with Carey Price’s second consecutive shutout, ended Washington’s seven- game winning streak in Montreal and sent the Canadiens to a fifth straight victory. Price followed up his whitewash of the Rangers on Thursday with 36 saves. He improved to 10-1-1 since December 20, thanks in part to Pacioretty chipping in Tomas Plekanec’s centering feed in OT. Plekanec was skating down the right boards when he sent a backhand on net that a lunging Pacioretty got enough of to send over Braden Holtby’s left shoulder. Holtby, who was coming off his own shutout of the Penguins, made 29 saves in an otherwise stellar performance.

Final Score: Detroit 4, NY Islanders 1

Petr Mrazek stopped 22 shots and the Detroit Red Wings grabbed a 4-1 victory over the New York Islanders on Saturday. Brendan Smith, Gustav Nyquist, Tomas Tatar and Jonathan Ericsson each lit the lamp for the Red Wings, who rebounded from a loss at Tampa Bay on Thursday to win for a seventh time in their past eight games. Lubomir Visnovsky had the only goal of the game for the Islanders, who have dropped their past two contests. Chad Johnson allowed all four goals on just 19 shots in the loss.

Final Score: Ottawa 7, Arizona 2

Robin Lehner made 35 saves, and the Ottawa Senators scored four goals in a 5 1/2 minute span in their 7-2 win over the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday afternoon. Milan Michalek and Mark Stone each scored in the closing minutes of the second period, and Bobby Ryan and Jean- Gabriel Pageau added goals very early in the third period. Ottawa also got goals from Mike Hoffman, Erik Karlsson and Mika Zibanejad to win for the second time in three games. Marc Methot tallied a career-high three assists. Mike Smith allowed five Senators goals on 20 shots against him before getting the hook in the third period. Zbynek Michalek and Sam Gagner scored Arizona’s goals as the Coyotes fell to 1-3-2 on their ongoing eight- game road trip.

Final Score: Boston 3, Los Angeles 1

Brad Marchand scored two goals to lift the Boston Bruins to a 3-1 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Saturday. Chris Kelly tallied the game-winning goal late in the third and Tuukka Rask made 30 saves for the Bruins, who were coming off a 5-2 win over the Islanders on Thursday. Jordan Nolan lit the lamp and Jonathan Quick stopped 30-of-32 shots for the Kings, who have dropped five of their last six games.

Final Score: New Jersey 3, Florida 1

Keith Kinkaid made 26 saves to backstop the New Jersey Devils to a 3-1 win over visiting the Florida Panthers on Saturday night. Kinkaid was bidding for his first NHL shutout, but allowed a goal to Brandon Pirri with 1:29 remaining. Steve Bernier had scored an empty-net goal a minute earlier to seal the Devils’ third win in four games. Jaromir Jagr and Mike Cammalleri had first-period goals for New Jersey, which registered just one shot in the second and two in the third. Roberto Luongo stopped 11 shots as the Panthers suffered their sixth loss in seven games.

Final Score: NY Rangers 4, Carolina 1

Henrik Lundqvist stopped 31 shots to lead the New York Rangers in a 4-1 win over the Carolina Hurricanes. Chris Kreider, Dan Boyle, Dominic Moore and Rick Nash all lit the lamp for the Rangers, who snapped a two-game slide. Brad Malone had the only goal of the game for the Hurricanes, who have dropped their last two games. Cam Ward allowed all four goals on 37 shots in the loss.

Final Score: Philadelphia 1, Toronto 0

Michael Del Zotto recorded the game’s lone goal and Steve Mason stopped 30 shots as Philadelphia claimed a 1-0 decision over Toronto on Saturday. Mason made his 100th career appearance for the club a memorable one, recording his second shutout of the season and 25th career whitewash for the Flyers, who have won a season-high four straight games. James Reimer made 17 saves for the Maple Leafs, whose losing skid reached nine consecutive outings.

Final Score: Dallas 5, Winnipeg 2

Klingberg had two goals and two assists in the Dallas Stars’ 5-2 victory over the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday. Shawn Horcoff, Patrick Eaves and Jason Spezza also lit the lamp for the Stars, who have won two in a row since a two-game skid. Kari Lehtonen made 38 saves. Dallas went 4-for-8 on the power play, while Winnipeg went 0-for-2. Andrew Ladd and Toby Enstrom scored for the Jets, who have lost three straight for the first time since a season-high four-game slide from October 11-19. Michael Hutchinson gave up all five goals on 32 shots.

Final Score: Tampa Bay 3, Columbus 1

Ben Bishop turned aside 34 shots to lead the Tampa Bay Lightning in a 3-1 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets. Cedric Paquette, Brett Connolly and Valtteri Filppula each lit the lamp for the Lightning, who have won five of their last six games. Ryan Johansen had the only marker for the Blue Jackets, who have lost three of their last four. Curtis McElhinney allowed all three goals on 34 shots in defeat.

Final Score: Calgary 4, Edmonton 2

Lance Bouma scored twice in a four-goal third period which lifted Calgary over Edmonton, 4-2, at the Saddledome. Paul Byron and Sean Monahan also tallied while Mikael Backlund and David Jones chipped in two assists each for the Flames, who had lost two of three coming in and have now taken six of eight overall. Jonas Hiller stopped 17-of-19 shots for the victory. Jordan Eberle and Benoit Pouliot scored for the Oilers, who have dropped five of their last eight. Ben Scrivens made 29 saves in the setback.

Final Score: San Jose 2, Chicago 0

Antti Niemi stopped 31 shots as the San Jose Sharks blanked the Chicago Blackhawks 2-0 on Saturday night. Joe Thornton and Melker Karlsson each had a goal and one assist for the Sharks, who have won three straight and improved to 5-1-1 in their last seven games. Antti Raanta made 18 saves for Chicago, which dropped two of three games in California. The Blackhawks were coming off Friday’s 4-1 win over Anaheim after beginning the stretch with Wednesday’s 4-3 loss to Los Angeles.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Serena wins another Aussie crown

Serena Williams is again the Australian Open champion.

The top-seeded American earned her sixth Aussie Open title and 19th career Grand Slam championship with a 6-3, 7-6 (7-5) triumph over Maria Sharapova on Saturday at Rod Laver Arena.

Williams won in Melbourne for the first time since 2010, finishing the match with an ace in the second-set tiebreaker on her third championship point. She now owns the second-most women’s Grand Slam titles in the Open Era, surpassing legends Chris Evert and Martina Navratilova. Only Steffi Graf has more with 22.

“Standing here with 19 majors is something I never thought would happen,“ said Williams during the trophy ceremony.

Sharapova was trying for a second Australian Open title. She fell to 2-17 lifetime against Williams and has lost the last 16 meetings.

“I haven’t beaten her in a really long time, but I love playing her because you want to play the best,“ said Sharapova. “And she’s the best.“

The 33-year-old Williams notched her 65th career title and has captured the last two Grand Slam events, taking the U.S. Open crown last September.

Williams had a break point opportunity in the opening game of the match when Sharapova fired a backhand wide. A double fault quickly gave Williams the early advantage.

The players were locked at 30-30 in the sixth game when rain forced the closing of the roof.

Williams, who was bothered by a cold and a cough, hardly seemed affected by the wait, following an ace with a strong forehand winner to complete the hold for a 4-2 lead. She actually threw up during the delay.

“I guess there’s a first time for anything,“ said Williams about vomiting. “I think in a way that just helped me—I felt better after that. My chest was really stuck at that point.“

A double fault gave Williams three break points in the next game, but she only needed one as Sharapova fired a backhand long. Sharapova broke back, but Williams responded to the poor service game with a break at love to take the first set.

Williams continued her strong play into the second set with a hold at love, then had two more break points in the next game. Sharapova, though, regrouped and managed to save both before holding.

Each player had a break chance midway through the second set, but Williams failed to convert her opportunity with a wide backhand in the sixth game and Sharapova sent a forehand wide in the seventh game.

Another Sharapova forehand error gave Williams her first championship point in the 10th game, but the Russian came up with a big serve that Williams barely returned. Sharapova followed with a blistering forehand that drew applause from the American.

“The match definitely got tough in the second set,“ said Williams. “Maria started playing a lot better. She started being a little more aggressive. I think I got a little more passive. Was just trying to get the ball back in play. But I also started serving better in the second set because I knew if I wasn’t having my groundstrokes where I wanted them to be, I knew I could serve it out.“

After Williams held with an ace, Sharapova held at love to force the tiebreak.

Sharapova won the first point of the tiebreak with a forehand return winner, but Williams won the next four to take control. At 6-4, Sharapova came up with a forehand that Williams could not return to save a second championship point.

Williams then blasted what appeared to be an ace to win the title, but it was ruled a let. She dropped her racket in disbelief, then followed with the same serve. This one did not tip the tape and she dropped her racket again, but in exultation.

“I thought after the let, ‘Man, I am not meant to win this tournament.‘ I had a couple of match points. She played great on those match points,“ said Williams, who excitedly jumped around the court after winning.

Sharapova fell to 5-5 all-time in Grand Slam finals, including 1-3 against Williams. The only victory came in the 2004 Wimbledon title match. Williams also beat Sharapova for the 2007 Australian Open crown and for the 2013 French Open title.

“It’s always tough getting to a final stage of an event where it’s down to two players and you end up the one that’s going home with the smaller trophy, there’s no doubt about it,“ Sharapova lamented. “No matter how you played, well or not, whatever the score line is, it’s always tough. But it will be all right.“

The 27-year-old Sharapova’s lone Australian Open championship came in 2008 against Ana Ivanovic. She also lost the 2012 final against Victoria Azarenka.

►  Bolelli and Fognini capture Australian Open men’s doubles

Simone Bolelli and Fabio Fognini won the men’s doubles title on Saturday at the Australian Open.

The Italian duo came away with a 6-4, 6-4 victory over the French tandem of Pierre-Hugues Herbert and Nicolas Mahut in the final. They became the first Italian pairing to win a Grand Slam doubles crown since Nicola Pietrangeli and Orlando Sirola captured the French Open title in 1959.

It’s the third overall doubles title for Bolelli and Fognini, who teamed for trophies at Umag in 2011 and Buenos Aires in 2013.

Herbert and Mahut were trying to give France its first men’s doubles title in Melbourne since Michael Llodra and Fabrice Santoro claimed the 2004 crown.

►  Australian Open Men’s Doubles Tennis Update – January 31

Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia

Total Prize Money: $2,600,000


S.Bolelli/F.Fognini defeated P.Herbert/N.Mahut, 6-4, 6-4

►  Australian Open Women’s Tennis Update – January 31

Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia

Total Prize Money: $14,000,000


Serena Williams (1) defeated Maria Sharapova (2), 6-3, 7-6 (7-5)

Serena Williams (1) defeated Madison Keys, 7-6 (7-5), 6-2
Maria Sharapova (2) defeated Ekaterina Makarova (10), 6-3, 6-2

Serena Williams (1) defeated Dominika Cibulkova (11), 6-2, 6-2
Maria Sharapova (2) defeated Eugenie Bouchard (7), 6-3, 6-2
Ekaterina Makarova (10) defeated Simona Halep (3), 6-4, 6-0
Madison Keys defeated Venus Williams (18), 6-3, 4-6, 6-4

Serena Williams (1) defeated Garbine Muguruza (24), 2-6, 6-3, 6-2
Maria Sharapova (2) defeated Peng Shuai (21), 6-3, 6-0
Simona Halep (3) defeated Yanina Wickmayer, 6-4, 6-2
Venus Williams (18) defeated Agnieszka Radwanska (6), 6-3, 2-6, 6-1
Eugenie Bouchard (7) defeated Irina-Camelia Begu, 6-1, 5-7, 6-2
Ekaterina Makarova (10) defeated Julia Goerges, 6-3, 6-2
Dominika Cibulkova (11) defeated Victoria Azarenka, 6-2, 3-6, 6-3
Madison Keys defeated Madison Brengle, 6-2, 6-4

Serena Williams (1) defeated Elina Svitolina (26), 4-6, 6-2, 6-0
Maria Sharapova (2) defeated Zarina Diyas (31), 6-1, 6-1
Simona Halep (3) defeated Bethanie Mattek-Sands, 6-4, 7-5
Madison Keys defeated Petra Kvitova (4), 6-4, 7-5
Agnieszka Radwanska (6) defeated Varvara Lepchenko (30), 6-0, 7-5
Eugenie Bouchard (7) defeated Caroline Garcia, 7-5, 6-0
Ekaterina Makarova (10) defeated Karolina Pliskova (22), 6-4, 6-4
Dominika Cibulkova (11) defeated Alize Cornet (19), 7-5, 6-2
Yanina Wickmayer defeated Sara Errani (14), 4-6, 6-4, 6-3
Venus Williams (18) defeated Camila Giorgi, 4-6, 7-6 (7-3), 6-1
Peng Shuai (21) defeated Yaroslava Shvedova, 7-6 (9-7), 6-3
Garbine Muguruza (24) defeated Timea Bacsinszky, 6-3, 4-6, 6-0
Victoria Azarenka defeated Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (25), 6-4, 6-4
Julia Goerges defeated Lucie Hradecka, 7-6 (8-6), 7-5
Madison Brengle defeated Coco Vandeweghe, 6-3, 6-2
Irina-Camelia Begu defeated Carina Witthoeft, 6-4, 6-4

Serena Williams (1) defeated Vera Zvonareva, 7-5, 6-0
Maria Sharapova (2) defeated Alexandra Panova, 6-1, 4-6, 7-5
Simona Halep (3) defeated Jarmila Gajdosova, 6-2, 6-2
Petra Kvitova (4) defeated Mona Barthel, 6-2, 6-4
Agnieszka Radwanska (6) defeated Johanna Larsson, 6-0, 6-1
Eugenie Bouchard (7) defeated Kiki Bertens, 6-0, 6-3
Victoria Azarenka defeated Caroline Wozniacki (8), 6-4, 6-2
Ekaterina Makarova (10) defeated Roberta Vinci, 6-2, 6-4
Dominika Cibulkova (11) defeated Tsvetana Pironkova, 6-2, 6-0
Sara Errani (14) defeated Silvia Soler-Espinosa, 7-6 (7-3), 6-3
Venus Williams (18) defeated Lauren Davis, 6-2, 6-3
Alize Cornet (19) defeated Denisa Allertova, 6-4, 6-7 (2-7), 6-2
Coco Vandeweghe defeated Samantha Stosur (20), 6-4, 6-4
Peng Shuai (21) defeated Magdalena Rybarikova, 6-1, 6-1
Karolina Pliskova (22) defeated Oceane Dodin, 7-5, 5-7, 6-4
Garbine Muguruza (24) defeated Daniela Hantuchova, 6-1, 1-6, 6-0
Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (25) defeated Kai-Chen Chang, 6-1, 7-5
Elina Svitolina (26) defeated Nicole Gibbs, 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (8-6)
Madison Keys defeated Casey Dellacqua (29), 2-6, 6-1, 6-1
Varvara Lepchenko (30) defeated Ajla Tomljanovic, 6-1, 7-6 (7-1)
Zarina Diyas (31) defeated Anna Schmiedlova, 3-6, 6-2, 8-6
Yanina Wickmayer defeated Lara Arruabarrena, 6-4, 4-6, 6-4
Bethanie Mattek-Sands defeated Kristina Mladenovic, 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (8-6)
Caroline Garcia defeated Stefanie Voegele, 6-3, 6-4
Carina Witthoeft defeated Christina McHale, 6-3, 6-0
Irina-Camelia Begu defeated Katerina Siniakova, 7-5, 6-4
Yaroslava Shvedova defeated Monica Puig, 6-2, 7-6 (8-6)
Madison Brengle defeated Irina Falconi, 6-1, 6-3
Camila Giorgi defeated Tereza Smitkova, 6-1, 6-4
Lucie Hradecka defeated Polona Hercog, 4-6, 6-3, 6-2
Julia Goerges defeated Klara Koukalova, 6-3, 4-6, 6-2
Timea Bacsinszky defeated Anna Tatishvili, 6-7 (5-7), 6-3, 6-2

Serena Williams (1) defeated Alison Van Uytvanck, 6-0, 6-4
Maria Sharapova (2) defeated Petra Martic, 6-4, 6-1
Simona Halep (3) defeated Karin Knapp, 6-3, 6-2
Petra Kvitova (4) defeated Richel Hogenkamp, 6-1, 6-4
Lucie Hradecka defeated Ana Ivanovic (5), 1-6, 6-3, 6-2
Agnieszka Radwanska (6) defeated Kurumi Nara, 6-3, 6-0
Eugenie Bouchard (7) defeated Anna-Lena Friedsam, 6-2, 6-4
Caroline Wozniacki (8) defeated Taylor Townsend, 7-6 (7-1), 6-2
Irina-Camelia Begu defeated Angelique Kerber (9), 6-4, 0-6, 6-1
Ekaterina Makarova (10) defeated An-Sophie Mestach, 6-2, 6-2
Dominika Cibulkova (11) defeated Kirsten Flipkens, 3-6, 6-3, 6-1
Camila Giorgi defeated Flavia Pennetta (12), 4-6, 6-2, 6-3
Madison Brengle defeated Andrea Petkovic (13), 5-7, 7-6 (7-4), 6-3
Sara Errani (14) defeated Grace Min, 6-1, 6-0
Timea Bacsinszky defeated Jelena Jankovic (15), 6-1, 6-4
Yaroslava Shvedova defeated Lucie Safarova (16), 6-4, 2-6, 8-6
Carina Witthoeft defeated Carla Suarez Navarro (17), 6-3, 6-1
Venus Williams (18) defeated Maria-Teresa Torro-Flor, 6-2, 6-2
Alize Cornet (19) defeated Zhang Shuai, 6-3, 6-2
Samantha Stosur (20) defeated Monica Niculescu, 6-4, 6-1
Peng Shuai (21) defeated Tatjana Maria, 6-4, 7-5
Karolina Pliskova (22) defeated Evgeniya Rodina, 7-5, 6-1
Yanina Wickmayer defeated Anastasia Pavlyuchenkova (23), 4-6, 6-3, 6-3
Garbine Muguruza (24) defeated Marina Erakovic, 7-5, 6-0
Barbora Zahlavova Strycova (25) defeated Timea Babos, 6-4, 6-4
Elina Svitolina (26) defeated Jana Cepelova, 6-3, 7-5
Caroline Garcia defeated Svetlana Kuznetsova (27), 6-4, 6-2
Kristina Mladenovic defeated Sabine Lisicki (28), 4-6, 6-4, 6-2
Casey Dellacqua (29) defeated Yvonne Meusburger, 6-4, 6-0
Varvara Lepchenko (30) defeated Vitalia Diatchenko, 6-3, 6-3
Zarina Diyas (31) defeated Urszula Radwanska, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2
Julia Goerges defeated Belinda Bencic (32), 6-2, 6-1
Oceane Dodin defeated Alison Riske, 7-6 (7-5), 3-6, 6-3
Roberta Vinci defeated Bojana Jovanovski, 7-5, 6-1
Monica Puig defeated Arina Rodionova, 6-0, 6-3
Magdalena Rybarikova defeated Ana Konjuh, 6-4, 6-4
Bethanie Mattek-Sands defeated Duan Ying-Ying, 6-4, 3-6, 6-3
Jarmila Gajdosova defeated Alexandra Dulgheru, 6-3, 6-4
Kiki Bertens defeated Daria Gavrilova, 7-6 (10-8), 5-7, 6-2
Stefanie Voegele defeated Pauline Parmentier, 6-1, 3-6, 6-2
Anna Schmiedlova defeated Chanelle Scheepers, 6-4, 4-6, 6-2
Alexandra Panova defeated Sorana Cirstea, 7-5, 6-0
Christina McHale defeated Stephanie Foretz Gacon, 6-4, 1-6, 12-10
Katerina Siniakova defeated Elena Vesnina, 6-2, 7-5
Ajla Tomljanovic defeated Shelby Rogers, 4-6, 6-4, 6-0
Johanna Larsson defeated Alla Kudryavtseva, 6-4, 6-3
Coco Vandeweghe defeated Francesca Schiavone, 6-2, 6-2
Irina Falconi defeated Kaia Kanepi, 2-6, 6-4, 7-5
Tereza Smitkova defeated Mirjana Lucic-Baroni, 6-1, 6-1
Lauren Davis defeated Aleksandra Krunic, 6-1, 7-5
Silvia Soler-Espinosa defeated Annika Beck, 7-5, 6-4
Lara Arruabarrena defeated Renata Voracova, 6-1, 6-2
Polona Hercog defeated Wang Qiang, 3-6, 6-3, 6-2
Klara Koukalova defeated Storm Sanders, 7-5, 6-4
Mona Barthel defeated Donna Vekic, 3-6, 6-4, 6-2
Madison Keys defeated Lesia Tsurenko, 6-3, 7-5
Kai-Chen Chang defeated Zheng Jie, 6-1, 6-2
Victoria Azarenka defeated Sloane Stephens, 6-3, 6-2
Tsvetana Pironkova defeated Heather Watson, 6-4, 6-0
Denisa Allertova defeated Romina Oprandi, 6-0, 6-2
Daniela Hantuchova defeated Zheng Saisai, 6-4, 6-4
Anna Tatishvili defeated Kimiko Date-Krumm, 7-5, 6-4
Vera Zvonareva defeated Ons Jabeur, 6-2, 6-3
Nicole Gibbs defeated Olivia Rogowska, 6-4, 6-1

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Texas Red is favored for season debut San Vicente Stakes

Breeders’ Cup Juvenile winner Texas Red is the 9-5 morning line favorite for Sunday’s $200,000 San Vicente Stakes at Santa Anita Park as he begins his 3-year-old season

Texas Red, trained by Keith Desormeaux and ridden by the trainer’s brother Kent, will start the seven-furlong race from post 4 in the eight-horse field.

Co-owned by his trainer, Texas Red won the Juvenile on November 01 by 6 1/2 lengths as a 13-1 longshot, just his second win in five starts. The son of Afleet Alex has earned $1,192,300.

Keith Desormeaux has plans to bring the colt along quickly leading to the Kentucky Derby on May 02.

“I’m thinking about wheeling him back pretty quickly in the Risen Star on (February 21) and then we’ll have a little gap between the Risen Star and the $1,000,000 Santa Anita Derby (on April 04),“ the trainer said.

“It’s still on schedule. It’s always been kind of a tentative schedule, like with all things concerning racehorses,“ Desormeaux continued. “It seems like the best plan for me at this point. It’s kind of quick, but I like the way it feels. If I can get him (to Fair Grounds) a week early, that would be perfect. I’ll be at the mercy of whoever is going to fly us and their schedule.

“For him to overcome the fact that he’s not really built to be an early horse - that’s what makes him great and that’s also what makes us so excited about this year. If he can do what he did as a juvenile, what can he accomplish as a 3-year-old?“

The 2-1 second choice is Lord Nelson owned by Peachtree Stable and trained by Bob Baffert. The chestnut colt will be ridden by Rafael Bejarano from the rail post.

Lord Nelson has two wins from four starts and has earnings of $129,571. He was fourth in the FrontRunner Stakes at Santa Anita last September 27 but came back on October 13 with a win in the track’s Speakeasy Stakes. He was the 7-5 favorite for Churchill Downs’ Kentucky Jockey Club Stakes but finished fifth to El Kabeir.

Trainer Peter Miller’s Serbian Syclone is the 3-1 third pick for the San Vicente. The colt, owned by Rockingham Ranch, will be ridden by regular rider Elvis Trujillo from post 2.

Serbian Syclone was eighth first time out but has won his last two races going gate to wire by a combined 8 1/2 lengths. He tries stakes company for the first time in the seven-furlong event.

Here is the field for the San Vicente in post position order: Lord Nelson, Rafael Bejarano, 2-1; Serbian Syclone, Elvis Trujillo, 3-1; Jazzy Josh, Flavien Prat, 15-1; Texas Red, Kent Desormeaux, 9-5; Punctuate, Martin Garcia, 9-2; Magic Taste, Omar Santos, 50-1; Bench Warrant, Tyler Baze, 12-1 and Sir Samson, Joe Talamo, 15-1.

Post time for the 74th San Vicente is approximately 4:30 PM ET.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  McIlroy moves 4 clear at Dubai Desert Classic

Rory McIlroy recorded his second straight bogey-free round on Saturday and his 6-under 66 on day three has moved him four shots clear heading into the final round of the Omega Dubai Desert Classic.

McIlroy finished his third round at 20-under-par 196, which is four strokes better than Morten Orum MadSenator McIlroy has nine career wins on the European Tour, with four of them coming last season. The five-time major champion earned his first professional victory at this event back in 2009.

“To be bogey-free again today was important to me, especially when you’re going out with the lead,“ said McIlroy. “I’m very happy. I feel like I could be a little bit more but I’m not going to complain. I’m four ahead going into the final day, so I’ve put myself in a great position to win tomorrow.“

After shooting a 63 on Friday, Madsen matched McIlroy with a 66 of his own on day three and moved into sole possession of second place at 16-under 200. Two shots further back is 23-time tour winner Lee Westwood (69) at 14-under 202.

Two-time defending champion Stephen Gallacher, first-round leader Bernd Wiesberger, Andy Sullivan and Danny Willett all fired matching, 2-under 70s and are tied for fourth at 13-under 203.

McIlroy, last year’s British Open and PGA Championship winner, started the day with a 1-shot lead and quickly widened the gap. The 25-year-old Ulsterman jumped out to a fast start when he drained birdies on one, three and five to go along with pars on two, four and six.

Following the par on No. 6, McIlroy poured in back-to-back gains on seven and eight before finishing his front nine with a par on nine.

Making the turn with a 4-shot lead, it seemed as if McIlroy would extend his advantage even more on the back nine, but he slowed down a bit down the stretch. McIlroy made eight straight pars from No. 9 and saw his lead whittled down to three when Madsen birdied the last.

McIlroy broke the par streak when he drained a birdie putt from about 15 feet on the par-4 17th, moving his advantage back to four.

Now on the par-5 18th, a hole he had birdied in 14 of his last 18 rounds prior to Saturday, McIlroy found the water with his second shot and was in danger of making bogey. McIlroy remained calm, however, as his fourth shot landed about 10 feet from the hole and he knocked that in for par to make it 36 straight holes without a bogey.

“Not to make any mistakes makes it that much harder for anyone else,“ McIlroy said. “Just to get that up-and-down on the last was big for momentum going into tomorrow ... I just have to go and try and play similar golf to the way I have the first three days.“

Madsen, who holds the week’s low round with his 63 Friday, also went bogey- free and may stand the best chance of catching McIlroy on Sunday. Madsen started with a pair of pars on one and two before making his first birdie on No. 3. He then wrapped four more pars on four, five, seven and eight around a gain on No. 6.

The 26-year-old from Denmark made the turn in style with back-to-back birdies on nine and 10. Following his fifth gain of the day on 13, Madsen rattled off four straight pars from 14 before closing with a birdie at the last to pull within three of McIlroy at the time.

Three shots behind McIlroy to start the day, Westwood had a strong start to his round before struggling a bit in the middle. Westwood made a pair of birdies on two and three, but he made a mess of No. 9 and settled for double- bogey as the Englishman made the turn at even par.

A birdie on 10 got Westwood back into red figures and he traded a bogey on 12 for a birdie on 13. Westwood finished well to give himself an outside shot going into Sunday as three pars from 14 preceded back-to-back birdies on 17 and 18, putting him six strokes behind McIlroy.

NOTES: McIlroy’s last bogey came on the par-4 ninth hole, his last, in the first round ... McIlroy finished his third round just one shot off of Gallacher’s 54-hole record of 195. Gallacher also tied the tournament record of 266 that year in his first of two consecutive victories here ... McIlroy has finished runner-up in each of the last four events he has played in ... Madsen is seeking his second victory on tour, with his lone win coming at the South African Open Championship last season ... Westwood’s last win was at the Maybank Malaysian Open last year.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Elliott, Scott among those inducted into NASCAR HofF

Bill Elliott, a former Sprint Cup Series champion, and Wendell Scott, the first African-American to win a race in NASCAR’s premier racing circuit, were among the sixth five-member class inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame on Friday night.

Joe Weatherly, a two-time Cup champion, Fred Lorenzen, who won 26 races in the sport’s top series, including the Daytona 500 and the World 600 (Charlotte) in 1965, and Rex White, a former premier series champion as well, were also inducted during the two-hour ceremony, which was held at the Charlotte Convention Center.

Known as “Awesome Bill From Dawsonville (Georgia),“ Elliott had an illustrious 37-year career as a driver in NASCAR. His 44 wins rank him 16th all-time and his 55 poles rank eighth. He won the Cup Series championship in 1988 and scored victories in the Daytona 500 in ‘85 and ‘87. In addition, Elliott won NASCAR’s “Most Popular Driver” Award a record 16 times.

Elliott was introduced by driver Kasey Kahne and inducted by his former car owner Ray Evernham.

“It’s just an honor to be here,“ Elliott said. “At a young age, I dreamed of doing this, and I knew as time went on, my dad was so involved in racing, he had such a love for the sport. I’ve always said he was such a Ford fanatic, if you cut him, he bled Ford blue. That’s just the way the man was. He was just so involved.“

Elliott’s induction occurred one day after his 19-year-old son, Chase, the reigning Xfinity Series champion, was named as the replacement driver for Jeff Gordon in the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet after Gordon departs from the team following the conclusion of the 2015 season.

Scott was the first African-American to race full-time in NASCAR’s top series. His only win in the series came in December 1963 at Speedway Park in Jacksonville, Florida. Scott recorded 147 top-10 finishes in 495 starts during his 13-year on the premier circuit. Prior to that, he had won more than 100 races at local tracks, including 22 races at Southside Speedway in Richmond, Virginia, in 1959, en route to capturing both the Sportsman Division and NASCAR Virginia Sportsman championships. He died in 1990.

Members of Scott’s family attended the induction ceremony. His sons, Wendell Jr. and Franklin, honored him, while Gordon, a four-time Sprint Cup champion, introduced Scott.

“Wendell Scott fulfilled his destiny, and now we can proudly say that he is the first African-American inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame,“ Franklin Scott said. “We must carry his legacy to even greater heights with the same selflessness, honor, integrity, humility and perseverance that were his trademark.“

Weatherly’s titles in the Cup Series came in 1962 and ‘63. He also won 25 races during his career in the series. A decade earlier in 1952-53, Weatherly won 101 events in the NASCAR Modified division, claiming that title in ‘53. He competed in NASCAR’s short-lived Convertible Division from 1956-59, winning 12 times. Weatherly died in 1964 as a result of a racing accident at Riverside, California.

“Uncle Joe was a very competitive driver,“ said Joy Barbee, who is Weatherly’s youngest niece. “He was one of NASCAR’s first big stars, as his 25 wins and back-to-back championships in 1962 and 1963 will attest.

“In those days, the races were not televised in our home, and my mother would listen to them on the radio, but she sure got to know the local sportswriter at the newspaper. She knew exactly what time the races were over, and she would call the newspaper, and she would ask who won, and when she hung up the phone and she was crying and she was jumping with excitement, we knew that there was a ‘W’.“

Brad Keselowski, the 2012 Sprint Cup titleholder, introduced Weatherly, while Bud Moore, who was inducted into the second class in the NASCAR HofF in 2011, inducted him.

Lorenzen got his start in NASCAR as a mechanic with the famed Holman-Moody team in 1960, but he was elevated to lead driver by the end of the year. He won three races in only 15 starts the following season. Lorenzen’s best overall season came in 1963, posting six wins, 21 top-five finishes and 23 top-10s in 29 starts. Despite missing 26 races that season, he finished third in the standings.

Three-time Sprint Cup champion Tony Stewart introduced Lorenzen. Amanda Gardstrom, who is Lorenzen’s daughter, inducted him.

“Our dad’s story began as a childhood dream,“ said Lorenzen’s son, Chris, who accepted the induction on behalf of his father. “All dad could think about was that he had to find a way to become a race car driver. He proceeded to live his life doing everything possible to make that dream come true. He always believed that anything is possible if you work hard enough and you put your mind to it, no matter what.“

Competing in the Cup Series during the 1950’s and 60’s, White was a short- track specialist in an era in which those tracks dominated the schedule. Of his 28 career wins in the series, only two came on tracks longer than one mile in length. White finished among the top-five in nearly a half of his 233 races and outside the top-10 only 30% of the time. He won six times during his 1960 championship season.

Reigning Sprint Cup champion Kevin Harvick introduced White.

“Words can’t express how honored I am to be inducted into the NASCAR Hall of Fame along with the other Hall of Fame members, especially the 2015 fellow inductees,“ White said. “No driver wins a championship by himself. Nobody enters the Hall of Fame alone. I am a symbol of a team effort, my first race in 1953 until now. This effort spans 62 years.“

The Gilmer Free Press

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

National Football League - Playoffs
Super Bowl Pregame, 1:00 PM - NBC
New England vs. Seattle (Super Bowl XLIX), 6:30 PM - NBC
National Basketball Association
Miami at Boston, 1:00 PM - SunSports, CSN-New England, DSS
LA Lakers at New York, 2:00 PM - Time Warner, MSG, ESPN
National Hockey League
Arizona at Montreal, 1:00 PM - CITY, RDS, DSS
St. Louis at Washington, 1:00 PM - NBCSN
Nashville at Pittsburgh, 2:00 PM - FS-Tennessee, ROOT-Pittsburgh, DSS
Minnesota at Vancouver, 3:30 PM - FS-North, SNET-Pacific, DSS
College Basketball
Miami-Florida at Florida State, 12:30 PM - ESPN U
Oakland at Youngstown State, 12:30 PM - MASN,
Cincinnati at East Carolina, 1:00 PM - CBSSN
Michigan at Michigan State, 1:00 PM - CBS
Marist at Canisius, 2:00 PM - Time Warner Sports
Fordham at Dayton, 2:00 PM - FS-Ohio
Manhattan at Monmouth, 2:00 PM -
Utahat USC, 2:30 PM - ESPN U
Connecticut at Houston, 3:00 PM - CBSSN
California at Washington, 3:00 PM - Pac-12 Network
Women’s College Basketball
Penn State at Rutgers, 12:00 PM - Big Ten Network
Wake Forest at Notre Dame, 1:00 PM - FS-South, Florida, Detroit+, San Diego
Texas at TCU, 1:00 PM - FS-Southwest+
Arizona at Colorado, 1:00 PM - Pac-12 Network
Miami-Florida at Pittsburgh, 1:00 PM -
Georgia at Kentucky, 1:00 PM - SEC Network
Boston College at North Carolina, 2:00 PM -
Kansas at Baylor, 2:00 PM - SportSouth, FS-Detroit, Midwest, Southwest
Connecticut at Temple, 2:00 PM - ESPN 2
Arkansas at Alabama, 2:00 PM - SEC Network+
Virginia at Clemson, 2:00 PM -
Virginia Tech at Georgia Tech, 2:00 PM -
Michigan at Nebraska, 3:00 PM - Big Ten Network+
Wisconsin at Illinois, 3:00 PM - Big Ten Network+
Auburn at Texas A&M, 3:00 PM - SEC Network+
Miss State at Tennessee, 3:00 PM - SEC Network
Florida at Vanderbilt, 4:00 PM - SportSouth, FS-Florida, Detroit, Southwest
Iowa at Maryland, 4:00 PM - ESPN 2
Minnesota at Northwestern, 4:00 PM - Big Ten Network+
South Carolina at Ole Miss, 4:30 PM - ESPN U
International Soccer
Arsenal vs. Aston Villa, 8:30 AM - NBCSN
Udinese Calcio vs. Juventus FC, 8:55 AM - beIN Sports
CAF Orange Africa Cup of Nations, Quarter-Finals, 10:55 AM - beIN Sports
Southampton vs. Swansea City, 11:00 AM - NBCSN
Sevilla FC vs. RCD Espanyol, 12:55 PM - beIN Sports
FC Barcelona vs. Villarreal CF, 2:55 PM - beIN Sports
EUROPEAN - Dubai Desert Classic, 4:00 AM - Golf Channel
PGA - Phoenix Open, 3:00 PM - CBS
Australian Open (Men’s Final), 3:00 AM - ESPN

Sports News 141113

The Gilmer Free Press

The Gilmer Free Press

►  College Football Playoff Rankings – Week 12

1  Mississippi State 9-0
2  Oregon 9-1
3  Florida State 9-0
4  TCU 8-1
5  Alabama 8-1
6  Arizona State 8-1
7  Baylor 8-1
8  Ohio State 8-1
9  Auburn 7-2
10  Mississippi 8-2
11  UCLA 8-2
12  Michigan State 7-2
13  Kansas State 7-2
14  Arizona 7-2
15  Georgia 7-2
16  Nebraska 8-1
17  LSU 7-3
18  Notre Dame 7-2
19  Clemson 7-2
20  Wisconsin 7-2
21  Duke 8-1
22  Georgia Tech 8-2
23  Utah 6-3
24  Texas A&M 7-3
25  Minnesota 7-2

►  Breaking down the CFP rankings

The latest College Football Playoff rankings were released after the most recent slate of games, with an interesting twist.

TCU leapfrogged No. 5 Alabama in the playoff rankings to take the fourth spot, which would mean if the postseason began today, the Horned Frogs would be playing in the first-ever FBS playoff system and vying for a national title. Alabama, the fourth-ranked team in the AP Top 25 poll, would not.

Mississippi State, the nation’s top-ranked team, naturally remained first in the rankings, while Oregon (No. 2) and Florida State (No. 3) round out the top spots.

Alabama is the first team out of the playoff rankings at No. 5, while 8-1 Arizona State (ranked seventh in the AP poll) is the No. 6 team, two spots outside the playoffs.

The decision to move TCU up into the fourth position was one that was scrutinized by many, including Baylor supporters who argued the fact that the Bears (seventh in the CFP rankings) defeated the Horned Frogs (61-58) earlier this season. Playoff committee chairman Jeff Long explained the decision to move TCU into the top four following the release of the latest rankings, saying TCU’s two Top 25 wins versus Baylor’s one, and TCU’s loss to a Top 10 team both worked in the Horned Frogs’ favor.

“We spent a lot of time discussing the merits of the top teams this week,“ Long said. “We clearly look at the win-loss record, but we also look beyond the record to other factors indicating overall strength. Our thinking is consistent. Strength of schedule and body of work are important. Week in and week out, we will begin with a fresh look at all the teams and a clean sheet of paper, which provides us with new perspective.“

The Horned Frogs have been a bit of a surprise this season out of the Big 12 Conference, having dominated most competition, including a 41-20 beatdown of previously No. 9-ranked Kansas State last weekend. Quarterback Trevone Boykin has launched himself into the discussion for the Heisman Trophy come season’s end. TCU’s remaining three games in the Big 12 are pretty light, with Kansas, Texas and Iowa State still left.

Baylor’s fans weren’t the only ones griping against the latest rankings. Despite holding the No. 4 ranking in the AP poll, Alabama stayed pat at the fifth spot in the playoff release. Coming off a 20-13 win over LSU, Tide fans may have justified concerns.

But here’s the thing: At this point in the season, the playoff rankings don’t mean squat.

Most teams have three games remaining on the regular season schedule, including the Crimson Tide, who have two immensely important contests against SEC foes left that will catapult them into the rankings should they come away victorious.

Perhaps the biggest game of the college football season is taking place this weekend in Tuscaloosa between the Tide and top-ranked Mississippi State. The Bulldogs are one of just three remaining unbeaten teams in the country, and a win for Alabama would be the ultimate in terms of a resume boost. So complaints against the latest College Football Playoff rankings are completely unfounded at the moment with a quarter of the team’s schedule still left to be played.

Undefeated Florida State fell back one spot behind Oregon in the latest ranking release, despite the better record and higher AP Top 25 ranking, for the same reason TCU moved into the top four - the Ducks have a stronger resume. Oregon (9-1) has defeated three Top 25 teams this season in Michigan State, UCLA and Utah, while the Seminoles have just two Top 25 wins to their credit (Notre Dame and Clemson).

Long said the committee placed significant value on the quality of wins for the Ducks, which allowed them to move past Florida State.

But Oregon has a potential monster of a challenge waiting when the Ducks make it to the Pac-12 Conference championship game. If the Sun Devils can win out (against Oregon State, Washington State and Arizona), they’ll take on Oregon in the league’s title game with a possible shot at the playoffs on the line.

This season, Arizona State has lost just one game to UCLA (a 62-27 blowout), but has notable wins over USC, Stanford, Utah and Notre Dame. Non-conference scheduling has already been a reason noted for keeping teams either up or down in the playoff rankings, and both Arizona State and Baylor haven’t played particularly difficult non-conference slates.

Auburn had been a member of the top four in the playoff rankings in the first few releases, but fell back to No. 9 in the playoff standings and in the AP poll after a loss to Texas A&M last weekend. The Tigers’ playoff hopes have almost certainly been dashed with two losses on the season, but they can make up some ground with outside help plus wins over Georgia and Alabama in the final few weeks.

The team controlling its own destiny moving forward is unquestionably Alabama. It’s pointless for Tide fans to be upset about the current playoff rankings with two of the biggest games of the season standing in the way of the postseason. With a win over Mississippi State this weekend, the next CFP rankings will look considerably different.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Hill set to return as Rams’ starting QB

St. Louis Rams quarterback Shaun Hill will return to the starter’s role for Sunday’s game against Denver.

Rams coach Jeff Fisher decided to make the switch back to his original starter after Austin Davis struggled in the fourth quarter of last week’s game against Arizona.

In the 31-14 loss to the Cardinals, Davis committed three fourth-quarter turnovers, two of which were returned for touchdowns.

In nine games this season, including eight starts, Davis completed 180-of-284 passes for 2,001 yards with 12 touchdowns and nine interceptions. He also lost three fumbles.

Hill was named the St. Louis starting quarterback prior to the season after Sam Bradford tore his left ACL in the preseason. Hill left the Week 1 game against Minnesota with a thigh injury after completing 8-of-13 passes for 81 yards with an interception in the 34-6 loss.

►  Giants place KR Cox on IR

The New York Giants placed kick returner Michael Cox on injured reserve because of a fractured leg.

Cox was hurt late in Sunday’s game against Seattle after catching a pass on the Giants’ final offensive series. He averaged a team-best 23.7 yards on 11 kickoff returns and saw limited snaps on offense, rushing for 33 yards on four carries while adding two receptions for nine yards.

The Giants filled the roster spot by signing running back Orleans Darkwa off the Miami Dolphins’ practice squad.

Darkwa appeared in four games for the Dolphins earlier this season, playing mostly on special teams. He had three catches for 31 yards in a Week 2 game against Buffalo and added four carries for two yards two weeks later against Oakland.

Miami waived the Tulane product on October 06 and signed him to the practice squad two days later.

The Giants also made a practice squad move, releasing safety Kyle Sebetic and signing cornerback Josh Victorian.

►  Seahawks’ Miller to be placed on IR

Seattle Seahawks tight end Zach Miller will be placed on season-ending injured reserve due to an ankle injury.

Miller, who has been sidelined since Week 3, underwent surgery on his ankle soon after the injury but the procedure wasn’t successful and he will need a second surgery, according to Seahawks coach Pete Carroll.

The eight-year veteran recorded six receptions for 76 yards in three games this season.

The Seahawks’ depth chart at tight end now consists of Tony Moeaki, Luke Wilson and Cooper Helfet.

►  Forsett, Jarrett, Sherman nab AFC weekly honors

Baltimore Ravens running back Justin Forsett, New York Jets safety Jaiquan Jarrett and Kansas City’s Anthony Sherman have been selected as the AFC’s top players for Week 10 of the NFL season.

Forsett ended Pittsburgh quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s two-week stint as the top offensive player after rushing for 112 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries in the Ravens’ 21-7 win over Tennessee. All but 20 of his rushing yards came in the second half when Baltimore held the ball for more than 20 of the 30 minutes.

Jarrett also helped end Roethlisberger’s run in the Jets’ 20-13 win over the Steelers. He picked up the defensive award after recording a pair of interceptions and a fumble recovery while also making 10 tackles with a sack.

Sherman was tabbed as the top special teams player, notching three tackles while forcing a fumble and recovering the loose ball in Kansas City’s 17-13 win over Buffalo. He forced Bills’ punt returner Leodis McKelvin to fumble and his recovery set up Kansas City’s go-ahead score in the fourth quarter.

Others considered for the offensive award included Denver quarterback Peyton Manning, who threw for 340 yards with five touchdowns in a 41-17 romp over winless Oakland; and Jets quarterback Michael Vick, who threw for 132 yards and two scores to help New York end an eight-game losing streak.

Defensive consideration went to Denver linebacker Brandon Marshall, who had 13 tackles in the win over the Raiders; and Cleveland cornerback Buster Skrine, who posted two interceptions and three tackles in a 24-3 win at Cincinnati.

Baltimore punter Sam Koch was nominated for the special teams award after he averaged 45.3 yards on seven punts, four of which finished inside the 20-yard line, against the Titans.

►  Rodgers highlights NFC Players of the Week

Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, Arizona Cardinals cornerback Patrick Peterson and Philadelphia Eagles running back Darren Sproles were named NFC Players of the week in their teams’ Week 10 wins.

Rodgers was awarded his third Offensive Player of the Week in 2014 with his six-touchdown effort in Green Bay’s 55-14 win over the Chicago Bears. All six touchdowns came in the first half, joining Oakland’s Daryle Lamonica as the only players with six TD throws in a half. He finished the game with 315 yards on 18-of-27 passing and no interceptions.

Entering the game with no interceptions on the season, Peterson picked off St. Louis quarterback Austin Davis twice in the fourth quarter to preserve the lead in Arizona’s 31-14 win over the Rams. His second was returned 30 yards for a touchdown, the fifth return touchdown of his career. This is Peterson’s fourth career Player of the Week award and the second on defense.

Sproles’ 65-yard punt return for a touchdown in the first quarter of Philadelphia’s 45-21 win over Carolina was his second of the season. Earlier in the quarter, he rushed for an 8-yard touchdown, making him the first player in NFL history to rush for a touchdown and return a punt for a touchdown in the first quarter of a game. This is his third Player of the Week award of 2014. He previously won the offensive honor in Week 2 and the special teams award in Week 4.

<The Gilmer Free Press

►  Top NCAA Basketball Games Before January

Thursday, December 04: LSU at West Virginia

Johnny Jones at LSU, like Mike Anderson at Arkansas, is still trying to make his first NCAA Tournament at the school where he was once an assistant. Also like Anderson, this should be the season in which he does it thanks to the return of Jordan Mickey and Jarell Martin.

Here are some other notable match-ups including SEC teams from Parrish’s article:

Tuesday, November 18: No. 1 Kentucky vs. No. 5 Kansas (in Indianapolis, Indiana)

Thursday, December 04: Arkansas at No. 14 Iowa State

Thursday, December 04: LSU at West Virginia

Friday, December 5: No. 7 Florida at No. 5 Kansas

Friday, December 05: No. 10 Texas at No. 1 Kentucky

Saturday, December 13: No. 6 North Carolina at No. 1 Kentucky

Saturday, December 20: No. 1 Kentucky vs. UCLA (in Chicago, Illinois)

Saturday, December 27: No. 1 Kentucky at No. 8 Louisville

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Pulse of the NBA

Pau Gasol has been released from basketball hell, which is more popularly known as playing under Mike D’Antoni, and he looks again like the player who helped the Los Angeles Lakers win two world championships.

Gasol decided on a completely fresh start over the summer and left Hollywood via free agency. The four-time All- Star then signed a three year, $22.35 million dollar contract with the Chicago Bulls.

So far, it looks like a perfect match for Gasol and his new team as the Bulls are off to a 6-2 start with Gasol clearly being their best player and playing like an All-Star.

The 13-year veteran, who is averaging 18.4 points and 11.1 rebounds, has quickly gained the respect of his new teammates and coach.

“I’m following his lead now,“ said Jimmy Butler. I think he has more [40- minute] games under his belt than I do right now. He’s playing out of his mind right now. Double-double after double-double, passing the ball, rebounding. He’s a helluva player for us.“

Bulls coach Tom Thibodeau loves Gasol’s mindset and all the skills he brings to the table. “He plays for the team and to win,“ Thibodeau said. “He gets as much pleasure out of passing and doing dirty work, rebounding, as scoring. I’m just glad we have him.“

David Schuster, who covers the Bulls for WSCR radio in Chicago, says Gasol has been a perfect fit and even surprised him in one area of his game.

“His teammates absolutely love him. How can you not? His play on the court has been exactly what this team needed-a low post scorer- and on top of that he’s extremely unselfish.“

And he adds, “The most impressive thing so far is his defense. He’s never been noted for that side of the court but under Thibodeau you either play defense or you don’t play at all. His shot blocking and protection of the rim has been better than I anticipated.“

Gasol is third in the league in blocked shots, averaging 2.38 per game.


The Blazers’ second unit averaged a league low in points (24.7) and minutes (14.2) last season, and we’ve seen a drop in their bench scoring over the first eight games, as the reserves are putting up just 23.1 points per game in 15 minutes.

The addition of free agent center Chris Kaman should be helpful, but replacing Mo Williams with Steve Blake is definitely a downgrade.

I’ve never been a fan of Blake’s game for the simple reason he is a poor shot creator and playmaker, a mediocre defender, and he almost never gets to the line as evidenced by the fact he’s averaged just 0.8 free throw attempts for his career.

I thought Portland GM Neil Olshey made a huge mistake in signing Blake over the likes of D.J. Augustin, who played so well for the Bulls last season, and Aaron Brooks, who is off to a tremendous start with Chicago, averaging 12.6 points, while shooting 52.2% from the field and 57.7% from three-point range.

With the Blazers having such little depth, Olshey better hope his starters are as durable as last year, when, with the exception of LaMarcus Aldridge, they played in all 82 games.

Speaking of benches, I think the Los Angeles Clippers took a bit of a hit there when free agent Darren Collison left to sign with the Sacramento Kings. The Clippers filled that void by signing Jordan Farmar, who previously won two championships with the Los Angeles Lakers.

I think Farmar will be a capable backup for Chris Paul, but I don’t think he’ll play up to the level of his predecessor.

Last season, Collison averaged 11.4 points and 3.7 assists and shot an impressive 46.7% from the floor and 37.6% from long range. Plus, he filled in very admirably during Paul’s 18-game absence due to a shoulder injury, when he averaged 13.3 points, 6.5 assists while shooting 47.4% from the field and 43.1% from three-point range.

In Farmar’s first seven games with the Clippers, he’s putting up only 3.9 points in just over 13 minutes a game, and is shooting 33.3% from the field.

The Memphis Grizzlies thought enough of Vince Carter that they signed the 37- year old free agent in the offseason to a three-year contract worth over four million dollars per year. And even though Carter was a key contributor off the bench for the Dallas Mavericks, Grizzlies’ coach Dave Joerger is once again making the foolish mistake of playing a long, washed up Tayshaun Prince way too many minutes and giving him more time on the floor than the eight-time All Star.

Last season for the Mavs, Carter averaged 11.9 points in just over 24 minutes a game and shot 39.4% from three-point range, while Prince averaged just 6 points in nearly 26 minutes per game and shot an abysmal 29% from downtown along with 56.7% from the line.

Carter is playing just over 15 minutes per game with Memphis, which includes one game where he was a DNP-coaches decision.

I could simply say it’s insanity the way Joerger is handling “Vinsanity”, but what it’s really called is bad coaching and not knowing your players.

►  Hawks’ Carroll out with groin strain

Atlanta Hawks forwards DeMarre Carroll and Mike Scott will miss Wednesday’s game against Utah due to injuries.

Carroll is nursing a groin strain, while Scott has a lower back contusion.

In six games this season, all starts, Carroll is averaging 12.0 points and 6.3 rebounds per contest.

Scott, one of the team’s top reserves, is averaging 9.7 points and 2.5 rebounds.

►  NBA Game Results

(Wednesday, November 12)

Final Score: Washington 107, Detroit 103

John Wall had 27 points and 11 assists and the Washington Wizards beat the Detroit Pistons 107-103 on Wednesday night for their best start to a season in almost 40 years. Rasual Butler added 18 points off the bench, Paul Pierce scored 13 and Marcin Gortat had 14 points and 13 rebounds in the win, which moved the Wizards to 6-2 for the first time since the start of the 1975-76 season. Brandon Jennings scored a game-high 32 points for the Pistons. Kentavious Caldwell-Pope added 20 points and Greg Monroe scored 18 in Detroit’s third straight loss.

Final Score: Atlanta 100, Utah 97

Paul Millsap and Kyle Korver burned their former team on Wednesday, combining for 47 points in the Atlanta Hawks’ 100-97 win over the Utah Jazz. Millsap, who spent the first seven years of his career with the Jazz, went for season highs of 30 points and 17 rebounds. Korver stuffed the stat sheet with 17 points, 10 rebounds and six assists. It was his 3-pointer with 58 seconds left that put the Hawks in front for good. Alec Burks paced Utah with 22 points, Derrick Favors scored 20 and Trey Burke posted 11 points with 11 assists.

Final Score: Oklahoma City 109, Boston 94

Anthony Morrow scored 19 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Oklahoma City Thunder to a 109-94 win over the Boston Celtics on Wednesday. Reggie Jackson deposited 20 of his 28 points after halftime, a night after setting a career high of 29 in a loss to Milwaukee. Nick Collison supplied 12 points off the bench and Lance Thomas set career highs with 13 rebounds and six assists for Oklahoma City, which erased an early 15-point deficit to snap a two-game losing streak. Rajon Rondo returned from a one-game hiatus and filled it up with 20 points, 12 assists and nine rebounds for the Celtics, who had their two-game winning streak snapped in losing their fourth straight against the Thunder. Avery Bradley tallied 17 points and Jared Sullinger recorded 14 points with 11 rebounds. Kelly Olynyk and Jeff Green added 14 points apiece in the loss.

Final Score: Indiana 81, Miami 75

The Indiana Pacers pounded the glass against their nemesis of the last three seasons to exact just a tad of revenge. Chris Copeland’s layup with 42.8 seconds remaining gave the Pacers a late lead and they sunk their foul shots in the closing moments to hang on for an 81-75 victory over the Miami Heat on Wednesday night. Indiana, which had fallen to Miami in the past three playoffs, including the last two Eastern Conference finals, outrebounded Miami 53-28, held a 16-6 advantage on the offensive glass and posted a 19-8 spread in second chance points. Roy Hibbert tallied 16 points and 15 rebounds, Copeland netted 17 and Donald Sloan added 15 points and six boards for the Pacers, who have won two straight on the heels of a six-game losing streak. Dwyane Wade had 20 points and Shawne Williams hit four 3-pointers en route to 15 points for Miami, which has dropped three of its last five since beginning the year 3-0.

Final Score: Orlando 97, New York 95

Evan Fournier had a career-high 28 points, Nikola Vucevic scored 20 with 13 rebounds and the Orlando Magic held on to deal the New York Knicks their sixth consecutive loss on Wednesday night. The Magic survived for the 97-95 victory when a last-second 3-point attempt by J.R. Smith missed the mark. Smith was guarded by Fournier on the inbound play with 3.5 seconds left and fired the shot from several feet beyond the arc. Tobias Harris added 12 points and Elfrid Payton had eight assists for the Magic, who snapped a four-game losing streak at Madison Square Garden with only their second win in the last 10 meetings with New York. Carmelo Anthony scored 27 points to lead the home team and Smith had 19 points off the bench.

Final Score: New Orleans 109, LA Lakers 102

Anthony Davis scored 25 points with 12 rebounds and six blocks to lead the New Orleans Pelicans to a 109-102 win over the Los Angeles Lakers on Wednesday. Tyreke Evans supplied 19 points with 11 assists, while Jrue Holiday and Ryan Anderson each netted 17 points for New Orleans, which has defeated the Lakers in three of its last four meetings. Kobe Bryant led all scorers with 33 points on 10-of-28 shooting and Carlos Boozer added 16 points and six rebounds in the setback. Los Angeles has lost two straight after snapping a five-game skid, and it has gone 0-for-4 on the road on the young season.

Final Score: Portland 130, Denver 113

Damian Lillard had 27 points and nine assists and the Portland Trail Blazers used a historic first half to roll to a 130-113 rout of the Denver Nuggets on Wednesday. The Blazers scored 39 points in the first quarter and 45 in the second, matching a franchise record for points in a second quarter set back in 1973. They were just the third team since 1992 to score at least 84 points in a first half. Robin Lopez netted 15 of his 19 points in the first half and LaMarcus Aldridge had nine of his 12 while blocking six shots in just over 18 first-half minutes. Aldridge finished one block shy of his career-high, set in 2010 against Denver. Ty Lawson was the lone bright spot for the Nuggets, who have given up at least 110 points in five straight games. Lawson scored a game-high 32 points and handed out six assists.

Final Score: Phoenix 112, Brooklyn 104

Phoenix’s bench led the way for the Suns again. Gerald Green netted 28 points and Isaiah Thomas added 21 off the bench as the Suns defeated the Brooklyn Nets 112-104 on Wednesday night. Goran Dragic had 18 points and six assists to lead the starters for the Suns, who have won two straight on the heels of a 1-3 stretch. The Suns’ bench, which is the third highest scoring unit in the NBA, outscored Brooklyn’s 60-27. Joe Johnson posted 21 points, while Kevin Garnett supplied 12 points and 10 rebounds for Brooklyn, which had won four of its last five coming in.

Final Score: Houston 113, Minnesota 101

Dwight Howard returned to the court and posted 22 points with 10 rebounds, leading the Houston Rockets in a 113-101 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves in Mexico City. Howard also blocked four shots for the Rockets, who improved to 7-0 this season when the eight- time All-Star is in the lineup. He missed Saturday’s 98-87 loss to the Warriors with flu-like symptoms. James Harden overcame a difficult night shooting, finishing with 23 points and 10 assists on 8-of-23 from the floor. Houston also became the first team in NBA history to make 10 or more 3- pointers in each its first eight games. Corey Brewer scored 18 points off the bench and Andrew Wiggins had 15 for Minnesota, which has not won since point guard Ricky Rubio went down with an ankle injury in Friday’s overtime loss to Orlando.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Interchangeable guards

For fantasy owners that failed to listen to fellow fantasy writer Max Zelenko’s advice regarding Mo Williams and the point guard situation in Minnesota, here’s another shot at a point guard.

Rockets starting point man Patrick Beverley has missed four of the first seven games of the 2014-2015 season. He played in the first two games of the year, missed the next two, returned for a game, then went back out and has yet to return.

His replacement, Isaiah Canaan, has played well with the opportunity, as he scored 21 points and sunk three 3-pointers on Saturday against the Warriors. In his four starts this season, Canaan has averaged 13.8 ppg and 2.8 3- pointers per game.

That’s right on line with Beverley’s production, and actually exceeds it on some level. Beverley averaged 10.3 ppg and 2.3 3-pointers in his three starts this season.

The numbers are comparable in the other categories too. Beverley is averaging 3.7 rebounds, 2.7 assists and 0.3 steals. Meanwhile, Canaan has averaged 3.0 rebounds, 2.5 assists, and 1.5 steals.

Obviously it is a really small sample size, but Canaan has proved he can be a fantasy factor if he receives enough playing time.

With the Rockets’ offense centering around James Harden and Dwight Howard, the point guard in Houston does not have to take on too many responsibilities. Of course, that hurts Canaan’s upside, but it almost makes him interchangeable with Beverley, at least on the stat line.

Any point guard in Houston will earn some assists playing with Harden and Howard. Plus, with so much attention to those superstars, other players can get open for long jumpers or drives to the hoop.

Canaan is shooting over 46% from downtown and nearly 49% from the field this month. Unfortunately, he hasn’t gotten to the free-throw line very often, but again, he is comparable to Beverley as he didn’t either.

Therefore, if one is in need of a point guard, Canaan should be a consideration right with Mo Williams of Minnesota. The biggest difference between the two situations is Ricky Rubio has already been ruled out for seven-to-eight weeks whereas Beverley is out just this week.

Beverley is aiming to return next Monday against the Grizzlies, but hamstring injuries can be tricky. Even though it was never officially reported, Beverley likely suffered a setback during the game he played in between his two absences.

Perhaps his hamstring becomes a lingering issue, and it keeps him out longer or affects him down the road. That would give Canaan quite a bit more fantasy value.

For now, Canaan is just a nice short-term solution for fantasy owners struggling at guard, but the potential for more is there. At the very least, owners should keep an eye on him. He will start again Wednesday versus, ironically, Minnesota.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  MLB All-Stars blanked in Japan opener

Kenta Maeda and three relievers combined on a three-hit shutout, leading Samurai Japan to a 2-0 win over the Major League Baseball All-Stars in the opener of the 2014 Japan Series.

Maeda threw five innings of two-hit ball, walked two and struck out two. He yielded a first-inning single to Robinson Cano and a double by Dexter Fowler with two outs in the fifth.

Ben Zobrist grounded out to end the fifth inning and the MLB All-Stars managed just one more hit, a one-out single in the ninth by Evan Longoria. Justin Morneau then lined to first and Tetsuto Yamada turned it into a game-ending unassisted double play.

Matt Shoemaker, runner-up for the American League Rookie of the Year, took the loss for the MLB All-Stars. The Angels hurler yielded two runs on six hits with a walk and five strikeouts over five innings.

The Japanese stars reached Shoemaker for a run in the second when Seiichi Uchikawa led off with a single, took second on a double by Hayato Sakamoto and scored on a sacrifice fly by Nobuhiro Matsuda. Sakamoto singled with one out in the fourth and was erased on a fielder’s choice by Matsuda, who then stole second and scored on a single by Yamada to make it 2-0.

Tommy Hunter worked around a pair of two-out singles in the sixth and Hector Santiago pitched a scoreless seventh despite a pair of walks. Mark Melancon allowed a leadoff single in the eighth, but got a force out and a double play to give the MLB All-Stars a chance in the ninth.

The teams will take Thursday off to travel to Tokyo for three games this weekend. The five-game series will then conclude on Tuesday in Sapporo.

►  Royals sign Ryan Roberts

The Kansas City Royals have signed infielder Ryan Roberts to a minor league deal with an invite to major league spring training.

Roberts, 34, appeared in eight games last season for the Boston Red Sox, but managed just two hits in 22 at-bats. However, he did hit .277 with seven homers, 32 RBI and a .337 on-base percentage in 72 games for Triple-A Pawtucket.

A career .243 hitter, Roberts has racked up 46 homers, 169 RBI and 35 stolen bases over parts of nine seasons with Toronto, Texas, Arizona, Tampa Bay and Boston.

The Royals also signed relief pitcher Joe Paterson to a minor league deal with an invite to spring training. The left-hander appeared in just three games last season with the Diamondbacks, posting a lofty 33.75 ERA. In 73 career games, all with Arizona, Paterson is 0-3 with a 6.25 ERA.

►  Cubs claim Roach

The Chicago Cubs claimed pitcher Donn Roach off waivers from the San Diego Padres on Wednesday.

Roach made his major league debut with San Diego in 2014 by appearing in 16 games, including one start, and owned a 1-0 record with a 4.75 ERA. He spent most of 2014 with Triple-A El Paso, where he posted a 4-6 record with a 5.24 ERA in 19 games.

The 24-year-old right-hander was designated for assignment by the Padres on November 3.

Roach was selected by the Angels in the third round of the 2010 draft. San Diego acquired him on May 3, 2012, from the Angels along with infielder Alexi Amarista for right-handed pitcher Ernesto Frieri.

►  Former A’s 1B Moore dies at 57

Former Oakland Athletics first baseman Kelvin Moore has died at the age of 57, the team announced Wednesday.

The A’s said Moore died Sunday of cardiac arrest at his home in Covington, Georgia, after suffering from multiple illnesses during the past several years, including diabetes.

Moore was a rookie in 1981 when the A’s won the American League West. He made 16 plate appearances in five postseason games that year, hitting two singles in the AL Championship Series against the New York Yankees, who swept the A’s in three games.

He batted .223 with eight home runs, 25 RBI and a .277 on-base percentage over 76 games for the A’s between 1981-83, his only three seasons in the majors.

Moore is survived by his wife, Patricia, two daughters and one son.

►  Rounding Third: Kershaw headed toward another NL Cy Young Award

There have been 10 unanimous National League Cy Young Award winners.

Clayton Kershaw could become No. 11 on Wednesday when the Baseball Writers’ Association of America continues to hand out its postseason awards, as the top pitchers in both the American and National League are revealed.

Kershaw, who also won this award last year and in 2011, is a heavy favorite to nail down his third NL Cy Young after another dominating season for the NL West champion Los Angeles Dodgers.

The talented left-hander is also a finalist for an NL MVP Award, which will be handed out on Thursday.

Kershaw was nearly a unanimous winner last season, as he garnered 29 of the 30 first-place votes. This year he should get all 30 after leading the majors with a 21-3 record, an .875 winning percentage, a 1.77 ERA and an 0.86 WHIP.

He was also second in the NL with 239 strikeouts, three behind Johnny Cueto of the Reds and Stephen Strasburg of the Nationals, in 27 starts.

The highlight of Kershaw’s season came on June 18 when he struck out 15 in a no-hitter against the Colorado Rockies.

It was the fifth consecutive season that Kershaw tallied 200 or more strikeouts. He also allowed a .197 batting average to right-handed hitters and just .193 to left-handed hitters.

Essentially, it’s not a matter of if he will win, it’ll be a matter of by how much. And when he does get the honor, he’ll join Sandy Koufax (1963, ‘65, ‘66) as the only Dodgers pitcher to win the award three times.

He’ll also join Randy Johnson, Greg Maddux, Steve Carlton and Tom Seaver as three-time NL winners.

Kershaw’s main competition figures to come from St. Louis righty Adam Wainwright, who was 20-9 with a 2.38 ERA.

Cueto is the other NL finalist.

While Kershaw figures to be a runaway winner in the NL, it’s a little less clear cut in the American League, but Seattle right- hander Felix Hernandez appears to have the inside track on both Cleveland righty Corey Kluber and Chicago left-hander Chris Sale.

It was a historic season for King Felix, as he put forth the best statistical season of his career and a new major-league record with 16 consecutive starts in which he allowed two or fewer runs in at least seven innings of work.

Hernandez, who won this award in 2010, was 15-6 this season and led the league with a 2.14 ERA and a 0.915 WHIP (walks plus hits per inning pitched) over 34 starts.He was also fourth in the league with 248 strikeouts and held opponents to a league low average of .200.

As we have seen in the past the key to winning these awards is how you perform in September. Well, Hernandez posted a 1.66 ERA over his final six starts.

Kluber enjoyed a breakout season for the Tribe, going 18-9 with a 2.44 ERA and 269 strikeouts in 235 2/3 innings. His 7.4 Wins Above Replacement ranked first among AL starting pitchers, and he ended the season with a league-best 2.35 FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching).

He also became just the third pitcher in Indians history to have at least 21 starts with eight or more strikeouts and the fourth pitcher in team history to post at least 11 double-digit strikeout performances in one season.

Kluber will try to join Cliff Lee (2008), CC Sabathia (2007) and Gaylord Perry (1972) as other Indians to win an AL Cy Young.

Sale, meanwhile, was as dominant as any pitcher in the game, but he missed time between April 17 and May 22 because of a flexor muscle strain and was only 11-14.

Still, his 2.17 ERA and 0.97 WHIP was second only to Hernandez. He struck out 208, walked 39 and yielded a mere 129 hits in 174 innings.



The Gilmer Free Press

►  NHL Game Results

(Wednesday, November 12)

Final Score: Toronto 6, Boston 1

Phil Kessel netted a pair of goals and Jonathan Bernier stopped 25 shots as the Toronto Maple Leafs ripped apart the Boston Bruins, 6-1, at Air Canada Centre. James van Riemsdyk and Tyler Bozak both registered a score and two assists for the Maple Leafs, who have taken three in a row and posted their most decisive victory of the season. Peter Holland and Morgan Rielly added markers as Toronto pumped home a season- high three power-play goals. Dennis Seidenberg provided the lone offense for the Bruins, whose five-game win streak was put to rest in their largest margin of defeat thus far. Tuukka Rask took the loss after allowing four goals on 16 shots in 23-plus minutes. Niklas Svedberg finished up making 15 saves on 17 shots.

Final Score: Anaheim 6, Los Angeles 5 (SO)

Ryan Kesler scored a pair of third-period goals and added the winner in the shootout as the Anaheim Ducks stole a 6-5 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Wednesday. The first meeting of last season’s Western Conference second-round series had the feel of a playoff game, especially after the clubs combined for five goals in a wild third period. Ryan Getzlaf scored with 1:39 left in regulation to force overtime, and goals from Jakob Silfverberg and Kesler in the shootout ended the Ducks’ three-game slide. Jason LaBarbera took over for an ineffective Frederik Andersen midway through the second period and made 14 saves before stopping Jeff Carter and Anze Kopitar in the shootout. Jonathan Quick made 44 saves in the loss, but the Kings fell for the sixth time in their last eight games.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Ko named LPGA’s top rookie

Lydia Ko was named the LPGA Rookie of the Year on Wednesday.

Ko locked up the honor with three events still remaining on the schedule. She is already a two-time winner on the tour this year, finished as the runner-up twice and has added nine other top-10 results.

“It’s really been a dream rookie season for me,“ said Ko in a statement released by the LPGA. “I learned so much and am glad to have achieved some of my goals along the way. It’s an honor to have my name now etched alongside such amazing players and legends of the game on the list of Rookie of the Year winners.“

Ko, just 17 years old, became the eighth Rookie of the Year winner since the award’s inception in 1962 to have multiple wins in her first year. She enters this week’s Lorena Ochoa Invitational ranked third in the Race to the CME Globe and fourth on the official money list with $1.564 million.

In addition, Ko’s streak of 40 straight made cuts is the best on tour and she became the youngest winner of a tour event. Laura Baugh, at age 18 in 1973, had been the youngest.

Nine previous Rookie of the Year winners have gone on to Hall of Fame careers: Joanne Carner (1970), Amy Alcott (1975), Nancy Lopez (1978), Beth Daniel (1979), Patty Sheehan (1981), Juli Inkster (1984), Annika Sorenstam (1994), Karrie Webb (1996) and Se Ri Pak (1998).

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Djokovic wins again in London

Two-time reigning and three-time overall champion Novak Djokovic posted another round-robin victory Wednesday at the season-ending ATP World Tour Finals in London.

The hot world No. 1 star whipped third-seeded Australian Open champ Stan Wawrinka 6-3, 6-0 in 65 minutes at this exclusive eight-player event at The O2 Arena.

Djokovic improved to 16-3 lifetime against Wawrinka, who stunned the Serb in a brilliant five-set quarterfinal at the Aussie Open back in January. Djokovic beat the Swiss in a semifinal here at last year’s Tour Finals.

The Wimbledon titlist Djokovic is now 2-0 in his four-player “Group A,“ which also features Wawrinka (1-1), Tomas Berdych (1-1) and Marin Cilic (0-2).

The 27-year-old Djokovic, who topped Rafael Nadal in last year’s finale in London, is now just one win away from clinching the year-end No. 1 ranking for the third time in four years.

Also on Day 4, the sixth-seeded Berdych blew past the eighth-seeded U.S. Open champion Cilic 6-3, 6-1 in 75 minutes. The Czech Berdych tallied four service breaks, compared to zero for his Croatian counterpart.

Berdych is now 6-4 lifetime against Cilic, including 2-2 this season.

Surprisingly, all eight matches so far this week have ended in straight sets.

A four-player “Group B” boasts second-seeded Wimbledon champion Roger Federer (2-0), fourth-seeded U.S. Open runner-up Kei Nishikori (1-1), fifth- seeded British favorite Andy Murray (1-1) and seventh-seeded Canadian slugger Milos Raonic (0-2).

The 17-time Grand Slam king Federer will battle Murray and Nishikori will take on Raonic in some more round-robin play on Thursday. Federer and Murray have split 22 career matchups, but Federer is 2-0 this year and 3-0 versus Murray all-time at the ATP Finals.

Federer, who is making a record 13th consecutive appearance at this event and still has an outside chance of capturing the year-end No. 1 ranking, holds the record for the most titles at this prestigious tournament with six.

If Federer can qualify for his 12th career Finals semifinal, it would tie a record set by Ivan Lendl. The 33-year-old Swiss icon would also be the oldest player to advance to the last four at this event since Andre Agassi finished as a runner-up back in 2003.

Nishikori, Raonic and Cilic are making their ATP Finals debuts this week.

Round-robin action will be staged through Friday, followed by the semifinals on Saturday and lucrative final on Sunday.

The Gilmer Free Press


National Football League
Buffalo at Miami, 8:25 PM - NFL Network

National Basketball Association
Sacramento at Memphis, 8:00 PM - CSN-California, SportSouth, DSS
Chicago at Toronto, 8:00 PM - TNT, TSN2
Philadelphia at Dallas, 8:30 PM - CSN-Philadelphia, FS-Southwest, DSS
Brooklyn at Golden State, 10:30 PM - CSN-Bay, TNT

National Hockey League
Colorado at NY Rangers, 7:00 PM - Altitude, MSG, NHL Network, DSS
Winnipeg at Carolina, 7:00 PM - TSN3, FS-Carolina, DSS
Boston at Montreal, 7:30 PM - NESN, RDS, SNET-360, DSS
San Jose at Tampa Bay, 7:30 PM - CSN-California, SunSports, DSS
Nashville at St. Louis, 8:00 PM - FS-Tennessee, Midwest, DSS
Buffalo at Minnesota, 8:00 PM - MSG-Buffalo, FS-North, DSS
Arizona at Calgary, 9:00 PM - FS-Arizona, SNET-Flames, DSS
Ottawa at Edmonton, 9:30 PM - RDS2, TSN5, SNET-Oilers, DSS
Dallas at Los Angeles, 10:30 PM - FS-Southwest+, West, DSS

College Football
East Carolina vs. Cincinnati, 7:00 PM - ESPN 2
Bethune-Cookman at Hampton, 7:30 PM - ESPN U
Southern Miss at UTSA, 8:00 PM - CBSSN
California at USC, 9:00 PM - ESPN

EUROPEAN - Turkish Airlines Open, 4:00 AM - Golf Channel
PGA -  OHL Classic at Mayakoba, 2:00 PM - Golf Channel
LPGA - Lorena Ochoa Invitational, 5:00 PM - Golf Channel

ATP World Finals, 7:00 AM - Tennis Channel
ATP World Finals, 1:00 PM - Tennis Channel
ATP World Finals, 3:00 PM - ESPN 2

Sports News - 11.12.14

The Gilmer Free Press

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Season over for 49ers LB Willis

The San Francisco 49ers will place linebacker Patrick Willis on season-ending injured reserve, multiple media outlets reported Tuesday.

The seven-time Pro Bowler has missed the 49ers’ last three games with a toe injury suffered in a win at St. Louis on October 13.

Willis registered 34 tackles and one interception in six games this season.

►  Cardinals place QB Palmer on IR

The Arizona Cardinals placed quarterback Carson Palmer on season-ending injured reserve Tuesday.

The move comes one day after Cards coach Bruce Arians confirmed Palmer tore the anterior cruciate ligament in his left knee when he was sacked by Rams safety Mark Barron early in the fourth quarter of Arizona’s 31-14 win over St. Louis on Sunday.

Drew Stanton threw a late touchdown pass in relief of Palmer, helping the Cardinals improve to 8-1 and remain perfect in five home games this season. Stanton will be under center for the Cardinals the rest of the year.

Palmer, who missed three games earlier this season with a shoulder injury, had reconstructive surgery on the same knee in 2006 as a member of the Bengals. Both of his ACL tears came just days after signing lucrative contract extensions.

On December 29, 2005, Palmer agreed to a six-year extension with Cincinnati. Ten days later, the Bengals met Pittsburgh in the first round of the AFC playoffs and Palmer lasted just one play, injuring his knee on a 66-yard pass to rookie Chris Henry.

Palmer signed a three-year, $50 million contract extension with Arizona last Friday.

Arizona signed quarterback Ryan Lindley off the San Diego Chargers’ practice squad to fill the spot on the active roster.

►  Jaguars WR Robinson to miss rest of season

Jacksonville Jaguars rookie wide receiver Allen Robinson will miss the rest of the season with a stress fracture in his foot, the team announced on Tuesday.

Robinson was the Jaguars’ leading pass catcher with team-high totals of 48 receptions and 548 receiving yards in 10 games.

Jacksonville selected the Penn State product in the second round of May’s draft.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  NFL Fantasy Player of the Week - Week 10

Six or more touchdown passes in a game used to be a rarity. In fact, over the last 93 and-a-half NFL seasons, and more than 15,000 games, I have found only 43 instances.

In 2014, however, it has been done on three consecutive weekends!

Ben Roethlisberger started off in Week 8, repeated the feat in Week 9 and Sunday night Green Bay quarterback Aaron Rodgers completed “The Devil’s Hat Trick” against the “not so Monsters of the Midway” Chicago Bears.

The following players were the best at their positions in Week 10.

Quarterbacks -

Aaron Rodgers, Green Bay - The efficient Mr. Rodgers needed just 29 minutes and 41 seconds of the first half to post 315 passing yards and six touchdowns. He took most of the second half off to enjoy the beautiful Wisconsin evening after racking up 44 fantasy points.

Peyton Manning, Denver - Manning wasn’t sharp early on, throwing two first- half interceptions. But not only is he supremely talented, but he’s the ultimate grinder. He finished the day with 340 yards and five touchdowns ... and didn’t play in the fourth quarter. OK, it WAS against the Raiders.

Running Backs -

Marshawn Lynch, Seattle - Sunday was the first time since opening night that Lynch played in full “Beast Mode.“ He rushed for 140 yards and a career-best four touchdowns worth 43 fantasy points.

Justin Forsett, Baltimore - Sunday’s 112-yard, two-touchdown effort was Forsett’s best output since November 2009 when he played in Seattle. It’s time to admit that the Ravens backfield is not an RBBC situation. Bernard Pierce and Lorenzo Taliaferro are clearly playing second fiddle to Forsett.

Wide Receivers -

Jordy Nelson, Green Bay - Like most of the Packers first-team, Nelson did all his work in the first 30 minutes. The Bears secondary didn’t cover him much, particularly in a three minute span in which he caught 73- and 40-yard touchdown passes. He finished the night with six receptions for 152 yards and the two scores to earn 36 fantasy points.

Dez Bryant, Dallas - Like Nelson, Dez Bryant did all his work in a short amount of time. In one monster of a second quarter, Bryant caught all six of his receptions for 158 yards and two long catch-and-run touchdowns worth 35 fantasy points.

Tight Ends -

Jimmy Graham, New Orleans - Anyone who has watched the Saints for the last three games has seen that Graham is as healthy as he has been all season. Sunday he caught a season-high 10 passes for 76 yards and two touchdowns worth 25 fantasy points.

Julius Thomas, Denver - The Broncos offensive coordinator promised to use Thomas for more than touchdowns and kept his word, Oh, he still scored twice against Oakland, but finished with six receptions for 63 yards to collect 21 fantasy points.

Kickers -

Matt Bryant, Atlanta - The Falcons moved the ball well, but couldn’t manage to finish off their drives with a touchdown, so Bryant was called upon four times and he was good on all of them for 15 fantasy points.

Defense/Special Teams

Philadelphia Eagles - The Eagles special teams, with the addition of Darren Sproles as the punt returner, has become scary good. Add in how poorly Cam Newton looked Monday night in getting sacked nine times and throwing a “pick- six” among his three interceptions and the Eagles totaled a position-leading 31 points to edge out the Arizona Cardinals for the top spot.

And the winner of the TSN Fantasy Player of the Week for Week 10 is ... Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers. Rodgers came into the game with questions about his health (hamstring), but answered them on the very first drive and kept answering them until he had thrown for a stunning six touchdowns in less than a half of football. The only question left to ask is “Who will throw for six touchdowns in Week 11?“

►  The flier quarterback

For a second straight week, fantasy owners lost a QB1 to a long-term injury. First, Eagles quarterback Nick Foles cracked his collarbone last week and this Sunday, Carson Palmer tore his ACL.

In a 12-team or two-quarterback league, both injuries could derail any potential championship season. So, let’s take a look at potential long-term replacements at quarterback.

Mark Sanchez and Drew Stanton

The most obvious replacement for any fantasy quarterback is the real-life backup. Mark Sanchez will make his first start in nearly two years on Monday night and Drew Stanton will reassume the starting quarterback role in Arizona.

Sanchez did a decent job in relief for Foles in Week 9, throwing for 202 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions against Houston. In Chip Kelly’s “quarterback-friendly” offensive system, owners looking for a new quarterback at this point could certainly do worse. Sanchez has a decent schedule down the stretch with games against Dallas and Washington during the fantasy playoffs in Weeks 15 and 16.

Stanton started three games this season when Palmer was out with a nerve injury. He was mostly used as a “game manager,“ but did throw for 244 yards and two touchdowns against the 49ers.

Based on Arizona’s schedule though, Sanchez is the better pickup. Stanton will have to face Detroit, Kansas City, San Francisco and Seattle twice, including a matchup with the Seahawks in Week 16, when most fantasy championships occur.

Sanchez and Stanton are available in 57- and 99-percent of Yahoo leagues, respectively.

Best of the Rest

Sticking with the 12-team or two-quarterback league theme, I’m going to assume quarterbacks such as Alex Smith, Kyle Orton and Brian Hoyer are not available even though they are free agents in at least half of Yahoo leagues. Smith is the best option of the three with Orton following closely behind him.

In very deep leagues, owners are looking at Teddy Bridgewater, Michael Vick, Derek Carr, Austin Davis and Josh McCown as the “best available.“

With those limited options, owners must play matchups and McCown has the most favorable schedule down the stretch. In his last seven games, four of them will be against defenses ranked in the bottom-10 in fantasy points allowed to quarterbacks.

McCown threw for 301 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions on Sunday in his first start since Week 3. That is his best fantasy output this year.

Bridgewater is the next best choice among those five quarterbacks. He has three straight games with a touchdown pass and has not thrown an interception the past two games. He has a favorable schedule until Weeks 15 and 16, when the Vikings play the Lions and Dolphins on the road. Avoid those matchups at all cost.

Vick has also played well the last two weeks, throwing for 328 yards and three touchdowns since taking over for Geno Smith. Fantasy owners will have to count on Vick remaining healthy, however, to make an impact in the fantasy playoffs.

Ryan Mallett

The wild card is Ryan Mallett. He has yet to appear on the field in 2014, and with zero points scored, he will be on the bottom of any waiver wire list.

But of the quarterbacks already discussed, Mallett is in the best situation. He has Arian Foster to help carry the offense and two weapons on the outside, Andre Johnson and DeAndre Hopkins, to throw to.

Fitzpatrick was a serviceable fantasy quarterback in deep leagues; he averaged 16.33 points in standard scoring in the last three games. Owners would like to think Mallett would do even better since the quarterback change was due to a coach’s decision and not injury.

For that reason, despite being in a run-first offense, Mallett has the biggest upside of all those quarterbacks.

In an ideal situation, owners who lost Palmer this past weekend should add a quarterback from the best of the rest list and Mallett. Hopefully those fantasy teams already have a backup quarterback they could slide into the starting lineup. Then, if those teams picked up, for example, McCown and Mallett, McCown would be a backup and Mallett a flier with upside. In a two- quarterback league, McCown would start and Mallett would be a backup/flier.

After a couple weeks, reassess the quarterback situation and perhaps cut either McCown or Mallett based on their play or needs at other positions.

It might be tough to dedicate three roster spots to quarterbacks this late in the season, but with the worst of the bye weeks over, Mallett is worth the risk. That’s if one is in dire need of a quarterback.

<The Gilmer Free Press

►  Preseason honor roll

There are 218 days separating us from Shabazz Napier and the Connecticut Huskies’ National Championship win over the Kentucky Wildcats.

Now there are only three days between us and the start of the next college basketball season. Seems as good a time as any to make some predictions about who will be taking home postseason hardware.

Award predictions have been made especially difficult this season because not a lot of would-be returning candidates are, well, returning. You could have written Doug McDermott’s name in permanent marker on most voters’ player of the year ballot last November and no one would have been upset. There are not as many clear-cut favorites this season. Making the crystal ball even murkier, not a single player from last season’s AP All-American first, second or third team is still playing hoops at the collegiate level.

With that said, let’s take a look at the favorites for some of the prestigious awards that are handed out at the end of each season.

PLAYER OF THE YEAR - Montrezl Harrell, Louisville

There are a lot of great players this season and a few that might seem to have a better shot at this title than Harrell. For example, Frank Kaminsky at Wisconsin and Aaron Harrison at Kentucky, who both had big moments in the 2014 NCAA Tournament, are worthy contenders.

However, Harrison still has to share the ball with the litany of scorers on Kentucky’s roster, and Kaminsky can’t realistically get much better than he was last season. Meanwhile, Harrell is the go-to guy at Louisville now and a player with still so much untapped potential.

Last season, the 6-foot-8 power forward averaged 14 points, 8.4 rebounds and 1.3 blocks per game. He was second on the team in scoring, but will likely be given more chances now that Russ Smith has moved on to the NBA. That should work out just fine for the Cardinals, as Harrell was an extremely efficient scorer, finishing on 60.9% of his field goal attempts in 2013-14. To be fair, that was largely due to the ease of his scoring chances, which were mostly dunks, layups and short jumpers.

Word out of Louisville is that Harrell has been working hard to polish his offensive game, which should strike fear into the hearts of his new ACC adversaries, and the nation as a whole.


Harrell is a contender for this award as well, but the speedy guard from VCU has the edge entering the season.

Although this is an honor that generally goes to frontcourt players, two of the last three have gone to guards, including Ohio State’s Aaron Craft last season. In the previous 10 seasons, the trophy went to a power forward or a center.

Weber’s ability to disrupt opposing backcourts and ruin a foe’s hopes at controlling the tempo make him a much more important defensive player than someone who can swat shots into the stands. Last season, Weber led the country in steals with 121. UCLA’s Jordan Adams was second in the category with 95. Weber also was a standout in more advanced statistics, ranking second in the country in defensive rating (85.6), and tying for seventh in defensive win shares (3.1).

Also aiding Weber’s chances is the fact that he plays in a system that puts a premium on his style of play. VCU coach Shaka Smart’s now famed HAVOC defensive scheme is all about creating turnovers and putting pressure on the ball from baseline to baseline. Weber is the anchor for the Rams at both ends. Expect him to continue to rack up steals this season, and a few pieces for the VCU trophy case as well.

FRESHMAN OF THE YEAR - Jahlil Okafor, Duke

Players like Andrew Wiggins, Jabari Parker and Aaron Gordon made last year’s crop of freshmen one of the best in history. Okafor leads a group that could be even better.

Considered the No. 1 recruit in the country by most scouting sources, Okafor chose to follow Parker to Duke, where he is set up to thrive from day one. He is built to withstand any number of post defenders, standing at 6-foot-11 and weighing 270 pounds. Even as a freshman he will be able to get to any spot in the paint and move players around to secure rebounds and utilize his bevy of offensive moves. That is one of the most enticing aspects of his game. Whereas some frontcourt prospects need time to learn how to score efficiently, Okafor already projects as a big-time scorer because he is just that dangerous on the low block. During his senior year in high school, he averaged 24.1 points per game, to go along with 11.3 caroms per contest.

Those numbers may dip some, but not by much. Okafor has already been showing off his skill in Duke’s preseason exhibitions. In two contest he has already scored 30 points, grabbed 14 rebounds and blocked seven shots in 45 combined minutes. The ceiling is so high for Okafor that freshman-only awards aren’t the only honors he could earn.

COACH OF THE YEAR - Larry Krystkowiak, Utah

Greg Marshall won this award last season after he led his Wichita State Shockers to a 35-0 start to the campaign and earned the mid-major powerhouse a No. 1 seed in the NCAA Tournament.

Krystkowiak and the Utes aren’t going to go 35-0. That would be a nearly impossible feat for any program, especially one that plays in the Pac-12, which means there are two games against Arizona on the schedule.

Still, in his third season in Salt Lake City, Krystkowiak has his best team. For those who have not been paying attention to Utah basketball recently, and there’s little reason why you would have, Krystkowiak has been slowly building a contender. The team went 6-25 in his first season, 15-18 in his second, and last season finished at 21-12.

That upward trajectory should continue, especially if multi-faceted guard Delon Wright ascends to stardom and the rest of the experienced roster, which features four returning starters, continues to play well. If it all comes together, Utah won’t just be among the field of 68 this season, it will be in the national spotlight for most of the season. Krystkowiak will, and should be given a lot of the credit when that happens.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Good for you, Phil

Overreaction can be ugly.

Overreacting makes the one who overreacts look petty and unable to take the joke.

I hate overreactions.

So why did Phil Jackson’s borderline overreaction to comments by Commissioner Adam Silver strike me as a noble crusade?

Let’s start from the beginning. Silver said this about the New York Knicks:

“Clearly, they’re still learning the triangle,“ Silver said. “I still don’t understand it, but they’re learning it. But that’s what the game is all about. You have a new coach, you have a new president of basketball operations in Phil Jackson; you have a couple new players on the team.“

By all accounts, Silver said this whimsically and should not be confused with astute analysis.

Jackson responded: “I wasn’t so humored by the commissioner actually jumping in on top of that, too,“ he said. “He doesn’t need to get in on that. There’s enough focus on triangle. It’s not anything. It’s a system. It’s simple basketball. Just play the game. We’re over the triangle; let’s get to business and play the right way.“

Silver’s comments needed no response, but Jackson’s message was clear: EVERYONE, STOP TAKING SHOTS AT MY TEAM!

The Knicks are playing very poorly. A simple check of some factual information makes that clear without the interpretation of the commissioner.

The Knickerbockers have dropped five straight, including a home-and-home series with the very average Atlanta Hawks. This swoon has sent them to 2-6, which is good for fourth in the Atlantic Division.

Thank the grace of God for the Philadelphia 76ers.

The Knicks have not scored over 100 points one time this season. They rank 30th in scoring in the league at 91.1 ppg. Any literate person can see that the Knicks’ offense, the vaunted triangle, is not working well.

Carmelo Anthony, the game’s second-best natural scorer, has been neutered to some degree. He is averaging 20.3 ppg, which is 17th in the NBA. Anthony hasn’t averaged so few points for a season in 10 years.

Melo is also shooting 39% from the field, which would be his lowest ever. Anthony has attempted 161 field goals, which is 19 more than the next- highest player. He’s attempted 20.1 field goals per game, which is No. 2 in the NBA.

Something is clearly amiss in Madison Square Garden. Offensively, the Knicks are a bit of a disaster. Those statistics are readily available with minimal clicks.

Therefore, does the NBA Commissioner really need to pile on? Yes, it was jokey, but Jackson doesn’t want his team to be the butt of any jokes any longer, let alone from the most independent bystander of professional basketball.

That’s called taking a stand for your guys. It may seem like childish bickering, but Jackson has told the NBA that it’s not okay for anyone, let along the highest person in charge of the sport, to take any kind of shots against his guys.

Was the commissioner out of line? Maybe, a little. It’s not overly professional for the head of the league to mock a team in the league, but it was innocent. Jackson simply said, “enough of everyone in the world criticizing my team.“

It’s also Jackson’s offense taking water. He didn’t create it, but Jackson has supplanted Pythagoras as the face of the triangle.

Jackson was right saying the triangle isn’t a revolutionary concept. It’s a movement and cutting-based offense and it’s not working at the moment. Do the Knicks have the correct personnel for it?

At the moment, the Knicks haven’t seen Jose Calderon, the starting point guard Jackson traded for in the offseason. He’s been hurt as has primary backup Pablo Prigioni. It’s hard to run a new offense without either of your ball handlers.

The sample size is small as well. A team can’t master a new offensive structure in six weeks. It’ll come.

What Jackson is trying to see go, is the Knicks living life under a daily punching-bag status. The Knicks have earned it to some degree with questionable basketball decisions, but Jackson doesn’t care. He publicly said so.

Remember when Jackson took the job and some of us opined it would be hard to run the New York Knicks from a ranch in Montana? Jackson has dismissed the notion that he would be indifferent to the job. Jackson is always the smartest guy in the room. He’s calculated.

This was nothing different. Jackson defended his boys. The Knicks are trying to do something, evolve, and Jackson is at the forefront of that movement. He is the architect. It’s his offense, his plan.

It’s his job to defend his baby against constant, semi-warranted attacks. Jackson tried to put an end to it.  ~~  Jim Brighters ~~

►  NBA Game Results

(Tuesday, November 11)

Final Score: Toronto 104, Orlando 100

Kyle Lowry scored 19 points with seven assists as the Toronto Raptors defeated the Orlando Magic, 104-100, on Tuesday. DeMar DeRozan scored 16 points, Terrence Ross hit four triples en route to 15 and James Johnson grabbed 10 rebounds off the bench for the Raptors. Johnson also played tough defense on Tobias Harris on the game’s decisive possession, forcing a miss with 1.9 seconds left. DeRozan hit two free throws with 0.5 seconds remaining to put the game out of reach. The 7-1 Raptors are the lone one-loss team in the Eastern Conference.

Final Score: Memphis 107, LA Lakers 102

Mike Conley scored 23 points and the Memphis Grizzlies nearly coughed up a huge fourth-quarter lead before holding on to best the Los Angeles Lakers, 107-102, at FedExForum. Memphis got a huge boost from its bench, which was ranked among the worst units in the league entering Tuesday’s game. Beno Udrih and Kosta Koufos shot a combined 13-for-16 from the floor for 16 and 14 points, respectively, as the Grizzlies got back in the win column following their first loss of the season on Saturday. Zach Randolph posted his sixth double-double in eight games with 11 points and 10 rebounds, getting there with a putback layup in the final seconds that sealed the victory. Marc Gasol did a little bit of everything, contributing eight points, nine assists and eight boards. Kobe Bryant found himself on the wrong side of history during the loss. At 6:22 of the fourth quarter, Bryant missed his 13th shot of the game and passed Celtics legend John Havlicek for the most missed field goals in NBA history with his 13,418th.

Final Score: Milwaukee 85, Oklahoma City 78

O.J. Mayo scored 19 points off the bench to help the Milwaukee Bucks to a 85-78 win over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Tuesday. Brandon Knight knocked in 16 points with four assists and Giannis Antetokounmpo added 14 points in a reserve role for the Bucks, who have won back-to-back games for the first time since March of the 2012-13 season. Reggie Jackson poured in 29 points for Oklahoma City, while Serge Ibaka and Anthony Morrow tallied 12 and 10, respectively. The Thunder have dropped four of their last five overall and their last seven straight on the road dating back to last season.

Final Score: Dallas 106, Sacramento 98

Dirk Nowitzki entered the history books on Tuesday and helped his team complete a monumental comeback in the process. Nowitzki scored 23 points, passing Hakeem Olajuwon for ninth on the NBA’s all- time scoring list, and the Dallas Mavericks erased a 24-point deficit en route to a 106-98 win over the Sacramento Kings. In addition to moving up the scoring list, Nowitzki, who needed 17 points to pass Olajuwon (26,946), became the NBA’s all-time leader in scoring for a foreign born player. Chandler Parsons supplied 19 points and Monta Ellis scored all of his 14 points in the second half to fuel the comeback for Dallas, which has won 21 straight at home over the Kings. Rudy Gay paced Sacramento with 26 points, Ramon Sessions had 18 in place of Darren Collison and DeMarcus Cousins finished with 16 points and 11 rebounds in a second straight loss. Collison did not play due to shoulder stiffness.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Showalter eyes third AL Manager of Year Award

Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter hopes to add a third Manager of the Year Award to his mantel on Tuesday when the Baseball Writers’ Association of America continues to dole out its postseason honors.

Showalter seems to win one of these awards every 10 years. He won in 1994 with the New York Yankees, then again in 2004 with the Texas Rangers. And wouldn’t you know it, he could be headed toward a third this year after guiding the Orioles to their first AL East title since 1997.

Despite injuries to Manny Machado and Matt Wieters, as well as an amphetamine suspension for Chris Davis, Baltimore was still able to exceed expectations, going 96-66.

Should he win, Showalter would become just the second manager to win the BBWAA award with three different organizations. Tony La Russa, a four-time winner, won with the Chicago White Sox (1983), Oakland Athletics (1988 and 1992) and the St. Louis Cardinals (2002).

Showalter’s main competition figures to come from Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim skipper Mike Scioscia, who guided his team back into the postseason for the first time since 2009 after winning an MLB-best 98 games.

While Showalter was forced to make due with a cast of under-the-radar players, Scioscia had the luxury of filling out a lineup chock full of All-Stars on a nightly basis.

In fact, of the 28 Manager of the Year Awards handed out by the BBWAA since 2000, only five have gone to skippers of a team that finished among the top 10 in payroll.

Los Angeles had the 10th-highest payroll in the league.

But like Showalter, Scioscia had to deal with his share of injuries, as young Tyler Skaggs was lost to Tommy John surgery in late July, while breakout ace Garrett Richards suffered a season-ending left knee injury on August 20.

The Angels responded, though, winning 20 of their next 27 games in a stretch that ultimately won them an AL West crown.

Scioscia has previously won two AL Manager of the Year Awards—in 2002 and ‘09.

Kansas City’s Ned Yost is the third AL finalist and figures to finish behind both Showalter and Scioscia, despite getting the Royals back into the playoffs for the first time since 1985.

Of course, Yost led the Royals all the way to the World Series, but voting took place before the postseason began.

Meanwhile, the National League Award is equally up for grabs, as Washington’s Matt Williams, Pittsburgh’s Clint Hurdle and San Francisco skipper Bruce Bochy can all make cases to win the award.

Had the voting took place over the weekend, Bochy would likely have been a landslide winner thanks to his third World Series title in five years, but he is nominated for a regular season that saw the Giants go 88-74 and win the NL wild card.

Bochy won this award in 1996 with San Diego.

Hurdle’s Pirates also won 88 games and lost to the Giants in the wild card game. Hamstrung by one of the lowest payrolls in baseball, Hurdle, who won this award a year ago, has transformed the perennial doormat Bucs into a team that has now reached the postseason in consecutive years.

As deserving as Hurdle may be, the odds are against him, as there has only been one manager in either league to repeat since the award joined the BBWAA’s formal awards lineup in 1983: Bobby Cox of the Braves in 2004-05.

Luckily for Williams these awards are in fact voted on before the start of the playoffs.

While his Nationals may have flamed out in the postseason, Williams did guide them to an NL East title with a league-best 96 wins in his first year as the team’s skipper.

The one knock on Williams is that he clearly walked into a terrific situation, as the talented Nationals just underperformed a year ago under Davey Johnson. But, he also had to deal with a ton of injuries throughout the season and is the only one of the three finalists to have won a division.




►  Cards sign INF Anna

The St. Louis Cardinals signed free agent infielder Dean Anna to a major league contract and three other players to minor league deals on Tuesday.

Anna participated in 12 games for the New York Yankees last season, batting .136 (3-for-22) with one home run and three RBI. He was claimed off waivers by the Pirates on July 5, but did not make an appearance in the major leagues for the remainder of the year.

The Cards also agreed to terms with pitchers Marcus Hatley and Miguel Socolovich and infielder Scott Moore to minor league contracts.

Socolovich did not record a decision while posting a 6.06 ERA in 12 appearances with the Orioles and Cubs in 2012.

Moore is a lifetime .242 hitter who has collected 16 home runs and 53 RBI over 152 games with the Cubs, Astros and Orioles from 2006-12.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Perry, Beauchemin dealing with viral infection

Anaheim Ducks forward Corey Perry and defenseman Francois Beauchemin are out with viral gland infections, the team announced on Tuesday.

Both Perry and Beauchemin initially suffered from flu-like symptoms and have begun undergoing various testing. The results are expected by Wednesday, according to the Orange County Register.

Perry, who is tied for the league lead in goals with 11, was placed on injured reserve Sunday. Beauchemin has recorded four assists in 15 games.

The Ducks host the Kings Wednesday night, then play in Los Angeles on Saturday.

►  NHL Game Results

(Tuesday, November 11)

Final Score: New Jersey 3, Minnesota 1

Mike Cammalleri scored the eventual game- winning goal midway through the second period and the New Jersey Devils snapped their losing steak with a 3-1 victory over the Minnesota Wild. Tuomo Ruutu also potted a goal for the Devils, who ended a four-game skid despite going 0-for-6 on the power play prior to Travis Zajac’s empty-netter on a 5-on-4 situation. Cory Schneider picked up the win with a 23-save performance, including several acrobatic denials in the closing minutes. Ryan Carter scored a short-handed goal and Darcy Kuemper made 20 saves in Minnesota’s fourth straight setback.

Final Score: NY Islanders 6, Colorado 0

The New York Islanders had payback on their minds when they took on the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday. Jaroslav Halak posted his second straight shutout and the Islanders claimed a 6-0 decision to avenge an earlier loss to the Avalanche. The Islanders traveled to Colorado on October 30 and lost 5-0, their biggest margin of defeat this season. But Tuesday was a much different outcome thanks to Halak’s 20 saves and a balanced offensive attack. Halak kept Arizona off the board in a 1-0 win on Saturday. Tuesday’s victory was the 150th of his career. It was also his 32nd career shutout. Nick Leddy, Anders Lee, Travis Hamonic, Nikolay Kulemin, Casey Cizikas and Ryan Strome each scored for New York, which has won four in a row. Semyon Varlamov made 40 saves for the Avs, who fell to 4-8-5 on the season.

Final Score: NY Rangers 5, Pittsburgh 0

Mats Zuccarello, Martin St. Louis and Kevin Klein all scored during a three-goal first period, and the New York Rangers sent the Pittsburgh Penguins’ seven-game win streak to a screeching halt with a 5-0 rout at Madison Square Garden. Rick Nash recorded a goal and two assists and Henrik Lundqvist turned back all 33 shots he faced as the Rangers bounced back strongly from back-to-back defeats over the weekend. Derick Brassard added a goal and both Derek Stepan and Marc Staal had two assists to help New York deny the Penguins an opportunity to avenge their seven- game loss to the Rangers in last season’s Eastern Conference semifinals. Marc- Andre Fleury finished with 30 saves for Pittsburgh, which had allowed just eight goals total during its seven-game surge.

Final Score: Washington 4, Columbus 2

Alex Ovechkin and Marcus Johansson each scored twice to lead the Washington Capitals in a 4-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday. Nicklas Backstrom and Andre Burakovsky each posted two assists, while Braden Holtby stopped 24 shots for the Capitals, who have won three straight. Cam Atkinson and David Savard lit the lamp for the Blue Jackets, who have matched a franchise record by dropping their ninth straight game. Curtis McElhinney allowed all four goals on 32 shots

Final Score: Montreal 3, Winnipeg 0

Carey Price made 29 saves for his first shutout of the season and the Montreal Canadiens snapped the Winnipeg Jets’ eight-game point streak with a 3-0 victory on Tuesday. Tomas Plekanec, Lars Eller and Alex Galchenyuk lit the lamp for the Canadiens, who have won three in a row. Ondrej Pavelec stopped 24-of-26 shots for the Jets, who had gone 6-0-2 since a regulation loss to Tampa Bay on October 24.

Final Score: Florida 4, San Jose 1

Jimmy Hayes and Aleksander Barkov recorded first-period goals that propelled the Florida Panthers to a 4-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks at BB&T Center. Derek MacKenzie and Tomas Fleischmann scored later on to support a 21-save effort from Roberto Luongo that helped the Panthers halt an 0-2-1 stretch. Joe Thornton accounted for San Jose’s lone goal during the third period and Antti Niemi finished with 26 saves for the Sharks, who fell to 1-2-0 on their current seven-game road swing.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  This Week in Golf—November 13-16

PGA TOUR - OHL CLASSIC AT MAYAKOBA, El Camaleon Golf Club, Playa del Carmen, Mexico - The PGA Tour is in Mexico this week for the final official event of the fall.

Harris English returns to El Camaleon Golf Course to defend his title. It was a long final day last year for English.

After weather problems earlier in the week, English played the final 29 holes of the tournament on Sunday. He trailed Robert Karlsson by one entering the final round, but English fired a 6-under 65 to cruise to a 4-stroke win.

The victory was the second of the season and second of his career for English. Karlsson stumbled to a 1-over 72 in the final round and fell into a share of sixth place.

English has struggled of late. Dating to the Open Championship, he has missed the cut in six of his last nine starts. He did tie for 16th in Las Vegas, but followed with a missed cut at The McGladrey Classic.

The field this week includes former major champions Angel Cabrera, Padraig Harrington, Lucas Glover, Justin Leonard, Davis Love III and Mike Weir. While that group will be among the headliners, five other players—Brice Garnett, James Hahn, Jeff Overton, Heath Slocum and Nicholas Thompson—will all be playing their sixth straight fall event.

Golf Channel will have coverage of all four rounds from 2-5 PM ET.

The next PGA Tour event is the Hero World Challenge, hosted by Tiger Woods. Zach Johnson beat Woods in a playoff last year in California, and he will defend his title at Isleworth Golf & Country Club as the event moves to Florida this year.


TURKISH AIRLINES OPEN, Montgomerie Maxx Royal course, Antalya, Turkey - The European Tour is in Turkey this week for the third event of the finals series, the Turkish Airlines Open.

Last year, Victor Dubuisson fired four rounds in the 60s en route to a 2- stroke win over Jamie Donaldson. Justin Rose and Tiger Woods shared third place, four strokes off the pace.

Dubuisson had never finished better than third on the European Tour before winning this event last year. He is still searching for his second victory.

The Frenchman has had seven top-10 finishes since January, including three runner-ups finishes. He shared ninth at the Open Championship and tied for seventh at the PGA Championship. Those top finishes helped Dubuisson make his first European Ryder Cup team, where he went 2-0-1.

Dubuisson had to withdraw last week at the WGC-HSBC Champions with a back injury, so he status for this week is in question.

Course designer Colin Montgomerie will be in the field this week along with Jamie Donaldson, Sergio Garcia, Marcel Siem, Martin Kaymer, Henrik Stenson, Ian Poulter and Lee Westwood.

Donaldson, Garcia and Siem can still catch Rory McIlroy for the top spot in the Race to Dubai standings, but they would have to win this event and next week in Dubai as well.

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

The last event of the finals series, the DP World Tour Championship, Dubai, is next week. Henrik Stenson rolled to a 6-stroke win last year as he won the final event on both the PGA and European Tours and won the big bonuses that came with winning the FedExCup and the Race to Dubai.


LORENA OCHOA INVITATIONAL, Club de Golf Mexico, Mexico City, Mexico - The LPGA Tour has completed its six-week Asian swing, but still remains outside the United States as the tour is in Mexico this week.

Lexi Thompson won the Lorena Ochoa Invitational last year as she closed with a 69 to fend off Stacy Lewis. Thompson needed to birdie the final hole to claim the title.

The victory was Thompson’s second of 2013 and third of her career. She added her first major championship title earlier this year when she won the Kraft Nabisco Championship. Thompson is among 12 players that have won this year on the LPGA Tour that are in the field this week.

The 36-player field this week includes 14 of the top-20 players in the world, including eight of the top 10. Five of the six previous winners—Thompson, Cristie Kerr, Catriona Matthew, Michelle Wie and Angela Stanford—are playing as well.

Golf Channel will have coverage from 5-7 PM ET all four days.

The LPGA Tour returns to the U.S. next week for the final official event of 2014, the CME Group Titleholders. Shanshan Feng rallied for a narrow 1-shot win over Gerina Piller at that event last year.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Federer will lead Swiss in Davis Cup final

Roger Federer will lead visiting Switzerland against host France in next week’s 2014 Davis Cup final.

The Swiss squad will feature the world No. 2 Wimbledon runner-up Federer, fourth-ranked Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka, Marco Chiudinelli and Michael Lammer, but Federer and Wawrinka are expected to play in all the meaningful rubbers.

Team France will counter with No. 12 Jo-Wilfried Tsonga, Richard Gasquet, Gael Monfils and Julien Benneteau.

Switzerland is captained by Severin Luthi, while the French are guided by former Aussie Open runner-up Arnaud Clement.

The best-of—five tie will be staged on indoor red clay at Stade Pierre Mauroy in Lille, France.

The French are 10-2 all-time versus the Swiss in Davis Cup play. The two nations last met in a 2004 quarterfinal that was won by France.

The nine-time champion French are seeking their first Davis Cup title in 13 years, while Switzerland and the 33-year-old 17-time Grand Slam champion Federer have never hoisted the coveted 114-year-old chalice.

The Gilmer Free Press


National Basketball Association
Detroit at Washington, 7:00 PM - FS-Detroit, CSN-DC, DSS
Indiana at Miami, 7:30 PM - FS-Indiana, SunSports, ESPN
Orlando at New York, 7:30 PM - FS-Florida, MSG, DSS
Utah at Atlanta, 7:30 PM - ROOT-Northwest, SportSouth, DSS
Oklahoma City at Boston, 7:30 PM - FS-Oklahoma, CSN-New England, DSS
LA Lakers at New Orleans, 8:00 PM - Time Warner, FS-New Orleans, DSS
Brooklyn at Phoenix, 9:00 PM - YES, FS-Arizona, DSS
Portland at Denver, 9:00 PM - KGW, Altitude, DSS
Houston at Minnesota, 10:00 PM - CSN-Houston, ESPN

National Hockey League
Boston at Toronto, 8:00 PM - NBCSN
Los Angeles at Anaheim, 10:30 PM - NBCSN

College Football
Kent State at Bowling Green, 8:00 PM - ESPN 2
Ball State at Massachusetts, 8:00 PM - ESPN U

International Soccer
Turkey vs. Brazil (Friendly), 1:20 PM - beIN Sport
Netherlands vs. Mexico (Friendly), 2:25 PM - ESPN 2
Atletico-MG vs. Cruzeiro, 6:55 PM - beIN Sport

Sports News - 11.04.14

The Gilmer Free Press

The Gilmer Free Press

►  WLU Selected To Win MEC Men’s Basketball Title

West Liberty, which played for the NCAA Division II title last season, has been picked to win the 2015 Mountain East Conference championship after a vote conducted by the league’s coaches.

The Hilltoppers garnered eight first place votes and finished with 118 points. West Liberty has been ranked as the No. 1 team in the country already by Sporting News, Division II Bulletin and Basketball Times. Senior forward C.J. Hester has earned preseason All-America honors by Division II Bulletin and Basketball times.

Fairmont State, which returns 2014 MEC Freshman of the Year Thomas Wimbush, was picked to finish second with 109 points and three first-place votes. Charleston was picked to finish third with 102 points. The Golden Eagles went 21-9 last year, won the 2014 MEC Tournament and earned an NCAA Tournament berth

Wheeling Jesuit collected the final first-place vote and finished fourth in the poll with 89 points. Glenville State was picked fifth (75), followed by Shepherd (70), Notre Dame (56), West Virginia State (48) and UVa-Wise (38). West Virginia Wesleyan and Concord tied for 10th with 37 points, and Urbana was 12th with 13 points.

The poll was released on Monday at the Mountain East Conference Media Day at the Bridgeport Conference Center.

The men’s basketball season begins on Friday, November 15, 2014. 

Mountain East Conference Men’s Basketball Preseason Poll
Rk. Team Points
1. West Liberty (8) 118
2. Fairmont State (3) 109
3. Charleston 102
4. Wheeling Jesuit (1) 89
5. Glenville State 75
6. Shepherd 70
7. Notre Dame 56
8. West Virginia State 48
9. UVa-Wise 38
10. West Virginia Wesleyan 37
Concord 37
12. Urbana 13
() denotes first-place votes

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Foles has fractured clavicle, Ryans has Achilles injury

Philadelphia Eagles coach Chip Kelly on Monday confirmed that quarterback Nick Foles has a fracture in his clavicle and added that linebacker DeMeco Ryans has an Achilles injury.

Beyond that, though, Kelly wouldn’t speculate. He said both players went for MRI exams on Monday afternoon.

“He has a crack in it, but we don’t know the extent of it,“ said Kelly about Foles.

Foles was hurt in the first quarter of Sunday’s game against Houston, falling hard on his left shoulder while being sacked by Whitney Mercilus. He left under his own power, leaving Mark Sanchez to play the remainder of the contest.

Sanchez helped the Eagles to a 31-21 victory, finishing the contest 15-of-22 with a pair of touchdowns and two interceptions in his first action since 2012.

“I feel really bad for Nick, but I’m confident about Mark,“ said Kelly on Monday. “He knows the system. His preparation is outstanding, always ready. We feel real confident, if Nick (is out for any length of time.)“

Ryans was hurt in the fourth quarter after intercepting a Ryan Fitzpatrick pass. He fumbled while falling to the turf with no one around him, then left the field on a cart.

A ruptured Achilles, which was being widely reported following Sunday’s game, would end Ryans’ season.

►  Jags put CB Blackmon on IR

The Jacksonville Jaguars placed cornerback Will Blackmon on injured reserve Monday due to a fractured left index finger.

Blackmon suffered the injury during Jacksonville’s Week 8 loss to Miami and sat out Sunday’s 33-23 setback at Cincinnati as a result.

The journeyman defensive back had played in the Jaguars’ first eight games and made four starts, recording 30 tackles, one sack and a forced fumble.

Linebacker Khairi Fortt was signed off the Bengals’ practice squad to fill the available roster spot.

Fortt was a fourth-round pick of New Orleans in this year’s draft who began the season on injured reserve/designated to return. He was waived by the Saints on October 06 and claimed by the Bengals one day later.

►  Bears place Houston on IR

The Chicago Bears placed defensive end Lamarr Houston on injured reserve Monday.

Houston ruptured the anterior cruciate ligament in his right knee while celebrating a sack during Chicago’s blowout loss to New England in Week 8. It was his first sack of the season after signing a five-year, $35 million free- agent deal in March.

Chicago, which had a bye in Week 9, also promoted defensive end David Bass from the practice squad to the active roster and signed tackle Jason Weaver to the practice squad on Monday.

►  NFL Game Results

Final Score: Indianapolis 40, NY Giants 24

Ben Roethlisberger carved up the Indianapolis Colts secondary last week. Eli Manning didn’t have as much luck. Andrew Luck tossed three of his four touchdown passes in the third quarter, Manning completed just 12 of his first 29 throws and the Colts cruised to a 40-24 win over the New York Giants on Monday night. The Colts struggled mightily once Vontae Davis exited last Sunday’s game with a knee injury, surrendering 522 yards and six touchdowns to “Big Ben” en route to a 51-34 defeat. With the physical corner back in the lineup, however, Manning struggled to find open targets. Manning finished 27-of-52 with most of his 359 yards coming with the game already decided in the fourth quarter. Both of his TD passes came in the final frame. Luck added to his NFL-leading passing yardage total and tallied his franchise-record seventh straight 300-yard game with 354 on 25-of-46 efficiency for Indianapolis (6-3), which has won six of its last seven games since an 0-2 start. T.Y. Hilton hauled in three passes for 71 yards and a touchdown, Reggie Wayne posted four receptions for 70 yards and a score and Dwayne Allen had four catches for 48 yards and a score in the triumph. First-round rookie Odell Beckham tallied eight receptions for 156 yards for the Giants (3-5), who have dropped three in a row on the heels of a three-game winning streak.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Timberwolves’ Martin fined for gesture

Edmonton Oilers defenseman Andrew Ference was suspended three games by the NHL on Monday for an illegal check.

Ference delivered a check to the head of Vancouver forward Zack Kassian in the second period of Saturday’s game with the Canucks. He was assessed a minor penalty on the play.

The supplemental discipline was issued by the NHL Department of Player Safety because Ference is considered a repeat offender. He will forfeit $118,902 of his salary, which will go to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

Ference will miss road games this week against Philadelphia, Boston and Buffalo. He will be eligible to return on Sunday against the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden.

►  NBA Game Results

Final Score: Houston 104, Philadelphia 93

James Harden needed just seven made field goals to drop 35 points on the Philadelphia 76ers, leading the Houston Rockets to a 104-93 win on Monday. Harden hit 17-of-18 from the free throw line and added nine rebounds and five assists for Houston, which improved to 4-0 on the season. Trevor Ariza gave 24 points and Dwight Howard scored 11 with 14 rebounds and four blocks. Tony Wroten paced the winless Sixers with 20 points in the setback, while rookie big man Nerlens Noel contributed a team-high five assists and six steals.

Final Score: Brooklyn 116, Oklahoma City 85

Deron Williams had 17 points and nine assists as the Brooklyn Nets routed the Oklahoma City Thunder 116-85 on Monday night. Brook Lopez posted 18 points and six rebounds in his first game of the year after missing the first two with a foot injury. Alan Anderson netted 18 points off the bench for the Nets, who have won two straight since a season-opening loss at Boston. Reggie Jackson, who didn’t play in his first three games due to a wrist injury, tallied 23 points and five assists, but turned the ball over seven times for Oklahoma City, which is off to a 1-3 start. Perry Jones finished with 16 points.

Final Score: Memphis 93, New Orleans 81

Marc Gasol led all five Grizzlies starters in double figures with 16 points and 11 rebounds as Memphis stayed unbeaten with a 93-81 win over the New Orleans Pelicans on Monday. Gasol and Zach Randolph both provided double-doubles, with the latter contributing 15 points and 11 boards, but the duo’s interior defense was the bigger story in this one. Gasol and Randolph limited Anthony Davis to 14 points and eight boards, pedestrian totals from the lofty standards he set early this season. Davis was averaging 28.5 points and 16.0 rebounds through two games coming in. Tyreke Evans scored 21 points for the Pelicans, losers in two straight following an opening night win. The Grizzlies are 4-0 for the first time in franchise history.

Final Score: Dallas 118, Boston 113

Chandler Parsons scored 29 points on 10-of-15 shooting and the Dallas Mavericks fended off the Boston Celtics, 118-113, on Monday. Dirk Nowitzki netted 27 points with seven rebounds while Monta Ellis added 14 points for the Mavs, who raced out to a big lead but sweated out their third straight victory. Jeff Green and Avery Bradley fueled the Celtics’ comeback, totaling 35 and 32 points, respectively. Bradley had a chance to tie things at the free throw line with 39.5 seconds to go but only made two of his three attempts.

Final Score: Sacramento 110, Denver 105

Darren Collison scored 21 points with six assists to help the Sacramento Kings to a 110-105 win over the Denver Nuggets in the opener of a home-and-home set. DeMarcus Cousins had 19 points and five rebounds while Rudy Gay and Carl Landry each gave 14 points for the Kings, who have won three straight after opening the season with a loss to Golden State. JaVale McGee and Arron Afflalo each had 11 points for the Nuggets, who have dropped their past two.

Final Score: LA Clippers 107, Utah 101

Blake Griffin scored a game-high 31 points and Chris Paul recorded a triple-double in the Los Angeles Clippers’ 107-101 victory over the Utah Jazz on Monday. Paul, just two days after suffering a left foot sprain, logged 13 points, 12 assists and 10 rebounds for a Clippers squad looking to rebound from Sunday’s home loss to the Kings. Los Angeles struggled down the stretch against Sacramento but got some much- needed production from Jamal Crawford to finish off the Jazz. Crawford played through a rib injury and scored nine of his 19 points in the fourth quarter. Gordon Hayward paced the Jazz with 27 points, but they fell to 1-3 on the young season and dropped their 10th straight game against the Clippers. Enes Kanter donated 17 points and nine boards in a losing cause.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Cubs make Maddon hire official

The Chicago Cubs have finalized an agreement to make Joe Maddon their next manager, with the former Tampa Bay Rays skipper to be formally introduced in a press conference scheduled for 3 PM ET on Monday.

Maddon agreed to a five-year contract in which financial terms were not disclosed, though the deal is expected to make the two-time American League Manager of the Year among the highest paid at his position.

The Cubs moved quickly to obtain Maddon’s services after he opted out of his contract with the Rays on October 24, shortly after Tampa Bay general manager Andrew Friedman left the organization to become the president of baseball operations for the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Maddon, who guided the small-market Rays to four playoff appearances and the 2008 AL pennant over the past seven seasons, joins a long-suffering Cubs franchise that has endured five consecutive losing campaigns but appears to have a very promising future.

Chicago’s present farm system is ranked among baseball’s strongest and the Cubs are expected to be significant players in free agency this offseason, something Maddon never experienced during his successful nine-year run with the low-budget Rays.

Those factors, coupled with Friedman’s departure and the presence of Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein—who nearly hired Maddon as the Red Sox’ manager in 2004 while then Boston’s GM—likely played a role in Maddon’s decision.

The 60-year-old takes over a Cubs team that showed improvement in Rick Renteria’s lone season as manager, with Chicago posting a 73-89 record in 2014 after winning 66 and 61 games the previous two years.

Despite those strides, Epstein informed Renteria last week of his intention to pursue Maddon and make a switch. Renteria was offered another position within the organization but predictably declined.

Even though they annually operated with one of the lowest payrolls in the majors, the Rays were a consistent contender for much of Maddon’s reign. Lauded for his ability to work with young players and to maximize the available talent on hand, the charismatic manager guided Tampa to six consecutive winning seasons that began with the unexpected 2008 World Series run.

The Rays, who had never won over 70 games in their first 10 seasons prior to that 2008 breakthrough, also reached the playoffs in 2010, 2011 and 2013.

Maddon amassed a 754-705 overall record in Tampa Bay, easily the most of any manager in club history.

►  Royals make qualifying offer to Shields

The Kansas City Royals tendered starting pitcher James Shields a qualifying offer on Monday.

Shields has until 4 PM (ET) on Monday, November 10 to accept the offer or become a free agent. If Shields decides to accept, he would receive a one-year deal worth $15.3 million. However, if he declines the offer, the Royals would receive draft-pick compensation if he signs somewhere else.

The nine-year veteran went 14-8 with a 3.21 ERA in 34 starts this past season. Over 227 innings, the right-hander allowed 224 hits, struck out 180 and walked 44.

Shields has eight straight seasons of pitching over 200 innings.

For his career, Shields has a 114-90 record with a 3.72 ERA. He spent the last two years with Kansas City after spending the first seven of his career with Tampa Bay, and has posted a 27-17 mark with a 3.18 ERA with the Royals.

In five 2014 postseason starts for the AL champion Royals, Shields went 1-2 with a 6.12 ERA. He was 0-2 with a 7.00 ERA in two World Series starts.

►  Ramirez accepts option, remains with Brewers

Third baseman Aramis Ramirez has accepted the option on his contract and will remain with the Milwaukee Brewers for the 2015 season.

Ramirez had a mutual option for the 2015 season on a three-year contract he signed with the Brewers prior to the 2012 campaign. The Brewers accepted their part of the option on Friday and Ramirez had three days to accept his end of the deal or become a free agent.

The 36-year-old veteran batted .285 with 15 homers and 66 RBI in his 2014 All- Star campaign. Ramirez has a .285 average with 369 home runs and 1,342 RBI over his 17-year career.

►  Cubs agree to one-year deal with Wada

The Chicago Cubs and pitcher Tsuyoshi Wada have agreed to terms on a one-year contract.

Financial terms were not disclosed.

Wada was 4-4 with a 3.25 ERA in 13 starts for the Cubs last season. He began the year with Triple-A Iowa and was 10-6 with a 2.77 ERA in 19 games, earning Pacific Coast League All-Star honors, then was promoted to the big leagues in late July.

The 33-year-old left-hander spent nine seasons in Japan and was 107-61 with a 3.13 ERA in 210 games. He signed with Baltimore in December 2011 and developed an elbow injury the following spring training that led to Tommy John surgery in May, then returned to the Orioles’ Triple-A team in Norfolk in June 2013.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Djokovic gets nice draw at ATP Finals

Two-time reigning champion Novak Djokovic received a favorable draw at the ATP World Tour Finals, while Roger Federer and Andy Murray will square off in round-robin action next week.

The world No. 1 Djokovic, who captured his 20th career Masters title in Paris on Sunday, will spearhead round-robin Group A, which also features Australian Open champion Stan Wawrinka, U.S. Open titlist Marin Cilic and former Wimbledon runner-up Tomas Berdych.

The ATP Finals is an exclusive eight-player, season-ending tournament that will commence Sunday in London.

The 2014 Wimbledon runner-up Federer will headline Group B in London and face the two-time Grand Slam champion Murray and Finals newcomers Kei Nishikori and Milos Raonic in round-robin action. Nishikori was September’s U.S. Open runner-up to Cilic.

The reigning Wimbledon champion and three-time Tour Finals winner Djokovic, who’s riding a 27-match indoor court winning streak over the last two years, is battling the six-time Finals titlist Federer for the coveted year-end No. 1 ranking.

Djokovic and the former top-ranked great Federer are the only former champs in this year’s Finals field at The O2.

Former No. 1 Rafael Nadal will skip the London event because of appendicitis.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  NHL Game Results

Final Score: St. Louis 4, NY Rangers 3 (SO)

Vladimir Tarasenko scored in the third round of the shootout to give the St. Louis Blues a 4-3 win over the New York Rangers. Brian Elliott poked-checked the puck away from Rick Nash prior to Tarasenko skating in and wristing the puck into the left corner of the net past Cam Talbot for the win. Tarasenko had a goal and an assist while Patrik Berglund and Jay Bouwmeester also scored for the Blues, who have won five straight games. Elliott made 36 saves in the win. Martin St. Louis scored twice and Chris Kreider added a marker for the Rangers, who have dropped three of their last four. Talbot posted 31 stops.

►  Oilers place Hall on IR

Edmonton Oilers forward Taylor Hall was placed on injured reserve Monday because of a knee injury.

Hall is expected to be sidelined for at least two weeks because of a sprained medial collateral ligament. He was hurt in Saturday’s game against Vancouver when he took a hit while driving to the net. His leg crashed into the goal post and his momentum carried him into the end boards.

The 22-year-old Calgary native leads Edmonton with six goals and 10 points in 11 games this season.

Edmonton recalled defenseman Keith Aulie to fill the roster spot.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Things we learned on Sunday of Week 9

The much-awaited, much-hyped battle between Tom Brady and Peyton Manning turned out to be a one-sided affair with the Patriots romping to a relatively easy 43-21 victory,

Not surprisingly, both players still put up great fantasy numbers for their owners. They threw for a combined 771 yards and six touchdowns.

If this surprises you, fantasy football may not be your game.

Below are a few more things we observed:

Jacksonville at Cincinnati

Early on, it looked like it was going to be another mundane day for the Bengals offense despite the friendly matchup at home against the Jaguars.

Andy Dalton started the game 1-of-5 passing and Jacksonville rushed for over 80 yards in the first quarter. Although Dalton struggled taking care of the ball with two interceptions and other near mishaps, he did throw for 233 yards and two touchdowns.

A.J. Green caught a touchdown in his return, but Mohamed Sanu was again Dalton’s favorite target.

Sanu had four catches for 95 yards and a touchdown. He is also still the guy the Cincinnati offense turns to for a trick play. Sanu had one rush for nine yards.

Jeremy Hill and Cedric Peerman were the duo running back threat in Week 9 for Cincinnati. Peerman made a nice catch-and-run on third-and-eight to extend a drive in the first half. The play seemed to jump start the Bengals offense as Hill gained 10 yards on the next play and Sanu caught his touchdown on the drive.

Hill had a huge day with 24 carries and 154 yards. Peerman gained 31 yards on seven touches. This may be the backfield for Cincinnati again next week unless Giovani Bernard returns on a short week.

Blake Bortles may have played his best game as a pro, but he threw a costly interception at the end of the game. He went for 247 yards, two touchdowns and the pick. Fellow rookie Allen Hurns caught seven passes for 112 yards and two touchdowns.

The Jaguars rushed for just 53 yards after the big first quarter. Denard Robinson carried the ball 17 times for 94 yards and a touchdown. Toby Gerhart was involved, but gained just 19 yards on three rushes and still has no fantasy value.

Tampa Bay at Cleveland

What started as a comedy of errors ended as a pretty decent football game from both a neutral fan and fantasy perspective.

Both Mike Glennon and Brian Hoyer threw two interceptions ,but also two touchdowns. Glennon went for 260 yards while Hoyer earned the 300-yard bonus. Hoyer remains mostly an all-or-nothing quarterback, but he did complete over 61% of his passes. His last touchdown was to Taylor Gabriel for 34 yards and a touchdown.

Bobby Rainey awarded those owners who rolled the dice on him with 121 yards from scrimmage. With Doug Martin and Charles Sims both inactive, it was a wise move. Rainey, however, disappeared in the second half as 80 of his 87 rushing yards came before the break.

Terrance West had five more carries than Ben Tate. Tate did have four receptions to West’s one, but Tate had just 32 yards. His value is dropping by the week. West gained 48 yards on 15 carries.

Mike Evans was the star wideout in the game. He caught seven passes for 124 yards and two touchdowns. Vincent Jackson had a decent day as well with six catches and 86 yards, but did not find the end zone.

Gabriel had five receptions for 87 yards in addition to his touchdown. Miles Austin and Travis Benjamin each went for 50 receiving yards.

Arizona at Dallas

The running game and offensive line may be the new focal point of the Cowboys offense this season, but in the team’s first full game without Tony Romo, the offense did virtually nothing.

DeMarco Murray rushed for a season-low 79 yards on 19 carries and backup quarterback Brandon Weeden threw for 183 yards and two interceptions. He avoided a complete fantasy dud with a late touchdown pass to Dez Bryant.

Bryant caught two passes on the last drive of the game, including the touchdown. Those were the only two times Bryant touched the ball. At least he avoided the goose egg. Weeden targeted Bryant 10 times, but Patrick Peterson shadowed No. 88 all game and won the battle.

Carson Palmer responded well after throwing a pick-six on the opening drive. Arizona moved the ball well on that first drive and finished with 339 yards of offense. Palmer threw for 249 yards and three touchdowns.

Andre Ellington was involved early and often. He had 21 carries for 95 yards and four catches for 39 more yards. Ellington received the goal-line touches with no Stepfan Taylor in Week 9. Ellington didn’t run in any of the goal-line carries, but he caught a short touchdown pass on 3rd-and-goal for a score.

Larry Fitzgerald led the way with five catches for 70 yards, but it was John Carlson and Jaron Brown who were the recipients of Palmer’s other touchdown passes.

Philadelphia at Houston

It appears that the turnover “disease” that Nick Foles (exited due to a shoulder injury) extends to backup Mark Sanchez as well. Both threw first-half touchdowns and first-half interceptions. Sanchez threw a second one after the break.

Jeremy Maclin toasted the Texans secondary for two long receptions. Of course it helped that Johnathan Joseph was on the sidelines with concussion symptoms. Maclin racked up a second consecutive game with at least 150 yards two touchdowns.

It’s no coincidence that the Eagles running game reappeared with the return of center Jason Kelce. LeSean McCoy rushed for 117 yards and back Chris Polk 50 yards and a score.

Arian Foster can be a dynamic runner or pass receiver. In the first half it was as a receiver with a 56-yard catch and run for a score. he finished the day with 119 yards of offense but left the game in the third quarter with a leg injury and did not return.

Andre Johnson was a non-factor. DeAndre Hopkins has become the better fantasy option as teams still double Johnson and Hopkins takes advantage of the opportunities to go one on one on the other side of the field.

New York Jets at Kansas City

No turnovers for Michael Vick in his first start this season, but his team still wasn’t competitive losing 24-10.

Chris Johnson looked lively rushing 11 times for 69 yards (6.3 ypc)

Eric Decker caught his first touchdown pass in three weeks, but it’s tough for fantasy owners to start a guy who has yet to crack the 75-yard mark.

Percy Harvin saw a lot of garbage time yards, ending the day with 129 on 11 receptions.

“Manager” Alex Smith could have been a nice starter for fantasy owners with all the star quarterbacks sidelined this weekend. He went 11-of-15 for 131 yards and two scores in the first half, but didn’t do much after the break and finished with 199 passing yards.

Jamaal Charles still hasn’t rushed for 100 yards this season. He totaled 88 yards from scrimmage and scored once, so at least he gave fantasy owners double-digit points for the fourth time in seven games.

San Diego at Miami

What has happened to the “MVP candidate Philip Rivers the past few games? He was an ugly 12-of-23 for 138 yards and three interceptions. That’s five picks over the past two games.

It might be time for people to start paying attention to the Dolphins defense. Heading into Week 9 they were top-10 in fewest points allowed, top-10 in rushing yards allowed and top-10 in passing yards allowed. Today they completely shut down and shout out the Chargers.

Ryan Tannehill toasted the Chargers injured secondary for 208 yards and a score in the first half. He added two more second-half scores and would have hit the 300-yard bonus if the game had not been so lopsided.

Lamar Miller earned his fantasy owners double-digit points, but left with a shoulder injury.

Washington at Minnesota

Robert Griffin III hadn’t played since Week 2 and it showed early on. He finished with 251 yards and a touchdown through the air and 24 yards on seven carries.

Alfred Morris helped his returning quarterback with a solid effort of 92 yards and two scores on the ground,

DeSean Jackson made the most of four catches for 120 yards and a touchdown, but Pierre Garcon was nearly invisible.

Teddy Bridgewater threw 28 times in the first half. That’s too much to ask of a rookie. But the Vikings didn’t have many options after rushing for 14 yards on seven carries in the first half.

Apparently the team saw the same half-time stats we did and rushed 20 times in the second half. Matt Asiata got the goal line work, scoring three times from inside the 7-yard line. Jerick McKinnon (14-54-0) can’t be happy about that.

Who is Chase Ford and why was he a much better fantasy option than Cordarrelle Patterson?

St. Louis at San Francisco

As we expected, Kenny Britt would become a more valuable fantasy asset with Brian Quick sidelined for the season. He caught a touchdown pass just before halftime.

Tre Mason rushed 19 times for 65 yards. Not great, but we like his%age of the workload getting 19 of 27 carries.

Michael Crabtree gets the press, but steady Anquan Boldin is Colin Kaepernick’s favorite target these days. Late in the third quarter Boldin made the 900th reception of his career. He’s just the 17th guy to reach that mark and probably with Derrick Mason the two most underrated, in fantasy as well as real life, of the elite group. He finished with six receptions for 93 yards and a touchdown.

Neither Frank Gore or Colin Kaepernick could get the running game going. The 49ers rushed for just 80 yards. And they are a run-first football team. No wonder they scored just 10 points.

Denver at New England

Those who saw the snow and whipping wind in New England on the pre-game shows and decided sit Stephen Gostkowski couldn’t be happy when he kicked a couple of early field goals including a 49-yarder. He finished 13 points.

Emmanuel Sanders (10-151-0) continues to be Peyton Manning’s “chain mover,“ last week’s three-touchdown game, notwithstanding.

Manning posted more great numbers despite his team getting demolished. He posted his record 14th 400-yard passing game. The final numbers were 34-of-57 for 438 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions.

Julius Thomas caught his first touchdown pass in three games after catching nine in the first five. Welcome back, but fantasy owners can’t be happy that Thomas’ value is so closely tied to scoring touchdowns. A 100-yard receiving game every now and then would be nice.

It was an all Julian Edelman first half, scoring once on a bullet from Brady and once on a stunning 84-yard punt return.

Rob Gronkowski continued to play well, catching nine for 105 yards and a touchdown. That’s back-to-back 100-yard games for the first time since November 2011. Back then he was the best tight end in the game. He may be now too.

Oh, Brady was pretty good too. He hit four different receivers with touchdown passes. It’s the fourth consecutive game Brady has thrown for at least three scores and he has 22 touchdown passes on the season against just three interceptions. A little over a month ago, just before the Chiefs game, I called Brady a “game manager.“ I apologize Tom.

Oakland at Seattle

Mychal Rivera caught two one-yard touchdown passes among his six receptions for 38 yards. Sunday he was the best fantasy option on the field for Oakland.

Seattle’s defense hasn’t been turning the ball over, so what better elixir than facing a rookie quarterback?

Seahawks linebacker Bruce Irvin returned one 35 yards for a score at the end of the first quarter. Richard Sherman set up more points with another interception in the second quarter. Seattle finished with three turnovers. They only had seven in seven games heading into this contest.

Welcome back to fantasy relevance Marshawn Lynch. The Seahawks star running back hadn’t produced double-digit fantasy points since Week 5. Sunday he combined for 143 yards from scrimmage and a pair of rushing touchdowns.

The Gilmer Free Press


National Basketball Association
Milwaukee at Indiana, 7:00 PM - FS-Wisconsin, Indiana, DSS
Washington at New York, 7:30 PM - CSN-DC+, MSG, DSS
Houston at Miami, 7:30 PM - CSN-Houston, SunSports, DSS
Oklahoma City at Toronto, 7:30 PM - FS-Oklahoma, TSN2, DSS
Charlotte at New Orleans, 8:00 PM - SportSouth, FS-New Orleans, DSS
Orlando at Chicago, 8:00 PM - FS-Florida, CSN-Chicago, DSS
Cleveland at Portland, 10:00 PM - FS-Ohio, CSN-Northwest, DSS
Phoenix at LA Lakers, 10:30 PM - FS-Arizona, Time Warner, DSS

National Hockey League
Edmonton at Philadelphia, 7:00 PM - SN-Oilers, CSN-Philadelphia, DSS
Calgary at Washington, 7:00 PM - SN-West, CSN-DC, DSS
Florida at Boston, 7:00 PM - FS-Florida, NESN, DSS
Carolina at Columbus, 7:00 PM - FS-Carolina, Ohio, DSS
Detroit at Ottawa, 7:30 PM - FS-Detroit, RDS2, TSN5, DSS
Chicago at Montreal, 7:30 PM - CSN-Chicago, RDS, DSS
St. Louis at New Jersey, 7:30 PM - NBCSN
Pittsburgh at Minnesota, 8:00 PM - ROOT-Pittsburgh, FS-North, DSS
Nashville at Winnipeg, 8:00 PM - FS-Tennessee, TSN3, DSS
Los Angeles at Dallas, 8:30 PM - FS-West, Southwest, DSS
Toronto at Arizona, 9:00 PM - SN-Ontario, FS-Arizona+, DSS
Vancouver at Colorado, 9:00 PM - SNET-Pacific, Altitude, DSS

College Football
Bowling Green at Akron, 8:00 PM - ESPN 2
Toledo at Kent State, 8:00 PM - ESPN U

International Soccer
Real Madrid vs. Liverpool, 2:30 PM - FS1

World Long Drive Championship, 10:00 PM - Golf Channel

Sports News - 11.03.14

The Gilmer Free Press

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Pioneers Three Game Win Streak Comes to an End at Shepherd

The Glenville State Pioneer football teams three game winning streak has come to an end as the team suffered a tough road loss at Shepherd University, 37-14.

The Pioneers would take the opening possession and drive it 87 yards on nine plays as Sean Steele hit tight-end Jake Harper from 19 yards out for the touchdown as Glenville State went up, 7-0.

On Shepherds first possession they would drive it 48 yards on seven plays, but the Pioneers defense would hold them to just a field goal from 33 yards out making it, 7-3.

Shepherd would then take their first lead of the game with just seven seconds left in the first quarter as Jeff Ziemba hit Billy Brown from six yards out as the Rams took a, 10-7 lead.

The Pioneers would then suffer a big loss as quarterback Sean Steele would leave, not to return to the game due to an ankle injury.

Shepherd would add another score right before halftime as the Rams took a 17-7 lead over the Pioneers at the half.

In the second half, it would be all Shepherd as they would add a touchdown in the third quarter and scored two more touchdowns in the fourth as the Rams held a 37-7 lead. The Pioneers however would add a late score as backup quarterback Dante Roberts hit Ralph Gordon on a 50 yard touchdown pass as the Pioneers would fall, 37-14.

Glenville State racked up 324 yards of total offense on 70 plays while Shepherd ran 53 plays for 345 total yards. The Pioneers won the time of possession as they held it for 32:38 while the Rams time of possession was 27:22.

Both teams racked up several penalties, GSC had 10 penalties for 109 yards while Shepherd had 10 penalties for 104 yards.

GSC’s running back Rahmann Lee led the Pioneers rushing attack as he rushed for 65 yards on 16 carries. Quarterback Sean Steele went 9 for 15 for 91 yards a touchdown and an interception before leaving the game due to the ankle injury.

Backup quarterback Dante Roberts went 17 for 27 for 183 yards a touchdown and an interception.

Dante Absher was the teams leading receiver as he caught nine passes for 78 yards while Ralph Gordon caught six balls for 85 yards and a touchdown.

Gary Henderson led the Pioneers defense with nine tackles on the day while James Johnson chipped in with six tackles.

Shepherd was led by quarterback Jeff Ziemba as he went 16 for 24 for 197 yards two touchdowns and an interception.

On defense, James Gupton led the Rams as he finished with eight tackles. Gupton also had an interception that he took 61 yards to the end-zone. De’Ontre Johnson chipped in with seven tackles and he also had an interception that he took 58 yards for the score.

The Pioneers are now 4-5(4-5) on the season, they are on the road again next Saturday as they travel to Walsh University with kickoff set for 11:00 AM.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Holgorsen: Run game lagged, Trickett ‘got spooked’

Unable to stomach five turnovers, Dana Holgorsen probably thought his offense couldn’t play any worse. Then it netted minus-2 yards in the fourth quarter.

That explains how the No. 20 Mountaineers lost a nine-point lead in the final eight minutes and ultimately lost the game, 31-30, to No. 10 TCU.

“I take responsibility for what happened offensively—it was bad,” he said. “It’s not acceptable. It’s not going to win football games.”

As West Virginia endured three consecutive three-and-outs to end the game, its fourth-quarter offense consisted of only nine plays. Quarterback Clint Trickett attempted only one pass during that span, an incompletion to Kevin White, and was sacked on his only other dropback of the quarter.

It was an atypical day for Trickett, who tossed two interceptions, lost a fumble on mistimed snap and threw for a season-low 162 yards. TCU’s two sacks hardly illustrated how much pressure Trickett felt.

“Clint was incredibly uncomfortable, incredibly uncomfortable,” Holgorsen said. “Their rush was good: I’ll evaluate to see if we pass protected worth a darn. He was uneasy in the pocket. He got spooked.”

At 3.6 yards per carry, the running game wasn’t able to deliver. But West Virginia would have loved that average in the fourth quarter, when it lost 2 yards on eight attempts.

“We didn’t run the ball very good,” Holgorsen said. “I thought our running backs were extremely average. When they put two high safeties and double-cover a wideout and we can’t run the ball into a favorable box, we’re going to get beat.”

The Gilmer Free Press

►  AP Top 25 Ranking – Week 11

Mississippi State (45)
Record: 8-0
PV Rank
Florida State (15)
Record: 8-0
Record: 7-1
Record: 7-1
Record: 8-1
Big 12
Record: 7-1
Michigan State
Big Ten
Record: 7-1
Notre Dame
Division I FBS Independents
Record: 7-1
Kansas State
Big 12
Record: 7-1
Big 12
Record: 7-1
Arizona State
Record: 7-1
Record: 7-2
Ohio State
Big Ten
Record: 7-1
Record: 7-2
Big Ten
Record: 8-1
Big 12
Record: 6-2
Record: 6-2
Record: 7-2
Record: 6-2
Record: 6-2
Record: 6-2
Record: 7-1
Conference USA
Record: 8-0
West Virginia
Big 12
Record: 6-3
Big Ten
Record: 6-2

Others receiving votes: Colorado St. 67, Southern Cal 48, Missouri 42, Georgia Tech 15, Louisville 7, N. Dakota St. 4, Stanford 4, Florida 1, Texas A&M 1

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Romo sidelined with back injury

Dallas Cowboys quarterback Tony Romo won’t play Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals because of a back injury.

The Cowboys made it official Sunday morning on their Twitter feed, a few hours after had first reported the news.

Brandon Weeden took the all the reps in practice this week and will make the start.

Romo took part in the Cowboys’ walk-through on Saturday, when it was also reported by the Dallas Morning News and other media outlets that the 34-year- old veteran has two fractures of the transverse process in his back.

The transverse process is a small bony projection off the right and left side of each vertebrae.

Romo was hurt in the third quarter of Monday’s overtime loss to Washington, although he did return for the final series of regulation and Dallas’ lone possession of overtime.

The Cowboys initially said Romo had a contusion, but he didn’t practice all week and was listed as questionable on Friday’s injury report.

There has also been speculation that Romo could miss next week’s game against Jacksonville in London. The Cowboys then have a bye in Week 11.

►  Redskins’ bus involved in accident

A Washington Redskins bus was involved in an accident Sunday morning on its way to TCF Bank Stadium for the game against the Minnesota Vikings.

Redskins receiver Pierre Garcon tweeted a picture of the bus with a cracked windshield.

“So this just happened,“ Garcon wrote on Twitter. “But we are ok.“

The Redskins later said on Twitter that all players and staff arrived at the stadium safely.

►  NFL Game Results - Week 9


Final Score: Cincinnati 33, Jacksonville 23

Jeremy Hill rushed for a career-high 154 yards and two touchdowns on 24 carries in his first career start in place of injured starter Giovani Bernard to lead the Cincinnati Bengals to a 33-23 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday. A.J. Green, who missed the past three games with a toe injury, caught three passes for 44 yards and a score and Mohamed Sanu finished with a touchdown and 95 yards on four grabs for the Bengals (5-2-1), who have gone 13-0-1 in their last 14 home games. Andy Dalton threw for 233 yards on 19-of-31 attempts with two touchdowns but also was responsible for two interceptions in the win. Blake Bortles completed 22-of-33 passes for 247 yards, two touchdowns to Allen Hurns and one interception for Jacksonville (1-8), which dropped its second straight game since winning its lone game of the season against Cleveland. Hurns ended with 112 yards on seven catches, while Denard Robinson rushed for 94 yards and a score on 17 carries.

Final Score: Cleveland 22, Tampa Bay 17

Brian Hoyer threw two interceptions for the first time this season, but his two second-half touchdown passes helped the Cleveland Browns edge the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, 22-17. Hoyer passed for a season-high 300 yards on 21-of-34 efficiency for Cleveland (5-3), which entered November above .500 for the first time since 2007. Terrance West and Taylor Gabriel each had a touchdown grab. Hoyer, who beat out first- round draft pick Johnny Manziel for the starting quarterback position during training camp, improved to 8-3 as a starter with Cleveland. Mike Glennon went 17-for-33 for 260 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions for the Bucs (1-7), who have lost four straight games. Three of those losses came by six points or less. Mike Evans racked up seven catches for 124 yards and two touchdowns and Bobby Rainey gained 121 yards from scrimmage in defeat.

Final Score: Arizona 28, Dallas 17

Carson Palmer threw three touchdown passes and the Arizona Cardinals took advantage of Tony Romo’s absence in recording a 28-17 win over the reeling Dallas Cowboys at AT&T Stadium. With Romo held out after sustaining two small fractures in his back during Monday’s overtime loss to Washington, the Cowboys’ offense wasn’t the same with backup Brandon Weeden at the controls. Dallas (6-3) mustered a meager 266 total yards and didn’t produce an offensive touchdown until Dez Bryant’s 3- yard touchdown grab from Weeden with 1:08 remaining. Weeden completed just 18-of-33 passes for 183 yards and tossed a pair of interceptions, while Bryant—shadowed by Patrick Peterson for most of the game—didn’t register a catch until the late TD drive. The Cardinals’ third-ranked run defense also limited DeMarco Murray to 79 yards on 19 carries, the first time the star running back was held under 100 in nine outings this season. Palmer shook off an early interception that Tyler Patmon returned 58 yards for a touchdown to finish 22-of-34 for 249 yards for the NFC-leading Cardinals (7-1), who ended a string of 14 consecutive regular-season losses in Dallas and are off to their best eight-game start since 1974. Andre Ellington totaled 95 rushing yards on 21 attempts in the win, while adding 39 yards and a touchdown on four receptions.

Final Score: Philadelphia 31, Houston 21

Jeremy Maclin racked up 158 yards and a pair of touchdowns on six receptions, as the Philadelphia Eagles gutted out a 31-21 decision over the Houston Texans on Sunday despite losing starting quarterback Nick Foles. Foles began the game completing 10-of-13 passes for 124 yards with one score and a pick before leaving due to an apparent shoulder injury after one quarter. Mark Sanchez ended up 15-of-22 for 202 yards, two TDs and two interceptions for the Eagles (6-2), who shook off a loss last week in Arizona and ascended to the top of the NFC East after Dallas lost at home to the Cardinals. LeSean McCoy contributed 117 yards on 23 carries, while Chris Polk added a touchdown run and Jordan Matthews posted a TD reception for the visitors. Ryan Fitzpatrick finished with 203 yards and an interception on 13-of-27 passing, but threw TD strikes to DeAndre Hopkins and Arian Foster for the Texans (4-5), who fell to 0-4 all-time against Philadelphia. Hopkins totaled 115 yards on six catches, with Foster adding 56 yards on 15 carries and 63 yards on a pair of receptions in defeat.

Final Score: Kansas City 24, NY Jets 10

Alex Smith threw two touchdown passes and the Kansas City Chiefs handed the New York Jets their eighth straight defeat with a 24-10 victory. Smith completed 21-of-31 passes for 199 yards for the Chiefs (5-3), who have won three in a row. Jamaal Charles carried 20 times for 78 yards and a score for Kansas City. Travis Kelce and Anthony Fasano each caught a touchdown pass from Smith. Michael Vick connected on 21-of-28 passes for 196 yards and one touchdown in his first start as a member of the Jets (1-8), who have lost eight in a row for the first time since opening 0-8 in 1996. He left the game briefly in the fourth quarter after taking a hard hit and slamming his head on the ground. Geno Smith had been New York’s starting quarterback in all 24 games since he was drafted in the second round of last year’s draft. He was benched last week against the Bills after throwing three interceptions in the first quarter and inactive this week with a shoulder injury, with Jets head coach Rex Ryan making the switch to Vick on Monday. Ryan said after Sunday’s loss that Vick will start next week against Pittsburgh. Percy Harvin caught 11 passes for 129 yards in his second game as a Jet. Eric Decker hauled in nine passes for 63 yards and a score.

Final Score: Miami 37, San Diego 0

Maybe the Chargers thought their bye was this week. San Diego will actually be off next week and will have plenty of time to think about a humbling 37-0 loss at Miami on Sunday. Ryan Tannehill threw for 288 yards and three touchdowns in just three quarters of work for the Dolphins (5-3), who completely dominated en route to their third straight win. It was Miami’s most efficient outing of the season and clearly San Diego’s worst. The Chargers (5-4) have lost three in a row and were blanked for the first time since a 34-0 loss at Kansas City on Oct. 31, 1999. The Dolphins racked up 441 yards of offense and the defense came up with three interceptions of Philip Rivers, as Miami pitched its first shutout since a 21-0 win over New England on Dec. 10, 2006. Tannehill completed 24-of-34 passes without an interception and was Miami’s second-leading rusher with 47 yards on four carries. He left in favor of Matt Moore to start the fourth quarter. Rivers exited the contest late in the third quarter after completing just 12-of-23 passes for 138 yards. He was also sacked three times and lost a fumble, as San Diego managed only 178 total yards and a mere 10 first downs.

Final Score: Minnesota 29, Washington 26

Matt Asiata’s third touchdown of the game led the Minnesota Vikings to a 29-26 victory over the Washington Redskins on Sunday. Asiata finished the game with just 26 yards on 10 carries and also converted a two-point attempt. Teddy Bridgewater went 26-for-42 for 268 yards with a touchdown for the Vikings (4-5), who head into their bye week having won two straight games. Robert Griffin III returned to play for the first time since Week 2 and was 18-for-28 for 251 yards with one touchdown and an interception for the Redskins (3-6), who had won their previous two games.

Final Score: St. Louis 13, San Francisco 10

Twice in the game’s final seconds, the 49ers were within inches of victory. But Michael Crabtree rolled out-of- bounds inside the 1-yard line and Colin Kaepernick fumbled on the goal line, as the St. Louis Rams went into Levi’s Stadium and stunned San Francisco, 13-10, in an NFC West showdown. Greg Zuerlein put the Rams (3-5) in front with a field goal midway through the fourth. Kaepernick started the final drive with a 25-yard pitch-and-catch to Stevie Johnson and a penalty on Lamarcus Joyner gave the 49ers another first down out of the two-minute warning. Later in the drive, Crabtree drew two straight penalties—a pass interference and defensive holding—on Trumaine Johnson to set up 1st-and- goal for the Niners with 42 seconds left. Kaepernick rolled right and hit Crabtree near the goal line on first down, but he had to go to the ground to make the catch and rolled out-of-bounds inches before crossing the plane. A booth review confirmed the call. Kaepernick’s second down pass sailed out of the back of the end zone, and the ball popped free on his QB sneak on third down. James Laurinaitis recovered the fumble at the bottom of the pile, sealing the outcome. Austin Davis was less than stellar guiding St. Louis’ offense, throwing for just 105 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions. His 8-yard dump off to Benny Cunningham on 3rd-and-10 put Zuerlein in a better position to kick his eventual game-winning field goal. Kaepernick completed 22-of-33 for 237 yards with a touchdown pass to Anquan Boldin, who made six catches for 93 yards. The 49ers (4-4) have dropped consecutive games following a three-game winning streak.

Final Score: New England 43, Denver 21

On the scoreboard as well as the stat sheet, Tom Brady got the best of Peyton Manning once again. With Brady tossing four touchdown passes and his New England teammates coming up with two pivotal interceptions of Manning, the Patriots continued their midseason roll with a 43-21 blowout of the Denver Broncos in matchup of AFC powerhouses. This highly anticipated showdown between last season’s conference title game participants turned out to be not much of a contest at all, thanks to Brady’s precision passing and a number of miscues from the reigning AFC champion Broncos. In addition to Manning’s two picks that were both converted into New England touchdowns, Denver (6-2) committed 10 penalties, gave up an 84-yard punt return to Julian Edelman and was stopped four times on fourth down to have a four-game win streak come to an end. Those errors were most costly during a second quarter in which the Patriots put up 24 unanswered points to build a commanding 27-7 halftime lead. Brady, now 11-5 all-time in head-to-head matchups with Manning, did his part by completing 33-of-53 attempts for 333 yards with one interception. Rob Gronkowski caught nine passes for 105 yards and one of Brady’s scoring strikes, with Edelman adding nine receptions totaling 89 yards with a touchdown along with his huge punt return. New England (7-2) has averaged 40.2 points in ripping off five straight victories since a 41-14 loss at Kansas City in Week 4. Manning did put up 438 passing yards and two touchdowns on a 34-of-57 completion rate, but endured a mostly frustrating afternoon as the Patriots dominated the final three quarters. Emmanuel Sanders finished with 151 yards on 10 catches and Ronnie Hillman scored a pair of touchdowns for Denver. Demaryius Thomas compiled 127 yards on seven grabs in the loss.

Final Score: Seattle 30, Oakland 24

“Beast Mode” needed a big push to score his first touchdown. The Seattle Seahawks needed a little extra to get past the winless Oakland Raiders. Marshawn Lynch scored two touchdowns in the first half, the first after his teammates shoved him into the end zone, and the Seahawks recovered an onside kick at the end of the game to hold off the Raiders for a 30-24 win on Sunday. Lynch’s two scores and Bruce Irvin’s 35- yard touchdown on an interception return helped the Seahawks (5-3) build a 24-3 lead in the first half. Later, a couple of Steven Hauschka field goals in the fourth quarter gave them the cushion they needed after the Raiders (0-8) scored two touchdowns in the third, including one on a blocked punt. Derek Carr’s second 1-yard touchdown pass to Mychal Rivera came with 1:52 left in the game but the Raiders couldn’t recover an onside kick attempt even after it went through the hands of Seattle tight end Cooper Helfet. Lynch had 21 carries and five catches for 143 combined yards for the Seahawks, who played at CenturyLink Field for the first time since a 30-23 loss to Dallas on Oct. 12. They haven’t dropped back-to-back games at home in more than two years. The Raiders have lost 14 in a row going into next Sunday’s game against Peyton Manning and AFC West-leading Denver. Carr passed for 194 yards and threw two interceptions that led to 10 Seattle points in the first half. Russell Wilson passed for 179 yards and rushed for another 31 for Seattle, which stayed within two games of NFC West-leading Arizona.

Final Score: Pittsburgh 43, Baltimore 23

Make it a dozen touchdown passes in two games for Ben Roethlisberger. It’s been a resurgence for his Pittsburgh Steelers offense since their lackluster Week 2 showing in Baltimore, when they didn’t tally any. Roethlisberger tossed six touchdown passes and the Steelers routed the Ravens 43-23 on Sunday night. Roethlisberger’s 12 touchdown passes in consecutive weeks is the most in NFL history. Big Ben went 40-of-49 for 522 yards—the third most in a regulation game in NFL history—and six touchdowns last Sunday, making him the first ever quarterback with two 500-plus yard games. He followed that performance up by going 25-of-37 for 340 yards. Roethlisberger’s 30-game stretch with a TD pass came to a halt in Week 2 when the Ravens thumped the Steelers 26-6. But that seems like centuries ago. Pittsburgh has scored 94 points in its last two games and topped the 50-point plateau for the first time since 1984 in last Sunday’s 51-34 victory over Indianapolis. Antonio Brown caught 11 passes for 144 yards and a touchdown, while rookie Martavis Bryant hauled in three receptions for 44 yards and two scores for the Steelers (6-3), who have won three in a row. Joe Flacco was 30-of-45 for 303 yards with two touchdowns and an interception for Baltimore (5-4), which has dropped consecutive games and sit in last place in the AFC North.


Final Score: New Orleans 28, Carolina 10

New Orleans followed up Sunday night’s drubbing of Green Bay with another impressive showing. Except this one came on the road. And it put the Saints on top of the so-so NFC South. Mark Ingram ran for 100 yards and a pair of touchdowns and New Orleans defeated the Carolina Panthers 28-10 on Thursday night. The Saints broke a scoreless deadlock by scoring on three straight possessions in between the second and third quarters to build a 21-7 advantage and cruised the rest of the way en route to ending their seven-game, regular-season road losing streak. Following a career-high 172 rush yards Sunday, Ingram topped the 100-yard mark again after tallying just one 100-yard rushing performance prior in his first 40 games. Drew Brees was 24-of-34 for 297 yards with a touchdown and an interception and added a rushing score for the Saints (4-4), who have bounced back from a 1-3 start by winning three of their last four contests. Jimmy Graham caught seven passes for 83 yards and a score, while Kenny Stills added five receptions for 72 yards in the triumph. Junior Galette recorded two of New Orleans’ four sacks and its defense held Cam Newton to just 151 yards passing with an interception on just 10-of-28 efficiency. Newton carried the ball seven times for 43 yards and a touchdown for Carolina (3-5-1), which accumulated just 231 total yards. The Panthers are 1-5-1 since a 2-0 start.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  NBA Games Results

Final Score: Sacramento 98, LA Clippers 92

DeMarcus Cousins had 34 points, 17 rebounds and three blocks in the Sacramento Kings’ 98-92 win over the Los Angeles Clippers on Sunday. Rudy Gay added 25 points, seven boards and six assists for the Kings, who have won two in a row since falling to Golden State in their opener. Spencer Hawes and Blake Griffin each finished with 17 points for the Clippers, who had won two straight to start the season. Chris Paul played through a left foot sprain and ended with 16 points and 11 assists.

Final Score: Miami 107, Toronto 102

Dwyane Wade scored 19 points with 11 rebounds and seven assists, and the Miami Heat continued their dominance over the Toronto Raptors with a 107-102 win on Sunday. Chris Bosh tallied 21 points with 11 rebounds and four assists for the Heat, who have opened the season with three straight wins for just the fifth time in franchise history. Luol Deng and Shawne Williams netted 18 and 16 points, respectively, in the victory. Toronto, which had its two-game winning streak snapped, may have wanted a different opponent to keep its unbeaten start to the season going. The Raptors have now lost 16 straight to the Heat, including 10 in a row in South Beach. DeMar DeRozan paced the visitors with 30 points, while Kyle Lowry finished with 22 points and Jonas Valanciunas added 14.

Final Score: New York 96, Charlotte 93

Carmelo Anthony became the 40th player in NBA history to score 20,000 points, leading the New York Knicks to a 96-93 win over the Charlotte Hornets on Sunday. Anthony, who entered the game just three points shy of the 20,000-point plateau, finished with 28 and hit the eventual game-winner for New York, which has won two straight since a 24-point loss to Chicago in its season opener. Amar’e Stoudemire contributed 17 points and 10 rebounds off the bench and Iman Shumpert added 15 points in the win. Al Jefferson paced the Hornets with 21 points, while Kemba Walker tallied 16 points and Lance Stephenson nearly deposited a triple-double with 14 points, nine rebounds and eight assists.

Final Score: Golden State 95, Portland 90

Klay Thompson is quickly proving he is worth every penny to his recently signed four-year contract extension that will keep him in the Bay Area. Thompson’s runner in the lane with 8.7 seconds proved to be the difference in the Golden State Warriors’ 95-90 win over the Portland Trail Blazers. Thompson, who signed a max extension worth a projected $70 million on Friday, scored a career-high 41 points in Saturday’s win over the Los Angeles Lakers, then kept the momentum going with his clutch bucket on Sunday. LaMarcus Aldridge scored the final 10 points for Portland, the last of which a jumper that gave the hosts a 90-88 lead with 2:01 remaining in the fourth quarter. Andre Iguodala split a pair of free throws with 26.3 seconds left before the Warriors forced a turnover of Wesley Matthews. Matthews grabbed the inbounds pass and a pair of Warrior defenders swarmed him. He lost the ball and it rolled out of bounds, with the officials awarding possession to the Blazers. But after a replay review, the call was overturned. Thompson ran the baseline coming out of timeout, rolled up the block, received a crisp pass from Iguodala and converted the running jumper. Portland then got sloppy and turned it over two more times in the closing seconds and Stephen Curry sealed it at the line with four free throws.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Kipsang, Keitany win NYC Marathon titles

Kenyans Wilson Kipsang and Mary Keitany captured the New York City Marathon titles on Sunday.

Kipsang, in his New York debut, won the men’s crown with a time of 2 hours, 10 minutes and 59 seconds, beating Ethiopia’s Lelisa Desisa to the finish line by just 6.99 seconds.

The victory, on a day that featured strong winds and cold conditions, gave Kipsang a $500,000 bonus for winning the 2013-14 World Marathon Majors title.

Gebre Gebremariam of Ethiopia, the 2010 New York champion, finished third, 1:13 off the lead pace. American Meb Keflezighi, the 2009 winner, was another 1:04 back in fourth, while Olympic marathon champion Stephen Kiprotich of Uganda finished fifth and Kenya’s Geoffrey Mutai was sixth.

Mutai was trying to win the NYC title for the third straight time, a feat not accomplished since Alberto Salazar won three in a row from 1980-82. Mutai won last year and was also the 2011 champion. The 2012 race was canceled in the aftermath of Superstorm Sandy.

Keitany won the New York title for the first time, edging countrymate Jemima Sumgong by a mere three seconds.

In her first marathon since the 2012 London Olympics, Keitany overtook Sumgong in the final half-mile and crossed the line in a time of 2:25:07. Keitany, who finished third in her two previous New York City starts, had not run a marathon since giving birth to her second child.

Portugal’s Sara Moreira was third, 53 seconds behind the winner, followed by Latvia’s Jelena Prokopcuka and American Desiree Linden. Prokopcuka won the New York title in 2005 and 2006.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Kings’ Nolan suspended two games

Los Angeles Kings forward Jordan Nolan has been suspended for two games without pay by the National Hockey League on Sunday.

Nolan was assessed a minor penalty for boarding Detroit forward Darren Helm at the 3:53 mark of the third period in Friday’s 5-2 Red Wings victory.

Under the terms of the Collective Bargaining Agreement and, as a repeat offender, Nolan will forfeit $17,073.18 which automatically goes to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

He will also miss Kings contests on Sunday at Carolina and Tuesday in Dallas before being eligible to return on Nov. 6 against the Islanders.

Nolan was required to sit out one game last March for sucker-punching Edmonton’s Jesse Joensuu.

►  NHL Game Results

Final Score: Buffalo 3, Detroit 2 (SO)

Zemgus Girgensons scored the winner in the shootout to lead the Buffalo Sabres in a 3-2 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday. In the third round, Girgensons deked back to the forehand and lifted the puck into the left corner of the net. Michal Neuvirth preserved the win by not biting on Henrik Zetterberg’s fake and making the stop. Brian Flynn and Chris Stewart scored in regulation for the Sabres, who snapped a three-game losing streak. Neuvirth stopped 36 shots in the win. Pavel Datsyuk had a goal and an assist and Tomas Tatar also lit the lamp for the Red Wings, who had a two-game winning streak stopped. Jimmy Howard finished the contest with 19 stops.

Final Score: Carolina 3, Los Angeles 2

Elias Lindholm scored the deciding goal and the Carolina Hurricanes continued their recent winning ways with a 3-2 victory over the Los Angeles Kings on Sunday. Chris Terry and Lindholm each finished with a goal and an assist and Victor Rask tallied his first career goal for the Hurricanes, who were coming off their first win of the season against Arizona on Saturday. Cam Ward, who posted a 25-save shutout against the Coyotes, surrendered just two goals on 32 shots in the win. Mike Richards and Alec Martinez both lit the lamp and Jonathan Quick stopped 29 shots in Los Angeles’ fourth straight loss.

Final Score: Calgary 6, Montreal 2

Rookie Josh Jooris scored twice and six Calgary Flames players had at least two points in a 6-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Sunday. Markus Granlund, Curtis Glencross, Lance Bouma and Mark Giordano also scored for the Flames, who returned the favor after losing 2-1 in a shootout to the Canadiens last Tuesday in Calgary. It was Montreal’s first loss in five home games this season. TJ Brodie had three assists for Calgary and Jiri Hudler and Johnny Gaudreau added a pair of helpers each to back 18 saves by Jonas Hiller. Max Pacioretty and Rene Bourque scored for the Canadiens, who have lost three of their last four (1-2-1). Carey Price gave up five goals on 35 shots.

Final Score: Arizona 6, Washington 5

Tobias Rieder scored the game-winning goal in his NHL debut and the Arizona Coyotes held off a fierce Washington surge to snap a string of three straight losses with a 6-5 victory on Sunday. Shane Doan finished with two goals and an assist, Antoine Vermette supplied a goal and a helper and Sam Gagner and Mike Stone also scored for Arizona, which won its first road game of the season after starting out 0-4-1. Devan Dubnyk turned aside 32 shots in the win. Alex Ovechkin tallied a goal and three assists, Tom Wilson had a goal and an assist and Nicklas Backstrom contributed with three helpers for the Capitals, who have been outscored 8-2 in the third period during this current four-game losing streak. Troy Brouwer, Joel Ward and John Carlson also scored, while Justin Peters allowed all six goals in defeat.

Final Score: Anaheim 3, Colorado 2

Corey Perry netted his NHL-leading 11th goal of the season and the Anaheim Ducks held off the Colorado Avalanche 3-2 on Sunday night. Colorado led 2-1 heading into the second period, when Cam Fowler and Hampus Lindholm notched goals. Jason LaBarbera stopped five of his 16 shots in the third to preserve the win for Anaheim, which has won three of its last four games. LaBarbera, recalled from AHL Norfolk earlier in the day, started in net for the Ducks after a sudden lower-body injury to John Gibson during warmups left them in a pickle. Because their other goaltender, Frederik Andersen, is day-to-day with a leg injury, the Ducks turned to goaltending consultant Dwayne Roloson as their backup in an emergency substitution allowed under NHL rules. Roloson, 45, played 14 NHL seasons for six different teams, last taking the ice for Tampa Bay during the 2011-12 season. Nathan MacKinnon and Dennis Everberg tallied for the Avalanche, who have dropped four of their last five games. Semyon Varlamov made 30 saves in defeat.

Final Score: Winnipeg 1, Chicago 0

The Winnipeg Jets had some weekend to wrap up a four-game road trip. In two wins, they scored just one goal. It came 20 seconds into Sunday’s 1-0 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks off the stick of Michael Frolik. Following Saturday’s 1-0 shootout win over the Rangers in New York, the Jets scored on their first shift against the Blackhawks and Michael Hutchinson made 33 saves to earn his first career shutout in his sixth NHL game. The Jets went 3-0-1 on the trip, the only loss coming against New Jersey in a shootout on Thursday. They extended their points streak to five games (4-0-1), with the other two wins being decided by one goal. Corey Crawford was a hard-luck loser, making 26 saves for the Blackhawks, who fell to 2-5-0 in their last seven games after opening the season on a five- game point streak.

Final Score: Nashville 3, Vancouver 1

Filip Forsberg scored twice and the Nashville Predators defeated the Vancouver Canucks 3-1 on Sunday night. Colin Wilson posted the other tally for the Predators, who have won four of their last four games. Pekka Rinne made 26 saves in the triumph. Alex Edler had the lone goal for Vancouver, which had its four-game winning streak snapped. Eddie Lack stopped 30 shots in defeat.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Busch outruns Logano for Nationwide win at Texas

Kyle Busch passed Joey Logano for the lead with 32 laps to go and then kept it following a round of pit stops in the closing laps to win Saturday’s O’Reilly Auto Parts Challenge at Texas Motor Speedway and give Joe Gibbs Racing its 100th victory in the Nationwide Series.

Busch is now 2-for-2 in NASCAR’s tripleheader weekend at this 1.5-mile racetrack. He won Friday night’s Camping World Truck Series event. Busch will start ninth in Sunday’s 500-mile Sprint Cup Series race here.

In this 300-mile Nationwide event, Busch led the most laps with 116, while Logano, the pole sitter, ran in front for 59. The two swapped the lead six times between laps 68 and 180.

Busch, who took the lead for the final time with 15 laps left, beat Logano to the finish line by 1.6 seconds.

“This is a special moment for everybody at Joe Gibbs Racing,“ Busch said of the team’s 100th win in NASCAR’s second-tier series. “I’m just proud to be a small part of the effort. It’s certainly a blast to drive these cars.“

If Busch takes the checkered flag for the Sprint Cup event here, it would be the second time in his career that he won all three NASCAR races at a track on the same week. He became the first driver in the history of the sport to accomplish that feat in August 2010 at Bristol.

In May, Busch won the Camping World and Nationwide races at Dover, but he finished 42nd in the Sprint Cup event there after he crashed in the early going.

“I think it would be a real special opportunity (Sunday),“ Busch said of his chance to win all three NASCAR races at Texas this weekend. “It’s something special, especially at another venue. I would cherish it probably as much as the first, if not as much. You don’t get many opportunities to capitalize on all three series.“

Busch earned his seventh Nationwide win of the season and his record-extending seventh at Texas. He also claimed his 70th career victory in the series, but 58 of them have been with JGR.

“I’m just proud of Kyle and really proud of our whole Nationwide program,“ team owner Joe Gibbs said. “We love this series. We got off to a tough start. It took us about five years to win a race, so we really appreciate this.“

Ryan Blaney, who is Logano’s teammate at Team Penske, finished third, followed by rookie Chase Elliott, the current points leader, and Matt Kenseth, who drives for JGR.

Elliott widened his lead in the championship standings to a season-high 48 points over second-place and JR Motorsports teammate Regan Smith, who finished 11th. If Elliott finishes ahead of Smith in next Saturday’s race at Phoenix—the penultimate event of the season—he will clinch the series title. The season concludes on Nov. 15 at Homestead.

“We just want to keep digging and try to get better,“ Elliott said. “Today, we really struggled at the start, but everybody on this team worked hard. My personal opinion, from start to finish, this was probably the best performance we’ve had as a race team, in working together and getting better throughout the race.“

Elliott, the 18-year-old son of 1988 NASCAR Cup Series champion Bill Elliott, scored his first career Nationwide victory in April at Texas.

Brian Scott, Austin Dillon, who made his first Nationwide start this season, and Kevin Harvick finished sixth through eighth, respectively.

Elliott Sadler was credited with a ninth-place finish, even though Clint Bowyer relieved him very early in the race. Elliott was suffering from a stomach virus. Earlier in the day, he received fluids at the track’s infield medical care center while Bowyer was substituting for him in qualifying.

Sadler completed just nine laps before he pitted during a caution and handed his No. 11 JGR Toyota over to Bowyer.

“Elliott has done a lot for me in my career and been a good friend over the years,“ Bowyer said. “I hate to see him sick like that. He was looking pretty rough.“

While holding the lead on lap 49, Trevor Bayne crashed hard into the wall after it appeared that he cut his right-rear tire. The back end of his car erupted into flames, as he quickly stopped on track and hopped out of the vehicle unscathed.

“I’m guessing a tire went down, but I didn’t notice it,“ Bayne said. “The way it caught fire, maybe it was a brake line. I’m just not sure. Man, this makes you want to either cry or laugh. I don’t know which one to do, but probably not laugh. This was the best Nationwide car I’ve ever had.“

►  Busch wins truck race at Texas

Kyle Busch led 80 of 152 laps but had to rally in the closing laps to win Friday night’s WinStar World Casino and Resort 350 Camping World Truck Series race at Texas Motor Speedway.

After a late-race caution for an accident involving Tayler Malsam, John Wes Townley and Justin Jennings, Busch gave up the lead when he pitted for four tires. German Quiroga opted not to pit and took over the top spot. Busch ran in ninth for the restart but quickly moved to the front and was attempting to pass Quiroga for the lead before the seventh and final caution came for an incident involving ThorSport Racing teammates Jeb Burton and Johnny Sauter.

The caution set up a green-white-checkered finish. Busch immediately passed Quiroga for the lead following the last restart. On the final lap, Quiroga spun out and backed it hard into the wall after his Red Horse Racing teammate, Timothy Peters, bumped into him.

The race ended under caution, with Busch winning a Truck Series race at Texas for the third time. He also claimed his seventh win of the season in the series and the 42nd of his career.

“I thought the 17 (Peters) was in the catbird seat there, and I figured he had the perfect (pit) strategy with two tires,“ Busch said of last round of pit stops. “I wasn’t sure if I would be able to get to him. I got there, and then that caution came out and got me side-by-side with the 77 (Quiroga) for the restart. I just set sail from there and held it open for the last two laps. Our truck was pretty fast.“

Burton finished second, followed by Peters, Tyler Reddick, the pole sitter, and Matt Crafton, the defending series champion and current points leader. Quiroga ended up finishing 17th.

With two races to go—Phoenix next Friday and Homestead on Nov. 14—Crafton holds a 23-point lead over Ryan Blaney, who placed ninth.

Darrell Wallace Jr., who is Busch’s teammate and last weekend’s race winner at Martinsville, suffered engine failure in the late going and finished 26th. Wallace led a total of 51 laps and was running second to Busch when his motor expired. He is now 43 points behind Crafton.

“I feel really, really bad for ‘Bubba” Wallace,“ said Busch, who is the owner of Wallace’s No. 54 Toyota. “He was doing everything right tonight. He was really fast. It was a shame to see his motor let go.“

Kyle Busch Motorsports earned its 12th win of the 2014 season, placing the racing organization into a tie with Ultra Motorsports for the series’ all-time single-season high in victories (2001). In addition to Busch’s seven victories, Wallace has won three times and Erik Jones twice. Jones drives Busch’s No. 51 Toyota in a limited schedule this season.

Busch’s win at Texas also allowed Toyota to clinch this year’s Camping World Truck Series Manufacturers’ Championship.

►  Hamilton moves closer to F1 title with U.S. GP win

Lewis Hamilton from Mercedes won his fifth consecutive grand prix and widened his points lead over teammate Nico Rosberg in the Formula One world championship standings by winning Sunday’s United States Grand Prix.

Starting second, Hamilton passed Rosberg, the pole sitter, for the lead on lap 24 of this 56-lap race at Circuit of the Americas. He took command from there, beating Rosberg at the finish by 4.3 seconds. Hamilton, the 2008 world champion, scored his 10th victory this season and the 32nd of his career, which placed him in a tie with Fernando Alonso for fifth on F1’s all-time race winners list.

Prior to the U.S. GP, Hamilton won at Italy, Singapore, Japan and Russia. He now holds a 24-point advantage over Rosberg (316-292). Just two races remain with 75 points available. The race winner in next weekend’s Brazilian Grand Prix will receive 25 points, while the winner of the Nov. 23 season-ending Abu Dhabi Grand Prix will collect 50.

It’s the third time Hamilton has won the U.S. GP. His first victory in this event occurred in 2007 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway’s road course. He also won the inaugural race at COTA two years ago when he drove for McLaren.

Daniel Ricciardo from Red Bull finished third, while the Williams duo of Felipe Massa and Valtteri Bottas placed fourth and fifth, respectively. Alonso from Ferrari was sixth.

Sebastian Vettel, the four-time world champion and winner of last year’s U.S. GP here, finished seventh after he had to start this race from pit lane due to a penalty he received for using his sixth power unit (engine) this season.

This event featured just an 18-car field since Caterham and Marussia both missed it due to their current financial issues.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Moore repeats as CIMB Classic champion

Ryan Moore closed with his second straight 5-under 67 on Sunday and that helped him repeat as champion at the CIMB Classic.

Moore finished at 17-under-par 271. The victory was his fourth on the PGA Tour, and first since he won this event last year.

He became the first player to successfully defend a title on the PGA Tour since Tiger Woods won the Arnold Palmer Invitational in 2012 and 2013.

“It’s has been a great week. I’m a little at a loss for words to defend my title. It is something I have never done before,“ Moore said. “It makes it that much more special to do it the way I did.

“I hit some great shots coming down the stretch and made some birdies when I really needed to. I just scraped in a par there at the last hole. I knew I didn’t need it, but it’s still fun to finish that way.“

Kevin Na shared the third-round lead with Moore, but Na posted a 2-under 70 at Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club and he dropped into a share of second at minus-14. Na was joined there by Gary Woodland (67) and Sergio Garcia (69). Woodland lost to Moore in a playoff last year at this event.

Cameron Smith (68) and Sang-Moon Bae (69) tied for fifth place at 12-under-par 276. John Senden carded a 4-under 68 in the final round and he grabbed seventh place at 11-under 277.

Davis Love III shot 68 in the final round and he ended in a tie for eighth at minus-10. He finished alongside Rory Sabbatini (66), Angelo Que (70), Prom Meesawat (69) and Billy Hurley III (73).

Moore and Na battled throughout the round. Na opened with a birdie at the first to move one ahead, but Moore answered with a birdie at the second.

Na got up and down for birdie on the par-5 third and followed with another birdie at the fourth to move two clear at 15-under. Moore inched within one as he birdied the fifth.

However, Moore gave that shot right back as he bogeyed No. 6. Moore atoned for that mistake with a 5-foot birdie effort at the seventh. Moore briefly joined Na in the lead as he birdied the ninth from eight feet out.

Na also birdied No. 9, from about four feet out, to get to 16-under. Moore played his third at the par-5 10th to four feet and he rolled that putt in for birdie and a share of the lead alongside Na.

Moore stumbled to a bogey at the 12th and Na followed with a bogey at 13. It was all Moore from there.

At the short 14th, Moore played an iron off the tee before stuffing his second shot to a foot. He made birdie to move ahead by one as Na failed to get up and down for birdie after his drive rolled just over the green.

Moore converted a 7-footer for birdie at the 15th to move two clear. He failed to save par from a greenside bunker, but was still ahead by one.

The 17th proved to be the deciding factor. Na pushed his tee shot right of the fairway and his ball was never found. The lost ball led to a double-bogey, which dropped him four back as Moore kicked in a short birdie try.

Moore got up and down for par at the last to seal the win.

“Last year was a lot more stressful. I had to get up and down from 65 yards just to get into a playoff last year,“ Moore explained. “But I made it a little too interesting there. I hit a few squirrelly shots (down the stretch on Sunday).“

Na closed with a birdie to share second.

Garcia, who played in the final group with Moore and Na, had three birdies on the front nine and was two off the lead at the turn. But, his tee shot at the par-5 10th hit a cart path and was never found.

That led to a double-bogey, which dropped him four behind. Garcia bounced back with a birdie at 11 and he made another at 14 to get back to minus-14. He closed with four pars in a row to end there.

Woodland also had three birdies on the front nine. He had three more in the first six holes of the back nine. His birdie at 15 briefly gave him a piece of the lead, but Woodland parred the next two holes before closing with a bogey at the last to finish three behind.

NOTES: Moore collected $1.26 million for the win ... Moore has won three of the six times he had at least a share of the 54-hole lead ... Love posted his first top-10 finish since the 2012 McGladrey Classic ... There are a pair of events next week for the PGA Tour. The top players will be in China for the WGC-HSBC Champions, where Dustin Johnson won last year, but he will not defend his title, while the remainder of the tour will be in Mississippi for the Sanderson Farms Championship, which Woody Austin won the last time the event was held in 2013.

►  Siem rallies to win BMW Masters

Marcel Siem chipped in for birdie on the first playoff hole Sunday to defeat Ross Fisher and Alexander Levy and win the BMW Masters.

Siem closed with a 1-over 73 in windy conditions to finish at 16-under-par 272. Fisher was the first one to post minus-16 as he fired a 5-under 67. Levy, the first- and third-round leader, stumbled to a 6-over 78 in the final round to drop into the extra session.

The trio returned to the 18th at Lake Malaren Golf Club for the playoff. Levy and Fisher found the green with their approach shots, but Siem missed the putting surface.

Siem chipped in for birdie, which was just the second birdie of the day at the final hole. Neither Fisher nor Levy could match Siem’s birdie to give the German his fourth European Tour title.

“I still can’t believe it. It was really tough out there. I felt I had a chance ... I knew down the stretch, with this wind direction, it was going to be tough,“ Siem stated. “I like sudden death. I’ve won three tournaments that way. It’s a different pressure. I like that pressure better than having a putt on the 72nd hole. I’m super happy.“

Justin Rose (72) and Jamie Donaldson (75) shared fourth place at 15-under-par 273. Romain Wattel (70) and Nicolas Colsaerts (71) were one stroke back at minus-14.

Fisher was four groups ahead of Siem and Levy. Fisher got off to a fast start as he birdied the first three holes. After a pair of pars, he notched back-to- back birdies at six and seven to move to 16-under, but he was still five shots off the pace.

The Englishman tripped to a bogey at the 12th, but erased that mistake with a birdie on the 15th.

Fisher started the day 11 strokes off the pace and if he won, he would have set the European Tour record of biggest comeback victory. Fisher parred the last three holes to get into the playoff, then failed to earn the title in the extra session.

Siem and Levy were together in the final group. Levy was five ahead of his playing partner to start the round, but that margin was quickly down to three as Siem birdied the first and Levy bogeyed the second.

Both players birdied the par-5 seventh. Siem made it two in a row as he also birdied No. 8. Levy tripped to a bogey at the eighth and his lead was one.

Levy made another bogey at the ninth to fall into a tie for the lead. Siem faltered to a bogey on the 10th, before he and Levy birdied No. 11.

Siem made another bogey at 12 to dropped two back, but Levy struggled to a double-bogey on the 13th. Levy and Siem both bogeyed the 14th to remain tied for the lead at 18-under.

Levy dropped shots at 16 and 18, while Siem bogeyed the final two holes as they fell into the playoff.

NOTES: Siem, who won for the third straight season on the European Tour, earned 1,666,600 euros for the victory ... Siem has come from behind to win three of his four titles ... The European Tour will remain in China next week for the WGC - HSBC Champions, which Dustin Johnson won last year. Johnson will not defend his title.

►  Park fends off Lewis to win by 2 Taiwan

Inbee Park nearly lost her 4-stroke lead during the final round Sunday, but a late birdie helped her fend off Stacy Lewis and win the Fubon LPGA Taiwan Championship.

Park closed with a 1-under 71 in rainy conditions to finish her 12th LPGA Tour title at 22-under-par 266.

After setting new 36- and 54-hole scoring records for this event, Park’s total of 266 also established a new record. Suzann Pettersen set the old mark of 269 in 2012.

“My putter was very good today. On Tuesday, I was putting on the greens for four hours, and tried to figure something out. So I had to go back to the beginning and change my posture a little bit and since then my putter really started working and that’s been really the big key,“ Park explained. “Today, playing with Stacy, was really tough.“

Park, who took over the top spot in the world rankings from Lewis last Monday, finished atop a leaderboard that saw the top-3 players in the world finish 1-2-3 at Miramar Golf Country Club.

“I think this was our first match together,“ said Park, who couldn’t remember playing with Lewis before in a final round. “If she had beat me, it would have been a really tough today. But I think being able to play good and under pressure, that gives me a lot of confidence.“

World No. 2 Lewis twice got within one shot of Park’s lead, but her final- round 69 left Lewis two back at minus-20.

Lydia Ko, the third-ranked player in the world, fired a bogey-free, 6-under 66 to grab third place at 17-under-par 271.

Azahara Munoz shot 69 in the final round and ended alone in fourth place at minus-16. Amy Yang was two strokes back at 14-under 274 after closing with a 4-under 68.

Park led by four to open the round and she got off to a quick start with birdies at the first and second. However, Lewis not only matched those birdies, she also birdied the third to move within three.

Lewis tripped to a bogey at the fifth to drop four back. She atoned for that mistake with a birdie on No. 7.

Park stumbled to a bogey at the eighth, then dumped her approach shot at the ninth in the water. Park missed the green with her fourth, but she chipped in to save bogey.

That cut her lead to one. As the rain continued to soak the course, Lewis was unable to tie Park for the lead. Lewis parred five in a row from the eighth before tripping to a bogey at the 13th. That dropped her two back.

Lewis got that shot back when she birdied No. 16. Park, who made seven straight pars from the 10th, answered with a birdie on the 17th. Both players parred the last to give Park the title.

“I played great. I really got off to a really good start, and just the middle of the round, didn’t quite make the putts that I needed to. Just I hung in there all day and just made Inbee work for it,“ stated Lewis. “That was the goal, and you give Inbee four shots, it’s a tough task to overcome, and you know, she hit the shots when she needed to coming in.“

NOTES: Park collected $300,000 for the win ... Park has now won five of the 10 times she took at least a piece of the lead into the final round ... She had lost the last two times she was in that position ... The LPGA Tour heads to Japan next week for the Mizuno Classic, where Teresa Lu rallied for her first LPGA Tour title last year.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Djokovic powers past Raonic for Paris Masters crown

Novak Djokovic captured his third Paris Masters title on Sunday with a straight-set victory over Milos Raonic in the final.

Djokovic rolled to a 6-2, 6-3 triumph for his second straight Paris Masters crown and 20th Masters series title overall. He also won this tournament in 2009.

The top-seeded Serb also reached 600 career match victories on Sunday, joining Lleyton Hewitt and David Ferrer as players to reach that milestone this year. He also ran his indoor winning streak to 27 straight matches, last falling on an indoor court two years ago at this event in the first round to Sam Querrey.

Djokovic claimed his sixth title of 2014 and the 47th of his career. He previously won this year at Indian Wells, Miami, Rome, Wimbledon and Beijing. His only loss in a final was against Rafael Nadal at the French Open.

Raonic fell to 6-7 lifetime in finals, including 1-2 this year. He won the U.S. Open tune-up in Washington before losing in Tokyo last month.

The seventh-seeded Canadian has yet to beat Djokovic in four tries, including three matches this year. Djokovic rallied for a three-set victory in the Rome semifinals before a straight-set triumph in the French Open quarters.

The Gilmer Free Press


National Football League
Indianapolis at NY Giants, 8:30 PM - ESPN

National Basketball Association
Houston at Philadelphia, 7:00 PM - CSN-Houston, Philadelphia, DSS
Oklahoma City at Brooklyn, 7:30 PM - FS-Oklahoma, YES
New Orleans at Memphis, 8:00 PM - FS-New Orleans, SportSouth, DSS
Boston at Dallas, 8:30 PM - CSN-New England, FS-Southwest, DSS
Sacramento at Denver, 9:00 PM - CSN-California, Altitude, DSS
Utah at LA Clippers, 10:30 PM - ROOT-Northwest, FS-Prime Ticket, DSS

National Hockey League
St. Louis at NY Rangers, 7:00 PM - FS-Midwest, MSG, DSS

International Soccer
AC Cesena vs. Hellas Verona FC, 1:55 PM - beIN Sport
Crystal Palace vs. Sunderland, 2:55 PM - NBCSN
SS Lazio vs. Cagliari Calcio, 3:55 PM - beIN Sport

Sports News - 11.02.14

The Gilmer Free Press

The Gilmer Free Press

►  MEC Football Results – Week 9

#22 Shepherd 37, Glenville State 14 | Final Stats

Shepherd snapped Glenville State’s three-game winning streak with a 37-14 victory over the Pioneeers at Rams Stadium.

The 22nd-ranked Rams improved to 7-1 overall and in the MEC. Glenville State slipped to 4-5 overall and 4-5 in conference play.

The Shepherd defense held Glenville State’s Rahmann Lee to just 65 yards rushing and also provided two scores as DeOntre Johnson and James Gupton each had interception returns for touchdowns. Gupton had a team-best eight tackles, and Myles HUmphrey provided 2.5 sacks.

Jeff Ziemba led SU on offense throwing for 197 yards with two touchdowns and was intercepted for just the first time this season. Allen Cross had 67 yards rushing and one touchdown and Jabre Lolley contributed 45 yards.

In addition to 65 yards on the ground, Lee added 63 yards receiving. Sean Steele was 9-of-15 for 91 yards with a touchdown and interception before giving way to Dante Roberts who was 17-of-27 for 183 yards with a TD and a pick. Ralph Gordon and Jake Harper had TD receptions. Gary Henderson led the Pioneerso n defense with nine tackles (five solo).

#15 Concord 30, UVa-Wise 13 | Final Stats

No. 15 Concord survived UVa-Wise’s upset bid by defeating the Cavs, 30-13, on Saturday at Carl Smith Stadium.

The Mountain Lions kept their unbeaten record intact improving to 8-0 overall and 7-0 in the MEC. UVa-Wise fell to 1-7 overall and 1-6 in conference play.

Jamal Petty led CU on the ground with 125 yards. Ben Nester had just five carries for 25 yards in the game but had two rushing touchdowns and took a blocked punt in 12 yards for another score. Brian Novak was 7-of-24 fo 165 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions.

Nick Ortiz led the Mountain Lions on defense with 10 tackles, including four for a loss and a pass breakup. Keith Ferguson had six tackles with an interception and a forced fumble.

UVa-Wise’s Carl Griffith had 26 carries for 108 yards to lead the Cavs. Terrence Younger hauled in a 45-yard touchdown reception as well. Zack Blair had nine tackles, including 2.0 for a loss. Jeff Parker had five solo stops and an interception.

The Mountain Lions got on the board first with the blocked punt returned for a score, but UVa-Wise forced a safety early in the second quarter off a bad snap. Novak hit Tiko Henderson from 15 yards out to give CU the 13-2 lead at the break. Trent Martin hit a 28-yard field goal to get UVa-Wise on the board in the third quarter, and nester scored his second of the day to make it 20-5 with 6:15 to go. 

The score remained until 8:50 left in the fourth quarter when Jeremy Eubank hit Younger to pull the Cavs to within a score at 20-13. The Mountain Lions put it away with an Andy Ellington field goal and another touchdown by Nester.

West Virginia Wesleyan 34, Fairmont State 13 | Final Stats

West Virginia Wesleyan out-scored Fairmont State 20-0 in the second half to claim a 34-13 victory over the Falcons at Cebe Ross Field.

With the win, the Bobcats improved to 4-5 both overall and in the MEC. Fairmont State slipped to 3-5 overall and in the conference.

Jeremy Musselman threw for 258 yards with three touchdowns and one interception and rushed for another score. Zach Schademan had 102 yards receiving and a pair of touchdowns. Jerel English had 69 yards rushing and Michael Anderson added 60 more on the ground.

WVWC held Fairmont State to just 233 yards of total offense in the game. Mike Savage had a team-best eight tackles (six solo), and Nate Simmons had two tackles for a loss. Johnny Roundtree broke up four passes.

Tyler Pate earned the starting nod at quarterback and was 11-of-24 for 109 yards with a touchdown and an interception. Austin White rushed 14 times for 50 yards and a score. Marcus Porter had 10 tackles (six solo), and Chris White added six tackles, 1.5 tackles for a loss and one interception to lead the Falcons on defense. 

Notre Dame 41, West Virginia State 10 | Final Stats

Notre Dame fell behind 10-0 early, but scored the next 41 to cruise to a 41-10 over West Virginia State at Mueller Field.

Notre Dame improved to 6-3 overall and 6-2 in the MEC. West Virginia State fell to 2-7 overall and 1-7 in conference play. 

Ray Russ overcame a couple of early interceptions and threw for 316 yards and two touchdowns. Mitchell Shegos had 127 yards receiving and a touchdown and also returned a 77-yard punt return for a score. Marlon Oden led the defense with 11 tackles (six solo) with 1.5 tackles for a loss. 

Matt Kinnick was 13-of-28 for 139 yards and a touchdown. Kelvit Barrett had 59 yards on the ground and Shanin Bennefield had the only touchdown of the game for WVSU with a 30-yard touchdown reception. Wenley Bellliard turned in a solid performance on defense with 12 tackles (seven solo), including a game-high 3.5 for a loss. 

Urbana 35, Malone 16 | Final Stats 

Urbana snapped its seven-game losing streak with a 35-16 vicotry over Malone in non-conference action on Saturday at UU Stadium.

The win improved Urbana’s record to 2-7 on the year while Malone dropped to 1-8. 

Cal Burdyshaw led the Blue Knights with 129 yards passing and a touchdown and 31 yards and a score on the ground. Colby Spiece was 5-for-10 passing for 107 yards and Cedric Presley rushed 20 time for 89 yards and a score.

D’Gary Wallace was dominant defensively for UU racking up 16 tackles (10 solo), including 4.5 TFL and 2.5 sacks. 

After leading 21-6 after the first quarter, Malone got to within 21-16 early in the fourth quarter. The Blue Knights put the game away with a 44-yard touchdown reception from Spiece to Trevon Saunders and five-yard TD rush from Ronald Roberts.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Oberkrom’s FG lifts TCU past WVU

Jaden Oberkrom made a 37-yard field goal as time expired to lift No. 10 TCU over 20th-ranked West Virginia, 31-30, on Saturday.

The Horned Frogs took over at their own 24 with 2:07 to play. Kolby Listenbee’s 40-yard catch moved the ball to the WVU 33-yard line and following four straight runs, Oberkrom made the game-winning field goal.

Trevone Boykin completed 12-of-30 passes for 166 yards, one touchdown and an interception for the Horned Frogs (7-1, 4-1 Big 12), who have won three in a row. He also carried the ball nine times for 49 yards and a score.

B.J. Catalon rushed for 105 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries for TCU, which entered the game as the nation’s highest scoring team (50.4 ppg). Deante’ Gray caught two passes for 55 yards and a score.

Clint Trickett connected on 15-of-26 passes for 162 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions for the Mountaineers (6-3, 4-2), who had a four-game winning streak snapped.

Mario Alford caught three passes for 79 yards and a score for West Virginia, which turned the ball over five times.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Top-25 College Football Game Results

Final Score: (1) Mississippi State 17, Arkansas 10

Dak Prescott threw for a career-high 331 yards with one touchdown and two interceptions, and the top-ranked Mississippi State Bulldogs survived another scare in the SEC with 17-10 win over the Arkansas Razorbacks. Prescott added 61 yards on the ground, while Josh Robinson carried the ball 19 times for 64 yards and a touchdown and also had a team-high six receptions for 110 yards. Fred Ross finished with 107 yards receiving and the game-winning 69-yard score early in the fourth quarter, as the Bulldogs rallied for the game’s final 17 points. The Bulldogs (8-0, 5-0 SEC) remain undefeated on the season after two close calls against some of the SEC’s weaker teams. Mississippi State, which is the No. 1 team in the first ever College Football Playoff rankings, earned a tough 45-31 road win over Kentucky last week before narrowly beating the Razorbacks, with Will Redmond’s interception in his own end zone with 15 seconds remaining preserving the win on Saturday. Arkansas (4-5, 0-5), meanwhile, continues to search for its first conference win in over two years. The Razorbacks have now lost 17 straight in the SEC and haven’t won in conference since a home victory over Kentucky on Oct. 13, 2012. Brandon Allen threw for 238 yards with an interception and Alex Collins rushed for 93 yards with a score in the setback.

Final Score: (4) Auburn 35, (7) Ole Miss 31

Nick Marshall accounted for four touchdowns and Kris Frost forced a critical fumble at the goal line with 1:30 remaining that preserved third-ranked Auburn’s 35-31 victory over No. 7 Ole Miss, as well as the Tigers’ chances for a second straight appearance in the national title game. A showdown that was in essence a de facto elimination game for the College Football Playoff saw three lead changes in the final 17 minutes, the last Cameron Artis-Payne’s 6-yard run that put Auburn ahead with 10:23 left. There was very nearly a fourth. The Rebels’ Laquon Treadwell took a slip screen in the red zone and weaved his way toward the goal line with under two minutes to play, but was dragged down from behind by Frost and lost the ball just before crossing the plane. Cassanova McKinzy recovered the fumble for Auburn (7-1, 4-1 SEC), which later held off one last-ditch effort from the Rebels to assuredly keep its spot in the coveted top four of the College Football Playoff rankings. The defending BCS runner-up Tigers entered the colossal matchup third in the first edition of the rankings, with Ole Miss (7-2, 4-2) one place behind in fourth. Treadwell needed to be carted off the field on the pivotal play, ending an otherwise sensational night for the sophomore in which he racked up 103 yards and a touchdown on a career-high 10 catches.

Final Score: (5) Oregon 45, Stanford 16

Marcus Mariota wasn’t about to let Stanford end Oregon’s hopes for a national championship again. Or a Pac-12 title either. Mariota threw two touchdown passes and ran for two more as the fifth-ranked Ducks routed Stanford 45-16 on Saturday night. The Ducks were 10-0 before suffering a 17-14 overtime home loss to the Cardinal in 2012 and ripped off eight straight wins to open the 2013 campaign prior to a 26-20 defeat at Stanford. The Cardinal went on to win the Pac-12 title in both of those seasons. This year’s matchup was never in doubt. Mariota led three consecutive 75-yard TD drives to open the game and Oregon was never seriously threatened thereafter.

Final Score: (6) Notre Dame 49, Navy 39

Everett Golson accounted for six touchdowns and No. 6 Notre Dame survived a scare from longtime rival Navy on Saturday. The Midshipmen gave the Fighting Irish everything they could handle but came up short in a 49-39 final at FedExField. While they may not have impressed the playoff committee with another close win over an unranked opponent, the Irish (7-1) nevertheless stayed in the national title conversation. They were 10th in the committee’s first rankings this week despite being ranked sixth in the AP poll. Golson threw for 315 yards and three touchdowns and added three scores on the ground, while Tarean Folston ran for 149 yards and a TD for Notre Dame, which rebounded from a heartbreaking loss at Florida State two weeks ago. Keenan Reynolds passed for 118 yards and two touchdowns for Navy (4-5), which amassed 336 yards rushing against the nation’s 12th best run defense.

Final Score: Florida 38, (9) Georgia 20

Kelvin Taylor and Matt Jones each eclipsed over 190 rushing yards and combined for four touchdowns as Florida ran its way to a 38-20 upset over No. 9 Georgia, a result that effectively ended the Bulldogs’ national championship aspirations. The Gators put up a whopping 418 yards on the ground overall on a Georgia defense that hadn’t allowed more than 132 rushing yards during the five-game win streak it brought into Saturday’s showdown. Taylor grinded out a career- high 197 with two touchdowns on 25 carries, with Jones amassing a personal- best 192 and a pair of scores on 25 attempts. Michael McNeely added a 21-yard touchdown run on a game-changing fake field goal in the second quarter, beginning a stretch of 31 consecutive points that propelled Florida (4-3, 3-3 SEC) to its first win in the series since 2010. The loss was a devastating one for Georgia (6-2, 4-2), which lost control of its own destiny in the SEC East with Missouri’s win over Kentucky. Nick Chubb had another big game in place of the suspended Todd Gurley in defeat, rushing for 156 yards and a touchdown on 21 carries and gaining 59 more with another score on five catches. Hutson Mason threw for a career-high 319 yards and a touchdown on 26-of-42 passing, though most of the damage came after the Bulldogs were down 31-7 in the fourth quarter.

Final Score: (10) TCU 31, (20) West Virginia 30

Jaden Oberkrom made a 37-yard field goal as time expired to lift No. 10 TCU over 20th-ranked West Virginia, 31-30, on Saturday. The Horned Frogs took over at their own 24 with 2:07 to play. Kolby Listenbee’s 40-yard catch moved the ball to the WVU 33-yard line and following four straight runs, Oberkrom made the game-winning field goal. Trevone Boykin completed 12-of-30 passes for 166 yards, one touchdown and an interception for the Horned Frogs (7-1, 4-1 Big 12), who have won three in a row. He also carried the ball nine times for 49 yards and a score. B.J. Catalon rushed for 105 yards and two touchdowns on 20 carries for TCU, which entered the game as the nation’s highest scoring team (50.4 ppg). Deante’ Gray caught two passes for 55 yards and a score. Clint Trickett connected on 15-of-26 passes for 162 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions for the Mountaineers (6-3, 4-2), who had a four-game winning streak snapped. Mario Alford caught three passes for 79 yards and a score for West Virginia, which turned the ball over five times.

Final Score: (12) Baylor 60, Kansas 14

Bryce Petty had the Baylor offense rolling again on Saturday, throwing three touchdown passes in the 12th-ranked Bears’ 60-14 drubbing of Kansas. Petty completed 15-of-27 passes for 277 yards for Baylor (7-1, 4-1 Big 12), which won six in a row to open the season before falling to West Virginia two weeks ago. Corey Coleman made the most of his three catches, finishing with 167 yards and two touchdowns. Devin Chafin paced a lethal ground attack for the Bears, carrying 14 times for 112 yards and a pair of scores, while starter Shock Linwood gained 81 yards and a touchdown. Baylor has won 14 straight games at home and improved to 23-1 in Waco since the start of the 2011 season. Michael Cummings and Nick Harwell hooked up for a pair of touchdowns to account for the Jayhawks’ 14 points. Kansas (2-6, 0-5) has lost all five of its Big 12 games by at least a touchdown.

Final Score: (17) Nebraska 35, Purdue 14

The 17th-ranked Nebraska Cornhuskers overcame the loss of Heisman Trophy candidate Ameer Abdullah to post a 35-14 win over the Purdue Boilermakers on Saturday. Abdullah, who entered the weekend the nation’s leading rusher with 1,249 yards, suffered a sprained left knee in the first quarter. Nebraska head coach Bo Pelini is calling it a mild sprain, adding Abdullah has a bruise, but is optimistic. The Cornhuskers (8-1, 4-1 Big Ten) are off next week before playing at Wisconsin on Nov. 15. Imani Cross rushed for 66 yards and two touchdowns in Abdullah’s absence. Nebraska quarterback Tommy Armstrong Jr. had a touchdown pass and ran for another score, but threw two interceptions. He completed only 8-of-21 attempts for 118 yards while finishing with 70 yards on the ground. Austin Appleby completed 18-of-46 passes for 216 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions for Purdue (3-6, 1-4), which made its first trip to Lincoln.

Final Score: (19) Oklahoma 59, Iowa State 14

Trevor Knight accounted for six touchdowns, three passing and three rushing, leading 19th-ranked Oklahoma to a 59-14 rout of Iowa State on Saturday. Knight completed 22-of-35 passes for 230 yards and ran for a career-high 146 yards on 16 carries for the Sooners (6-2, 3-2 Big 12), who weren’t caught looking ahead to next week’s matchup with fellow Big 12 contender Baylor. Oklahoma hadn’t played since the 31-30 home loss to Kansas State two weeks ago, when Michael Hunnicutt missed a 19-yard field goal in the closing minutes, but bounced back Saturday with a strong effort that featured a 21-0 first-quarter lead. Iowa State (2-6, 0-5) was the perfect tonic for Oklahoma. The Sooners have now won 16 straight in the series and are 72-5-2 all-time against the Cyclones. Sam B. Richardson threw for 239 yards with a touchdown and added a score on the ground for Iowa State, which hasn’t beaten Oklahoma since 1990 and last beat the Sooners at home in 1960.

Final Score: Temple 20, (21) East Carolina 10

The weather may have been miserable, but it was a glittering day for the Temple Owls. Kenneth Harper rushed for two touchdowns as the Owls defeated No. 21 East Carolina 20-10 for their first- ever home win over a ranked opponent. The Pirates outgained the Owls 432-135, but lost five fumbles in a game played in a steady rain and cool temperatures. Praise Martin-Oguike forced two fumbles and blocked a field goal for Temple (5-3, 3-2 AAC), which had been 0-34 against ranked teams at home. The Owls, who snapped a two-game losing streak, beat a ranked opponent for the third time in program history and first since a 28-24 triumph over then-No. 14 Virginia Tech on Oct. 17, 1998. Shane Carden finished with 217 yards on 24- of-41 passing for the Pirates (6-2, 3-1), who had won five games in a row.

Final Score: (24) Duke 51, Pittsburgh 48 (2-OT)

Duke and Pittsburgh played another wild one, and this time it took overtime to decide a winner. Thomas Sirk scored on a 5-yard run in the second extra period to lift the 24th-ranked Blue Devils to a 51-48 victory over the Panthers on Saturday at Heinz Field. Last year, Pittsburgh pulled out a 58-55 win at Duke. The Panthers were in prime position to win this one with the final possession of regulation, but Chris Blewitt missed a 26-yard field goal attempt as time expired. The teams traded touchdowns in the first overtime, as Anthony Boone ran 12 yards for a Duke score and James Conner answered for Pitt with a 14-yard TD run. Pittsburgh had the ball first in the second extra period and failed to pick up a first down, forcing Blewitt to kick a 43-yard field goal. The Blue Devils then needed four plays to end the game, as Sirk found just enough room up the middle to reach the end zone. Sirk, a backup quarterback used primarily in short-yardage situations, had just two carries, but both went for scores. He bulled in from the 1-yard line on the final play of the first half to even the contest at 28-28. Boone threw for 266 yards and three touchdowns while adding 47 yards on the ground for the Blue Devils (7-1, 3-1 ACC), who have won three straight and sit atop the ACC’s Coastal Division. Jamison Crowder was Boone’s favorite target, catching nine passes for 165 yards and two scores. Conner had a monster day for Pittsburgh (4-5, 2-3), rushing for a career-high 263 yards and three scores on 38 carries. Chad Voytik threw for 236 yards with a pair of touchdowns and ran for a score in defeat.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Cowboys activate DE Lawrence

The Dallas Cowboys have taken defensive end DeMarcus Lawrence off injured reserve/designated to return and will have the rookie active for Sunday’s game against the Arizona Cardinals.

Lawrence, whom the Cowboys traded up with NFC East rival Washington to select with the second pick of the second round (No. 34 overall) of May’s draft, broke his foot during training camp and underwent surgery to repair the fracture in late July.

The Boise State product will attempt to bolster a sporadic Dallas pass rush that has produced just nine sacks through the season’s first half.

Defensive end Lavar Edwards was waived to clear a spot on the 53-man roster. Acquired in a trade with Tennessee just prior to the start of the regular season, the second-year pro managed only one tackle in four games.

►  Dolphins’ Philbin returns after death of father

Miami Dolphins head coach Joe Philbin returned to the team on Saturday morning following the death of his father.

Philbin was away from the club for the past two days. His father died Friday night in Massachusetts.

The Dolphins will host the San Diego Chargers on Sunday.

►  Bucs activate rookie RB Sims

The Tampa Bay Buccaneers activated rookie running back Charles Sims on Saturday and waived kick returner Trindon Holliday.

Sims, a third-round pick out of West Virginia, suffered an ankle injury during training camp on Aug. 12 that required surgery.

The Bucs promoted wide receiver Marcus Thigpen and defensive tackle Matthew Masifilo from the practice squad going into Sunday’s game in Cleveland.

Thigpen is expected to return kicks against the Browns, according to the team’s official website.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Two minute warning - Week 9

It’s a major issue for fantasy owners this weekend - teams on bye.

Week 9 is a six-team bye week with players from Atlanta, Buffalo, Chicago, Detroit, Green Bay and Tennessee all watching the action from their couch, just like fans and fantasy owners.

The loss of Aaron Rodgers, Matthew Stafford, Matt Ryan and Jay Cutler, plus the injury to Tony Romo makes life tough for many owners, particularly in two- quarterback leagues.

The weather in Week 9 is mostly good, but in one of the feature games with premier offenses, Denver at New England, there is both a high-wind problem and light snow.

In three other games, the winds will be blowing a little more than fantasy owners would like: Cleveland, Minnesota and Kansas City.

Here is the latest information as we approach game-time. We will continue to update this story as the information changes all the way up to game-time.

Quarterbacks -

Tony Romo, Dallas - Romo will not play in Week 9 and possibly will sit next weekend as well. Brandon Weeden gets the call and he has plenty of talent on offense.

Brandon Weeden, Dallas - Weeden could be a viable fantasy option in Week 9 as Tony Romo’s replacement. Having Dez Bryant, Terrance Williams and Jason Witten to throw to makes him a decent choice. It won’t hurt that play action, with the league’s leading runner, should work every time.

Robert Griffin III, Washington - RGII is scheduled to start. he hasn’t played since Week 2, but with all the quarterbacks out due to byes and injuries, he’s a viable fantasy option.

Michael Vick, New York Jets - In case you have been on vacation, Vick is replacing ineffective Geno Smith in the Jets lineup.

Running Backs -

Giovani Bernard, Cincinnati - Bernard, seventh in fantasy points among running backs, will not play this weekend. Rookie Jeremy Hill will get the majority of the workload and should be a solid RB2.

Rashad Jennings, New York Giants - Jennings was hoping to be ready for this weekend, but it won’t happen. Andre Williams will be the workhorse back for another game. Williams hasn’t done much with it so far.

Doug Martin, Tampa Bay - Martin is doubtful for Week 9 due to an ankle injury. The workload goes to Bobby Rainey, though the return of Charles Sims will make either guy un-startable.

Charles Sims, Tampa Bay - The Bucs activated Sims off injured reserve and he’s going to eat into the workload, of whichever back gets the start. He’s a good pass receiver out of the backfield.

Darren Sproles, Philadelphia - Sproles has practiced for two weeks and will return from his sprained MCL. He’ll be a viable flex option, particularly in league which include return points.

Justin Forsett, Baltimore - Forsett is dealing with an ankle issue, but it isn’t expected to keep him out of the lineup. But he shares time with Lorenzo Taliaferro

Donald Brown, San Diego - Brown’s concussion issues should be behind him and he’ll share carries behind feature back Branden Oliver. It could be the end of the line for both guys’ fantasy value as Ryan Mathews is expected to return after the Week 10 bye.

Wide Receivers -

A.J. Green, Cincinnati - Green is expected to return and both his owners and Andy Dalton’s owners couldn’t be happier. Make sure he’s back in your lineup.

Brian Quick, St. Louis - Quick injured his should last weekend and is done for the season. His absence should open up more opportunities for Kenny Britt and Tavon Austin

Reggie Wayne, Indianapolis - Wayne is expected to return Monday night. He’s only posted one fantasy-worthy game for his owners and with the improvement on Donte Moncrief, Wayne is likely more security blanket for Andrew Luck than viable fantasy option. His return will significantly reduce Moncrief’s fantasy value.

Tight Ends -

Owen Daniels, Baltimore - Owens had a knee scoped last Friday, so its shocking that he might actually play this weekend. We don’t think he’s ready to play a full game so it’s probably best to look elsewhere for a fantasy tight end.

Jordan Cameron, Cleveland - Cameron will not play this weekend. He ‘s viable fantasy option when healthy, but three concussion since 2012 clouds his future.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Westbrook sidelined at least a month after surgery

Oklahoma City Thunder guard Russell Westbrook will be sidelined for at least a month after undergoing surgery on Saturday to repair a broken bone in his right hand.

Westbrook was hurt during the first half of Thursday’s game against the Los Angeles Clippers. Saturday’s procedure took place at the Cleveland Clinic in Ohio.

General manager Sam Presti said Saturday in a release that Westbrook will be further evaluated in four weeks before his status will be updated.

Westbrook scored 38 points in Wednesday’s season opener against Portland.

The Thunder were already without reigning MVP Kevin Durant, who had foot surgery during the preseason.

►  NBA Game Results

Final Score: Golden State 127, LA Lakers 104

Klay Thompson poured in a career-high 41 points, Stephen Curry scored 31 and the Golden State Warriors rolled to a 127-104 win over Kobe Bryant and the Los Angeles Lakers on Saturday night. Bryant scored 28 points, including 19 in an electric third quarter, but the Lakers fell to 0-4 for the first time in 57 years. Harrison Barnes added 15 points for the Warriors in their home opener and Curry finished with 10 assists. Jordan Hill scored 23 for the Lakers and Wesley Johnson had 15 points. They are 0-4 for the first time since the Minneapolis Lakers started the 1957-58 season 0-7.

Final Score: Memphis 71, Charlotte 69

Marc Gasol converted a go-ahead three- point play in the final minute of regulation to give the Memphis Grizzlies an ugly 71-69 victory over the Charlotte Hornets on Saturday. While the final score was somewhat of an eyesore, the Grizzlies nevertheless improved to 3-0 for the first time in franchise history. Gasol was one of the few consistent sources of offense and finished with a game-high 22 points to go with eight rebounds. Zach Randolph added 12 points and 12 rebounds for the Grizzlies, who held Kemba Walker to five points on 1-of-11 shooting. Walker had a chance to tie the game in the final seconds but missed a 16- footer. Al Jefferson totaled 19 points for the Hornets, while Michael Kidd- Gilchrist logged a double-double with 11 points and 12 boards.

Final Score: Dallas 109, New Orleans 104

Chandler Parsons led a balanced attack with 20 points and six Mavericks reached double figures in Dallas’ 109-104 win over the New Orleans Pelicans. Dirk Nowitzki and Monta Ellis both scored 17 for Dallas, winners in two straight following an opening night loss at the hands of the defending-champion Spurs. Despite the loss, it was another dominant performance from the league’s best young player, Anthony Davis, who finished with 31 points, 15 rebounds and three blocked shots. Jrue Holiday scored 24 points and Tyreke Evans narrowly missed a triple-double with 22 points, 10 rebounds and nine assists.

Final Score: Toronto 108, Orlando 95

DeMar DeRozan had 26 points and eight rebounds as the Toronto Raptors defeated the Orlando Magic 108-95 on Saturday night. Kyle Lowry netted 21 points and Jonas Valanciunas added 10 points and 11 rebounds for the Raptors, who are off to a 2-0 start after beating Atlanta in their opener on Wednesday. Evan Fournier posted 18 points, rookie Elfrid Payton tallied 16 points and nine assists and Nikola Vucevic supplied 15 points and 12 boards for Orlando, which has dropped its first three games.

Final Score: Miami 114, Philadelphia 96

Chris Bosh scored 30 points with eight rebounds to lead the Miami Heat to a 114-96 win over the Philadelphia 76ers on Saturday. Luol Deng and Shawne Williams added 15 points each, while Dwyane Wade scored nine points with 10 assists for Miami, which has won nine of its last 10 in Philadelphia. Tony Wroten had 21 points and 10 assists for the Sixers, who are off to an 0-3 start after opening 3-0 last year, which included a 114-110 season-opening stunner of the defending champion Heat in Philadelphia. Brandon Davies netted a career-high 18 points and Hollis Thompson added 10 in the setback.

Final Score: Washington 108, Milwaukee 97

Nene scored 22 points and the Washington Wizards continued Milwaukee’s road woes with a 108-97 victory over the Bucks. Otto Porter contributed 21 points and John Wall posted 19 points, 10 assists and five steals in Washington’s home opener. Marcin Gortat finished with 20 points, nine boards and three blocks, while Garrett Temple posted 18 points. Brandon Knight had 24 points and Jerryd Bayless scored 20 for the Bucks, who have lost 16 in a row on the road. Their last victory outside Milwaukee came Feb. 24, 2014 at Philadelphia. Milwaukee, which was coming off a 93-81 win against Philadelphia on Friday, hasn’t won consecutive games since March 17 and 19, 2013.

Final Score: Atlanta 102, Indiana 92

Jeff Teague scored 25 points and dished out six assists in Atlanta’s 102-92 triumph over the Indiana Pacers. Al Horford tallied 20 points for the Hawks, who have won eight of their last nine home openers. Paul Millsap had 13 points and DeMarre Carroll ended with 11 points and nine boards for Atlanta, which lost to Indiana in the first round of last season’s playoffs. Chris Copeland led six Indiana players in double figures with 21 points. Roy Hibbert chipped in 14 points and 12 rebounds, and Donald Sloan had 14 points and seven assists. Indiana, which has lost two straight since a season-opening victory against Philadelphia, received 12 points and 10 rebounds from Luis Scola.

Final Score: Brooklyn 102, Detroit 90

Joe Johnson scored 15 of his 34 points in the fourth quarter to lead the Brooklyn Nets to a 102-90 win over the Detroit Pistons on Saturday. Kevin Garnett contributed an 18-point, 14- rebound double-double and Deron Williams added 15 points with six assists for the Nets, who helped head coach Lionel Hollins to his first win at the helm. Greg Monroe netted 18 points with 11 rebounds in his return from a two-game suspension and Brandon Jennings tallied 18 with nine assists for Detroit, which has opened the season with three straight losses. Josh Smith and Andre Drummond each totaled 14 points in the setback.

Final Score: Houston 104, Boston 90

James Harden filled the stat sheet with 26 points, eight rebounds, six assists and four steals as the Houston Rockets routed the Boston Celtics 104-90 on Saturday night. The Rockets raced out to a 14-4 start and never looked back in their wire-to-wire victory. Terrence Jones posted 25 points and 10 rebounds for Houston, which is off to a 3-0 start. Jared Sullinger tallied 14 points and nine boards and Jeff Green netted 17 points for the Celtics, who defeated Brooklyn in their season opener on Wednesday. Boston was 1-of-25 from beyond the arc.

Final Score: Chicago 106, Minnesota 105

Andrew Wiggins made a crucial mistake in the game’s final second, fouling Jimmy Butler on a jump shot with his team up by a point. Butler calmly sank both free throws, and the Chicago Bulls took down the Minnesota Timberwolves 106-105 in dramatic fashion. The Bulls led by two late when a wild sequence saw Minnesota climb ahead despite Ricky Rubio, who matched a career-high with 17 assists, fouling out moments earlier. Mo Williams, Rubio’s replacement, was off the mark on a 3- pointer from the top of the key. The ball bounced right to Kevin Martin, who then missed a baseline jumper. Nikola Pekovic came away with another offensive rebound, only to have his layup turned away at the rim. The ball popped free to Williams, who swung to a wide open Martin on the left wing. Martin hit nothing but cotton with 2.9 seconds to play.

Final Score: Oklahoma City 102, Denver 91

The short-handed Oklahoma City Thunder will face many tests without their two superstars over the next month. They passed their first one with flying colors on Saturday. A makeshift roster of just eight healthy players never trailed and held off a late rally by the Denver Nuggets to come away with a 102-91 win. One day after All-Star point guard Russell Westbrook underwent surgery on his broken hand, the Thunder, already without reigning MVP Kevin Durant, saw a 26-point lead dwindle to three in crunch time. Serge Ibaka and Perry Jones each hit big 3-pointers down the stretch, however, and both scored 23 points to lead Oklahoma City’s balanced attack. Kendrick Perkins contributed 17 points, Steven Adams netted 13 and Lance Thomas added 12 with eight rebounds for the Thunder, who were on the verge of starting 0-3 for the first time since moving to Oklahoma City. Rest was not an issue for the Nuggets, who rolled to an easy win over the Pistons on Wednesday. Ty Lawson netted 14 of his 25 points in the final quarter, but it was too little, too late for the visitors.

Final Score: Utah 118, Phoenix 91

Derrick Favors and Gordon Hayward went for 56 points and 19 rebounds between them as the Utah Jazz crushed the Phoenix Suns, 118-91, on Saturday. Favors led the way with a career-high 32 points, Hayward added 24 and Trevor Booked dropped 14 points off the bench in Utah’s first win of the season. Rookie Dante Exum, the No. 5 pick in June’s draft, made three 3-pointers for 10 points in the triumph. One night after taking down the defending-champion Spurs, Phoenix’s offense sputtered behind the struggles of its three-headed point guard plateau. Eric Bledsoe, Goran Dragic and Isaiah Thomas all scored 10 points, hitting just 11-of-35 shots. Gerald Green led six Suns in double digits with 16 points off the bench.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Royals decline option on Butler

The Kansas City Royals have declined the option on the contract of Billy Butler, making the designated hitter a free agent.

Butler has spent his entire eight-year career with the Royals and went through the difficult times with the club before this season’s surprising run to the American League pennant. He was 11-for-42 in the postseason, which ended with a Game 7 loss to San Francisco in the World Series.

The 28-year-old veteran hit just nine home runs in 2014 and drove in 66 runs while batting .271. He had reached double figures in homers each of the previous six seasons with a career-high 29 in 2012.

Butler was an All-Star and Silver Slugger winner in 2012, as he also knocked in a career-best 107 runs and batted .313.

In 1,166 games, Butler has 127 homers and 628 RBI with a .295 batting average.

►  Blue Jays trade Lind to Brewers for Estrada

The Toronto Blue Jays exercised the 2015 option on first baseman Adam Lind and then traded him to the Milwaukee Brewers for pitcher Marco Estrada.

Lind, who was selected by the Blue Jays in the third round of the 2004 draft, posted a .273 career average with 146 home runs and 519 RBI over 953 games in a Toronto uniform. Lind’s option was worth $7.5 million.

Estrada recorded a 7-6 mark with a 4.36 ERA in 39 games (18 starts) for the Brewers last season. The right-hander is 23-26 with a 4.23 ERA in 154 career games (74 starts) with Washington and Milwaukee.

The Blue Jays also exercised a $6.7 million option on pitcher J.A. Happ and an option on catcher Josh Thole worth $1.75 million. Options on pitchers Brandon Morrow, Dustin McGowan and Sergio Santos were declined, allowing them to elect free agency.

The contract option on first baseman Justin Smoak was also declined, but he remains under team control and is arbitration eligible. Toronto had claimed Smoak off waivers from the Seattle Mariners on Tuesday.

In addition, free agent outfielder Melky Cabrera was extended a qualifying offer at $15.3 million.

The Blue Jays also reinstated third baseman Brett Lawrie, infielder Maicer Izturis, pitcher Chad Jenkins and outfielder Andy Dirks from the 60-day disabled list. Dirks was claimed off waivers by Toronto from Detroit on Friday.

►  Rockies decline option on Anderson

The Colorado Rockies announced Saturday they have declined a team option on Brett Anderson, making the left-handed starter a free agent.

The Rockies bought out Anderson’s contract for a reported $1.5 million rather than pick up the $12 million option for 2015.

Anderson, 26, was acquired from Oakland on Dec. 10 and made just eight starts for the Rockies because of two 60-day stints on the disabled list due to a broken finger and lower back surgery.

He was 1-3 with a 2.91 ERA for Colorado and is 27-32 with a 3.73 ERA in 92 career games, including 81 starts. He spent his first five season with the Athletics.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  NHL Game Results

Final Score: Vancouver 3, Edmonton 2

Derek Dorsett scored the winner in the third period to give the Vancouver Canucks a 3-2 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Saturday. Luca Sbisa and Linden Vey also scored, while Ryan Miller made 25 saves for the Canucks, who won their fourth straight game. Jordan Eberle and David Perron scored goals for the Oilers, who hit the road for five games starting in Philadelphia on Tuesday. Ben Scrivens gave up all three goals on 30 shots.

Final Score: San Jose 3, NY Islanders 1

Logan Couture netted the game-winning goal with 8:10 remaining in the third period to lift the San Jose Sharks to a 3-1 victory over the New York Islanders on Saturday. Tomas Hertl scored on the power play, James Sheppard tallied a late goal and Antti Niemi turned aside 19 shots for the Sharks, who have registered at least a point in four straight games. Kyle Okposo supplied New York’s lone marker and Jaroslav Halak made 28 saves in his team’s third straight loss.

Final Score: Boston 4, Ottawa 2

Matt Fraser’s two quick second-period goals helped lead the Boston Bruins to a 4-2 victory over the Ottawa Senators on Saturday. Brad Marchand and Dennis Seidenberg both scored, and Carl Soderberg tallied two assists for Boston, which was coming off a 3-2 overtime win at Buffalo on Thursday. Tuukka Rask turned aside 27 shots in the win. Mark Stone and Mika Zibanejad both lit the lamp, and Robin Lehner made 26 saves for the Senators, who have dropped two straight games and four of their last five.

Final Score: Toronto 3, Chicago 2

James Reimer made 45 saves and Peter Holland scored the go-ahead goal early in the third period, leading the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 3-2 win over the Chicago Blackhawks on Saturday night. Nazem Kadri and James van Riemsdyk also scored for the Maple Leafs, who have won three in a row. Reimer had 26 saves in the third period, including one when he slid across the crease to keep Patrick Kane’s shot out and preserve Toronto’s lead in the final minutes. Holland’s winner came 2:21 into the third on a one-timer from the slot after Leo Komarov stole puck behind the Chicago net. Brad Richards and Brent Seabrook scored power-play goals for the Blackhawks, who have gone 2-4-0 since starting the season on a five-game points streak (4-0-1). Chicago had some good news. No. 1 goaltender Corey Crawford returned after missing six games with an upper-body injury and had 24 saves.

Final Score: Tampa Bay 4, Washington 3

Jason Garrison’s early third-period goal lifted the Tampa Bay Lightning over the Washington Capitals, 4-3, on Saturday. Nikita Kucherov, Ondrej Palat and Ryan Callahan also lit the lamp for the Lightning, who have won three in a row. Callahan returned to the lineup after missing five games with a lower-body injury. Ben Bishop stopped 35-of-38 shots in the victory. Marcus Johansson, Eric Fehr and Troy Brouwer scored for the Capitals, who have dropped three straight. Alex Ovechkin, who had been held without a point in five straight games, had one assist. Braden Holtby made 24 saves in defeat.

Final Score: Florida 2, Philadelphia 1

Roberto Luongo turned away 36 shots to lead the Florida Panthers in a 2-1 win over the Philadelphia Flyers. Willie Mitchell and Aaron Ekblad scored for the Panthers, who have won three of four. Steve Mason gave up both goals on 30 shots for the Flyers, who have dropped their past two games.

Final Score: New Jersey 3, Columbus 2

Adam Henrique and Adam Larsson scored in the third period to lift the New Jersey Devils to a 3-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Saturday night. Marek Zidlicky had a goal with one assist and Cory Schneider registered 32 saves for the Devils, who have won two straight and three of their last four games. Nick Foligno and Jack Skille lit the lamp for Columbus, which has lost five games in a row. Anton Forsberg gave up three goals on 29 shots in his NHL debut.

Final Score: Winnipeg 1, NY Rangers 0 (SO)

Evander Kane’s successful shot in the fourth round of the shootout provided the difference in the Winnipeg Jets’ 1-0 decision over the New York Rangers at Madison Square Garden. Blake Wheeler also scored during the deciding phase and Ondrej Pavelec turned in a stellar effort between the pipes for the Jets, turning aside all 38 shots he faced between regulation and overtime and thwarting 3-of-4 New York skaters in the shootout. Pavelec’s first shutout of the season helped improve Winnipeg to 3-0-1 over its last four games. Henrik Lundqvist was outstanding as well in a 25-save performance for the Rangers, now 4-1-1 over their last six outings.

Final Score: Pittsburgh 5, Buffalo 0

Chris Kunitz tallied two goals and an assist and Marc-Andre Fleury made 18 saves as the Pittsburgh Penguins shut out the Buffalo Sabres, 5-0, on Saturday. Evgeni Malkin finished with a goal and two assists, Blake Comeau and Patric Hornqvist also scored and Sidney Crosby supplied three assists for Pittsburgh, which cruised to its fourth straight victory. Jhonas Enroth stopped 29-of-34 shots for the Sabres, who fell to 0-5-1 at home this season.

Final Score: Carolina 3, Arizona 0

Cam Ward posted 25 saves for his first shutout of the season and the Carolina Hurricanes got their first win of the year in a 3-0 victory over the Arizona Coyotes. Carolina had gone 0-6-2 to start the season, but a pair of goals from Elias Lindholm and a goal from Jiri Tlusty backed Ward’s whitewash to get the team in the win column. Mike Smith allowed all three goals on 35 shots for the Coyotes, who have dropped their past three.

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

Joakim Lindstrom scored in the second round of the shootout to lift the St. Louis Blues over the Colorado Avalanche, 3-2, on Saturday. Vladimir Tarasenko scored a pair of goals for the Blues, who have won four in a row. Brian Elliott made 27 saves and stopped Gabriel Landeskog, Matt Duchene and Ryan O’Reilly in the shootout. O’Reilly and Nathan MacKinnon each had one goal and an assist for the Avalanche, who fell to 3-4-5 on the young season. Semyon Varlamov stopped 27-of-29 shots.

Final Score: Minnesota 4, Dallas 1

Darcy Kuemper made 19 saves and the Minnesota Wild scored their first two power-play goals of the season in a 4-1 win over the Dallas Stars on Saturday night. The Wild failed to score on their first power play in the game, moving them to 0-for-28 on the season. But Thomas Vanek scored at 19:03 of the second period with Jamie Benn off for holding to end the drought and pick up his first goal with Minnesota. The Wild, who were the only team without a power-play goal entering Saturday, went 2-for-4 on the man advantage. Nino Niederreiter scored 5:03 into the third period with Benn off for slashing, giving the Wild their 4-1 lead. Mikael Granlund and Matt Dumba also scored for the Wild, who have won three in a row. Vernon Fiddler scored for the Stars, who fell to 0-2-2 in their last four games, and Kari Lehtonen gave up four goals on 30 shots.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Petkovic to face Pennetta for TOC title

Andrea Petkovic of Germany and Italy’s Flavia Pennetta were semifinal winners Saturday and will meet for the title at the WTA Tournament of Champions.

Petkovic cruised to a 6-1, 6-4 victory over Spain’s Garbine Muguruza before Pennetta brushed aside another Spaniard in Carla Suarez Navarro with a 6-4, 6-2 triumph.

It took Petkovic just 24 minutes to capture the first set of her semifinal on Saturday, but she dropped the first two games of the second before storming back by winning the next five to take complete control.

Petkovic will try for her third title of 2014. She previously won in Charleston and Bad Gastein, and will carry a 4-5 mark in finals into Sunday’s match.

Pennetta is 10-13 all-time in finals, including 1-0 this year. She beat Agnieszka Radwanska for the title at Indian Wells back in March.

Suarez Navarro had the second semifinal even at 4-4, but Pennetta then won the next two games to claim the first set and opened a 2-0 lead in the second. The Spaniard rallied to even the second set before Pennetta reeled off the final four games.

Petkovic and Pennetta have split four career meetings. Pennetta won the only matchup this year, capturing a three-set decision in Stuttgart.

This eight-player season-ending tournament is for players who have won one or more of the WTA International events during the year but failed to qualify for the WTA Finals, which was staged in Singapore last week.

The Tournament of Champions will move to Zhuhai, China, next year after a three-year run in Sofia.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Rosberg beats Hamilton for United States GP pole

Nico Rosberg claimed his ninth pole of the season and the 13th of his Formula One career by topping Mercedes teammate and championship rival Lewis Hamilton in Saturday’s qualifying for the United States Grand Prix.

Rosberg, who trails Hamilton by 17 points in the F1 world championship standings, made a lap around the 3.426-mile, 20-turn Circuit of the Americas in 1 minute, 36.067 seconds. His lap was 0.376 seconds quicker than Hamilton.

“It worked out really well,“ Rosberg said. “Together with my engineers, I really arrived at a car in the end in qualifying that I was happy with. The balance was good. It was quite a challenge because the wind was changing and then this morning the conditions were quite different, a lot colder, so the track was changing all the time and it wasn’t that easy to get everything right.

“In the end, we got to a great setup, a great car, so I’m pleased with that. So, first place of course today is awesome, but you know the race is what counts, so I still need to focus fully on tomorrow and to bring it home.“

There are three grand prix remaining. After Sunday’s 56-lap USGP, F1 moves on to Sao Paulo for the Nov. 9 Brazilian Grand Prix. The season will concluded with the Nov. 23 Abu Dhabi Grand Prix, a race where drivers and teams will score double the amount of points.

Hamilton has won the last four grand prix—Italy, Singapore, Japan and Russia. He also scored the victory in the first USGP held at COTA in 2012.

“Nico did a great job today,“ Hamilton said. “I really struggled with braking, yeah. When you look at the brake temperatures, the left brake was always around 100 degrees less than the right front brake. It just kept catching. No matter what I did, even if I braked earlier and tried to save it, it would still lock. So that was perhaps where I was losing a lot of the time. But even if that wasn’t the case, I think Nico was perhaps too quick today.“

The Williams duo of Valtteri Bottas and Felipe Massa qualified third and fourth, respectively, while Daniel Ricciardo from Red Bull took the fifth spot.

Ricciardo’s teammate, Sebastian Vettel, the four-time world champion and winner of last year’s USGP, will start the race from pit lane due to a penalty he received for using a sixth power unit (engine) this season. According to the new technical rules this year, drivers are only allowed to use five power units before incurring a penalty.

Vettel did not make it out of the first round of qualifying (Q1). He finished 17th in the 18-car field. Vettel had won the pole for the first two USGPS at this circuit.

“In the race tomorrow, I think we can move up since our race pace seems okay, but it will be tight,“ Vettel said. “It will be difficult to overtake, as we don’t have the ideal straight line speed. Hopefully, we can get some points tomorrow. Seventh would be a good result.“

Fernando Alonso from Ferrari qualified sixth, followed by McLaren drivers Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen. Button, though, received a five-spot grid penalty for a gearbox change.

Ferrari’s Kimi Raikkonen and Adrian Sutil from Sauber completed the top-10.

This race is featuring an 18-car field since Caterham and Marussia are both missing the event due to their current financial issues.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Moore, Na share lead at CIMB Classic

Defending champion Ryan Moore and Kevin Na both shot 5-under 67 on Saturday and they moved into a share of the lead after three rounds of the CIMB Classic.

Moore and Na ended 54 holes at 12-under-par 204 and they share a 1-stroke lead. When Moore won this title last year, it was his third PGA Tour crown. Na has one victory on tour.

Sergio Garcia (68) and second-round leader Billy Hurley III (71) are tied for third place at minus-11 at Kuala Lumpur Golf & Country Club.

Kevin Streelman (71) and Kevin Chappell (70) were both tied for the lead on the front nine, but dropped into a share of fifth at 9-under-par 207. They were joined there by Gary Woodland (66) and Sang-Moon Bae (68).

Last week’s runner-up Brendon de Jonge (65) stands alongside Angelo Que (69), Jeff Overton (71), Patrick Reed (68) and Cameron Smith (69) in ninth place at minus-8.

Moore opened with a birdie on the first. He carded back-to-back birdies at four and five, which briefly gave him a piece of the lead at 10-under.

However, he tripped to a bogey on the sixth. Moore parred four in a row from the seventh. He birdied the par-3 11th and followed with a 12-foot birdie putt on the 12th.

Moore faltered to another bogey on the par-4 13th, but he bounced right back with a birdie on No. 14. After a pair of pars, Moore birdied the 17th to join Na in the lead at 12-under. Moore capped his round with a par at the last.

“I’m kind of in a similar position to where I was last year. I played just good, solid, consistent golf the last two days,“ Moore stated. “The course challenges every aspect of your game.“

Na had a pair of scoring bursts in round three. He started his round with pars at one and two. Na ran off three straight birdies from the third to move to minus-10.

The 31-year-old notched seven consecutive pars from the sixth. Na birdied the 13th to join his playing, Garcia, in the lead at 11-under. Na also birdied No. 14 to move one ahead.

Na capped his bogey-free round with four more pars. including a 9-foot par- saving putt at the 16th.

“Looks like I’m in a good position. You can go low out here, but you have to drive the ball well. There are some difficult holes you have to be careful on,“ Na explained.

Garcia found hazards off the tee at 14 and 16. However, he scrambled for par on both holes. He had five birdies and a bogey through 11 holes, then closed with seven pars in a row.

NOTES: Moore has a piece of the 54-hole lead for the sixth time in his career ... He has won two of the previous five ... Na won one of the previous three times he had at least a share of the third-round lead ... For the third day in a row, there was a weather delay due to lightning in the area ... Saturday’s delay last two hours, 28 minutes.

►  Levy jumps 4 clear in Shanghai

Alexander Levy fired a 9-under 63 in Saturday’s third round and he jumped four strokes clear of the field at the BMW Masters.

Levy, a two-time winner this season on the European Tour, completed 54 holes at 22-under-par 194. His total of 194 smashed the old record of 200. Peter Hanson had set the old mark in 2012.

“I played amazing golf. I’m very surprised by myself. I started well and made some early birdies and hit some amazing shots,“ Levy said. “I am very happy with the way I played golf today.“

Jamie Donaldson matched his own course record of 62 in round three at Lake Malaren Golf Club. He is alone in second place at minus-18. Donaldson first shot 62 in 2012, the first year of the tournament.

Marcel Siem is one stroke back at 17-under-par 199 after a third-round 65. Justin Rose, the highest-ranked player in the field at world No. 6, carded an 8-under 64 to move into fourth place at 15-under 201.

Second-round leader Nicolas Colsaerts stumbled to a 1-over 73 and he dipped into a tie for fifth at minus-13. He was joined there by Emiliano Grillo (69). Graeme McDowell (68) and Romain Wattel (71) are tied for seventh at 12-under- par 204.

Levy, the first-round leader, trailed by one at the start of the day, but he flew out of the gate with three consecutive birdies from the first to move two clear of Colsaerts, who didn’t threaten the lead after that.

After a pair of pars, Levy poured in a 40-footer for birdie at the sixth. He made it two in a row with a birdie at seven. Levy led by three at that point and he made the turn with that lead as he parred the eighth and ninth.

The Frenchman kicked in a short birdie effort at the 10th and followed with his third birdie in three days at the 11th.

Levy extended his lead to five strokes as he birdied the par-5 13th. He also 2-putted for birdie at the 15th, another par-5, to move to 22-under. Levy parred the final three holes to end there.

“It’s nice to be in this position. It was pretty much the same when I won in China (in April), so I am going to enjoy the game tomorrow, do my best and see what happens,“ Levy stated.

Donaldson used a hot stretch of golf, in which he went 9-under over an 11-hole stretch, to soar in to second place. He parred four of the first five holes to go with a birdie at the second.

The Welshman started his hot streak with birdies at the sixth and seventh. After making par at eight, Donaldson drained three straight birdie efforts from the ninth.

Donaldson birdied the par-5 13th, and he has played that hole in 4-under par for the week. He made it two in a row as he also birdied the 14th from 50 feet out. Donaldson jumped into second place as he holed his 9-iron approach shot at 16 for eagle. He parred the last two holes to end four back.

“Obviously the course suits my game. I’ve shot 10-under before and I’ve done it today, which is great. I got the ball rolling better on the greens, which made a big difference and obviously that shot on 16 was a big bonus,“ said Donaldson. “I had 142 yards to the flag, slightly uphill into the wind, which was a soft 9-iron and it came off spot on. Pitched just past the hole and spun back and went in. It’s quite a narrow entrance into that green from where I was, but it pitched perfect and obviously is a bonus to see it go in.“

NOTES: Levy owns the 54-hole lead for the second time this season on the European Tour, and for the third time in his career ... He won the China Open in April, the last time he had the third-round lead ... Levy’s total of 22- under par is the lowest 54-hole score of the season on the European Tour ... This is the first event of the European Tour’s finals series.

►  Park extends lead to 4 in Taiwan

Inbee Park shot 3-under 69 on Saturday and that helped her extend her lead to four strokes after three rounds of the Fubon LPGA Taiwan Championship.

Park finished 54 holes at 21-under-par 195. After setting a new 36-hole hole scoring record, Park also smashed the tournament’s 54-hole record. She had set the old mark of 198 in 2012.

“Overall, it was quite a good day. It was quite a different situation with the wind. It was playing a lot tougher,“ Park stated. “The downwind holes, it was tough to stop the ball on the green. We have quite a few tough holes out there, but I think I managed myself quite good.“

Last Monday, Park displaced Stacy Lewis as the No. 1 player in the world rankings. Lewis started the day nine shots off the lead, but fired an 8-under 64 at Miramar Golf Country Club to trim her deficit to four strokes.

Lewis shares second place with Shanshan Feng (70) at minus-17.

Azahara Munoz carded a 3-under 69 and is alone in fourth place at 13-under-par 203. So Yeon Ryu (68) is one stroke back at minus-12.

World No. 3 Lydia Ko (71) was joined in sixth place at 11-under-par 205 by Mariajo Uribe (67) and Brittany Lang (68).

Park and Feng were in the final group together, while Lewis was two groups ahead of the leaders in round three. Park and Feng parred their first three holes before matching birdies at the fourth.

After a par on No. 5, Park birdied the par-5 sixth to move to 20-under, where she was four clear of Feng and seven ahead of Lewis and Ko.

Park stumbled to back-to-back bogeys at seven and eight to trim her lead to two. She bounced right back with a birdie on the ninth. Park made eagle at the par-5 12th to move four clear of Feng and eight ahead of Lewis.

“I think I played quite consistently with my ball-striking today. But I missed a couple of short putts today on Nos. 7 and 8,“ Park said. “I missed those two. I also made some long putts, I holed some 20-, 25-foot putts.“

Feng, who had parred seven in a row from the fifth, birdied the 12th to move to minus-17.

Park tripped to another bogey at 14, but she erased that mistake with a birdie at the 17th. She closed with a par at the last to lead by four.

Feng traded a bogey for a birdie from the 17th to end four behind.

Lewis did her scoring in bunches on Saturday. She opened with birdies at the first and second. After four straight pars, Lewis birdied the seventh and made it two in a row with a birdie on No. 8.

After five more pars, Lewis caught fire down the stretch. She birdied four of the last five holes to soar into a share of second place.

“I kind of got things together there. Played really good. The wind started blowing on No. 7, and my caddie made a comment about it and I said good, that was my response,“ said Lewis. “So I knew I needed some help with the weather to get a little bit closer and played some great golf there coming in.“

NOTES: Park owns the 54-hole lead for the 10th time in her LPGA Tour career ... She has won four of the previous nine, but lost the last two times she was in this position ... If Park or Lewis wins on Sunday, that player will be No. 1 in the world on Monday ... Two-time defending champion Suzann Pettersen stumbled to a 2-over 74 and dipped into a tie for 33rd at 5-under 211.

The Gilmer Free Press


National Football League
Jacksonville at Cincinnati, 1:00 PM - CBS, DSS (705)
NY Jets at Kansas City, 1:00 PM - CBS, DSS (706)
San Diego at Miami, 1:00 PM - CBS, DSS (707)
Tampa Bay at Cleveland, 1:00 PM - FOX, DSS (708)
Arizona at Dallas, 1:00 PM - FOX, DSS (709)
Philadelphia at Houston, 1:00 PM - FOX, DSS (710)
Washington at Minnesota, 1:00 PM - FOX, DSS (711)
St. Louis at San Francisco, 4:05 PM - FOX, DSS (712)
Denver at New England, 4:25 PM - CBS, DSS (713)
Oakland at Seattle, 4:25 PM - CBS, DSS (714)
Baltimore at Pittsburgh, 8:30 PM - NBC

National Basketball Association
Sacramento at LA Clippers, 3:30 PM - CSN-California, FS-Prime Ticket, DSS
Toronto at Miami, 6:00 PM - TSN2, SunSports, DSS
Charlotte at New York, 7:30 PM - SportSouth, MSG, NBA TV, DSS
Golden State at Portland, 9:00 PM - CSN-Bay, Northwest, DSS

National Hockey League
Los Angeles at Carolina, 5:00 PM - FS-West, Carolina, DSS
Detroit at Buffalo, 5:00 PM - FS-Detroit, MSG-Buffalo, DSS
Arizona at Washington, 7:00 PM - FS-Arizona, CSN-DC, DSS
Calgary at Montreal, 7:00 PM - City TV, RDS, DSS
Anaheim at Colorado, 8:00 PM - FS-Prime Ticket, Altitude, DSS
Winnipeg at Chicago, 9:00 PM - TSN3, WGN, DSS
Nashville at Vancouver, 9:30 PM - FS-Tennessee, SNET-Pacific, DSS

Canadian Football League
Toronto at Montreal, 12:00 PM - TSN, RDS,

Major League Soccer - Playoffs
DC United at TBA, 4:00 PM - CSN-Washington, Univision, DSS
Seattle at FC Dallas, 9:00 PM - ESPN 2, TSN2

International Soccer
Manchester City vs. Manchester United, 8:25 AM - NBCSN
UC Sampdoria vs. ACF Fiorentina, 9:55 AM - beIN Sport
Aston Villa vs. Tottenham, 11:00 AM - NBCSN
AC Milan vs. US Citta di Palermo, 4:00 PM - beIN Sport

CHAMPIONS - Charles Schwab Cup Championship, 3:30 PM - Golf Channel

Auto Racing
SPRINT CUP - AAA Texas 500, 3:00 PM - ESPN
FORMULA ONE - U.S. Grand Prix, 3:00 PM - NBC

New York City Marathon, 9:00 AM - ESPN 2

Sports News

The Gilmer Free Press

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Herd ranked 24th in coaches’ poll, 25th in AP poll

Marshall is back in top 25 in the both Associated Press Poll and Amway Coaches Poll for the first time since 2002. The 6-0 Herd is ranked 24th in the coaches’ poll and 25th in the AP Poll.

The Thundering Herd defeated Middle Tennessee Saturday 49-24 marking the sixth straight game Marshall has scored 40 or more points. The Herd is the only team in FCS to score 40 points in every game this season.

36 of the 60 voters in the Associated Press Poll had Marshall in the top 25 and three voters had Marshall rated as high as 17th.

Marshal leads the nation with 49 plays of 20 yards or more and also leads the country with 27 plays of 30 yards or more.

Marshall is on the road next Saturday at FIU.

The Gilmer Free Press


1Mississippi State (45)        SEC        Record: 6-0
2Florida State (12)        ACC        Record: 6-0
3Mississippi (3)        SEC        Record: 6-0
4Baylor        Big 12        Record: 6-0
5Notre Dame        Division I FBS Independents        Record: 6-0
6Auburn        SEC        Record: 5-1
7Alabama        SEC        Record: 5-1
8Michigan State        Big Ten        Record: 5-1
9Oregon        Pac-12        Record: 5-1
10Georgia        SEC        Record: 5-1
11Oklahoma        Big 12        Record: 5-1
12TCU        Big 12        Record: 4-1
13Ohio State        Big Ten        Record: 4-1
14Kansas State        Big 12        Record: 4-1
15Oklahoma State        Big 12        Record: 5-1
16Arizona        Pac-12        Record: 5-1
17Arizona State        Pac-12        Record: 4-1
18East Carolina        The American        Record: 5-1
19Nebraska        Big Ten        Record: 5-1
20Utah        Pac-12        Record: 4-1
21Texas A&M        SEC        Record: 5-2
22USC        Pac-12        Record: 4-2
23Stanford        Pac-12        Record: 4-2
24Clemson        ACC        Record: 4-2
25Marshall        Conference USA        Record: 6-0

Others receiving votes: UCLA 110, LSU 67, Duke 45, Kentucky 36, Minnesota 36, West Virginia 27, Washington 22, Georgia Tech 11, Arkansas 10, Louisville 7, Rutgers 7, Iowa 6, Colorado St. 3, N. Dakota St. 3, South Carolina 1, Virginia 1, Wisconsin 1

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Bengals RB Bernard leaves game

Cincinnati Bengals running back Giovani Bernard left Sunday’s game with a right shoulder injury and is questionable to return.

Bernard, who put the Bengals in front with an 89-yard touchdown run earlier in the game, took a shot from Panthers linebacker Luke Kuechly and immediately grabbed his shoulder in pain.

He has been taken to the locker room for examination.

►  NFL SCORES Week 6


Final Score: New England 37, Buffalo 22

The Buffalo Bills played their first game under new ownership Sunday, but the New England Patriots continue to own the Bills on the field. Tom Brady was 27-of-37 for 361 yards and threw four touchdown passes, including a pair to Brandon LaFell in the fourth quarter that sealed the visiting Patriots’ 37-22 win. The Patriots (4-2) beat the Bills for the 21st time in the last 22 meetings and their latest triumph gave them sole possession of first place in the AFC East. Kyle Orton completed 24-of-38 passes for 299 yards, two touchdowns and one interception for Buffalo (3-3), which has lost three of four after opening the season 2-0. Terry Pegula and wife Kim were unanimously approved as new owners of the Bills earlier in the week.

Final Score: Cincinnati 37, Carolina 37 (OT)

Mike Nugent and Graham Gano each kicked field goals in overtime, but Nugent missed a potential game-winner as the Cincinnati Bengals and Carolina Panthers played to a 37-37 tie. Nugent opened the extra session with a 42-yard kick, and his counterpart Gano knotted the score with a 36-yarder on Carolina’s possession. Cincinnati took over with just over two minutes to play in OT, and Andy Dalton’s 24-yard completion to James Wright near the right sideline set up Nugent’s attempt with four seconds to play, which was pushed wide right as the clock hit zero. Gano forced overtime with a 44-yard field goal as time expired in regulation. Dalton completed 34-of-44 passes for 323 yards with two touchdowns and a pair of interceptions for the Bengals, who were coming off a humbling loss to the Patriots in New England. Giovani Bernard shook off a shoulder injury to ran for 137 yards and a touchdown. Cincinnati (3-1-1) had its 11-game regular- season home win streak come to an end. Cam Newton had his best effort for the season for Carolina (3-2-1), compiling 391 total yards—284 passing and 107 rushing—with three total touchdowns. Newton, who has battled injuries, only had 42 rush yards for the season entering Sunday.

Final Score: Cleveland 31, Pittsburgh 10

Ben Tate rushed for 78 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Cleveland Browns past the Pittsburgh Steelers, 31-10, on Sunday. Brian Hoyer completed 8-of-17 passes for 217 yards and a touchdown, Jordan Cameron hauled in three catches for 102 yards and a touchdown and Isaiah Crowell ran for 77 yards and a score on 11 carries for the Browns (3-2), who ended a string of four straight losses to the Steelers. Ben Roethlisberger, who entered the game with an 18-1 record as a starter against Cleveland, was held to 228 yards on 21-of-42 passing with a touchdown and interception for Pittsburgh (3-3), which gave up 31 straight points after the first quarter. Le’Veon Bell rushed for 82 yards on 18 carries, Antonio Brown caught a game-high 118 yards on seven catches and Lance Moore caught a 26-yard score in the loss.

Final Score: Green Bay 27, Miami 24

Aaron Rodgers engineered a game-winning drive, faking a spike on one key completion and throwing a 4-yard touchdown pass with three seconds remaining to lift the Green Bay Packers to a 27-24 win over the Miami Dolphins on Sunday. Andrew Quarless’ touchdown catch capped a 60-yard drive and came after Miami quarterback Ryan Tannehill led three straight second-half touchdown drives for the lead before the Dolphins were forced to punt on their fourth possession. Rodgers beat his old offensive coordinator, Joe Philbin, who helped develop the Packers quarterback but is now in his third year as coach of the Dolphins. Green Bay (4-2) rallied for its third straight win and Miami (2-3) came out of a bye week with a near- upset.

Final Score: Detroit 17, Minnesota 3

Led by a stout defense that had eight sacks and three interceptions, the Detroit Lions overcame continued kicking problems to take a 17-3 win over the Minnesota Vikings. Matt Stafford was a pedestrian 19-for-33 for 185 yards and one touchdown while Joique Bell added a rushing touchdown for the Lions (4-2), who bounced back from last week’s three-point loss at home to Buffalo. That loss was due in large part to three missed field goals from Alex Henery, which led the Lions to release him and bring in their third kicker of the season in Matt Prater. Playing for the first time since serving a four-game suspension and being cut by the Broncos, Prater made a 52-yard field goal but missed two more attempts. Detroit kickers have now missed 10 field goals on the season. Detroit won the game despite missing two star offensive weapons in wide receiver Calvin Johnson and running back Reggie Bush, both of whom sat out with ankle injuries. Teddy Bridgewater returned to action after missing last week with a sprained ankle, but was harassed all day by the Detroit defense and finished the game 23-for-37 for 188 yards and three interceptions for the Vikings (2-4), who have dropped their past two games.

Final Score: Denver 31, NY Jets 17

Peyton Manning had a far better showing than his last trip to MetLife Stadium. Although it took him a little while to get going. Manning tossed three touchdown passes, inching him closer to Brett Favre’s all-time record, and the Denver Broncos held off the New York Jets 31-17 on Sunday afternoon. Manning’s previous game in East Rutherford began with an errant snap that resulted into a safety. It never got better for the Broncos as they were trounced 43-8 by Seattle in the Super Bowl last February. Manning was intercepted twice, finishing 34-of-49 for 280 yards and a touchdown. It was a different story Sunday. Despite being sacked twice and hurried countless other times in the first one-and-a-half quarters, Manning still ended 22-of-33 for 237 yards. Demaryius Thomas had 10 receptions for 124 yards and a touchdown, while Julius Thomas caught four passes for 51 yards and two scores for Denver (4-1), which has won two straight since its Week 3 loss at Seattle. Ronnie Hillman, filling in for an injured Montee Ball, carried the ball 24 times for 100 yards in the triumph. Geno Smith completed 23-of-43 passes for 190 yards with two touchdowns and an interception and rookie second-round tight end Jace Amaro hauled in 10 balls for 68 yards and a score for the Jets (1-5), who have dropped five straight since a Week 1 win against Oakland.

Final Score: Baltimore 48, Tampa Bay 17

Joe Flacco threw for career-high five touchdowns in a near-flawless performance that propelled the Baltimore Ravens to a 48-17 rout of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. Flacco ended each of Baltimore’s first five possessions with scoring strikes as the Ravens (4-2) roared out to a 38-0 halftime lead. The Super Bowl XLVII MVP finished the day with 306 yards and no interceptions on a 21-of-29 completion rate. Torrey Smith caught two of Flacco’s touchdown passes and Steve Smith had another while amassing 110 yards on five receptions. Justin Forsett added 111 yards on the ground on just 14 carries for a Baltimore offense that bounced back strongly from last week’s sluggish performance in a loss at Indianapolis. Mike Glennon put up a personal-best 314 yards and two touchdowns on 24-of-44 passing for Tampa Bay (1-5), though most of the damage came with the outcome already decided in the second half. The second-year quarterback was intercepted once and sacked five times while under heavy pressure for much of the game. Louis Murphy had seven catches totaling 72 yards and a touchdown in the lopsided defeat, with Mike Evans recording four receptions for 55 yards and garnering Glennon’s other TD pass.

Final Score: Tennessee 16, Jacksonville 14

Ryan Succop connected on three field goals and the Tennessee special-teams unit came up with a game-saving field-goal block in the final seconds, as the Titans escaped with a 16-14 decision over the Jacksonville Jaguars in Week 6 action. With Jake Locker inactive due to a thumb injury, Charlie Whitehurst finished 17-of-28 for 233 yards for the Titans (2-4), who did just enough to put an end to a four-game losing skid since a season-opening win at Kansas City. Bishop Sankey totaled 61 yards on 18 carries, Justin Hunter added 77 yards on three catches and Jackie Battle’s rushing score accounted for the hosts’ lone touchdown. Blake Bortles threw for 336 yards and a late score to Clay Harbor on 32-of-46 attempts for the Jaguars (0-6), who have dropped the first six games of a season for the second consecutive year. Cecil Shorts led all receivers with 103 yards and 10 receptions, with Storm Johnson adding another TD on the ground.

Final Score: San Diego 31, Oakland 28

Branden Oliver’s 1-yard touchdown run put San Diego ahead, and an interception by Jason Verrett sealed the outcome in a 31-28 Chargers victory over the Oakland Raiders in an AFC West Week 6 clash. Philip Rivers ended up with 313 yards and three TDs on 22-of-34 passing for the Chargers (5-1), winners in five straight after losing at Arizona to begin the year. Oliver racked up 101 yards on 26 carries, Malcom Floyd totaled 103 yards and a score on five catches, while Eddie Royal and Antonio Gates added a scoring reception apiece. Derek Carr threw for a career-best four touchdowns and 282 yards on 18-of-34 attempts for the Raiders (0-5), who played their first game under interim head coach Tony Sparano, who took over after Dennis Allen was fired on Sept. 29. The Raiders have now lost 11 consecutive games dating back to last season. Andre Holmes clocked in with 121 yards and a pair of touchdowns on just four catches, Darren McFadden totaled 80 yards on 14 carries, with James Jones and Brice Butler adding a TD grab each in defeat.

Final Score: Arizona 30, Washington 20

Carson Palmer threw two touchdown passes in his return, helping the Arizona Cardinals post a 30-20 victory over the struggling Washington Redskins. Palmer, sidelined for the past three games with a nerve issue in his throwing shoulder, completed 28-of-44 passes for 250 yards. Larry Fitzgerald had 98 yards and a touchdown on six receptions as the Cardinals (4-1) beat the Redskins for the first time since Nov. 5, 2000, snapping an eight-game losing streak in the series. Washington (1-5) committed four turnovers in the fourth quarter, including three interceptions by Kirk Cousins.

Final Score: Chicago 27, Atlanta 13

Matt Forte rushed for 80 yards and two touchdowns to lead the Chicago Bears to a 27-13 victory over the Atlanta Falcons on Sunday. Jay Cutler completed 26-of-38 passes for 381 yards and a touchdown, while Forte also added 77 yards on 10 catches for the Bears (3-3), who snapped a two-game skid. Alshon Jeffery and Brandon Marshall totaled 136 and 113 receiving yards, respectively, and Josh Morgan had a receiving touchdown in the win. Matt Ryan threw for 271 yards on 19-of-37 passing with a touchdown and an interception and Antone Smith had a 41-yard receiving score for Atlanta (2-4), which lost its third straight game.

Final Score: Dallas 30, Seattle 23

DeMarco Murray made history on Sunday, and the Dallas Cowboys did the impossible by going into CenturyLink Field and handing the Seattle Seahawks a 30-23 defeat for just the second time at home during the Russell Wilson era. Murray joined Jim Brown as the only running backs in NFL history to surpass 100 rushing yards in six straight games to start the season. His go-ahead touchdown run with 3:16 to play gave the Cowboys the lead, Seattle turned the ball over on downs and Dan Bailey kicked a 31-yard field goal to make it a seven-point game. The Seahawks got the ball back with just over a minute left, but Wilson was picked off by Rolando McClain to confirm the outcome. Murray carried 29 times for 115 yards, leading Dallas (5-1) to its fifth straight win following a Week 1 setback against San Francisco. The Cowboys last won five in a row in 2007. Tony Romo threw for 250 yards and found each of his tight ends, Jason Witten and Gavin Escobar, for a touchdown apiece.

Final Score: Philadelphia 27, NY Giants 0

LeSean McCoy got back on track and the Philadelphia Eagles finally put it all together in a 27-0 rout of the New York Giants on Sunday night. It was Philadelphia’s first shutout win since Dec. 1, 1996 against the Giants. McCoy, who won the NFL rushing title last year with 1,607 yards, had been limited to 273 yards on the ground entering Week 6. But the Pittsburgh product exploded for 149 yards on 22 carries on Sunday. Nick Foles completed 21-of-34 passes for 248 yards, two touchdowns and two interceptions for the Eagles (5-1), who are tied with Dallas for first place in the NFC East. The Cowboys came away with an impressive 30-23 win over the Seahawks in Seattle earlier Sunday. Philadelphia’s defense sacked Eli Manning six times, with linebacker Connor Barwin accounting for half of those sacks. The Eagles, who wore all-black uniforms for the first time, ended with eight sacks overall. It was a painful loss for the Giants, who watched star wide receiver Victor Cruz suffer a torn patellar tendon in his right knee in the third quarter. Additionally, cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie left the game with back spasms.


Final Score: Indianapolis 33, Houston 28

Andrew Luck and T.Y. Hilton lit up the Texans secondary and the Indianapolis Colts held off a Houston comeback to earn a 33-28 victory in a matchup of the top two teams in the AFC South. Thursday games this season had been decided by an average of 29 points, and it appeared another blowout was on tap when the Colts jumped out to a 24-0 lead. Houston, though, fought back and pulled within 33-28 when the incomparable J.J. Watt returned a botched shotgun snap 45 yards for a touchdown. The Texans had two possessions inside five minutes remaining and both times lost fumbles, and the Colts (4-2) survived to win their fourth straight game. Luck threw for 370 yards with touchdown passes to Ahmad Bradshaw, Coby Fleener and Hilton, who finished with nine receptions for 223 yards, one shy of the franchise’s single-game record. Arian Foster gained 141 yards from scrimmage and ran for two touchdowns for Houston (3-3), which has dropped three of its last four. Ryan Fitzpatrick completed 15-of-23 passes for 212 yards and threw a touchdown pass to Andre Johnson, but both lost critical fumbles down the stretch.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Durant likely out 6-8 weeks with broken foot

Reigning NBA MVP Kevin Durant could miss up to two months with a broken foot, his team said Sunday.

The Oklahoma City Thunder star was diagnosed with a Jones fracture after telling the team Saturday he was experiencing discomfort in his right foot.

Thunder general manager Sam Presti said in a statement that recent NBA cases have shown players returning from the injury in 6-8 weeks, but was unable to give a specific timeline for Durant because they were still evaluating what the next steps for him will be.

Durant, 26, scored 23 points while playing a total of around 30 minutes in two preseason games this week.

He was named MVP for the first time in May after averaging a career-best 32 points per game, joining Wilt Chamberlain, George Gervin and Michael Jordan as the only players to win four scoring titles in five years.

Durant left the U.S. national team in August before the FIBA World Cup, citing physical and mental exhaustion from the season.

His decision came less than a week after Indiana Pacers star Paul George suffered a gruesome leg injury in a team scrimmage in Las Vegas, raising questions about the risks of NBA stars playing in international competitions.

Durant has appeared in 542 regular-season games in his seven-year NBA career, averaging 27.4 points and 6.9 rebounds. He has played in 73 postseason games with averages of 28.9 points and 8.2 rebounds.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Wong’s HR in 9th gives Cardinals dramatic Game 2 win

Kolten Wong capped a dramatic four-homer night for the Cardinals by belting the winning solo blast off Sergio Romo in the bottom of the ninth inning to beat the Giants, 5-4, and tie the National League Championship Series after two games.

Matt Adams turned on a 97 mph fastball from Hunter Strickland in the bottom of the eighth to give St. Louis a 4-3 lead.

Trevor Rosenthal gave up singles to pinch-hitter Andrew Susac and Juan Perez with one out in the top of the ninth. Gregor Blanco then lined out to a leaping Jhonny Peralta at shortstop. Joe Panik ran the count to 3-2 before a pitch went into the dirt. Tony Cruz, who replaced an injured Yadier Molina behind the plate, had a difficult time locating the ball, which bounced to the backstop. Pinch-runner Matt Duffy alertly raced home from second with the tying run.

Wong led off the bottom portion by smacking an 0-1 pitch to right field off Romo (0-1).

“To hit a home run at this stage, especially a walk-off home run, it was definitely my top home run I’ve hit ever,“ Wong said.

The Giants, who won the opener 3-0 Saturday, had their seven-game road postseason winning streak broken.

Game 3 of the best-of-seven series is Tuesday afternoon in San Francisco.

Matt Carpenter and Oscar Taveras also went deep for the Cardinals Sunday night.

“It’s a great time for us to bust out with some power,“ Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said. “Once again, falling into the trap of trying to force that could end up being an issue for us, but right now they’re just taking nice short strokes and the ball is jumping.“

After the Giants tied the game in the top of the ninth, they loaded the bases, but Seth Maness (1-0) retired Pablo Sandoval on a grounder back to the mound to cap the frame.

“We were just missing a hit to put the game away,“ Giants manager Bruce Bochy said. “We had a chance, but the long ball got us tonight.“

Molina suffered a strained left oblique in the sixth inning. He never got out of the batter’s box after grounding into a double play.

After the game, Matheny said he didn’t know the extent of Molina’s injury, but that it “didn’t look good.“

Cardinals starter Lance Lynn allowed six hits and two runs in 5 2/3 innings, while San Francisco’s Jake Peavy pitched the first four frames.

Carpenter homered to right in the third inning and it became 2-0 in the fourth. With the bases full, Randal Grichuk singled to left to drive in Adams. Peavy limited the damage by retiring the next two batters.

Center fielder Jon Jay nearly made a diving catch on a ball hit by Travis Ishikawa in the top of the fifth. It turned into a double when the ball popped out of Jay’s glove, and then pinch-hitter Joaquin Arias shattered his bat on a ground ball to second to plate Brandon Belt.

The Giants tied it the following inning when Hunter Pence’s single to center scored Sandoval.

Blanco put the Giants up 3-2 in the seventh when his ground ball into right field sent Brandon Crawford to the plate.

Taveras, in a pinch-hit role, tied the game when he drove a 2-1 pitch from Jean Machi just inside the foul pole down the right-field line with one out in the home seventh.

Game Notes

The Giants suffered their first road playoff defeat since Game 4 of NLCS on October 18, 2012 at Busch Stadium ... San Francisco left nine men on base ... The Giants are 4-for-22 at the plate in the first inning in this year’s playoffs. All four hits have been singles ... John Lackey is scheduled to start Game 3 for the Cardinals and Tim Hudson for the Giants.

►  Cards’ Molina exits Game 2

St. Louis Cardinals catcher Yadier Molina suffered a strained left oblique in the sixth inning of Game 2 of the National League Championship Series Sunday night.

With the Cardinals and Giants tied 2-2 in the bottom of the sixth inning, Molina never got out of the batter’s box after grounding into a double play.

He was replaced behind the plate by Tony Cruz to start the seventh inning.

The Cardinals won the game, 5-4, to even the series.

After the game, Cardinals manager Mike Matheny said he didn’t know the extent of Molina’s injury, but that it “didn’t look good.“

►  National League Championship Series Game Result

Final Score: St. Louis 5, San Francisco 4

Kolten Wong capped a dramatic four-homer night for the Cardinals by belting the winning solo blast off Sergio Romo in the bottom of the ninth inning to beat the Giants, 5-4, and tie the National League Championship Series after two games. Matt Adams turned on a 97 mph fastball from Hunter Strickland in the bottom of the eighth to give St. Louis a 4-3 lead. Trevor Rosenthal gave up singles to pinch-hitter Andrew Susac and Juan Perez with one out in the top of the ninth. Gregor Blanco then lined out to a leaping Jhonny Peralta at shortstop. Joe Panik ran the count to 3-2 before a pitch went into the dirt. Tony Cruz, who replaced an injured Yadier Molina behind the plate, had a difficult time locating the ball, which bounced to the backstop. Pinch-runner Matt Duffy alertly raced home from second with the tying run. Wong led off the bottom portion by smacking an 0-1 pitch to right field off Romo (0-1). The Giants, who won the opener 3-0 Saturday, had their seven-game road postseason winning streak broken. Game 3 of the best-of- seven series is Tuesday afternoon in San Francisco. Matt Carpenter and Oscar Taveras also went deep for the Cardinals Sunday night.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Hamilton wins Russian GP, Mercedes clinches constructors’ title

Lewis Hamilton cruised to his ninth win of the season, including his fourth in a row, with a dominating performance in Sunday’s inaugural Formula One Russian Grand Prix.

Hamilton’s victory allowed Mercedes to clinch its first constructors’ championship in F1. He also extended his lead in the world championship standings to 17 points over his teammate, Nico Rosberg, who finished second.

Hamilton, the 2008 world champion, scored his 31st career victory, which placed in a tie with his fellow British compatriot Nigel Mansell for sixth on the F1 all-time race winners list.

Russian President Vladimir was in attendance for the race. Putin greeted the podium finishers at the conclusion of the event and presented Hamilton with the winner’s trophy.

“I’m so happy to be here, and we’ve had an amazing weekend,“ Hamilton said. “Russia, the fans and the (race) organizers have been so good to me and the team, and I’m so grateful for all of the support. I’m really looking forward to coming here many more times.“

At the start of this 53-lap race at the brand-new Sochi Autodrom, Rosberg overtook Hamilton, the pole sitter, for the lead, but Rosberg had to give the top position back to Hamilton since he ran off and missed the second corner on the opening lap due to a braking issue.

Rosberg pitted for new tires on the second lap and fell to last in the field, but he ran the remaining 52 laps without stopping, which eventually returned him to second place. He crossed the finish line 13.6 seconds behind Hamilton.

“Half of me is extremely disappointed that I messed up today, but the other half, I’m really happy because everybody on the team deserves it (constructors’ title) so much. I can smile a little bit because I’m very happy for everybody in achieving that.“

Mercedes has accumulated 565 points in the constructors’ championship standings this season, which is 223 points more than its closest competitor, Red Bull, the winner of the title the previous four years, with drivers Sebastian Vettel and Mark Webber.

“It’s fantastic. It’s like a dream come true,“ Mercedes executive director and technical chief Paddy Lowe said. “It was an exciting way to do it, with Lewis winning it and Nico coming through from the back. It’s a huge achievement for this team. Many years have gone in to putting this together.“

It’s the second time this season that Hamilton has won four consecutive races. He claimed victories in Malaysia, Bahrain, China and Spain from March to May.

“Nico did a great job to recover from his mistake early in the race, and we did a great job as a team,“ Hamilton said. “It’s history for us. I feel very proud to be a part of it. To get the first constructors’ championship for Mercedes is amazing.“

Three grand prix remain. The Nov. 02 United States Grand Prix in Austin, Texas is next on the schedule, followed by Brazil (Nov. 09) and Abu Dhabi (Nov. 23).

Valtteri Bottas from Williams finished third, followed by McLaren drivers Jenson Button and Kevin Magnussen.

Ferrari’s Fernando Alonso placed sixth, while Red Bull drivers Daniel Ricciardo and Vettel took the seventh and eighth positions, respectively. Kimi Raikkonen from Ferrari and Force India’s Sergio Perez completed the top-10.

Prior to the start of the race, F1 drivers, teams and race officials paid tribute to Jules Bianchi, who suffered a severe head injury during a horrifying accident in last Sunday’s Japanese Grand Prix. Bianchi remains in critical but stable condition in an intensive care unit at Mie General Medical Center in Yokkaichi, Japan.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Federer tops Simon for Shanghai title

Roger Federer outlasted Gilles Simon to win the Shanghai Masters on Sunday for his fourth title of the season.

The Swiss superstar will move to No. 2 in the world following a 7-6 (8-6), 7-6 (7-2) victory.

Federer, 33, was broken on his first service game and rallied from two games down to take the first set against Simon, who battled a groin injury.

The second set was tight as well but Federer won his first set point in the tiebreaker to claim $798,540 for his 23rd ATP World Tour Masters 1000 title, which ranks second all-time behind Rafael Nadal’s 27.

Federer will pass Nadal in the rankings and draw closer to Novak Djokovic for the No. 1 spot as the season winds down.

“Putting my hands on the trophy for the first time is a good feeling, I must say,“ said Federer. “I’m very happy with the way I’m playing.“

He beat Djokovic in two sets in a blockbuster semifinal match on Saturday to end the world No. 1’s 28-match winning streak in China. Djokovic was the two- time defending champion in Shanghai and had beaten Federer in the Wimbledon final.

Against Simon on Sunday, Federer played his ninth final of the season and won his 81st career title. He improved to 5-2 lifetime over the Frenchman, who was appearing in his first final in 13 months.

►  Stosur beats Diyas in Osaka final

Samantha Stosur beat Kazakhstan’s Zarina Diyas in straight sets Sunday to win the Japan Women’s Open title for a third time.

The top-seeded Australian earned a 7-6 (9-7), 6-3 victory, adding to her wins at Osaka in 2009 and 2013 and improving to 6-14 all-time in finals.

Stosur was coming off a run to the China Open semifinals last week.

Diyas, the fifth seed, played in her first career WTA final and led by a break in the first set before Stosur came back to win in a tiebreaker.

►  Riske cruises past Bencic in Tianjin final

Alison Riske topped Belinda Bencic in straight sets Sunday to win the inaugural Tianjin Open, her first WTA title.

The sixth-seeded Riske, whose best previous results had been two semifinal appearances at the Wimbledon tune-up in Birmingham, made easy work out of the third-seeded Bencic in winning 6-3, 6-4.

“I hope I can keep up the momentum and try to compete every week as best as I can,“ said Riske.

Bencic, a 17-year-old rising star, was looking to become the youngest WTA champion since 15-year-old Tamira Paszek of Austria won twice in 2006. She played in her first career final.

Riske claimed $43,000 for the win.

►  Pliskova tops Giorgi for Linz crown

Karolina Pliskova of the Czech Republic edged Italy’s Camila Giorgi in three sets Sunday to win the Generali Ladies Linz tennis event.

The seventh-seeded Pliskova rallied from a set down for the second day in a row and fended off a match point in the third set to pull out a 6-7 (4-7), 6-3, 7-6 (7-4) win for her third career WTA title and second this year.

She had lost her first three title matches this season before finally ending the streak last month in Seoul.

Giorgi fell to 0-2 in WTA finals, with both appearances coming this year. She forced a tiebreaker in the third set after being down 1-5 and had a match point in the 12th game.

“It could have been a little easier,“ Pliskova said of her win, “but I’m still happy I won the title.“

The 22-year-olds had met once previously, a straight-set win for Pliskova in qualifying for the Dubai tournament in February.

Pliskova earned $43,000 for Sunday’s victory.

The Gilmer Free Press


National Football League
San Francisco at St. Louis, 8:30 PM - ESPN

Major League Baseball - Playoffs
Baltimore at Kansas City, 8:07 PM - TBS

National Basketball Association - Preseason
Toronto at New York, 7:30 PM - MSG
Denver at Chicago, 8:00 PM - CSN-Chicago
Phoenix at Houston, 8:00 PM - CSN-Houston
LA Clippers at Utah, 9:00 PM - FS-Prime Ticket, ROOT-Northwest

National Hockey League
Colorado at Boston, 1:00 PM - TVA, Altitude, NESN, DSS
Anaheim at Buffalo, 3:00 PM - FS-Prime Ticket, MSG-Buffalo, DSS
Montreal at Tampa Bay, 7:30 PM - RDS, SunSports, DSS
Ottawa at Florida, 7:30 PM - RDS1, TSN5, FS-Florida, DSS

Canadian Football League
Saskatchewan at Montreal, 1:00 PM - TSN, RDS,
Winnipeg at Edmonton, 4:30 PM - TSN,

International Soccer
Iceland vs. Netherlands, 2:30 PM - FS1

Sports News

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The Gilmer Free Press

►  Pioneers Suffer Road Loss at the Hands of WV Wesleyan

The Glenville State Pioneer football team scored the first seven points of the ball game to take a 7-0 lead over Mountain East Conference rival West Virginia Wesleyan, however the Pioneers would fall short as the Bobcats would hold onto the victory, 38-35.

The Pioneers headed into halftime down four points as the Bobcats claimed a 24-20 lead.

In the third quarter, the Bobcats would add to their lead as they would take the opening possession 77 yards on 11 plays as backup quarterback Tyler Bolen hit Zach Schademan on a five yard touchdown pass making it, 31-20.

But Glenville State would answer right back on their next drive in only nine seconds as Rahmann Lee would score on a 59 yard touchdown run pulling the Pioneers within four, 31-27 as we headed into the fourth quarter.

West Virginia Wesleyan would score at the 5:37 minute mark of the fourth as Boylen hit Dylan Davis for a 31 yard touchdown pass as the Bobcats extended their lead back to 11 points, 38-27.

GSC again would answer back as Lee scored on a four yard run, his second of the day, making it 38-33. The Pioneers would go for the two point conversion and get it as they made it a three point game, 38-35 with under 3:30 to play.

The Pioneers would then attempt the onside kick but the Bobcats would recover and run out the clock and take the 38-35 victory.

The Pioneers racked up over 230 rushing yards on the ground while the defense only allowed the Bobcats 136 rushing yards.

Glenville State had 416 total yards of offense on 61 plays while West Virginia Wesleyan had 460 yards of offense on 80 plays. The Pioneers only had five penalties for 28 yards while the Bobcats had nine penalties for 70 yards.

Rahmann Lee had an outstanding game on the ground as he rushed for a game high 152 yards on 23 carries and two touchdowns while Tevin Drake rushed for 86 yards.

Sean Steele went 10 for 21 for 181 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Steele’s favorite target was Tevin Drake as he caught three passes for a team high 94 yards. Darren Holbrook caught one pass for 17 and a touchdown, his first touchdown catch of his career.

James Johnson led the Pioneer defense as he had 12 total tackles while Devin Cain chipped in with nine tackles on the day.

The Bobcats were led by backup quarterback Tyler Bolan, after Jeremy Musselman left the game due to a shoulder injury.  Bolan went 18 for 25 for 187 yards and two touchdowns. Zach Schademan caught a game high 10 passes for 122 yards and a touchdown.

Glenville State returns to action this Saturday, October 11, 2014 when they host the University of Charleston for Homecoming. Kickoff is set for 1:30 PM.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  MEC Football Roundup - Week 5

West Virginia State 18, Urbana 13 | Final Stats

West Virginia State secured its first Mountain East Conference win in school history with an 18-13 win on the road at Urbana.

The win improves WVSU’s record to 2-3 on the year and 1-3 in MEC play. Urbana fell 1-4 overall and 1-4 in conference play.

WVSU used a balanced offensive attack with 132 yards from Tevin Brown and 117 yards passing from Matt Kinnick. Kinnick also had two touchdown passes and one interception. On the defensive side of the ball, the Yellow Jackets held Urbana to just 27 yards rushing and Kevin Coffie had four tackles and broke up six passes.

Urbana’s Cody Schroeder was 17-of-42 passing for 299 yards and two touchdowns. Marc Johnson was his favorite target with five catches for 153 yards. D’Gary Wallace led all players with 14 total tackles (five solo), had 2.5 tackles for a loss, including one sack, and also contributed an interception. 

WVSU got off to a quick start with Tyler Carril hauling in a 17-yard touchdown pass from Kinnick. Dennis Gardeck sacked Schroeder and forced a fumble that was recovered by Nathan Miller for a defensive score for the Yellow Jackets to make it 12-0. Urbana was able to get on the board in the second quarter on a 14-yard Joseph Safford TD reception.

West Virginia State came out of the locker room in the second half and marched 70 yards on 14 plays for another touchdown to make it 18-7. Urbana was unable to mount anything offensively until late in the fourth quarter when Schroeder found La’Valle Spivey with 52 seconds left in the game. However, the onside kick attempt by the Blue Knights was recovered by Joshua Caiquo and WVSU was able to run the clcok out and hold on to the victory.

#9 Shepherd 24,  Charleston 15 | Final Stats
Ninth-ranked Shepherd held off Charleston, 24-15, in a Mountain East Conference showdown on Saturday afternoon. The Rams improved to 5-0 overall and 5-0 in conference play, while Charleston dropped to 4-1 overall and 3-1 in MEC action.

The game featured impressive defensive performances from both the Rams and Golden Eagles. Shepherd held UC to just 123 yards of total offense, including just 16 yards on the ground. UC limited the Rams offense to just 83 rushing yards and 262 yards of total offense in the game. 

With the game locked at 3-3 at the half, SU quarterback Jeff Ziemba hit Dalton Boyd for 29 yards for a touchdown to give the Rams a 10-3 lead. As the fourth quarter started, Shepherd had a drive extended on a roughing the punter call, and then later cashed in on a 13-yard Jabre Lolley touchdown run. Octavius Thomas picked off John Knox on Charleston’s next play, and the Rams again made the Golden Eagles pay for the mistake as Allen Cross would punch it in to make it 24-3 and put the Rams seemingly in control.

However, Torie Wagner took the ensuing kickoff 97 yards to give the Golden Eagles life to make it 24-9 with still 11 minutes left. UC then blocked a Ryan Earls field goal attempt that Logan Cox took 67 yards for a touchdown. Once again, though, UC’s point after attempt failed to make it 24-15 with still six minutes left.

Shepherd was then able to work four minutes off the clock on its next possession, and then held UC on defense to close out the game and earn the victory.

Cross led the Rams with 68 yards rushing and a touchdown. Ziemba was 18-of-30 for 179 yards with a touchdown. Shepherd’s C.J. Davis, David Carter and Thomas came up with interceptions in the game for the Rams.

Knox was 11-of-23 for 107 yards and three interceptions. Matt Duncan came up with a game-high 16 total tackles.

West Virginia Wesleyan 38, Glenville State 34 | Final Stats

West Virginia Wesleyan edged Glenville State, 38-35, on Saturday at Ross Field.

The Bobcats improved to 2-3 overall and 2-3 in MEC play. Glenville State slipped to 1-4 overall and 1-4 in conference play. Three of Glenville State’s four losses have come by less than four points. 

Jeremy Musselman was 14-of-18 for 137 yards and a pair of touchdowns, and Tyler Bolen came on to complete 18-of-25 for 187 yards and two more scores to pace the Bobcats. Michael Anderson added 119 yards on the ground for WVWC.

Rahmann Lee rushed for 152 yards on 23 carries for the Pioneers. Sean Steele was 10-of-21 for 181 yards and two touchdowns and one interception.

An action-packed first half saw the Bobcats take a 24-20 into halftime. The two teams traded touchdowns in both the third and fourth quarter, and WVWC held a 38-35 lead with 3:37 left. The Bobcats, though, were able to pick up a crucial first down on 4th-and-1 and then was able to run out the clock to hold on to the win.

#24 Concord 45, Fairmont State 21 | Final Stats

Nationally ranked Concord controlled Fairmont State, 45-21, at Duvall-Rosier Field to remain unbeaten.

The Mountain Lions improved to 5-0 on the year and 4-0 in conference play. FSU slipped to 2-3 overall and 2-3 in the MEC.

Calvinaugh Jones rushed for 144 yards and three touchdowns to lead CU. Brian Novak was 15-of-27 for 201 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. Ryan Stewart hauled in a touchdown pass for the fourth-straight game to go with 73 yards. 

CU was led by eight tackles each from Derrick Johnson and Dalton Brindo. Mike Carey had five total tackles and an interception he returned 49 yards.

Cooper Hibbs returned to the starting lineup to complete 25-of-42 passes for 269 yards with three touchdowns and one interception. Fabian Guerra starred offensively for the Falcons with 136 yards on 12 receptions with one touchdown. Austin White carried the ball 24 times for 108 yards. Marcus Porter led FSU on defense with 11 total tackles (10 solo).

Notre Dame 41, UVa-Wise 10 | Final Stats

Notre Dame College exploded for 27 points in the second quarter on its way to a 41-10 win over UVa-Wise.

The Falcons (4-1, 4-1)) were led by 280 yards passing and four touchdowns from Ray Russ. Kenneth Butler added 122 yards and one touchdown for NDC. Mitchel Shegos had seven grabs for 110 yards and one TD grab. 

Notre Dame held UVa-Wise to just 33 yards rushing in the game. Jalon Avent had 10 total tackles with 2.5 tackles for a loss, including 1.5 sacks. Sha’haun Williams had seven stops, including three for a loss.

Ty Ryans was 12-of-27 passing for 140 yards with one interception. Zack Blair had 13 tackles (seven solo) and was credited with 3.5 for a loss.

Duquense 39, West Liberty 13 | Final Stats

Duquense raced out to a 22-0 lead at halftime on its way to a 39-13 victory over West Liberty on Saturday.

The Dukes (3-2) piled up over 500 yards of total offense led by quarterback Dillon Buechel who threw for 330 yards with two touchdowns and one interception. 

West Liberty (2-3) was led Dakota Conwell who was 14-of-34 for 134 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions. Isiah Moody had 60 yards rushing and Anton McCallum had five catches for 71 yards with one touchdown reception. The Hilltoppers were led on defense by D’Andre Muhammad who finished with 10 tackles, including one for a loss. Gavin Hutchinson had five tackles, including 1.5 for a loss.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  West Virginia defeats Kansas

This one was just for kicks.

The West Virginia faithful, all 52,164 huddled in their parkas and ponchos at Milan Puskar Stadium, witnessed history Saturday night.

Every thump and thud of a ball booming off Kansas punter Trevor Pardula’s left foot was adding up to something. Halfway through the fourth quarter, Pardula, the Big 12’s top punter, booted the ball for the 13th time, setting a new record for a West Virginia opponent. He would later extend the record to a hopefully insurmountable 14 punts.

On the other end, kicker Josh Lambert single-footedly outscored the Kansas offense with four first-half field goals through a steady crosswind as the Mountaineers (3-2, 1-1 Big 12) cruised to a 33-14 win against the Jayhawks (2-3, 0-2).

Clint Bowen, the interim Kansas head coach, called the head-coaching job in Lawrence “a destination job,” earlier this week, but his first destination as head coach was Morgantown and an outcome he’d rather forget.

The victory, although entirely expected, was belated vengeance for West Virginia’s embarrassing 31-19 defeat in Lawrence, Kan., last November.

To say Pardula, the surprise star Saturday night, kicked the ball a country mile would be an overstatement. But his 621 punting yards do equate to just over a third of a mile.

“Forcing them to punt 14 times was amazing,” West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen said afterward. “But that number would probably go down if we get a turnover every once in a while.”

An hour before kickoff Saturday, Clint Trickett, the electric West Virginia quarterback, closed his warm-up session by sending a student manager on a corner route toward the sideline.

Trickett waited a beat and then whipped a behind-the-back pass that spiraled perfectly through the crisp October air and met its intended target in stride 25 yards downfield.

It looked just as easy come game time.

Trickett found standout receiver Kevin White three times for 127 yards in the first quarter, including a 63-yard touchdown strike that gave White five consecutive games of at least 100 receiving yards, equaling Stedman Bailey’s team record set in 2012.

Trickett threw for 302 yards, a touchdown and an interception before taking a hit to the leg and giving way to third-string quarterback Skyler Howard in the fourth quarter. Holgorsen said Trickett’s health is fine, but he had uncharacteristic struggles as a play-caller.

“He’s going to go back and learn a ton from this tape,” Holgorsen said.

Holgorsen said the Kansas offense was “frustrating” and “made it challenging to run them out of the stadium, so to speak.”

Any hopes the Jayhawks had of mounting another upset bid against the Mountaineers ebbed away a little more with each Pardula punt. The first seven Kansas drives ended in punts, and the halftime yardage total was a lopsided 223-42 in West Virginia’s favor.

Put this way, three of Lambert’s first-half field goals traveled farther than the Kansas offense did in the first half.

Lambert hit from 42, 25 and 43 yards on West Virginia’s first three drives of the game, had a 47-yard try blocked in the second quarter and added a 53-yarder as time expired at halftime.

“Pregame I was worried,” Lambert said. “The wind was pretty swirly.”

West Virginia led, 23-0, at the break, extending the Jayhawks’ scoreless drought to six quarters.

Kansas turned to backup quarterback Michael Cummings in the second half, but it was only appropriate that the Jayhawks’ first score came from a Pardula punt.

West Virginia returner Jordan Thompson’s muffed punt late in the third quarter, and Kansas tailback Corey Avery capped the five-play, 18-yard drive with a 4-yard scamper.

The Jayhawks’ upswing couldn’t have been briefer.

On the ensuing kickoff, Mountaineers returner Mario Alford beat everybody in a foot race up the visitors’ sideline for a 94-yard touchdown. It was Alford’s second kickoff return returned for touchdown this season.

In true tit-for-tat fashion, Kansas returner Nick Harwell closed the scoring at 2:23 of the fourth quarter with a 76-yard punt return for touchdown.

“If it wasn’t for that,” Holgorsen said, “I thought special teams did well.”

►  Holgorsen reflects on good, bad from beating Kansas

West Virginia’s 33-14 win over Kansas wasn’t as dominant as Dana Holgorsen wanted, but it certainly tasted better than the last time they met.

The Mountaineers gained 557 yards but settled for two offensive touchdowns eight trips inside the Kansas 40.

“I was excited about how we were moving the ball,” Holgorsen said. “We just didn’t finish drives very good.”

West Virginia’s defense certainly finished off drives, forcing a school-record 14 punts.

Getting them to punt 14 times is pretty good, and we didn’t give up any big plays,” he said. “Holding them to 3-of-17 on third downs, that’s pretty good defensive football.”

Crest sidelined: After some heavy throwing days during the bye week, William Crest’s shoulder soreness flared up. The freshman spent Saturday in sweatpants on the sideline, forcing West Virginia to utilize Skyler Howard in a backup role during the fourth quarter. Howard previously was targeted for a redshirt season.

“William’s shoulder is all jacked up right now,” Holgorsen said. “He wasn’t going to do us any good if he couldn’t throw. He didn’t practice all week and I’m not going to dress a guy that doesn’t practice all week.”

Special teams under fire: Even after West Virginia had a field goal blocked, fumbled away a fair catch and allowed another punt-return touchdown, Holgorsen said the special-teams units played well overall.

“I thought we played really good on special teams. You’ve got a kicker who made four fields. Nick (O’Toole) averaged 45 yards a punt. Our kickoff cover team was excellent.

“There were two mistakes: It’s the same issues that we had all year. We play good on special teams with the exception of a very glaring mistake. We had a fumbled punt and we gave up a (return). Yes, it’s aggravating, but it’s not like we have to make a whole bunch of changes to fix it.”

On the positive side, West Virginia got its second kick-return score of the season when Mario Alford streaked 94 yards.

Said Holgorsen: “I thought Mario was the fastest player on the planet today.”

Crowd sourcing: The announced attendance of 52,164 was about 8,000 shy of capacity on homecoming. With Big 12 bottom-feeder Kansas coming in, the stadium lacked the energy of two weeks ago, when then-No. 4 Oklahoma visited.

Holgorsen was asked about the crowd.

“It doesn’t make sense to me that we wouldn’t have a sellout. I don’t know. I’ve got my own worries. That’s not something I really worry about.”

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Herd runs over Old Dominion 56-14; improves to 5-0

In a game that was billed as a matchup between two of the most prolific passers in college football, Marshall’s defense and rushing attack stole the show. The Herd dominated Old Dominion 56-14 putting the game out of reach before halftime. Marshall built a 28-0 lead in the first quarter and went to the locker room leading 42-7.

Old Dominion quarterback Taylor Heinicke came into the game averaging 306.8 yards passing and over 13,000 yards for his career. He was limited to just 85 yards on 10-of-25 passing Saturday thanks to Marshall’s smothering secondary and aggressive front seven. Heinicke was harassed all day long. Marshall sacked him five times and he rarely, if ever, had a clean pocket to throw from.

“I thought our kids played their most complete game so far today,” complimented coach Doc Holliday.

Meanwhile, Rakeem Cato threw for just 198 yards and two touchdowns, ending a 32-game streak of throwing for at least 200 yards. Cato hadn’t thrown for less than 200 yards since his freshman season against Memphis when he tallied just 150 yards. But Marshall didn’t Cato to put up career numbers on Saturday.

It had Devon Johnson for that.

Johnson pounded his way to 198 yards and three touchdowns on 20 carries. He had 121 yards before halftime. Johnson averaged almost 10 yards per carry as the ODU’s defense was manhandled all day by the Herd’s offensive line.

“I think that was the point, just coming out here, starting fast and finishing fast,” said quarterback Rakeem Cato.

When Johnson needed a breather, Remi Watson continued the rushing attack. Watson rushed for 102 yards and two touchdowns on 13 touches.

The Herd ended the day with 354 yards rushing and 591 yards of total offense. Marshall now has eight 100-yard rushing games this season when it had 10 100-yard efforts in 14 games last season.

The Herd literally rushed out to a 28-0 lead in the first quarter. Johnson had touchdown runs of two and eight yards and Watson ran it in from ten yards out. The Herd also got a special teams touchdown on a blocked punt. Brandon Byrd recovered the loose ball in the endzone for the score.

Marshall has now outscored opponents 88-7 in the first quarter this season. In fact, Marshall has now outscored opponents 145-13 in the first half through five games.

The Herd did make mistakes, turning the ball over on three straight drives in the first half. Rakeem Cato was intercepted twice, although neither could be blamed on Cato, and Craig Wilkins fumbled the football after a catch. Christian Bynum had both interceptions. The first was reviewed and upheld after it appeared the ball bounced off the turf before Bynum came up with it. The second pick was a perfect pass by Cato that bounced off Shuler’s shoulder pads and right into the hands of Bynum in the endzone.

“That’s not me. I just told the receivers I put that all on me. It happens, its just football,” said Shuler.

“I just told him to let it go and I told him I was coming back to him,” reassured Cato.

And he did.

Marshall scored twice more in the second quarter. Rakeem Cato threw a pair of touchdown passes, a 42-yard hookup with Tommy Shuler and a 6-yard score to Deontay McManus. The score was the first for McManus this season.

Devon Johnson and Remi Watson each found the endzone one more time in the third quarter.  Johnson scored his third touchdown on the day from seven yards out and Watson scored on a 13-yard run.

Old Dominion tallied a meager 286 yards of total offense. Heinicke was sacked five times and threw an interception to Daryl Roberts.

Marshall improves to 5-0 and returns to Joan C. Edwards Stadium next Saturday to entertain Middle Tennessee State on homecoming.

►  Coach Doc Holliday Believes His Team Put Together Its Most Complete Game of the Season against ODU

Marshall dominated in all three phases of the game in its 56-14 win over Old Dominion, something Doc Holliday strives for each week.

“I thought our kids played their most complete game all year,” Holliday assessed after the game.

Marshall’s offense is expected to put up big numbers but the way it is doing it this year may be a bit surprising. Aside from Rakeem Cato’s 425 yards passing against Rhode Island, Marshall’s rushing attack has been almost unstoppable.

Old Dominion certainly did not have an answer for it. Devon Johnson’s 198 yards were the most by a Marshall running back since Darius Marshall rushed for 203 yards on 25 carries against Memphis back in 2009. Remi Watson also eclipsed the century mark for the second straight game and Marshall already has eight 100-yard rushing games this year. It only had 10 all of last season.

“I think it started up front with the o-line,” credited quarterback Rakeem Cato. “Those guys came out here and played great for us.”

Even more impressive was Marshall’s defense. Old Dominion never really had a shot as Taylor Heinicke never had a clean pocket to work with and was constantly under pressure. Heinicke came into the game averaging over 300 yards passing, finished the day with only ten completions for 85 yards.

“To hold that quarterback to 85 yards passing, that’s the lowest of his career,” said Holliday. “He’s thrown for a lot of points and a lot of yards, Chuck (Heater) and the defense did a tremendous job.”

The Monarchs were only able to manage 286 yards of total offense and its only scores came after Marshall had built a 28-point lead and late in the game when Marshall had already substituted in most of its second and third string defenders.

Marshall even got a special teams score when Raheim Huskey blocked Old Dominion’s punt and Brandon Byrd recovered the loose ball in the endzone for the score.

“The blocked punt was huge too. I thought the special teams made some plays and played as well as they have all year,” praised Holliday.

“Everybody played team ball. We even played special teams great today. That’s one think that we worked on all week was playing all three phases of the game.”

That is the type of game people are expecting from Marshall and the type of game it is capable of each week.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Baylor stays perfect with win over Texas

Bryce Petty threw two touchdown passes and the seventh-ranked Baylor Bears shook off a sluggish first half in a 28-7 rout of the Texas Longhorns.

Petty completed 7-of-22 passes for 111 yards for the Bears (5-0, 2-0 Big 12), who have started 5-0 in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1916 and 1917.

Shock Linwood carried the ball 28 times for 148 yards and a score for Baylor, which entered Saturday’s game leading the FBS in scoring offense (56.8 points per game) and total offense (641 yards per game).

The Bears were limited to 389 yards of total offense.

“We knew that we had to just keep grinding it out,“ said Linwood. “Each play, just go out there and tempo them up and get them tired and that’s how we got them.“

Tyrone Swoopes connected on 16-of-34 passes for 144 yards and two interceptions for the Longhorns (2-3, 1-1). He also carried the ball 14 times for 40 yards.

Johnathan Gray rushed for 79 yards and one touchdown on 12 carries.

The special teams unit gave Baylor an early 7-0 lead. Nick Rose’s 52-yard field goal attempt was blocked, and Terrell Burt raced 62 yards the other way for a touchdown.

Texas moved the ball to the Baylor 29-yard line on the ensuing possession, but Swoopes threw an incomplete pass on 4th-and-6.

Swoopes was intercepted by Orion Stewart with 30 seconds left in the first quarter. Baylor, however, failed to do much on offense and was forced to punt.

The Bears finally started to move the ball on their next possession. This time around, Petty was stopped short on 4th-and-goal from the Texas 1. Ironically, the Longhorns’ ensuing drive stalled at the Baylor 1 when Swoopes fumbled.

The Bears’ special teams made another big play in the third quarter.

Punter Spencer Roth ran for 19 yards and a first down on a fake punt. Three plays later, Petty and Antwan Goodley hooked up for a 30-yard score.

“The fake punt should have never happened,“ said Texas coach Charlie Strong. “We had two guys that should have been just going ... to check the punter and then he just pulls it down because we had a return set up and he just threw it down and ran right behind the defenders.“

The Bears put the game away in the fourth. Linwood’s 1-yard TD run and Corey Coleman’s 30-yard touchdown catch made it 28-0.

Texas avoided the shutout when Gray scored with 2:14 to play.

Game Notes

Goodley caught four passes for 69 yards ... Malcolm Brown carried the ball 12 times for 55 yards for Texas ... Baylor committed 10 penalties for 95 yards.

►  Sooner, rather than later: TCU knocks off No. 4 Oklahoma

Trevone Boykin threw for 318 yards and a pair of touchdowns, as No. 25 TCU knocked off fourth-ranked Oklahoma, 37-33, on Saturday.

Boykin ended up 20-of-38 passing while contributing 77 yards on 22 carries for the Horned Frogs (4-0, 1-0 Big 12), who posted their first-ever win on their home field against Oklahoma in their sixth try.

“It was a fantastic win for the University. Not just our football team, but the whole school was behind us,“ said Boykin. “I want to give a big shout-out to our fans for staying the whole game and making our home field advantage something important. We had to start off quick because you can’t play around when you’re playing schools like this. We put the 14 points up and should have kept the pressure on them.“

B.J. Catalon posted a rushing and receiving TD apiece, while Deante’ Gray added a touchdown reception and Kolby Listenbee racked up 103 yards on five grabs.

Samaje Perine crossed the goal line three more times, though racking up just 87 yards on 25 carries for the Sooners (4-1, 1-1), who saw their eight-game winning streak halted.

Trevor Knight was just 14-of-35 for 309 yards and threw two costly interceptions. He also added 61 yards on 13 attempts in defeat.

Sterling Shepard accounted for a game-high 215 receiving yards and a touchdown on seven receptions for Oklahoma, which faces Texas in the Red River Shootout next Saturday in Dallas.

“We knew it was going to be a big challenge. The bottom line is they made plays and we didn’t,“ noted OU head coach Bob Stoops. “They outpreformed us in different areas. We had our opportunities and chances late in the second half and we couldn’t take advantage of it.“

Up by only four, things looked bleak for TCU with just over seven minutes to play as Boykin fumbled on a first-down rush, with Eric Striker recovering and running to the hosts’ 21. Two plays later, Knight was picked off again, this time by Chris Hackett. On the next play, though, Catalon fumbled and the Sooners took over on the hosts’ 46 thanks to the strip and scoop by Geneo Grissom.

The TCU defense held on a 4th-and-1 from its own 22, stopping Perine short of the marker with 3:08 to go. Oklahoma got the ball back with under a minute left and reached just past midfield when Knight’s heave landed beyond the back of the end zone as time ran out.

“You have a big play for a touchdown and then we tried to give it back with a blocked PAT for goodness sakes. That was a big deal,“ said TCU head coach Gary Patterson. “They had to use their timeouts early and that was a big point in the ball game. We had to keep mixing up coverages and doing some stuff. You have to have a little luck with all of it.“

TCU capitalized on the opening drive of the contest, as Cliff Murphy recovered a fumble by Boykin—who stretched his arm out to the goal line before losing control of the ball—in the end zone.

Catalon held onto the ball to make it 14-0 on the hosts’ ensuing series, rolling in from seven yards out, but Oklahoma made good on its next two touches on a 1-yard run from Perine and a 75-yard catch-and-run from Knight to Shepard.

Boykin and Catalon hooked up for a 39-yard scoring strike and TCU was back on top early in the second quarter by a 21-14 count.

Perine’s second 1-yard TD run deadlocked the contest once more, then a 31-yard make from Jaden Oberkrom with 1:39 left in the half provided a 24-21 edge to the Frogs.

Michael Hunnicutt’s 32-yard try was good on the final play of the quarter.

Perine’s third score of the afternoon, a 7-yard run, capped the Sooners’ first touch of the second half, pushing the visitors ahead 31-24. TCU responded right away on a 29-yard strike from Boykin to Gray.

Early in the fourth, Knight threw right into the hands of Paul Dawson, who returned it 41 yards for a 37-31 game, then the extra point was blocked and returned by Zack Sanchez for a two-point conversion.

Game Notes

The Horned Frogs claimed a 469-461 edge in total offense ... Oklahoma’s last loss was a 41-12 road shellacking doled out by Baylor on November 7, 2013 ... TCU had suffered home losses to the Sooners in 1946 (14-12), 1948 (21-18), 1993 (35-3), 1998 (10-9) and 2012 (24-17).

►  Waters shines as K-State blitzes Texas Tech

Jake Waters accounted for five Kansas State touchdowns, including four through the air, as the 23rd-ranked Wildcats torched Texas Tech, 45-13, on Saturday.

Waters ended up 24-of-31 for 290 yards passing, and racked up 105 yards on 17 carries for the Wildcats (4-1, 2-0 Big 12), who have scored at least 30 points in all of their 2014 victories.

Curry Sexton and Tyler Lockett each caught a pair of TD passes, with the former totaling 128 yards on nine grabs and the latter contributing 125 yards on a game-high 12 catches.

Davis Webb completed 22-of-43 attempts for 247 yards and two scores for the Red Raiders (2-3, 0-2), who have dropped three in a row. Webb also was picked off a career-worst four times.

Jakeem Grant recorded 90 yards and two TDs on seven receptions, while DeAndre Washington was limited to 27 yards on seven rushes.

Morgan Burns picked off Webb in the end zone on the first possession of the contest, then Waters found Sexton for a 48-yard TD connection on the eighth play of the ensuing drive for the only score of the opening quarter.

Waters put the hosts up 14-0 early in the second on his 4-yard run, then after Travis Green stepped in front of another Webb offering, Matthew McCrane’s 27- yard field goal boosted K-State’s lead to 17.

Webb and Grant combined for a 22-yard scoring pass on the Red Raiders’ next touch, and the hosts ended the first half up 24-7 as Lockett added a 15-yard TD catch.

Waters was stopped for no gain on 4th-and-1 from the TTU 21 to start the second half, but the visitors followed with a three-and-out ahead of Lockett’s 14-yard touchdown catch in the third put the Wildcats up 31-7 after three quarters.

Grant posted a 19-yard scoring reception early in the fourth but the conversion pass failed.

The Wildcats turned around and scored on their next two series, with Sexton recording a 3-yard TD grab to cap an eight-play drive, then DeMarcus Robinson’s 2-yard run to paydirt.

Game Notes

Kansas State has won each of the last four meetings, but only seven of the 15 all-time matchups with Texas Tech ... Lockett now has 21 touchdown receptions, third place on KSU’s all-time list, and his 11th performance of 100-or-more receiving yards set a new program mark, eclipsing the previous record held by Jordy Nelson and Quincy Morgan ... The Red Raiders defense sacked Waters three times in defeat.

The Gilmer Free Press


Final Score: (1) Florida State 43, Wake Forest 3

Jameis Winston threw for 297 yards and accounted for two touchdowns, and No. 1 Florida State overcame another slow start before rolling to a 43-3 victory over Wake Forest at Doak Campbell Stadium. After rallying from a 17-point first-quarter deficit to topple North Carolina State a week ago, the Seminoles (5-0, 3-0 ACC) ripped off 40 unanswered points to turn a game that was tied at 3-3 late in the opening half into an all-out rout. Florida State got contributions from all phases in its 21st consecutive win. Winston threw a 59-yard touchdown pass to Travis Rudolph and ran for a score, Roberto Aguayo tied a school record by drilling five field goals and a stifling defense forced three turnovers while limiting the Demon Deacons to 126 total yards. Winston made good on 23- of-39 throws with an interception, while Mario Pender rushed for 70 yards and a touchdown on just five carries. John Wolford managed a mere 58 passing yards on a 9-of-15 completion rate and was intercepted once for Wake Forest (2-4, 0-2) before being removed in the second half. Dezmond Wortham ran for 68 yards on 12 attempts in the loss.

Final Score: (11) Ole Miss 23, (3) Alabama 17

Bo Wallace’s 10-yard touchdown to Jaylen Walton proved to be the difference as No. 11 Ole Miss took down third-ranked Alabama, 23-17, in an SEC West battle at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium. Wallace finished with 251 yards and three touchdowns to help the Rebels (5-0, 2-0 SEC) snap a 10-game losing streak to the Crimson Tide. Ole Miss is 5-0 for the first time since 1962, when it went 10-0 and claimed a share of the national title that season. Laquon Treadwell and Vince Sanders each hauled in a touchdown pass from Wallace, while Evan Engram paced the hosts with 71 yards receiving. Blake Sims converted 19-of-31 passes for 228 yards with a rushing touchdown and an interception. T.J. Yeldon had 123 yards rushing on 20 carries for Alabama (4-1, 1-1).

Final Score: (25) TCU 37, (4) Oklahoma 33

Trevone Boykin threw for 318 yards and a pair of touchdowns, as No. 25 TCU knocked off fourth-ranked Oklahoma, 37-33, on Saturday. Boykin ended up 20-of-38 passing while contributing 77 yards on 22 attempts for the Horned Frogs (4-0, 1-0 Big 12), who posted their first-ever win on their home field against Oklahoma in their sixth try. B.J. Catalon posted a rushing and receiving TD apiece, while Deante Gray added a touchdown reception and Kolby Listenbee racked up 103 yards on five grabs. Samaje Perine crossed the goal line three more times, though racking up just 78 yards on 25 carries for the Sooners (4-1, 1-1), who saw their eight-game winning streak halted. Trevor Knight was just 14-of-35 for 309 yards and threw two costly interceptions. He also added 61 yards on 13 attempts in defeat. Sterling Shepard accounted for a game-high 215 receiving yards and a touchdown on seven receptions for Oklahoma.

Final Score: (5) Auburn 41, (15) LSU 7

If there is such a thing as a revenge game, No. 5 Auburn sure had one against No. 15 LSU on Saturday night at Jordan-Hare Stadium. Nick Marshall accounted for four touchdowns to lead Auburn to a 41-7 rout of LSU and help avenge the program’s only regular-season loss last season. Marshall passed for 207 yards with two touchdowns and also ran for 119 yards with two scores for Auburn (5-0, 2-0 SEC), which lost 35-21 at LSU last season. Cameron Artis-Payne rushed for 126 yards on 24 carries and Sammie Coates hauled in four passes for 144 yards and a touchdown in the win. A big reason LSU (4-2, 0-2) struggled throughout the evening was because of its faulty quarterback play. Freshman Brandon Harris, who made his first collegiate start, went 3-for-14 for 58 yards in just over two quarters. Anthony Jennings replaced Harris in the third and didn’t perform much better, completing 5-of-10 passes for 84 yards. Kenny Hilliard’s rushing touchdown accounted for the only LSU score.

Final Score: (12) Mississippi State 48, (6) Texas A&M 31

Dak Prescott solidified himself as a true Heisman Trophy candidate and his 12th-ranked Mississippi State Bulldogs emerged as a contender in the powerful SEC on Saturday with a thorough 48-31 victory over No. 6 Texas A&M at Davis Wade Stadium. Prescott completed 19- of-25 passes for 259 yards with two touchdowns and ran for 77 yards with three scores, while Josh Robinson added 107 yards and two touchdowns on the ground for the Bulldogs (5-0, 2-0 SEC). Mississippi State extended its winning streak to eight games dating back to last year. The Bulldogs have won their first five games for the second time in three seasons, although the 2012 team was 7-0 before losing five of its last six. This year’s Bulldog squad appears to be for real, winning consecutive games against top-10 teams for the first time in school history. They were idle last week after winning at then-No. 8 LSU for the first time since 1991. Another test against a ranked foe awaits next week when Auburn visits Scott Field. Texas A&M quarterback Kenny Hill struggled for most of the first half, then turned it on in the second half and finished with 365 yards passing. He threw four touchdown passes, but was also intercepted three times. The Aggies (5-1, 2-1), who had a six-game winning streak stopped, were trying for their first 6-0 start since the 1994 team opened with seven victories en route to a 10-0-1 season.

Final Score: (7) Baylor 28, Texas 7

Bryce Petty threw two touchdown passes and the seventh-ranked Baylor Bears shook off a sluggish first half in a 28-7 rout of the Texas Longhorns. Petty completed 7-of-22 passes for 111 yards for the Bears (5-0, 2-0 Big 12), who have started 5-0 in back-to-back seasons for the first time since 1916 and 1917. Shock Linwood carried the ball 28 times for 148 yards and a score for Baylor, which entered Saturday’s game leading the FBS in scoring offense (56.8 ppg) and total offense (641.0 ypg). The Bears were limited to 390 yards of total offense. Tyrone Swoopes connected on 15-of-33 passes for 142 yards and two interceptions for the Longhorns (2-3, 1-1). He also carried the ball 13 times for 38 yards. Johnathan Gray rushed for 81 yards and one touchdown on 13 carries.

Final Score: Utah 30, (8) UCLA 28

Phillips kicked a 29-yard field goal with less than a minute remaining to give Utah a 30-28 upset win over No. 8 UCLA on Saturday night at the Rose Bowl. Utah didn’t trail until late in the fourth quarter, when UCLA quarterback Brett Hundley went up top and found Eldridge Massington for a 40-yard touchdown to make it 28-27 in favor of the home team. Devontae Booker led Utah down the field on the decisive possession, with his 15-yard run on 3rd-and-4 from the UCLA 32 setting up Phillips’ kick. Booker carried a career-high 33 times for 156 yards. Mobile QB Kendal Thompson relieved starter Travis Wilson early on and ignited Utah’s offense. The transfer from Oklahoma completed 10-of-13 passes for 95 yards and a touchdown and ran for 83 yards. Utah (4-1, 1-1 Pac-12) beat an AP top-10 team on the road for just the second time in school history.

Final Score: (9) Notre Dame 17, (14) Stanford 14

Golson struggled with the cold, wet elements at Notre Dame Stadium for 57 minutes. But not the final three. Golson tossed a go-ahead 23-yard touchdown pass to Ben Koyack with 1:01 remaining and No. 9 Notre Dame beat No. 14 Stanford 17-14 on Saturday. Golson, who set a Notre Dame (5-0) record with 25 straight completions during a 31-15 win over Syracuse last Saturday, wasn’t as accurate in this one. He skipped throws, overthrew some open receivers and threw behind targets, finishing 20-of-43 for 241 yards with two touchdowns, an interception and a lost fumble. Despite all that, though, Golson still found a way to drive the Fighting Irish down the field for the winning score to help improve Notre Dame to 5-0 for just the third time since 1996.

Final Score: (10) Michigan State 27, (19) Nebraska 22

After taking a huge lead into the fourth quarter, No. 10 Michigan State had to fight for its life to pull out a 27-22 win over 19th-ranked Nebraska on Saturday night at Spartan Stadium. Tony Lippett caught a touchdown pass and ran in another for MSU (4-1, 1-0 Big Ten), which led 27-3 through 45 minutes before the upset-minded Cornhuskers began chipping away. Ameer Abdullah, the nation’s leading rusher coming into the game, was held in check on the ground but scored two rushing touchdowns in the final period. De’Mornay Pierson-El added a punt return touchdown and after Spartans kicker Michael Geiger hit the left upright with a field goal try, Nebraska took over with 1:07 remaining at its own 20. Tommy Armstrong Jr. fired a strike to Alonzo Moore down the right sideline for 43 yards into MSU territory. Armstrong looked for Moore again on the next play, nearly connecting with the sophomore receiver in the back of the end zone, but the ball popped free from Moore as he went to the ground. Armstrong was intercepted by Trae Waynes on the very next play. Connor Cook completed 11- of-29 passes for 234 yards, a touchdown and an interception during an uneven performance under center for the Spartans, who beat Nebraska for the second straight season. Jeremy Langford carried 29 times for 111 yards and a score. The Cornhuskers (5-1, 1-1) were the last unbeaten team in the Big Ten.

Final Score: (13) Georgia 44, Vanderbilt 17

Todd Gurley ran for 163 yards and two touchdowns on 25 carries, helping 13th-ranked Georgia beat Vanderbilt 44-17 on Saturday. Hutson Mason threw two touchdown passes to Chris Conley as the Bulldogs (4-1, 2-1 SEC) won their third straight game. Mason was 11-of-17 for 121 yards with one interception. Ralph Webb and Dallas Rivers both had a touchdown run for the Commodores (1-5, 0-4), who defeated the Bulldogs last year to snap a six-game losing streak in the series.

Final Score: Arizona State 38, (16) Southern California 34

Prayer answered. Jaelen Strong caught a 46-yard Hail Mary pass for a touchdown on the final play of the game and Arizona State shocked No. 16 Southern California 38-34 on Saturday night. Mike Bercovici, filling in for an injured Taylor Kelly, capped his 510-yard passing night by tossing his third TD pass to Strong, who leapt in front of USC’s Hayes Pullard at the goal line to give Arizona State its first win at the Coliseum since 1999. The Sun Devils scored the final 13 points after Javorius Allen’s 53-yard TD run gave the Trojans a 34-25 lead with 3:02 left. Bercovici completed 27-of-45 passes and tossed five touchdowns, while Strong hauled in 10 receptions for 202 yards for the Sun Devils (4-1, 2-1 Pac-12), who was thrashed by UCLA 62-27 last Thursday. The Trojans was the only team in the FBS that had not surrendered a touchdown pass coming in. Allen carried the ball 29 times for 143 yards and two scores and added 86 yards on four catches. Cody Kessler was 28-of-45 for 273 yards and Nelson Agholor posted 85 yards on nine receptions for USC (3-2, 2-1), which has dropped two of its last three games.

Final Score: Northwestern 20, (17) Wisconsin 14

Godwin Igwebuike had three timely interceptions, leading Northwestern to a 20-14 upset of No. 17 Wisconsin on Saturday. Trevor Siemian threw for 182 yards and a touchdown on 15-of-29 passing and Justin Jackson rushed for a career-high 162 yards on 33 carries for the Wildcats (3-2, 2-0 Big Ten), who won their second straight conference game after defeating Penn State last week. Miles Shuler rushed for a score and Dan Vitale hauled in a touchdown pass in the win. Joel Stave went 8-of-19 for 114 yards and a touchdown with three interceptions after coming on late in the first half for starter Tanner McEvoy, who threw for just 24 yards with an interception. Melvin Gordon racked up a career- high 259 rushing yards on 27 carries with a touchdown for Wisconsin (3-2, 0-1), which has lost four straight to Northwestern on the road.

Final Score: (20) Ohio State 52, Maryland 24

J.T. Barrett threw four touchdown passes and ran for a score, as 20th-ranked Ohio State spoiled Maryland’s first home game in the Big Ten with a 52-24 victory on Saturday at Byrd Stadium. Barrett completed 18-of-23 passes for 267 yards and ran for 71 yards on 16 carries for the Buckeyes (4-1, 1-0 Big Ten), who played their conference opener and have now won 17 consecutive regular-season Big Ten games. Ezekiel Elliott added 139 yards on the ground for Ohio State, which racked up 269 rushing yards. The Buckeyes have won three straight in convincing fashion, cracking the 50-point barrier in each game, since a stunning 35-21 home loss to Virginia Tech in early September. Caleb Rowe threw for 173 yards with a touchdown and three interceptions for Maryland (4-2, 1-1), which won its Big Ten opener last week at Indiana. Rowe played the second half for the Terrapins after starter C.J. Brown threw for just 71 yards with an interception in the opening 30 minutes.

Final Score: (21) Oklahoma State 37, Iowa State 20

Roland ran for two touchdowns to lead the 21st-ranked Oklahoma State Cowboys over the Iowa State Cyclones, 37-20, on Saturday. Roland carried the ball 19 times for 95 yards for the Cowboys (4-1, 2-0 Big 12), who have posted double-digit wins in four straight games since a loss to defending national champion Florida State in the season opener. Daxx Garman completed 26-of-41 passes for 271 yards, one touchdown and two interceptions for Oklahoma State. Jhajuan Seales caught four passes for 75 yards and a score. Sam Richardson connected on 17-of-39 passes for 200 yards and two touchdowns for the Cyclones (1-4, 0-3), who have lost two in a row. He also carried the ball nine times for 34 yards. E.J. Bibbs caught six passes for 69 yards and two scores in defeat.

Final Score: (22) East Carolina 45, SMU 24

Shane Carden threw three of his four touchdown passes to Justin Hardy and the 22nd-ranked East Carolina Pirates cruised past the SMU Mustangs, 45-24, in their first-ever American Athletic Conference game. Carden completed 31-of-41 passes for 410 yards for the Pirates (4-1, 1-0 AAC), who have won three in a row. He also carried the ball seven times for 47 yards. Hardy caught eight passes for 120 yards and Isaiah Jones hauled in nine passes for 130 yards and a touchdown. Garrett Krstich connected on 42-of-67 passes for 339 yards, two touchdowns and an interception for the Mustangs (0-5, 0-1), who entered the contest with just 12 points in four games. Darius Joseph caught 13 passes for 100 yards and two scores in defeat.

Final Score: (23) Kansas State 45, Texas Tech 13

Jake Waters accounted for five Kansas State touchdowns, including four through the air, as the 23rd-ranked Wildcats torched Texas Tech, 45-13, on Saturday. Waters ended up 24-of-31 for 290 yards passing, and racked up 105 yards on 17 carries for the Wildcats (4-1, 2-0 Big 12), who have scored at least 30 points in all of their 2014 victories. Curry Sexton and Tyler Lockett each caught a pair of TD passes, with the former totaling 128 yards on nine grabs and the latter contributing 125 yards on a game-high 12 catches. Davis Webb completed 22-of-43 attempts for 247 yards and two scores for the Red Raiders (2-3, 0-2), who have dropped three in a row. Webb also was picked off a career-worst four times. Jakeem Grant recorded 90 yards and two TDs on seven receptions, while DeAndre Washington was limited to 27 yards on seven rushes.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Jags activate WR Sanders

The Jacksonville Jaguars activated wide receiver/punt returner Ace Sanders to the 53-man roster on Saturday.

Sanders missed the first four games of the season while serving a suspension for violating the NFL’s substance-abuse policy.

The South Carolina product caught 51 passes for 484 yards and one touchdown during his rookie season in 2013.

Sanders is eligible to play against the Pittsburgh Steelers on Sunday. The Jaguars, however, will be without rookie wide receiver Marqise Lee and wide receiver Cecil Shorts.

Jacksonville waived tight end Mickey Shuler to make room for Sanders on the roster.

►  Bironas’ blood-alcohol level .218 at time of accident

Former Tennessee Titans kicker Rob Bironas had a blood-alcohol level of .218 at the time of his fatal car accident last month.

Bironas was killed in a single-car accident on the night of September 20 near his home in Nashville.

The day after the accident, the website said there was no evidence of alcohol or drug involvement at the scene.

However, the Davidson County medical examiner’s autopsy report said toxicology testing showed the blood-alcohol content to be exceedingly high at .218. In Tennessee, a driver is considered legally under the influence at .08.

In addition, the autopsy report said a low level of valium was also detected, although it would have had no negligible effect on Bironas’ body.

The report concluded that Bironas died from blunt force trauma after he lost control of his SUV, which traveled off the side of the road and struck a line of trees before coming to rest upside down.

Bironas, who was released by the Titans in March after nine seasons with the club, was 36 years old.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Big 12 preseason honor drives Staten to reach more goals

After Thursday’s announcement that Big 12 basketball coaches had voted him preseason player of the year, West Virginia’s Juwan Staten rewound his thoughts to the start of last year.

That’s when Staten was not a candidate for any preseason accolades. When some questioned whether he had the guts and poise to run a team.

Staten buried those doubts, emerging as an all-conference performer and one of the nation’s most cherished point guards. Few teams depended on a player as much as West Virginia relied on Staten. His 37 minutes per game led the Big 12 and revealed a deepened trust with coach Bob Huggins after the two survived some rocky moments during Staten’s sophomore season.

Other coaches across the league showed their respect for Staten this week, making him a unanimous selection to the preseason team.

“It just makes me hungrier,” Staten told MetroNews “Sportsline” on Thursday night. “It makes me want to keep working and reach more goals.”

As preseason practice opens Friday, Staten is the Big 12′s top returning scorer (18.1 points per game). His 2.8 assist-to-turnover ratio ranked second in the league and his 48.6 field-goal percentage was third, but he said he “wants to become a compete point guard,” which means becoming a credible threat from 3-point range.

“Everyone’s going to say stop him from getting to the rim and make him shoot outside shots,” Staten said. “They tried to do that to me last year. So that’s why I’ve been working hard on my shooting.”

After going 0-of-9 from 3-point range as a sophomore, Staten was 6-of-15 last season. That’s a 40-percent clip that would render defenders useless if Staten can maintain the accuracy over a few more attempts.

Preseason All-Big 12
Juwan Staten, G, West Virginia
Perry Ellis, F, Kansas
Georges Niang, F/C, Iowa State
Marcus Foster, G, Kansas State
Buddy Hield, G, Oklahoma

Honorable mentions: Ryan Spangler (Oklahoma), Le’Bryan Nash (Oklahoma State), Jonathan Holmes (Texas), Cameron Ridley (Texas) and Isaiah Taylor (Texas).

Preseason Newcomer of the Year
Bryce Dejean-Jones (Iowa State)

Preseason Freshmen of the Year
Cliff Alexander (Kansas) and Myles Turner (Texas) tied

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Lakers’ Young sidelined with thumb injury

Los Angeles Lakers guard Nick Young will undergo surgery to have a torn thumb ligament repaired.

Young was hurt in practice earlier this week and an MRI exam on Friday revealed a complete tear of the radial collateral ligament.

Dr. Steven Shin of the Kerlan-Jobe Orthopaedic Clinic will perform surgery on Monday. A timetable for Young’s return will then be established.

Young re-signed with the Lakers in July after averaging a career-high 17.9 points in 64 games last season, his first with the club.

The 29-year-old Los Angeles native has averaged 12.2 points in 480 career games with the Wizards, Clippers, 76ers and Lakers.

►  Warriors ink Kapono

The Golden State Warriors signed guard/forward Jason Kapono on Saturday.

Kapono last appeared in the NBA with the Lakers during the 2011-12 season, and last played professionally in Greece in 2012-13.

The 33-year-old UCLA product owns career NBA averages of 6.7 points and 1.7 rebounds in 509 games (87 starts) with Cleveland, Charlotte, Miami, Toronto, Philadelphia and the Lakers. He ranks fifth all-time on the league’s three- point percentage list, hitting at a career 43.4 percent clip.

Kapono won an NBA championship as a member of the Heat in 2005-06.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  National League Division Series Game Results

Final Score: San Francisco 2, Washington 1 (18 innings)

As it turned out, the San Francisco Giants had the Washington Nationals right where they wanted them. Pablo Sandoval’s RBI double tied the game with two outs in the ninth inning, and Brandon Belt’s solo homer in the 18th gave the never-say-die Giants a 2-1 victory over the Nationals in an epic Game 2 of the National League Division Series. Belt’s leadoff blast off Tanner Roark (0-1) produced the deciding run in the longest game by time in postseason history, and staked the Giants to a commanding 2-0 lead in the best-of-five series with ace Madison Bumgarner set to take the mound when the set shifts to San Francisco for Monday’s Game 3. He was just one of a number of heroes in the Giants’ 10th consecutive postseason triumph, seven of which have come with the club facing elimination. Sandoval’s double down the left-field line against Drew Storen set the stage for the six- hour, 23-minute marathon, while Yusmeiro Petit held the Nationals to a single hit over six scoreless innings in a splendid performance out of the bullpen. Petit (1-0) walked three batters but struck out seven while matching zeroes with several Washington relievers in extra time.

Final Score: Los Angeles 3, St. Louis 2

Matt Kemp was calling for a fair ball not long after his manager called for a new arm. The Los Angeles Dodgers outfielder got his wish, hitting a dramatic home run on Saturday night that tied the best-of-five National League Division Series at one game apiece and made Don Mattingly’s decision to pull Zack Greinke an afterthought. Kemp’s leadoff blast in the bottom of the eighth lifted the Dodgers to a 3-2 win over the St. Louis Cardinals in Game 2 and came after the Cardinals tied the score on Matt Carpenter’s two-run homer in the top of the inning. Carpenter homered off J.P. Howell, who was brought in to relieve Greinke while the former AL Cy Young Award winner was warming up to start the eighth. Greinke had given up just two hits—the same number he had for the Dodgers—but Mattingly opted to go for a lefty-lefty matchup when Oscar Taveras was announced as a pinch- hitter. Taveras singled and Carpenter sent a first-pitch sinker into the right-center field seats. His tying hit came a day after Carpenter played the hero in Game 1 with four RBI, including a three-run double in an eight-run seventh inning that chased Dodgers ace Clayton Kershaw and sent the St. Louis to a 10-9 win. Kemp saved the day for the NL West champions, belting a slider from side-armer Pat Neshek (0-1) high into the air toward the left-field pole. Like Boston’s Carlton Fisk in the 1975 World Series, Kemp pleaded with the ball while it was in the air, calling for it to stay fair, then celebrated around first base when it complied. Game 3 is Monday in St. Louis, with Cardinals right-hander John Lackey facing Dodgers lefty Hyun-Jin Ryu.

►  American League Division Series Game Results

Final Score: Baltimore 7, Detroit 6

Young hit a pinch-hit, go-ahead three-run double as part of a four-run eighth inning and the Orioles rallied past the Tigers, 7-6, in Game 2 of the American League Division Series to put them on the brink of elimination. Baltimore has now scored 12 runs in the eighth over the first two games of the set after plating eight during Thursday’s 12-3 Game 1 win. The Orioles trailed 6-3 before Joba Chamberlain got Alejandro De Aza to ground out to start the eighth, but it was the only out he’d record. Chamberlain hit Adam Jones with a pitch and consecutive singles by Nelson Cruz and Steve Pearce brought home Jones. Joakim Soria (0-1) took over on the mound and walked J.J. Hardy to load the bases. A first-pitch-swinging Young then ripped a slider down the left-field line to clear the bases. Hardy was just able to slide past catcher Alex Avila to beat Ian Kinsler’s throw to the plate. Young, the 2012 ALCS MVP while with the Tigers, is a career .271 hitter (32-of-118) with nine homers and 21 RBI in the postseason. Zach Britton fired a 1-2-3 ninth for his first postseason save. Baltimore will look for the series sweep Sunday in Detroit. The Tigers will trot out the third of their three straight AL Cy Young Award winners in David Price.

Final Score: Kansas City 4, LA Angels of Anaheim 1 (11 innings)

Eric Hosmer hit a two-run homer in the 11th inning to break a tie and the Kansas City Royals beat the Los Angeles Angels 4-1 in Game 2 of their AL Division Series on Friday night. The Royals take a 2-0 series lead back to Kansas City with a chance to close it out in Game 3 on Sunday after getting dramatic wins on consecutive nights in Anaheim. They took Game 1 on Mike Moustakas’ home run in the 11th inning after beating Oakland in 12 innings in Tuesday’s wild-card game. How rare is this run? The Royals are the first team ever to start the playoffs with three straight wins in extra innings, and the first ever to play three postseason games in a row of 11 innings or more. Hosmer’s homer to right came off Kevin Jepsen (0-1) after Lorenzo Cain hit a single, giving the Royals a 3-1 lead. Salvador Perez added an RBI single off Vinnie Pestano and Greg Holland stranded a runner in the bottom of the inning for the save. Albert Pujols had an RBI single in the sixth inning to tie the score for the Angels, but probable AL MVP Mike Trout remained hitless in his first two postseason games.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Carcillo returns to Chicago

The Chicago Blackhawks and forward Daniel Carcillo have agreed to terms of a one-year contract.

Financial details were not disclosed.

Carcillo played for the Blackhawks from 2011-13 and was a member of the club’s Stanley Cup championship team in the spring of 2013. He was released by the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday after attending camp on a tryout basis.

The 29-year-old veteran split the 2013-14 season with the Kings and Rangers, ironically the two Stanley Cup finalists last spring. He notched four goals and one assist with 100 penalty minutes in a combined 57 regular-season games, then added two goals in eight Stanley Cup playoff games for the Eastern Conference champion Rangers.

In 390 career NHL games, Carcillo has 44 goals and 92 points with 1,179 penalty minutes. In addition to the Blackhawks, Kings and Rangers, he has also played for the Coyotes (2006-09) and Flyers (2009-11).

Carcillo was originally selected in the third round of the 2003 draft by the Penguins.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Vettel leaving Red Bull at the end of 2014 season

Four-time consecutive Formula One world champion Sebastian Vettel confirmed on Saturday that he will leave Red Bull at the conclusion of this season.

Vettel, a 27-year-old German who has been competing in F1 since 2007, is expected to join Ferrari for the 2015 season. Fernando Alonso and Kimi Raikkonen currently drive for Ferrari, but Alonso is widely rumored to either move back to McLaren or possibly head over to Red Bull.

In making his announcement, Vettel said on his personal website, “After 15 very enjoyable and successful years with Red Bull, I have decided to leave Red Bull at the end of this year. Of course it is a big step and hard to make such a decision. The chance to drive in F1, the first win with Scuderia Toro Rosso (2008 Italian Grand Prix), the four championship wins with Infiniti Red Bull Racing and many other great memories have bound Red Bull and myself together into a kind of family. No one can take these times away from us.“

Vettel also noted on his website that an announcement of his future plans will be made “very soon.“

On Friday night, Vettel informed Red Bull of his decision. Red Bull then announced on Saturday that Daniil Kvyat will join the team and pair with Daniel Ricciardo next season. Kvyat, a Russian, is a rookie in F1 this year, driving for Toro Rosso, the sister team of Red Bull.

Vettel has been driving for Red Bull since the start of the 2009 season, winning 38 grand prix and scoring 44 poles in his six seasons with the team. Vettel and Red Bull have claimed the F1 drivers’ and constructors’ championships the past four years.

Red Bull said in a statement, “We want to warmly thank Sebastian for the incredible role he has played at Infiniti Red Bull Racing for the last six years. Since joining the team in 2009, Sebastian, together with Infiniti Red Bull Racing, has scored 38 wins, 44 poles and eight world championships, including four divers’ titles and four constructors’. If you include Sebastian’s success at Red Bull’s second team, Scuderia Toro Rosso, the Red Bull total increases to 39 wins and 45 poles.

“As we wish Sebastian well in the next stage of his career, we also look to the future with excitement, as the vacancy makes way for the next generation of Red Bull racers. The Red Bull Junior Program has developed some proven talents in recent times, including Sebastian Vettel and Daniel Ricciardo, who has excelled in the RB10 and become a three-time Formula One race winner in his first season with the team.

“We’re pleased to announce that Daniel will be joined in the team for 2015 by another rising star from the junior program, Daniil Kvyat.“

Vettel has yet to win a race or a pole this season. His best finish of the year occurred two weeks ago with a second-place run in the Singapore Grand Prix. He is presently fifth in the F1 world championship point standings (117 points behind leader Lewis Hamilton from Mercedes). Last year, Vettel tied Michael Schumacher’s season-record of 13 wins and matched Alberto Ascari’s record of nine consecutive victories.

“I know (Vettel) well on and off track, and you can see he’s had a lot on his mind recently,“ Red Bull team principal Christian Horner told reporters on Saturday, prior to qualifying for the Japanese Grand Prix. “Inevitably, you don’t take a decision like this lightly, but it was last night that he sat down with us and told us for the first time. All I can do is wish him the very, very best for the future. He’ll still be close to our hearts here at Infiniti Red Bull Racing, but as of January 1, he’ll be a competitor.“

Kvyat’s promotion to Red Bull opens up a seat at Toro Rosso for next year. Rookie Max Verstappen, a 17-year-old who is now competing in the FIA European F3 Championship, is already confirmed with Toro Rosso for the ‘15 season.

►  Rosberg tops Hamilton for Japanese GP pole

Nico Rosberg from Mercedes will start on the pole for the Japanese Grand Prix after beating his teammate and championship rival Lewis Hamilton in Saturday’s qualifying.

Rosberg, who is currently three points behind Hamilton in the Formula One world championship point standings, grabbed the top starting position for Sunday’s 53-lap Japanese GP with a qualifying lap in 1 minute, 32.506 seconds. His lap time was 0.197 seconds quicker than Hamilton.

It was Rosberg’s eighth pole of the season and the 12th of his F1 career, including his first at Japan’s Suzuka Circuit. He topped the time charts in Friday’s opening practice session and then led the way in Saturday’s final practice, held shortly before qualifying.

“It was a real pleasure today, because the car is so amazing to drive and on this track, which is one of the most spectacular to drive in qualifying, low fuel, the tire grip and everything,“ Rosberg said. “It was really cool.“

The Japanese GP is likely to be a wet and windy affair. Heavy rain and strong winds associated with Typhoon Phanfone is in the forecast for Suzuka on Sunday.

“We’re expecting it to be wet,“ Rosberg noted. “The last experience we have in the wet was Spa (August 24 Belgian Grand Prix) where our car was really quick, so I’m very optimistic actually. Even if it rains, it could be even better for us.“

There are five grand prix remaining this season. F1 will be in Sochi, Russia next week for the inaugural Russian Grand Prix.

Hamilton crashed during the morning practice session when he ran over the exit curb in turn 1 and then spun into the outer wall, tearing off the left-front wheel on his Mercedes. His team quickly repaired the car in time for qualifying.

“Nico was extremely quick today,“ Hamilton said. “I did the best I could. My guys did a fantastic job to rebuild the car after I binned it, so a big thank you for their hard work. Just wasn’t really feeling it today. Don’t know why. It was still fast, but Nico was fantastically fast today. But tomorrow is the day when you get the points, so I’m looking forward to all the different tricky weather that perhaps will come.“

Hamilton has won the last two grand prix (Italy and Singapore) after starting on the pole in both of those races.

Valtteri Bottas qualified third, while his Williams teammate, Felipe Massa, took the fourth spot. Fernando Alonso from Ferrari was fifth.

Earlier in the day, Sebastian Vettel and Red Bull both confirmed that Vettel will be leaving the team at the end of the 2014 season. Vettel, the four-time F1 world champion, is expected to join Ferrari for next year.

“It felt very hard, because I am not leaving due to any issues,“ Vettel said. “It clearly is a decision for something new and not against the existing. But then you have to follow your inner voice. And that is not automatically the easier decision. I hope it is the right one, and that wherever it takes me I will be happy with it.“

Vettel qualified ninth. He has won the Japanese GP four times in the last five years, including victories in 2012 and ‘13.

Vettel’s teammate, Daniel Ricciardo, will start sixth, followed by McLaren drivers Kevin Magnussen and Jenson Button.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Djokovic cruises past Murray to reach Beijing final

Novak Djokovic easily took care of Andy Murray to reach the final at the $2.5 million China Open.

Top-seeded Djokovic got past the sixth-seeded Murray, 6-3, 6-4, to improve to 23-0 at Beijing Olympic Green Tennis Center.

Djokovic, the reigning two-time Beijing champ, now leads Murray 14-8 in the all-time series between the two tennis stars.

The Serb will meet the winner of third-seeded 2011 China Open champ Tomas Berdych and qualifier Martin Klizan.

The 2014 Beijing champion will collect $604,000.

►  Raonic, Nishikori to meet in Tokyo final

Two-time finalist Milos Raonic and Japanese native Kei Nishikori each advanced to the final at the $1.2 million Japan Open Tennis Championships.

The third-seeded Canadian star Raonic easily dispatched Gilles Simon 6-1, 6-4 to secure his third straight berth in the final at this tournament. Raonic lost to Argentine Juan Martin del Potro in last year’s finale.

Nishikori, the world No. 7, had a much more difficult time beating German Benjamin Becker. The 2012 Tokyo titlist battled his way past Becker 4-6, 6-0, 7-6 (7-2).

Becker evened the third set at 3-3 after being down two games early on, breaking Nishikori before tying up the set on serve. The two then interchanged wins over the next six games to force a tiebreak. Becker stormed out to a 2-1 lead in the tiebreak before Nishikori busted off six straight points to win the match and punch his ticket to the final.

This week’s winner will collect $296,850.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Two Minute Warning - Week 5

Can you believe we’ve already complete a quarter of the 2014 NFL season? For fantasy owners, who play a shorter 12- or 13- game season, we’re even further into the season.

Although this is another “bye week,“ we don’t see it causing many problems for fantasy owners as the two teams watching from the sidelines are Oakland and Miami. Not many fantasy studs on those two rosters.

The weather is beautiful all around the country and does not appear to be a factor in Week 5.

Here is the latest information as we approach game-time. We will continue to update this story as the information changes up to game-time.

Quarterbacks -

Jake Locker, Tennessee - Locker practiced all week and should be a go for Sunday against Cleveland after missing Week 4 due to a wrist injury. That doesn’t mean he’s fantasy worthy, but he is available. He faces a Browns’ pass defense that is ranked 10th in yielding fantasy point to opposing quarterbacks. Update - Locker is active.

Carson Palmer, Arizona - Palmer was declared out earlier this week and Drew Stanton will get another start. Stanton put up decent numbers his last time out against a solid 49ers defense and will have to be at his best Sunday trying to match Peyton Manning and the Broncos. We like him as a fantasy option as Denver’s defense is allowing the second-most points to opposing quarterbacks through the first four games.

Shaun Hill, St. Louis - Coach Jeff Fisher says Hill will play “when healthy” we just don’t know when that will be. Hill or his backup Austin Davis, whichever starts, could have fantasy value against a weak Eagles secondary. Update - Hill is active.

Running Backs -

Arian Foster, Houston - Foster came back last weekend and did very little. He probably wasn’t ready, but the additional week of rest should allow him to produce solid numbers against Dallas. Update - Foster is active.

Bernard Pierce, Baltimore - Pierce should be healthy, but it doesn’t mean he’s going to get enough work to be fantasy worthy. At this point in the season it appears that Justin Forsett and rookie Lorenzo Taliaferro will see enough time to make all three players non-factors for fantasy owners. Update - pierce is active.

Ben Tate, Cleveland - On Friday even Tate was questioning whether he was ready, so fantasy owners should heed his warning and look elsewhere. Even if he is in uniform and active he’s going to share carries with Isaiah Crowell and Terrance West. Update - Tate is active.

Jamaal Charles, Kansas City - He’s still listed on the injury report, as probable, but he should be back in every fantasy lineup.

Knile Davis, Kansas City - Though he rushed for 109 yards in a blowout win last Monday night, Sunday against San Francisco figures to be a lot closer matchup and Davis is likely to see less opportunities. He’s a flex option ... at best.

Andre Ellington, Arizona - He continues to be limited in practice, but that’s just the team managing his sore foot. He’ll play and should be solid against Denver.

DeAngelo Williams, Carolina - Williams joins Jonathan Stewart and Mike Tolbert leaving only Darrin Reaves and Fozzy Whittaker as running options. We could see Cam Newton do more running than in the first four games. Update - Williams is inactive.

Joique Bell, Detroit - Bell has been declared out and along with Theo Riddick leaves the Lions short-handed in the backfield. Reggie Bush should see the large majority of work and is an RB1 for Week 5.

Wide Receivers -

Calvin Johnson, Detroit - It had been suggested that Megatron might sit this weekend to get completely healthy, but latest rumors have him active for the game with Buffalo. Of course, active and productive are two different things and Johnson could be a decoy again this weekend as he was against the Jets. Golden Tate’s fantasy value rises if Johnson doesn’t play or plays the decoy role. Update - Johnson is active.

Andre Johnson, Houston - Johnson has been dealing with an ankle and earlier in the week we thought there was a chance he might not play. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport is reporting he’ll be active, but fantasy owners may have to wait until inactives are announced 45 minutes before game-time. Update - Johnson is active.

Marvin Jones, Cincinnati - Jones has missed practice all this week so the hope of returning for Week 5 has been dashed and fantasy owners will have to wait another game. Mohamed Sanu will be the guy opposite A.J. Green.

Cecil Shorts, Jacksonville - Shorts joins Marqise Lee on the sidelines for the game against Pittsburgh. It’s not all bad news for the Jaguars offense and quarterback Blake Bortles as Ace Sanders returns from a four-game suspension.

Eric Decker, New York Jets - He’ll be a true game-time decision after missing Friday practice. With a late start, it’s a gamble for fantasy owners to have him in the lineup because options will be limited if he ends up being sidelined.

Markus Wheaton, Pittsburgh - Wheaton and the Steelers face the worst pass defense in the league and if he’s active he could have low-end fantasy value. He’s been dealing with a groin issue, but is probable. Update - Wheaton is active.

Harry Douglas, Atlanta - Douglas will not play in Week 5 which pushes Devin Hester into the No. 3 role for Atlanta. If your league uses kick return yards, this should be enough to make Hester a viable fantasy option.

Odell Beckham Jr., New York Giants - Beckham should make his NFL debut Sunday, but the Giants will likely use extreme caution for their prized rookie and he should be on a snap limit. This is a wait-and-see situation and fantasy owners shouldn’t have him in lineups until he starts producing. Update - Beckham is active.

Tight Ends -

Vernon Davis, San Francisco - Davis still holds hope he can play Sunday, but we think it’s a very, very small chance, at best, after he missed three consecutive practices. Vance McDonald and Derek Carrier will share Davis’ workload and neither is a viable option. Wide receiver Stevie Johnson becomes a viable option as the 49ers figure to go more to the three-receiver offense.

Ladarius Green, San Diego - Green (hamstring) isn’t a viable fantasy option, but he might see a few plays which takes value away from Antonio Gates.

Delanie Walker, Tennessee - He’s dealing with a shoulder issue, but is expected to be out there and has been a solid fantasy option all season. He should continue that trend. Update - Walker is active.

Jordan Cameron, Cleveland - like Walker, Cameron is dealing with a shoulder problem which he expected to play with for the rest of the season. he’s practice in full this week and should be a viable fantasy option. Update - Cameron is active.

Kickers -

Matt Prater, Denver - The Broncos cut Prater last week, so fantasy owners holding onto Prater should let him go and find a more useful asset for their roster. Brandon McManus’ value jumped up a few spots.

The Gilmer Free Press


National Football League
Chicago at Carolina, 1:00 PM - FOX, DSS (705)
Tampa Bay at New Orleans, 1:00 PM - FOX, DSS (706)
Atlanta at NY Giants, 1:00 PM - FOX, DSS (707)
St. Louis at Philadelphia, 1:00 PM - FOX, DSS (708)
Buffalo at Detroit, 1:00 PM - FOX, DSS (709)
Houston at Dallas, 1:00 PM - CBS, DSS (710)
Baltimore at Indianapolis, 1:00 PM - CBS, DSS (711)
Pittsburgh at Jacksonville, 1:00 PM - CBS, DSS (712)
Cleveland at Tennessee, 1:00 PM - CBS, DSS (713)
Arizona at Denver, 4:05 PM - FOX, DSS (714)
NY Jets at San Diego, 4:25 PM - CBS, DSS (715)
Kansas City at San Francisco, 4:25 PM - CBS, DSS (716)
Cincinnati at New England, 8:30 PM - NBC

Major League Baseball - Playoffs
Baltimore at Detroit, 3:45 PM - TBS
LA Angels at Kansas City, 7:37 PM - TBS

National Basketball Association - Preseason
Tel Aviv Maccabi Electra vs. Cleveland, 6:00 PM - FS-Ohio

National Hockey League - Preseason
Carolina at Washington, 3:00 PM - CSN-DC, NHL Network

Major League Soccer
Seattle at Colorado, 3:00 PM - JOEtv, Altitude, UniMas
Montreal at Chicago, 5:00 PM - TVA Sports, My50-Chicago, DSS
Real Salt Lake at Chivas USA, 7:00 PM - CW30, Time Warner, KDOC, DSS

Women’s International Basketball
Final, 2:00 PM - ESPN 2

International Soccer
Manchester United vs. Everton, 6:55 AM - NBCSN
Chelsea vs. Arsenal, 9:00 AM - NBCSN, OLN
West Ham vs. QPR, 11:05 AM - NBCSN
Juventus FC vs. AS Roma, 11:55 AM - beIN Sport
Real Madrid CF vs. Athletic Club, 2:55 PM - beIN Sport

EUROPEAN - Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, 7:30 AM - Golf Channel

Auto Racing
FORMULA ONE - Japanese Grand Prix, 1:30 AM - NBCSN, OLN
SPRINT CUP - Hollywood Casino 400, 2:00 PM - ESPN

Sports News

The Gilmer Free Press

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Week 6 High School Games Results in the Area

Class A Results

Gilmer County (3-3)  54  at   Tygarts Valley (0-6)  24

South Harrison (3-2)  21  at   Calhoun County (2-4)  0

#7 Doddridge County (4-1)  40  at   Wirt County (0-5)  21

#1 St. Marys (5-0)  20  at   #3 Williamstown (4-2)  18

#16 Tyler Consolidated (4-2)  43  at   #7 Buffalo (4-2)  20

Class AA Results

#3 Ravenswood (5-0)  42  at   #16 Ritchie County (3-3)  9

#4 Bridgeport (5-1)  42  at   Elkins (1-4)  14

#11 Nicholas County (5-1)  25  at   James Monroe (2-4)  19

#13 Liberty - Raleigh (5-1)  41  at   Webster County (2-3)  18

Fayetteville - A (1-4)  12   at   Clay County (4-2)  13

Notre Dame - A (3-2)  41  at   Grafton (3-3)  35

Braxton County (2-4)  13   at   Liberty (Harrison) (4-2)  32

Philip Barbour (1-5)  10  at   Petersburg (0-5)  6

Lincoln County - AAA (0-6)  6   at   Roane County (4-2)  31

Class AAA Results

#16 Buckhannon-Upshur (3-2)  7   at   #11 Lewis County (5-1)  21

#9 Parkersburg South (3-2)  0   at   #3 Point Pleasant (6-0)  49

#5 South Charleston (5-1)  45   at   Parkersburg (2-3)  20

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Matchup vs. KU demands domination

Rarely in the history of Respecting One’s Opponent have comments felt so engineered as West Virginia’s defense praising Montell Cozart this week.

The Kansas sophomore owns a 3-5 record as a starting quarterback (1-5 against power five opponents). He has 81 completions in 178 attempts for a 45-percent clip. He has thrown nine interceptions and five career touchdowns. His mobility—much discussed by the WVU defense this week—has resulted in a 2.4 yards-per-carry average.

Cozart may possess big-play ability. It just hasn’t surfaced much in Kansas’ horrid offense.

“That’s the thing that scares you with him,” said defensive coordinator Tony Gibson. “If we’re in any kind of man coverage and he breaks contain, he can take one 60 or 70 yards on you.”

Cozart’s career long run is a 24-yarder.

Yes, he steered Kansas to an upset win over West Virginia last season as a freshman, albeit on 5-of-12 passing for 61 yards. Though Cozart’s 13 carries for 60 yards were timely, his biggest contributions were the 22 handoffs to James Sims.

Still, he’s the opposing quarterback, so all week he garners blarney from the guys who hope to pin him down Saturday.

“He probably throws the ball better on the run than he does sitting in the pocket,” Gibson said. “We can’t bite down on the run until that ball crosses the line of scrimmage.”

Gibson is vigilant because West Virginia (2-2, 0-1) needs to win a conference game in the worst way. It certainly can’t afford to lose a second straight game to a guy who can’t crack the top 10 most efficient quarterbacks in a 10-team league.

Kansas (2-2, 0-1) is winless in 25 straight road games since Sept. 12, 2009, a span in which its offense has flatlined: two shutouts and 11 outputs of 10 points or less.

The Jayhawks have faced two power conference teams this season, Duke and Texas. losing by a combined score of 64-3.

Gibson and his players can’t say it publicly, but this kind of game that demands domination.

More story lines for Saturday’s matchup at Milan Puskar Stadium:

Kickoff: 4 PM (Fox Sports Net)

Line: West Virginia favored by 26

Better than .500? Though both teams enter the game with 2-2 records, Kansas has fired coach Charlie Weis and West Virginia is perceived as an improving program after playing Alabama and Oklahoma tough.

“I think 2-2 is not a very good way to describe this team,” said center Tyler Orlosky. “I think we’re a lot better than that. It’s what we have right now, but the team’s different than a 2-2 record.”

No more Bon Jovi: An immediate move by interim coach Clint Bowen was to change the Jayhawks’ practice music. Gone were the Bon Jovi and Bruce Springstein songs preferred by the Jersey-born Weis, and now the players modernize the playlist with their own picks.

Hyman questionable? Defensive end Dontrill Hyman reportedly is ailing with a knee injury. Whether he is limited or ruled out remains uncertain. He remained listed as the starter on this week’s depth chart, but defensive ends coach Damon Cogdell suggested transfer Shaq Riddick would make his first start for WVU.

Holgorsen didn’t mention Hyman on the early week injury report, and when asked about the player’s health during Thursday night’s call-in show, he essentially dodged the question.

Quotable: What, if anything, was gained from watching film of last year’s 31-19 loss to Kansas? “We can look at how we don’t want to be,” said Spur safety K.J. Dillon. “We can see how far we came since then.”

Different downfield: As Dana Holgorsen reviewed the 2013 Kansas game—the one he said “made me want to puke”—he kept seeing West Virginia miss passing game opportunities. During one stretch, the Mountaineers were held scoreless on 12 consecutive possessions.

“Studying that game from last year, we had zero success on downfield plays. I could give you a bunch of excuses why that was the case, but we had zero,” Holgorsen said. “I think we’re in a much better place right now when it comes to our guys being able to win downfield.”

►  Interim Coach Bowen Ready to Lead Kansas at WVU

When he was a graduate assistant at Kansas, Clint Bowen was on a date at an ice cream shop with his now-wife when she asked him about his goal in life. Trying to impress her, he thought big: He wanted to be the Jayhawks’ head coach.

Two decades later, he has the interim tag, getting appointed after head coach Charlie Weis was fired Sunday. Bowen will lead the Jayhawks (2-2, 0-1 Big 12) for the first time on Saturday when they play at West Virginia (2-2, 0-1).

Bowen grew up in Lawrence, Kansas, played defensive back for the Jayhawks and has spent 16 years on the coaching staff, some of it as defensive coordinator.

He’ll still be making the calls on defense. That knowledge will be put to the test against West Virginia, whose offense has produced a pair of 600-yard games.

“It’s a great challenge, great opportunity for us to head to Morgantown and play a team that’s playing well, playing competitive, and for our guys to go there and get after it and show everyone what our brand of football is going to be,“ Bowen said.

That brand over the next two months could determine whether Bowen will be considered for the job permanently.

Bowen hinted that he’s tweaked both the offense and defense. Kansas had failed to score a touchdown in two of its past three games, including a 23-0 loss to Texas at home last week.

“Everything won’t be the same,“ Bowen said. “We’re going to continue to try and be as creative as we can on both sides of the ball and give our kids a chance.“

One thing’s for sure. Bowen has the backing of his players, as evidenced by the loud, prolonged applause he received when he was introduced at a team meeting Sunday.

“I was really excited that he’s getting this opportunity,“ linebacker Ben Heeney said, “because I think he deserves it.“

West Virginia coach Dana Holgorsen expects the heavy-underdog Jayhawks to respond positively to the change on the field.

“We are anticipating a Kansas team to come in here to be energetic, enthusiastic and excited to play this football game,“ Holgorsen said. “In addition to that, I doubt they’re going to be very scared of us based on what happened last year. We’ve got our work cut out for us.“

Kansas snapped a 27-game Big 12 losing streak a year ago by beating the Mountaineers 31-19 in Lawrence, Kansas.


Here’s some things to know about the Jayhawks and Mountaineers:

KEEPING COZART: Kansas quarterback Montell Cozart has Bowen’s backing despite throwing four interceptions against Texas. “His teammates respect him, his teammates trust him,“ Bowen said. “It’s not always going to be perfect.“

CHOOSE YOUR WEAPONS: West Virginia’s Kevin White leads the Big 12 with 42 receptions for 633 yards, an average of 158 yards per game. Teammate Mario Alford has a team-high four TD catches and has 28 catches for 307 yards. Three other West Virginia receivers have at least 10 catches. Quarterback Clint Trickett leads the Big 12 with 400 passing yards per game.

GROUND CONTROL: Finding holes on the line of scrimmage could be the key for Kansas on offense. The Jayhawks’ De’Andre Mann and freshman Corey Avery rank among the league’s top 10 rushers, while West Virginia is allowing an average of 199 yards on the ground. The Mountaineers have yet to recover an opponent’s fumble, while Kansas has yet to lose a fumble.

SPECIAL TEAMS WOES: West Virginia allowed a kickoff return for a touchdown against Oklahoma, a week after giving up a punt return for a score against Maryland. West Virginia is second-worst nationally on punt returns, allowing 24.3 yards per attempt, and 11th worst on kickoffs, allowing 26 yards per try.

ROAD UNFRIENDLY: Kansas has lost 25 straight road games dating to the 2009 season. On their last trip to Morgantown, the Jayhawks lost to West Virginia 59-10 in 2012.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Broncos Release K Prater

Former Pro Bowl kicker Matt Prater was released by the Denver Broncos on Friday.

Prater, who converted 25-of-26 field goals and set an NFL record with a 64- yard field goal last season, was suspended without pay for the first four games of the regular season for violating the NFL Policy and Program for Substances of Abuse.

The Denver Post reported that the offense was alcohol-related. He has been in the league’s alcohol program since being charged with driving under the influence on August 12, 2011.

Prater was the longest tenured Bronco since being signed from Miami’s practice squad in December of 2007.

“Parting ways with Matt Prater, the longest-tenured player on our roster, was a very difficult football decision,“ Broncos general manager John Elway said. “On behalf of our entire organization, I want to thank Matt for his seven seasons with the Broncos and wish him well going forward.“

Denver will move forward with Brandon McManus at kicker. The rookie from Temple has made all three of his field-goal attempts and has recorded 14 touchbacks on 16 kickoffs.

“Brandon McManus has earned the opportunity to continue kicking for our team with how well he’s played to start the season,“ Elway said. “He has a very strong leg and we have confidence in him on both field goals and kickoffs.“

►  Panthers RB Williams out, RB Stewart doubtful vs. Bears

Carolina Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams has been ruled out for Sunday’s game against the Chicago Bears.

Williams was held out of practice this week due to a sprained ankle. Fellow running back Jonathan Stewart (knee) is doubtful.

Panthers coach Ron Rivera said Friday that running backs Darrin Reaves, Chris Ogbonnaya and Fozzy Whittaker will all get carries on Sunday.

Defensive end Charles Johnson (hip) and tight end Ed Dickson (hip) are questionable. Tight end Richie Brockel (ankle) has been ruled out.

Linebacker Thomas Davis (hip) is probable after missing last week’s game against Baltimore.

►  Saints place S Byrd on season-ending IR

The New Orleans Saints have placed starting free safety Jairus Byrd on season-ending injured reserve after he tore his meniscus in Thursday’s practice.

Byrd, one of the most highly sought after players in the 2014 free agent class, signed a six-year deal with the Saints in the offseason. The Saints had to let Malcolm Jenkins leave via free agency to sign Byrd.

The 27-year-old Byrd had 22 tackles in four starts with New Orleans (1-3).

Rafael Bush will replace Byrd in the starting lineup.

Byrd was selected with the 42nd overall pick of the 2009 NFL Draft by Buffalo, where he spent the first five seasons of his career.

The three-time Pro Bowler missed the first five games of the 2013 season with an injured foot. He appeared in the final 11 games of the season, totaling 48 tackles, four interceptions and one forced fumble. Byrd underwent back surgery earlier this offseason.

►  Falcons’ Blalock, Douglas out vs. Giants

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Harry Douglas and guard Justin Blalock have been ruled out of Sunday’s game against the New York Giants.

Douglas suffered a foot injury in Atlanta’s Week 3 rout of Tampa Bay. The Louisville product has 12 catches for 121 yards and one touchdown in three games this season.

Blalock will miss this week’s game with a back injury, snapping a streak of 102 straight games played.

Neither player practiced all week.

Wide receiver Julio Jones (ankle), returner/receiver Devin Hester (ankle), linebacker Prince Shembo (knee) and safety Kemal Ishmael (ankle) were all listed as probable.

►  Eagles LB Kendricks out again

Linebacker Mychal Kendricks will miss his third straight game Sunday when the Philadelphia Eagles play the St. Louis Rams.

Kendricks has yet to practice since suffering a calf injury in Week 2. The California product has 13 tackles and one sack in two games this season.

Marcus Smith, Emmanuel Acho and Casey Matthews have formed a three-man rotation at inside linebacker in place of the injured Kendricks.

The Eagles’ injury-riddled offensive line will get back right tackle Lane Johnson on Sunday. Johnson was sidelined for the first four games without pay by the NFL in late July for violating the league’s policy on performance- enhancing substances.

Cornerback Brandon Boykin (hamstring) is questionable despite practicing on Thursday and Friday.

►  Redskins face tough test against Seahawks

The Cousins-to-Canton train was derailed against a good secondary in Week 4.

Now Kirk Cousins and the Washington Redskins will be facing a great defensive backfield when the reigning Super Bowl champion Seattle Seahawks invade the Beltway for “Monday Night Football.“

Two seasons ago the Seahawks and Redskins were both up-and-coming teams with tremendous rookie quarterbacks in Robert Griffin III and Russell Wilson.

Since Seattle upset Washington in the wild-card round, however, the teams’ fortunes have been trending in opposite directions.

RG3, the No. 2 overall pick in the 2012 draft, led the Redskins to the NFC East title in his freshman campaign, while Wilson, the 75th overall selection that same year, piloted the Seahawks to a wild card berth.

Washington built an early two-touchdown lead in the playoff encounter before Wilson and Co. responded with 24 consecutive points to advance. To make matters even worse for the ‘Skins, Griffin tore both an ACL and LCL in the game and has never been the same physically.

Fast forward a year and Washington finished 3-13, firing Mike Shanahan in favor of current coach Jay Gruden and the Seahawks won the franchise’s first Lombardi Trophy.

Cousins, Washington’s interim starter while RG3 convalesces from his latest injury (a dislocated ankle), was brilliant in his first 2014 start, albeit in a loss at Philadelphia. Not so much the second time around as the New York Giants confused and rattled the third-year signal caller during a 45-14 drubbing of the Redskins back on September 25.

After finishing 30-of-48 for a career-high 427 yards and three touchdowns against the Eagles, Cousins came back down to earth versus the Giants, connecting on just 19-of-33 with a touchdown and a career-high four interceptions—all in the second half. He also lost a fumble.

“Sometimes you need to play through some of these ruts,“ Gruden said. “As a quarterback, he’s a guy that’s going to have to lead us the next few weeks. We need him to pull himself out of this and keep his head up.“

Things really fell apart for Washington in the third quarter, where Cousins fired three of his picks.

Alfred Morris, meanwhile, carried the ball 12 times for 63 yards and a score for the Redskins, who have lost their last two games.

Seattle comes in even more well-rested than the Redskins, last playing on September 21 when they won a Super Bowl XLVIII rematch by outlasting the Denver Broncos, 26-20, in overtime.

Marshawn Lynch ran for a touchdown in the extra frame as the Seahawks thwarted Denver’s attempts at revenge from a 43-8 drubbing in the big game this past February. The contest marked just the sixth time that there has been a rematch in the regular season of the previous Super Bowl opponents.

Lynch finished with 88 yards on 26 carries, while adding three catches for 40 yards and a score for the Seahawks, who bounced back from a Week 2 loss at San Diego.

Wilson completed 24-for-34 passed for 258 yards, two touchdowns and an interception in the win.

“It was a tremendous game,“ Wilson said. “It was a battle.“

The Redskins lead their all-time, regular-season series with Seattle by an 11-4 margin but Seattle has been the better team on Monday nights, compiling a 20-8 mark overall, including eight wins in a row. Washington is underwater at 27-36 in the national showcase.


The Seahawks could come in rusty because coach Pete Carroll gave his team a full week off during the bye.

“We wanted to maximize our chance to get our guys as fresh as possible for this big push here through this season,“ Carroll said. “So we did (the) bye really successfully, we’ll find out if the result was good when we go out and play on Monday night.“

It should be as Wilson is facing a defense that isn’t all that good to begin with and is very banged-up in the secondary.

For whatever reason people never mention Wilson when they talk about the best QBs in the game but maybe it’s time to change that narrative. The third-year star has never lost on MNF, compiling a 3-0 mark with seven touchdowns, no interceptions and a 121.6 passer rating.

This season, Wilson’s 108.9 rating ranked third in the NFL entering Week 5 and the Seahawks are 19-3 overall when the diminutive passer hits a rating of at least 100.

“You have to put him in there,“ Seahawks All-Pro cornerback Richard Sherman said when asked about Wilson being considered among the best quarterbacks in the NFL. “If you’re basing that judgment off of winning, you have to put him in that discussion.“

“I don’t think anyone ever doubts Russell. He’s just too good,“ tight end Zach Miller, who will miss this contest after undergoing ankle surgery during the bye week, added.

The Seahawks generally want to establish the run with Lynch and play off of that but with Washington already down two starters—cornerback DeAngelo Hall (Achilles) and safety Duke Ihenacho (foot)—in what was a pedestrian defensive backfield to begin with, Seattle may feel comfortable enough to take a few more shots than usual downfield.

The goal of Seattle’s passing game with remain the same, though, and that is getting the dynamic Percy Harvin the ball in space.

The Redskins best hope is a strong pass rush and Ryan Kerrigan entered Week 5 tied for the NFL lead with five sacks. His complement, Brian Orakpo, has been dealing with a finger injury, however, and is having a down year.

Offensively, Washington is up and against it here and will need to rely on its running game and Morris to set the tone because Cousins tends to stare down his receivers, a peccadillo which could be disastrous against the ball-hawking Seahawks secondary which includes Sherman, perhaps the best cornerback in all of football, and fellow All-Pro Earl Thomas, undoubtedly he best coverage safety in the game.

Thomas’ running mate on the back end, the hard-hitting Kam Chancellor should also be ready to go despite a nagging ankle problem.

“He’s frustrated with some of the throws that he made (against the Giants) and maybe some of the decisions,“ Gruden said. “Moving forward, it’s a great learning experience.“


Chalk up nine straight for the Seahawks on MNF.

Cousins has dropped five straight starts now and couldn’t handle the Giants’ secondary. Expecting him to play a clean game against Sherman and Co. is probably wishful thinking.

Predicted outcome: Seahawks 31, Redskins 17

►  Marrone chooses self-preservation

A sense of urgency has precipitated change with the Buffalo Bills.

The move from second-year quarterback E.J. Manuel to veteran Kyle Orton is a development you can trace back to Buffalo Sabres owner Terry Pegula’s agreement to purchase the team from the Wilson family trust, a deal which is expected to be approved by the NFL owners at their fall meeting in New York City next week.

The conventional thinking in these types of situations is that new ownership likes to bring in its own people for high-level managerial positions and that’s not lost on both Bills coach Doug Marrone and general manager Doug Whaley, who both understand the only sure-fire way to keep their employment in western New York is to win and do it now.

That win-now mentality is only amplified by the fact that New England has seemingly come back to the pack in the AFC East, which has opened up the division for also-rans like Miami and the New York Jets, never mind Buffalo, which may have the most talent in the quartet.

In fact if Manuel, the team’s first-round pick in 2013, was carrying his own water at the game’s most important position there is little doubt that the 2-2 Bills would be alone atop the division standings right now.

Buffalo is just 27th in total offense with Manuel running the show despite some very solid skill-position players like Fred Jackson and C.J. Spiller at running back, along with rookie star Sammy Watkins, Mike Williams and Robert Woods at receiver.

“It’s not a one-man show,“ Spiller admitted. “(But) in this league, the quarterback is the focal point and the emphasis of wins and losses of teams.“

Orton will change things dramatically for the Bills in that he is a completely different signal caller than Manuel with Buffalo giving up some athleticism in favor of a prototypical pocket-style passer who can make quick decisions and get the ball out quickly.

“We just had a different approach to practice,“ Watkins said. “(Orton) demands what he wants out of us. He’s more of a veteran guy. The way he talked, the way he handles business, the way he looks at plays and breaks down defenses, it’s kind of different than E.J. He reads it quicker, the ball is coming out faster.“

The big risk of sitting a young quarterback who has been playing is losing him mentally, something highlighted by Christian Ponder’s deer-in-the- headlights playing style in Green Bay on Thursday night. Marrone ignored that hurdle while trying to pay lip service to Manuel’s ego.

“It’s not all EJ’s fault, but we need to get better production out of that position,“ he said. “We’ve got to make some changes because we can’t keep going in the direction that we’re going.“

Actually the Bills franchise could keep heading in the same direction but Marrone can’t.

After all Manuel still has a far higher-ceiling than Orton, whose upside is probably managing things well enough to get the team to 9-7 in the hopes of winning a bad division.

“When this happened, obviously I was upset and frustrated,“ Manuel admitted. “But at the same time, be a man, be a pro. I kicked up my work ethic even more. Be more consistent with everything: how the ball is coming out of my hands, my enunciation in the huddle, all those types of things.“

Marrone is not the only coach going through this. Rex Ryan, who has been starting the overmatched Geno Smith with the Jets, is in a very similar situation, the problem of trying to serve two masters with divergent goals, in this case doing what’s right for the future of the organization while trying to win in the now.

The stark reality is that both Marrone and Ryan will likely be filing change- of-address forms if they don’t make the playoffs yet each has been going with a struggling second-year signal caller showing little improvement from week to week with a better veteran option waiting in the wings.

It’s a tough conundrum to put any coach in because nearly everyone understands neither Orton or Michael Vick with the Jets are long-term solutions. Those same observers, however, will readily admit that the veterans are the best options to win on Sundays in 2014.

Marrone finally chose self-preservation over selflessness this week.

Ryan, on the other hand, has remained altruistic to this point and stood next to what will ultimately be his albatross more steadily than Tammy Wynette.

Neither coach is right and neither is wrong but Marrone is more pragmatic.

“It’s tough. You have to make these decisions with your mind with your heart, you know you put a lot of time into it,“ he said. “It’s not an easy decision. But at the end of the day when you need more production that’s what you have to do.“

►  Falcons’ Blalock, Douglas out vs. Giants

Atlanta Falcons wide receiver Harry Douglas and guard Justin Blalock have been ruled out of Sunday’s game against the New York Giants.

Douglas suffered a foot injury in Atlanta’s Week 3 rout of Tampa Bay. The Louisville product has 12 catches for 121 yards and one touchdown in three games this season.

Blalock will miss this week’s game with a back injury, snapping a streak of 102 straight games played.

Neither player practiced all week.

Wide receiver Julio Jones (ankle), returner/receiver Devin Hester (ankle), linebacker Prince Shembo (knee) and safety Kemal Ishmael (ankle) were all listed as probable.

►  Ravens LB Suggs questionable, DL Canty doubtful vs. Colts

Baltimore Ravens linebacker Terrell Suggs is questionable for Sunday’s game against the Indianapolis Colts.

Suggs was back at practice on Friday after sitting out the previous two days with a thigh injury.

Defensive lineman Chris Canty (illness), defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan (knee) and left tackle Eugene Monroe (knee) are listed as doubtful.

►  Colts LB Freeman practices all week, probable for Sunday

Indianapolis Colts linebacker Jerrell Freeman is probable for Sunday’s game against the Baltimore Ravens.

Freeman returned to practice this week after missing three straight games with a hamstring injury.

Right guard Hugh Thornton (ankle) is also probable after missing last week’s game against the Titans.

Defensive tackle Arthur Jones (ankle) and offensive lineman Jack Mewhort (ankle) have been ruled out.

►  Giants LB Beason questionable for Sunday

New York Giants linebacker Jon Beason is questionable for Sunday’s game against the Atlanta Falcons with a right foot injury.

Beason, who was a limited participant in practice all week, started the first two games of the year before re-injuring the foot that kept him out of training camp and the preseason.

Odell Beckham is questionable with a hamstring injury. Beckham, who has yet to debut with the Giants, was a limited participant in practice all week.

Linebacker Devon Kennard (hamstring) is questionable and punter Steve Weatherford (ankle) is probable.

►  Pats LB Hightower questionable vs. Bengals

Linebacker Dont’a Hightower is among four New England Patriots defensive players listed as questionable for their game Sunday night against the Cincinnati Bengals.

Hightower has been limited in practice all week with a knee injury.

Linebacker Jamie Collins (thigh), cornerback Alfonzo Dennard (shoulder) and defensive end Dominique Easley (knee) are also listed as questionable.

Tight end Rob Gronkowski (knee) and defensive end Chandler Jones (shoulder) are listed as probable.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  American League Division Series Game Results

Final Score: Baltimore 7, Detroit 6

Young hit a pinch-hit, go-ahead three-run double as part of a four-run eighth inning and the Orioles rallied past the Tigers, 7-6, in Game 2 of the American League Division Series to put them on the brink of elimination. Baltimore has now scored 12 runs in the eighth over the first two games of the set after plating eight during Thursday’s 12-3 Game 1 win. The Orioles trailed 6-3 before Joba Chamberlain got Alejandro De Aza to ground out to start the eighth, but it was the only out he’d record. Chamberlain hit Adam Jones with a pitch and consecutive singles by Nelson Cruz and Steve Pearce brought home Jones. Joakim Soria (0-1) took over on the mound and walked J.J. Hardy to load the bases. A first-pitch-swinging Young then ripped a slider down the left-field line to clear the bases. Hardy was just able to slide past catcher Alex Avila to beat Ian Kinsler’s throw to the plate. Young, the 2012 ALCS MVP while with the Tigers, is a career .271 hitter (32-of-118) with nine homers and 21 RBI in the postseason. Zach Britton fired a 1-2-3 ninth for his first postseason save. Baltimore will look for the series sweep Sunday in Detroit. The Tigers will trot out the third of their three straight AL Cy Young Award winners in David Price.

Final Score: Kansas City 4, LA Angels of Anaheim 1 (11 innings)

Eric Hosmer hit a two-run homer in the 11th inning to break a tie and the Kansas City Royals beat the Los Angeles Angels 4-1 in Game 2 of their AL Division Series on Friday night. The Royals take a 2-0 series lead back to Kansas City with a chance to close it out in Game 3 on Sunday after getting dramatic wins on consecutive nights in Anaheim. They took Game 1 on Mike Moustakas’ home run in the 11th inning after beating Oakland in 12 innings in Tuesday’s wild-card game. How rare is this run? The Royals are the first team ever to start the playoffs with three straight wins in extra innings, and the first ever to play three postseason games in a row of 11 innings or more. Hosmer’s homer to right came off Kevin Jepsen (0-1) after Lorenzo Cain hit a single, giving the Royals a 3-1 lead. Salvador Perez added an RBI single off Vinnie Pestano and Greg Holland stranded a runner in the bottom of the inning for the save. Albert Pujols had an RBI single in the sixth inning to tie the score for the Angels, but probable AL MVP Mike Trout remained hitless in his first two postseason games.

►  National League Division Series Game Results

Final Score: San Francisco 3, Washington 2

Jake Peavy picked up his first career postseason win as the San Francisco Giants held on to beat the Washington Nationals 3-2 in their NL Division Series opener on Friday. Peavy (1-0) had a solid outing, scattering two hits in 5 2/3 scoreless innings. Buster Posey, Brandon Belt and Joe Panik each knocked in a run for the Giants, who have won nine straight playoff games. They were coming off Wednesday’s 8-0 wild-card victory at Pittsburgh. Stephen Strasburg (0-1) gave up two runs in his postseason debut—one earned—on eight singles in five-plus innings for the NL East-champion Nationals.

Final Score: St. Louis 10, Los Angeles 9

Matt Carpenter’s four RBI against Clayton Kershaw included a three-run double in an eight-run seventh inning and the St. Louis Cardinals held on to beat the Los Angeles Dodgers 10-9 on Friday to open their NL Division Series. Kershaw and Adam Wainwright squared off in the first postseason game in 45 years to featured two 20-win starters with sub-2.40 ERAs. But what was supposed to be a pitchers’ duel between two staff aces turned into a slugfest, and Kershaw saw the worst of it. The presumptive NL Cy Young Award winner retired 16 batters in a row between Randal Grichuk’s one-out homer on in the first inning and Carpenter’s two-out blast in the sixth and his team had a 6-1 lead after scoring six runs off Wainwright in 4 1/3 innings. But the first four Cardinals batters hit singles in the seventh, starting a deluge that didn’t end until Kershaw was on the bench, presumably wondering how the NL Central champions got the best of him again. Last year, Kershaw gave up seven runs in four innings in the decisive Game 6 of the NL Championship Series, which the Cardinals won 9-0 to reach the World Series for the third time in eight years. Game 2 is Saturday in Los Angeles.

►  Red Sox hitting coach Colbrunn will not return in 2015

Boston Red Sox hitting coach Greg Colbrunn has elected not to return to the position for the 2015 season, the team announced Friday.

The Red Sox finished tied for 11th in the American League in runs scored (634) this past season, a big drop from their majors-leading total of 853 runs in 2013.

The 45-year-old Colbrunn missed part of the 2014 season after suffering subarachnoid hemorrhage in early June, and returned to the club in July.

Colbrunn joined the Red Sox in November of 2012 and served as hitting coach during the team’s run to last year’s World Series title.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Odd Man Rush: Baby Flames ready to ignite

The season hasn’t started yet and head coach Bob Hartley is already having his nights impacted by the state of the Calgary Flames.

But while it was the club’s struggles a season ago that probably had Hartley chugging warm milk and Tylenol PM to get some sleep, the upcoming influx of young talent has him tossing and turning as he prepares for his third season on the Calgary bench.

Expectations remain low for the Flames as they wait for their young talent to mature. But if this preseason is any indication, a few baby-faced skaters appear ready to contribute now and that has left the organization with some decisions that need to be made.

“Remember, the first day of camp, I told you the depth on this hockey club is surprising from the outside,“ Hartley said following Thursday’s preseason win over Winnipeg.

“All summer I talked to my partners, we have some good, young players that are coming up and right now they’re making statements out there. We have to respect this. Remember our slogan, ‘It’s always earned, never given.‘“

Sean Monahan is leading the youth movement at the age of 19, but his status for this upcoming season was already locked in after he produced 22 goals in 75 games as a rookie last year.

But this preseason has seen the likes of Johnny Gaudreau, Josh Jooris, Sven Baertschi and even 18-year-old Sam Bennett impress management.

The big name to watch has been Gaudreau, the recent recipient of the Hobey Baker Award after notching 80 points in 40 games last season with Boston College. The 21-year-old was a fourth-round pick by Calgary in 2011 and got into one game with the Flames at the end of last season following the conclusion of his Boston College career, scoring a goal.

Gaudreau had three assists in Thursday’s 4-2 victory over the Jets. He humbly pointed out that two of those were secondary assists, but there was no denying the talent he flashed while setting up the first of two goals in the game by Jooris.

Collecting the puck along the left boards, Gaudreau spun away from a pair of defenders into the slot and spotted a wide open Jooris down low, sporting excellent vision while hitting him with a quick pass.

“I’m trying to show management that I belong,“ he said. “Whatever I have to do to do that is something I’m going to try and do. Whether it’s playing well defensively or creating offensive chances, I have to make sure I’m doing my best out there.“

Jooris is another wild card after posting 27 points in 73 games a season ago at the American Hockey League level. Undrafted out of Union College, the 24- year-old was a late cut from last season’s Flames club and is pushing again this year.

“I’ve kind of understood what it takes to play at this level. For me in particular, I’ve got to go out there and do the little things right,“ noted Jooris. “I’m not worried about putting up numbers or offense. That stuff will come as it did tonight. Defense and little things at the blue line, just smart plays around the ice, that’s first and foremost for me. That’s been the mindset.“

Said Hartley of Jooris, “He’s playing with passion. It’s so nice to work with Josh because he wants to learn, he’s a great student, he has speed. On our coaching staff, we call this buzz. He has lots of buzz to his game. He never stops.“

Normally, a rebuilding club would love to see its young players perform like this, but there is always the problem of not enough roster space. Calgary has gotten a good look at some talent while Mikael Backlund, David Jones and Mason Raymond have nursed injuries, and the Flames, anticipating another year of rebuilding, acquired a number of stop-gaps this past offseason in Raymond, Devin Setoguchi and Brandon Bollig.

That leaves Hartley and the rest of management with limited room on the roster for the prospects and don’t be surprised if the coach is sporting some tired facial features during Wednesday’s opener against Vancouver.

“It’s not getting easier. I told you guys (the media) this morning, there’s going to be lots of long nights thinking about it and after tonight’s game the night is just getting longer and longer,“ Hartley said on Thursday night.

Ultimately, players like Gaudreau, Baertschi and Jooris may find themselves squeezed out at the start of the season despite their best efforts as Calgary is forced to play the numbers game. But their recent display has brightened the hope of the Flames’ future.

The leader of that movement, Monahan is ready.

“I feel really good out there right now,“ Monahan said after scoring twice against the Jets. “Obviously confidence is big in the game and right now I’m confident and I want the puck. I’m looking forward for the season to get going here.“

Even though the season is sure to feature a number of ups and downs, Flames fans should agree.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Kansas begins the Contender Round of the Chase

The first race in the Contender Round—the second round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship—takes place on Sunday at Kansas Speedway, and each of the 12 drivers who remain in the Chase have their points total reset to 3,000.

After last weekend’s race at Dover, A.J. Allmendinger, Kurt Busch, Greg Biffle and Aric Almirola were eliminated from the playoffs in NASCAR’s premier series.

Those drivers who advanced from the opening round in the Chase, known as the Challenger Round, are: Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Matt Kenseth, Ryan Newman, Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin and Kasey Kahne.

The Contender Round includes the races at Kansas, Charlotte (October 11) and Talladega (October 19). After Talladega, the Chase field will be trimmed to eight drivers for the Eliminator Round, which has the events at Martinsville (October 26), Texas (November 2) and Phoenix (November 9).

The November 16 season-finale at Homestead will feature just four drivers contending for the championship. The highest finishing driver among the final four in that race will win the title.

If a driver currently in the Chase field wins at either Kansas, Charlotte or Talladega, that person will automatically advance to the Eliminator Round. The remaining available positions 1-8 that have not been filled based upon wins will be determined by points following Talladega.

Talladega, the only restrictor-plate track in the Chase, is considered as a wild card race, but many drivers think of Kansas as a wild card event as well. Kansas, a 1.5-mile track, underwent a repave and had variable banking added in the turns in 2012.

“I think you look at this round, the Contender Round, with Kansas, and you’ve got Talladega at the end, Charlotte probably not so much, but two of the three races are as much of a wild card as you can get in NASCAR racing these days,“ Keselowski said. “I think when we get all said and done, and it comes to Homestead and the championship’s crown, whoever wins it will have earned it.

“But one of the great teams that has a shot at winning this will probably be less at home after this series of events, because you don’t control your destiny as much as you do the other races of the season.“

Keselowski concluded the Challenger Round as the points leader. He won the Chase-opener at Chicagoland and then finished seventh at New Hampshire and second at Dover.

Logano, who is Keselowski’s teammate at Team Penske, has done very well in the Chase as well. He won at New Hampshire and finished fourth at both Chicagoland and Dover.

“We have confidence in not just myself but the road crew, the pit crew, everyone is feeling good about what we’ve done,“ Logano said. “Last week (at Dover), we didn’t have the strongest car, but we were able to execute and get a nice, solid top-five out of it. That’s what we have to do the next round, get us some top-fives and get us into the next one. Hopefully, we’ll get a win in these first two races and not have to worry about Talladega.“

Gordon claimed his fourth win of the season at Dover. His first victory in 2014 occurred in the spring race at Kansas. This is the fourth year that Kansas has hosted two Sprint Cup events in a season. No driver has yet to score a season-sweep here.

“We won at Kansas earlier this year, so we’re excited about this weekend,“ Gordon said. “We’d like to get another win to go ahead and clinch a spot in the Eliminator Round, but if we don’t solid finishes this weekend and at Charlotte hopefully put us in a good position before Talladega.“

Gordon leads all drivers with three victories at Kansas. He won the first two Cup races at this track (2001-02).

Tony Stewart, Biffle, Johnson and Kenseth have two wins each at Kansas.

Johnson is attempting to win his record-tying seventh championship in the series. He started the Chase with a 12th-place run at Chicagoland before finishing fifth at New Hampshire and third at Dover.

“I’m ready to get going,“ Johnson said. “These three tracks should be a lot of fun. We feel like we have a really good chance of winning at all three tracks, but the first two would make the experience of the third race of the Contender Round that much more enjoyable.“

Johnson has three wins this season but has not been to victory lane since June 15 at Michigan (14 races ago).

Forty-three teams are on the entry list for the Hollywood Casino 400.

Series: NASCAR Sprint Cup. Date: Sunday, October 05. Race: Hollywood Casino 400. Site: Kansas Speedway. Track: 1.5-mile oval. Start time: 2 PM ET. Laps: 267. Miles: 400.5. 2013 Winner: Kevin Harvick. Television: ESPN. Radio: Motor Racing Network (MRN)/SIRIUS NASCAR Radio.

►  This Week in Auto Racing October 04 - 05

The second round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship begins this weekend at Kansas Speedway. The Nationwide Series is joining the Sprint Cup Series at Kansas. Formula One is in Suzuka, Japan for the Japanese Grand Prix.


Sprint Cup Series

Hollywood Casino 400 - Kansas Speedway - Kansas City, Kansas

The first race in the Contender Round—the second round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship—takes place on Sunday at Kansas Speedway, and each of the 12 drivers who remain in the Chase have their points total reset to 3,000.

After last weekend’s race at Dover, A.J. Allmendinger, Kurt Busch, Greg Biffle and Aric Almirola were eliminated from the playoffs in NASCAR’s premier series.

Those drivers who advanced from the opening round in the Chase, known as the Challenger Round, are: Brad Keselowski, Joey Logano, Kevin Harvick, Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Matt Kenseth, Ryan Newman, Carl Edwards, Denny Hamlin and Kasey Kahne.

The Contender Round includes the races at Kansas, Charlotte (October 11) and Talladega (October 19). After Talladega, the Chase field will be trimmed to eight drivers for the Eliminator Round, which has the events at Martinsville (October 26), Texas (November 02) and Phoenix (November 09).

The November 16 season-finale at Homestead will feature just four drivers contending for the championship. The highest finishing driver among the final four in that race will win the title.

If a driver currently in the Chase field wins at either Kansas, Charlotte or Talladega, that person will automatically advance to the Eliminator Round. The remaining available positions 1-8 that have not been filled based upon wins will be determined by points following Talladega.

Talladega, the only restrictor-plate track in the Chase, is considered as a wild card race, but many drivers think of Kansas as a wild card event as well. Kansas, a 1.5-mile track, underwent a repave and had variable banking added in the turns in 2012.

“I think you look at this round, the Contender Round, with Kansas, and you’ve got Talladega at the end, Charlotte probably not so much, but two of the three races are as much of a wild card as you can get in NASCAR racing these days,“ Keselowski said. “I think when we get all said and done, and it comes to Homestead and the championship’s crown, whoever wins it will have earned it.

“But one of the great teams that has a shot at winning this will probably be less at home after this series of events, because you don’t control your destiny as much as you do the other races of the season.“

Keselowski concluded the Challenger Round as the points leader. He won the Chase-opener at Chicagoland and then finished seventh at New Hampshire and second at Dover.

Logano, who is Keselowski’s teammate at Team Penske, has done very well in the Chase as well. He won at New Hampshire and finished fourth at both Chicagoland and Dover.

“We have confidence in not just myself but the road crew, the pit crew, everyone is feeling good about what we’ve done,“ Logano said. “Last week (at Dover), we didn’t have the strongest car, but we were able to execute and get a nice, solid top-five out of it. That’s what we have to do the next round, get us some top-fives and get us into the next one. Hopefully, we’ll get a win in these first two races and not have to worry about Talladega.“

Gordon claimed his fourth win of the season at Dover. His first victory in 2014 occurred in the spring race at Kansas. This is the fourth year that Kansas has hosted two Sprint Cup events in a season. No driver has yet to score a season-sweep here.

“We won at Kansas earlier this year, so we’re excited about this weekend,“ Gordon said. “We’d like to get another win to go ahead and clinch a spot in the Eliminator Round, but if we don’t solid finishes this weekend and at Charlotte hopefully put us in a good position before Talladega.“

Gordon leads all drivers with three victories at Kansas. He won the first two Cup races at this track (2001-02).

Tony Stewart, Biffle, Johnson and Kenseth have two wins each at Kansas.

Johnson is attempting to win his record-tying seventh championship in the series. He started the Chase with a 12th-place run at Chicagoland before finishing fifth at New Hampshire and third at Dover.

“I’m ready to get going,“ Johnson said. “These three tracks should be a lot of fun. We feel like we have a really good chance of winning at all three tracks, but the first two would make the experience of the third race of the Contender Round that much more enjoyable.“

Johnson has three wins this season but has not been to victory lane since June 15 at Michigan (14 races ago).

Forty-three teams are on the entry list for the Hollywood Casino 400.

Nationwide Series

Kansas Lottery 300 - Kansas Speedway - Kansas City, Kansas

Time is running out for Regan Smith to catch his JR Motorsports teammate Chase Elliott in the Nationwide Series championship point standings.

With just five races remaining, Elliott, a rookie in the series this season, holds a 26-point lead over Smith.

Nationwide is running at Kansas on Saturday and then Charlotte next week. The series will take a two-week break before the season concludes with Texas (November 01), Phoenix (November 08) and Homestead (November 15).

Four of the final five races will be contested on 1.5-mile racetracks, including Kansas.

On Friday, Smith confirmed that he has signed a one-year contract extension with JR Motorsports, a Nationwide team co-owned by Sprint Cup Series driver Dale Earnhardt Jr., his sister, Kelley Earnhardt Miller, and NASCAR team owner Rick Hendrick. Earnhardt had announced Smith’s new agreement earlier this week on Twitter.

“@ReganSmith and @JRMotorsports just finished the paperwork that keeps him in the 7 car for 2015. Couldn’t be more pleased about this,“ Earnhardt tweeted on Wednesday.

Smith, the driver of the No. 7 Chevrolet, made his Nationwide debut with JRM in the 2012 season-finale at Homestead, a race in which he scored his first career victory in the series. Last year, Smith finished third in Nationwide points. He has scored one win and a series-best 24 top-10 finishes this season.

“Excited to be back,“ Smith said of his contract renewal with JRM. “I’ve been fortunate to have a great place to call home and a great place to race at with good people, good sponsors and fast race cars. As a driver, that’s something you always look for and it’s important. You want to have an opportunity to go out there and showcase what you can do every week, and I’m fortunate enough to have that.

“As bosses, Dale, Kelley and Mr. H. (Hendrick) have been absolutely amazing to me. I’ve learned a lot over the past two years. And I’m sure I will learn a lot more next year.“

One year ago at Kansas, Smith led a race-high 81 laps but ended up finishing third after he was on pit road just before a caution came out and had to rally late in the race.

“The season is really starting to wind down, and now is the time we have to be making gains in the points,“ he said. “At this point, we have to be finishing better than our competition. There isn’t any room left for mistakes or poor finishes.“

Elliott will compete in a NASCAR national touring series race at Kansas for the first time. Two of his three wins in Nationwide this season have occurred on a 1.5-mile track (Texas and Chicagoland).

Forty-three teams are on the entry list for the Kansas Lottery 300. Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth, Matt Kenseth and Paul Menard are those Sprint Cup regulars scheduled to compete in this race. Kenseth is the race defending winner.


Japanese Grand Prix - Suzuka Circuit - Suzuka City, Japan

The 15th round on the 2014 Formula One calendar, the Japanese Grand Prix, is scheduled for Sunday, but it could be a rather wet and windy affair, thanks to Typhoon Phanfone.

Heavy rain and strong winds associated with the typhoon is in the forecast for Suzuka on Saturday, Sunday and Monday. Qualifying for the Japanese GP is scheduled for Saturday. The race at the 3.608-mile (5.807-kilometer), 18-turn Suzuka Circuit is 53 laps in distance.

At this time, F1’s governing body, the FIA, has no plans of canceling or changing the start time of the Japanese GP; however, the FIA will continue to monitor weather conditions in the area throughout the weekend.

F1 is in Sochi, Russia next week for the inaugural running of the Russian Grand Prix.

On Friday, Mercedes drivers and championship rivals Lewis Hamilton and Nico Rosberg were once again the fastest in practice. Rosberg led the way in the opening session with a lap in 1 minute, 35.461 seconds, while Hamilton was just 0.151 seconds behind.

In P2, Hamilton posted the quickest lap of the day in 1:35.078. Rosberg was second in 1:35.318.

“Qualifying is going to be very important, as it is quite difficult to overtake here (at Suzuka),“ Hamilton said. “We don’t know what’s going to happen with the weather this weekend. It’s such a challenging circuit, but we always come to the weekend prepared for everything. I just want to race.“

Hamilton currently holds a three-point lead over Rosberg in the world championship standings. Rosberg relinquished the top spot in the rankings after his retirement in the September 21 Singapore GP. He experienced an electrical problem before the race started, and after completing just 13 laps, the issue had forced him out of the event.

“I had said before that Singapore was probably the toughest moment of my year so far, and looking back on it, I still think that is true,“ said Rosberg, who held a 22-point lead over Hamilton prior to Singapore. “To have the chance for a top result basically taken away before you even reach the grid is hard to swallow, and of course, it was a lot of points lost in the championship battle.“

Hamilton started on the pole and won both the Italian Grand Prix (September 07) and the Singapore GP. He scored a victory in the Japanese GP during his 2007 F1 rookie season, but that race was contested at Fuji Speedway.

“Suzuka is one of the races on the calendar that drivers love the most, and it’s arguably one of the greatest tracks in the world,“ Hamilton said. “There’s so much history, and there have been so many defining moments there - like those unforgettable battles between Ayrton Senna and Alain Prost. I’ve never won at this circuit and have only made the podium once, on my first visit way back in 2009.“

In last year’s race here, Hamilton, in his first season with Mercedes, started third but suffered a puncture in his right-rear tire on the first lap. It caused significant damage to his car, forcing him out of the race after seven laps.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Lewis pushes lead to 2 in Beijing

Stacy Lewis shot 5-under 68 on Friday and she extended her lead to two strokes after 36 holes of the Reignwood LPGA Classic.

Lewis, last year’s runner-up, finished two rounds at 12-under-par 134.

Brittany Lang fired a 7-under 66 to match the low round of the day. She climbed into second place at minus-10.

Caroline Masson and Mirim Lee carded matching 5-under 68s on the par-73 Pine Valley Golf Club. They were joined in third place at 8-under-par 138 by Belen Mozo (69) and Caroline Hedwall (71).

Ilhee Lee (70) and Yanhong Pan (68) are one stroke back at minus-7. Suzann Pettersen also fired a 66 and soared into a tie for ninth at 6-under 140.

Lewis stumbled to a bogey at the first, which was her first dropped shot of the week. She bounced back with birdies on two and three. Another birdie at the fifth pushed Lewis three clear of the field.

From the sixth, she ran off seven straight pars and her lead dipped to one in the stretch. Lang birdied No. 16 to briefly join Lewis in the lead, but Lewis answered with a long birdie putt on the par-3 13th.

Lang made her third straight birdie, a 2-footer at No. 17, to again grab a piece of the lead. Once again, Lewis had the answer.

The world No. 1 rolled in an 8-footer for birdie at the 14th. After a couple of sloppy holes, Lewis dropped her third to the par-5 closing hole within five feet and she drained that putt for a closing birdie that extended her lead to two strokes.

“That’s the thing. I’ve made them at the right time. I’ve had good speed all week. Just had a lot of tap-ins, even when they’re not going in,“ Lewis said of her putting. “It was a day that I just had to stay patient. Even coming in I could have made a few more birdies. Didn’t quite hit the shots around the greens that I needed to. Shot 5-under and made six birdies today, so it’s a good day.“

Lang, who played four groups ahead of Lewis, opened with five pars in a row. She then birdied three of four holes from the sixth en route to making the turn at minus-6.

Around the turn, Lang picked up her fourth birdie of the round at the par-5 12th. Lang poured in three consecutive birdies from No. 15. She could have finished one back, but missed a 7-foot putt for birdie at the 18th.

“I played really well. I like this course a lot. I didn’t get off to the start that I would’ve liked to,“ Lang admitted. “I stuck it close on two and missed it. Made a really good par save on six and then from there just made a ton of birdies. I started dialing in my irons and hitting them close. I’ve been hitting my putter really good for a while now, so kind of an easy, fun day.“

NOTES: Lewis has the 36-hole lead for the 11th time in her LPGA Tour career ... She has won five of the previous 10, two of which came in 54-hole events ... Defending champion Shanshan Feng managed a 2-under 71 and is tied for 39th after two rounds.

►  Jacquelin takes 36-hole lead at Dunhill Links

Raphael Jacquelin made a birdie on his last hole to break away from a five-way tie for first and take a 1- shot lead heading into the weekend at the Alfred Dunhill Links Championship.

Jacquelin, a four-time winner on the European Tour, fired a 2-under 70 at a rainy and windy Kingsbarns Golf Links on Friday. Jacquelin finished 36 holes at 9-under-par 135 and he will play on the Old Course at St. Andrews Saturday.

“I didn’t play that well, and not as well as yesterday, but it was not that easy, a bit of wind, a bit of rain, a bit of cold as well,“ said Jacquelin. “I feel good—it’s a long weekend, a lot of golf to play, so the game of golf it’s not that easy.“

First-round leader Oliver Wilson, who tied the course record on the Championship Course at Carnoustie on Thursday, shot an even-par 72 at Kingsbarns and he is tied for second at 8-under 136. He is joined there by two-time champion Padraig Harrington (70), Alexander Levy (68) and Shane Lowry (70). Like Wilson, Harrington and Levy both played at Kingsbarns, while Lowry was at St. Andrews.

Chris Doak (67), Richie Ramsay (68) and Ryan Palmer (68) also played at Kingsbarns and they are tied for sixth at minus-7.

European Ryder Cup team member and this event’s 2004 champion Stephen Gallacher shot a 70 at Kingsbarns and he is tied for ninth with Gregory Bourdy (71), George Coetzee (67) and Felipe Aguilar (67).

Jacquelin, beginning the day one shot behind the leader Wilson, did not get off to a hot start as he bogeyed the par-4 first hole. After a par at the second, Jacquelin got going as he rattled off three birdies in a four-hole stretch from No. 3.

The 40-year-old struggled a bit around the turn as he made his second and third bogeys of the day on nine and 11, dropping him back to even par for the round. Jacquelin’s score remained that way for a while after five straight pars.

Jacquelin came up big on the final two holes, however, as he drained a birdie on the par-4 17th to join four others at minus-8. The Frenchman made it two in a row with a gain at the last to take the outright lead heading into Saturday.

“I’m pretty happy, especially the way I finished,“ Jacquelin said.“I birdied 17 and 18, so it was good before having dinner and going to rest.“

Harrington, who came close to the course record at Carnoustie Thursday before tripping to two straight bogeys at the end of his round, started on the back nine at Kingsbarns. A pair of pars preceded back-to-back birdies on 12 and 13. Harrington traded a bogey on 15 with a birdie on 16 and he made the turn at 2- under.

Like Jacquelin, Harrington bogeyed the first to fall back to minus-1. Another birdie on No. 6 was canceled out with Harrington’s third bogey on No. 7, but a birdie at No. 9 vaulted him into a tie for second place.

Lowry, who tied for second at the Wales Open, which was his last event, played the back nine first at St. Andrews. Lowry’s opening nine featured three birdies and three bogeys before making three gains and dropping one shot on the back nine to finish off a 2-under day.

After making nine birdies on Thursday, Wilson was much quieter Friday as he made two birdies and two bogeys to finish even par. Levy shot an impressive, bogey-free round, which also included four birdies.

NOTES: There were nine players tied for the lead at one point on Friday ... World No. 1 Rory McIlroy got into contention with a 5-under 67 at Kingsbarns. He is five back at minus-4 ... McIlroy’s European Ryder Cup teammate Victor Dubuisson is also at 4-under after a 69 at Kingsbarns ... Martin Kaymer, another member of team Europe who also won this event in 2010, shot an even- par 72 at Kingsbarns and he is 2-over for the week ... European Ryder Cup captain Paul McGinley (70) is at 2-under along with defending champion David Howell (72).

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Nadal ousted; Djokovic, Murray to meet in Beijing SFs

On-the-mend superstar Rafael Nadal was sent packing on Friday, while four-time champion Novak Djokovic and hot Andy Murray reached the semifinals at the $2.5 million China Open.

Capable Slovak Martin Klizan upended the second-seeded former world No. 1 Nadal in come-from-behind 6-7 (7-9), 6-4, 6-3 fashion in 2 hours, 37 minutes. Klizan broke Nadal’s serve five times on Day 5.

Klizan is now 1-2 lifetime against Nadal, who beat the Slovak in an opening- round affair at Wimbledon in late June.

Nadal, who was playing his first tennis in three months after battling a right wrist injury, was the Beijing champ in 2005 and last year’s runner-up to Djokovic. The Spanish star captured an Olympic gold medal here in Beijing in 2008.

The current world No. 1 Djokovic handled fifth-seeded Bulgarian star Grigor Dimitrov 6-2, 6-4 in 90 minutes to improve to 22-0 at Beijing Olympic Green Tennis Center. Dimitrov saved two match points while trailing 2-5 in the second set.

Djokovic also beat Dimitrov in a semifinal at Wimbledon this past summer.

“It was pretty slow conditions because of the weather,“ Djokovic said. “It’s a bit cold today, which I think suited more to my style of the game. I was trying to mix up the pace, give him high balls to the backhand, serve efficiently. Everything worked well. The second set was up and down. But generally it was a good performance.“

Djokovic beat Nadal in last year’s final for a second straight Beijing title.

The super Serb’s semifinal opponent on Saturday will be the sixth-seeded Murray, who grounded fourth-seeded surprise U.S. Open champ Marin Cilic 6-1, 6-4. The big-hitting Cilic is a two-time runner-up inn Beijing.

Murray will face Djokovic for a 22nd time, with the Serb leading their lifetime series, 13-8. Djokovic has won both their contests this season, in four sets in the U.S. Open quarterfinals and in straight sets in a quarter at the Miami Masters event.

“It’s always difficult against Novak,“ Murray said. “His form here, he’s never lost, which is very impressive. I’m aware it’s going to be an extremely difficult match tomorrow. But it will be very good for me to get that match and see if I can make some improvements from the U.S. Open. If I play like I did at the U.S. Open, I’ll definitely give myself an opportunity in the match. It’s going to be a good test and I look forward to it.“

Murray captured his first title in 15 months with a victory in Shenzhen, China, last week.

Meanwhile, third-seeded 2011 China Open champ Tomas Berdych dropped eighth- seeded towering American John Isner 6-1, 6-4 to reach the final four. Berdych will meet the qualifier Klizan in Saturday’s other semi.

The 2014 Beijing champion will collect $604,000.

►  Serena withdraws; Kvitova, Sharapova into Beijing semis

U.S. Open champion Serena Williams withdrew from the China Open ahead of her quarterfinal match against Sam Stosur due to a left knee injury, while Wimbledon titlist Petra Kvitova and French Open champ Maria Sharapova reached the semifinals in Beijing on Friday.

The top-ranked Williams, who was the defending champion in Beijing, retired from a match last week at the Wuhan Open due to a virus. Her sister, Venus, pulled out of the Beijing draw on Thursday, citing a viral illness.

“I started to feel pain this week,“ Serena said. “It throbs just sitting, standing. I felt it mostly serving because I’m landing on my left knee. That was really killer for me.“

Serena, who captured her 18th Grand Slam singles title at the U.S. Open last month, beat Jelena Jankovic for last year’s Beijing title and also captured this event in 2004.

Stosur, who stunned Serena in the 2011 U.S. Open final, will move on to the semifinals of a premier mandatory-level event for the first time since Indian Wells in 2010.

Meanwhile, the third-seeded Czech left-hander Kvitova topped Italian veteran Roberta Vinci 7-6 (7-2), 6-4 and the fourth-seeded former world No. 1 Sharapova shut down fellow Russian Svetlana Kuznetsova 6-0, 6-4 on Day 7 at Beijing Olympic Green Tennis Center. Sharapova was a Beijing runner-up two years ago. The two-time Grand Slam champion Kuznetsova is a two-time China Open winner and two-time runner-up.

Saturday’s semis will pit Kvitova against Stosur and Sharapova versus ninth- seeded fellow former No. 1 Ana Ivanovic, who received a walkover into the final four when second-seeded French Open runner-up Simona Halep pulled out of the draw because of injury on Thursday.

The hot Kvitova is fresh off her title in Wuhan, China, last week.

The winner of this $5.4 million event will claim $918,000.

►  Raonic, Nishikori reach semis in Tokyo

Two-time finalist Milos Raonic and Japanese hero Kei Nishikori secured semifinal berths at the $1.2 million Japan Open Tennis Championships.

The third-seeded Canadian star Raonic got past Uzbekistan’s Denis Istomin 7-6 (10-8), 6-3, while a fourth-seeded Nishikori raced past Frenchman Jeremy Chardy 6-4, 6-2 on the hardcourts at Ariake Colosseum.

Raonic was tested in the first set against Istomin.

“I struggled a little bit, finding myself at the beginning,“ said Raonic. “I played a good tiebreak, was happy with that. I started imposing myself more and more and really made it count at the end of the set. I wish I could have played better at the beginning, but overall I’ve got to be happy with the way things went.“

The reigning two-time Tokyo runner-up Raonic lost to Argentine Juan Martin del Potro in last year’s finale. The world No. 7 Nishikori was the Tokyo titlist in 2012 and is fresh off his title in Kuala Lumpur last week.

Raonic will meet Frenchman Gilles Simon in Saturday’s semis, while Nishikori will take on 33-year-old German Benjamin Becker. The surging Nishikori has won 13 of his last 14 matches on tour.

Becker overcame American Jack Sock 4-6, 6-1, 6-4, while Simon subdued American Steve Johnson 7-6 (7-4), 6-1 on Day 5.

This week’s winner will collect $296,850.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Lies, Damned Lies and Statistics

Sometimes numbers tell the story, but sometimes they do not. As fantasy owners, we are charged with being able to tell the difference.

Today, as the season has hit the one-quarter pole, we’re going to look at 2014 quarterback statistics to see which ones are helping describe the real landscape and which ones simply confuse the situation.

1) Colts quarterback Andrew Luck is having a great season, throwing for 326.3 ypg with 13 touchdowns.

True. Luck has increased his yards per game by a whopping 87.4 yards and his TD percentage from 4.0 to 7.8 percent.

2) Eagles signal caller Nick Foles is throwing for 293.3 ypg, up from 222.4 last season, so must be having another good season.

False. Foles led the NFL last season in both TD percentage rate (8.5) and lowest interception percentage (0.6), but in 2014 his TD percentage is significantly down (3.6) and his interception rate is up to 2.4.

3) Peyton Manning is having a bad season, passing for just 271.3 ypg, down from 342.3 ypg last season.

False. Did you really expect Manning to keep up last season’s record pace? He’s still on pace to throw for 4,340 yards and in the meantime he’s tossed just one interception against eight touchdowns. He didn’t have Wes Welker for the preseason and the first two games while trying to integrate Emmanuel Sanders into the offense where Eric Decker used to be. And he has barely used his No. 1 weapon, Demaryius Thomas, through three games. Don’t panic fantasy owners, Manning may not hit 2013 levels, but he’s still a top-three quarterback.

4) New England quarterback Tom Brady has become a “game manager” throwing for 73.4 ypg less than a season ago.

True. Except in a Game 1 loss to Miami when he threw a crazy 56 passes in a valiant to pull out a win, Brady is averaging just 27 passing attempts per game. Over the last three seasons he averaged over 39 passing attempts. Unfortunately this may be the new reality because two of the team’s best weapons, Stevan Ridley and Shane Vereen, are running backs.

5) Aaron Rodgers is down 50.2 ypg from a season ago, not even reaching 250 ypg.

Should you be worried? No. Did you see last night’s game against Minnesota? He was too effective and was watching from the sidelines for the whole fourth quarter in a 42-10 blowout. The Packers have played three top passing defenses in Seattle, Detroit and the New York Jets. Rodgers holds one of the best all- time interceptions rates and in 2014 he’s already thrown for 12 touchdowns against just one pick. As he himself said ... “relax.“

►  Three players who will breakout during Week 5

Thursday night was Eddie Lacy’s breakout game, as he failed to rush for over 50 yards in each of his first four games, and totaled one touchdown over that span. Last night against the Minnesota Vikings, Lacy was a bowling ball while breaking tackle after tackle, as he produced 105 yards and two touchdowns on only 13 carries, along with chipping in three receptions for another 27 yards.

Now, which other players who are off to slow starts this season, will breakout in Week 5?

LeSean McCoy, RB, Philadelphia

Most of the football world is baffled by how ineffective McCoy has been thus far, in 2014. Through four games, he has 29 total fantasy points (based on standard league scoring), and has accumulated 29 carries for only 39 yards over the past two weeks. To go along with those rough numbers, McCoy has produced only one touchdown on the year.

Now, the Philadelphia Eagles are dealing with a banged up offensive line, but McCoy deserves some of the blame as well. He is a player who tries to hit the home run on each and every play, and as a result sometimes just needs to take the one or two yards defenses are giving him. Which in turn, will set up bigger plays down the line.

Week 5 should be the week McCoy gets rolling. The St. Louis Rams head into Philadelphia giving up an average off 155 rushing yards per game, which ranks third-worse in the NFL. With Philadelphia looking to get their groove back on offense, they will want to get their star running back going early and often. Fantasy owners should expect a big week from McCoy.

Demaryius Thomas, WR, Denver

Over the past two seasons, Thomas has been a man child of a wide receiver. He produced 94 catches for 1,434 yards and 10 touchdowns in 2012, and 92 receptions for 1,430 yards and 14 touchdowns in 2013. Through the first three games of 2014, however, (he had a bye week during Week 4), Thomas has been far from spectacular, with only 13 catches for 141 yards and one touchdown (21 total fantasy points).

That should change this week against the Arizona Cardinals.

Thomas is far too talented of a receiver, and is on far too talented of a team for him not to continue to produce at a high rate. He is only 26-years-old, and has arguably the greatest quarterback of all-time passing him the ball. So, it is inevitable that Thomas will breakout sometime soon.

That sometime soon will be Week 5. Fresh off a bye, playing at home, and coming off a loss to the Seattle Seahawks, Denver will be ready to play. Look for Peyton Manning to get Thomas going out of the gate, as owners should expect his first 100-yard game of the season, and possibly a multi-score outing as well.

Zach Ertz, TE, Philadelphia

Sticking with some Philly flavor here.

One of the darling sleepers heading into the 2014 fantasy year has been a bit of a disappointment for owners, thus far. Ertz got off to a strong start this season with three receptions for 77 yards and a touchdown during Week 1, as well as four catches for 86 yards in Week 2. However over his past two games, Ertz has been a non-factor, contributing only six receptions for 57 yards and a lost fumble during that span. With Nick Foles looking to get back on track after a dreadful performance against the San Francisco 49ers, look for him to target Ertz over the middle and in the red zone.

With St. Louis giving up an average of 28.3 points per game this season, there will be tremendous opportunity for all of Philadelphia’s offensive weapons to get going. Ertz is part of that crew, and will need to be utilized more in scoring situations. His only touchdown of the season came from 25 yards out, making it essential for Chip Kelly to figure out a way to get Ertz more involved inside the 20-yard line.

Ertz measures in at 6-foot-5, 250 pounds, and is simply a mismatch for opposing linebackers and safeties. Owners need to be prepared for him to be more involved in the passing game, which should result in much better fantasy production.

The Gilmer Free Press


Mountaine East (MEC) Football
Glenville State vs. WV Wesleyan Noon | Buckhannon, WV
West Virginia State vs. Urbana Noon | Urbana, Ohio
Notre Dame College vs. UVa-Wise 1:00 PM | Wise, VA
Shepherd vs. Charleston 1:00 PM | Charleston, WV
Concord vs. Fairmont State 1:00 PM | Fairmont, WV
West Liberty vs. Duquesne 1:00 PM | Pittsburgh, PA

Major League Baseball - Playoffs
Giants at Washington, 5:37 PM - FS1
St. Louis at Los Angeles, 9:37 PM - MLB Network

National Hockey League - Preseason
Detroit at Boston, 5:30 PM - NESN, NHL Network
NY Rangers at New Jersey, 7:00 PM - MSG, MSG+, NHL Network (JIP)
Ottawa at Montreal, 7:00 PM - TSN5, RDS
Calgary at Winnipeg, 8:00 PM - TSN3
Colorado at Los Angeles, 10:00 PM - FS-West, NHL Network
Edmonton at Vancouver, 10:00 PM - SN1
San Jose at Anaheim, 10:00 PM - FS-Prime Ticket, San Diego

Canadian Football League
Edmonton at Toronto, 4:00 PM - TSN,
British Columbia at Hamilton, 7:00 PM - TSN,

College Football
Southern Miss at Middle Tennessee, 12:00 PM - ASN, CSN-Chicago
Iowa State at Oklahoma State, 12:00 PM - FS1
Texas A&M at Miss State, 12:00 PM - ESPN
Purdue at Illinois, 12:00 PM - ESPN 2
SMU at East Carolina, 12:00 PM - ESPN U
Ball State at Army, 12:00 PM - CBSSN
Florida at Tennessee, 12:00 PM - SEC Network
Marshall at Old Dominion, 12:00 PM - FSN, ROOT-Northwest, Pittsburgh, MSG+
Ohio State at Maryland, 12:00 PM - ABC
Virginia Tech at North Carolina, 12:30 PM - ACC Network,, DSS
Penn at Dartmouth, 1:30 PM - FCS-Atlantic
Charlotte at Gardner-Webb, 1:30 PM -
Citadel at Wofford, 1:30 PM -
Eastern Mich at Akron, 2:00 PM -
North Texas at Indiana, 2:30 PM - Big Ten Network
Massachusetts at Miami-Ohio, 2:30 PM -
Montana at North Dakota, 2:30 PM - Cowles Montana Media
Tulsa at Colorado State, 3:00 PM - Mountain West Network
Wake Forest at Florida State, 3:30 PM - ABC Regional, DSS
Stanford at Notre Dame, 3:30 PM - NBC
Ohio U at Central Mich, 3:30 PM -
Oklahoma at TCU, 3:30 PM - FOX
New Mexico at TX-San Antonio, 3:30 PM - ASN, CSN-Chicago
NC State at Clemson, 3:30 PM - ESPN U
Navy at Air Force, 3:30 PM - CBSSN
Wisconsin at Northwestern, 3:30 PM - ESPN 2
Buffalo at Bowling Green, 3:30 PM - ESPN Game Plan,, DSS
Baylor at Texas, 3:30 PM - ABC, DSS
Alabama at Ole Miss, 3:30 PM - CBS
Stony Brook at Towson, 3:30 PM - CSN-Baltimore, Northwest
Oregon State at Colorado, 4:00 PM - Pac-12 Network
Kansas at West Virginia, 4:00 PM - FSN, ROOT-Pittsburgh
Vanderbilt at Georgia, 4:00 PM - SEC Network
UT Martin at Jacksonville State, 4:00 PM -
Northwestern State at SE Louisiana, 4:00 PM - Altitude,
North Dakota State at Western Ill, 4:00 PM - MV TV,
Kent State at Northern Ill, 5:00 PM -
South Alabama at Appalachian St, 6:00 PM -
Hawaii at Rice, 7:00 PM - ASN, CSN-Bay
Toledo at Western Mich, 7:00 PM -
Texas Tech at Kansas State, 7:00 PM - ESPN U
Texas-El Paso at Louisiana Tech, 7:00 PM - FCS
Idaho at Texas State, 7:00 PM -
ULM at Arkansas State, 7:00 PM -
LSU at Auburn, 7:00 PM - ESPN
Memphis at Cincinnati, 7:00 PM - CBSSN
Michigan at Rutgers, 7:00 PM - Big Ten Network
Georgia State at Louisiana, 7:00 PM -
Coastal Carolina at Furman, 7:00 PM -
Richmond at Liberty, 7:00 PM - LFSN,
Central Arkansas at Stephen F. Austin, 7:00 PM -
So Carolina at Kentucky, 7:30 PM - SEC Network
Pittsburgh at Virginia, 7:30 PM - RSN, YES, ROOT-Pittsburgh, SportsTime Ohio
Arizona State at USC, 7:30 PM - FOX
Miami-Florida at Georgia Tech, 7:30 PM - ESPN 2
UC Davis at Portland State, 7:35 PM - ROOT-Northwest, Rocky Mountain
Nebraska at Michigan State, 8:00 PM - ABC
UNLV at San Jose St, 8:00 PM - ESPNews
Ga Southern at New Mexico St, 8:00 PM - FS-Southwest, Arizona+,, DSS
Utah at UCLA, 10:30 PM - ESPN
Boise State at Nevada, 10:30 PM - CBSSN
California at Washington St, 10:30 PM - Pac-12 Network

College Hockey
Michigan vs. Ferris State, 7:37 PM - FCS-Pacific

Major League Soccer
Houston at Red Bull New York, 6:00 PM - NBCSN
FC Dallas at Vancouver FC, 7:00 PM - TSN2, Time Warner-Texas, DSS
Columbus at New England, 7:30 PM - Time Warner-Ohio, CSN-New England, DSS
Toronto FC at Los Angeles, 10:30 PM - TSN, RDS2, Time Warner-Los Angeles, DSS
Portland at San Jose, 11:00 PM - NBCSN

International Soccer
Leeds United AFC vs. Sheffield Wednesday FC, 7:10 AM - beIN Sport
Valencia CF vs. Club Atletico de Madrid, 9:55 AM - beIN Sport
Liverpool vs. West Brom, 10:00 AM - NBCSN
Rayo Vallecano vs. FC Barcelona, 11:55 AM - beIN Sport
Aston Villa vs. Manchester City, 12:30 PM - NBC
AC Milan vs. AC ChievoVerona, 2:40 PM - beIN Sport

EUROPEAN - Alfred Dunhill Links Championship, 8:00 AM - Golf Channel
LPGA - Reignwood LPGA Classic, 11:00 PM - Golf Channel

Auto Racing
SPRINT CUP - Hollywood Casino 400 practice, 11:00 AM - FS1
NATIONWIDE - Kansas Lottery 300, 3:30 PM - ESPN

Horse Racing
Claiborne Breeders’ Futurity/Shadwell Turf Mile, 4:30 PM - NBCSN

Sports News

The Gilmer Free Press

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Jayhawks Fire Weis after Shutout Loss to Texas; owe remaining $7 million

The Dana Holgorsen-Charlie Weis rubber match won’t be happening.

When the Kansas Jayhawks visit West Virginia in six days, they’ll do so without Weis, who was fired Sunday with two years remaining on his five-year contract.

A 23-0 homecoming loss to Texas marked the end of the line for Weis

Kansas athletics director Sheahon Zenger appointed defensive coordinator Clint Bowen as interim head coach.

Weis owned a 6-22 overall mark and was 1-18 in Big 12 games since taking over in 2012.

“I normally do not favor changing coaches midseason,” Zenger said in a statement. “But I believe we have talented coaches and players in this program, and I think this decision gives our players the best chance to begin making progress right away.”

During West Virginia’s first season in the Big 12, the Mountaineers blasted Kansas 59-10 in Morgantown.

Last November, the Jayhawks struck back with a 31-19 victory in Lawrence that snapped a 27-game league losing streak and eliminated WVU from bowl-eligibility.

Since pulling off that upset, Kansas had been outscored 129-13 in four games against power 5 competition.

Weis, who was earning $2.5 million annually, reportedly will be paid the remaining $7 million on his contract.

That’s in addition to his massive Notre Dame buyout, which reports revealed will continue to be meted out through 2015 at a value surpassing $18 million.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Notre Dame’s Weis Buyout May Approach $19 Million

Notre Dame’s current and former football coaches cost it at least $3,142,923 for the 2011 football season, but it’s the tab for the dismissal of ex-coach Charlie Weis that indeed may approach $19 million by the end.

Weis received another buyout payment of $2,054,744 as part of the separation agreement for his firing in 2009, bringing the total amount paid to the ousted Irish coach and current Kansas head coach to nearly $10.8 million, according to federal tax documents the school.

It is the second consecutive payment of $2,054,744 to Weis after the initial payment of $6,638,403 after his firing.

The university is scheduled for “additional annual payments” through Dec. 2015, so four more installments of the same $2 million-plus figure would bring the total to $18,966,867.

Brian Kelly, meanwhile, earned a total of $1,088,179 from the school for a reporting period of July 2011 through June 2012, the documents show.

That likely does not represent the total earnings for the coach that would lead Notre Dame to the national title game in January.

“The current head football coach is permitted to receive compensation from external sources with prior written approval from the University,“ the school noted, income from outlets such as shoe companies that would not have to be reported on the tax forms.

Kelly’s base pay, according to the documents, was $672,608 with “bonus and incentive compensation” of $289,741. Other compensation and benefits brought the total to more than $1 million.

Notre Dame Men’s basketball coach Mike Brey earned a total of $1,407,509 according to the documents.

That includes $687,509 in base salary, bonuses, “other reportable income,“ retirement and deferred money and non-tax benefits, plus $720,000 from Play by Play sports, which is now known as Notre Dame Sports Properties.

Irish women’s basketball coach Muffet McGraw earned a total of $1,145,441, according to the form, with $900,441 in compensation from the school and $245,000 from Play by Play sports.

Notre Dame athletic director Jack Swarbrick earned 1,085,260 from the school, according to the latest forms.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  NFL SCORES Week 4


Final Score: Baltimore 38, Carolina 10

Steve Smith Sr. talked a big game leading up to his first bout with his former team and the veteran receiver delivered, hauling in two touchdown passes to help the Baltimore Ravens crush the Carolina Panthers 38-10 on Sunday. Joe Flacco completed 22-of-31 passes for 327 yards and three scores for Baltimore (3-1), winners in three straight following a Week 1 loss to Cincinnati. Smith, who spent his first 13 seasons with Carolina, took jabs at his former quarterback Cam Newton leading up to the game but backed it up by making seven catches for 139 yards while Newton was subpar for a second straight week. Playing through various injuries, Newton threw for 197 yards and a touchdown on 14-of-25 passing, but struggled in the second half as the game got away from the Panthers (2-2). Justin Forsett and Lorenzo Taliaferro split the carries for Baltimore and combined for 124 yards with one touchdown apiece. Carolina’s DeAngelo Williams left the game in the second quarter with an ankle injury. He and Darrin Reaves gained only 60 total yards on 23 carries.

Final Score: Green Bay 38, Chicago 17

Aaron Rodgers threw for 302 yards with four touchdowns to lead the Green Bay Packers to a 38-17 rout of the Chicago Bears on Sunday. Randall Cobb had 113 yards on seven receptions with two touchdowns and Jordy Nelson hauled in 10 passes for 108 yards and two scores. Eddie Lacy finished with 48 yards on the ground with a rushing touchdown for the Packers (2-2), who avoided their first 0-3 start on the road since dropping their first four in 2005. Jay Cutler passed for 256 yards with two touchdowns and two interceptions for Chicago, which has lost eight of its last nine meetings with Green Bay. Marcellus Bennett had a monster game in defeat, catching nine passes for 134 yards. Matt Forte ran for a season-high 122 yards on 23 carries, while Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery each caught touchdown passes.

Final Score: Houston 23, Buffalo 17

J.J. Watt came up with the play of the day, a tide-turning 80-yard interception return touchdown early in the third quarter that spurred the Houston Texans to a 23-17 win over the Buffalo Bills. The Texans trailed 10-7 at halftime and were in danger of falling behind further after Buffalo linebacker Nigel Bradham intercepted Ryan Fitzpatrick deep in Houston territory to start the third quarter. The Bills got down to the Texans 12 when Watt snuck into the flat and made a spectacular one-handed grab of E.J. Manuel’s short pass attempt, then raced untouched all the way to the end zone for the momentum-shifting score. Later on, Darryl Morris picked off Manuel with just over a minute left to seal Houston’s fourth 3-1 start in the past five seasons. Randy Bullock helped keep the Bills at bay by booting three second-half field goals, including a career-long 55-yarder. DeAndre Hopkins hauled in a 35-yard touchdown pass earlier from Fitzpatrick, who shook off a pair of interceptions to put up 268 yards on a 25-of-37 completion rate. Manuel threw a pair of touchdown passes, including an 80-yarder to Mike Williams in the fourth quarter, but made good on just 21-of-44 attempts for 225 yards. Fred Jackson finished with six catches totaling 52 yards for Buffalo (2-2), dealt a second straight loss after a promising 2-0 beginning.

Final Score: Indianapolis 41, Tennessee 17

Andrew Luck threw four touchdown passes for the second straight week, leading the Indianapolis Colts to a 41-17 victory over the Tennessee Titans on Sunday. Luck completed 29-of-41 passes for 393 yards and an interception for the Colts (2-2), who have won two straight games. Luck was also sharp in last week’s 44-17 rout of the Jaguars. Trent Richardson carried the ball 20 times for 47 yards and a score for Indianapolis, which has won nine in a row against AFC South opponents. Reggie Wayne caught seven passes for 119 yards and one touchdown, while T.Y. Hilton hauled in six passes for 105 yards. With Jake Locker (wrist) out, Charlie Whitehurst connected on 12-of-23 passes for 177 yards, one touchdown and an interception for the Titans (1-3), who have lost three in a row. Whitehurst made his first start since 2011.

Final Score: Detroit 24, NY Jets 17

Matthew Stafford had two touchdown passes and ran for another score, as the Detroit Lions took a 24-17 win over the New York Jets on Sunday. Stafford went 24-for-34 for 293 yards and had touchdown passes to Jeremy Ross and Eric Ebron for the Lions (3-1), who have won their past two games. Star Detroit receiver Calvin Johnson was hobbled by an ankle injury throughout the game and was never a factor, catching just two passes for 12 yards. Geno Smith was 17-for-33 for 209 yards with one touchdown, one interception and one lost fumble for the Jets (1-3), who have lost three straight games—all to NFC North opponents.

Final Score: Miami 38, Oakland 14

If Ryan Tannehill’s status as Miami’s quarterback was questioned this week, he came up with some answers for head coach Joe Philbin as the Dolphins rolled to a 38-14 victory over the Oakland Raiders Sunday at Wembley Stadium. Philbin wouldn’t officially commit to Tannehill as the team’s starter during the week, as the Dolphins (2-2) followed up a stirring season-opening win against New England with subpar efforts in losses to Buffalo and Kansas City. Tannehill’s performance on Sunday should quiet any rumors of backup Matt Moore taking over. Miami’s first-round pick in 2012 completed 14 straight passes at one point Sunday, finishing the contest 23-of-31 for 278 yards with a pair of touchdowns and an interception on a deflected pass. Lamar Miller ran for 64 yards with two touchdowns and the Miami defense was brilliant after allowing a touchdown on Oakland’s first series. The Dolphins picked off three passes and returned a fumble for a score. Raiders rookie quarterback Derek Carr completed 16-of-25 passes for 146 yards with a touchdown and an interception before exiting the contest in the third quarter with a knee injury. Matt McGloin took over and threw for 129 yards with a touchdown and two picks as the Raiders (0-4) suffered their 10th straight defeat dating back to last year. Oakland is winless after four games for the first time since an 0-5 start in 2006.

Final Score: Tampa Bay 27, Pittsburgh 24

Embarrassed a week ago, the Tampa Bay Buccaneers rallied late to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers 27-24 at Heinz Field. Mike Glennon threw a 5-yard touchdown pass to Vincent Jackson with seven seconds remaining in the fourth quarter as Tampa Bay picked up its first win of the season. Glennon, playing in place of Josh McCown (right thumb), was 21- of-42 for 302 yards with two touchdowns and an interception. Louis Murphy caught six passes for 99 yards for the Buccaneers (1-3), who were clobbered 56-14 in Atlanta 10 days ago. Ben Roethlisberger completed 29-of-40 passes for 314 yards and three touchdowns for Pittsburgh (2-2).

Final Score: San Diego 33, Jacksonville 14

Philip Rivers threw for three touchdowns and 377 yards, leading the San Diego Chargers to a 33-14 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday. Rivers completed 29 of his 39 passes, while Eddie Royal caught two touchdown passes and racked up 105 yards on five catches and Keenan Allen had a career- high 135 yards on 10 grabs. Nick Novak made four field goals for the Chargers (3-1), who won their third straight game. Blake Bortles, who was selected third overall in May’s draft, made his first career start, throwing for 253 yards on a 29-of-37 completion rate with a touchdown and two interceptions in the loss. Toby Gerhart rushed for 32 yards on 10 carries with a touchdown and Nic Jacobs added a receiving score for Jacksonville (0-4). The Chargers scored the final 23 points of the game.

Final Score: Minnesota 41, Atlanta 28

Teddy Bridgewater out-gunned Matt Ryan in his first NFL start, passing for 317 yards to lead the Minnesota Vikings to a 41-28 win over the Atlanta Falcons. Bridgewater, who ran for a touchdown but didn’t pass for any, injured his ankle late in the fourth quarter on a drive that ended with the Vikings taking a gamble on fourth down at the 1-yard line. It worked, with Matt Asiata’s touchdown giving the Vikings the lead for good with 10:50 remaining. Asiata scored three times and Jerick McKinnon rushed for 135 yards as the Vikings (2-2) won for the first time in three games since star running back Adrian Peterson was indicted on child-abuse charges and deactivated. Ryan threw for 298 yards, three touchdowns and two interceptions for Atlanta (2-2), which played 10 days after its last game, a 56-14 rout of Tampa Bay on Thursday night. The Vikings, already without Peterson for who knows how long, lost quarterback Matt Cassel to a foot injury he suffered last week against New Orleans and now will wait for MRI results on Bridgewater’s ankle.

Final Score: San Francisco 26, Philadelphia 21

The San Francisco 49ers stymied Philadelphia’s potent offensive attack and had a late goal-line stand, holding off the Eagles 26-21 to hand them their first loss of the season on Sunday. Frank Gore carried the ball 24 times for 119 yards and had a career-long 55- yard touchdown catch for the 49ers (2-2), who avoided a three-game losing streak. Colin Kaepernick was 17-of-30 for 218 yards with two touchdowns and an interception in the triumph. Nick Foles completed just 21-of-43 passes for 195 yards with two interceptions and LeSean McCoy struggled to find holes behind Philadelphia’s makeshift offensive line, running for just 17 yards on 10 carries for the Eagles (3-1).

Final Score: Dallas 38, New Orleans 17

Dallas head coach Jason Garrett was determined to run the ball more in 2014. That renewed focus on the rushing attack is starting to churn out results. DeMarco Murray ran for 149 yards and two touchdowns and the Cowboys routed the New Orleans Saints 38-17 on Sunday night. Aided by an offensive line that has added three first-round selections—Tyron Smith, Travis Frederick and Zack Martin—in the last four years, Murray leads the NFL with 534 yards on the ground. He has gone over 100 yards rushing in each of his first four games. He averaged a healthy 6.2 yards on 24 carries for the Cowboys (3-1), who raced out to a 24-0 halftime lead and never looked back in their third straight win. Dallas moved to 14-1 when Murray runs the ball at least 20 times. Tony Romo was 22-of-29 for 262 yards and three touchdowns, Terrance Williams had six receptions for 77 yards and two scores and Dez Bryant added three catches for 44 yards and a touchdown in the triumph. Drew Brees completed 32-of-44 passes for 340 yards with two touchdowns and an interception and Jimmy Graham hauled in eight throws for 86 yards and a score for New Orleans (1-3), which fell to 0-3 on the road this season.


Final Score: NY Giants 45, Washington 14

The New York Giants may have finally found their tight end of the future. Eli Manning tossed three of his four touchdown passes to Larry Donnell, who became the first Giants tight end to haul in three scores in 52 years, and New York routed the Washington Redskins, 45-14, on Thursday night. New York has employed five different starting tight ends since Jeremy Shockey’s departure in 2007, with the Giants’ leading one averaging 42 receptions for 539 yards during the six-year span. Shockey, meanwhile, averaged 62 catches and 705 yards a season during his six- year stint with the Giants from 2002-2007. Donnell finished with 54 yards on seven receptions for New York (2-2), which has won its last two games after beginning 0-2. Joe Walton was the last Giants tight end to score three touchdowns in 1962. Manning, who also added a score on the ground, completed 28-of-39 passes for 300 yards. Rueben Randle posted eight catches for 89 yards and Victor Cruz caught six balls for 108 yards in the triumph. After going 30-of-48 for a career-high 427 yards and three touchdowns in his first start of the year for the injured Robert Griffin III Sunday against Philadelphia, Kirk Cousins came back down to earth Thursday. He was 19-of-33 with a touchdown and four interceptions—all in the second half. He also lost a fumble. Alfred Morris carried the ball 12 times for 63 yards and a score for the Redskins (1-3), who have lost their last two games.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Jeter Finishes Career with RBI Single

Derek Jeter’s career came to an end Sunday in Boston and the retiring New York Yankees shortstop left the field for the final time after an RBI single.

Jeter was honored by the Red Sox prior to the game and was in the lineup as the designated hitter in his customary No. 2 slot in the batting order.

He hit a stinging line drive off Boston starter Clay Buchholz in the first inning, but it was right at shortstop Jemile Weeks. In the third inning, with a runner on third, Jeter hit a chopper off the plate toward third base and legged out the infield single to chase home Ichiro Suzuki.

Yankees manager Joe Girardi motioned toward Jeter at first to see if he wanted to exit and the Yankees captain trotted off the field for the last time. He motioned toward the Red Sox bench, then shook hands with Buchholz as he headed toward the dugout and received nothing but cheers from the Fenway Park faithful.

Jeter finished his brilliant 20-year career with 3,465 hits—sixth on the all-time list. A 14-time All-Star and five-time World Series champion, he will finish his career a .309 lifetime hitter in 2,747 games.

The New Jersey native was the AL Rookie of the Year in 1996 when the Yankees won their first World Series since 1978 and first of four championships in a five-year span. The last title came in 2009.

Prior to Sunday’s season-finale, the Red Sox held a 30-minute ceremony to honor Jeter.

The Red Sox introduced the Yankees captain to the crowd with the theme to “The Natural” and several Red Sox greats, including Carl Yastrzemski, Jim Rice, Fred Lynn, Luis Tiant, Jason Varitek and Tim Wakefield, came out to greet Jeter.

Three Boston legends from other sports—Bobby Orr of the Bruins, Paul Pierce of the Celtics and Troy Brown of the Patriots—also were part of the ceremony.

Current Red Sox third base coach Brian Butterfield, a coach in the Yankee system when Jeter was in the minor leagues, presented Jeter with a pair of boots from LL Bean, before the entire Red Sox team—led by David Ortiz—came out of the dugout to shake hands with their long-time rival.

Dustin Pedroia gave Jeter a base with a pinstriped No. 2 on top, while Jeter also received a metal placard from the Green Monster with the word “RE2PECT” on it. The team also gave Jeter a check for $22,222.22 for his Turn 2 Foundation.

Pete Frates, a former Boston College baseball team captain diagnosed with Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS) who was largely responsible for the viral impact of this summer’s Ice Bucket Challenge, also joined the ceremony.


Final Score: Cincinnati 4, Pittsburgh 1
Kristopher Negron’s two-run homer capped a three-run eighth inning, lifting the Cincinnati Reds over the Pittsburgh Pirates, 4-1, on Sunday. The Pirates entered the final day of the regular season a game behind St. Louis in the NL Central. Pittsburgh needed to win and have the Cardinals lose against Arizona to force a one-game tiebreaker at Busch Stadium to determine the division champion. But the Cardinals won the division title with the Pirates’ loss. Pittsburgh will host the Giants in the NL wild card game on Wednesday.

Final Score: Washington 1, Miami 0
Jordan Zimmermann threw his first career no-hitter on the last day of the regular season. Steven Souza punctuated it with one of the year’s best catches. Zimmermann struck out 10 to lead the Nationals to a 1-0 win over Miami on Sunday, getting a lot of help from his defense at the end. After Adeiny Hechavarria grounded out to start the ninth inning, center fielder Michael Taylor caught Jarrod Saltalamacchia’s fly ball in front of the warning track for the second out. Christian Yelich then drove a 2-1 fastball to deep left, where Souza raced to track it down for an over-the-shoulder diving catch to end the game. The NL East champions stormed the field after the final out to congratulate Zimmermann (14-5), who allowed just one walk to win his eighth straight decision. It was the franchise’s first no-hitter since moving from Montreal to Washington in 2005. The last no-no thrown by a Washington team was by Bobby Burke for the Senators in a 5-0 win over the Boston Red Sox on Aug. 8, 1931.

Final Score: Atlanta 2, Philadelphia 1
Emilio Bonifacio led off the game with a home run as the Atlanta Braves closed out the season with a 2-1 win over the Philadelphia Phillies at Citizens Bank Park. Bonifacio drove Cole Hamels’ fourth pitch over the wall in left-center field. In his last outing against the Braves on Sept. 1, Hamels pitched the first six innings of a combined no- hitter. The first four Atlanta batters reached against Hamels on Sunday afternoon. After walking Phil Gosselin and giving up consecutive singles to Freddie Freeman and Chris Johnson, Hamels retired 20 in a row until hitting Joey Terdoslavich with two outs in the seventh. Hamels (9-9) was a hard-luck loser after tossing eight strong frames. The Braves (79-83) used a bullpen by committee, beginning with James Russell, after scheduled starter Alex Wood was scratched because of a mild left forearm strain. Russell scattered two hits over four scoreless innings in his first start since 2011. Luis Avilan (4-1) tossed two innings to pick up the win.

Final Score: Chicago 5, Milwaukee 2
Arismendy Alcantara’s two-run double in the sixth inning helped send the Chicago Cubs out on a positive note with a 5- 2 decision over the Milwaukee Brewers in the season finale for both teams. Antony Rizzo added a two-run homer, part of a 3-for-4 day for the Chicago first baseman. Alcantara’s tie-breaking hit made a winner out of Jacob Turner (6-11), who yielded a pair of runs on four hits over five innings, and enabled Chicago (73-89) to end its 2014 campaign with victories in four of its last five games despite a fifth straight last-place finish in the NL Central. Milwaukee (82-80), on the other hand, closed out a brutal final six weeks of its season. Owning a 2 1/2-game lead atop the NL Central on August 19, the Brewers fell out of playoff contention entirely following an 11-25 finish. Mike Fiers (6-5) struck out seven over six innings for Milwaukee, but surrendered four Cubs runs—three of which were earned.

Final Score: San Francisco 9, San Diego 3
Buster Posey hit a two-run homer, and the playoff-bound San Francisco Giants finished the regular season with a 9-3 win over the San Diego Padres on Sunday. Joaquin Arias doubled home two runs in a four-run seventh inning for the Giants (88-74), who will travel to Pittsburgh to play the Pirates in the NL wild card game on Wednesday.

Final Score: St. Louis 1, Arizona 0
Nick Greenwood and four relievers combined to toss a two-hit shutout, and the St. Louis Cardinals blanked the Arizona Diamondbacks, 1-0, on the final day of the regular season. Cy Young candidate Adam Wainwright was scheduled to start for St. Louis, but after the Pirates lost earlier in the day and the Cardinals clinched their second straight NL Central division title, Greenwood was given the ball instead. Greenwood allowed one hit in three innings of work and Justin Masterson (3-3) gave up a hit in two innings for the Cards, who are back in the postseason for the fourth straight season. Marco Gonzales struck out two in three no-hit frames and Carlos Martinez nailed down the second save of his career. St. Louis (90-72) will travel to Los Angeles for an NLDS series with the NL West champion Dodgers. Josh Collmenter tossed a gem for Arizona (64-98) despite the loss, yielding just a run on three hits over eight innings. Collmenter (11-9) set a career- high with 28 starts and 179 1/3 innings pitched this season.

Final Score: NY Mets 8, Houston 3
Lucas Duda hit a two-run home run and drove in four as the New York Mets closed out the season with an 8-3 win over the Houston Astros. Ruben Tejada also hit a two-run home run while Daniel Murphy scored twice for the Mets (79-83), who won their final two games of the season. Bartolo Colon (15-13) allowed three runs on eight hits over six innings to get the win. Max Stassi drove in two runs for the Astros (70-92), who lost five of six to end the season. Nick Tropeano (1-3) allowed four runs on six hits over five innings.

Final Score: Los Angeles 10, Colorado 5
Roger Bernadina came off the bench to hit a homer and knock in four runs, helping the Los Angeles Dodgers wrap the regular season up with a 10-5 win over the Colorado Rockies on Sunday. Adrian Gonzalez and Matt Kemp also homered, with Gonzalez driving in three runs in the win. Zack Greinke (17-8) limited the Rockies to one run over five innings for the Dodgers (94-68), who host St. Louis in the NLDS starting on Friday. Christian Bergman (3-5) took the loss after giving up eight runs—seven earned—on 11 hits over 5 1/3 innings for Colorado (66-96), which dropped its final four games of the season. In a down year for a club ravaged by injuries, the Rockies’ bright spot was Justin Morneau, who sealed up the NL batting title on Sunday with a .319 average. Morneau became the first Canadian to win the title since former Rockie Larry Walker did so in 2001.


Final Score: New York 9, Boston 5

Derek Jeter singled in a run during his final at-bat in a big league uniform and the Yankees sent the future Hall of Fame shortstop into retirement with a 9-5 victory over the Boston Red Sox on Sunday at Fenway Park. Jeter was honored by the Red Sox prior to the game and was in the lineup as the designated hitter in his customary No. 2 slot in the batting order. He hit a stinging line drive off Boston starter Clay Buchholz in the first inning, but it was right at shortstop Jemile Weeks. In the third inning, with a runner on third, Jeter hit a chopper off the plate toward third base and legged out the infield single to chase home Ichiro Suzuki, part of a four- run inning that gave the Yankees a lead they would not relinquish. Yankees manager Joe Girardi motioned toward Jeter at first to see if he wanted to exit and the Yankees captain trotted off the field for the last time. He motioned toward the Red Sox bench, then shook hands with Buchholz as he headed toward the dugout and received nothing but cheers from the Fenway faithful. Jeter finished his brilliant 20-year career with 3,465 hits—sixth on the all-time list. A 14-time All-Star and five-time World Series champion, he will finish his career a .310 lifetime hitter in 2,747 games. Suzuki, likely in his final game with the Yankees, knocked in two runs and Jose Pirela also drove in two during a five-run seventh for New York (84-78). The Yankees won two of the last three in the weekend set and finished second in the American League East. Mookie Betts and Dan Butler each drove in two runs during a five-run seventh for Boston (71-91), which followed up a 2013 World Series championship by finishing last in the AL East for the second time in three seasons.

Final Score: Detroit 3, Minnesota 0

David Price showed why he was so coveted at the trade deadline, leading the Detroit Tigers to their fourth consecutive AL Central title with a 3-0 win over the Minnesota Twins on Sunday. Price (15-12) tossed 7 1/3 scoreless innings, limiting the Twins to just four hits while striking out eight to register the third 15-win season of his career. Detroit (90-72), which entered the day a game ahead of Kansas City, took the division crown in manager Brad Ausmus’ inaugural season at the helm. Ian Kinsler went 3-for-4 with a homer and two RBI and Torii Hunter knocked in a run for the Tigers, who will face Baltimore in the ALDS starting Thursday. Kyle Gibson (13-12) took the loss after allowing three runs on four hits over 7 1/3 innings for Minnesota (70-92), which split the four-game, season-ending series with Detroit.

Final Score: Oakland 4, Texas 0

Sonny Gray tossed a shutout to help the Oakland Athletics clinch the American League’s final wild card spot with a 4-0 victory over the Texas Rangers on Sunday. Gray (14-10) allowed just six hits with five strikeouts to earn the win and snap a string of three straight losing decisions. Jed Lowrie hit a two-run single and Josh Reddick finished with two hits, an RBI and a run scored for Oakland (88-74), which will travel to Kansas City for a one-game playoff on Tuesday. Elvis Andrus had two hits for the Rangers (67-95), who lost two of its final three games. Nick Martinez (5-12) was tagged with the loss after giving up two runs on four hits over 5 2/3 innings in defeat.

Final Score: Seattle 4, LA Angels of Anaheim 1

Michael Saunders drove in two runs as Seattle downed the LA Angels of Anaheim, 4-1, to end the season in a bittersweet victory. The Mariners (87-75) came into the game needing a win and an Oakland loss to force a one-game playoff for the final wild card spot in the American League. Oakland, though, defeated Texas while Seattle was playing to lock up the final playoff spot up for grabs in the majors. Mike Zunino also drove in a pair of runs for the Mariners, who finished the season with four straight wins. Felix Hernandez (15-6) allowed just one hit with sriking out seven over 5 1/3 innings. The Angels (98-64) won the AL West and finished with the best record in the majors. They will play the winner of the Oakland/Kansas City wild card game in the division series starting on Friday. Colby Rasmus (3-2) was limited to just three-plus innings in the start, giving up two runs on three hits and a walk for the Angels, who lost five of their final seven games.

Final Score: Kansas City 6, Chicago 4

Carlos Peguero’s RBI single capped a three- run sixth inning, lifting the Kansas City Royals over Chicago, 6-4, in the final game for retiring White Sox captain Paul Konerko. The Royals, who had already secured their first playoff berth since 1985, entered Sunday’s action a game behind Detroit in the AL Central. The Tigers, however, beat the Twins to win the division. Kansas City (89-73) will host Oakland in the AL wild card game on Tuesday night. The A’s beat the Rangers on Sunday. Konerko went 0-for-3 with two strikeouts on the final day of his 18-year big league career. He started the game by taking his familiar post at first base, then paid tribute to his wife and three children by writing their names in the infield dirt behind the bag. The slugger played five innings on Sunday. The 38-year-old Konerko, who made six trips to the All-Star Game, played his final 16 seasons with the White Sox. He finished his career with a .279 average, 439 homers and 1,412 RBI. Kansas City starter Yordano Ventura allowed four runs on eight hits while striking out six over four innings. Casey Coleman (1-0) tossed a scoreless fifth to pick up the win. Chris Bassitt got the start for Chicago and gave up three runs on eight hits with five strikeouts over five-plus innings. Daniel Webb (6-5) took the loss after allowing two runs on three hits in the sixth. The White Sox (73-89) finished fourth in the AL Central.

Final Score: Cleveland 7, Tampa Bay 2

Zach Walters and David Murphy each went 2- for-4 with a home run to lead the Cleveland Indians to a 7-2 season-ending win over the Tampa Bay Rays from Progressive Field. Walters added a run-scoring double and Jose Ramirez finished with three hits and an RBI for Cleveland (85-77), which broke out with 14 hits as a team after mustering just one run over the series’ first two games. T.J. House (5-3) aided the Indians’ cause by holding Tampa Bay to a run on five hits over the first five innings. Alex Cobb (10-9) wrapped up the Rays’ disappointing 2014 campaign with a subpar start, with the right-hander shelled for 10 hits and four runs in six innings of work. Sean Rodriguez paced Tampa Bay (77-85), which closed out its first losing season since 2007, by going 2-for-4 with a solo home run.

Final Score: Baltimore 1, Toronto 0

Jonathan Schoop’s solo home run was all Baltimore needed, as the Orioles will carry momentum into the postseason following a 1-0 win over the Toronto Blue Jays. The AL East champion Orioles, who already secured the second-best record in the American League, avoided a four-game losing skid to finish the regular season. Schoop’s homer was the 16th of his first full major league season. Miguel Gonzalez (10-9) gave up five hits in five innings in his final tune-up before the postseason. The right-hander is expected to start Game 2 or 3 of the ALDS. Baltimore (96-66) will host AL Central winner Detroit in the ALDS, with Game 1 set for Thursday at Camden Yards. Ubaldo Jimenez struck out the side in an inning of relief as five Baltimore relievers allowed just one hit over the final four innings. Zach Britton nailed down his 37th save of the season, pitching around a leadoff single in the ninth. R.A. Dickey (14-13) took the tough-luck loss after giving up a run on two hits in six innings of work. The knuckleballer had won his last five decisions and failed to reach 15 wins for the second time in his career with the setback. The Blue Jays (83-79) finished the season in third place in the AL East. They haven’t finished in second or higher since 2006.

Final Score: NY Mets 8, Houston 3

Lucas Duda hit a two-run home run and drove in four as the New York Mets closed out the season with an 8-3 win over the Houston Astros. Ruben Tejada also hit a two-run home run while Daniel Murphy scored twice for the Mets (79-83), who won their final two games of the season. Bartolo Colon (15-13) allowed three runs on eight hits over six innings to get the win. Max Stassi drove in two runs for the Astros (70-92), who lost five of six to end the season. Nick Tropeano (1-3) allowed four runs on six hits over five innings.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Kimetto, Tsegaye Win Berlin Marathon Titles

Dennis Kimetto of Kenya and Ethiopia’s Tirfi Tsegaye won the titles at the Berlin Marathon on Sunday.

Kimetto finished in a time of 2 hours, 2 minutes and 57 seconds, setting a world record while becoming the first man to break the 2-hour, 3-minute mark. The old record was 2:03:23 by Kenya’s Wilson Kipsang last year in Berlin.

Fellow Kenyan Emmanuel Mutai finished 16 seconds behind Kimetto, as the two mirrored their finish at the 2013 Chicago Marathon. It was a two-man race, as Ethiopia’s Abera Kuma was 2:59 behind the winner in third.

Tsegaye also beat a countrymate to the wire to win the women’s race, finishing in 2:20:18, nine seconds in front of Feyse Tadese. American Shalane Flanagan was third, 56 seconds off the winning pace.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Gordon Wins Chase Race at Dover

Jeff Gordon clinched a spot in the second round of the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship by winning Sunday’s AAA 400 at Dover International Speedway.

While Gordon moved on to the “Contender Round” in the Chase, A.J. Allmendinger, Kurt Busch, Greg Biffle and Aric Almirola have been eliminated from the playoffs.

Dover was the third and final race in the opening round of the Chase, known as the “Challenger Round.“ Gordon joined Team Penske teammates Brad Keselowski and Joey Logano as those drivers who automatically advanced based on their wins. Keselowski scored the victory in the Sept. 14 Chase-opener at Chicagoland, and Logano took the checkered flag one week ago at New Hampshire.

Gordon entered this elimination race seventh in the Chase point standings. He finished second at Chicagoland but placed 26th at New Hampshire after he cut a tire and slammed into the wall late in that event.

“This is huge,“ Gordon said in Dover’s Victory Lane. “We came in here with a little bit of extra pressure because we weren’t guaranteed to be in. If we hadn’t finished where we were running at New Hampshire last week, it would have been kind of an easy day for us. But all we did was focus on executing as a team and trying to win this race and nothing else.

“It wasn’t about the points. It wasn’t about just squeezing by to get to the next round. It was about making a statement. I don’t know how you make a bigger statement than what this team just did right there.“

Gordon, the driver of the No. 24 Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet, claimed his fourth win of the season and the 92nd of his Sprint Cup Series career. It was also his fifth victory at this one-mile, concrete- surfaced racetrack. His last win here came in 2001, the year he won his fourth and most recent series championship.

“I don’t know what I’ve found, but I think a lot of it has to do with (crew chief) Alan Gustafson and all the guys on this No. 24 team,“ Gordon added. “They’ve been giving me such an awesome race car this year. I’m having so much fun.“

Gordon led two times for a total of 94 laps, including the final 71. He crossed the finish line 4.4 seconds ahead of Keselowski, who had led a total of 78 laps.

The last time Gordon had four or more wins in a season was in 2007 when he finished second in the point standings.

Keselowski finished second and Logano was fourth at Dover.

The other nine drivers advancing to the Contender Round and their finishing positions at Dover were: Jimmie Johnson (3rd), Matt Kenseth (5th), Ryan Newman (8th), Kyle Busch (10th), Carl Edwards (11th), Denny Hamlin (12th), Kevin Harvick (13th), Dale Earnhardt Jr. (17th) and Kasey Kahne (20th).

Kahne made the cut into the next playoff round by only two points over Allmendinger, who finished 23rd. Kahne had been two laps down after he pitted out of sequence earlier in the race.

“I felt like we went four laps down at one point when we pitted,“ Kahne said. “I had a fast car. Luckily, (crew chief) Kenny (Francis) made great calls. The team prepared a great car, so I was fortunate to have that and drive our way back to barely advance.“

Allmendinger, making his first appearance in the Chase, came to Dover 10th in points.

“It’s disappointing to miss it by two points, but we didn’t deserve to be in it with the run that we had,“ Allmendinger said.

Kurt Busch came up six points short after placing 18th.

“You can’t expect to advance running 18th,“ Busch said. “You’ve got to have better lap times every time you go and hit the track. If you’re off, it’s hard to put the car up on your back and run it. I just chalk it up to me not getting the job done. It’s all my fault that we didn’t advance.“

Biffle’s 21st-place run put him seven points behind Kahne.

“This is the way it’s gone all season,“ Biffle said. “We’re just searching for speed and struggled all day today. We’ve worked hard trying to fix our problems, but it just hasn’t come together yet.“

Almirola, also in his first Chase this year, finished 28th and failed to advance by 18 points. Prior to Dover, he was ranked last in the Chase but was just 10 points behind the 12th spot.

“It just didn’t work out for us,“ Almirola said. “I hate it. We picked a bad day to run the way we did, and we can’t blame anybody but ourselves. My car didn’t have any grip. You can’t go fast without grip.“

Harvick started on the pole and dominated most of this race by leading 223 of 400 laps. But Harvick cut his left-front tire on lap 252, which forced the fifth and final caution. he pitted several times for repairs during the caution and fell as far back as 21st.

“A lug nut got in between the wheel and the brake rotor and knocked the vale stem out,“ Harvick said of his incident. “Crazy. Just handing out early Christmas presents to people for winning races that we should be winning…It’s just unbelievable that it can happen.“

Each of the 12 drivers who made it into the next round had their points reset to 3,000 for the next race in the Chase, Oct. 5 at Kansas.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Europe Wins Third Straight Ryder Cup

Jamie Donaldson finished what Rory McIlroy and Graeme McDowell started on Sunday as the Europeans won their third straight Ryder Cup by a 16 1/2 - 11 1/2 margin.

Armed with a 4-up lead with four holes to go, Donaldson stuffed his approach shot at 15 to a foot. Keegan Bradley conceded the birdie and the 4 & 3 win to Donaldson. That moved the Europeans to 14 1/2 points, enough for them to win the coveted trophy yet again.

“Yeah, 7-1 was a huge result out of the two foursomes sessions. If you look historically over the past few years, the Americans have been stronger than us in foursomes, so this was a one off,“ said European captain Paul McGinley. “It really did, it worked incredibly well for us. There’s no special secret for it, it was just one of those things that happened.“

World No. 1 McIlroy was 7-under par through 14 holes at Gleneagles as he cruised to a 5 & 4 win over Rickie Fowler.

“We’ve had a lot of great leaders that have led our team the last few Ryder Cups. (Colin) Montgomerie in 2010, Jose Maria (Olazabal) last time at Medinah and obviously Paul here. I can’t say enough about Paul and his captaincy and how good it’s been,“ McIlroy stated. “I’m delighted that everything worked out so well for him.“

McDowell was 3-down after five holes against Jordan Spieth, then won five of six holes from the 10th en route to a 2 & 1 win.

The two Northern Irishmen earned the first two points for the Europeans, then Patrick Reed got the Americans on the board with a 1-up win over Henrik Stenson.

U.S. Open winner Martin Kaymer beat Bubba Watson, 4 & 2, to put Europe on the brink of victory.

Phil Mickelson and Matt Kuchar won their matches over Scotland’s Steven Gallacher and Thomas Bjorn, respectively, to trim the American deficit to 13-9.

Then last year’s U.S. Open champ Justin Rose battled to a halve with Hunter Mahan to move the Europeans within a half-point of keeping the Cup.

Donaldson and Bradley, who were in the 10th match out, halved No. 14 meaning Europe had at least retained the Cup. Donaldson, who was unaware that his half at 14 guaranteed the Europeans the requisite 14 points to keep the Cup, clinched the Ryder Cup one hole later with his stellar second shot.

After Bradley drained a birdie at the eighth to trim his deficit to 1-down, Donaldson birdied three of four holes from the ninth to push his lead to 4-up.

At 14, Bradley hit a poor chip from left of the green and lagged his birdie try to tap-in range. Donaldson chipped from over the green to nine feet. If that putt fell, the match was over, but he missed.

Donaldson nearly holed his second at 15 and that gave the Cup back to Europe.

“It’s so hard to play your way into the team. I played well for a year, but it took the event before the last one to get in,“ said Donaldson of his win at the Czech Masters that sealed his spot on the team. “Obviously it came down to me to close it out, which is fantastic, but it’s all about the team. The guys have gone so well this week and everybody has played really well. They played their heart out to retain the Ryder Cup, at the end of the day, that’s what its all about.“

Europe ended up winning the singles matches 6 1/2 - 5 1/2, but the foursomes play over the first two days, is where this Ryder Cup was won.

“The real difference was the foursome play. The combined score in foursomes for our team was really, really high compared to theirs. That was the biggest difference in the play this week,“ explained U.S. Ryder Cup captain Tom Watson. “We gave them a shot here in the singles. We made them think about us early in the singles, but they turned it on. But the foursome play separated the two teams.“

McIlroy, the Open Champion and PGA Championship winner, played like the No. 1 player in the world. He was 6-under par through six holes with four birdies and an eagle, and was 5-up. Fowler got one back at seven. McIlroy took the 13th and a par at 14 gave the Europeans their first point of the day.

Spieth flew out of the gate with three wins in the first five holes, just one of which was with a birdie. But, he didn’t win another hole.

After four halves in a row, McDowell won five of six holes from the 10th with three pars and two birdies. Spieth left a birdie putt short at 16 and McDowell claimed the match with an up-and-down par at 17.

“We talked about it in the team room last night, it doesn’t matter if your 4- up or 4-down, try to win the next hole. Try to send a signal to your teammates from the crowd that something good is happening up in front,“ said McDowell. “That’s what drove me on, I just tried to win the next hole.“

Reed and Stenson each won two holes on the front nine. Around the turn, Reed looked to grab control as he took 11 and 12, but Stenson won the 14th with a par and was conceded birdie at 15 to square the match. Reed 2-putted for birdie at 18 and Stenson missed from inside six feet to give the Americans their first point.

“I just tried to play golf. Being my first time in the Ryder Cup, I leaned a lot on the Mickelsons and the Furyks, the guys that have been out here for a while and played multiple Ryder Cups,“ Reed stated. “I went by what they said and enjoyed the day.“

In a battle of two of this year’s major champions, it was all Kaymer. He won four in a row from the third to go 4-up. Watson, the Masters winner, birdied seven to earn his first win, but Kaymer was conceded the eighth. After Watson took 15, Kaymer chipped in for eagle at 16 to seal the match.

Kuchar won four of six holes from the 10th. Bjorn got one back at 11, but Kuchar won the 15th to claim the match.

Moments later, Mickelson wrapped up his win. He and Gallacher split three wins each over the first 11 holes. After three halves in a row from 12, Mickelson made three birdies in a row from 15, all from inside seven feet, to win the match and make it 13-9 Europe.

“I thought the European team played some incredible golf and just beat us,“ Mickelson said. “We had a great formula in ‘08 and I don’t know why we strayed from it. I don’t know why we don’t ever try going back to it.“

Mahan led 15 of the 17 holes, and was 4-up after six. Rose birdied four in a row to square the match at 11. They traded wins before Mahan birdied 14 to go 1-up. Mahan was left of the 18th in two, but hit a poor chip. After he failed to save par, he conceded Rose’s birdie try and the match was halved.

“I think today took a lot out of me being 4-down. Hunter played absolutely awesome today and it took pretty much me digging as deep as I could to find a run in the middle of the round, which I did to square things up,“ Rose stated.

Donaldson won the 15th hole and the match.

Sergio Garcia and Furyk were tight throughout their match. Garcia birdied 15 and eagled 16 to go 1-up. They halved the last two holes to give the Spaniard the match.

Ian Poulter lost a 2-up lead against Webb Simpson, but birdied the 18th to claim a 1-up victory over the 2012 U.S. Open winner.

Jimmy Walker finished a solid first Ryder Cup with a 3 & 2 win over Lee Westwood. Walker led throughout and Westwood won just one hole.

Zach Johnson birdied the 18th hole to halve the final match against Victor Dubuisson.

NOTES: The Europeans have won three Ryder Cups in a row, six of the last eight and eight of the last 10 ... For the week, the Europeans had just three players with losing records, while the Americans had seven ... Furyk became the first American to have 20 losses at the Ryder Cup ... The 2016 Ryder Cup will take place at Whistling Straits in Chaska, Minn.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Murray Rallies Past Robredo for First Title of 2014

Andy Murray saved five match points and outlasted Spain’s Tommy Robredo in three sets to capture the inaugural Shenzhen Open on Sunday.

Murray earned a 5-7, 7-6 (11-9), 6-1 victory for his 29th career title and first since his historic run at Wimbledon in July of 2013.

The 27-year-old Scot underwent back surgery late last year and his best results in 2014 prior to this week were semifinal appearances in Acapulco and the French Open. He was stopped in the quarterfinals of his last four events—Wimbledon, Toronto, Cincinnati and the U.S. Open.

“It’s been a long time since I won a tournament,“ said Murray. “It was an emotional week for me. I managed to fight my way through it, win the title, and hopefully I can win another one before the end of the year.“

Murray will play next week in Beijing and it appeared he would head into that tournament as this week’s runner-up, trailing the second-set tiebreaker 6-2.

Robredo, though, squandered four straight match points as Murray evened it at 6-6. The Spaniard had yet another match point at 7-6, but again failed to convert and Murray managed to win the set. He then dominated the third.

“I got lucky, basically, at the end of the second set,“ Murray said. “I fought hard, tried my best and thankfully managed to turn it around. Tommy had a great tournament. He probably deserved to win the match today. He had the opportunities in the second set, but sometimes that happens in sport. I just tried to fight till the end.“

Robredo fell to 12-9 all-time in finals, including 0-2 this year. He lost to Pablo Cuevas in July at Croatia and hasn’t won a title since claiming the Croatia Open crown in 2013.

“When you finish second in a tournament it’s always great,“ said Robredo. “In a match like today that was so close, it’s tough to accept it. But Andy did a great job. He was pushing right until the end, and in the end he deserved it. It was a good experience to learn from. I will keep working and hopefully next time I can win.“

Murray improved to 4-2 against Robredo, winning each of the last four matches. The two last met in the third round at Wimbledon in 2013, an easy straight-set win for the London resident.

Robredo’s last victory over Murray came at the Metz final in 2007, a three-set win that also resulted in the last hardcourt title for the 32-year-old veteran.

Murray, who improved to 29-14 all-time in finals, earned a first prize of $106,970.

►  Sharapova, Halep, Venus Advance in Beijing

Maria Sharapova, Simona Halep and Venus Williams were among the winners Sunday in the first round of the China Open.

The fourth-seeded Sharapova rolled to a 6-4, 6-1 victory over Kaia Kanepi, while the second-seeded Halep cruised to a 6-1, 6-4 triumph over Barbora Zahlavova Strycova. Williams also won easily with a 6-3, 6-1 decision over Heather Watson.

Sharapova hasn’t won a tournament since beating Halep for the French Open title in June. She had fourth-round exits at both Wimbledon and the U.S. Open, and last week was ousted in the third round at the Wuhan Open by Timea Bacsinszky. Next up for the Russian will be Elina Svitolina.

Halep also suffered an early exit last week in Wuhan, falling to Garbine Muguruza in her first match. That came after a surprising third-round loss at the U.S. Open. She’ll face Chinese wild card Zhu Lin in the next round.

Williams, seeded 16th this week, is coming off a first-round loss last week in Wuhan. Caroline Garcia pulled off the three-set win and could face Williams in the second round this week if she can beat China’s Zhang Shuai on Monday in the first round.

Other winners Sunday included seventh-seeded Angelique Kerber, 12th-seeded Ekaterina Makarova and 15th-seeded Andrea Petkovic. All three advanced in three sets, while 11th-seeded Sara Errani was a three-set loser to Japan’s Kurumi Nara.

Samantha Stosur won a matchup of former Grand Slam champions against Francesca Schiavone, 6-4, 6-2, and Svetlana Kuznetsova held a 6-2, 1-1 lead over Daniela Hantuchova when the Slovakian retired. Kuznetsova won this title in 2006 and 2009.

The tournament features 16 of the top 18 players in the rankings, including world No. 1 Serena Williams. Williams beat Jelena Jankovic for last year’s title and also won the inaugural event in 2004. She’ll play her first-round match Monday against Spanish qualifier Silvia Soler-Espinosa.

►  Nishikori Keeps Benneteau Winless in Finals

Kei Nishikori of Japan captured his third title of 2014 with a straight-set victory over Julien Benneteau in the final of the Malaysian Open, keeping the Frenchman winless in 10 career title matches.

Nishikori, the U.S. Open runner-up, claimed a 7-6 (7-4), 6-4 triumph on Sunday for his sixth career title. He previously won this year in Memphis and Barcelona. In addition to his loss to Marin Cilic at Flushing Meadows earlier this month, he was also beaten by Rafael Nadal in the Madrid final.

Not only did Benneteau drop to 0-10 in finals, he also lost the title match at this event for the third year in a row. Joao Sousa beat him last year and Juan Monaco knocked him off in 2012.

“I tried to play my best and I almost did it,“ lamented Benneteau. “I’m disappointed with the loss, but very happy with the level of my game. It’s hard to keep that level of intensity in every point and every game. I need to improve this to be more consistent.“

Benneteau had a chance to serve for the first set, but Nishikori finally converted a break after missing on his first nine chances. After winning the tiebreaker, Nishikori picked up the only break of the second set, saving two against his own serve.

“It was a really tough start, because he was playing so aggressive,“ said Nishikori. “I was waiting for my opportunity. I had so many break points and I couldn’t take them. In the last game, he got a little bit tight and I took my chance. After that I played much better and I think he was getting a little bit tired in the second set. I tried to raise my level. It wasn’t my best tennis, but it’s good to win like this.“

Nishikori, who picked up a first prize of $165,000, improved to 6-4 all-time in finals and 3-1 lifetime against Benneteau.

The Gilmer Free Press

►  Things We Learned on Sunday of Week 4

When you are playing a bad defense and put up big numbers just as you are supposed to do, it makes this game so much easier for fantasy owners.

For that reason, a special thank you goes to quarterback Philip Rivers and the Jacksonville pass defense.

Rivers was one of eight quarterbacks to throw for at least 300 yards on Sunday. That’s before Drew Brees and Tony Romo take to the field Sunday night.

As we’ve said before, and will likely say many times again of the next dozen weeks - it’s the year of the passing offense.

Below are a few more things we observed.

Carolina at Baltimore

The Panthers were ripped apart last week on the ground, and they were torn to shreds through the air in Week 4.

Joe Flacco completed 22 of his 31 pass attempts for 327 yards and three touchdowns. Steve Smith Sr. had another huge day with seven catches for 139 yards and two touchdowns. He might be the biggest sleeper pick so far in 2014.

Finally, Torrey Smith was fantasy relevant with two catches for 53 yards and a touchdown. He likely will remain a boom-or-bust player. Tight end Owen Daniels filled in nicely for the injured Dennis Pitta with four catches for 43 yards.

The backfield confusion will continue in Baltimore as Bernard Pierce was supposed to start in this game, but failed to touch the ball even once. Justin Forsett carried the ball often in the first half, but with the game out-of- reach in the second half, rookie Lorenzo Taliaferro carried the load in the second half and led the team in carries with 15 for 58 yards.

Forsett was right behind him, though, with 14 carries for 66 yards. Forsett also added three receptions for 31 yards. Each runner had a score.

Carolina adjusted their offensive game plan from a week ago, trying to establish the running game in the first quarter, but DeAngelo Williams left with an ankle injury in the second quarter. He had 11 carries for 34 yards before exiting.

With rookie Darrin Reaves as the team’s only healthy running back, the Panthers offense struggled to move the ball. The Raven blitzers pummeled Cam Newton all day. Newton went 14-for-25 with 197 yards and one touchdown.

For the amount they struggled to move the ball, the Carolina receivers posted respectable fantasy numbers. Jerricho Cotchery caught five passes for 80 yards and Kelvin Benjamin also had five catches for 76 yards and a touchdown. Benjamin led the team with nine targets and is clearly becoming Newton’s favorite target.

His other favorite target, Greg Olsen, was disappointing with two grabs for 30 yards.

Green Bay at Chicago

Aaron Rodgers told everyone to relax. We agreed with him, and we hope fantasy owners did too. Rodgers completed 22-of-28 passes for 302 yards and four touchdown passes.

He spread the ball around evenly between his two star wideouts as Jordy Nelson had 12 targets and Randall Cobb received nine. Cobb caught seven balls for 113 and Nelson had 10 catches for 108 yards as each had two touchdowns.

No other receiver had more than three targets. Tight end Richard Rodgers finished third with 52 receiving yards on two catches. He is on the fantasy radar, especially with all the injuries to tight ends around the league. At this point, however, he is only worth a roster spot in very deep leagues.

Head coach Mike McCarthy called Eddie Lacy out in the media this week, and his running back responded with 59 yards from scrimmage and a touchdown. He could have scored again, but the drive stalled inside the 5-yard line due to penalties. On the other hand, Lacy wasn’t very efficient as he averaged just 2.8 yards per carry, but it was nice to see him touch the ball 18 times and get into the end zone.

Chicago moved the ball extremely well in the first half as Jay Cutler threw for 173 yards and Matt Forte rushed for 80 more yards, but it fell apart in the second half. As soon as the Bears fell behind, Cutler started forcing throws and tossed two interceptions in the third quarter. We’ve certainly seen that story line before. Besides the two picks, Cutler finished 22-of-34 for 256 yards and two touchdowns.

Cutler’s two big receivers, Brandon Marshall and Alshon Jeffery, caught a touchdown a piece. Marshall boxed out another cornerback for a red zone touchdown and Jeffery scored on a play where he went in motion like it was a reverse, but then turned around and was wide open on a wide receiver screen. Other than the scores, however, the two receivers combined for just 58 yards receiving.

Tight end Martellus Bennett had another big day with nine catches and 134 receiving yards. He led the Bears offense in targets with 11 and nearly scored on the last play of the first half but was stopped near the goal line.

Forte had 23 carries for 122 yards and five catches for 49 yards. It was nice to see him awaken from his slumber.

Buffalo at Houston

JJ Watt continues to be an animal, as he is all over the field. However, his aggressive play actually hurt the Texans in the first quarter, by committing two personal fouls, which kept Buffalo drives moving. His first quarter stats went into the history books as three total tackles and two personal foul penalties.

Speaking of Mr. Watt, after his QB Ryan Fitzpatrick threw an interception, Watt defused the situation by picking off E.J. Manuel, mainly in self-defense, and returned it 80 yards for his first-ever defensive touchdown (he had a receiving touchdown in Week 2).

Manuel did throw two touchdowns on the day, but did not play a good game overall. He was sacked five times and threw two costly interceptions that played a hand in determining the final score. Manuel must find a way to become a more consistent player.

Buffalo’s rushing attack continues to frustrate fantasy owners as well. C.J. Spiller did have 60 yards on 15 carries, as well as 24 receiving yards, but is still handcuffed by Fred Jackson (seven carries for 33 yards, six catches for 52 yards). Until one of these guys is out of the lineup, it is difficult to rely on either of them, at least from a fantasy perspective.

While fantasy owners were happy to have Arian Foster back in their lineups, he failed to make much of an impact. He did have seven catches for 55 yards, but also had eight carries for a dreadful six yards.

Fitzpatrick led the Texans in rushing on the day ... with 14 yards.

Now from a passing viewpoint, Fitzpatrick was inconsistent, but did just enough. He threw for 268 yards, one touchdown, and two interceptions. The biggest play was to DeAndre Hopkins in the second quarter, which resulted in a 35-yard touchdown pass and catch.

An unsung hero on the day for Houston, was kicker Randy Bullock. Not only was he 3-for-3, but he also hit two clutch field goals in the fourth quarter, from 55 yards and 50 yards, respectively.

Tennessee at Indianapolis

After grabbing an early 7-0 lead on Trent Richardson’s first rushing touchdown of 2014, the Colts decided to try some trickery. They went for, and succeeded, with an onsides kick. Indy wasted little time scoring, as Andrew Luck got his big fantasy day started with his first touchdown pass to Dwayne Allen.

If the onside kick was the play that really did get Luck going, then Chuck Pagano needs to consider using that play more. Luck posted four touchdowns for the second consecutive game and now has a league-leading 13 on the season.

Luck’s counterpart, Charlie Whitehurst, played as advertised, passing for 177 yards and one touchdown, as well as an interception.

What was not expected, was the fact that Whitehurst led the Titans in rushing with 40 yards. After seeing a stat like that, it’s official ... the Titans have serious rushing issues.

One Titans receiver continues to produce. Delanie Walker hauled in five catches for 84 yards and a touchdown. He is clearly Tennessee’s top receiving threat.

When you want to discuss receiving threats however, look no further than Indianapolis. Reggie Wayne and T.Y. Hilton came to play today. Wayne finished with seven catches for 119 yards and a touchdown, while Hilton produced six receptions for 105 yards.

You would think the passing game would open up the ground game for the Colts, but that was not the case on Sunday. Richardson and Ahmad Bradshaw combined for 29 carries and only 79 yards. The rushing situation in Indy is simply not ideal for fantasy owners right now.

Detroit at New York Jets

Recent free agent signee Alex Henery paid dividends right away with a 51-yard field goal in his first attempt with the Lions. Nate Freese had been 0-for-4 from 40 yards or more.

Calvin Johnson isn’t healthy, that’s for sure. He wasn’t on the field for a number of third and long situations, including one that allowed Jeremy Ross to catch a 59-yard touchdown pass.

Eric Ebron sighting. He scored his first career NFL touchdown on a nice pass down the seem for a 16-yard score. It’s just another indicator that Megatron is a decoy because of his bad ankle.

Miami at Oakland

The rift between coach and quarterback didn’t hurt Ryan Tannehill’s performance in the first half as he went 17-for-19 for 204 and two touchdowns. He didn’t do much in the second half, but nothing was needed.

Lamar Miller ran well, including a pair of scores. Isn’t it a shame the Dolphins can’t play the Raiders’ defense every Sunday? I believe that’s a thought that comes up nearly every Sunday night.

Darren McFadden proved once again he has nothing left in the tank. With Jones- Drew in uniform, but not doing much, McFadden managed just 40 yards on the ground.

Oakland used both Derek Carr and Matt McGloin, both neither had anything for the Dolphins defense.

James Jones is a good garbage-time receiver and he gets plenty of that with the Raiders.

Tampa Bay at Pittsburgh

Mike Glennon may have just taken the job away from Josh McCown even when he gets healthy after a great comeback win against the Steelers. He threw for 302 yards and two scores, including the game-winner to Vincent Jackson.

Wide receiver Louis Murphy was a clutch second-half asset after rookie Mike Evans (groin) was knocked out of the game, grabbing six balls for 99 yards.

Vincent Jackson has scored in back-to-back games.

The Bucs sacked Ben Roethlisberger five times in the first half. They only had four in the first three games. Big Ben still threw for 205 yards and two touchdowns at the half. He finished with 314 yards and three scores which any fantasy owners will take.

Mike Evans showed why he’s going to be tough to handle in the end zone on the Bucs first touchdown. He was simply to big and strong for the Steelers’ defender.

Another big afternoon for Antonio Brown. He’s proving to be elite as he’s now added touchdowns to his repertoire. He’s already got five this season.

Jacksonville at San Diego

It took 217 rushing attempts, but the Jaguars finally ran one into the end zone. Toby Gerhart got in from a yard out.

Same offense, different quarterback. With Blake Bortles starting 15-of-17 for 149 yards the Jaguars scored 14 early points, but that’s all they could muster.

As expected, Philip Rivers had a big day against a bad defense. He was 16- of-18 for 206 yards and two scores ... in the first half. He finished with 377 yards and three scores.

When did Eddie Royal become a fantasy stud?

Answer: Last week in the first of two consecutive games with a pair of touchdown catches. Sunday he added a yardage bonus for any fantasy owners brave enough to start him.

Wideout Keenan Allen got healthy just in time and caught 10 of 11 targets for 135 yards.

Don’t be mad about the poor outing from Donald Brown (10 carries for 19 yards). It’s just too easy to pass against the Jaguars. Maybe next weekend against the Jets.

Atlanta at Minnesota

Earlier this week I said Matt Asiata was no Adrian Peterson. Perhaps he took my words to heart as he looked very Peterson-like with two first half touchdowns. He added a third one early in the fourth quarter to give the Vikings a 35-28 lead they would never give up.

Asiata capped three drives, but it was Jerick McKinnon who was the explosive back with 135 yards on 18 carries.

Through the first two drives rookie QB Teddy Bridgewater was looking like Joe Montana, going 6-for-6 and leading his team to 14 points. The Vikings’ third touchdown of the first half was a Bridgewater 13-yard run as he led the team to 24 first-half points. he finished with 317 passing yards, but didn’t play in the final two drives with an ankle injury.

Why are we just seeing Jarius Wright in Week 4? Why were the Vikings hiding him? Today he caught eight balls for 132 yards.

Devin Hester isn’t just for special teams anymore. He’s scored on offense in each of the last two games to go along with last weekend’s punt return.

The most explosive back in Atlanta isn’t Steven Jackson or Jacquizz Rodgers it’s Antone Smith. Too bad he doesn’t get enough work.

Philadelphia at San Francisco

The 49ers defense throttled the Eagles offense, but Philadelphia led 21-13 because of their D/ST. They did the same in the second half, holding Philadelphia without a second-half point.

Eagles defense/special teams made an rare appearance Sunday, with three scores. They started with a blocked punt for a touchdowns, then a “pick six” by Malcolm Jenkins and an 82-yard punt return by Darren Sproles. Unfortunately, the Eagles defense doesn’t get many starts by fantasy owners based on past history.

LeSean McCoy continued to struggle and after four games, it’s no longer a fluke, it’s a trend.

Injury-prone Michael Crabtree was sidelined early in this one. We should be getting used to this by now. The 49ers, fortunately picked up Stevie Johnson and Brandon Lloyd in the offseason. (Crabtree did return to the game.)

You knew the 49ers would remember to call Frank Gore’s number again this week and he rebounded in a big way rushing for the 100-yard bonus and catching a 55-yard touchdown pass.

The Gilmer Free Press


National Football League
New England at Kansas City, 7:30 PM - ESPN

National Hockey League - Preseason
Philadelphia at NY Rangers, 7:00 PM - MSG, NHL Network
Toronto at Detroit, 7:30 PM - FS-Detroit, LEAFS TV
Pittsburgh at Minnesota, 8:00 PM - ROOT-Pittsburgh
Winnipeg at Edmonton, 9:00 PM - TSN3
Arizona at Vancouver, 9:00 PM - NHL Network (JIP), SportsNet

International Soccer
Udinese Calcio vs. Parma FC, 12:55 PM - beIN Sport
Stoke vs. Newcastle, 2:55 PM - NBCSN
US Citta di Palermo vs. SS Lazio, 2:55 PM - beIN Sport

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