Archive for the ‘College Basketball’ Category

Kemba Walker scores 33 to lead UConn over Cincinnati 69-58 and into Sweet 16

March 20, 2011

Star point guard Kemba Walker scored 33 points to lead the 3rd-seeded Connecticut Huskies to a 69-58 victory over 6th-seeded Cincinnati in a West Region NCAA tournament game Saturday night at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.

Walker, a national player of the year candidate, scored inside and out, hitting three 3-pointers and making all 14 of his free throw attempts, most of them after driving into the lane.  Walker also grabbed six rebounds and dished out five assists.

To read the rest of my article on Examiner.com, click here.

 

Butler stuns No. 1 Pitt 71-70 behind Mack’s 30 points, Howard’s last second free throw

March 20, 2011

Pitt's Gilbert Brown missed a free throw with 1.4 seconds left that could have beaten Butler. Photo by Mike Frandsen.

This was March Madness with a surprise ending. Butler did it again.

Eighth-seeded Butler shocked top-seeded Pitt 71-70 in an NCAA Southeast Region tournament game Saturday night that featured a bizarre ending, with each team giving the other one a chance to win it on free throws in the final seconds.

Shelvin Mack scored 30 points for Butler, but it was a free throw by Matt Howard with 0.8 of a second remaining that provided the difference for the Bulldogs over the Big East regular season champion Panthers in front of 18,684 at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.

Howard was the hero in the opening round, giving Butler a win over Old Dominion by scoring a last second layup. This time it appeared that it was teammate Andrew Smith’s turn to score the game’s final points.

With 9.2 seconds remaining and Pitt leading 69-68, the Panthers were called for a shot clock violation.

After each team called timeout, Mack passed the ball to Shawn Vanzant, who threw the ball into Smith in the lane.  The 6-11 sophomore center then banked the ball in off the right side of the glass for a layup to give Butler a 70-69 lead.

Then all hell broke loose.

With each team out of timeouts, Pitt senior forward Gilbert Brown caught a pass near midcourt along the left sideline.  With 1.4 seconds remaining, Mack inexplicably fouled Brown, bumping him in the shoulder.

Brown made the first shot, but having a chance to win the game, his second shot rolled off the rim, leaving the score tied at 70.

Howard grabbed the rebound and tossed the ball toward the basket. Somehow, Nasir Robinson reached up and made contact with Howard, fouling him with 0.8 of a second to go.

An eerie mix of cheers and gasps filled the Verizon Center as the crowd realized what had just happened. Butler would have a chance to win in regulation instead of going to overtime.

Howard calmly sank the free throw for Butler, and intentionally missed the second, giving the Bulldogs an improbable 71-70 upset victory, unlikely because of the way it ended.

Butler (25-9), one year removed from playing in the National Championship game, was going back to the Sweet 16.  Pitt (28-6), picked by many to win the tournament, was bitterly disappointed and headed home.

To read the rest of my article on Examiner.com, click here.

Cincinnati Bearcats defeat Missouri Tigers 78-63, will face UConn Saturday in D.C.

March 18, 2011

Cashmere Wright of Cincinnati runs the offense for the Bearcats, who will face UConn Saturday in the NCAA tournament. Photo by Mike Frandsen.

The sixth-seeded Cincinnati Bearcats used a stifling defense and a strong front line to easily handle the 11th-seeded Missouri Tigers 78-63 in a West regional game Thursday night at Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.

Yancy Gates led the Bearcats with 18 points and 11 rebounds and Dion Dixon scored 16 for Cincinnati.  Point guard Cashmere Wright added 11 points and seven assists for the Bearcats.  Ricardo Ratliffe led Missouri with 13.

After the Tigers jumped out to a 9-2 lead, Cincinnati (26-8) took its first lead at 20-19 midway through the first half and never looked back. Cincinnati led 39-28 at halftime.

To read the rest of my article on Examiner.com, click here.

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UConn Huskies dominate Bucknell in NCAA tournament 81-52, Kemba Walker: 18 points, 12 assists

March 18, 2011

Connecticut Coach Jim Calhoun. Photo by Mike Frandsen.

The 3rd-seeded Connecticut Huskies used a 12-0 run late in the first half to break the game open and ease past the 14th-seeded Bucknell Bison, 81-52 Thursday in a West region opening round game at the Verizon Center in Washington, D.C.

To read the rest of my article on Examiner.com, click here.

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Seth Greenberg’s Virginia Tech Hokies robbed again, fail to make NCAA tournament

March 13, 2011

Five teams from Virginia made the NCAA tournament, but Virginia Tech wasn’t one of them, and Georgetown qualified for the fifth time in the last six seasons.

Coach Seth Greenberg’s Virginia Tech Hokies were robbed for the third time in four seasons, failing to make the NCAA tournament despite a winning record in the Atlantic Coast Conference. As the end of the selection show drew near, the unthinkable was happening.  A winning record in the ACC is usually a lock for the NCAA tournament.

The Hokies also failed to make the tournament in 2008 and 2010 after having winning records in the ACC.   The Hokies (21-11, 9-7 ACC) lost their final two regular season games but redeemed themselves by defeating Georgia Tech and Florida State in the ACC tournament.  The Hokies also had a signature win against top-seeded Duke, a team that had only four losses in 34 games.

The Hokies beat NCAA tournament invitees Florida State (twice) and Penn State, although it appears that a March 5 loss to Clemson may have been the difference between the Hokies and Tigers getting in. Clemson also had a 9-7 conference mark. Hokie seniors including guard Malcolm Delaney (18.6 points per game) and forward Jeff Allen (13.6 points and 10 rebounds) will leave Virginia Tech never having played in the NCAA tournament.

Teams from the Washington, D.C. metropolitan area and Virginia that made the tournament include Georgetown, George Mason, Hampton, Old Dominion, Richmond, and Virginia Commonwealth.

To read my article on Examiner.com, click here.

 

Will Terps be NIT-bound? Maryland loses to Virginia Tech at home, 74-57

January 21, 2011

This was embarrassing.  It doesn’t matter that Virginia Tech is better than usual and Maryland is young.  It doesn’t matter that the Hokies may finish the season in the Top 25.

Maryland lost by 17 points to a football school at home Thursday, falling to Virginia Tech, 74-57.

At least the game was on TV.  Maryland football fans had to squint at their computer screens last season to see some of the Terps’ football games.

For a team that won the national championship in 2002, the Terps have fallen hard.  If Maryland fails to make the NCAA tournament this year, it will be the fourth time in the last seven seasons Maryland will go to the NIT.

After Maryland won the national title, instead of challenging Duke and North Carolina for ACC supremacy, Maryland slipped back to the also-rans of the conference, which is to say the Terps have been pretty good but not great.  It’s as if the Terps didn’t think they belonged with the ACC’s best.

Instead of capitalizing on increased exposure by getting star recruits, Maryland’s recruiting became worse after the title than it was before, when the Terps had stars like John Lucas and Tom McMillen in the 1970s; Albert King, Buck Williams and Len Bias in the 1980s; Walt Williams, Joe Smith and Keith Booth in the 1990s; and Dixon, Baxter and Blake in the early 2000s.

When Greivis Vasquez was selected at the end of the first round last summer by the Memphis Grizzlies, it was the first time since Dixon in 2002 that a Terp was picked in the first round of the NBA draft.

Vasquez, who scored 41 in a win last year over the Hokies, led the Terps to the NCAA tournament in three of his four seasons, but only once, in 2010, did Maryland make the field convincingly.

And don’t buy into the fake, overhyped “rivalry” that Maryland allegedly has with Duke.  Guess what Gary’s record is against Mike Krzyzewski?  He has beaten Coach K 12 times in 49 games.  Despite a handful of incredible games, that’s not a rivalry – it’s a joke.

Of course, the Terps are in the Washington, D.C. area, so naturally they stink.  If it’s not the Wizards (0-20 on the road), it’s another failed season for the Redskins and Nationals, another playoff upset by the Caps, and a lost season by D.C. United.

To read the rest of my article on Examiner.com, click here.

 

2010 DC sports year in review: great regular season for Caps, not much else to cheer about

January 7, 2011

Stephen Strasburg struck out 14 in his major league debut in 2010. Photo by Mike Frandsen.

2010 was another typical year for D.C. area sports teams. That is to say, there wasn’t a whole lot to cheer about, other than a great regular season by the Capitals and some above-average seasons by local college teams.

2011 may end up being brighter for the Redskins, Capitals, Nationals, Wizards, D.C. United, Maryland and Georgetown, but first Examiner.com takes a look back at the year in D.C. sports that was 2010.

Redskins

It was a disappointing debut for coach Mike Shanahan, whose Redskins finished 6-10, losing seven of their last nine games.  Shanahan traded a second and a fourth-round pick to Philadelphia for Donovan McNabb, who had his worst season since his rookie year.

Capitals

The Caps won the President’s Trophy for the most points in the NHL during the regular season, but then crashed and burned in the playoffs, losing to the eighth-seeded Montreal Canadiens in seven games.

Nationals

The Nats finished with a losing record (69-93) for the fifth time in their six-season existence.  Rookie phenom Stephen Strasburg did not disappoint, striking out 14 in his major league debut en route to a record of 5-3 and an ERA of 2.91 with 92 strikeouts in 68 innings.

To read the rest of my article on Examiner.com, click here.

NBA Draft: Wizards get Wall with top pick, Hoyas’ Monroe goes to Detroit, Terps’ Vasquez to Memphis

June 24, 2010

As has been expected ever sinceWashington won the NBA Draft Lottery last month, the Wizards selected Kentucky point guard John Wall with the first selection in the draft Thursday night.

Also in the first round, former Georgetown center Greg Monroe was selected seventh by the Detroit Pistons and former Maryland point guard Greivis Vasquez was taken 28th by the Memphis Grizzlies.

Vasquez, Maryland’s second all-time leading scorer, jumped up and down when his name was called and hugged his parents. Vasquez told ESPN, “We have a great roster. Rudy Gay and O.J. Mayo…I just can’t wait to get to training camp and work hard. This means a lot to me and my country back in Venezuela.”

The only other time the Wizards had the number one pick was in 2001 when they selected Kwame Brown right out of high school, but Brown turned out to be a bust. Wall, however, is expected to be close to a sure thing. He averaged 16.6 points and 6.5 assists during his only season at Kentucky and was a Consensus First Team All-America.

To see the rest of my article on Examiner.com, click here.

Remembering Len Bias: Former Terrapin basketball superstar died of a cocaine overdose 24 years ago

June 19, 2010

The photo from this Washington Post article on Bias during his junior year is faded, but memories of Bias remain for Maryland fans.

Twenty-four years ago today something happened that was so shocking that it was hard to fathom that it really took place.

On June 19, 1986, University of Maryland basketball player Len Bias died of a cocaine overdose.

The scene that morning, as documented in news reports, was surreal and tragic as family members and teammates learned the news after gathering at Leland Memorial Hospital in Riverdale.

Kirk Fraser recounted the story of Bias’ death in an ESPN documentary, 30 for 30: Without Bias.

See the rest of my article at Examiner.com here.

See highlights of Bias here.

Lady Luck! Washington Wizards get top pick in NBA Draft Lottery, chance for John Wall of Kentucky

May 19, 2010

Lady Luck visited the Washington Wizards Tuesday night. She was Irene Pollin, the widow of former Wizards owner Abe Pollin.

After years of frustration in the NBA draft lottery, the Washington Wizards struck gold and won the top pick.

Irene Pollin wore Abe Pollin’s 1978 Washington Bullets NBA championship ring for good luck to the lottery selection show in Secaucus, New Jersey.

Click here to read the rest of my article on examiner.com.