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Sports Digest: JMG named beneficiary for 2020 Beach to Beacon 10K

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ROAD RACING

JMG – a nonprofit that partners with Maine public middle and high schools, as well as colleges and universities to help students successfully transition through the stages of their education – has been named the beneficiary for the 2020 TD Bank Beach to Beacon 10K.

JMG programs are hosted within Maine’s public schools, and classes and year-round activities are led by specialists serving as mentors and educators.

The TD Charitable Foundation will provide a $30,000 donation to JMG and has donated more than $690,000 to Maine charities since the inception of the race in 1998.

“Community and business partnerships are an essential component of JMG’s success,” said Craig Larrabee, President and CEO of JMG. “We are so appreciative of TD Bank and the TD Bank Charitable Foundation’s long-standing support of our work, and are honored to be selected as the beneficiary of this iconic race.”

GOLF

PGA: Matt Kuchar shot a 7-under 64, matching his best score at Riviera and giving him a three-shot lead in the Genesis Invitational at Los Angeles.

Tiger Woods was 4 under through eight holes and had to settle for a 69.

K.H. Lee and Russell Henley also played bogey-free and were at 67, along with Wyndham Clark from the morning wave. Adam Schenk and Harold Varner III each had 67 in the afternoon under a little more breeze and greens that were bumpier from so much foot traffic during the day.

LPGA: Jodi Ewart Shadoff shot a 7-under 66 to take a three-stroke lead over defending champion Nelly Korda in the first round of the Women’s Australian Open  at Adelaide, Australia.

FOOTBALL

NFL: The Pittsburgh Steelers are confident quarterback Ben Roethlisberger’s surgically repaired right elbow will be ready to go in time for the 2020 regular season, so confident there are no plans to look around for a proven veteran backup just in case.

GM Kevin Colbert said “all signs are good” regarding Roethlisberger’s rehab from an elbow injury that sidelined the two-time Super Bowl winner in the middle of Week 2 and forced him to miss the remainder of 2019. The Steelers finished 8-8 without him while jockeying between second-year quarterback Mason Rudolph and rookie undrafted free agent Devlin Hodges.

•  The Tennessee Titans have started working on their long list of pending free agents by agreeing to a one-year extension with tight end Anthony Firkser.

COLLEGES

WOMEN”S BASKETBALL: Kaila Charles scored 21 points, and No. 10 Maryland (21-4, 12-2) turned a showdown for first place in the Big Ten into a full-fledged blowout by taking charge early against 17th-ranked Iowa (20-5, 11-3) and coasting to 93-59 home victory.

• Freshmen Aliyah Boston and Zia Cooke had 13 points apiece and No. 1 South Carolina (24-1, 11-0 Southeastern Conference) overcame a sluggish start before rolling over visiting Auburn (8-14, 2-9) 79-53 for its 18th straight victory.

SOCCER

COPA DEL REY: Real Sociedad beat second-division club Mirandes 2-1 at home in the first leg of their semifinal.

The second leg will be played in the first week of March at Mirandes.

ITALIAN CUP: Cristiano Ronaldo scored a late penalty to help Juventus salvage a 1-1 draw at 10-man AC Milan in the first leg of their semifinal.

The second leg will be March 4.

SPEEDSKATING

WORLD CHAMPIONSHIPS: Martina Sablikova of the Czech Republic and Ted-Jan Bloemen of Canada won individual gold medals on the first day of the ISU World Single Distances Speedskating Championships at the Utah Olympic Oval at Kearns, Utah.

The Netherlands set a world record in women’s team sprint, finishing in 1:24.02. The previous record was 1:24.84, set by Russia in 2017.

Bloemen claimed gold in the men’s 5,000 meters with a time of 6:04.37.

Sablikova finished in 3:54.25 to win the women’s 3000 meters.

BASKETBALL

WNBA: The Seattle Storm signed Breanna Stewart.

After missing the 2019 WNBA season because of a ruptured right Achilles tendon, Stewart made her return to the court on Jan. 27, 2020, as a member of the United States women’s national team in an exhibition game against her alma mater, Connecticut.

• The Atlanta Dream added more size and experience to their front line by signing two-time WNBA All-Star forward Glory Johnson.

The 29-year-old Johnson, who was a free agent, has averaged 12 points and 7.7 rebounds through seven seasons with the Tulsa/Dallas franchise. The 6-foot-3 forward averaged 7.3 points and 5.3 rebounds last season for Dallas.

TENNIS

ST. PETERSBURG LADIES TROPY: Petra Kvitova advanced to the quarterfinals at St. Petersburg, Russia, by beating Alison van Uytvanck 7-6 (1), 1-6, 6-2.

Kvitova will next play Ekaterina Alexandrova , who upset seventh-seeded Donna Vekic 6-1, 7-5.

SKIING

WORLD CUP: Thomas Dressen won his second men’s downhill in two weeks, keeping his slim chance for the discipline title alive.

The German speed specialist nearly skied out halfway through his run at Saalbach-Hinterglemm, Austria, but recovered and edged then-leader Beat Feuz by two hundredths of a second.

Dressen’s third win of the season and fifth overall came 12 days after he triumphed in his home race in Garmisch-Partenkirchen.


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U.N.L.V. Ends San Diego State’s Unbeaten Streak

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SAN DIEGO —Elijah Mitrou-Long scored 19 points, including two free throws with 11.5 seconds left, and U.N.L.V. handed No. 4 San Diego State its first loss of the season, a 66-63 defeat on Saturday, ending the Aztecs’ 26-game winning streak.

San Diego State, which had been the only remaining undefeated men’s team, erased most of a 14-point deficit when it pulled to within 64-63 on Malachi Flynn’s 3-pointer with less than 20 seconds left. Mitrou-Long was fouled by Matt Mitchell with 11.5 seconds left and made both free throws.

Flynn missed a contested 3-pointer with 3.3 seconds left and the ball went to the Runnin’ Rebels (15-14, 10-6 Mountain West Conference). After a long pass down the court, Mitchell ended up with the ball and his desperation shot at the buzzer fell short.

San Diego State (26-1, 15-1) unveiled a banner for winning the regular-season conference championship before the game and then looked nothing like the team that raced to the best start in program history. The Aztecs trailed by 14 midway through the second half and were down 11 with 4:32 remaining.

They were uncharacteristically porous on defense and sloppy on offense, missing easy shots and committing careless turnovers.

San Diego State had been projected as the No. 1 seed in the East Region in the N.C.A.A. tournament by ESPN’s Joe Lunardi. Providing the Aztecs do not falter again, the loss could keep the Aztecs in the West as the No. 2 seed. Gonzaga is the projected No. 1 seed in the West, where the regionals will be at Staples Center in Los Angeles.

The Aztecs will drop from their No. 4 spot in the Top 25, which matched the highest ranking in school history. The Top 25 was also shaken by No. 3 Kansas’ 64-61 win over No. 1 Baylor.

U.N.L.V.’s Amauri Hardy scored 17 points, and Bryce Hamilton added 11 points and 10 rebounds.

Flynn scored 24 points, Mitchell had 13 and Jordan Schakel had 10 for San Diego State.

The Aztecs pulled within 62-60 on Flynn’s two free throws with 1:47 left and Arop Aguek’s layup with 25.6 seconds left. Mitrou-Long then made two free throws with 19.9 seconds left for a four-point lead.

Hardy’s jumper gave U.N.L.V. a 44-30 lead three minutes into the second half before San Diego State pulled within seven. But Hardy then made a free throw and a layup to put the Runnin’ Rebels back up by double digits.

U.N.L.V. took advantage of numerous breakdowns by the Aztecs to take a double-digit lead midway through the first half and were up 37-25 at halftime after a steal and dunk by Mitrou-Long.

San Diego State never led after going up 14-13 on a Flynn 3-pointer, and then allowing U.N.L.V. to go on a 10-0 run. Mitrou-Long started it by converting a 4-point play when he hit a 3-pointer and was fouled by Flynn.

The Aztecs’ only points in a four-minute span were two free throws apiece by Mitchell and Flynn. U.N.L.V. kept connecting, though, getting a bank shot by Hamilton and a 3-pointer by Mitrou-Long to take its first double-digit lead, 28-18 with 7:12 before halftime.

San Diego next hosts Colorado State on Tuesday.U.N.L.V. will play Boise State in its home finale on Wednesday.

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New Hockey Folk Hero, David Ayres

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That was quite the story tonight. Carolina could really bond over this game and the result. For Ayers, he has a story for the ages as he gets the victory.

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NCAA tournament bubble watch: Providence, Memphis help cause

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Three weeks away from Selection Sunday means NCAA tournament bubble teams are feeling the pressure to bolster their profiles in hopes of keeping their postseason hopes alive. 

Here’s a look at which teams enhanced and stained their résumés the most in Saturday’s action. 

PROFILE WINNERS

Providence: The Friars (16-12) started the day as one of the “last four in” the projected field of 68. Their 84-72 home victory over Marquette (and Markus Howard’s 38 points) moved them closer to the safety zone. Providence’s NCAA profile is peculiar in the sense that it features four résumé-staining Quadrant 4 losses. However, it also showcases seven Quadrant 1 victories, which is more than any bubble team. 

STATEMENT WIN: Kansas makes case as NCAA tournament’s top No. 1 seed

Memphis: The Tigers (19-8) picked up a much-needed 60-59 win over fellow bubble team Houston. Memphis has regrouped with two consecutive wins after losing three in a row before that. This victory alone over a Houston squad leading the American Athletic standings won’t push coach Penny Hardaway’s team into the projected field of 68 because a NET score in the 60s doesn’t do any favors, but beating Houston counts as a marquee win, which Memphis was desperately lacking on its résumé. 

Arkansas: The Razorbacks (17-10) are currently on the outside looking in as a bubble team that needs to keep winning to have a shot at the NCAAs. So beating SEC foe Missouri 78-68 on Saturday was necessary to keep those hopes alive. Arkansas only has a 4-9 record in league play (the committee doesn’t look at that), but has a top-50 NET score, top 15 non-conference strength of schedule and no Quad 3 or Quad 4 losses on its profile. 

Syracuse: The Orange (15-12) have a way to go to really enter the at-large bid discussion but winning games it should like Saturday against Georgia Tech will only help that cause. Syracuse’s NET score in the 60s isn’t good and neither are just two Quadrant 1 wins on the NCAA portfolio. But if Syracuse can pick up a couple of marquee victories in the final weeks of ACC play, it’s in business to push to the right side of the bubble. 

PROFILE LOSERS 

Purdue: The Boilermakers (14-13) fell 71-63 to Michigan at home in a must-win game to stay in the NCAA tournament hunt. It’s the fourth consecutive loss for Purdue, which now slips further to the wrong side of the bubble with a near-.500 record. The Boilermakers have an appealing NET score of 34 (and the committee has proved in the past how much it harps on this) and no horrible losses to go with four Quadrant 4 wins. But if there aren’t enough wins on the profile, it won’t matter.

Florida: The Gators (17-10) entered the day as a projected No. 11 seed and Saturday’s 65-59 loss to Kentucky won’t change that seed line. But if it gets close on Selection Sunday the loss could matter considering it would’ve given UF a résumé-lifting Quad 1 road win. Florida has a NET score in the 30s an top-15 strength of schedule, but it’s also one bad loss away from drifting to the wrong side of the bubble. 

Rhode Island: The Rams (19-7) fell in overtime to Davidson 77-75 and could potentially see their seeding line dip from No. 10 to a less safe No. 11. Rhode Island has an exceptional NET score in the low 30s but also owns only one Quadrant 1 win on its résumé. Another Quad 2 win over Davidson would have helped offset those profile shortcomings. 

Richmond: The Spiders (20-7) had won five in a row to leapfrog to one of the “last four in” the projected field this February. But mid-majors don’t have much room for error — meaning Saturday’s 75-71 loss to St. Bonaventure will likely shove Richmond out of the field. A NET score in the 40s is decent, but only two Quad 1 wins means the committee will already be harping on one portfolio shortcoming. 

North Carolina State: The Wolf Pack (17-10) came up with a huge win over Duke earlier this week, but couldn’t pull off another Quadrant 1 victory in falling to Florida State 67-61. A NET score in the 50s is the biggest profile flaw right now if the committee conducted a blind resume test. But adding to N.C. State’s five Quad 1 wins would have catapulted the Wolf Pack much further to the safety zone. Expect them to stay at the No. 10 seed line. 

Mississippi State: The Bulldogs (17-10) lost to SEC foe Texas A&M after starting the day as one of the “first four out” on the projected bracket. Expect MSU to slip further to the wrong side of the bubble after this road loss. It’s not a résumé stain, but it is a loss that makes the next few weeks look bleak as far as tournament hopes go. Ben Howland’s team needs to start winning or it’s NIT. 

Oklahoma: The Sooners (16-11) lost to Oklahoma State 83-66 and as a result will take a hit from a projected No. 10 seed to a No. 11 seed — which is much closer to the wrong side of the bubble than fringe teams would prefer. Even though it was a road loss, now this puts OU in a position of needing to enhance its credentials in the final two weeks of the regular season. This team has a NET score in the 40s but is drastically lacking in the Quadrant 1 win department with just one. 

***

NCAA tourney explainer:

  • Quadrant 1 wins: Home games vs. 1-30 NET teams; Neutral-site games vs. 1-50 NET; Away games vs. 1-75 NET
  • Quadrant 2 wins: Home games vs. 31-75 NET; Neutral-site games vs. 51-100 NET; Away games vs. 76-135 NET
  • Quadrant 3 wins, losses: Home games vs. 76-160 NET; Neutral-site games vs. 101-200 NET; Away games vs. 136-240 NET
  • Quadrant 4 wins, losses: Home games vs. 161-plus NET; Neutral-site games vs. 201-plus NET; Away games vs. 241-plus NET

Note:  Mostly all statistical data are used from USA TODAY Sports veteran bracketologist Shelby Mast. WarrenNolan.com and the NCAA’s NET rankings are also a reference point. 

Follow college basketball reporter Scott Gleeson on Twitter @ScottMGleeson.

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