Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category
(Springfield) – The Missouri State University basketball program has announced that leading scorer Marcus Marshall, recently suspended for violation of team rules, has been dismissed from the team.
Marshall, a Minnesota native, was suspended for what the school called ‘repeated acts of defiance.’
It’s thought Marshall who was scoring 20 points per game for the Bears, will transfer to another school following the season.
(West Plains) – With just over three minutes remaining in the game, it looked as if a homecoming victory wasn’t in the cards for the Missouri State University-West Plains Grizzly Basketball team Saturday night, but they overcame a 16-point deficit to defeat the Three Rivers Raiders Saturday. Brian Ingalls has the update:
Again, the final score was 83-81 in favor of the MSU-West Plains Grizzlies.
Also, the Homecoming King and Queen were crowned Saturday. Lance Parker of Dixon and Emily Yeager of Dora were named king and queen. Parker, a sophomore, was sponsored by the Grizzly Cheer Team, while Yeager, a sophomore, was sponsored by Tri-Lambda.
(West Plains) – Three Rivers Community College basketball coach Gene Bess was honored on Saturday at the MSU-West Plains Grizzly homecoming game for his winning record.
Bess became the first college basketball coach to reach 1,200 victories. Bess led the Raiders to national junior college championships in 1979 and 1992, and also coached longtime NBA star Latrell Sprewell in the early 1990s.
Bess was honored by Congressman Jason Smith (MO-8), who gave Bess a copy of the congressional record with his recognition before the game Saturday, January 17.
(Cedar Falls) (AP) – Northern Iowa is off to a 16-2 start in large part because it’s among the deepest teams in the country.
But the Panthers also have a bona fide star in Seth Tuttle, who showed Sunday why he’s among the nation’s most underrated big men.
Tuttle scored 22 points with 10 rebounds and No. 23 Northern Iowa cruised past Missouri State 60-46 on Sunday for its fifth straight win.
“He’s playing at a high level right now,” Northern Iowa coach Ben Jacobson said. “He’s making a lot of good plays.”
Deon Mitchell had 11 points for the Panthers (16-2, 5-1 MVC), who moved into a tie for second place in the Valley with Indiana State with the win.
Northern Iowa made quick work of the overmatched Bears (8-10, 2-4), who only dressed nine players.
The Panthers pushed a 12-point halftime lead to 47-30 midway through the second half and won by double digits for the fourth consecutive game.
Austin Ruder had 13 points for Missouri State, which played its second game without suspended star Marcus Marshall.
It was clear from the opening possession that the Panthers were focused on feeding Tuttle in the post.
Missouri State simply had no way of stopping him.
Tuttle had 16 points in the first half – nearly all of them from inside 5 feet – and Northern Iowa moved ahead 32-20. Despite a sloppy start to the second half, the Panthers were able to push their lead to 60-39 as Tuttle picked up his 18th career double-double.
“He’s a great player,” Missouri State coach Paul Lusk said of Tuttle. “If you stay one-on-one on him, he’s going to score. He’s got tremendous footwork.”
Marvin Singleton scored 10 points with nine rebounds for Northern Iowa, which sits a game behind No. 13 Wichita State (16-2, 6-0) in the Valley.
The Panthers and Shockers meet for the first time on Jan. 31 in Cedar Falls.
“Our defense has been improving,” Mitchell said. “We’ve just playing a lot more aggressive.”
Northern Iowa: President Barack Obama visited Cedar Falls for a speech on Wednesday. He referenced the Panthers by saying that “most folks learned a few years ago that when March rolls around, you do not bet against UNI” – a nod to their win over top-ranked Kansas in the 2010 NCAA tournament. The Panthers played that clip from Obama moments before tip-off.
Missouri State: Marshall, the team’s leading scorer at 19.5 points per game, was suspended on Wednesday by Lusk for detrimental conduct. The school announced Friday that Marshall will transfer to another school at the end of the spring semester. Marshall’s departure left the Bears without a starter averaging more than 8.5 points a game.
Northern Iowa outrebounded Missouri State 37-26. The Panthers also matched their win total from 2013-14 with 12 games left in the regular season.
Jacobson delayed the start of his post-game press conference so he and everyone else in the media room could catch the end of the NFC Championship Game. “Hey, I’m a sports fan too,” Jacobson said.
Northern Iowa hosts Indiana State on Wednesday.
Missouri State hosts No. 13 Wichita State on Wednesday.
by RB Fallstrom, AP Sports Writer
(St. Louis) (AP) – After undergoing yet another MRI exam on top of countless X-rays and CT scans, Michael Wacha joked that if there were many more medical tests in his immediate future his body might start to glow.
The right-hander, a top-of-the-rotation talent when healthy, is the St. Louis Cardinals’ biggest offseason question mark on the pitching staff because of unknowns that come with an unusual injury called a stress reaction.
He’s not the only one, with ace Adam Wainwright coming off what the team terms minor elbow surgery and lefty Jaime Garcia iffy coming off unproven thoracic outlet surgery to relieve nerve compression.
For now, the NL Central champions project confidence there’s more than enough pitching to make another run to the postseason.
General manager John Mozeliak and team chairman Bill DeWitt both said at the team’s Winter Warm-Up fan festival this weekend that they’re not in the market for a high-dollar addition such as Max Scherzer or Cole Hamels.
“No. A lot’s been written about that, though, huh?” Mozeliak said. “A lot of rumors, a lot of speculation. Obviously, we have been an organization that tends to be opportunistic if something should arise.
“At this point, no, we’re not actively shopping.”
Wainwright, a 20-game winner for the second time, was so sore at the end of last season and the elbow so overworked, his wife had to help him open jars of food.
“My masculinity took a hit at the end of the year,” Wainwright said. “I can open jars now, though. You want me to?”
Wainwright also noted proudly that he began playing catch this winter on the “exact same day.”
“So, I’m on schedule and until I hear otherwise I’m just going to proceed as I normally would,” Wainwright said.
The Cardinals are also minus a starter from last season with Shelby Miller traded to Atlanta to acquire outfielder Jason Heyward, a move necessitated by the death of top prospect Oscar Taveras. But they believe there’s plenty of depth behind a rotation of Wainwright, Wacha, Lance Lynn, John Lackey and Carlos Martinez.
Lefty Marco Gonzales followed Wacha making the jump from first-round draft pick to the rotation in one year, and Tyler Lyons also has starting experience.
After signing autographs to benefit the team’s charitable foundation, Cardinal Care, the 23-year-old Wacha said he’d been asked about his status “just a couple million times.”
Wacha is optimistic he’ll be able to handle a heavy innings load next season without changing anything mechanically.
“Everything’s been feeling good this offseason with my workouts, my training, my throwing program,” Wacha said. “It’s an exciting time for sure, feeling good and strong and excited about spring training coming up.”
Wacha didn’t pitch much after being sidelined in mid-June and was 5-6 with a 3.20 ERA in 19 starts. He made four starts in September, only once lasting five innings, and in his lone postseason appearance surrendered the game-winning homer in the NL championship series to the Giants.
“I wanted to be out there in that situation,” Wacha said. “As a competitor, that’s when you want to be out there, when the game’s on the line and everyone’s depending on you.
“Everything felt good, the arm felt strong. Just made a bad pitch.”
As a rookie in 2013, he was 4-0 against the Pirates and Dodgers, leading the Cardinals to the World Series. This offseason, it took “a little while, for sure” to get over that last pitch.
“Baseball’s a game of forgetting. Usually you’ve got a game the next day,” Wacha said. “It just kind of gives you a little bit more motivation.”
Mozeliak said “the feedback’s been extraordinarily positive” about Garcia. One rib was removed during the procedure last summer.
The surgery wasn’t a success for former Cardinals ace Chris Carpenter, who was forced to retire, but Garcia is several years younger.
“I don’t want to make of it,” the general manager said. “I don’t want to put too much pressure on him or on the club.”
By HOWARD FENDRICH, AP Sports
WASHINGTON (AP) — Max Scherzer will become the highest-paid right-handed pitcher in the major leagues after agreeing to a $210 million, seven-year contract with the Washington Nationals that includes a record $50 million signing bonus.
A person familiar with the negotiations outlined the terms to The Associated Press on Monday, speaking on condition of anonymity because the deal hadn’t been announced.
Scherzer, the 2013 AL Cy Young Award winner for the Detroit Tigers, will receive the money over 14 years, which will lower its present-day value.
The 30-year-old right-hander’s contract is the second-largest for a pitcher, behind only Los Angeles Dodgers lefty Clayton Kershaw’s $215 million, seven-year deal that runs from 2014-20. The previous high for a righty was the $180 million, seven-year agreement from 2013-19 signed by Justin Verlander, another Cy Young Award winner for the Tigers.
Scherzer, who played for Detroit the past five seasons before becoming a free agent, turned down an offer from the Tigers last March that would have paid him $144 million from 2015-20, an average of $24 million per year.
Scherzer’s signing bonus tops the previous high of $30 million for any player, given by the Cubs to pitcher Jon Lester this offseason. Scherzer plans to establish residency in Florida, which would shield his signing bonus from D.C. income tax, the person familiar with the negotiations said.
The Nationals will lose what would have been the 27th pick in June’s amateur draft, while the Tigers will gain an extra pick after the first round.
All in all, for the Nationals, it’s a surprising move to upgrade an already imposing rotation after a relatively quiet offseason for the NL East champions.
Scherzer was 18-5 with a 3.15 ERA in 2014, a year after going 21-3 with a 2.90 ERA and being voted the best pitcher in the American League. He now joins a club whose starting staff in 2014 included Stephen Strasburg, Jordan Zimmermann, Doug Fister — Scherzer’s former teammate with the Tigers — Gio Gonzalez, and Tanner Roark.
That group already was considered among the best — if not the best — rotation in the majors. The question now is what move could come next for the Nationals, who might pursue a trade.
Zimmermann went 14-5 with a 2.66 ERA and 182 strikeouts in 199 2-3 innings in 2014, and he threw the first no-hitter in Nationals history on the last day of the regular season. But he can enter free agency after next season.
Last season, Strasburg was 14-11 with a 3.14 ERA and 242 strikeouts in 215 innings; Fister was 16-6 with a 2.41 ERA; Gonzalez went 10-10 with a 3.57 ERA, and Roark went 15-10 with a 2.85 ERA in 198 2-3 innings.
Gonzalez, third in NL Cy Young Award voting in 2012, is the only left-hander in the bunch.
By ARNIE STAPLETON, AP Football writer
ENGLEWOOD, Colo. (AP) — Gary Kubiak has signed a four-year contract to coach the Denver Broncos.
He replaces John Fox, who was ousted a week ago following Denver’s 24-13 playoff loss to Indianapolis.
Kubiak’s relationship with general manager John Elway goes back 32 years, when they entered the NFL together in 1983. Kubiak spent nine seasons as Elway’s backup quarterback and 11 more as Denver’s offensive coordinator, including the final four years of Elway’s Hall of Fame career.
Elway said in a statement: “Having coached on three Super Bowl teams and 11 playoff teams, Gary knows what it will take to deliver another world championship” to Denver.
Kubiak went 63-66 as coach of the Texans from 2006-13.
By HOWARD FENDRICH, AP Pro Football writer
The NFL is investigating whether the New England Patriots deflated footballs that were used in their AFC championship game victory over the Indianapolis Colts.
“We are looking into it,” league spokesman Brian McCarthy wrote in an email to The Associated Press on Monday. “We do not have anything further to add at this point.”
The inquiry was first reported by the website for WTHR-TV in Indiana, citing an unnamed source.
The Patriots have come under scrutiny with regards to NFL rules in the past, most infamously when they were punished for videotaping sideline signals used by the New York Jets during a 2007 game. Coach Bill Belichick was fined $500,000, and the team was docked $250,000 and stripped of its 2008 first-round draft pick.
According to the NFL rule book, home teams are responsible for furnishing playable balls at all time. Each team brings 12 primary balls, while home teams are required to also bring 12 backup balls.
Once the referee makes sure the footballs are properly inflated, they’re delivered to ball attendants provided by the home team.
The league’s game operations manual notes: “If any individual alters the footballs, or if a non-approved ball is used in the game, the person responsible and, if appropriate, the head coach or other club personnel will be subject to discipline, including but not limited to, a fine of $25,000.”
Deflating a football could change the way it would be gripped by a player or the way it travels through the air.
The Patriots beat the Colts 45-7 to reach the Super Bowl. New England will play the defending champion Seattle Seahawks for the NFL title at Glendale, Arizona, on Feb. 1.
In Sunday night’s lopsided AFC finale, quarterback Tom Brady threw for three touchdowns and running back LeGarrette Blount gained 148 yards while scoring three touchdowns to send New England to its sixth Super Bowl in the past 14 years.
Colts quarterback Andrew Luck had his worst game as a pro, completing only 12 of 33 passes for 126 yards, no touchdowns and two interceptions.
On his regular weekly morning-after-game appearance Monday on WEEI radio, Brady said he wasn’t aware of the report about the league’s investigation into whether footballs were properly inflated against Indianapolis.
“I think I’ve heard it all at this point,” Brady said with a laugh.
“That’s the last of my worries,” he said. “I don’t even respond to stuff like this.”
by Warren Mayes, AP
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Now that Jason Heyward has joined the St. Louis Cardinals, he’s open to sticking around for a while.
Heyward was traded from Atlanta to St. Louis in mid-November. The 25-year-old outfielder is set to make $7.8 in the last season of his contract.
“For me, I hope I love it so much I won’t have to leave,” Heyward said at the Cardinals’ fan convention, where he signed autographs Saturday.
“That’s the way you want to love your job. I love the game of baseball. For me, I’m always going to go out there and give 110 percent. I feel like if I love it that much, it’s a good fit,” he said.
Atlanta decided he was not going to be a good fit. The Braves dealt the former first-round pick to be sure to get something in return in case he became a free agent.
St. Louis needed a right fielder after top prospect Oscar Taveras was killed in a car crash in the Dominican Republic shortly after the season ended. The Cardinals traded pitcher Shelby Miller and minor league pitcher Tyrell Jenkins to the Braves for Heyward and reliever Jordan Walden.
Heyward hit .271 last season with 11 home runs and 59 RBIs. He led off for most of last season but also batted fifth.
Heyward is regarded as one of the top defensive outfielders in baseball and got his second Gold Glove last season.
The deal, he was, didn’t shock him.
“I wasn’t surprised. If I was traded, I knew I could end up anywhere,” Heyward said. “So for me, it was more common sense that I was going to an organization that has a great mindset, a positive atmosphere, a good fan base that understands the game of baseball. That’s something I feel like can benefit me.”
Heyward said he is open to negotiating a new contract during the season.
“I couldn’t tell you how any of that is going to go. Right now, I just know I’m looking forward to getting settled in with my teammates, fitting in,” Heyward said. “The goal for me, and I feel like everyone involved, is to be playing in October for a World Series. If all that takes care of itself, then I feel like a lot of good things will come from it, not any negatives.”
He said he has no preconceived notions on how contract talks would go with St. Louis.
“As this point, I don’t. They asked me to be here and I was traded into this situation, and it’s a good situation,” Heyward said. “For me, I just feel like I need to show up and do my job, kind of follow their lead with certain things. Me, I’m going to show up everyday and look to play the game the right way and have fun doing it.”
“After that, we’ll see what happens. It’s kind of a unique situation because this is my last year before free agency.”
Heyward got his introduction to St. Louis and its fans at an event Friday that included manager Mike Matheny, principal owner Bill DeWitt Jr. and team president Bill DeWitt III.
Heyward brought his parents, Eugene and Laura, with him to St. Louis for the weekend.
It was important, he said, that they accompany him.
“You don’t know how long this is going to last, baseball,” Heyward said. “This is a dream they helped me realize and made a lot of sacrifices for. They wanted to share that moment with me, a new experience and take a good step going forward.”
ST. LOUIS (AP) — Brian Elliott was a big Toronto Maple Leafs fan while growing up in Ontario. So the St. Louis Blues goalie got a little extra satisfaction out of shutting them out.
Elliott stopped 27 shots for his third shutout of the season and 28th of his career as the Blues topped the slumping Maple Leafs 3-0 on Saturday night.
“It’s awesome,” Elliott said. “It’s all about the two points, but I grew up bleeding blue for the Maple Leafs. It’s fun to go out and get a shutout against them for sure.”
After allowing three goals in each of his last two games, Elliott got back on track with his 19th shutout for the Blues.
Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said there was never any doubt about Elliott’s play.
“We’ve had no questions inside this room,” Pietrangelo said. “We know what he can do. Tonight’s a prime example; outstanding performance by him. I thought we did a great job, too, eliminating second chance opportunities. He’s pushing pucks where they can’t get them and we’re clearing in front of the net.
“It’s a good overall effort defensively.”
Elliott, who missed nearly five weeks earlier this season with a knee sprain, moved to the top spot in the NHL in goals against average at 1.90 and fourth in save percentage at .929.
Blues coach Ken Hitchcock thought Elliott was back at the top of his game.
“This is, for me, the best he’s played,” Hitchcock said. “Not just because he got a shutout, but this is the best he’s played since coming back from the injury, for sure. He had work today because we gave up odd-man rushes. We don’t normally do that, but we gave up some.”
Alexander Steen extended his scoring streak to a career-high nine games with a goal and an assist, and Kevin Shattenkirk and T.J. Oshie also had goals for St. Louis. The win was No. 685 for Hitchcock, who passed former Maple Leafs coach Pat Quinn and moved into sole possession of fifth place on the career victories list.
St. Louis is 4-0-1 during its seven-game homestand and has earned a point in eight straight games. The Blues, who have not lost to Toronto since Jan. 29, 2008 (6-0-2), are 11-3-2 against Eastern Conference teams, best in the NHL.
David Backes added two assists for the Blues, extending his scoring streak to six games. Backes has 13 points in those six games (seven goals, six assists).
Jonathan Bernier made 30 saves for the Maple Leafs, who went 0-4 on their four-game road trip and were outscored 12-1, including being shut out three times. The Maple Leafs are 1-7 in January.
“It’s frustrating,” Bernier said. “We go back home after we score one goal and get no points. I know I have got to be better and make that extra save that keeps us in the game.”
Toronto got the jump on the Blues, outshooting them 15-6 at the start. But the Blues got the first goal when Shattenkirk got the puck on the right boards, walked into the right circle and beat Bernier with a backhander at 16:40 of the first period.
“There were some positive things in the first period before they scored that goal,” said Toronto interim head coach Peter Horachek. “We are a team that has to be at our strongest now. We’re going to have to be mentally tougher.”
It stayed 1-0 until Steen beat Bernier with another backhander from in front 1:38 into the third period.
“He’s extremely patient as a goalie, and doesn’t really bite on a lot of stuff,” said Steen, who waited out Bernier and then lifted the puck over him. “I was just trying to wait as long as I could.”
Steen then set up Oshie on a 2-on-1 with 5 minutes left for the final margin.