Connect with us

Sports

Michigan State outlasts Tshiebwe, No. 4 Kentucky in 2OT

Source image: https://apnews.com/article/sports-kentucky-mens-college-basketball-michigan-b8ba55afd7f60d4d0d584ffd65be06b3

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — Michigan State found a way to finish.

The search continues for No. 4 Kentucky — even with consensus national player of the year Oscar Tshiebwe back in action.

Malik Hall forced two extra periods with dunks off inbounds plays, Mady Sissoko delivered two game-changing slams late in the second overtime, and Michigan State rallied to beat No. 4 Kentucky 86-77 on Tuesday night.

“I just saw (coach) Tom (Izzo) in the hallway and I said you were more prepared to finish than we were,” Kentucky coach John Calipari said.

The Spartans (2-1) were ready thanks in part to what they endured on Friday, when they lost by one point to No. 2 Gonzaga on the deck of the USS Abraham Lincoln.

But they also got some help when Oscar Tshiebwe, last season’s consensus national player of the year, fouled out late in the first overtime after scoring 22 points and pulling down 18 rebounds in his season debut for the Wildcats (2-1).

Joey Hauser scored 23 points, Hall had 20 and Sissoko had a career-high 16 points with eight rebounds for the Spartans, who spent most of the second half playing catch-up.

Sissoko changed the tenor of the game with his tiebreaking alley-oop slam with 1:45 left in the second OT.

“There’s nothing better than seeing Mady going up for a lob because you know it’s going to be a dunk,” Hauser said.

And with Tshiebwe on the bench, Michigan State closed it out by outscoring Kentucky 13-1, the final blow coming on another dunk by Sissoko in the final minute.

“Yeah, I set them up. I said, ’Let’s just go dunk the the damn ball,” Izzo said sarcastically. “I like dunks probably because I never could.”

Kentucky led 62-60 near the end of regulation when Tshiebwe lost Hall on an inbound pass. Hall took advantage by dunking with 3.7 seconds left.

“Give them credit, they did what they had to do,” Calipari said. “But the (first) out-of-bounds play, that’s something we never do. We just left him.”

It happened again in the first overtime when Hall broke free as the Spartans moved the ball into the front court. He drove in for the dunk to tie it 71-71 with 1.4 seconds left.

After Cason Wallace’s 3-pointer early in the second overtime gave Kentucky a 76-73 lead, the Spartans locked down Kentucky’s shooters and pulled away.

BIG PICTURE

Michigan State: Izzo’s teams always seem to finish stronger than they start and if these Spartans do that again this season, they could be scary. Despite poor early shooting, they overcome a sluggish start to knock off a top-five team.

Kentucky: The Wildcats returned to the venue from their last loss, a first-round NCAA Tournament defeat to Saint Peter’s in March, and left with the same result. Yes, they’re big, long, athletic and defend well. But they’ll need to develop a closing punch.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

Michigan State: The Spartans were unranked in the preseason AP Top 25 and again this week. They’ll likely move into the poll after two strong showings against top-five foes.

Kentucky: Calipari’s squad didn’t need Tshiebwe last week. He missed the first two games while recovering from a knee procedure. But when he’s on the floor, the Wildcats are clearly one of the nation’s top teams. They may slide a few spots after this loss but will have a chance to recover — if they can beat No. 2 Gonzaga on the road this weekend.

HE’S BACK

Dick Vitale returned to ESPN’s broadcast Tuesday night following his battle against cancer. Vitale missed most of last season when his signature voice was impaired by lymphoma and melanoma.

He sat at midcourt, in front of Wildcats fans, and opened the broadcast by thanking everyone who sent text messages and notes of support and acknowledged the famous words of his late friend Jim Valvano — “Don’t give up. Don’t ever give up” — inspired him to persevere.

HE SAID IT

“That’s a really good team and that will be a great team,” Izzo said. “So all you Kentucky fans, don’t jump off the ship. I told John, it’s illegal to have that many seniors at Kentucky.”

UP NEXT

Michigan State: Hosts Villanova on Friday.

Kentucky: Hosts South Carolina State on Thursday.

___

AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

Source: https://apnews.com/article/sports-kentucky-mens-college-basketball-michigan-b8ba55afd7f60d4d0d584ffd65be06b3

Continue Reading

Sports

Report: NWSL to expand in Boston, Utah and California

The National Women’s Soccer League is close to expanding by three teams, which will be in Boston, Utah and the San Francisco area, according to a Friday report in the Wall Street Journal.

The women’s pro league previously indicated it would add at least two teams by 2024. The Wall Street Journal, citing unnamed sources, reported that the franchises in northern California and Utah are set to start play next year, with Boston to join at a later date.

The NWSL did not confirm the report in a statement Saturday to The Associated Press, saying: “We remain engaged in our expansion process and are excited about our prospects. When we have news to share, we will do so.”

The NWSL has 12 teams, after Angel City in Los Angeles and the San Diego Wave joined the league last year.

The Wall Street Journal also reported that the Boston and Bay Area groups will pay about $50 million in franchise fees. The Utah team will pay a reduced fee because of a previous agreement struck when the Utah Royals folded in the 2020 season.

Before the NWSL draft earlier this month, league commissioner Jessica Berman said it would be “somewhere between days and months, more like weeks, when we’ll be in a position to share information” about an expansion.

“What I can say is that I couldn’t be more excited about the opportunities we have in front of us,” she added.

___

AP soccer: https://apnews.com/hub/soccer and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Continue Reading

Sports

Former MVP Candace Parker to sign with champion Aces

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Former two-time MVP Candace Parker announced on social media Saturday that she would sign with the defending champion Las Vegas Aces.

Parker spent the past two seasons playing for her hometown Sky, leading Chicago to the WNBA championship in 2021. She also won the 2016 title playing for the Los Angeles Sparks.

She posted on Instagram that Chicago would always be her home, but “my family’s home is on the west coast.

“To play for a championship close to home is the perfect situation for us. I’m looking forward to continuing the journey this summer in Las Vegas.”

The free-agent signing period begins Wednesday, and the Aces can’t comment until then.

Parker, a 6-foot-4 forward/center, adds to an already loaded lineup that includes reigning MVP A’ja Wilson, who also won the league’s top award in 2020. Wilson also was last season’s Defensive Player of the Year.

Chelsea Gray was MVP of the WNBA Finals and Kelsey Plum MVP of the All-Star Game. Wilson, Plum and Jackie Young were All-Star starters.

Parker and Gray were teammates on Los Angeles’ 2016 title team.

The Aces traded one of their key pieces, two-time Sixth Woman of the Year Dearica Hamby, to the Sparks on Jan. 21, creating speculation Las Vegas was creating salary cap room to sign a big-name player.

Parker, the 2020 Defensive Player of the Year and the 2016 Finals MVP, certainly fits that bill. Even at 36 last season, she averaged 13.2 points, 8.6 rebounds and 4.5 assists for the Sky.

“Candace has done so much for our franchise in her time here,” Chicago coach and general manager James Wade said in a statement. “I understand her reasons for wanting to be closer with her immediate family. We wish her nothing but the best. She will always be a part of the Sky family. We will celebrate her time here as she deserves.”

Losing her is a big blow to the Sky, who made the semifinals in last season’s playoffs before losing in five games to the Connecticut Sun. Kahleah Copper is the only starter under contract for next season, so the Sky could head into a rebuild.

“I am beyond grateful for the opportunity to win a championship in my hometown and parade down the same streets I watched the Bulls parade down as a young girl first falling in love with the game of basketball,” Parker posted.

Parker joins the Aces at a time the Women’s National Basketball Players Association said it wanted that organization investigated regarding allegations that Hamby made after being traded. She posted on Instagram she was “lied to, bullied, manipulated, and discriminated against” because she is pregnant with her second child.

The Aces still have not commented on Hamby’s allegations.

___

AP sports: https://apnews.com/hub/sports and https://twitter.com/AP_Sports

Continue Reading

Sports

Estrada, Hofstra end No. 18 Charleston’s 20-game win streak

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) — This season, Hofstra has been a one-man show. This time, Aaron Estrada had some help as the Pride ended the nation’s longest winning streak.

Estrada scored 25 points, but just two in the second half, while Darlinestone Dubar added 18 as Hofstra had four players in double figures to knock off No. 18 College of Charleston 85-81 on Saturday — ending the Cougars’ 20-game win streak.

“That’s a really big for our program,” Hofstra coach Speedy Claxton said. “To beat a nationally ranked team on their home court when they’ve got it rolling like they do speaks volumes about our kids.”

Claxton saw a team effort to take down the hottest team in the country.

“It wasn’t just Aaron,” Claxton said. “He had a great first half, but we had other guys step up and make baskets or get rebounds when we really needed them.”

The loss ended Charleston’s spotless run that began after losing to then-top-ranked North Carolina on Nov. 11.

Hofstra, the CAA’s leader in field-goal shooting, used that to move past Charleston in the second half as it made 18 of 32 attempts. The Pride led 76-69 with 6:10 to play before the Cougars cut it to two points on Ryan Larson’s foul shots with 2:02 to play.

But Charleston managed just two free throws after that and missed all four 3-pointers they tried.

This is the second straight season the Pride have beaten a Top 25 team. A year ago, Hofstra defeated then No. 24 Arkansas 89-81. The Pride’s only other victory against a Top 25 team came against Southern Illinois in 1976.

Hofstra (15-8, 8-2 Colonial Athletic Association) beat the Cougars (21-2, 9-1) at their own game — 3-point shooting. The Pride were 11 of 22 from 3-point range and overall shot 56 percent from the floor in the second half.

Estrada, who had 23 points in the opening half, shredded the Cougars defense at will. Estrada was 5 of 9 from 3-point range.

“Estrada is a great player, hit a bunch of tough shots, especially in the first half,” Charleston coach Pat Kelsey said. “Hofstra is a very, very talented team. It’s not just Estrada. They were better than us tonight.”

Then Estrada took over. The CAA’s leading scorer at 21.1 points a game scored 16 of the next 24 points for the Pride, including four 3-pointers.

Ante Brzovic’s dunk at the buzzer gave the Cougars a 46-44 advantage at halftime.

Tyler Thomas had 17 points and eight rebounds for Hofstra.

Brzovic finished with 18 points to lead the Cougars.

BIG PICTURE

Hofstra: The Pride are on a roll in 2023. winning seven of their past eight games, including three in a row.

College of Charleston: The Cougars chances of receiving an NCAA Tournament at-large bid took a major blow with the loss to the Pride. Despite having the nation’s longest win streak for three months, Charleston will most likely have to win the CAA Tournament in March to advance to the NCAAs.

NO PLACE LIKE HOME

The Cougars’ 20-game win streak wasn’t the only streak to end on Saturday. College of Charleston played 14 of its first 23 games at TD Arena to start the season and were a perfect 13-0 at home before facing the Pride. Charleston’s 13-game home win streak included three wins in the Charleston Classic. The Cougars became the first mid-major program to win the ESPN event, beating Virginia Tech 77-75 in the championship game. Charleston will finish the season playing four of their final eight games on the road.

POLL POSITION

Charleston’s first loss in nearly three months might drop the Cougars from the national rankings. They have been part of the last four rankings, entering at No. 23 before reaching No. 18 this past week.

UP NEXT

Hofstra returns home to play Towson on Thursday night.

College of Charleston starts a two-game road trip at Drexel on Thursday night.

___

AP college basketball: https://apnews.com/hub/college-basketball and https://apnews.com/hub/ap-top-25-college-basketball-poll and https://twitter.com/AP_Top25

Continue Reading

Trending