NCAA

No 'chip' this time for Gaels

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No 'chip' this time for Gaels

Its been a quiet day in Omaha, and no, that is not an invitation for you to chime in. The NCAA Tournament is here, and two most interesting developments are that Kansas and Missouri are both here but have no compelling reason to talk about each other.Indeed, there is an odd hollowness to the matchups here not much to sink your teeth into, really, whether it be Missouri-Norfolk State, or Virginia-Florida.It is a location that badly needs Omar Samhan.Samhan is the mildly famous Saint Marys center who stole the tournaments heart two years ago by seizing the first two rounds by the throat with his play and with his own throat. Indeed, until he ran into the noted former Warrior Ekpe Udoh, he was as charming a figure as the 2010 tournament provided.Well, the Gaels are back, as if you didnt already know, but the force of Samhans personality is not. This is a slightly more buttoned-down Saint Marys team, and with Purdue the kind of team that will rattle those buttons, the Gaels have decided that less improv is better for the task at hand.I think we might have needed that chip on our shoulder a couple of years ago, head coach Randy Bennett said after finishing his Purdue prep with a cheery, That hays in the barn on that now.
RELATED: NCAA Tournament scoreboard
Omar did have a chip on his shoulder (in 2010), and he even had T-shirts made with a chip on the shoulder. I think he felt, and they all felt, that we needed that then. But every team is different, and this one is different than the one in 2010. We won the conference, we won the conference tournament, and I think they all sense that people were coming after them more this time.Saint Marys offense was also different because of Samhans upright-minivan presence in the middle.Were more outside-in now, no question, he said. Were not as dependent on getting the ball down low, and we have more ways to go at people. I think in some ways that makes us harder to game-plan for, but in other ways . . . well, its hard to guard a good big man, and it always has been. So really, I dont know whats actually harder, but this is definitely different.As for Samhans personality, while it may be missed, it could not have been recreated, so nobody has bothered to try. The Gaels are still on the quirky side Clint Steindls dad re-invited himself for another extended stay on his sons floor, and people remain fixated on the Australian thing but Samhan was bigger than life. This team isnt, and doesnt need to be.It helps that Purdue, while an excellent perimeter team, is not a pound-it-inside-and-let-the-carnage-speak-for-itself type. They play a lot with a forwards-guards lineup, and as Saint Marys does, they live on the perimeter. With point guard Lewis Jackson creating space with penetration, the Boilermakers have an advantage that Saint Marys does not, but Bennett says they are enough like USF that unfamiliarity shouldn't be an issue.RELATED: Saint Mary's roster Purdue roster
I mean, theyre the handiest comparison point, he said, but we know where we are, and this is the NCAAs, and everybodys better at this level.Only this time, the Gaels dont need to lean so heavily on Samhans chip alone. They have seven players from that 2010 team here, so the load that must be borne to advance will be distributed more evenly.Nevertheless, the load remains the load, and one guy with an elevated level of comedic and rhetorical skills is only one way to carry it.

Limping Love leads Stanford to Big Game win over Cal

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AP

Limping Love leads Stanford to Big Game win over Cal

BOX SCORE

PALO ALTO — Bryce Love rushed for 101 yards and a touchdown despite missing most of the fourth quarter after aggravating an ankle injury, and No. 20 Stanford held off California 17-14 on Saturday to keep its Pac-12 title hopes alive.

K.J. Costello completed 17 of 26 passes for 185 yards and a touchdown, Ben Edwards made a key interception in the fourth quarter and Cameron Scarlett rushed for 49 yards on the final drive in place of Love to help the Cardinal (8-3, 7-2 Pac-12) milk the clock and win its eighth straight Big Game.

Stanford can earn a spot in the Pac-12 championship game against USC but needs some help.

The Cardinal can get there if No. 15 Washington State loses to No. 16 Washington next week. If the Cougars — who beat Stanford 24-21 on Nov. 4 — beat the Huskies, they get the nod because of the tiebreaker.

The nation's leading rusher going into the game, Love was held in check most of the game by Cal's defense and sat out the final 11:43 after re-injuring his ankle that has bothered him for the past month. He did stay on the field long enough to score a 57-yard touchdown — his 11th run of 50 yards or longer this season.

Scarlett, Love's primary backup all season, also came up big for Stanford. Scarlett rushed for 61 yards, the majority coming on the Cardinal's last drive that took the final 7:25. Scarlett's 2-yard gain on 4th-and-1 kept the drive going.

Patrick Laird ran for 153 yards and a touchdown on 20 carries while Ross Bowers passed for 182 yards and a touchdown for California. The Golden Bears (5-6, 2-6) need a win in their final game to become bowl eligible in coach Justin Wilcox's first season.

THE TAKEAWAY

California: The Bears made the Cardinal sweat and kept the game a lot closer than many thought possible. Wilcox's defense did a good job bottling up Love most of the game but couldn't stop Scarlett on the final drive which was huge. Still, there are plenty of positives for Cal to take out of this one.

Stanford: It wasn't the best game for David Shaw's team but the Cardinal gritted it out and held off a pesky Cal team that had plenty to play for. The conference title can still happen but before that Stanford has a pretty big game coming up against Notre Dame.

UP NEXT

California: Ends the regular season at UCLA on Saturday.

Stanford: The Cardinal stay home and will host No. 9 Notre Dame on Saturday. Stanford has won the last two and six of last eight against the Irish.

Former Cal running back suffers scary spine injury, taken to hospital

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AP

Former Cal running back suffers scary spine injury, taken to hospital

BUFFALO, N.Y. — The New Orleans Saints say running back Daniel Lasco has feelings in his extremities after suffering a spinal injury making a tackle on a kickoff return during today's game at Buffalo.

Lasco was loaded into an ambulance on the field and taken to a hospital.

He was hurt six minutes into the second quarter when he appeared to lower his head while tackling Bills returner Brandon Tate. 

Lasco played four seasons at the University of California, Berkeley. He gained 1,471 yards from scrimmage with 14 touchdowns his junior year. In 2015 as a senior, Lasco was limited to nine games and only totaled 355 yards. 

The Saints selected Lasco in the seventh round of the 2016 NFL Draft.

The Associated Press contributed to this report