College Football

Spurs-Thunder: A changing of the guard?

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Spurs-Thunder: A changing of the guard?

From Comcast SportsNet
SAN ANTONIO (AP) -- Kevin Durant and the surging Oklahoma City Thunder are just one victory from the NBA finals. "We never just thought we were supposed to wait our turn," the 23-year-old Thunder star said following the biggest road win of his career Monday night. What little wait they've had could end Wednesday. That's when the Thunder can finish off the San Antonio Spurs back home in Oklahoma City -- where they're unbeaten in these playoffs -- and complete a remarkable turnaround in the Western Conference finals after starting in an 0-2 hole and up against a 20-game Spurs winning streak that ranks among the longest in NBA history. But look who's unstoppable now. Durant scored 27 points and the Thunder beat the Spurs 108-103 in Game 5, moving within a victory of a series knockout and the conference title after beating San Antonio for the third time in five days. "We came here, we wanted to get a win on their home floor," Durant said. "That's what it took for us to advance or to get to where we wanted to go." Russell Westbrook added 23 and the Thunder took a 3-2 lead in a wildly entertaining series. Looking invincible while carrying a 20-game winning streak a week ago -- the fourth-longest in NBA history -- the Spurs have lost three straight and are on the verge of a stunning collapse. Manu Ginobili scored 34 in a smashing return to the starting lineup, and the switch showed just how much Spurs coach Gregg Popovich knew his team might be in trouble. The only way the Spurs would have considered the move a success is if they had they won, and that chance went clanging off the back of the rim with 4.9 seconds left when Ginobili missed an off-balance 3. Ginobili then walked to the scorer's table, made a fist and hammered it down. "It wasn't a great shot, but it wasn't a bad one," Ginobili said. "It just didn't go in." It was the Spurs' first loss at home since April 11. Popovich said he removed Danny Green from the starting lineup and plugged in Ginobili -- who had started only seven previous times this season -- to give the Spurs "an energy boost." But that didn't solve a third straight uneven game for the Spurs, particularly another languid second quarter that put them in a 14-point hole. "If we don't get that straight," Popovich said, "it'll be over on Wednesday." Oklahoma City, meanwhile, is bringing home just what it needed: the must-win on the road. "That was a total team effort," Thunder coach Scott Brooks said. "Everybody did their job. I thought we played as hard as we can play." Oklahoma City pulled it off behind their stars. James Harden scored 20, joining Durant and Westbrook as the only Thunder players in double figures. Harden hit the biggest shot, draining a 3-pointer with 28.8 seconds left that pushed Oklahoma City's lead to five. He admitted afterward that the ball was supposed to go to Durant but had no choice but to let go with the shot clock winding down and Spurs rookie Kawhi Leonard in his face. "The shot clock was running down and I had to make a play," Harden said. "Leonard was playing great defense on me. I just shot it with confidence. West Conference finals -- that's a big shot." Tony Parker had 20 points and Tim Duncan had 18 points and 12 rebounds for the Spurs. After remaining unbeaten for 50 days before arriving in Oklahoma City, San Antonio has lost three games in five days. They now must win two straight to avoid seeing their last best chance to win in a title in the Duncan era end. "Championship teams win on the road," Popovich said. "Oklahoma City just did that." It's the first time the Spurs have lost three in a row all season. Durant scored 22 of his points in the second half. He dedicated the win to his uncle, whom Durant said was in the hospital. Westbrook also had 12 assists. Not wanting the series to slip away, Popovich moved Ginobili to the starting lineup in place of Green, who came in shooting a combined 8 of 28 in this series. Green's days as a starter began looking numbered after Game 3. He couldn't save his job before leaving Oklahoma City -- Green shot 4 of 12 in both losses combined -- and Popovich couldn't wait any longer with the series tied and the season in the balance. Out with the undrafted swingman who barely made training camp, and in with the former All-Star. Pulling this big an adjustment this deep in the season likely didn't come easy for the NBA coach of the year, and the gambit drew mixed results. It looked like a no-brainer with Ginobili leading all scorers at halftime with 14, but new rotations for the Spurs made for rocky possessions. None more so than in the second quarter, when the Spurs shot 38 percent. Ginobili finished 11 of 21 and made half of his 10 3-point attempts. But with the game and arguably San Antonio's season on the line, his last one didn't connect. "It's either win or go home," Ginobili said. "It's our job. Nobody is going to feel sorry about ourselves." Notes: Taking a page from the Thunder, the Spurs held a T-shirt whiteout at the AT&T Center, a move the team has rarely made before. ... Durant's the clear last-shot taker for the Thunder. Popovich said it's as obvious as Dirk Nowitzki having the ball in his hands at the end for Dallas. But who do the Spurs go to with the game on the line? "It's a secret," Popovich said before the game.

Boston College beats UConn 39-16 in wind and rain at Fenway Park

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Boston College beats UConn 39-16 in wind and rain at Fenway Park

BOSTON - AJ Dillon rushed for 200 yards and two touchdowns, breaking free on a 48-yard run and a 53-yard score on Saturday night to lead Boston College to a 39-16 victory over UConn on the wet and worn-out turf at Fenway Park.

Playing most of the game in a heavy rain, with groundskeepers patching the field most every timeout, the Eagles (6-5) qualified for a bowl game for the fourth time in five seasons. UConn (3-8) showed little offense until two late touchdowns cut into a 36-point deficit.

One week after BC quarterback Anthony Brown sustained a season-ending knee injury, Darius Wade completed 7 of 15 passes for 55 yards and a touchdown. He was helped by Dillon's running, another 107 yards rushing from Jon Hilliman and two long interception returns, including a 65-yard pick-six by Taj-Amir Torres.

Hilliman scored on 38- and 3-yard runs for BC, and Lukas Denis picked off David Pindell at the goal line and ran it back 56 yards to set up Dillon's second score.

BC led 39-3 in the fourth before Kevin Mensah ran 70 yards for a touchdown. Pindell followed by hitting Hergy Mayala for 43 yards with 4:15 left to make it 39-16.

Pindell finished with a career-high 241 yards on 14-for-33 passing, with three interceptions.

Although the century-old ballpark is less than four miles from BC's Chestnut Hill campus, UConn was officially the home team. But the opportunity to use the Red Sox clubhouse didn't help the Huskies avoid falling to 0-12-2 all-time against BC.

A 21-point favorite, BC trailed 3-0 after one quarter before Wade rolled to his left toward the Red Sox dugout and evaded tacklers long enough to find Chris Garrison in the end zone, right in front of where home plate would usually be.

Dillon dragged four defenders into the end zone - with another standing by and watching - on his 53-yard score in the second quarter, then added a 20-yard TD run in the third to make it 33-3. It was his second career 200-yard game and the first 200-yard rusher against UConn since Ray Rice did it for Rutgers in 2005.

THE TAKEAWAY

Boston College: The Eagles are bowl-eligible for the fourth time in coach Steve Addazio's five seasons in Chestnut Hill. He's the first BC coach to go to five bowl games in his first five seasons.

UConn: The Huskies picked up a nice check - $1.25 million - and some players got the thrill of playing in Fenway Park.

OUT FOR THE SEASON

Boston College announced before the game that defensive back Kamrin Moore will miss the rest of the season with a shoulder injury he sustained last week against North Carolina State. Moore, a captain, had started 23 consecutive games before missing Saturday night's game against UConn.

Moore finished with 140 tackles, six for a loss, and two interceptions.

KICKING WOES

Boston College missed three extra points and had a field goal blocked.

UP NEXT

Boston College: Wraps up the regular season against Syracuse on Saturday.

UConn: Finishes its season against Cincinnati next Saturday.

UMass wins a game on the road, hands BYU its 9th loss, 16-10

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UMass wins a game on the road, hands BYU its 9th loss, 16-10

PROVO, Utah - Andrew Ford fired a 40-yard touchdown pass to Andy Isabella and Logan Laurent kicked three field goals to stake UMass to a 16-0 lead at BYU and the Minutemen held on to post a 16-10 victory Saturday - earning a fourth win for the first time as an FBS school.

UMass (4-7) started playing FBS football in 2012 and never won more than three games nor won a road game against a team outside of the Mid-American Conference.

The victory ended both streaks.

The loss gives BYU nine losses for the third time in school history, matching 1949 and 1955. The Cougars have one game remaining next week in Honolulu against Hawaii with the prospect of their first 10-loss season looming.

Rhett Almond got BYU on the board with a 40-yard field goal with 1:35 left in the third quarter and Joe Critchlow hit Matt Bushman with a 6-yard TD pass in the final minute.

Critchlow was 21 of 45 passing for 257 yards, but the Cougars managed just 42 net rushing yards.