Abuse charge dropped against Iowa State's Palo

Abuse charge dropped against Iowa State's Palo

AMES, Iowa (AP) Prosecutors on Monday announced they had dropped a sexual abuse charge against Iowa State basketball player Bubu Palo, paving the way for him to rejoin the Cyclones.

Palo was suspended from the team in September after being charged with sexually abusing a woman he was driving home in May. But the Story County Attorney's Office said Monday that new forensic evidence on a blouse belonging to the woman clashed with her sworn testimony as well as sworn testimony from her mother.

``It's always been taught, innocent until proven guilty. And I felt like I didn't really have a chance to defend myself from people who would make these judgments against me.

``I would say that hurt the most. Especially since my whole life I'd been raised to do the right thing,'' Palo said during a news conference Monday evening at his attorney's office. ``I would never make a mistake to this level.''

The woman had told police that the blouse had been torn during the alleged assault. She handed it over to police on the weekend of Dec. 1, after believing it had been lost, and said she had washed it about 10 days after the night of the alleged assault, said Palo's attorney, Matthew Boles.

But a forensics expert found that the blouse was torn after it was washed, Boles said.

Another man, Spencer Cruise, of Ames, was also cleared of sexual abuse in the case.

Boles said the discrepancy with the blouse was the ``crowning piece of several inconsistencies'' with the woman's story.

``A dismissal is as close as vindication as you can get in a situation such as this,'' Boles said, adding that the blouse evidence ``really solidified that the story wasn't making sense.''

Iowa State released a statement later Monday saying Palo, a junior and a backup point guard, had been cleared to resume basketball-related activities with the Cyclones

Palo said he visited with coach Fred Hoiberg during practice following the announcement that the charges were dropped and that the pair shared a brief embrace.

Palo, 21, is a native of Ames who joined the Cyclones as a walk-on before earning a scholarship last season.

Palo emerged as a valued reserve at point guard, averaging 4.0 points and 1.5 assists in 2011-12. He was also a first-team Academic All-Big 12 selection last season.

Though he's immediately eligible to practice, Palo might have a tough time getting into good enough shape to contribute the Cyclones this season.

Still, Palo said ``the biggest weight'' had been lifted off his shoulders when he found out the charges had been dropped.

``To be able to go out in public and just be able to just breathe finally, and know that people aren't necessarily staring at me or whispering behind my back anymore ... (it's) mostly relief,'' Palo said.


Follow Luke Meredith on Twitter: www.twitter.com/LukeMeredithAP

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Wizards blown out by Spurs, as streak of losses in San Antonio since 1999 continues

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Wizards blown out by Spurs, as streak of losses in San Antonio since 1999 continues

The Washington Wizards lost to the San Antonio Spurs 98-90 on Wednesday night. Here's analysis of what went down...

Streak continues: Many will tell you that San Antonio, TX is a wonderful city rife with history, good restaurants and warm weather. Please excuse the Washington Wizards if they hate the place.

They lost to the Spurs in a blowout on Wednesday and remain winless in San Antonio going all the way back to 1999. It was their 18th straight loss when playing at the Spurs.

The Spurs win games with their defense and this one was no exception. The Wizards scored their fewest points since Jan. 22, nearly two months, and shot just 42.7 percent. The Spurs hold opponents to the lowest points per game in the NBA (99.0) and the Wizards fell into all of their traps.

Bradley Beal was the only one immune to it. He had 21 points on 9-for-13 shooting. The rest of the Wizards shot just 26-for-69 (37.7%).

Losing in San Antonio has come to be expected for the Wizards, but they picked a bad night to drop a game. The Cavaliers and Sixers both won. Philly winning means more because they passed the Wizards in the East and currently sit fourth while the Wizards are in the sixth spot. 

If the playoffs began with those seeds, the Wizards would see the Cavaliers in the first round. Even though the Cavs aren't what they were a year ago, that should be avoided if possible.


Hustle plays: The Spurs also beat the Wizards at the minor details of the game, something they have long been good at under head coach Gregg Popovich. They got the loose balls and offensive rebounds at key moments to either sustain or steal momentum away from Washington.

In the first half, 40-year-old Manu Ginobli dove on the ground to beat Ramon Sessions to a loose ball and it led to two points by Pau Gasol. In the third quarter, Patty Mills flipped around quickly to steal an outlet pass from Marcin Gortat that led to free throws. And in the third there was one play when the Spurs got three offensive rebounds and ultimately got to the free throw line again.

The Spurs out-rebounded the Wizards 43-34 overall and outdid them in offensive rebounds 12-8. They just wanted it more on this particular night.


Oubre stood out: The Spurs' defense got the best of most players on the Wizards, but Kelly Oubre, Jr. was an exception. The third-year pro has been struggling with his shot in recent weeks, so in this one he stuck to high percentage looks, at least early. He had 10 points in his first nine minutes on 5-for-7 shooting, many of those attempts right around the rim.

Oubre attacked the lane dribbling both to his left and his right. He finished with floaters, tough layups and on one fastbreak with a thunderous left-handed slam:

Oubre ended up with 21 points, six rebounds, two steals and two blocks. He shot 9-for-17 from the field and 3-for-6 from three.

Oubre has continued to make an impact defensively, even when his shot is not falling. But he has to get more creative some nights to affect games when he isn't hitting from long range. Wednesday was a good example of how he can use his athleticism to take matters into his own hands.

It is a tricky balance, however, because sometimes his aggression can lead to mistakes. That certainly happened at times even in this game, as he had two turnovers. But when Oubre can contain his explosiveness, he can make a big difference.


Under the weather: Already without Wall, the Wizards had to shorten their rotation by two players against the Spurs as both Jodie Meeks and Mike Scott were out due to flu-like symptoms. In Meeks and Scott, the Wizards were missing two key pieces on their bench.

Instead of giving Tim Frazier and Jason Smith a rare and extended opportunity, head coach Scott Brooks instead chose to tighted things up. He relied heavily on the starters until the game was out of hand.

Brooks also got experimental, playing Tomas Satoransky (zero points, 0-for-7 FG) and Sessions together in the second quarter with Oubre and Otto Porter (12 points, seven rebounds) as the forwards. In the fourth quarter, we saw a lineup with three point guards: Sessions, Frazier and Satoransky.

The fact the Wizards had three days off before this game helped allow Brooks to rely on his starters early. It was also an opportunity for Brooks to see what life will be like when Wall returns. There is a chance Satoransky could see more time off the ball. This gave him another glimpse of how he can use Satoransky in more creative ways once the minutes at point guard go down significantly.


Up next: The Wizards are off Thursday before returning home to host the Denver Nuggets on Friday with a 7 p.m. tipoff on NBC Sports Washington. That will be a special night at Capital One Arena as the Wizards retire Phil Chenier's No. 45 jersey. 

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Wizards Tipoff podcast: Should Bradley Beal be an All-NBA selection?


Wizards Tipoff podcast: Should Bradley Beal be an All-NBA selection?

On the latest episode of the Wizards Tipoff podcast presented by Greenberg and Bederman, host Chase Hughes was joined by guest co-host Travis Thomas to break down Bradley Beal's All-NBA chances and John Wall's injury rehab.

They also discussed the crazy Eastern Conference playoff race, Trae Young's draft stock and essentials for a good snow day.

You can listen to the episode right here:

You can download the podcast on Apple Podcasts right here and on Google Play. If you like the show please tell your friends!