No. 22 Missouri rallies past South Carolina


No. 22 Missouri rallies past South Carolina

COLUMBIA, Mo. (AP) Frank Haith seemed fairly calm for a coach under fire, and one who shed his sports coat and tie while willing his team forward.

No. 22 Missouri's second-half surge no doubt had a lot to do with it.

During a dismal first half Haith said he ``almost bust a blood vessel.'' After the Tigers rallied from 13 points down in the second half and held off South Carolina 71-65 on Tuesday, the coach said he was relieved that a lengthy NCAA investigation implicating Haith in recruiting violations at Miami was apparently about to end.

``Obviously, I can't say a whole lot about what's going on because contrary to what's been reported, there's been no letter written to Frank Haith and my attorneys have not received a letter of any allegations,'' Haith said. ``So until that happens, then I (can't) respond.

``As of right now there's nothing our way, but I do feel and know that we're getting close to the end, and that's what's exciting to me.''

CBSSports.com said Monday that Haith would face an ``unethical conduct'' charge because of inconsistencies the NCAA found in his account of the recruiting of DeQuan Jones, plus would be charged with ``failure to promote an atmosphere of compliance.''

Earnest Ross and Jabari Brown hit key 3-pointers in the final 1:11 for Missouri, which was just 5 for 27 from long range overall. Ross played 37 minutes wearing a brace to protect ongoing back issues and a day earlier Haith hadn't been certain he'd play.

``It was pretty much a mental thing,'' Ross said. ``Our trainer got me right yesterday and today and I just did a lot of treatment, and did my thing.''

Haith did his thing, too, blocking out the rumors and coaching up a storm with a team coming off a dispiriting 31-point loss at Florida and minus top player Laurence Bowers plus guard Keion Bell. The tie came off at halftime and the jacket came off early in the second half.

``I almost took everything off,'' Haith joked. ``I've had a couple of those where you feel like you're going to bust a blood vessel. That was one of my top ones.''

Ross had a career-best 21 points and Brown had 17 for Missouri (14-4, 3-2 Southeastern Conference), which is 11-0 at home this season and has won 12 straight at the Mizzou Arena since losing to Kansas State and coach Frank Martin, now in his first year at South Carolina, on Feb. 21, 2012.

Brown had eight points in a 20-2 run that gave Missouri a five-point lead with just under 12 minutes to go. Alex Oriakhi was 10 for 10 at the line and fouled out in the final minute with 18 points and 11 rebounds for the Tigers, who won despite 33 percent overall shooting.

``As I told our team, adversity, you've got to be able to handle whatever's going on off the court,'' Haith said. ``When you get that opportunity, do what you do.

``I get an opportunity to coach young men, I'm going to do my very best.''

Brenton Williams had 16 points with four 3-pointers for South Carolina (11-7, 1-4), which has lost four conference games by a combined 18 points and faced its first ranked opponent of the season. RJ Shawson added 10 points for the Gamecocks, who shot 37 percent.

Ross' 3-pointer made it 66-63 with 1:11 to go and Brown's 3-pointer made it 69-65 with 14 seconds left.

Missouri had a huge advantage at the free throw line, going 28 for 36 compared to 11 for 17 by South Carolina. Martin stopped short of criticizing the referees.

``I thought both teams were going at it at the rim,'' Martin said. ``I'm not going to go there because I'm probably not going to wake up really happy tomorrow if I go there.

``I don't know what to tell you. They came at us. We went at them.''

Martin is 6-5 against Missouri, but just 1-5 at the Mizzou Arena.

``I've been in this building enough to know that regardless of what your lead is, they're always going to make a push,'' Martin said. ``And that crowd's incredible, it always is.''

South Carolina went more than 5 1-2 minutes between points, finally ending the drought on a tip-in by Brian Richardson that cut the deficit to three with 11:34 left.

Missouri was 2 for 23 from 3-point range before Phil Pressey banged one in off the glass for a two-point lead with 4:39 to go.

Missouri trailed at halftime for the third time at home after missing its first 13 3-point attempts, a slump ended by Ross with 32 seconds to go, and shot just 20 percent overall to trail 35-27. Pressey had no points, two assists and three turnovers, and three players were 0 for 3 from long range, and the Tigers stayed in range with 14-for-17 free throw shooting.

South Carolina hit four of its first five 3-pointers, three days after going just 4 for 21 in a home loss to Vanderbilt. Williams had three of the 3-pointers for the Gamecocks, who shot 41 percent.

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Wizards take out Pacers to earn important advantage in playoff seeding

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Wizards take out Pacers to earn important advantage in playoff seeding

The Washington Wizards beat the Indiana Pacers 109-102 on Saturday night. Here's analysis of what went down...

Important victory: Saturday night's game between the Wizards and Pacers had several layers of playoff implications on the line and it was Washington who rose to the occasion and showed the urgency commensurate for the stakes.

By beating the Pacers, the Wizards locked up the season series between the teams, two games to one. That gives them the tiebreaker for playoff seeding if the teams finish the regular season with the same record. That could very well prove paramount. As of now, the Wizards and Pacers have the same record (40-30) with 12 games to go.

The season series advantage means the Wizards are above the Pacers in the standings despite having the same record. They moved into fourth place in the East with the win and the Cavs slotted back into third. There will likely be a lot more movement as these next few weeks play out, but the Wizards now hold an important edge over the Pacers.

The win also pushed the Wizards to 14-8 since John Wall went down with a left knee injury. Wall could return this coming week or the week after and the Wizards have more than stayed afloat during his absence.

The Wizards' magic number to make the playoffs is now just five. 


Sato went off: The Wizards jumped out to a double-digit lead in the first quarter mostly thanks to a hot start from Tomas Satoransky, who scored the Wizards' first five points and had 10 by the end of the first quarter.

Satoransky's floater was automatic. He dropped in several in the lane from all different angles. Satoransky was practicing the same shots, floaters off each foot, the day before in practice and it paid off.

It was a well-rounded night for Satoransky. In addition to his 12 points, he also had eight assists and five rebounds, including this one to find Marcin Gortat for the dunk:

Gortat came up big: Speaking of Gortat, the Wizards' big man had one of his best games of the season. He poured in 18 points to go along with eight rebounds, four assists a steal and a block. Gortat shot 6-for-8, consistently having his way on the block.

The Pacers were without two of their best big men in Myles Turner and Domantas Sabonis and Gortat took advantage of that. He was way too much for Al Jefferson.

The Pacers tried to roll with small-ball lineups using Trevor Booker and Thaddeus Young as their big men, but it didn't work. Gortat was too big for them and his teammates did a great job finding him for open looks.

Gortat's 18 points were his most since Jan. 3 when he had a season-high 21 against the Knicks. Lately, Gortat has seen his minutes dwindle with the increased role for Ian Mahinmi, so Saturday night must have felt good for the Polish Machine.


Bojan held in check: Bojan Bogdanovic, who spent part of last season with the Wizards, was a major factor in the first two matchups between Washington and the Pacers this season. He had 20 points in one game and 29 in another, each time getting hot from three.

The Wizards, though, made some adjustments in this one and held Bo Buckets in check. He didn't make his first shot until nearly the midway point of the second quarter and it was only because Kelly Oubre, Jr. (16 points, 18 minutes) lost his balance. Oubre stumbled backward, giving Bogdanovic a split second to get off an open three. That was the only shot he hit in the first half as he began the game 1-for-4.

Oubre did a good job harrassing Bogdanovic and not giving him space on the premiter. Otto Porter (eight points) and Bradley Beal (19 points) did as well. Both Porter and Beal stripped the ball out of Bogdanovic's hands early in the third quarter. Midway through the third, Bogdanovic got past Porter only to be called for an offensive foul on a collision with Gortat. All in all, it was a frustrating night for Bogdanovic, who had 11 points, three below his season average.

Bogdanovic is a very good shooter and when he's hot can alter games. But when you take his shots away, there's not much else he can do to hurt you. The Wizards did a good job taking away his strengths and making others beat them. Not having to focus on Turner and Sabonis certainly helped. 

Sessions is still in the rotation: It turns out those five games for Ramon Sessions over the course of his second 10-day contract weren't just an audition. Now that he has been signed for the rest of the season, Sessions is still getting the nod over Tim Frazier as the backup point guard.

Sessions logged 18 minutes and even played alongside Satoransky and Jodie Meeks in the fourth quarter. The Wizards had a sizable lead and head coach Scott Brooks decided to experiment with his lineups. That is something to keep in mind for when Wall comes back. Once he does, Sessions will be the third point guard and likely rarely see the court. But if they see something they like about him at shooting guard, that could open the door for more playing time possibilities.

Up next: The Wizards have three off-days before their next game. That will be on Wednesday when they head to San Antonio to face the Spurs. Tipoff is at 9:30 p.m. on NBC Sports Washington. Pregame coverage begins at 8:30 p.m. with Wizards HangTime.

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Scandrick, Hankins both visiting with Redskins soon


Scandrick, Hankins both visiting with Redskins soon

The Redskins will be taking visits from two former NFC East foes in the next few days.

Former Cowboys cornerback Orlando Scandrick will visit Redskins Park on Monday. Scandrick, 31, has been with Dallas since them made him a fifth-round pick in the 2008 draft. He has eight career interceptions and seven forced fumbles.

The Cowboys released Scandrick on Friday in a salary cap move. The Redskins would be attracted to Scandrick’s versatility. He can play either side at corner and, of particular interest to the Redskins, in the slot. That is a position of concern for Washington since they traded Kendall Fuller to the Chiefs as part of the deal for quarterback Alex Smith.

The Redskins have been trying to get former Giants cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie to sign for the past several days, but they can’t come together on money. Scandrick could be a fallback if they need one.

The other visitor will be former Giants defensive lineman Jonathan Hankins, per John Keim of ESPN. Hankins, 25, was a second-round draft pick and played his first four years in New York. Last year he moved on to the Colts as a free agent. They are changing their defense and decided to release Hankins after paying him $10 million last year.

Hankins could bolster a defensive line that still needs young talent. It’s not known if he would be considered a nose tackle in the Redskins’ scheme. The Giants ran a 4-3 defense and in the Colts’ 3-4 he was used as an end.

The Redskins had former Jets defensive lineman Muhammad Wilkerson in for a visit earlier this week, but he decided to sign with the Packers.


Stay up to date on the Redskins. Rich Tandler covers the team 365 days a year. Like his Facebook page Facebook.com/TandlerNBCS and follow him on Twitter @TandlerNBCS.