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Saint Louis wins first game since Majerus' death

Saint Louis wins first game since Majerus' death

ST. LOUIS (AP) Dwayne Evans wanted to honor Rick Majerus with a win less than 24 hours after the former coach's death.

Evans scored 17 points and Jordair Jett added 14 points to lead Saint Louis to a 62-49 victory over Valparaiso on Sunday. Mike McCall Jr. added 10 points for the Billikens (4-3).

Majerus, 64, passed away Saturday at a Los Angeles hospital due to heart failure. The Milwaukee native compiled a 517-216 record over 25 years with Saint Louis, Ball State, Utah and Marquette.

``Coach dedicated his life to basketball,'' Evans said. ``I can't think of a better tribute than to get a win.''

Majerus guided the Billikens to their first NCAA tournament appearance in 12 years last season. The Billikens, who finished 26-8, upset Memphis before losing to Michigan State.

Majerus, who had a history of heart problems, took a leave of absence due to health issues in August. The school announced last month that he would not return.

The team found out about his passing after practice on Saturday.

``It was upsetting, tears were shed,'' forward Cody Ellis said. ``But it brought us together as a team. It helped us regroup. ... We definitely came today to play for him.''

Saint Louis guard Kwamain Mitchell said he learned more than just basketball from Majerus.

``He developed me into a man,'' Mitchell said.

Billikens interim coach Jim Crews said that although Majerus had been in failing health, it was still hard to accept the news.

``He's been a friends' friend to me,'' Crews said. ``He's been a father figure to many of these young guys. It hurts. I love Rick.''

A moment of silence was observed before the game. Following the silence, fans in the near sellout crowd clapped and cheered for 50 seconds before the national anthem was played.

Saint Louis players wore black ribbons on the front of their jerseys. The student cheering section, of which Majerus was a big supporter, donned black shirts. Majerus used to make sure to acknowledge the Slunatics, as they are called, after each home game.

``He always let us know that he appreciated us,'' said senior Marty Kovarik, vice president of the group. ``Before the season, he would take some of us to dinner and tell us just how important he thought we were to the team. It made us feel good - like we were a part of things.''

Majerus, who was extremely popular among fellow coaches, guided Utah to the NCAA championship game in 1998. He reached 15 wins 20 times and had 30-plus wins twice.

``He was brilliant,'' said Indiana coach Tom Crean, who along, with Majerus, shared a coaching path that ran through Marquette. ``He was a guy I could call at any time and he would give me ideas.''

Crean said there was a time when Majerus was among the most popular sports figures in Wisconsin.

``He (could) have become mayor of Milwaukee or governor of Wisconsin,'' Crean said. ``He was that well-loved.''

Saint Louis athletic director Chris May said Majerus helped lift the team to national prominence. He was hired on April 30, 2007, and guided the Billikens to a top-20 ranking last season for the first time since 1994-95.

``He put his heart and soul into the program,'' May said. ``What I remember most was his enduring passion to see his players excel both on and off the court.''

There was also a moment of silence in honor of Majerus prior to the St. Louis Rams game against San Francisco on Sunday.

Saint Louis used a 10-0 run late in the first half to take the lead for good 25-19.

Ryan Broekhoff, Matt Kenney and Kevin Van Wijk had 10 points each for Valparaiso (5-2).

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Tarik's 3 stars: Ovechkin said Caps would even the series, on Thursday, he helped them do it

Tarik's 3 stars: Ovechkin said Caps would even the series, on Thursday, he helped them do it

COLUMBUS — Alex Ovechkin confidently predicted earlier this week that the Caps were going to win twice at Nationwide Arena and take their first round series back to Washington knotted, two games apiece.

And, on Thursday night, that’s exactly what Ovechkin made sure his team did.

No. 8, who was playing in his franchise-record 101st playoff game, scored his third goal of the playoffs early in the final frame and the Caps beat the Blue Jackets 4-1 in Game 4.

Tarik’s Three Stars of Capitals-Blue Jackets Game 4

1. Tom Wilson, Capitals

After a slow (and penalty plagued) start to this series, Wilson has become a force. Yes, he took another minor.

But the good is far outweighing the bad these days. Big Willy recorded a goal, an assist and a team-high seven shots.  

2. Braden Holtby, Capitals

Holtby had his best game in, well, a long time. He stopped 23 shots, including all eight he saw in a contentious second period.

The goal he surrendered was a nearly unstoppable tip-in by Boone Jenner.

3. T.J. Oshie, Capitals

Osh just plays the game so dang hard.

So it should come as no surprise that he delivered in his team’s biggest game of the season to this point. Oshie, of course, scored the game-winning goal on the power play midway through the second period. It was No. 77’s second tally of the series.

Agree? Disagree?

Let us know what you think in the comments. 

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The 2018 NFL schedule is here, but we still don't really know anything

The 2018 NFL schedule is here, but we still don't really know anything

The NFL dropped the Redskins' 2018 regular-season schedule on Thursday and everybody will predict the team’s season-long record. 

It’s a fun exercise, and something the football world enjoys doing.

Myself included. 

But don’t read much, if anything, into the schedule right now. 

Every year, some teams look mighty in the offseason only to fall apart in the regular season. 

Need an example? Many predicted the Giants to be the beasts of the NFC East in 2017, and the Eagles to finish last in the NFC East. 

What actually happened? The Giants finished 3-13 and the Eagles won the Super Bowl. 

The NFL cannot be predicted year to year. It can hardly be predicted week to week. 

Last season, two December home games against the Broncos and Cardinals looked very daunting when the schedule came out. Instead, that was a two-game win streak. 

Enjoy the schedule release. It’s a fun time to guess what will happen in 2018.

But remember, once the games start, anything can happen. 

(For the record: My prediction is 9-7.)

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