NCAA

Freeman, Bucs defeat Panthers 27-21 in OT

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Freeman, Bucs defeat Panthers 27-21 in OT

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) Dallas Clark knows a thing or two about playing with great quarterbacks after spending nine seasons in Indianapolis playing alongside Peyton Manning.

During that time he saw a guy capable of putting a team on his shoulders and leading it to victory when the game was on the line.

Clark sees many of the same leadership qualities in his new quarterback, Josh Freeman of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Freeman threw a 15-yard touchdown pass to Clark in overtime as the Buccaneers overcame an 11-point fourth quarter deficit to beat the Carolina Panthers 27-21.

It was Freeman's third touchdown pass of the game for the Bucs (6-4), who have won five of their last six to pull into playoff contention.

``He showed a lot of poise and maturity and that is what we're going to need from him,'' Clark said.

Freeman has thrown 16 touchdown passes in his last six games and the Buccaneers are starting to look and talk like a legitimate playoff contender.

But rather than celebrating their dramatic win, Clark talked afterward about learning from it.

``We learned a lesson today that we can't just show up and win a game,'' Clark said. ``I hope guys will get it. We're lucky it's not a loss. I hope we go back and look at the film and say, `Hey we didn't play well.' Sure, we played well enough to make some plays to win at the end, but to get where we want to go, that's not good enough football.''

Meanwhile, the Panthers (2-8) would love to have a win any way they can get it.

Carolina has lost seven of its last eight. The Panthers held a fourth-quarter lead in five of their last six defeats before fading in the final seconds.

``It's been the story of our season,'' said Cam Newton, who threw for 252 yards and a touchdown to fall to 8-18 as an NFL starter.

When asked where this loss ranked among this season's meltdowns, Newton snapped, ``I'm not answering no more questions about where this one ranks.''

Carolina appeared to have the game in hand when Newton connected on a 29-yard touchdown strike to Brandon LaFell to go up 21-10 with six minutes left in regulation.

But after a 40-yard field goal by Connor Barth, the Panthers' offense couldn't put the game away and had to punt.

Freeman quickly led the Bucs 80 yards on seven plays in 50 seconds, despite not having any timeouts. Along the way, the Bucs benefited from a personal foul penalty on linebacker Thomas Davis for hitting a defenseless receiver.

Freeman finished the drive with a perfectly thrown 24-yard touchdown pass to Vincent Jackson between three defenders with 12 seconds left. He went back to Jackson for a 2-point conversion on a slant route to send it into overtime.

In overtime, the Bucs won the coin toss and moved quickly down the field with Freeman finding an open Clark on a wheel route along the left sideline for the winner.

``You've got to love it when the linebacker swears as you're heading up field,'' Clark said with a laugh.

Freeman said it was a play the Bucs worked on all week and he's glad that was the call.

``When we got to overtime we stepped into the huddle and everybody was ready to go and we started talking like, `Hey let's just execute one play at a time and do our jobs and try to get out of this thing with a touchdown,''' Freeman said.

The Bucs came in as one of the hottest teams in the league, having scored an average of 35.6 points per game during the past five games. Freeman had thrown 13 touchdown passes and only one interception in those games.

But after Tampa Bay jumped to a 10-0 lead, the Panthers' defense shut them down for most of the remainder of the three quarters, forcing three turnovers. A 74-yard interception return for a touchdown by Captain Munnerlyn and a key fumble by rookie Doug Martin on a fourth-and-goal at the 1-yard line loomed large.

Trailing 14-10, the Bucs appeared ready to take the lead after driving 15 plays to the Carolina 1.

But on fourth down, coach Greg Schiano went for the touchdown instead of the field goal and linebacker Davis plowed into Martin, forcing the ball out near the goal line. Fellow linebacker Luke Kuechly, the team's first-round draft pick, recovered in the end zone for a touchback.

Officials reviewed the play to see if Martin got in, but the call stood.

The Panthers seized the momentum when Newton led the team 80 yards for a score to build a 21-10 lead.

But once again, the Panthers couldn't finish.

Second-year coach Ron Rivera, whose seat only grew hotter after the loss, said the game was all about missed opportunities. He said the loss ``is right up there at the top'' in terms of toughest ones to swallow.

``This is about as bad as it gets,'' he said. ``The bad part is when you have opportunities to close someone out with a four-minute offense, but you can't take negative plays. That's a tough one.''

NOTES: Freeman has now thrown 16 touchdown passes in the last six games. ... Wide receiver Steve Smith injured his hand and defensive end Charles Johnson his head during the game, but both returned. ... Martin had 138 yards rushing for the Bucs. ... Carolina had 97 yards rushing after being held to 10 in the last meeting with the Bucs in the season opener.

Old Dominion at Syracuse Basketball: Date, Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

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USA Today Sports

Old Dominion at Syracuse Basketball: Date, Time, TV Channel, Live Stream, How to Watch

Following a thrilling 72-71 win over rival Georgetown, Syracuse (7-2) returns to the floor on Dec. 15 and welcomes Old Dominion (7-3) to town. The Orange will play four more non-conference games before starting ACC play on Jan. 5 at Notre Dame.

Old Dominion has won five-straight games entering their game against Syracuse. In the Monarchs' last game, B.J. Stith led the way with 28 points and a career-high 14 rebounds. 

Tip-off is scheduled for noon ET and will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington.

Old Dominion at Syracuse How to Watch

What: Old Dominion Monarchs at Syracuse Orange
Where: Carrier Dome, Syracuse, N.Y.
When: Noon ET
TV Channel: NBC Sports Washington (Channel Finder)

Old Dominion at Syracuse Preview

Conference: ACC (Syracuse), C-USA (Old Dominion)
Record: 7-2 (Syracuse), 7-3 (Old Dominion)
Last Game: 72-71 win vs. Georgetown, 12/8 (Syracuse), 79-69 win vs. Fairfield, 12/9 (Old Dominion)
Leading Scorers: Tyus Battle, 18.0 ppg (Syracuse), Ahmad Caver, 18.5 ppg (Old Dominion)
 

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Drew Gooden describes playing with LeBron James: It was 'like a traveling rock band'

Drew Gooden describes playing with LeBron James: It was 'like a traveling rock band'

LeBron James and the media circus that comes along with him is coming to Washington, D.C., as the Lakers will face off with the Wizards at Capital One Arena.

Drew Gooden played with James for the better part of four seasons in Cleveland from 2004-08, and so he knows exactly what it's like when one of the NBA's greatest players comes to town. 

"It's only real until you actually see it," Gooden said during Thursday's edition of the Wizards Talk podcast. "We used to joke and call ourselves not the Beatles, but the 'Cleatles,' because it was almost like a traveling rock band. And everybody played their part."

Gooden recounted one particular incident during a day off in Detroit in 2006, when he, James and a couple of their teammates went to a shopping mall to buy some watches.

"When we walked into the shopping mall in Detroit, it was like Michael Jackson had entered the shopping mall," Gooden explained. "Kids were running up, grownups were running up, everybody ran into the store we were in. They had to shut it down with mall security, and wouldn't let anybody in."

"The only thing I was thinking of is like, 'How are we gonna get out of here?' Because we came on our own with no security, so we were just thinking of how we were gonna get out of the mall now. And when I saw that star power of LeBron James back in 2006, this was before he won a championship, I couldn't imagine how it is now, and what he's become in today's game."

James' star power has only grown since then, and many have already declared him the greatest basketball player of all-time.

This label in reference to James is nothing new to Drew Gooden: he heard it when they were both teenagers playing AAU baskeball. 

"Calvin Andrews, who was a sports agent of Carmelo Anthony, Calvin Andrews told me when LeBron was 15 years of age, he said, 'You see that guy right there?'" Gooden recalled. "I said, 'Yeah, what about him?'"

"'He's gonna be the best basketball player ever.'"

"So it's no surprise to me, and this is not new to me, it's just I'm more amazed that it actually happened," Gooden concluded. "A lot of people say, 'Oh, he's gonna be the best ever or he has an opportunity of being the best ever.' But I literally heard a man tell me that in Calvin Andrews, and that guy actually becoming one of the best ever, or the best ever." 

For more on LeBron James and the Lakers' upcoming visit to D.C. to take on the Wizards, listen to the full Wizards Talk podcast below.

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