NCAA

McHale back with Rockets after daughter's death

McHale back with Rockets after daughter's death

HOUSTON (AP) Houston coach Kevin McHale has rejoined the Rockets after almost a month away from the team, and two weeks after the death of his daughter.

McHale took a leave of absence on Nov. 10 to be with his family as his daughter's health worsened. Alexandra ``Sasha'' McHale died Nov. 24 of complications from Lupus. She was 23.

``It's been a while,'' he said. ``Hopefully it's the right time. I don't know there ever is a right time. I don't know if there is a playbook about this, but I'm excited to be back.''

McHale will coach the Rockets on Saturday night against the Mavericks.

Houston went 7-6 under interim coach Kelvin Sampson while McHale was out.

McHale said he spoke with Sampson daily, watched each game and tried to stay plugged into the team as much as he could while he was away.

``It was hard. I don't want to get into the whole thing, but it was hard because your mind is a million miles away, but yet you're still watching games and you're still pulling for the guys so hard and you want them to win,'' he said. ``A lot of times that hour of the day (talking to Sampson) was sometimes the best part of the day.''

The second-year coach and Hall of Fame player complimented the job Sampson and the rest of the staff did while he was out. He said he felt bad that he had to leave this young team, which was trying to fit new pieces together, just when the season was starting.

``There just was a ton of adjustments to be made, and I thought they did a really good job of making adjustments,'' he said of his coaching staff.

McHale never directly addressed his daughter, but he did note that he appreciated the support he received from various people around the league during this difficult time.

``I've heard from a lot of people (and) that's been tremendous,'' he said. ``I had a lot of guys that I didn't know that well that really reached out, and I spent a lot of time talking to them. It's a terrible situation ... it's incomprehensible. But it meant a lot.''

The Rockets are paying tribute to McHale's daughter by wearing a green and purple band on their jerseys and a patch of the same color with her initials on their warm-up shirts. Green was her favorite color, and purple is the color that represents the fight against Lupus.

VCU loses fourth consecutive game to St. Louis

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VCU loses fourth consecutive game to St. Louis

ST. LOUIS -- Javonte Perkins had 25 points as Saint Louis topped VCU 80-62 on Friday night.

Hasahn French had 18 points for Saint Louis (19-8, 8-6 Atlantic 10 Conference). Terrence Hargrove Jr. added 11 points. Jordan Goodwin had 10 points.

Marcus Santos-Silva had 11 points for the Rams (17-10, 7-7), who have now lost four consecutive games. De'Riante Jenkins added 10 points.

Saint Louis plays Saint Joseph's at home on Wednesday. VCU faces UMass on the road on Wednesday.

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Tristan Thompson calls Bradley Beal one of the best shooting guards in the league

Tristan Thompson calls Bradley Beal one of the best shooting guards in the league

Cavaliers center Tristan Thompson spoke with reporters after the team's victory over the Wizards Friday night, praising Bradley Beal, who was snubbed from All-Star consideration this season despite averaging nearly 30 points-per-game.

The Cavaliers held the Wizards to just 21 points in the fourth quarter, and Thompson said their main focus was neutralizing Beal.

"The Wizards are really good offensively when they are making their runs," Thompson said postgame. "Bradley Beal is an All-Star in our league. One of the top-three two-guards in our league right now, so we were just trying to make it tough for him."

Beal finished the night with 26 points, but struggled from the floor. Beal shot 9-for-28 from the floor and the Cavaliers' stingy defense was clearly a factor.

Beal and the Wizards will have a chance to get back on track on Sunday night at Capital One Arena when they host the Chicago Bulls for the final time this season.

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