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Samford rallies past College of Charleston 62-57

Samford rallies past College of Charleston 62-57

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) Raijon Kelly scored 15 points as Samford rallied to defeat College of Charleston 62-57 Thursday night for its first win over the Cougars in the 13-game series.

The Bulldogs (4-12, 2-1 Southern Conference), who came in having lost two straight and five of their previous six games, snapped College of Charleston's five-game winning streak.

Samford, which also won its first game on the Cougars' home floor in seven tries, led 29-24 at halftime after neither team could score for the last 2:54.

College of Charleston (10-5, 2-1) pulled ahead 36-35 and built a nine-point lead at 53-44 with 4:54 left. The Bulldogs fought back with a 15-2 spurt, including three 3-pointers, to lead 59-55 with 24 seconds remaining.

After Andrew Lawrence's layup closed the gap to two, Kelly made 3 of 4 free throws in the last 15 seconds.

Adjehi Baru led the Cougars with 18 points and 11 rebounds.

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Scott Brooks on guarding Michael Jordan: 'He probably felt sorry for me'

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USA TODAY Sports

Scott Brooks on guarding Michael Jordan: 'He probably felt sorry for me'

With 26 combined NBA seasons, Scott Brooks has both played and coached with and against some of the greatest players in basketball history -- some who have long since been inducted into the Hall of Fame and some who certainly will be. He remembers one opponent in particular, back when he was a player, that made him starstruck during game action.

Brooks was a rookie when a defensive switch put him on an island against Michael Jordan, who, at 25 years old, was already a reigning MVP.

"I remember it almost like it was in slow motion. I said, 'I cannot believe I'm guarding Michael Jordan.' I said that like literally to myself as I'm guarding him," Brooks told NBC Sports Washington.

Jordan, Brooks said, showed mercy on him.

"The greatest thing is, he knew he could do whatever he wanted to do, but he just made a simple pass to the next guy over. He didn't even try to score on me. So that's my claim to fame," Brooks said.

Brooks played against Jordan 20 times in his career, and his teams actually fared quite well, all things considered. Brooks went 7-9 in the regular season across his stints with the Sixers, Timberwolves, Mavericks, Cavaliers and Rockets. The playoffs were a different story. Jordan took those 3-1 and happened to outscore Brooks by exactly 40 points per game.

What Brooks remembers most of all about playing against Jordan was his defense. Most think of Jordan as a scorer, but he won the defensive player of the year award for the 1987-88 season and was a nine-time All-Defense selection. He also led the NBA in steals three times.

"I just remember how intimidating he was on the defensive end. Everybody talks about his offense, and rightfully so. The guy was probably the greatest offensive player. But his defense was intimidating for a point guard," Brooks said. 

"A lot of times your entry pass to the offense was to the two, to the off-guard. It was nerve-racking making that pass because you knew he was lurking in the weeds, and he was gonna jump out and take the ball. He challenged passes. It's hard to get guys to challenge shots, and he would challenge passes. That's how good he was."

Most of the legendary stories about playing against Jordan deal with his trash-talking. There are countless tales, including one told by Chris Webber to the Dan Patrick Show in 2013. Webber was on the Washington Bullets when they faced the Bulls in the first round of the 1997 playoffs.

According to Webber, Jordan walked into the Bullets' locker room before Game 1 with a lit cigar and asked the team: "'Who's going to check me tonight?'" He then had a lit cigar again before Game 3 as the Bullets got off the bus, and he was standing next to a black Ferrari with Scottie Pippen. Webber said Jordan was "letting us know that he's the Red Auerbach before the game even started. It was almost like 'I lit the cigar. I'm celebrating already. This is just a formality, you guys getting on the court tonight.'"

That is vicious stuff and Brooks said he was spared from it. Jordan apparently set his trash-talking sights on the bigger fish in the sea.

"He never trash-talked me, but I don't think I was ever a concern for him," Brooks said with a smile. "I don't think I could ever get under his skin anyway. Why would he ever want to trash-talk me? He probably felt sorry for me."

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Maryland women face off against UCLA for spot in Sweet 16

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Maryland women face off against UCLA for spot in Sweet 16

NEW YORK (AP) -- Eight invitations to the Sweet 16 have been delivered and the other eight will be decided Monday night.

UConn's back in the regional semifinals for the 26th consecutive year. The Huskies had to work for it as pesky Buffalo rallied from a 24-point, third-quarter deficit to get within eight in the fourth before the Huskies won by 12. It was UConn's closest game in the second round since a two-point victory over Xavier in 1999. The next-closest was a 15-point win over TCU in 2003.

"It's been kind of that type of year for us, where things just don't naturally happen the way they have before, and for us that's good preparation," UConn senior Katie Lou Samuelson said. "That shows that when things go wrong, when things happen, we can always pick up what we need to do and pick up from the next person down."

While reaching the Sweet 16 seems to be a rite of spring for the Huskies, other teams will be trying to make it there for the first time in a long time. The last time Missouri State advanced to the regional semifinals, assistant coach Jackie Stiles was leading the Lady Bears to an incredible Final Four run in 2001. For the team to get to the next round, they'll have to contend with Iowa State and a rowdy crowd at ISU's Hilton Coliseum.

Arizona State and Texas A&M needed big plays in the final few seconds to reach the next round in wins over Miami and Marquette, respectively.

Oregon had a little easier time advancing to its third consecutive Sweet 16. Sabrina Ionescu was a big reason why, getting her 18th career triple-double and second in the NCAAs. She became the second player to do it multiple times in the tournament, joining former Stanford great Nicole Powell.

Ionescu got her 10th rebound to reach the stat milestone in the final few minutes when she rebounded her own miss.

"I knew exactly where it was going to go," she said. "Let me add a little more rotation on this shot so I can get it back."

STILL UNBEATEN

The Pac-12 has yet to lose in the postseason, improving to 8-0 after wins by Arizona State and Oregon. Throw in two victories by Arizona in the WNIT and the conference is unblemished.

"I was able to tell the team yesterday, there's nothing that this team can show us that we haven't seen and the conference hasn't prepared you for this. How many close games has this group been in down the stretch of the year?" Oregon State coach Scott Rueck said. "You have the confidence to get the stops and to score and to execute."

HOME SWEET HOME

Baylor has been dominant at home -- during the regular season and in the women's NCAA Tournament.

The California Golden Bears know all too well the difficulty of playing the perennial Big 12 champion Bears in Waco during the postseason. They are 0-2 there, with those losses by significant margins.

For the third time in six years, the Golden Bears won an opening-round game in the Ferrell Center to set up a matchup against the host team -- they overcame an early 12-point deficit and beat North Carolina 92-72 on Saturday. Cal lost by 19 to Baylor in 2014, the year after an NCAA Final Four appearance, and two years ago ended their season with an 86-46 loss in Waco.

"We were very, very young when we came the last time, and I think that's a huge difference, just players having been here before, having gone through a lot of different experiences in the life of a basketball player," Cal coach Lindsay Gottlieb said.

After overwhelming NCAA Tournament first-timer Abilene Christian 95-38 in the first round Saturday night, Baylor has won 15 consecutive NCAA Tournament games at home since 2011 and won those games by an average margin of 37 points.

The Lady Bears are 16-0 at home this season, and have won 38 in a row overall in Waco. They are 148-3 in non-conference home games in coach Kim Mulkey's 19 seasons, and have won 48 in a row since losing in January 2014 to UConn, which was the No. 1 team in the country when losing at Waco this season.

HAPPY ANNIVERSARY

Monday's game will be played exactly 41 years after UCLA beat Maryland 90-74 to win the AIAW national championship, a precursor to the NCAA Tournament.

"That's pretty amazing," UCLA coach Cori Close said. "I think it's really good to pause and say thank you to the people that were involved in those games, thank you to the people that really lived out Title IX in an amazing, courageous way. Now we get opportunities that would have never been there without their sacrifice."

GROWING THE GAME

Rueck spoke about how the NCAA Tournament allows women's basketball to attract more fans -- even in Corvallis, which is known for its support of the sport and the home team.

"That's what I've loved about our community. They've embraced us," he said. "I always joke, I know we've got the women's basketball fans, and we're going to do great things for them.

"I want the football fans," he said. "I want the men's basketball fan that maybe has never given us a chance. Give us a shot, and be careful because you're going to get hooked."