Nationals

USC downs UCLA in OT 75-71

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USC downs UCLA in OT 75-71

LOS ANGELES (AP) UCLA had its chances. The Bruins couldn't get defensive stops or make shots when they needed.

Jio Fontan and Aaron Fuller scored 15 points each and USC defeated UCLA 75-71 in overtime on Wednesday night, ending a four-game skid against the Trojans' crosstown rival.

``I'm a little disappointed at our effort coming out of the gate,'' Bruins guard Larry Drew II said. ``I don't think guys, for whatever reason, maybe were all the way into the game on the defensive end.''

Eric Wise added 12 points and 11 rebounds, J.T. Terrell and Byron Wesley each had 10 points for the USC (9-13, 4-5 Pac-12), which held the Bruins to 38 percent shooting while snapping a two-game losing streak.

The Trojans improved to 2-3 under interim coach Bob Cantu.

``With everything that has happened in the last couple of weeks, we just bonded together as a team,'' freshman Chass Bryan said, referring to coach Kevin O'Neill's firing. ``E Wise, Jio, all of our seniors stepped up. It feels great to get our first win in five years in the new Pauley Pavilion. We are just playing as a team at the right time, counting on each other and trusting each other.''

UCLA's Shabazz Muhammad scored 22 points but missed two 3-pointers in the final 1:14 of overtime while battling flu symptoms. He was given two liters of IV fluid before the game.

``He's a competitor,'' Travis Wear said. ``He's not going to let it stop him.''

The Bruins were 2 of 19 from 3-point range. They got outrebounded, 44-36.

``The guys stayed poised, they stayed committed and we told them to win on the road you have to stay focused and play through things,'' Cantu said. ``When we needed a basket, we got it. When we had to get it inbounds, we got it in.''

Wear, who returned after missing one game because of a concussion, added 16 points and Jordan Adams had 13 for the Bruins.

UCLA (16-6, 6-3) has dropped three of its last four and is in danger of slipping out of second place in the league after losing its only game this week.

``It's always worse when you lose to your rival and lose at home,'' coach Ben Howland said. ``We've got some soul searching to do to find our way back.''

The Bruins trailed by 15 points early in the second half and played from behind until Adams hit a jumper with 30 seconds left in regulation to tie the game at 65 and force overtime.

In the extra session, Adams' layup gave UCLA a 69-67 lead, its first since 6:49 of the first half. Fontan hit a 3-pointer before Muhammad's basket put UCLA back in front 71-70. Wesley answered for USC with a jumper that gave the Trojans a 72-71 lead. Travis Wear fouled Ari Stewart, who made both free throws for a 74-71 lead with 11 seconds left. Muhammad missed another 3-pointer and then Adams committed his first foul with 4 seconds left, sending Fontan to the line where he sealed the victory.

``We're really, really good at times and we can be really, really bad at times,'' Drew II said. ``I try not to focus too much on the negatives, but in the last week we've lost more games than we've won. We have to try to change that and learn from our mistakes.''

Playing in a less than full Pauley Pavilion, the Bruins moved out to a 21-15 lead to open the first of two regular-season meetings between the rivals. USC dominated the final 7:16 of the half with a 23-9 run that gave the Trojans a 38-30 halftime lead. Fuller scored 11 points in the spurt.

USC picked up where it left off to start the second half, going on a 14-7 run and getting four points each from Dewayne Dedmon and Wise to extend their lead to 52-37.

The Bruins started rallying with a 3-pointer by Muhammad and a more active defense. His basket keyed a 19-9 run during which Fontan picked up his fourth foul for the Trojans after scoring five straight points in the spurt that closed UCLA to 61-56. Muhammad had six points and Wear and Drew II had four each.

Muhammad stole the ball from Fontan and scored to draw UCLA within two. After Fontan scored, Drew II made a layup that again brought the Bruins to 65-63. After passing the ball around, they tied the game at 65 on Adams' short jumper.

Wise got called for his fourth foul going to the basket with 3 seconds left. After a timeout, Drew II dribbled up the court and launched a 3-pointer that hit the front of the rim as time expired, forcing overtime.

The Bruins wore alternate all-blue uniforms that featured solid color blocking of the team logos and a shimmery finish.

Reggie Miller had his No. 31 jersey retired at halftime. He starred for the Bruins from 1984-87, helping them win the NIT title as a sophomore. It's the second No. 31 jersey in the rafters at Pauley Pavilion. Ed O'Bannon wore the same number as the star of UCLA's 1995 national championship team.

``Let's bring back those short shorts I was wearing in that video,'' Miller told the crowd.

Later, he said, ``I never thought something like this would happen. It's humbling.''

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Wild-card tracker: Nationals thankful for Marlins, Cubs slide back

Wild-card tracker: Nationals thankful for Marlins, Cubs slide back

Back before all this mania, Miami, as putrid as its season would be, loomed as a factor.

Handling the Marlins would be key for any contender. It wasn’t a question of winning, but of how much winning would occur against one of the league’s worst teams.

Following Friday’s 6-4 win in a sparsely attended Marlins Park, the Nationals moved to 14-3 against Miami this season. They are 16 games over. 500 for the year. They are plus-11 against Miami alone.

Asdrúbal Cabrera homered again, Trea Turner hit two homers, and Daniel Hudson pitched two innings to earn the save. So, the Nationals, 84-68, hold a one-game lead for the top wild-card spot. Milwaukee won again, joining a long list of teams to beat up on the Pittsburgh Pirates since the post-All-Star-break portion of the schedule began. Pittsburgh may be the league’s worst team, at the moment, and the Brewers host it for two more this weekend.

Trouble is brewing for Chicago. It lost again to St. Louis -- this time a 2-1 mid-day defeat in Wrigley Field. The Cubs have lost four in a row. They are three games behind the Nationals and two behind the Brewers. Their path to 90 wins, which may ultimately be the threshold for postseason entrance, is narrowing.

The Mets won their third consecutive game. They are hanging around, 3 ½ games behind the Brewers with nine remaining on the schedule. Their wild-card elimination number is six.

News for Philadelphia is more dire. The Phillies dropped to 78-74 Friday night following a 5-2 loss in Cleveland. They are now five behind Milwaukee. Their wild-card elimination number is a mere five. 

Which brings us to the more detailed math portion of this program. Here are the postseason chances for each team, according to fivethirtyeight.com:

Nationals, 96 percent

Brewers, 84 percent

Cubs, 15 percent

Mets, 5 percent

Phillies, less than one percent

Coming up Saturday:

St. Louis at Chicago, 2:20 p.m., Hudson (16-7, 3.35 ERA) vs. Quintana (13-8, 4.37)

New York at Cincinnati, 4:10 p.m., Wheeler (11-7, 4.09) vs. DeSclafani (9-9, 3.93)

Washington at Miami, 6:10 p.m., Strasburg (17-6, 3.49) vs. Yamamoto (4-5, 4.87)

Philadelphia at Cleveland, 7:10 p.m., Vargas (6-8, 4.48) vs. Plesac (8-6, 3.64)

Pittsburgh at Milwaukee, 7:10 p.m., Marvel (0-2, 9.00) vs. Davies (10-7, 3.70)

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Beyond the Scoreboard: NLL changes and social responsibility

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USA TODAY Sports

Beyond the Scoreboard: NLL changes and social responsibility

By Rick Horrow

Podcast edited by Tanner Simkins

CLICK HERE TO LISTEN TO THE FULL PODCAST

  1. SportsBusiness Journal lauds corporate social responsibility. Amidst a recent roundup of sports CSR initiatives, SportsBusiness Journal noted that the first project on which educational platform developer EverFi collaborated with a sports property was “a financial literacy program that regional bank BBVA offered for use by elementary school students in a handful of NBA markets, including Dallas, Houston, and Phoenix.” When Houston hosted the NBA All-Star Game in 2013, league sponsor BBVA arranged for Rockets star James Harden to appear at a participating school. “While it’s cool to have a BBVA banker come into the classroom, it’s even cooler if James Harden shows up,” said Jon Chapman, co-founder and president of global partnerships for EverFi, which has developed online educational modules on topics ranging from financial literacy to STEM to anti-bullying, branded for presentation by teams, leagues, and sponsors. After Houston, EverFi developed educational modules for the NHL and NHLPA around science, technology, engineering and math; for the NFL and the United Way around character development and African American history; for MLB focusing on learning loss during summer vacation; and with MLS around anti-bullying. We look forward to celebrating a Sport Business Handbook event with EverFi at their Washington, DC headquarters on October 2
  2. The National Lacrosse League announces details for the 2019-2020 season, which include divisional realignment, playoff format and schedule type after the addition of two expansion teams and new market Halifax. The league will feature 13 teams in the upcoming season after fielding 11 last year. To accommodate the addition of expansion teams, the New York Riptide, Rochester Knighthawks, and new market Halifax Thunderbirds, as well as maintaining an eye towards continued expansion, the NLL will shift to a three-division format in 2019-2020. “The league has had unprecedented expansion over the last three years. With two more teams coming in this year along with a new market in Halifax, we felt the need to reexamine conference alignments, schedule and playoff formats to prepare for future expansion. We also wanted to create exciting rivalries for the fans, the best travel scenarios for teams and players and competitive match-ups for our 13 franchises,“ said NLL Commissioner and Sport Business Handbook contributor Nick Sakiewicz. Along with unprecedented expansion, the NLL is clearly looking at unprecedented success.
  3. Cal Ripken, Jr.’s celebrity golf tournament draws in legendary athletes across major U.S. sports leagues. According to the Patriot News, the event, featuring such legends as Julius Erving, Lawrence Taylor, Ozzie Smith, and Jim McMahon, was held to benefit the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation. The inaugural golf outing was held in 2011, and since then, the event has raised several million dollars for the Cal Ripken, Sr. Foundation. The principal goals of the foundation are to utilize baseball- and softball-themed programs in an effort to build character and teach life lessons to underprivileged children. Founded in 2001, the Foundation has served kids in all 50 states and in other countries such as Canada and Nicaragua. With over 20 Hall of Famers across the NFL and MLB, the event has an impressive amount of star power to help draw attention to giving back to those less privileged through baseball and softball.