Σάββατο, 29 Φεβρουαρίου 2020

Liverpool-Watford Preview

February 29, 2020 at 02:00AM

After arguably the biggest threat to their unbeaten Premier League season, Liverpool look to right themselves and continue chasing history Saturday when they face relegation-threatened Watford at Vicarage Road in search of a record-setting 19th consecutive victory.

Perhaps it was the hangover from their midweek Champions League loss at Atletico Madrid, perhaps the pressure from trying to join Arsenal and Preston North End as the only unbeaten top-flight sides in English football history, but Monday's match against West Ham was one of the few times this season Liverpool (26-1-0) were involved in a slog.

The Merseysiders rallied for a 3-2 victory on second-half goals by Mohamed Salah and Sadio Mane, with right back Trent Alexander-Arnold playing a key role in the fightback with assists on Giorginio Wijnaldum's first-half goal and Mane's match-winner on 80 minutes. The 21-year-old has 12 assists - second only to Manchester City's Kevin De Bruyne in the Premier League - while doing so as a defender.

"I think we passed the moment where we treat him like a young boy, he is just a proper member of the squad," Liverpool boss Jurgen Klopp told the club's official website regarding Alexander-Arnold. "Everybody has to contribute, everybody has to bring on the pitch what he is able to do - and the boys do a lot to bring him or Robbo (Andrew Robertson) in the position and save them there.

"I don't want to make the performance more than it is, I am completely happy with it, but that's how football works on the highest level. (There were) super moments of Gini, for example, where he just wins that decisive battle, Sadio really (good), Bobby chasing back and wins the ball. Thank God in our stadium (it is like) nearly scoring a goal (with) the celebration after Bobby wins a really important ball back."

The 18 straight victories since their only blemish - a 1-1 draw at Manchester United on Oct. 20 - are equal with Manchester City's record-setting run set from August to December 2017 and bettered their club mark of 17 set bridging this season and last season prior to the stalemate at Old Trafford. Liverpool have won eight straight road matches since their draw at United, conceding just three goals in that span.

Liverpool have won 35 of their last 36 league matches while going unbeaten in their last 44 (39-5-0) such contests, which is the fifth-longest among clubs in Europe's top five leagues.

"I really believe that the better you defend, the easier it is to attack," Liverpool assistant Pepijn Linders said. "The last game, we didn't attack - or we were not protected in the way we should be protected - so we didn't attack in the right way and that's why we had to run back and stop these counters much deeper than we are normally used to. The better we attack, the easier it is to defend. It's really related to each other.

"If you want to win, if you want to go far, you have to dominate everything. Each phase in the best way possible. We don't speak about perfection, but the best way possible. Be dominant in each phase and that's something we are good at. If we have to defend, we defend. If we have to attack, we attack."

Talisman and midfielder Jordan Henderson is expected to miss this contest with a hamstring injury as Klopp has an eye for him to return for Liverpool's second-leg round of 16 tie at home versus Atletico Madrid on March 11. This match also kicks off a busy stretch for the Reds, who also have a fifth-round FA Cup clash with Chelsea on Tuesday.

Much like West Ham on Monday, Watford (5-9-13) are in a similar plight with relation to the relegation scrap. The Hornets are second-bottom on 24 points, trailing West Ham on goal difference but also two points from safety.

The new manager bounce Nigel Pearson brought with his arrival has ebbed during a challenging stretch of fixtures, with the Hornets winless in their last five matches (0-2-3) after a 3-0 drubbing administered by Manchester United on Sunday.

Watford had trouble containing United's attack and failed to generate much offence themselves, often second-best while putting only two shots on target and taking seven overall - two fewer than United had on target.

"It's going to be a scrap to the end of the season," keeper Ben Foster told Watford's official website. "We gave them too much time and respect. We have to keep our heads up and keep fighting.

"Team spirit is going to be a huge part of this," said the goalkeeper. "Results in other games were kind to us this weekend. We know we've got plenty of quality in the dressing room, so we can't let things affect us emotionally."

Ismalia Sarr should be available for this match after a successful 20-minute runout versus United after missing the previous three games through injury, and right back Daryl Janmaat has returned to first-team training. This contest, though, may come too soon for Kiko Femenia as he continues to work his way back from a hamstring injury.

Liverpool ran out 2-0 winners in the reverse fixture at Anfield on a brace by Salah on either side of halftime. They have won four on the trot versus Watford - all by shutout - and are 7-1-0 in the last eight meetings since the Hornets' lone top-flight home win in the series, a 3-0 victory in December 2015.

Crystal Palace-Brighton & Hove Albion Preview

February 29, 2020 at 02:00AM

Whilst Crystal Palace managed to end their lengthy Premier League winless spell last week, Brighton & Hove Albion are still stuck in one of their own.

Palace can win consecutive league games for the first time in almost three months by extending the Seagulls' top-flight winless stretch to eight matches on Saturday at the Amex.

There was a much-needed sigh of relief when time went full on Crystal Palace's 1-0 home victory over Newcastle United last Saturday. Patrick van Aanholt's goal at the end of the first half was enough for the Eagles (8-9-10) to snap a three-game losing streak and end their 0-4-3 league rut.

The result left Palace with a club-record 33 points through 27 Premier League matches, and 13th in the table. The triumph should also give them some momentum to look ahead confidently whilst trying to win back-to-back top-flight matches for the first time since Nov. 30 and Dec. 3.

"Look at what's in front of you and look at what you can get to," veteran defender Gary Cahill told Crystal Palace's official website. "Obviously, we realise we've had three not-so-good results, but along the way through we've had some good performances. (Last Saturday), I thought we deserved the win."

Palace had to work much harder just to earn a point through a 1-1 draw with Brighton at home on Dec. 16. Wilfried Zaha scored the equaliser in the 76th minute after Neal Maupay opened the scoring for the Seagulls on 54 minutes.

Brighton (6-10-11), 15th in the table and five points back of Palace, are all too familiar with the draw. They've recorded one in each of their last three Premier League games and are 0-5-2 since beating Bournemouth 2-0 at home on Dec. 28.

It was Maupay again who came through to help earn his team a point via last Saturday's 1-1 draw versus Sheffield United. His team-leading eighth goal of the season equalised on the half-hour mark.

"We'll look at the Sheffield United match to see what we did well and where we can improve. We'll (continue) to work hard this week and be ready on Saturday to get a win," Maupay, who snapped an eight-game league goal drought, told Brighton's official website.

Whilst Maupay ended his own scoring rut, Palace leading scorer Jordan Ayew (six league goals) has gone five straight top-flight games without a goal. Ayew does not have a goal in three career matches versus Brighton.

No title

February 29, 2020 at 02:00AM

No title

February 29, 2020 at 02:00AM

Police: Student joyrides on ATV damage LSU field

A 19-year-old LSU student is accused of breaking into the football stadium on two different nights and both times taking a Kawasaki MULE ATV parked inside and driving it on the field, causing thousands of dollars in damage.

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People Are Ready To Say "Candyman" 5 Times If It Will Make Yahya Abdul-Mateen II Appear In Their Bathroom

NO CHILL.


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Knife offenders lack male role models, says senior police officer

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The decade that shattered trust in politics

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New York City FC

February 29, 2020 at 12:29AM

Atalanta

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Toronto FC

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Liverpool

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Arsenal

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Bournemouth

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Valladolid

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Whitecaps FC

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Barcelona

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Sporting Kansas City

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SPAL

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Brighton & Hove Albion

February 29, 2020 at 12:29AM

Πάτρα: Γιατί ματαιώθηκε το καρναβάλι πριν 56 χρόνια (pic) – Ματαιώνονται και τα Κούλουμα - SKAI

Πάτρα: Γιατί ματαιώθηκε το καρναβάλι πριν 56 χρόνια (pic) – Ματαιώνονται και τα Κούλουμα  SKAIΠροβολή πλήρους κάλυψης στην εφαρμογή Ειδήσεις Google

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Επεισόδια μεταξύ μεταναστών και ΜΑΤ στη Μυτιλήνη - Zougla

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Παρασκευή, 28 Φεβρουαρίου 2020

Why Haley Should Have Ended Up With Andy On "Modern Family"

"If I'm your elephant, you have a shot. That's what I'm trying to say, dummy."


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Gal Gadot And Brie Larson "Fighting" In An Instagram Selfie Is The Most Ambitious Crossover Event In History

Captain Marvel and Wonder Woman together...it's what we deserve.


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This Food Quiz Will Surprisingly And Accurately Guess Your Current Hair Color

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Embiid injury adds to Sixers' uncertainty ahead of hosting Knicks

February 28, 2020 at 02:00AM

The Philadelphia 76ers will be looking for their league-best 28th victory in 30 home games when they host the New York Knicks on Thursday.

The Sixers are 27-2 at home but just 9-21 on the road following a 108-94 loss to the Cleveland Cavaliers on Wednesday. More troubling is that Joel Embiid left late in the first quarter and didn't return. The team announced he has a sprained shoulder.

Embiid told the Philadelphia Inquirer that he will undergo a magnetic resonance imaging test on Thursday.

"I'm really sort of a prisoner to the medical people's information," Sixers head coach Brett Brown said of Embiid's status. "I haven't checked in. I just left the team. I'm unsure, I really am unsure."

Philadelphia is already trying to make its playoff push without All-Star Ben Simmons, who will miss his third consecutive game on Thursday. Simmons, who has nerve impingement in his lower back, could be sidelined for an extended period.

Embiid poured in a career-high 49 points to go along with 14 rebounds without Simmons in Monday's win over the Atlanta Hawks.

"Joel knows it more than I can say it," Brown said when asked about Embiid being more aggressive. "We talked a little bit about it. With the sort of news of Ben, and him not being there, it's clear he's got to come out and he's got to play like he did (Monday) for the most part."

Other key players such as Tobias Harris will also be counted on more heavily with the roster being shuffled.

"We kind of have been adapting to different lineups, different guys, but everybody stays ready and everybody has a respect for one another and in each other's games," Harris said. "It's a tribute to everybody really staying right, staying ready throughout this whole season, because any time you could be called on, especially with the way the NBA is."

The Knicks are coming off a 107-101 loss on the road to the Charlotte Hornets on Wednesday despite 18 points from Julius Randle and 17 from Bobby Portis' 17. Alonzo Trier scored 15 points, and Mitchell Robinson had 12 points and 16 rebounds.

The Knicks sport an identical road record as the Sixers at 9-21, although they're just 17-41 heading into Philadelphia.

New York did manage 57 points off its bench to stay close to the Hornets.

"We just try to go out there and try to bring us back," Portis said. "We have one job, like always: Come in and just try to build the game, try to bring energy, and that's our one job."

The Knicks are expected to be without Frank Ntilikina again with a sore groin. Ntilikina missed 32 of the final 34 games last season with a similar injury.

This would be his sixth game missed this season with this injury.

"It's the same, but it's not the same thing," Ntilikina told the New York Post. "An injury like that which took me off the court for the rest of the season last year takes time, especially a young body, to recover from it. Some specialists say it takes the same amount of time for when you're injured to be fully healed.

"It's a long season. My body has to fully grow, and I have to stay on top of it."

--Field Level Media

Punter steals show at combine on bench press

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Five new quarterback drills to reimagine the NFL combine

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A Three-Minute Explainer About Why Skai Jackson Allegedly Filed A Restraining Order Against Bhad Bhabie

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Answer Some Questions And We'll Reveal What Kind Of Smart You Are

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Thousands of depression cases 'linked to universal credit'

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Being Scott Drew: How College Basketball's Mr. Rogers Turned Baylor Into a Powerhouse

February 28, 2020 at 02:24AM

Scott Drew took over Baylor after the darkest scandal in college basketball history. Here's how Drew turned the Bears into one of the year's best teams.

WACO, Texas — Scott Drew doesn’t want to be doing this. He’d rather not have a sitdown interview in his office right now, less than an hour after

his Baylor basketball team’s first loss in 105 days, in the biggest home game in program history. The timing is all wrong.

On the table in front of him is the box score from Kansas 64, Baylor 61. There are a few handwritten notes on the paper, the feedback from a quick postgame meeting with his staff. Drew is still wearing his gray suit from the game, tie still cinched tight around his neck, missed free throws and Jayhawks lob dunks still crowding his brain.

He hasn’t let go, and he won’t let go until he’s watched the video at least once, at home, alone, examining the errors that left No. 1 Baylor three points in arrears of No. 3 Kansas. That’s what he’d rather be doing right now.

“I watch it soon as I can after games, especially losses,” Drew said. “Winning’s a little easier. You can put that one off and go get a meal. Losing, it’s usually ride home, shower, then watch it.

“Close games for coaches are the worst. The coach goes over every possession—what could I have done better?”

That self-examination and self-flagellation can wait, though. Today there are a few guests to attend to after hosting the biggest game of the 2019-20 college season nationally, and Drew will do it with a torrent of enthusiasm.

A big part of being Scott Drew is appearing absolutely overjoyed to be doing this interview that he really doesn’t want to be doing. He greets the reporter with a hug—not a half-assed bro hug, but a two-armed, long-lost-relative embrace. He proudly introduces the reporter to former Bear standout Curtis Jerrells, now playing professionally in Italy but back in town for this game. The internal postgame angst has been coated over with a thick veneer of charm.

If it weren’t for the occasional pursed lips and furrowed brow, you’d think Scott Drew is having the time of his life doing this interview he doesn’t want to do after a gut-churning loss. If the interview lasts all day, he’s there for it. There were so many days—months, years—when nobody much cared about his Baylor basketball program, and now the world wants in.

So he’s got the door wide open.

His entire coaching life, Drew has sold hope like it’s a miracle drug. He’s sold it like a true believer, trying to convert the masses into believing in Baylor. He is so over-the-top positive that it’s seen as a negative by some. Is he real or is he a fake?

He comes across as the Mr. Rogers of college basketball, and Mr. Rogers’ neighborhood is not the college hoops neighborhood. It is considerably less neighborly. It is a cutthroat, cynical neighborhood that is at odds with Drew’s public countenance.

“He has an optimism, a sense of faith and a sense of family and togetherness that is real,” said ESPN analyst Fran Fraschilla, a Texas resident who knows the Big 12 better than anyone. “People said early on he’s a phony, he’s a charlatan. But the more you see it, you know it’s real stuff. He’s like that Sunday school preacher, but he believes what he’s preaching. Optimism, with him, is like breathing.”

***

He had a role model, of course. Scott Drew is Homer Drew all over again, a font of positivity on a bigger stage.

“I get it from my dad,” Scott says. “I’m a glass-half-full guy.”

Homer was an assistant coach at LSU from 1972-76, then unplugged himself from the high end of college hoops to become the head coach at NAIA school Bethel College in Indiana. The move was at least in part driven by wanting to spend more time with his young family. After 11 straight winning seasons there, Homer moved to Indiana University-South Bend for one season and then got the head-coaching job at Division I Valparaiso, which also is in northwest Indiana.

Homer Drew was a largely unknown coach at Valpo, a guy who kept his job through five losing seasons to start that tenure in part because he was too nice to fire. Then the program took off in the mid-1990s, an ascendance that coincided with Scott coming to work for Homer as an assistant and younger son Bryce enrolling as a player.

Scott’s playing career is virtually nonexistent, despite being the son of a coach and the oldest sibling to two stars, Bryce and sister Dana. Scott stopped playing basketball after his sophomore season at Valparaiso High School and focused on tennis, hoping to earn a college scholarship in that sport, but it didn’t happen. He played tennis for a couple seasons at Butler but did not earn a varsity letter.

“People ask me if I’m jealous of my brother’s coaching success, having the No. 1 team in the country,” said Bryce Drew, who coached at Valpo and Vanderbilt until being fired in 2019. “He probably got some of those same questions growing up as my brother. But he was always happy for my success as a player, always pushing me to get to the NBA and be as good as I could be.”

Coaching was in Scott’s veins. He worked with Bryce and Dana on some of their youth league teams, and became a student manager for Barry Collier at Butler.

Homer pushed law school. Scott went into the family business instead.

Shortly after Homer, Scott and Bryce came together at Valpo, the program took off. With Scott spearheading an overseas recruiting movement, there were nine straight winning seasons and six NCAA tournament appearances. That run was highlighted by Homer drawing up one of the most famous plays in March Madness lore, resulting in Bryce sinking a game-winning shot at the buzzer to beat Mississippi in the 1998 first round. That Valpo team made the only Sweet 16 appearance in school history.

Along the way, Homer charmed everyone with his pleasant personality. Scott learned more from his dad than just Xs and Os.

“My dad always treated everybody like family,” Scott said. “I think he’s a great man, and I try to emulate that.”

When Homer retired in 2002, Scott was the no-brainer choice to succeed him. It looked like the Drew dynasty would continue at Valpo for many more years, and it did—just not the way anyone envisioned.

***

One year into his Valpo tenure, Scott Drew and assistant Matthew Driscoll were at the annual coaches gathering hosted by David and Dana Pump, college basketball networkers of some renown and notoriety. (There are few clean connections in the sport, and the Pumps have their critics in and around the game.) It was August 2003, and Valpo was coming off a 20-11 season and NIT appearance.

The darkest scandal in NCAA basketball history was simultaneously blowing up at Baylor. On Aug. 8, Dave Bliss was forced to resign as coach of the Bears in the wake of one player (Carlton Dotson) murdering another (Patrick Dennehy). In order to cover up NCAA violations, Bliss concocted a story that smeared Dennehy after his death—alleging that Dennehy was a drug dealer who used the money from those transactions to pay his college tuition, when in fact Bliss had paid him under the table.

Bliss resigned during the Pump outing. Driscoll, in talking to then-NBA coach Tim Floyd at the gathering, found out that Floyd had a connection at Baylor. After a few phone calls, Scott Drew was in play to become the next coach of the Bears.

Driscoll told his boss: “You’re young, you’re Christian and you’re full of energy. And it’s so bad there, you can be bad and still look good because you’re so positive.”

Sounded good in theory, but it would be quite difficult in practice. Bryce Drew attended his brother’s introductory press conference at Baylor and was worried about what Scott had gotten into.

“It wasn’t at ground level,” Bryce said. “It was way below ground level. But I don’t think he ever looked back or had a doubt.”

Scott’s sudden departure freed up Homer to come out of retirement and coach Valpo for another eight seasons. For the first two seasons, at least, Homer had the better team at the mid-major level than Scott had in the Big 12.

Leaving a consistently successful, mom-and-pop operation at Valpo for the cesspool of Baylor looked like career suicide. Scott Drew didn’t see it that way.

“When he left Valpo to go there it looked like a ridiculous move,” Fraschilla said. “Scott inherited one of the worst messes in NCAA history. But he came in with an optimism that was almost naive.”

The naivety was real. Drew came to Waco talking about going to the Final Four and one day winning a national championship. He barely had a program.

“There’s not been a worse situation in college athletics,” said Driscoll, now the head coach at North Florida. “Ever.”

Said Kelly Drew, Scott’s wife: “There were some years going into the season you were just hoping to get a win in the Big 12. One win.”

Their first Baylor team had six scholarship players. Taking over a program in August, just a couple of months before the season started, they were so desperate for bodies that they held an open tryout on campus. Turnout was surprisingly robust.

“I was so excited,” Drew said. “Our staff and I walked in and there are a lot of good-looking athletes.”

The only problem—many of them weren’t Baylor students. They heard about a tryout and came to campus thinking they could join the team without being enrolled.

The search for players even extended to a Fazoli’s one day. Drew and Driscoll were there for lunch when they saw a 6-foot-7, athletic-looking young man, so they asked him if he was a Baylor student. The guy said he was a sophomore at the school, and the coaches told him to come by their offices and talk to them about joining the team.

They never saw him again. After scouring the dorms looking for him, Drew and Driscoll figured out he wasn’t a student after all.

Baylor not only had no players and a major NCAA investigation ongoing, there were few other trappings of a big-time basketball program. The locker room was archaic, the transportation was modest, the budget was small.

“We took charters to Lubbock,” Driscoll quipped. “But they were buses, not a plane.”

The job got tougher two years in, when the NCAA hammered Baylor for Bliss’ sins. Among the penalties: the Bears couldn’t play any non-conference games in the 2005-06 season. Their first game was Jan. 11, and they went 4-13 against a Big 12-only schedule.

Drew was undaunted. Playing from way behind and unwilling to take as long to rebuild as most people expected, he embarked on a two-pronged recruiting strategy: players and donors. He relentlessly attacked both, speaking to every Baylor alumni group he could find and chasing on-court talent everywhere.

Donations were raised to buy a golf cart for whisking recruits around campus. More money was raised for a smoked-glass door in the locker room, in hopes of trying to make it look better. (“We had nothing else to sell,” Driscoll said.) Finally, a donor was lined up to remodel the whole locker room, which freed up the staff to get more creative in other areas.

Baylor arranged an elaborate and intricately video presentation for recruits when they came into Drew’s office. Once the lights were flipped on, a 17-second timer starter that gave coaches the chance to get a recruit to the couch. Then the lights would dim, a screen would raise up and a highlight reel would play, tailored to that specific recruit.

“Everything was recruiting,” Driscoll said. “Coach always said, ‘We can be the best coaches in the world but we’re not going to win without talent.’ “

Drew tried everything to make Baylor trendy. He asked the car dealer that supplied the staff’s cars to put tricked-up rims on Driscoll’s car. Driscoll, 43 years old at the time, protested.

“He said, ‘Drisc, kids love rims. Get the rims,’“ Driscoll recalled. “I got the rims. The were pretty nice."

After four straight losing seasons, Drew finally had his breakthrough. In 2007-08, the Bears won 20 games in a season for the first time in 20 years and Drew scheduled a Selection Sunday watch party for the team and fans. CBS sent a film crew to the party in anticipation of an NCAA tournament bid.

As the selection show unfolded, Baylor’s excitement turned to dread. Pairing after pairing was revealed, and there was no sign of the Bears. Finally, as the last pairing was about to be revealed, Driscoll saw the CBS camera man go to flip on the light on his camera and knew—Baylor was in.

“My heart and my adrenaline went straight uphill,” Driscoll said. “I don’t know if I ever cried so quickly or so long.”

***

Baylor’s success did not come without side effects. Drew recruited aggressively against the other powers in the state, taking some shots that were not well received. He sent a flier to recruits that featured a picture of Drew standing between then-Texas Tech coach Bob Knight and then-Texas A&M coach Billy Gillispie, with the caption: “Which of these Big 12 coaches has signed a McDonald’s All-American?” There were red Xs covering the pictures of Knight and Gillispie.

Knight got in Drew’s face about that at Big 12 media days, and then-Texas coach Rick Barnes also fired publicly at Drew. “There’s a long line that he knows he can’t cross with me,” Barnes said. Coaches around the country rolled their eyes when Drew hired AAU coach Dwon Clifton in an unconcealed attempt to land superstar John Wall. (It didn’t work, he went to Kentucky.)

Drew wound up apologizing for the flier, but not for his overall approach. He was going to keep mixing it up.

The aggressive approach soon begat a new tag: cheater. The more big-time recruits Drew landed, the more people in his profession were sure he was cutting corners. In 2012, the NCAA caught up to Drew and Baylor women’s coach Kim Mulkey, sanctioning them for impermissible phone calls to recruits. Drew was suspended for the first two Big 12 games of the 2012-13 season, and the program was put on three years’ probation.

The NCAA hit was all the proof some critics needed to label Drew a phony—an outspoken Christian in public and a guy cutting corners in private. But there have been no major NCAA issues since then, and the success has continued.

“He overdid it with the relentless recruiting,” Fraschilla said. “He did some things that rubbed people the wrong way. No question, he’s matured over his 17 years (at Baylor).”

Those who didn’t like Drew could at least take solace in one thing: even with all the talent he was bringing in, the Bears weren’t getting to the Final Four. He made regional finals in 2010 and ’12, but lost both times to the eventual national champion (Duke in ’10 and Kentucky in ’12). There were some other early tourney flameouts.

Thus the storyline was altered again—Scott Drew could recruit, but he couldn’t coach. He was a lightweight on the sidelines with a gimmick zone defense who would get exposed in the caldron of tournament pressure.

Eventually, Drew altered his recruiting approach—he chased fewer five-stars and more developmental prospects who competed with a hunger that helped compensate for any lack of talent. He combed the transfer market for players who would fit his program. He embraced the new roster management mantra for college basketball success in the one-and-done era: get old and stay old.

“It’s not quite Villanova, but it’s Villanova-esque,” Fraschilla said. “They’ve done a tremendous job of player development, and identifying guys who fit what they do.

“I was one of those guys early on who wasn’t sure how good a coach he was. But the Scott Drew Can’t Coach Crew has left the station. They’re gone. There’s absolutely a healthy respect for him in the league as a coach. I don’t even think it’s grudging respect anymore.”

This year’s team is Drew’s coaching masterpiece. A roster that features a Division III transfer (big man Freddie Gillespie), a transfer from UNC-Asheville (MaCio Teague), a transfer from Auburn (Davion Mitchell) and a couple of steals from the state of Louisiana (Mark Vital and Jared Butler) pieced together a 23-game winning streak and took Baylor to the top of the polls for several weeks.

Along the way, a guy known for his zone defense threw that out and has played man-to-man almost the entire season. Drew simply believed his current personnel—shorter, more athletic—is better suited to man than zone. The decision has proved prescient; this is the best defensive team Drew has ever had.

The regular season built to a crescendo last Saturday in Waco. ESPN’s College GameDay show came to town. So did a dozen former Bears players. Baylor super fans Chip and Joanna Gaines, the husband-and-wife power couple behind the Magnolia home decor franchise, were in the house as well.

It was the biggest show ever to hit Baylor basketball. It fell just short of perfect when Kansas beat the Bears. And now Scott Drew is sitting in his office entertaining visitors, when all he really wants to do is go home and watch game film.

***

There will be pressure this March. More pressure than Drew and Baylor have ever experienced. The Bears are a near-lock for their first-ever No. 1 seed, and expectations of their first Final Four in 70 years will be justifiably high.

If Drew accomplishes that career-validating milestone, you’d think a more basketball-centric school might throw a massive payday at a 49-year-old who is just now hitting his coaching prime. But even after 17 years, this might be the only job Scott Drew needs. An outspoken Christian at a Baptist school, in charge of a program he personally raised from the rubble.

“Scott fits like a glove,” Fraschilla said. “I’m not sure he can wear his faith on his sleeve like he does if he’s at Michigan or Maryland or some other places. He fits Central Texas like Chip and Joanna. It’s perfect.”

The postgame office interview is finally over, but Scott Drew still doesn’t want to rush his visitor out. Anything else he can do? How about a Baylor basketball T-shirt?

It's time for a goodbye hug. Both arms. The Mr. Rogers of college basketball hopes you enjoyed the visit to his neighborhood.

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Δεν ζήτησε συγγνώμη, αποχώρησε από το δελτίο του MEGA ο Κ. Μουτζούρης - In.gr

Δεν ζήτησε συγγνώμη, αποχώρησε από το δελτίο του MEGA ο Κ. Μουτζούρης  In.grΠροβολή πλήρους κάλυψης στην εφαρμογή Ειδήσεις Google

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ΣΥΡΙΖΑ: Ούτε... μισή συγγνώμη από Μητσοτάκη και Χρυσοχοΐδη στους νησιώτες - Documento

ΣΥΡΙΖΑ: Ούτε... μισή συγγνώμη από Μητσοτάκη και Χρυσοχοΐδη στους νησιώτες  DocumentoΠροβολή πλήρους κάλυψης στην εφαρμογή Ειδήσεις Google

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Κοροναϊός: Τρία κρούσματα στην Ελλάδα - Γυναίκα στην Αθήνα, η 38χρονη και το παιδί της στη Θεσ/νίκη - Newsbomb.gr

Κοροναϊός: Τρία κρούσματα στην Ελλάδα - Γυναίκα στην Αθήνα, η 38χρονη και το παιδί της στη Θεσ/νίκη  Newsbomb.grΠροβολή πλήρους κάλυψης στην εφαρμογή Ειδήσεις Google

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Πέμπτη, 27 Φεβρουαρίου 2020

Nando’s employees call for changes to cleaning pay policy

Staff claim they often miss out on overtime amid allegations of poor cleaning practices at some branches.

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Court may upset Heathrow third runway plans

A ruling will decide whether Heathrow's expansion plan should have taken the climate more into account.

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Scientists aim to spot abusers from their hands

A study hopes to discover whether our hands are truly unique by looking at anatomical differences.

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Buy now, pay later 'growing fast' amid debt fears

A report says services such as Klarna are booming among online shoppers despite concerns for young consumers.

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LeBron James Out Thursday vs. Golden State (Groin)

February 27, 2020 at 02:23AM

The Lakers have a commanding five-game lead on the Western Conference's No. 1 seed.

LeBron James will miss just his third game of the season on Thursday when the

Lakers travel to play the Warriors. The team announced Wednesday that James is out with a sore groin.

Fellow Los Angeles star Anthony Davis is probable with an elbow injury. 

James, a 16-time All-Star, has bounced back from his injury-shortened 2018-19 season, averaging averaging 25.5 points, a league-leading 10.6 assists and 7.7 rebounds per game. The Lakers (44-12), largely behind the play of James and Davis, have a strong grasp on the Western Conference's No. 1 seed and hold a five game cushion over the No. 2 Nuggets. 

On Tuesday night, James recorded his first 40-point game of the season as he outdated Zion Williamson to help the veteran-laden Lakers prevail over the upstart Pelicans. 

The Lakers are 18-0 when James scores 30 points this season. 

"He's delivering special performances for us all season," Los Angeles head coach Frank Vogel said on Tuesday night. "We don't take it for granted. We are where we are in large part of what he does on a night-in, night-out basis."

Golden State enters Thursday matchup with a league-worst 12-46 record. Tipoff is set for 10:30 p.m. ET. 

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Ελένη Γιαμαρέλου για τον κορονοϊό στην Ελλάδα: Ίσως στο καρναβάλι της Πάτρας το επόμενο κρούσμα - Newsbeast.gr

  1. Ελένη Γιαμαρέλου για τον κορονοϊό στην Ελλάδα: Ίσως στο καρναβάλι της Πάτρας το επόμενο κρούσμα  Newsbeast.gr
  2. Ελένη Γιαμαρέλου : Covid-19, ψυχραιμία, δεν έγινε τίποτα με ένα κρούσμα | 26/02/2020 | ΕΡΤ  ΕΡΤ Α.Ε.
  3. Γιαμαρέλου για το πρώτο κρούσμα κοροναϊού: Πρέπει να βρούμε αμέσως ποιοι ήρθαν σε επαφή μαζί της  The TOC
  4. Προβολή πλήρους κάλυψης στην εφαρμογή Ειδήσεις Google


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Ιερώνυμος για μεταναστευτικό: Τα σύνορα της Ευρώπης δεν είναι στη Μακεδονία, είναι στη θάλασσα - SKAI

Ιερώνυμος για μεταναστευτικό: Τα σύνορα της Ευρώπης δεν είναι στη Μακεδονία, είναι στη θάλασσα  SKAIΠροβολή πλήρους κάλυψης στην εφαρμογή Ειδήσεις Google

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Κορωνοϊός: Αυτή είναι η Πράξη Νομοθετικού Περιεχομένου -Πότε θα κλείσουν λιμάνια, σχολεία, θέατρα, εστιατόρια - iefimerida

  1. Κορωνοϊός: Αυτή είναι η Πράξη Νομοθετικού Περιεχομένου -Πότε θα κλείσουν λιμάνια, σχολεία, θέατρα, εστιατόρια  iefimerida
  2. Κορονοϊός στην Ελλάδα: Αυτή είναι η ΠΝΠ - Πότε θα κλείσουν λιμάνια, σχολεία, θέατρα, εστιατόρια  Newsbomb.gr
  3. Κοροναϊός : Ηρθε η ώρα να κλείσουν λιμάνια, σχολεία, θέατρα, γήπεδα; – Τι προβλέπεται  In.gr
  4. Κοροναϊός: Αυτή είναι η Πράξη Νομοθετικού Περιεχομένου  CNN Greece
  5. Κορονοϊός: Σε ισχύ τα έκτακτα μέτρα! Αυτή είναι η Πράξη Νομ ...  Newsit
  6. Προβολή πλήρους κάλυψης στην εφαρμογή Ειδήσεις Google


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Μεγάλη πορεία φοιτητών κατά της αστυνομικής βίας στο κέντρο της Αθήνας - Η Εφημερίδα των Συντακτών

Μεγάλη πορεία φοιτητών κατά της αστυνομικής βίας στο κέντρο της Αθήνας  Η Εφημερίδα των ΣυντακτώνΠροβολή πλήρους κάλυψης στην εφαρμογή Ειδήσεις Google

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Τετάρτη, 26 Φεβρουαρίου 2020

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These Images Of What Historical Figures Would Look Like Today Are Mesmerizing

Marie Antoinette as a millennial?


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15 Netflix Shows That 100% Do Not Need Another Season

Sorry, but nothing will ever compare to Stranger Things Season 1.


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It's Time To Vote On Which "Harry Potter" Character Must Go

Try not to die inside when you choose!


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Chelsea's flaws laid bare by rampant Bayern

We knew Chelsea's rebuild was incomplete but Tuesday's heavy Champions League defeat vs. Bayern outlined just how far the Blues have to go.

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Should Deontay Wilder's corner have thrown in the towel?

Boxing trainers weigh in on what it means to throw in the towel, and if it was the right move for Deontay Wilder against Tyson Fury.

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Coronavirus: Outbreak spreads in Europe from Italy

Cases have emerged in several countries involving travellers from Italy, but borders remain open.

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Homelessness: Councils record 28,000 on the streets over a year

Five times as many rough sleepers were seen in a year than reported in the official one-night snapshot.

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Johnson promises 'overhaul' of post-Brexit foreign policy as he launches review

Policy experts will offer "constructive challenge to traditional Whitehall assumptions" says No 10.

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Peter Nygard: FBI raids fashion mogul HQ in sex trafficking probe

The FBI raid comes as Nygard faces lawsuit accusing him of sex abuse against ten women and girls.

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County lines: Police arrest 46 in raids across the UK

There were raids in Merseyside, Lancashire, Cumbria and Tayside on Tuesday morning.

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The Papers: Coronavirus 'action plan' and 'mass testing' in UK

Wednesday's papers say UK schools face closure in new plans to stop the spread of the virus.

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Six-year-old girl arrested at Florida school

Police bodycam footage captured the moment a visibly distressed child was arrested at her school in Orlando.

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Τρίτη, 25 Φεβρουαρίου 2020

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19 Secrets About Being A Teacher That Prove We Know Literally Nothing About Their Job

Teachers definitely hear the mean things you whisper about them in class, FYI.


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Wilder confirms Fury III, rues 40-pound costume

Deontay Wilder said an elaborate outfit he wore on his ring walk wore him down so much that he didn't have the legs to withstand Tyson Fury in their heavyweight title fight Saturday night.

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Winners and losers of the NHL trade deadline

Which teams, players, GMs and coaches came out ahead? Who missed an opportunity? We break down all the highs and lows of deadline day.

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Liverpool makes extraordinary record-breaking exploits look ordinary

Having taken 109 of the last 111 available points, Liverpool are rewriting the history books, and their record-breaking form has become the norm.

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Emergency terror law clears parliamentary hurdles

The bill blocking automatic release of convicted terror offenders is approved by the House of Lords.

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Young drivers 'let down over insurance app faults'

Carrot uses phone data to measure braking and acceleration - but some say it often fails to work.

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The Papers: Harvey Weinstein 'locked up at last'

Tuesday's front pages cover the producer's guilty verdict, and new coronavirus measures in the UK.

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Δευτέρα, 24 Φεβρουαρίου 2020

16 Really, Really Good Things That Happened This Week

Life is a little better now.


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Σοβαρό τροχαίο στο Αλιβέρι – Αυτοκίνητα συγκρούστηκαν και έπεσαν πάνω σε παιδιά - /entertainment.in.gr

  1. Σοβαρό τροχαίο στο Αλιβέρι – Αυτοκίνητα συγκρούστηκαν και έπεσαν πάνω σε παιδιά  /entertainment.in.gr
  2. Σύγκρουση αυτοκινήτων στο Αλιβέρι -Επεσαν επάνω σε παιδιά  iefimerida
  3. Αυτοκίνητα συγκρούστηκαν και έπεσαν πάνω σε παιδιά (εικόνες)  Ant1News
  4. Αλιβέρι: Αυτοκίνητα έπεσαν πάνω σε 4 παιδιά! [pics]  Newsit
  5. Σοκ στο Αλιβέρι: Αυτοκίνητα συγκρούστηκαν και έπεσαν επάνω σε τέσσερα παιδιά  www.enikos.gr
  6. Προβολή πλήρους κάλυψης στην εφαρμογή Ειδήσεις Google


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Φρίκη σε ελληνική παραλία: Δείτε τι ξέβρασε η θάλασσα (pics) - Newsbomb.gr

Φρίκη σε ελληνική παραλία: Δείτε τι ξέβρασε η θάλασσα (pics)  Newsbomb.gr

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Γλυφάδα: Οργισμένος ο πατέρας του 25χρονου: «Αφού δεν κατάλαβε τι έκανε, τι σοκ έπαθε;» - Τα Νέα Οnline

Γλυφάδα: Οργισμένος ο πατέρας του 25χρονου: «Αφού δεν κατάλαβε τι έκανε, τι σοκ έπαθε;»  Τα Νέα ΟnlineΠροβολή πλήρους κάλυψης στην εφαρμογή Ειδήσεις Google

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21 “SNL” Moments That Prove Women Are 100% The Best Part Of The Show


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Wait. Do You Have Weird Eating Habits?

Do you eat the heads and limbs of animal crackers first?


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Plan A Date And We'll Reveal Your Relationship Status For Next Year

Will you be single?


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If You Do At Least 19 Of These Things, Then You've Got A Serious Case Of The Heebie-Jeebies

No judgement here.


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Help us make venues safer, urges bomb victim's mum

The mother of Manchester Arena terror attack victim Martyn Hett urges venues to help shape a new law.

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New questions over Farah's relationship with Salazar

Fresh questions over Mo Farah's relationship with his disgraced former coach Alberto Salazar are raised in a new BBC Panorama investigation.

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Flooding: Call for UK cash to fund flood relief in Wales

MPs and assembly members ask the chancellor for £30m to help affected areas in Rhondda Cynon Taff.

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The Papers: Fury 'gypsy king of the world' and pandemic fears

Tyson Fury's boxing triumph and the latest coronavirus outbreaks dominate Monday's newspapers.

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Bruno Fernandes: Why Manchester United fans have a new hero - Peter Crouch analysis

Arrogant, cheeky and a touch of class - MOTD2 pundit Peter Crouch explains why Bruno Fernandes has already made a big impact at Manchester United.

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Κυριακή, 23 Φεβρουαρίου 2020

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Three wins from perfect season, No. 4 SDSU hosts UNLV

February 23, 2020 at 02:00AM

College basketball's only unbeaten team, No. 4-ranked San Diego State, begins its final three-game stretch of the regular season on Saturday at home against UNLV at Viejas Arena.

The Aztecs (26-0, 15-0 Mountain West Conference) clinched an outright regular-season conference title last week, but did not let up in its 72-55 blowout win at Boise State on Sunday.

"This is a hard environment to play in," San Diego State coach Brian Dutcher said in his postgame news conference. "We've lost our last three (at Boise State)."

A win a few years in the making at Boise State wasn't the most noteworthy result from Sunday. The rout continued the longest winning streak in program history, and moved San Diego State three wins shy of a perfect regular season.

If the Aztecs can complete the season sweep of UNLV (14-14, 9-6), they have a home date against Colorado State and trip to Nevada remaining to complete the perfect run. Should San Diego State navigate that stretch, as well as next month's Mountain West Conference Tournament, it would become the third program in the last six years to enter the NCAA Tournament undefeated.

The last two -- Wichita State in 2014 and Kentucky in 2015 -- were the first since UNLV in 1991.

This year's UNLV team comes into Saturday's matchup with the prospect of finishing as high as second in the Mountain West. The Runnin' Rebels enter the weekend tied for fifth place with Colorado State, both with three games to play. They are a game-and-a-half behind the current second-place team, Utah State.

Finishing in the top five of the conference means getting a bye into the quarterfinals in the Mountain West Tournament. Finishing sixth or worse means playing in the first round.

UNLV has won two straight and three of its last four after dropping four straight from Jan. 22 through Feb. 5. The Runnin' Rebels outlasted New Mexico 78-73 on the road Feb. 15, then blasted Colorado State at home Tuesday, 80-56.

Coach T.J. Otzelberger called it UNLV's "most complete game of the year" in his postgame news conference.

"(It was) a terrific defensive effort against a really good offensive team," he said. "They were focused, they were intentional. Did a great job on that end of the floor, which led to us getting out in transition in that first half."

UNLV needs another strong defensive showing against a balanced and efficient San Diego State offense. The Aztecs feature four double-figure point-per-game scorers, led by Malachi Flynn's 16.7. Matt Mitchell has come on strong of late, including an 11-point, seven-rebound, five-steal and three-assist performance at Boise State.

"He just plays the right way, shares the ball, when he's open he shoots it, and he plays for his teammates," Dutcher said of Mitchell.

Flynn led San Diego State in a narrow defeat of UNLV at the Thomas & Mack Center on Jan. 26, scoring 21 points. In a performance indicative of the Aztecs' depth, Trey Pulliam scored 18 points off the bench, more than 14 better than his season average.

San Diego State's more regular contributors, including Jordan Schakel and KJ Feagin, contribute to the nation's ninth-best 3-point shooting percentage at 38.6.

Defending the 3-pointer has been a concern for UNLV, meanwhile. Opponents are hitting 34 percent against the Runnin' Rebels on the season.

--Field Level Media

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No. 2 Gonzaga, No. 23 BYU set for WCC showdown

February 23, 2020 at 02:00AM

Maybe they were both looking ahead to Saturday night's clash.

Both second-ranked Gonzaga and No. 23 BYU gutted their ways to victories on Thursday to set up a matchup of the top two teams in the West Coast Conference on Saturday in Provo, Utah.

The Bulldogs defeated the Cougars 92-69 on Jan. 18 in Spokane, Wash. That win was Gonzaga's sixth straight over BYU, who played without leading scorer and rebounder Yoeli Childs.

The Bulldogs lost their leading scorer Filip Petrusev, who left the game with an ankle injury after playing just 15 minutes and scoring five points.

Both will be ready to go come Saturday.

Now the stage is set for one of the marquee games of the weekend as the regular season winds down. Gonzaga can clinch its eighth straight WCC championship and 19th out of 20 with a win.

The Bulldogs (27-1, 13-0 WCC) overcame their worst half of the season and rallied from a nine-point halftime deficit to beat San Francisco 71-54.

A couple of hours earlier, the Cougars, who are ranked in the Top 25 for the first time since the end of the 2010-11 season, defeated a pesky Santa Clara squad 85-75 for their seventh straight win.

BYU (22-7, 11-3) saw a 12-point lead evaporate before pulling away for the win. The Cougars, who came into the game as the best 3-point shooting team in the nation, went 3-for-13 from beyond the arc.

"I think they're the best team in the country right now," first-year BYU head coach Mark Pope told the Deseret News of Gonzaga.

TJ Haws, who was 12-for-12 from the line and scored 28 points in Thursday's win, didn't think the Cougars were preoccupied with maintaining their national ranking or looking past Santa Clara and ahead to Saturday's matchup.

"I don't think so. All year, this team has really believed in ourselves," Haws said. "The national ranking is cool, whatever, but I feel like we've built habits all year long of taking it one game at a time."

Good habits helped the Bulldogs avoid a colossal upset. Mark Few's squad committed eight turnovers, made just 38 percent of its shots and scored just 22 points in the first half.

"We were doing things I haven't seen in practice or all year," Few told Spokesman.com. "Trying to make tough passes, we weren't slowing down and catching the ball first. Weren't finishing strong around the rim. We just weren't very good."

The second half was all Gonzaga. The Bulldogs scored 18 of the first 20 points to regain control.

"I thought we were spectacular on the defensive end in the second half," Few said. "We just did a good job contesting shots, did a good job of giving them one-and-out and got our break going."

Killian Tillie, who missed the previous game against Pepperdine with an ankle injury, kept Gonzaga close with nine first-half points. He finished 10 of 13 from the field with 22 points.

Saturday's game pits intriguing matchups all over the floor.

Two of the nation's best big men -- Childs and Petrusev -- will go head-to head. Childs recorded 22 points and 11 rebounds against Santa Clara while Petrusev had 16 points and seven boards against USF.

BYU's backcourt of Haws and Jake Toolson scored 17 and 16 points respectively against the Bulldogs in January. The Gonzaga frontcourt of Tillie (22 points) and Corey Kispert (19) combined for 41 points in that same game.

--Field Level Media

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19 Lies And Tricks From Your Favorite TV Shows That You Actually Fell For

This is why I have trust issues!!!


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27 Stupid And Hilarious Answers Contestants Actually Gave On Game Shows

These made me feel so much better about myself, tbh.


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Eat A Meal At Panera And We’ll Tell You If You Belong With Peter Kavinsky Or John Ambrose

That bacon mac and cheese... *heart eyes*


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Live Results: Nevada Democratic Caucuses

Here are the results for the Nevada Democratic caucuses.


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Chris Matthews Is Under Fire For Comparing Bernie Sanders' Surge To The Nazi Invasion Of France

The comments prompted backlash from Sanders' campaign.


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Καταθέτει τη Δευτέρα ο «Μάξιμος Σαράφης» - Άνοιξε ο δρόμος - Liberal

  1. Καταθέτει τη Δευτέρα ο «Μάξιμος Σαράφης» - Άνοιξε ο δρόμος  Liberal
  2. Προανακριτική Novartis: Θέτει όρους ο «Μάξιμος Σαράφης» - Τα δύο τηλεφωνήματα στη ΓΑΔΑ  Liberal
  3. Προβολή πλήρους κάλυψης στην εφαρμογή Ειδήσεις Google


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Can this one super-prospect revive the greatest dynasty in sports?

Will No. 1 recruit Paige Bueckers be the new star to return UConn to its dynastic glory?

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Σάββατο, 22 Φεβρουαρίου 2020

Wiseman bemoans NCAA punishment as 'unfair'

In his first interview since leaving school, James Wiseman told ESPN that he cried every night in his Memphis dormitory room during his turbulent episode with the NCAA over rules violations that Wiseman insists he hadn't been aware occurred.

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London Central Mosque stabbing: Man charged

Daniel Horton, 29, is accused of attacking a worshipper in his 70s during afternoon prayers.

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New blue British passport rollout to begin in March

They will begin to replace the current burgundy passports, following the UK's departure from the EU.

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Report: Lakers to Waive DeMarcus Cousins Ahead of Stretch Run

February 22, 2020 at 02:26AM

Cousins signed a one-year, $3.5 million deal in July but suffered a torn left ACL in August

The

Lakers are waiving big man DeMarcus Cousins, according to ESPN's Adrian Wojnarowski and Ramona Shelburne. 

Cousins signed a one-year, $3.5 million deal in July but suffered a torn left ACL in August and has been rehabbing throughout the 2019-20 season.

He averaged 16.3 points and 8.2 rebounds last year in 30 regular-season games with the Warriors. Golden State signed Cousins to a one-year, $5.3 million deal in 2018 while he was recovering from a torn left Achilles.

Cousins recently appeared as a guest on Showtime's "All the Smoke" podcast with hosts Matt Barnes and Stephen Jackson, where he discussed what his possible postseason role would look like.

"We got a big team. It's going to be some bump, for sure," he said. "We got so many guys with different abilities. I mean, I can spot up. Bron is going to draw everybody whenever he decides to move. I'm pretty confident I can knock down the shot. We got shooters all over the floor. I mean, I can playmake. Like, it's pick your poison."

LeBron James also recently weighed in on Cousins' status.

"Listen, first, his health is the thing we're mostly engaging in and watching him. And he's progressed every single day, every single month," he said after practice Thursday. "To the point where he was limping and now he's actually shooting and actually jumping on the jump shots, and progressing every single day, every single week. He's out there right now, getting his work done.

"We want to continue to stay optimistic about his health. We don't want no setbacks, as he's had before in the last couple years. But his health is most important, and if we can get Cuz anywhere back to what he was capable of doing a couple years ago, it's a plus for us. But there's no pressure on him."

Over the summer, a warrant had been issued for the arrest of Cousins on a misdemeanor domestic violence charge in Mobile, Ala. But the charges of third-degree harassing communications and a misdemeanor case were dismissed in November.

The Lakers are reportedly in the process of bringing in Markieff Morris to shore up their rotation. 

The 41-12 Lakers come out of the All-Star break on Friday night when they host the Grizzlies. 

Manchester City-Leicester City Preview

February 22, 2020 at 02:00AM

It is Champions League or bust this year for Manchester City as the two-time Premier League champions operate under the cloud of a potential two-year ban from European competition handed down last week by UEFA.

Looking to get into a rhythm ahead of their midweek round of 16 tie versus Real Madrid, the Cityzens face Leicester City in a showdown of top-three teams in the Premier League.

The Premier League title is a lost cause for City (17-3-6), who are 22 points adrift of champions-elect Liverpool with 12 matches remaining and their closest pursuers. Pep Guardiola's side can still achieve a domestic cup double for the second straight season, looking to win the Carabao Cup for a third consecutive year while also reaching the fifth round of the FA Cup.

But it is Ol' Big Ears that remains City's elusive white whale since Sheikh Mansour bought the team in 2008. His millions have fueled the rise of City to an elite football club in Europe, but some of those millions are the reasons UEFA claim the Manchester club have operated above the Financial Fair Play laws, leading to Friday's stunning announcement from the federation headquarters in Nyon, Switzerland.

Club CEO Ferran Soriano has said the team will appeal the ruling to the Court of Arbitration for Sport in Lausanne, Switzerland, and released a video statement through the team Thursday in which he said, "The owner has not put money in this club that has not been properly declared.

"We are a sustainable football club, we are profitable, we don't have debt, our accounts have been scrutinised many times, by auditors, by regulators, by investors and this is perfectly clear."

On the pitch Wednesday against West Ham United, City played the part of a team who have closed ranks and embraced the us versus the world mentality given the circumstances. Guardiola's side dispatched of the East London side 2-0 as Kevin De Bruyne set up a goal by Rodri on the half-hour before adding the second just after the hour.

De Bruyne's corner kick Rodri flicked inside the right post was his Premier League-leading 16th assist, two off his career best set in 2016-17. The Belgium international is on pace to shatter Thierry Henry's single-season record of 20 established with Arsenal in 2002-03.

Ever the perfectionist, though, De Bruyne felt his team could have done better coming out of the midseason break as their showdown at the Bernabeu with the 11-time European champions looms Wednesday.

"It was OK," the star midfielder told City's official website. "I think we saw its' been three weeks without football and we felt a little bit of rustiness, but we played a good game.

"We still have a lot to play for with the two cups and Champions League so let's hope we can find rhythm as quickly as possible and win some titles."

The two matches this week also serve as a boost for the match fitness of centre back Aymeric Laporte, who is expected to play his third match since a lengthy spell on the sidelines with a knee injury. He became the first player in Premier League history to be part of 43 wins in his first 50 matches.

To a degree, City's ban is Leicester's boom as the Midlands side have a far bigger margin of error if CAS do indeed uphold the UEFA decision. The Foxes (15-5-6) are four points behind City for second but nine clear of Chelsea for fourth in their best season since their dream run to the Premier League title in 2016.

Brendan Rodgers' side have played to draws on either side of the midseason break, including a scoreless deadlock at fellow European hopefuls Wolverhampton on Friday. Leicester City held out for the point despite playing the final 14 minutes with 10 men after Hamza Choudhury was given his walking papers following a second booking.

Choudhury will serve his ban in this match, but the midfield is further thinned with the absence of defensive ace Wilfred Ndidi, whom Rodgers ruled out of this contest with a knee injury that sidelined him the previous two league fixtures.

"Wilf won't be available for the weekend," the gaffer told the club's official website. "He's still in a process to try and get fit so we'll see how he is next week. I'm not sure.

"He's doing work inside, but you then have to progress that to outside and then when he can join the team. It's another intensity to join the team and then to play."

Defender Ryan Bennett could be tipped for his Leicester City debut as the January loanee from Wolves was ineligible to face his parent club. A candidate to fill the gaps in central midfield is Matty James, who has yet to feature this season as he recovers from an Achilles injury.

Looking to get back on the goal-scoring prowl is veteran striker Jamie Vardy, who has 17 goals and leads Manchester City counterpart Sergio Aguero by one for the league's Golden Boot. Vardy last billowed the net in the reverse fixture at the Etihad in December, staking Leicester to a short-lived lead in a 3-1 defeat.

Vardy has six goals in 13 lifetime matches against Manchester City, while Aguero has five in nine versus the Midlands club, including a four-goal effort in the 2017-18 season. Vardy's one-time strike partner and current Manchester winger Riyad Mahrez could be in line for a start with David Silva likely to be held out with a hamstring injury to try and make him available to face Real Madrid.

Manchester City have not done the double over Leicester City since 2014-15 but are 5-2-1 in the last eight meetings in all competitions. They have just one win in their last six visits (1-3-2), however, to King Power Stadium.

Aston Villa-Southampton Preview

February 22, 2020 at 02:00AM

After rising from the depth of the drop zone to flirting with a top-half position, the last thing Southampton need is to start sliding again. Perhaps a visit from Aston Villa will help avoid that from happening.

The Saints look to prevent a third consecutive Premier League defeat on Saturday by doing the double over a visiting Villa side who have just one win since New Year's Day.

There was a time not too long ago that Southampton (9-4-13) were mired in the relegation zone and manager Ralph Hasenhuttl might have been in danger of a sacking thanks to an 0-2-6 rut. The Saints, though, followed with a 6-1-2 stretch that breathed new life into the club.

Currently, Southampton sit 12th in the table, but have lost three of the last four - including the last two at runaway-league leaders Liverpool and at home versus Burnley. Danny Ings' career-high 15th Premier League goal leveled last weekend's match at Burnley in the 18th minute, but the visitors prevailed with a goal on 60 minutes to earn the 2-1 triumph.

"It's a reminder that if we want to continue to win games in the Premier League, we have to do better than (last weekend)," defender Jannik Vestergaard told Southampton's official website. "I think we should have at least got a point."

The Saints got a full three points from their 3-1 victory over Aston Villa on Dec. 21. Ings netted a brace and Jack Stephens also scored in that contest.

Villa (7-4-15) enter this contest 17th in the Premier League table, one point and one position above the relegation zone. They dropped their second straight contest last weekend, 3-2 at Spurs. It appeared the Villans would at least earn a point until Tottenham stunned the home crowd with the go-ahead goal via Heung-Min Son in the 94th minute to claim the victory.

Aston Villa are amid a 1-1-3 stretch since Jan. 1, and have won just four times within the Premier League since Oct. 19. However, Villa know there is no use in feeling sorry for themselves, especially after last weekend's frustrating finish.

"We have to take the positives as a team, we showed a great performance," keeper Pepe Reina told Aston Villa's official website. "We believe in the three points all the time and that's the only way to keep Villa (in the Premier League). We believe in that."

Jack Grealish, who has a team-leading seven league goals for Villa, recorded one versus Southampton in December and added his sixth assist last weekend against Tottenham.

Newcastle United-Crystal Palace Preview

February 22, 2020 at 02:00AM

A pair of teams trying to claim three vital points to distance themselves from the relegation scrap collide at Selhurst Park on Saturday when Crystal Palace host Newcastle United.

Roy Hodgson's side enter this contest 14th on 30 points, one back of Newcastle and six clear of the drop with 12 matches remaining. Given the compressed nature of the Premier League table this term, Crystal Palace (7-9-10) are also just nine games out of sixth place, a position that potentially offers direct entry into the Europa League next season pending Manchester City's appeal of their two-year ban on European competition handed down by UEFA last week to the Court of Arbitration of Sport.

Palace, though, are in a wretched run of form in league play - they have dropped three on the trot, are winless in their last seven (0-4-3) and have one victory in their last 11 (1-6-4) while scoring just nine goals in that stretch. The Eagles have a Premier League-low 23 goals and have failed to score more than two in any match across all competitions this season.

The Eagles had their midseason break last weekend, which may have come at an opportune time considering their last contest was a 3-1 defeat at Everton on Feb. 8. The usual offensive struggles were exacerbated by rare defensive breakdowns as Palace conceded more than two goals for just the second time all season.

The team took to Dubai for warm-weather training, with centre back Mamadou Sakho, midfielder Jeffrey Schlupp, and January signing Cenk Tosun all partaking. Midfielder James Tomkins, though, could miss out on this match after being forced off in the second half against Everton with a hamstring injury.

Despite the current struggles, club chairman Steve Parrish gave the 72-year-old Hodgson a vote of confidence Thursday, offering the former England national coach a new contract. Hodgson's current deal expires at the end of next season, but Parrish told Sky Sports "We are very relaxed about it, I think we will get that done in the fullness of time."

This matchup is also a case of the movable object meeting the resistable force given the teams' respective forms. Crystal Palace have tallied just 10 goals in their 13 matches at Selhurst Park while Newcastle United have shipped a league-worst 28 in their travels outside St James' Park in league play.

The Magpies (8-7-11) are coming off one of those disastrous road efforts, a 4-0 hiding administered by Arsenal at the Emirates on Sunday. Two goals came three minutes apart in the second half before the hour, and the scoreline was fattened with a pair of stoppage-time goals allowed by Steve Bruce's club.

Despite the loss, newcomer Danny Rose is trying to rally his teammates to bounce back ahead of a winnable stretch of schedule that includes Burnley and Southampton and a fifth-round FA Cup tie versus West Bromwich Albion.

"Looking at the fixtures, I think there's only (Manchester) City, Liverpool (and Tottenham) out of the so-called top six who we're playing against," the former Spurs defender told Newcastle's official website. "All the other games are teams that we are going to be in and around us. We can achieve anything that we set our minds to and that has to be the spirit and everybody's mindset in winning as many games as possible.

"That's going to be my mindset. I come from a club that is used to winning, week in week out. That's always been our attitude and I hope I can install that here. I haven't come here to lose games; I've come here to win and to be part of something special."

Newcastle have gone back-to-back matches without a goal and have one victory in their last eight league matches (1-3-4). The Toons are also winless in their last five on the road (0-2-3), yielding 11 goals in those contests.

The Magpies are seeking the league double after posting a 1-0 home victory Dec. 21. Miguel Almiron's first goal with Newcastle since his arrival in January 2019 separated the sides as the Paraguay international struck seven minutes from time.

Newcastle have enjoyed the upper hand in this rivalry in the Premier League era with a 12-5-3 mark in all competitions. Despite going winless in their last four visits to Selhurst Park, the Magpies have taken at least one point in all but one of their previous 10 matches there (6-3-1).