Monday, January 22, 2018
Sports

Kentucky's season ends in NIT opener

MOON, Pa. — A down season for defending national champion Kentucky ended with one final disappointment.

Mike McFadden hit two free throws with 8.7 seconds left and Robert Morris stunned Kentucky 59-57 in the opening round of the NIT on Tuesday night, sending the disjointed Wildcats into an offseason of uncertainty less than a year after they cut down the nets in New Orleans.

"This is humbling," Kentucky coach John Calipari said. "They think we're supposed to win 30 a year, 35 a year, go to the Final Four, win a national title."

Not this time. Not even close.

The eighth-seeded Colonials (24-10) led almost the entire way, never blinking in a rare visit from one of college basketball's Goliaths. Then again, this isn't the same Kentucky team that roared through the NCAAs behind Anthony Davis and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist.

This batch of Wildcats (21-12) hasn't been the same since center Nerlens Noel went down with a devastating knee injury. Kentucky lost six of its final 10 games, the last one coming just a couple of 3-pointers away from the house Calipari grew up in.

"This is a shot in the arm for (Robert Morris), and they deserve to win the game," Calipari said. "If we'd have won at the buzzer, it would have been a shame."

The top-seeded Wildcats came close. Calipari opted not to call timeout after McFadden's second free throw, but Kyle Wiltjer's 3-point try before the buzzer bounced off the rim, sending hundreds of students onto the court following the biggest win in Robert Morris history.

The triumph took some of the pain out of the end of the Colonials' regular season. Robert Morris cruised to the Northeastern Conference title but lost to Mount St. Mary's in the conference tournament. That dashed the Colonials' hopes of making the NCAA Tournament, though the chance to play Kentucky hardly felt like a letdown.

"It's probably the greatest consolation prize you can possibly have," coach Andy Toole said.

'CANES HONORED: Miami guard Shane Larkin was the ACC coaches' choice as player of the year. Jim Larranaga won the Henry Iba national coach of the year award, as voted by the U.S. Basketball Writers Association.

Cal State Northridge: Bobby Braswell is out as coach after 17 years that included three 20-win seasons and two NCAA Tournament appearances.

MISSOURI-Kansas City: Louisville assistant Kareem Richardson was hired as coach of a program that has never qualified for the NCAA postseason and is leaving the Summit League for the Western Athletic Conference next season.

WOMEN: Jim Foster, who won 783 games at St. Joseph's, Vanderbilt and the past 11 years at Ohio State, will not return as Buckeyes coach.

Comments
Super Bowl LII preview: First look at New England Patriots vs. Philadelphia Eagles

Super Bowl LII preview: First look at New England Patriots vs. Philadelphia Eagles

Remember when the Bills were 3-1 and in first place in the AFC East? And when the Patriots were 2-2 and allowing 32 points per game? Weird, right?The Bills part, yes. The Patriots part, no.New England had done that before. Four other times in the Bil...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Eagles blow out Vikings to win NFC title

Eagles blow out Vikings to win NFC title

PHILADELPHIA — Confetti filled the air, fireworks erupted overhead, and fans sang "Fly, Eagles Fly!" No one dared head for the exits. There was too much to celebrate.The Eagles are going to the Super Bowl.The makeshift podium hadn’t taken space on Ph...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Patriots rally past Jaguars to return to Super Bowl

Patriots rally past Jaguars to return to Super Bowl

Updated: 5 hours ago
Add swagger to Lightning’s loss column

Add swagger to Lightning’s loss column

CHICAGO — It didn’t take the sound of a door slamming in the visitor’s dressing room Saturday night to sense this Lightning team is frustrated.Tampa Bay believed it had worked hard against the Wild — at least, harder than it did in Thursday’s letharg...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Jones: Saluting CBS, honesty and goats (not to be confused with GOATS)

Jones: Saluting CBS, honesty and goats (not to be confused with GOATS)

Tampa Bay Times columnist Tom Jones looks back at the best and worst from a weekend of televised sports.Best coverageThe best football broadcast I’ve ever seen was Super Bowl XLIII. That was NBC’s coverage of the Steelers’ last-minute victory over th...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Sports in brief

Sports in brief

hockeyU.s. men’s olympic Gm, key program builder dies suddenlyLongtime USA Hockey executive and U.S. Olympic men’s hockey team general manager Jim Johannson died unexpectedly Sunday at age 53, shocking the sport less than three weeks before the start...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Healthy Keys back in Aussie quarters

Healthy Keys back in Aussie quarters

MELBOURNE, Australia — Madison Keys continued her strong run through the Australian Open draw, returning to the quarterfinals here for the first time in three years with today’s 6-3, 6-2 win over Caroline Garcia.The U.S. Open finalist is yet to drop ...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Monday’s sports on TV/radio

TODAYCollege basketballNorth Carolina at Virginia Tech7 p.m.ESPNOhio State at Maryland7 p.m.ESPN2Iowa State at Texas7 p.m.ESPNUMaryland at Indiana7 p.m.FS1Holy Cross at American7 p.m.CBSSNWomen: LSU at Texas A&M7 p.m.SECNebraska at Ohio State8 p.m.Bi...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Expansion Golden Knights pass Lightning for top spot in NHL

Expansion Golden Knights pass Lightning for top spot in NHL

RALEIGH, N.C. — The Golden Knights are giving Vegas a great odds-beating story in their first year.The expansion team has the whole league playing catchup.James Neal and Jonathan Marchessault scored to help Vegas beat the Hurricanes 5-1 on Sunday and...
Updated: 6 hours ago

Greased poles don’t ward off Philly fans

PHILADELPHIA — Thousands of Eagles fans took to the streets to celebrate after their team’s 38-7 win over the Vikings in the NFC Championship Game. The Eagles will be playing in their first Super Bowl since they lost to this year’s AFC champions the ...
Updated: 6 hours ago