Friday, May 25, 2018
Sports

Stephen F. Austin upsets WVU in East; Wisconsin takes out Pitt

NEW YORK — Thomas Walkup scored 33 points and 14th-seeded Stephen F. Austin faced down West Virginia's full-court pressure with some of its own in-your-face defense, pulling off a rugged 70-56 first-round upset of the third-seeded Mountaineers on Friday night in the NCAA Tournament.

The Lumberjacks (28-5) ran the nation's longest winning streak to 21 games and will face either No. 6 Notre Dame or No. 11 Michigan, which played late Friday, at Barclays Center in the second round of the East Region on Sunday.

The Mountaineers and Lumberjacks played physical, chest-to-chest defense, contesting not just every shot but every pass. Neither team shot better than 31 percent.

Walkup, the two-time Southland Conference player of the year, took it to the teeth of West Virginia's defense and went to the line 20 times. He made 19 free throws, including two to make it 60-47 with 5:15 left in the second half after West Virginia coach Bob Huggins' griping to officials drew a technical foul.

When Clide Geffard slammed home an alley-oop to make it 66-54 with 2:40 left, the Lumberjacks' purple-clad supporters roared, knowing the biggest win in program history was all but complete.

West Virginia went in leading the nation in steals per game, averaging just under 10. "Press Virginia," the Mountaineers call it, but they met their match in Stephen F. Austin. The Lumberjacks lead the nation in turnovers forced at nearly 19 per game. They forced 22 West Virginia turnovers.

Making its third straight NCAA appearance under coach Brad Underwood, Stephen F. Austin won in the first round for the second time.

The Mountaineers, from the Big 12, became the first No. 3 seed to be eliminated from the field of 68 and joined No. 2 seed Michigan State and No. 4 seed California as Friday's biggest surprise losers.

Wisconsin 47, Pittsburgh 43: Wisconsin freshman forward Ethan Happ, in his NCAA Tournament debut, scored 15 points and pulled down nine rebounds — none bigger than the one he grabbed in the closing seconds — to help the seventh-seeded Badgers edge No. 10 seed Pittsburgh in their first-round matchup at St. Louis.

"Defense won the game for us," said the Badgers' Bronson Koenig. "We got a couple different guys who had some really big rebounds for us, and we got the ball inside, and they converted."

The Badgers (21-12) advanced despite an abhorrent shooting night. Nigel Hayes was 3-for-17 from the field, Koenig failed to hit a 3-pointer for the first time in 44 games and Wisconsin finished 4-of-19 from beyond the arc.

It was still enough to reach the next round against No. 2 Xavier or No. 15 Weber State, which played late Friday.

Pittsburgh had a chance to take the lead in the closing seconds when Hayes missed a 3-point try and James Robinson took the rebound the other way. Robinson's wild layup taken while surrounded by defenders bounced off the rim, Happ corralled the loose ball and the Badgers put the game away with three free throws.

"Got the rebound. It was about 2 seconds on the clock. Just tried to get a good shot," Robinson said, "and I just ran into my own teammate."

Jamel Artis led the Panthers with 13 points. Leading scorer Michael Young was held to six.

"You can be as good as you want," Pittsburgh coach Jamie Dixon said, "but you've got to win two in the first weekend, and you've got to make some plays. But certainly we were in position."

Comments
Calvary Christian’s record win streak ends in state final

Calvary Christian’s record win streak ends in state final

FORT MYERS — One of the most impressive streaks in high school baseball came to an end early Friday morning.Calvary Christian lost the Class 4A state championship 5-1 to Fort Lauderdale Calvary Christian at Hammond Stadium in a game that ended ...
Updated: 1 hour ago
Rays journal: Blake Snell, flying Denard Span finally solve Red Sox

Rays journal: Blake Snell, flying Denard Span finally solve Red Sox

ST. PETERSBURG — Having lost two straight and nine of 12 times overall to the Red Sox, the Rays needed two things to go right Thursday:First, a strong start from Blake Snell.Second, some early runs against Rick Porcello from an offense that had...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Thursday’s Rays-Red Sox game

Marc Topkin’s takeaways from Thursday’s Rays-Red Sox game

Home cooking clearly agrees with OF Denard Span. The 34-year-old Tampa product continues to deliver, producing at the plate, running the bases, making diving catches in the outfield, and Thursday, even going over the short sidewall twice in hot pursu...
Updated: 3 hours ago
Bucs’ Ali Marpet: NFL flip-flopping on anthem policy ‘a little bit odd’

Bucs’ Ali Marpet: NFL flip-flopping on anthem policy ‘a little bit odd’

TAMPA — This much is clear: The National Football League is focused on getting rid of kneeling players.That was the league's announcement Wednesday in requiring players to stand during the national anthem before games or possibly have their tea...
Updated: 4 hours ago
Rays once again will ‘open’ with relievers this weekend

Rays once again will ‘open’ with relievers this weekend

ST. PETERSBURG — The Rays weren't kidding about being serious that starting relievers gives them the best chance to win.So much so, they plan to do so again this weekend against the Orioles — in all three games. The plan is for Sergio Rom...
Updated: 4 hours ago
When will the Lightning run out of wait-til-next-years?

When will the Lightning run out of wait-til-next-years?

TAMPA — Disbelief will eventually give way to acceptance.The Lightning isn't there yet.It isn't there yet in a lot of ways.Will it ever be?Just wondering.Really, what guarantees are there?Late Wednesday, Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechki...
Updated: 5 hours ago
Fight off the frustration, Lightning, and don’t panic

Fight off the frustration, Lightning, and don’t panic

TAMPA — Don't change a thing.Don't blow it up. Don't fire anyone. Don't overreact.Thursday was not an easy day in Lightning Land. It was the day after the end of a season that ended much too soon. It was a day when bags were packed, questions w...
Updated: 6 hours ago
Front-end loaders will serve as coda to Tampa Bay Lightning’s wild ride

Front-end loaders will serve as coda to Tampa Bay Lightning’s wild ride

TAMPA — Hours before the puck dropped at Amalie Arena for Game 7 of the Eastern Conference finals, the ice crew boss talked about putting off any sign of the end for as long as possible."We don’t want to see the front-end loaders," says Tom Miracle, ...
Updated: 7 hours ago
Lightning journal: Ryan Callahan, among others, played hurt

Lightning journal: Ryan Callahan, among others, played hurt

TAMPA — Not surprisingly, several Lightning players went through the playoffs with what general manager Steve Yzerman called "significant injuries."He would not elaborate Thursday on who they were, though he said that information will be made p...
Updated: 8 hours ago
Bucs sign defensive tackle Vita Vea, cornerback Carlton Davis to four-year deals

Bucs sign defensive tackle Vita Vea, cornerback Carlton Davis to four-year deals

Two high draft picks that could earn starting jobs signed four year contracts with the Bucs Thursday.The team signed Washington defensive tackle Vita Vea, the team's first-round pick.Terms of the deal were not released, but Vea  is expected to r...
Updated: 8 hours ago