February 26, 2005

(24) Boston Coll. 51, (11) Connecticut 48

BOSTON -- Sarah Marshall hit the game-winning jumper with 32 seconds left to lead No. 24 Boston College to a 51-48 upset over No. 11 Connecticut on Saturday night.

Aja Parham led Boston College (18-8, 9-6 Big East) with 13 points and Brooke Queenan added 11. Kathrin Ress and Clare Droesch had 10 apiece.

UConn (19-7, 12-3) fell into a second-place tie with Notre Dame, one game behind Big East-leading Rutgers with one game left in the regular season.

Barbara Turner had 10 points, the only Connecticut player in double figures. The Huskies lost for just the third time in the last 31 meetings against BC. The Eagles won for just the third time in seven games since losing leading-scorer Jessalyn Deveny to a season-ending Achilles' tendon injury.

UConn's Jessica Moore fouled out with 2:32 left, finishing with seven points and seven rebounds. She was scoreless in the second half.

Ashley Battle was fouled cutting to the basket and made two free throws to give Connecticut a 48-46 lead with 2:14 left. UConn didn't score again as Droesch hit a jumper before the shot clock expired to tie the game.

After Turner missed a driving banker, Marshall made a 12-footer near the free-throw line, her second basket of the night, to give B.C. a 50-48 lead.

Charde Houston missed a shot and the Huskies got another chance when the possession arrow went their way after a tied up ball.

Strother, who went 2-of-10 and finished with six points, then shot an airball. UConn was forced to foul Parham, who hit the first of two free throws, making it 51-48 with 9.4 seconds left. Strother missed a baseline drive to the basket as time expired.

BC led 26-24 at halftime and outscored the Huskies 15-7 from the free-throw line. UConn shot 3-for-14 from 3-point range.
Temple Suspends Chaney for Using 'Goon'

PHILADELPHIA - John Chaney's use of a "goon" may have ended a player's season, and the Hall of Fame coach's career could be the next casualty.
Chaney was suspended for the rest of the regular season by Temple on Friday for ordering rough play by one of his players, who proceeded to foul out in 4 minutes against Saint Joseph's and broke an opponent's arm.

The Hall of Fame coach had suspended himself for one game Wednesday and apologized for his actions. He will miss Temple's home game against Massachusetts on Saturday and road games against Rhode Island and La Salle, before returning for the Atlantic 10 tournament.

"I think my behavior is reprehensible and, as I've said 1,000 times, I take responsibility," Chaney told The Associated Press in a phone interview. "If it's the judgment of the school to suspend me, I can accept the responsibility of my actions."

Chaney has a history of outrageous conduct and comments, once threatening then-Massachusetts coach John Calipari during a postgame news conference. But that conduct was often explained away as "John being John."

Chaney said he hasn't decided how the suspension will affect his decision whether to return for another season.

"I've had a reputation for many years, I've done many things wrong and made a lot of mistakes," Chaney said. "My name is a lightning rod. Right now, I'll just take inventory of myself."

This time, the 73-year-old Chaney is paying the steepest price of his 33-year career.

Chaney's self-imposed one-game suspension was extended to the rest of the season by Temple on Friday, a day after it was discovered Saint Joseph's senior forward John Bryant broke his arm and will likely miss the rest of the season.

Temple president David Adamany announced the suspension in a statement.

"I have advised coach Chaney of this decision and coach Chaney has again expressed his deepest regrets for his actions," Adamany said.

Chaney, angered by what he thought were illegal screens by Saint Joseph's, inserted seldom-used, 6-foot-8, 250-pound Nehemiah Ingram against the Hawks on Tuesday to "send a message." Ingram fouled Bryant hard, sending him sprawling to the ground.

Bryant, a senior and sixth man for the Hawks, has probably played his last game.

Chaney said he called Bryant on Friday morning to apologize and also said he planned to talk to his parents. Chaney also offered to pay for any of Bryant's medical bills.

"I feel very contrite about John Bryant," said Chaney, who has a 721-294 career record.

Saint Joseph's officials declined to comment and a Temple spokesman said no disciplinary action was taken against Ingram. Temple did not say if Chaney would still be paid.

This is just the latest in a series of bizarre episodes for Chaney, who has never backed away from speaking out about perceived injustices.

In January, Chaney used his time at a Philadelphia sports writers dinner to rail against President Bush and the war in Iraq. Chaney rambled on until he was nearly booed off the stage. He challenged one dissenter to meet him outside.

That echoed similar sentiments weeks earlier when Chaney scolded the people of Ohio, the state that helped Bush win the election with 20 electoral votes, saying, "It's not the people I hate, it's what they did that I hate."

Chaney's political sentiments seem tame compared to some his postgame comments, often filled with a raspy trail of expletives.

In a loss to Xavier last March, Chaney said if he had a baseball bat, he'd beat some of his big men.

"I'd kill them. That's how bad I am," Chaney said then. "That's how vile I am."

The loathsome comments were barely a blip on the sports scene. Chaney often seemingly gets a free pass because of his role as father figure to the scores of players he's recruited from inner-city homes and bad schools. Chaney was never afraid to reach out to the underprivileged.

But after Tuesday's game, Chaney was at it again, defending his decision to send in Ingram to act as a "goon" and send a message because, "I'm a mean, ornery son of a bitch."

Some of the coach's antics were laughed away as the Owls made regular appearances in the NCAA tournament.

Chaney, who won a Division II title in 10 seasons at Cheyney State, took the Owls to 17 NCAA tournaments from 1984 to 2001.

Since then, the Owls (13-11, 9-4 Atlantic 10) have three straight NIT appearances and are headed to a fourth — unless they can win the conference tournament.

Losing and advanced age can be a troublesome combination in coaching — just ask Denny Crum or Gene Keady.

Through his actions this week, Chaney has found himself compared to former Ohio State football coach Woody Hayes. The 65-year-old Hayes infamously lost his cool and slugged a player in a bowl game — a vicious moment that defined his loss of self-control.

Now, Chaney finds himself in a similar spot. And, the question is: Will Chaney's actions, which cost a player the final games of his college career, be a defining moment for a coach who always prided himself on doing the right thing?

February 23, 2005

No. 9 Rutgers 54, No. 24 Boston College 36

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- As the final seconds ticked off her final and possibly ``longest'' home game, Chelsea Newton was aware how far No. 9 Rutgers had come in the past four years.

The group that was part of a 9-20 team as freshmen had just beaten No. 24 Boston College 54-36 on Tuesday night to give the Scarlet Knights (21-5, 12-2 Big East) their first undefeated home season since 1987-88.

``To go undefeated on our court we're making them (the fans) happy,'' Newton said after scoring 12 points to help Rutgers win its sixth straight game. ``For us, it's a great thing, especially for a senior to go out the way we are going out.''

Cappie Pondexter, who decided on Sunday to stay at Rutgers for another year of eligibility, scored 14 points and led a 15-0 spurt that helped the Scarlet Knights maintain the inside track to their first regular-season conference title.

The Scarlet Knights, who finished 13-0 at Rutgers Athletic Center, have road games left at Pittsburgh and Villanova.

Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer said that the senior class, which includes Nikki Jett and Rebecca Richman, never quit after the rough first season.

``We learned what we don't like,'' Stringer said. ``We learned how to work and pull it together. If there is a word that describes this team, especially the seniors, they were the ones who persevered and stuck with it, when everyone counted them out.''

The 36 points were a season-low for Boston College (17-8, 8-6), and its lowest total in a game since a 48-35 loss to Villanova on Jan. 31, 1998. The Eagles have lost five of their last seven games.

They're 2-4 since leading scorer Jessica Deveny was lost for the season with an Achilles' injury.

Shamika Jackson had eight points and Clare Droesch 11 rebounds to lead Boston College, whose previous low was 47 points against Notre Dame on Feb. 15.

While coach Cathy Inglese said there was no doubt the team misses Deveny, she was disappointed with the game.

``I think we got frustrated, that's the biggest thing I was disappointed in,'' Inglese said. ``We practiced well for two days and had some good combinations, but we missed four layups in the first half. You can't be doing that against Rutgers.''

Rutgers is 7-3 in games against Top-25 teams, with five of the wins coming against Top-10 teams. Boston College is 0-7 against ranked teams.

Pondexter decided the game by scoring 10 of the 15 points in the run that bridged the final 4:26 of the first half and the opening 4:46 of the second.

The spurt, at least timewise, was longer than that because the game was delayed about 20 minutes early in the second half because of a shot-clock malfunction.

The situation got so comical that Rutgers' players on the bench started doing the wave as the university band entertained the crowd.

``It got to be funny after a while,'' Inglese said. ``Our focus and intensity lapsed at one point and I had to remind them we were taking the ball out of bounds and there were four seconds to go (on the shot clock). But they got the same 20 minutes off that we did.''

Newton also had to wait it out.

``That game seemed so long,'' said Newton, whose voiced cracked several times in the post-game news conference

With Rutgers leading 17-15 with less than five minutes left in the half, Pondexter hit a 3-pointer that ignited an 8-0 run over the final 4:26. She added two more 3-pointers in a 7-0 run to start the second half, the last 3 giving Rutgers a 32-15 lead.

The 15 first-half points were a season low for Boston College, which turned the ball over 25 times.

The undefeated home season was the sixth in Rutgers' history, but first under Stringer. The previous five were under Theresa Grentz.

February 20, 2005

Teen Film Star Sandra Dee Dies at 62

LOS ANGELES - Actress Sandra Dee, the blond beauty who attracted a large teen audience in the 1960s with films such as "Gidget" and "Tammy and the Doctor" and had a headlined marriage to pop singer Bobby Darin, died Sunday. She was 62.

Dee died Sunday morning at the Los Robles Hospital & Medical Center in Thousand Oaks, said Cynthia Mead, nursing supervisor.

She died of complications from kidney disease after nearly two weeks in the hospital, said Steve Blauner, a longtime family friend who represents Darin's estate. Blauner said Dee had been on dialysis for about four years.

"She didn't have a bad bone in her body," he told The Associated Press in a phone interview. "When she was a big star in the pictures and a top five at the box office, she treated the grip the exact same way she treated the head of the studio. She meant it. She wasn't phony."

The family expected to hold private funeral services.

At Universal Studios, Dee was cast mostly in teen movies such as "The Reluctant Debutante," "The Restless Years," "Tammy Tell Me True" and "Take Her She's Mine."

Occasionally, she was able to do secondary roles in other films, such as "Imitation of Life," "A Portrait In Black" and "Romanoff and Juliet."

At the height of her fame, Dee was arguably the biggest female teen idol of her time. "She was Gidget, and she was Tammy, and for a time she was young America's ideal," film critic Leonard Maltin once said of her.

After a one-month courtship, Dee married Darin in Elizabeth, N.J., in 1960. A son, Dodd Mitchell, was born to the couple the following year.

In 1965, with her divorce from Darin dampening her teen appeal, Dee was dropped by Universal.

"I thought they were my friends," she said in an interview that year with The Associated Press, referring to her former bosses. "But I found out on the last picture ('A Man Could Get Killed') that I was simply a piece of property to them. I begged them not to make me do the picture, but they insisted."

Born Alexandra Zuck on April 23, 1942, in Bayonne, N.J., Dee became a model while in grade school.

In a mid-career interview with The Associated Press, she explained her name change: "I used to sign vouchers and sign-out sheets with 'Alexandra Dee.' Somehow it stuck." When she was signed to her first film, she said, "'Sandra Dee' was the name they gave me."

Dee made an independent film "Rosie!" (1968), starring with Rosalind Russell, but her movie career dwindled after that.

Her name was resuscitated in 1978 with the film "Grease," which featured the song "Look At Me, I'm Sandra Dee" mocking her squeaky-clean image. But Dee didn't mind, Blauner said.

"She always had a big laugh about it. She had a great sense of humor," he said.

Blauner said her favorite films were the ones she made with Darin. Despite their divorce, he remained the love of her life, Blauner said.

In a March 1991 interview with People magazine, Dee said she was sexually abused as a child by her stepfather and pushed into stardom by her mother. Dee, who turned to pills and alcohol, said she hit bottom after her mother died in 1988.

"I couldn't function," she told People, adding that she began drinking more than a quart of scotch a day as her weight fell to 80 pounds. She said she stayed home almost constantly for three years. Her last film credit was for the 1983 movie "Lost."

Dee credited her son with helping her turn her life around. She began seeing a therapist regularly and hoped to land a job on a TV series.

Kate Bosworth portrayed Dee in last year's movie "Beyond the Sea," a biography of Darin.

Actor Kevin Spacey, who directed and co-wrote the film and played Darin, has said Dee approved of the movie. "She called me...and said she loved it," he said last year.

'Carousel' Star John Raitt Dies at 88

LOS ANGELES - John Raitt, the robust baritone who created the role of Billy Bigelow in the original New York production of "Carousel" and sang with Doris Day in the movie "Pajama Game," died Sunday. He was 88.

Raitt, the father of singer Bonnie Raitt, died from complications of pneumonia at his Pacific Palisades home, his manager, James Fitzgerald, said in a statement.

Raitt had become well known on the West Coast for his handsome presence and ringing voice when in 1944 he was invited to New York to try out for the role of Curly in the road company of "Oklahoma!" He was rushed from Penn Station to the St. James Theater and an audition with Oscar Hammerstein II and Richard Rodgers.

In 1995, Raitt recalled: "I hadn't sung since California, so I said, 'Do you mind if I warm up?' I sang Figaro's aria from 'The Barber of Seville.' Then I sang all of Curly's songs.'"

There was silence when he finished. The problem was not his voice, which was both melodic and powerful, but his height. At 6 feet 2 was he too tall for Curly? Hammerstein reasoned: "I'm a tall man. Why can't Curly be tall?" Raitt was hired for the Chicago company of "Oklahoma!"

Rodgers and Hammerstein had been working on their second collaboration, "Carousel," and they chose Raitt for the role of the doomed hero Billy Bigelow.

Raitt astounded the opening-night audience in 1945 with his dynamic soliloquy, which he called "practically a one-act opera which took six and a half minutes to sing." He said Hammerstein had been inspired to write it when he heard the newcomer sing Figaro at the audition.

Raitt's star status on Broadway was assured, and after the long run in "Carousel" he appeared in "Magdalena," "Three Wishes for Jamie" and "Carnival in Flanders." He lacked a big crossover to film until "The Pajama Game" in 1954.

"The Pajama Game" became a successful movie with Raitt and several others in their stage roles and Doris Day for popular appeal. The numbers "Hey, There," "Steam Heat" and "Once a Year Day," choreographed by Bob Fosse, helped make the 1957 film a delight. Despite his good notices, it was Raitt's only starring movie (he had played two minor roles while briefly under contract to MGM in 1940).

In his later years, Raitt was overshadowed by the fame of his blues-singing daughter. He delighted in her success and approved of her campaigning for civil rights, peace and other causes. "She used to be known as John Raitt's daughter; now I'm known as Bonnie Raitt's father," he observed.

After she had become a big attraction in pop music, they sometimes appeared together, singing duets with her song "Blowing Away" and his "Hey, There."

"He treats every show with equal thrill and passion," Bonnie Raitt once said. "He puts the same into it no matter whether it's a charity breakfast for 50 people or opening night of a Broadway show.

"He never sold out for the quick buck. If he did Vegas, he would have been a bigger star, but he didn't want to sing for drunks and hecklers, and neither do I."

John Emmett Raitt was born Jan. 10, 1917, in Santa Ana, Calif. At Fullerton Union he excelled in track, winning a scholarship to the University of Southern California. He concluded his college education at the University of Redlands in 1940.

His deep, resonant voice developed early, and he sang at service clubs and churches throughout Southern California. His professional debut came in 1940 as a chorus singer in "HMS Pinafore" with the Los Angeles Civic Light Opera, where he would be a frequent star in later years.

With little operatic training, he sang lead roles in "The Barber of Seville" and "Carmen" at the Pasadena Civic Auditorium. That led to the fateful meeting with Rodgers and Hammerstein.

Raitt remained a top musical star, touring with Mary Martin in "Annie Get Your Gun," and lead roles in "Destry Rides Again," "Man of La Mancha," "Kismet" and "Zorba" as well as "Oklahoma!" "Carousel" and "The Pajama Game." He played in summer stock from 1959 to 1984, keeping his fee moderate so theaters could afford him. "I liked the work, and if I upped the price, I wouldn't get the work," he reasoned in a 1995 interview.

In his 80s, he continued touring with a one-man show, "An Evening with John Raitt," and made appearances with Bonnie on the Boston Pops broadcast and her own concerts.

Bonnie and two brothers, Steven and David, were born to Raitt's first marriage to Marjorie Haydock. They divorced in 1971. A second marriage to Kathleen Smith Landry ended in divorce in 1981. That year, he learned from an old friend that Raitt's high school sweetheart had recently been widowed.

"Having played Zorba, I believe in grabbing at life," he recalled. "So I called her and this sweet voice answered. 'I'm free now,' I told her, 'and I'm coming to dinner.'"

Raitt and Rosemary Kraemer were married in 1981. Bonnie sang "Safe in Your Arms" at the wedding. Raitt sang "My Heart's Darling" at her 1991 wedding to actor Michael O'Keefe.
Pondexter passes on WNBA, will return for fourth year

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Rutgers guard Cappie Pondexter has decided that the WNBA can wait another year.

Pondexter announced Sunday that she will return for her fourth year at Rutgers, passing on the chance of becoming a first-round draft pick.

``The money doesn't matter to me at all. I just love the game of basketball, and college basketball is the best place to play,'' Pondexter said. ``I realize that the next level is a business and I'm not ready for that yet. I feel something better will happen to me if I stay.''

Pondexter is averaging 13.4 points for the No. 10 Scarlet Knights, who improved to 20-5 with a win over Notre Dame on Saturday.

Pondexter, a senior, did not play as a freshman because she failed to meet the NCAA's eligibility requirements.

Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer was pleased that Pondexter chose to return.

``We've been blessed to have someone like Cappie come here,'' Stringer said. ``She could have gone anywhere. A player of her quality, an All-American, a national player of the year candidate, they don't come around often.''

No. 7 Duke Dunks No. 5 Wake Forest 102-92

DURHAM, N.C. - Coach Mike Krzyzewski did what he could to help Duke avoid its first three-game losing streak in nine years. In the end, all he really needed was a career performance from J.J. Redick.

The junior guard scored a career-high 38 points after Coach K shook up the starting lineup, and reserve Lee Melchionni added 15 to lead the seventh-ranked Blue Devils past No. 5 Wake Forest 102-92 Sunday night.

Duke (19-4, 9-4 Atlantic Coast Conference), coming off consecutive losses for only the fourth time in the past eight seasons, had its way with the Demon Deacons in the second half. After trailing by two at the break, the Blue Devils shot 61 percent in the final 20 minutes to reach their highest point total of the season.

Chris Paul had 27 points and Trent Strickland scored 17 for Wake Forest (22-4, 10-3), which fell out of a first-place tie with North Carolina.

Duke center Shelden Williams more than held his own in the matchup with Eric Williams, finishing with 12 points, nine rebounds and four blocks. And Melchionni, a junior who played very little during his first two seasons, came up with big play after big play when the Blue Devils needed it most.

He came in averaging only 6.8 points a game, but beat that total during a 90-second span of the second half. The left-hander swished a 3-pointer for a five-point lead, jumped in the passing lane for a steal that led to his own dunk, then spun in the paint for a short jumper.

On the other end, he drew a charge from Wake Forest guard Justin Gray, who went to the bench with his fourth foul with 14 1/2 minutes left. Duke eventually went ahead 88-69 before the Deacons staged a furious rally to make the final respectable, getting within seven with 1:15 remaining.

The Blue Devils closed it out at the free throw line to win for only the third time in the past six games. They last lost three in a row to complete the 1995-96 season.

This one belonged to Redick, who hit his first six shots after starting the game with some unfamiliar teammates. He and Shelden Williams were with Reggie Love, Patrick Johnson and little-used guard Patrick Davidson, with Daniel Ewing, Sean Dockery and Shavlik Randolph sitting down.

On the opening possession, Davidson repeatedly bumped Paul until the whistle finally blew, and Krzyzewski was up off the bench screaming for an offensive foul on Paul. The infraction went against Davidson, and he left after about two minutes to a raucous ovation.

Krzyzewski rushed out to hug Davidson before he could reach the sideline, and the rest of the Blue Devils quickly did the same.

That set the tone for an emotional first half during which the teams combined for 24 fouls, a total that included offsetting technicals on Dockery and Wake Forest's Jamaal Levy. Later, the usually unflappable Paul got a technical when he shoved the ball in the face of Melchionni, helping Duke take its big lead.

Through it all, Redick continued making shots. He beat his previous best of 34 points from last season and shot 9-of-15, including 6-of-10 on 3-pointers.
No. 10 Rutgers Women Down No. 5 Notre Dame

PISCATAWAY, N.J. - Chelsea Newton had 14 points and eight assists and No. 10 Rutgers posted its fifth win over a top-10 team this season with a 59-48 victory over No. 5 Notre Dame on Saturday, snapping the Irish's season-high 10-game winning streak.

Cappie Pondexter added 13 points as the Scarlet Knights (20-5, 11-2 Big East) stayed unbeaten at home (12-0) and moved into first place in the league, a half game ahead of Notre Dame (23-4, 11-3) and Connecticut (17-6, 10-2), which was to play Syracuse at home Saturday night.

Jacqueline Batteast and Megan Duffy had 14 points apiece to lead Notre Dame, which was held to a season-low point total by Rutgers' tenacious and physical defense. The previous low was 50 in a loss to Connecticut and a win over Marquette.

Rutgers forced 23 turnovers, including 10 by Duffy, Notre Dame's usually reliable point guard. The Irish didn't find enough open room to attempt a 3-pointer until Duffy launched an NBA-length 3 with 4:17 to play.

Still Notre Dame had a chance. Trailing 32-19 at the half after hitting only five field goals and shooting 25 percent, the Irish opened the second half with an 11-1 spurt by combining a box-and-one defense on Pondexter with a few good plays inside.

A layup by Courtney LaVere got the Irish to 33-31 with 15:05 to play, and it seemed they would get a chance to tie the game when Rutgers fumbled the ball in the final seconds of the next possession.

However, freshman Matee Ajavon managed to pick up the loose ball and threw in an off-balance floater. The basket started a 12-2 run that featured a steal and layup by Ajavon and a basket and 3-pointer by Newton, who had 12 points in the second half.

Pondexter was the difference in the first half, hitting all five of her field goals, including two 3-pointers, in helping Rutgers jump to an early lead it never lost.

Batteast, the Big East's second-leading scorer, was 3-of-14 from the field. She also was cut above the right eye in the game.

Rutgers also has beaten LSU, Connecticut, Texas and Tennessee when they were ranked in the top 10 this season.

February 17, 2005

No. 1 Illinois Improves to 26-0

Illinois added to the longest winning streak in the nation and set some school history. Roger Powell Jr. went 10-for-10 from the field and scored 21 points and Dee Brown added 19 points to lead the top-ranked Illini to their 26th straight win, 83-63...

N.C. State Upsets No. 22 Maryland 82-63

Ilian Evtimov and Tony Bethel each scored 17 points Wednesday night to lift North Carolina State to an 82-63 victory over No. 22 Maryland.

NHL Cancels Rest of Locked-Out Season

The National Hockey League, unable to reach a new pay agreement with its locked-out players, canceled the rest of its season Wednesday.

Buffalo Bills Release Quarterback Bledsoe

Quarterback Drew Bledsoe is to be released by the Buffalo Bills as soon as league rules allow, the NFL franchise said on Wednesday.

February 15, 2005

No. 17 Pitt Upsets No. 9 Syracuse 68-64

SYRACUSE, N.Y. - Carl Krauser hit a 3-pointer with 47 seconds left and Chevon Troutman made four free throws in the final seconds to lead No. 17 Pittsburgh past No. 9 Syracuse 68-64 on Monday night.

It was the second straight home loss after a 16-game winning streak at the Carrier Dome for Syracuse (22-4, 9-3 Big East), which was coming off its best game of the season, a 90-75 win at No. 25 Villanova.

Pittsburgh (18-4, 8-3) won for the sixth time in seven games and completed a season sweep of the Orange.

Troutman was 16-for-20 from the free throw line and finished with 20 points and 10 rebounds. Krauser had 15 points and five assists, and Chris Taft had 14 points and 10 rebounds for Pitt, which had a 41-32 rebound advantage.

Louie McCroskey, who lost his starting job two games ago, scored a career-high 18 points for the Orange, while Gerry McNamara had 16 points and 10 assists, and Hakim Warrick, plagued by foul trouble, matched his season-low with 12 points. Josh Pace, who had 21 points against Villanova, did not score and took only two shots.

Syracuse, which entered the game shooting 50 percent from the field, hit 37.7 percent Monday.

After Krauser's three-point play moved Pittsburgh within 48-47 midway through the second half, Syracuse went on a 9-2 run and appeared headed for a tough victory. A steal and layup by McNamara put the Orange up 57-49 with 7:45 left.

But Krauser hit two 3s and Troutman nailed a curling hook past Syracuse center Craig Forth to tie it at 60 with 4:31 to go.

After Krauser's fourth 3 of the game, Forth's rebound basket had Syracuse within 64-62 with 35 seconds left. After Troutman made two foul shots, Warrick's two-handed dunk kept the Orange within a basket.

Troutman, a career 61 percent shooter from the line, has excelled this season, hitting 75 percent in conference play. He made his final two Monday with 11 seconds left and McNamara missed a long 3 at the buzzer as the Panthers celebrated.

The Panthers led 29-28 at halftime, mainly because of their rebounding prowess. They finished the half with a 26-14 edge on the boards, including 10 offensive, and had 13 second-chance points. Syracuse scored 16 points off the 13 turnovers it forced.

Texas Tech Shocks No. 2 Kansas 80-79, 2OT

Darryl Dora hit a 3-pointer with 3.6 seconds remaining in the second overtime to give Texas Tech an 80-79 victory over No. 2 Kansas on Monday night, the Jayhawks' first conference loss this season.

Savannah State Goes 0-For-The-Season

Oh my. Savannah State went 0-for-the-season. The Tigers became just the second NCAA Division I school in a half-century to go through an entire season without a win, losing to Florida A&M 49-44 Monday night to finish 0-28.

Browns Housecleaning Continues With Garcia

Jeff Garcia didn't even get to celebrate his one-year anniversary with the Cleveland Browns. Less than 12 months after they signed the three-time Pro Bowler to fix their problems at quarterback, the Browns told Garcia on Monday that he was no longer needed.

Former major league pitcher Nellie Briles dies at 61

PITTSBURGH -- Big games never worried Nellie Briles.

Briles, who won two World Series titles during a 14-year career as a control pitcher, died Sunday of an apparent heart attack at 61, the Pittsburgh Pirates said. Briles was stricken during a Pirates alumni golf tournament in Orlando, Fla.

Briles went 129-112 during a career spent mostly with the St. Louis Cardinals and Pirates. He played on five pennant- or division-winning teams, going a combined 69-44 with two postseason victories during those seasons.

``I always felt that if it was a tough game, my teammates wanted me on the mound,'' Briles once said.

Briles, who was influenced by Hall of Famer Bob Gibson's fierce attitude after joining the Cardinals in 1965, went 61-54 with the Cardinals from 1965-70, including a 19-11 record in 1968. He was traded to the Pirates, where he was 36-28 over the next three seasons before later pitching for Kansas City, Texas and Baltimore in career lasting from 1965-78.

Briles was a broadcaster with the Pirates, Mariners and USA Network's major league game of the week from 1979-85 before being hired as the Pirates' director of corporate projects in 1986.

``Nellie was a valuable member of the Pirates organization for many years,'' Pirates owner Kevin McClatchy said.

Raised in Chico, Calif., Briles pitched at Santa Clara University and made his major league debut at 22 in September 1965, losing a 1-0 decision to the Dodgers' Sandy Koufax.

Briles was 14-5 with a 2.43 ERA in 1967. He won nine consecutive starts after Gibson's leg was broken by Roberto Clemente's line drive, before beating Boston 5-2 in Game 3 of the World Series.

Briles also played a key role in Pittsburgh's 1971 title run by pitching a two-hit shutout in World Series Game 5 against Baltimore. Briles allowed only two singles and no Orioles runner reached second base in a 4-0 victory.

``A lot of people in baseball told me it was the best game ever pitched in the World Series, except for Don Larsen's perfect game,'' said Briles, who was 2-1 with a 2.59 ERA in three career World Series starts. ``I faced only 29 batters. It was the best game I ever pitched.''

Orioles manager Earl Weaver later called Game 5 the pivotal game of the series, though the Pirates needed Steve Blass' four-hitter to win Game 7 in Baltimore, 2-1.

Briles' best regular-season start came a year later, a one-hit shutout to beat Hall of Famer Juan Marichal and the Giants 1-0. Briles lost a perfect game on Ken Henderson's infield single.

Briles retired at 34, four years after a knee injury sustained with the Royals hurt his pitching for the rest of his career. The following season, he was a TV broadcaster for the 1979 World Series champion Pirates.

Briles is survived by his wife, Ginger, four children and several grandchildren.

Funeral services will be in Greensburg this week.

February 13, 2005

(11) Rutgers 76, (10) Connecticut 62

PISCATAWAY, N.J. -- Chelsea Newton provided just what Rutgers needed to end its 12-game losing streak to Big East nemesis Connecticut.

After sitting out a 13-point loss to UConn 11 days ago, Newton scored 19 points Sunday to lead the Scarlet Knights to a 76-62 victory over the Huskies.

``That was what we missed, she's the guts of our team,'' Rutgers coach C. Vivian Stringer said. ``She's hard in the lane, moving and vocal.''

No. 11 Rutgers (18-5, 9-2 Big East) beat the Huskies for just the second time in seven years, dating to a 74-70 win at home on Feb. 10, 1998. No. 10 UConn leads the series 17-2.

Newton and the Rutgers seniors lost seven straight to the Huskies by an average of 20.5 points.

``It feels good to get over the hump,'' Newton said. ``For us, it's been a mental block. Now the monkey is off our back.''

Rutgers and UConn (16-6, 9-2) are tied for second in the conference, a half-game behind No. 6 Notre Dame with five games left in the regular season.

Cappie Pondexter had 18 points and Michelle Campbell added 13 for the Scarlet Knights, whose pressure defense forced the three-time defending champions into 19 turnovers that they converted into 21 points.

Newton played her second game after sitting out two because of a mild concussion sustained Jan. 30 against West Virginia. She stabilized a Rutgers team that lost to UConn without her, 57-44 at the Hartford Civic Center, adding six rebounds and three assists.

The Scarlet Knights opened up a 12-0 lead and never trailed in winning their 11th straight at home.

Ann Strother had 20 points for UConn, the only Huskies player in double figures. UConn embarrassed Rutgers 11 days ago, opening up a 12-0 lead.

This time, Rutgers returned the favor.

``We knew we had to set the tempo early,'' Pondexter said. ``The first five minutes said it all.''

UConn missed its first six shots and committed six turnovers. Charde Houston finally got the Huskies on the board with 14:15 left in the half and scored all six of their points in the opening 8 minutes.

Rutgers turned up the defensive pressure, creating a steal and forcing Strother into two consecutive turnovers en route to an 11-2 run to end the half. Essence Carson had two jumpers in the run, and the Huskies had a shot clock violation and two air balls in the final minutes.

Pondexter finished the spree with a jumper that brought the crowd to its feet as the Scarlet Knights built a 34-22 lead at the break. UConn's 22 first-half points tied for its lowest of the season.

Newton had eight first-half points on 3-of-7 shooting. She helped distribute the ball -- Rutgers shot 51 percent in the first half -- and pressure UConn's guards.

``It was like having Kobe Bryant out there,'' Connecticut coach Geno Auriemma said. ``The reason why they lost the last time is because they didn't have Chelsea Newton, right? That and they made every single shot in the first half.''

Connecticut fell to 4-5 against ranked teams this season.

The Huskies chipped away at the lead with five 3-pointers early in the second half. Strother made three consecutive for UConn, cutting the deficit to 50-41 with just over 10 minutes left.

Jessica Moore's six straight points drew the Huskies to 52-47 with 7:58 left, but they would get no closer. Newton's 3-pointer extended the lead, and the two teams traded shots and free throws the rest of the way.

Pondexter made a jumper in the final seconds to put an exclamation mark on the win. Stringer blew kisses and raised her fist to the raucous ovation from the sold-out crowd of 8,014.

Earlier in the season the Scarlet Knights knocked off three Top 10 teams, including No. 1 LSU. Pondexter understands her team must go through UConn, which has won or shared 11 straight regular-season titles, to win the Big East.

``We know in our hearts the season is not over,'' she said. ``We know we'll probably meet them in the Big East championship.''

Heinz Ward scored two touchdowns in the Pro Bowl. He caught a touchdown pass from Peyton Manning and was the first person to run back a kickoff (an onside kick) for a touchdown in the history of the Pro Bowl. Peyton Manning was named MVP.

No. 2 North Carolina Downs 19th-Ranked Connecticut

Jawad Williams scored 17 points to lead second-ranked North Carolina to a 77-70 win over 19th-ranked Connecticut at Hartford Civic Center.

Prince Charles to marry Camilla Parker Bowles

Prince Charles surprised Britain by announcing Thursday that he will marry Camilla Parker Bowles, his longtime lover who Princess Diana blamed for the breakdown of her marriage to the heir to the throne.

February 12, 2005

Ossie Davis Memorial Held in Harlem

NEW YORK - The stars of Hollywood joined the people of Harlem to bid farewell Saturday to actor and activist Ossie Davis, filling a Manhattan church with laughter and tears as a parade of admirers recalled his integrity, courage and devotion to family.

Friends, fans and family members crowded into the Riverside Church for the funeral, gazing at a video screen bearing his picture that was hung above an altar.

His wife of 56 years, actress Ruby Dee, sat in the front row, near where Davis' coffin stood covered in flowers. Former president Bill Clinton led a contingent of well-known mourners, including Spike Lee, Cornel West, Rachel Robinson and outgoing NAACP president Kweisi Mfume.

"He would have been a very good president of the United States," Clinton said. "I have only this to say: Like most of you here, he gave more to me than I gave to him."

Entertainer Harry Belafonte, Davis' friend for six decades, gave the eulogy.

"It is hard to fathom that we will no longer be able to call on his wisdom, his humor, his loyalty and his moral strength to guide us in the choices that are yet to be made and the battles that are yet to be fought," Belafonte said.

"But how fortunate we were to have him as long as we did."

It was a fitting send-off for the acclaimed actor and civil rights activist, with rousing music provided by Wynton Marsalis, a poem from Pulitzer Prize winner Maya Angelou, and songs from the choir at his alma mater, Howard University. The funeral service lasted more than three hours.

"Ossie was my hero, and he still is," said Alan Alda, a friend of the family for 44 years. "Ossie was a thing of beauty."

Burt Reynolds, his co-star on the television show "Evening Shade," recalled Davis as a friend who could make everything seem right. "I want so badly someday to have his dignity — a little of it anyway," Reynolds said.

Davis died Feb. 4 in a hotel room in Miami Beach, Fla., where the 87-year-old actor was working on a film. During his lengthy career, Davis worked as an actor, writer, director and producer, while giving equal time to the civil rights struggle.

Earlier, Dee listened as their seven grandchildren offered memories of Davis, ending with a poem that their grandparents often performed together. Daughter Hasna Muhammad, inviting mourners to join their family, pulled out a camera to take a picture of the congregation.

The lights in the church were then dimmed for a slide show of Davis and his family, with musical accompaniment by his son-in-law. The crowd burst into applause at the end of the presentation.

Attallah Shabazz, the daughter of slain activist Malcolm X, recalled from the pulpit the famous eulogy delivered by Davis at her father's funeral.

"Harlem has come to bid farewell to one of its finest hopes," she said, quoting the man she knew as Uncle Ossie. "Ditto."

Ninety minutes before the noon service began, a line stretching several blocks had formed outside the church, filled with children, parents and grandparents. For the residents of Harlem, it was a chance to say goodbye to a friend and neighborhood fixture.

"For as long as I can remember, all you had to do is drop the name Ossie on people, and the knew you were talking about Ossie Davis," said businessman and family friend Earl Graves. "It's easy to believe there was only one Ossie who lived in Harlem."
No. 18 Pitt Edges Notre Dame 68-66

PITTSBURGH - Carl Krauser's runner from the lane with 11 seconds remaining put No. 18 Pittsburgh ahead to stay following two Notre Dame comebacks and the Panthers turned to their bench for a 68-66 victory Saturday

Pittsburgh (17-4, 7-3 Big East) trailed by as many as five points before going on a 14-1 run without starters Krauser and Chris Taft to take a 58-50 lead on Chevon Troutman's two free throws.

Chris Quinn tried to rally the Fighting Irish (14-7, 6-5) in a game important to their NCAA tournament hopes by scoring on three consecutive possessions to briefly put them up 62-61, then hitting his fifth 3-pointer to tie it at 65.

Krauser's basket restored Pitt's lead at 67-65 and freshman backup Ronald Ramon made a free throw with 4.3 seconds remaining after Rick Cornett had prevented Notre Dame from tying it again by missing one of two free throws. Krauser led the Panthers with 16 points, but their bench contributed 24 points after scoring only six in the previous two games combined.

Notre Dame's final chance to win or tie ended when Cornett's too-long inbounds pass was intercepted by Levon Kendall, who held onto the ball as time expired.

Quinn was 5-of-6 from 3-point range and scored 25 points, while Chris Thomas added 16. Pitt held Colin Falls to eight points on 2-of-11 shooting. Falls, whose 23 points keyed the Irish's 68-65 upset of previously unbeaten Boston College on Tuesday night, was 1-of-10 on 3-pointers.

Krauser, Pitt's point guard, was elbowed in the face just as the 14-1 run started and didn't return for 5 minutes, but played a key role down the stretch. The 6-foot-10 Taft, a preseason all-Big East first-teamer, sat out all but 4 minutes of the second half because backup Aaron Gray was more productive.

Gray contributed nine points, five rebounds and two blocked shots in 15 minutes to Taft's one point, six rebounds and 0-for-3 shooting in 17 minutes. Ramon and Troutman each scored 13, and Antonio Graves had 10 for Pitt, which won its seventh in nine games.

Notre Dame was trying for its fourth victory over a ranked Big East opponent this season but fell behind 28-15 before making 10 3-pointers in less than 13 minutes to take a 49-44 lead.

Ramon's fallaway 3-pointer from the corner and free throw restored Pitt's lead at 51-50, and Mark McCarroll followed with a putback of Ramon's miss and Graves added a 3-pointer ahead of the two free throws by Troutman.

Notre Dame was 14-of-29 from 3-point range to Pitt's 8-of-21, but the Panthers were 14-of-22 at the foul line to the Irish's 6-of-10.

February 11, 2005

Playwright Arthur Miller Dies at 89

NEW YORK - Arthur Miller, a giant of the American theater whose works included "Death of a Salesman," died at his home on Thursday night at the age of 89, his assistant said on Friday.

Miller's personal life, including a brief, stormy marriage to sex symbol Marilyn Monroe, often captivated America and his left-wing political views made him a target of the House of Representatives Un-American Activities Committee in the 1950s.

"Mr. Miller passed away at his home in Roxbury, Connecticut, last night at 9:17 p.m. of congenital heart failure," said Julia Bolus, the playwright's assistant. He was surrounded by family and friends when he died.

"Death of a Salesman" is considered a classic of 20th century drama and is studied in schools around the world. His major works also included "The Crucible," "A view from the Bridge" and "All my Sons."

"He was a big man and a deeply American man who was lucky enough to have extraordinary women in his life," said Zoe Caldwell, one of the great Broadway actresses who played in Miller's "The Creation of the World and Other Business."

"He was busy working on plays right until he got sick," the Australian-born actress told Reuters. "He had such a great life that you don't feel sad for Arthur."

Miller emerged out of the depression in the 1930s to write social dramas with the power of Greek tragedy. His private life was equally dramatic, notably his doomed marriage to Monroe.

"I always felt it was a deep tragedy that he never won the Nobel Prize," said Robert Weil, executive editor of publisher W.W. Norton, who was a fan of Miller's work. "His plays were so universal and affected a world generation."

The New York Post had reported earlier that Miller was battling cancer, pneumonia and a heart condition and that his family and friends, including his 34-year-old girlfriend, painter Agnes Barley, had gathered at the bedside.

Miller had been released from hospital some weeks ago and had been transferred by ambulance this week to his 18th century farmhouse in Roxbury, Connecticut, which he bought in 1958 while he was married to Monroe, Bolus said.

"That's where he wanted to go," his sister Joan Copeland was quoted as saying in the New York Post on Friday.

In a 1987 autobiography, "Timebends," completed when he was 72, Miller wrote vividly and painfully of his 1956 to 1960 marriage to Monroe, describing her as a woman haunted by ghosts of an unhappy childhood that eventually destroyed her.

He described himself as a hapless onlooker, unable to save her or in the end endure her rages against him. She was, he said, the saddest woman he had ever met and his account of their troubled four-year marriage was as powerful as any drama he ever penned.

February 10, 2005

No. 7 Duke Tops No. 2 North Carolina 71-70

Duke slowed the pace and made North Carolina play a halfcourt game. Under those circumstances, nobody plays better defense than the Blue Devils.

February 08, 2005

Steelers' Bettis will replace Dillon on AFC Pro Bowl roster

Pittsburgh Steelers running back Jerome Bettis replaced Corey Dillon on the AFC's Pro Bowl roster Tuesday when the New England star was sidelined with an injury. Bettis rushed for 941 yards and 13 touchdowns this season.

Notre Dame Upends No. 4 Boston College

Boston College joined the likes of UCLA, DePaul and San Francisco as teams that arrived at Notre Dame with a long unbeaten streak and left with a loss.

WNBA Adds Expansion Team in Chicago

CHICAGO - A group of schoolchildren took over half of the basketball court under the bright lights of the UIC Pavilion, running drills with Tamika Catchings, Ruth Riley and a couple of other WNBA stars.

Pretty soon the rest of Chicago is going to get an up close and personal look at the WNBA.

The league awarded an expansion team to Chicago on Tuesday, giving the WNBA its 14th team and returning women's professional basketball to the home of the Chicago Hustle. The team will begin play in 2006 at the University of Illinois-Chicago Pavilion.

"This is an amazing time," said Catchings, a Chicago native and a forward with the Indiana Fever. "I remember back when I was going to school here, I would never have thought I'd have the opportunity to come here to play in Chicago in front of my family and my friends."

The Chicago team — its nickname will be announced later — will be the WNBA's first new franchise since 2002. San Antonio and Connecticut began play in 2003, but each moved from a previous location. It also will be the second team with outside owners, with real estate developer Michael Alter leading a group of 15-20 local investors.

The Chicago franchise doesn't have any players yet and, unlike when the league began, the WNBA won't assign any who have local ties. So for now, Catchings is slated to be a visiting player when the Fever travel to her hometown.

There will be an expansion draft, probably in November or December, and the team will also have money under the salary cap to sign free agents.

Teams had to be affiliated with their city's NBA team under the WNBA's original rules, but the league dropped that restriction in October 2002.

"The idea to bring the WNBA to Chicago really started a year ago, when I had the great privilege of meeting a group of WNBA players at the All-Star Game. For me, it was like meeting Ernie Banks and Bill Russell in their prime," Alter said. "I was so impressed, not only by their prowess as athletes, but their love of the game, their intelligence, their passion and their dignity.

"After meeting these amazing women and learning more about the WNBA, it just did not make sense to me that the third-largest city in the country and frankly, in my opinion, the best sports town in the country, did not have a WNBA team."

The league started with eight teams in 1997 and expanded to 16 in 2002, but three franchises folded: Cleveland, Miami and Portland.

Chicago had always seemed like a logical spot for a WNBA franchise. The Hustle was one of the original teams in the Women's Professional Basketball League, and drew big crowds for its games on the DePaul campus. WGN even broadcast some of the Hustle's games, giving the team a nationwide fan base before the league folded in 1981.

In the Chicago Condors' only season in the ABL, they were second in the league in attendance, averaging 4,775 fans at the Pavilion. The ABL folded Dec. 28, 1998.

The Bulls considered applying for a WNBA franchise, but dropped the idea when fewer than 1,000 people were willing to pay $100 to reserve season tickets.

"This validates the decision we made to open things up," league president Val Ackerman said. "(Alter) may not have the resources of an NBA team, but he's got a singular focus which I think can be helpful."

Alter is certainly passionate about his new team. He's already hired Margaret Stender, a former executive with Quaker Oaks and PepsiCo, to be the new team's president and chief operating officer. The team's Web site is up and season tickets went on sale Tuesday night.

Alter and Stender hope to hire a coach around the time that the WNBA season starts in May.

Alter also is taking a page from Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, giving out his e-mail (malter@chicagownba.com) and promising to answer every one he gets.

"For the people of Chicago, the WNBA is a milestone," Alter said. "It's exciting to be on the ground floor of an incredible journey, and I want the entire community to be a part of it as well."

The new team is already getting some help from the Bulls. Though the Bulls don't have any ownership stake in the WNBA's newest team, they've pledged to share whatever expertise they can with Alter and Stender.

"At best, we would have been able to devote 50 percent of our energies to (a WNBA team)," said Steve Schanwald, the Bulls executive vice president of business operations, who was at Tuesday's news conference at the Pavilion.

"They'll be able to dedicate 100 percent of their energy," he said.

And NBA commissioner David Stern has no doubt the WNBA will succeed in Chicago.

"You'll pardon the expression," Stern said, "but it's a slam dunk."

February 07, 2005

Patriots Win 3rd Super Bowl in 4 Years

The New England Patriots don't have to proclaim greatness. The NFL record book does it for them. The Patriots won their third Super Bowl in four years Sunday, 24-21 over the Philadelphia Eagles, and now they are challenging history.

February 06, 2005

Marino and Young Headline Hall of Fame Class of 2005

Former MVP quarterbacks Dan Marino and Steve Young were among four men elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame.

Marino and Young were the only two modern-era candidates to be elected and were joined in this year's class by senior committee choices Benny Friedman and Fritz Pollard.

The Class of 2005 will be inducted during ceremonies on August 7 in Canton, Ohio.

The Hall of Fame selectors met Saturday morning to discuss the merits of 15 finalists, reducing the list first to 10 and then six. The two players who did not receive 80 percent of the final vote were linebacker Harry Carson and wide receiver Michael Irvin.

Marino spent all 17 years of his NFL career with the Miami Dolphins (1983-99) and owns career records for yards passing, completions and touchdown passes. He completed 4,967-of-8,358 attempts for 61,361 yards with 420 touchdowns and 252 interceptions.

"It's really, really special," Marino said of his election. "Considering there's only 28 quarterbacks in the Hall of Fame. It's an honor to be inducted."

Marino also thanked his family, friends and teammates, as well as Don Shula, his longtime coach with the Dolphins.

"Thank you for just letting me turn it loose and throwing it as much as I wanted to throw it," Marino said in mentioning Shula.

The last quarterback of six chosen in the first round of the 1983 draft, Marino was a nine-time Pro Bowl selection and the 1984 NFL MVP when he set single-season records of 5,084 passing yards and 48 touchdown passes -- the latter of which stood until this past season when Peyton Manning eclipsed the mark with 49.

Marino played in just one Super Bowl, a 38-16 loss to the San Francisco 49ers after the 1984 season.

Young quarterbacked the 49ers to the Super Bowl title after the 1994 season and was named the game's MVP when he set a record for touchdown passes with six during a 49-26 triumph over San Diego.

A two-time MVP (1992 & '94) with the 49ers, Young finished his career with 33,124 yards passing while throwing for 232 touchdowns. He began his pro career in the USFL, then struggled early in his NFL career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (1985-86) before heading to San Francisco (1987-99) where he eventually replaced the legendary Joe Montana.

"It was the greatest organization put together," Young said of his time with the 49ers. "It was a very special place."

Young won six NFL passing titles, including four in a row, and holds the NFL record with a career passer rating of 96.8. The seven-time Pro Bowl selection was also a great scrambler, finishing with 4,239 yards rushing and 43 touchdowns.

Friedman, the NFL's first great passer, was a two-time All-America quarterback at Michigan and played professionally with the Cleveland Bulldogs (1927), Detroit Wolverines (1928), New York Giants (1929-31) and Brooklyn Dodgers (1932-34). He earned All-NFL honors in each of his first four seasons.

After the 1928 season, Giants owner Tim Mara purchased the Detroit franchise just to secure Friedman's services.

Friedman threw an NFL record 11 touchdown passes as a rookie with Cleveland in 1927, and set another record in 1929 with 20 TD passes with the Giants.

Pollard led Brown University to the Rose Bowl in 1915 and turned pro in 1919 after serving in the army during World War I. He started with the Akron Pros, who joined the newly-founded American Professional Football Association -- later renamed the NFL -- in 1920 and earned a place in pro football history as one of just two African-Americans in the new league.

With Pollard leading the charge, the Pros went undefeated (8-0-3) to win the NFL's first crown.

In 1921, Pollard was named the co-coach of the Pros to become the first African-American head coach in league history.

In addition to Irvin and Carson, the other finalists were linebacker Derrick Thomas; defensive ends L.C. Greenwood, Richard Dent and Claude Humphrey; wide receiver Art Monk; guards Bob Kuechenberg and Russ Grimm, cornerback Roger Wehrli; and the late George Young, the architect of two Super Bowl champion New York Giants teams.

Miller Wins World Downhill Gold

BORMIO, Italy - Bode Miller grabbed his second gold medal in the space of eight days, winning Saturday's Alpine ski world championship men's downhill in emphatic style.

Storming down the challenging 1.9-mile Stelvio course in one minute 56.22 seconds, Miller finished 0.44 seconds ahead of his United States team mate Daron Rahlves, ensuring a gold and silver double for the Americans.

Defending downhill world champion Michael Walchhofer of Austria had to settle for bronze after losing time on the upper part of the course and finishing 0.87 seconds off the pace set by Miller.

Miller, who became the U.S. team's first men's downhill world champion, was one of the early starters on Saturday and had to wait more than an hour before his win was confirmed.

"I'm really surprised because I wasn't so pleased with my run," the 27-year-old from New Hampshire told Reuters. "I was attacking all the way but I didn't think I'd done enough to win.

"I guess the course must have deteriorated, giving the others a rougher time, but it's great to have two Americans in the top two spots."

Rahlves, a World Cup winner on the Bormio downhill course in 2003, said he had also faced an anxious wait while watching the top Austrians come down the hill.

"I was really nervous as Walchhofer came down because I had also made some mistakes at the top," said the 31-year-old former world super-G champion. "To be second is a great reward for me. I definitely won silver rather than losing gold."

Miller has now been crowned world champion four times, in four different events.

At the last world championships in St Moritz he won titles in giant slalom and the combined event.

Aside from Walchhofer's bronze medal, there was disappointment on Saturday for the Austrian favorites.

Olympic downhill champion Fritz Strobl was beaten into fourth place, after finishing 0.08 seconds behind Walchhofer.

Former double Olympic and world champion Hermann Maier, who gashed his shin during final training on Friday, finished the race in 17th place.

Comets' Thompson to miss part of season

HOUSTON -- Houston Comets forward Tina Thompson is six months pregnant with her first child and will miss part of the WNBA season.

Thompson, the team's career leader in scoring and rebounding, said Friday the baby is due in mid to late May. The WNBA season begins May 21.

The father of the baby boy is Miami Heat guard Damon Jones, who played at the University of Houston and is Thompson's longtime boyfriend.

``I was very shocked,'' Thompson told KRIV television in Houston. ``It wasn't a planned thing, although it's a very welcome one and very exciting one for me and Damon.''

Thompson set no definitive date for her return but said she does plan to rejoin the team this season.

The top pick in the 1997 WNBA draft, Thompson was instrumental in the Comets' four WNBA championship runs and was a member of last summer's Olympic basketball team that won the gold medal.

February 04, 2005

Actor Ossie Davis Found Dead in Hotel

NEW YORK - Ossie Davis, the imposing, unshakable actor who championed racial justice on stage, on screen and in real life, often in tandem with his wife, Ruby Dee, has died. He was 87.

Davis was found dead Friday in his hotel room in Miami Beach, Fla., according to officials there. He was making a film called "Retirement," said Arminda Thomas, who works in his office in suburban New Rochelle and confirmed the death.

Miami Beach police spokesman Bobby Hernandez said Davis' grandson called shortly before 7 a.m. when Davis would not open the door to his room at the Shore Club Hotel. Davis was found dead and there does not appear to be any foul play, Hernandez said.

Davis, who wrote, acted, directed and produced for the theater and Hollywood, was a central figure among black performers for decades. He and Dee celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in 1998 with the publication of a dual autobiography, "In This Life Together."

Their partnership called to mind other performing couples, such as the Lunts, or Hume Cronyn and Jessica Tandy. Davis and Dee first appeared together in the plays "Jeb," in 1946, and "Anna Lucasta," in 1946-47. Davis' first film, "No Way Out" in 1950, was Dee's fifth.

Both had key roles in the television series "Roots: The Next Generation" (1978), "Martin Luther King: The Dream and the Drum" (1986) and "The Stand" (1994). Davis appeared in three Spike Lee films, including "School Daze," "Do the Right Thing" and "Jungle Fever." Dee also appeared in the latter two; among her best-known films was "A Raisin in the Sun," in 1961.

In 2004, Davis and Dee were among the artists selected to receive the Kennedy Center Honors.

When not on stage or on camera, Davis and Dee were deeply involved in civil rights issues and efforts to promote the cause of blacks in the entertainment industry. They nearly ran afoul of the anti-Communist witch-hunts of the early 1950s, but were never openly accused of any wrongdoing.

Actor Roy Scheider, who had performed with Davis and attended anti-war rallies with him, called Davis and Dee "the first political couple of America."

"Ossie seemed to always show up at the right time, on the right side, which was always the human side," Scheider said. "He was always progressive and had a very heartfelt sympathy for all people everywhere."

Davis directed several films, most notably "Cotton Comes to Harlem" (1970) and "Countdown at Kusini" (1976), in which he also appeared with Dee. Both wrote plays and screenplays, and

Other films in which Davis appeared include "The Cardinal" (1963), "The Hill" (1965), "Grumpy Old Men" (1993), "The Client" (1994) and "I'm Not Rappaport" (1996), a reprise of his stage role 10 years earlier.

On television, he appeared in "The Emperor Jones" (1955), "Freedom Road" (1979), "Miss Evers' Boys" (1997) and "Twelve Angry Men" (1997). He was a cast member on "The Defenders" from 1963-65, and "Evening Shade" from 1990-94, among other shows.

Davis had just started his new movie on Monday, said Michael Livingston, his Hollywood agent.

"I'm shocked," Livingston said. "I'm absolutely shocked. He was the most wonderful man I've ever known. Such a classy, kindly man." His wife had gone to New Zealand to make a movie there, Livingston said.

The oldest of five children, Davis was born in tiny Cogdell, Ga., in 1917 and grew up in nearby Waycross and Valdosta. He left home in 1935, hitchhiking to Washington to enter Howard University, where he studied drama, intending to be a playwright.

His career as an actor began in 1939 with the Rose McClendon Players in Harlem, then the center of black culture in America. There, the young Davis met or mingled with some of the most influential figures of the time, including the preacher Father Divine, W.E.B. DuBois, A. Philip Randolph, Langston Hughes and Richard Wright.

He also had what he described in the book as a "flirtation with the Young Communist League," which he said essentially ended with the onset of World War II. Davis spent nearly four years in service, mainly as a surgical technician in an Army hospital in Liberia, serving both wounded troops and local inhabitants.

Back in New York in 1946, Davis debuted on Broadway in "Jeb," a play about a returning soldier. His co-star was Dee, whose budding stage career had paralleled his own. They had even appeared in different productions of the same play, "On Strivers Row," in 1940.

In December 1948, on a day off from rehearsals from another play, Davis and Dee took a bus to New Jersey to get married. They already were so close that "it felt almost like an appointment we finally got around to keeping," Dee wrote in "In This Life Together."

As black performers, they found themselves caught up in the social unrest fomented by the then-new Cold War and the growing debate over social and racial justice.

"We young ones in the theater, trying to fathom even as we followed, were pulled this way and that by the swirling currents of these new dimensions of the Struggle," Davis wrote in the joint autobiography.

He lined up with socialist reformer DuBois and singer Paul Robeson, remaining fiercely loyal to the singer even after Robeson was denounced by other black political, sports and show business figures for his openly communist and pro-Soviet sympathies.

While Hollywood and, to a lesser extent, the New York theater world became engulfed in McCarthyism controversies, Davis and Dee emerged from the anti-communist fervor unscathed.

"We've never been, to our knowledge, guilty of anything — other than being black — that might upset anybody," he wrote.

They were friends with baseball star Jackie Robinson — Dee played his wife, opposite Robinson himself, in the 1950 movie "The Jackie Robinson Story" — and with Malcolm X.

In the book, Davis told how a prior commitment caused them to miss the Harlem rally where Malcolm was assassinated in 1965. Davis delivered the eulogy at Malcolm's funeral, calling him "our own black shining prince — who didn't hesitate to die, because he loved us so." He reprised it in a voice-over for the 1992 Spike Lee film, "Malcolm X."

Along with film, stage and television, the couple's careers extended to a radio show, "The Ossie Davis and Ruby Dee Story Hour," that ran on 65 stations for four years in the mid-1970s, featuring a mix of black themes.

Both made numerous guest appearances on television shows.

Actor Ossie Davis Dies at Age 87

MIAMI - Actor Ossie Davis, who pioneered roles for African Africans in a stage and screen career that spanned more than 50 years, has died at age 87.

Davis was found dead early Friday by his grandson and paramedics at the Shore Club hotel in Miami Beach, where the actor had been shooting the film "Retirement," according to police and his office in Los Angeles.

"According to the grandson, he was suffering from heart disease," said police spokesman Bobby Hernandez. "The grandson knocked on the door, and when Mr. Davis didn't respond, he called fire rescue."

A longtime civil rights activist, Davis delivered celebrated eulogies at the funerals of Martin Luther King Jr. and Malcolm X and gave voice to the famous United Negro College Fund slogan, "A mind is a terrible thing to waste."

He and his wife of more than 50 years, actress Ruby Dee, received Kennedy Center Honors in 2004 for their body of work. The two often appeared in films together.

In the late 1990s, they co-wrote the book "With Ossie and Ruby: In This Life Together," chronicling their struggles against racial injustice as well as their decades as a couple.

They also spoke in the book about their decision to have an open marriage. The couple had three children.

Davis broke barriers for black performers on television, stage and in the movies and developed a reputation as one of the country's most recognizable character actors.

His screen acting credits date to the 1950s, including the Spike Lee films "Jungle Fever" and "Do the Right Thing" and TV projects such as "Roots: The Next Generation" and "Evening Shade."

Filming began in Miami Beach this week for the film "Retirement." In it, Davis, Peter Falk, George Segal and Rip Torn were starring as four grumpy old men who leave their Florida retirement homes on a road trip to Las Vegas to stop one of their daughters from marrying the wrong guy.

February 01, 2005

(16) Pittsburgh 86, Providence 66

PITTSBURGH -- Somebody told Providence coach Tim Welsh earlier in the day that Pitt center Chris Taft was in a scoring slump. It was exactly what he didn't want to hear.

Taft scored a career-high 25 points and Carl Krauser adeptly ran No. 16 Pittsburgh's fast-breaking offense while playing one of his best defensive games of the season, leading the Panthers to an 86-66 rout of Providence on Monday night.

Krauser had 19 points, nine assists and two steals and helped shut out Friars point guard Dwight Brewington for nearly 32 minutes to help the Panthers win their fifth in six games. Brewington, averaging 18.5 points in his last four games, finished with eight points but didn't score until Pitt (15-3, 5-2 Big East) led 66-45.

Taft, expected to be one of the Big East's top players but averaging only 12 points over his previous five games, scored more than 20 points for just the third time this season. The 6-foot-10 sophomore also had 15 rebounds as Pitt held a 39-24 edge on the boards.

Taft's previous career high was 24 against Providence last season, as Welsh well remembers.

``I said, `Don't ever say that to me,' `` Welsh said when told of Taft's recent scoring problems. ``That guy's a monster. ... Pitt is a load to handle and they really crushed us on the boards.''

Ryan Gomes scored 24 points, but the Friars (9-11, 0-7) lost their seventh in a row and 10th straight in the Big East dating to last season.

Pitt's 86 points were its most in 13 games since scoring 87 against Duquesne on Dec. 4. If there was any letdown following comeback wins over nationally ranked Connecticut and Syracuse in which Pitt trailed by 17 in each game, it didn't show.

``Syracuse was an emotional win, but I thought our guys handled it well,'' Pitt coach Jamie Dixon said of the 76-69 victory over the then-No. 4 Orange on Saturday night. ``Our focus was good in the shootaround today, and that's a good sign.''

So was Taft's elevated level of play, considering he was held to eight points by Syracuse and to 11 or fewer in Pitt's last three games. But he was much more assertive offensively against a Friars lineup that had no starter taller than 6-9, getting 10 in the first half before dunking several times off Krauser passes as Pitt pulled away throughout the second half.

``I went in with the mindset that we had to win this game,'' Taft said. ``I was trying to get every rebound and post up strong and aggressively because I knew I would get the ball if I did.''

Pittsburgh won its third in a row since its worst slump in four years, a string of three losses in five games. All three losses were significant upsets, to Bucknell, Georgetown and St. John's, with the latter loss coming to a team that doesn't have another Big East victory.

``But they kind of look like their old selves now,'' Welsh said.

Since that slump, Pitt has tightened up what has been one of the nation's top defenses the last three seasons and Krauser has been more under control, no longer forcing shots or dominating the ball in late-game pressure situations.

There weren't any of those in this game, even though Providence was coming off five consecutive losses by five points or fewer. Pitt opened a 5-0 lead and never trailed, pulling out to a 32-22 lead with 4:40 left in the first half by outscoring the Friars 10-3 during a 2 1/2 -minute stretch. Taft scored twice from in close, once on an excellent pass by Krauser, and Ronald Ramon made four free throws.

Pitt was the Big East's worst foul-shooting team going into its 76-69 win over then-No. 4 Syracuse on Saturday night, but was 21-of-27 from the foul line that night and was 21-of-24 Monday.

``We started doing a different drill in practice where everybody lines up on the baseline and one guy shoots (free throws), so there's a lot of pressure,'' Krauser said. ``That type of discipline makes you think about making free throws.''

Providence, now 3-13 at Pittsburgh, never got closer than eight points in the second half and was out of it after Pitt reeled off eight consecutive points to go up 57-41 with 12:49 remaining following Chevon Troutman's three-point play.