March 19, 2005

14th-Seed Bucknell Stuns No. 3 Kansas

Bucknell's Chris McNaughton banked in a hook shot with 10.5 seconds left and Kansas' Wayne Simien missed a jumper from the foul line as time expired, as the Bison stunned the Jayhawks, 64-63, in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

No. 13 Vermont Upsets Fourth-Seed Syracuse

Germain Mopa Njila and T.J. Sorrentine drained clutch three-pointers in overtime, and Vermont held on for a thrilling 60-57 upset of Syracuse in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

Georgia Tech Defeats George Washington

Jarrett Jack scored a game-high 20 points as the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets defeated the George Washington Colonials 80-68 in opening-round action of the Albuquerque Bracket from the Gaylord Entertainment Center.

Slutskaya Wins Gold at World Figures

MOSCOW - Irina Slutskaya won the gold medal for the second time at the world championships Saturday, combining strength and style to cap an extraordinary season in which she prevailed despite a heart ailment and knee injury.

The Russian delivered a draining and dramatic program that featured seven clean triples to the delight of the home crowd.

"I'm happy because it's so difficult to come back so many times, to suffer so many misfortunes," said Slutskaya, who missed the 2003 worlds because of her ailing mother.

Sasha Cohen of the United States won the silver medal for the second straight year, and Carolina Kostner of Italy took the bronze. Michelle Kwan, the five-time world champion, was fourth, the first time since 1996 the American finished a world championship without a medal.

"I can leave Moscow satisfied, but disappointed, satisfied — kind of a roller-coaster ride and not as consistent as I wanted it to be," Kwan said.

The only indication of Slutskaya's health problems — an inflamed heart lining for which she's taking medication — was an apparent ebbing of energy in the steps sequence near the end of the program. It was a striking contrast from the worlds a year ago in Dortmund, Germany, where she was low-energy and uncertain and finished ninth.

Cohen was within three points of Slutskaya after the short program, but was nicked in the scoring for flaws in some jumps and for a triple flip in which she landed off-balance. She ended more than eight points behind Slutskaya, but seemed to regard the loss as more a challenge than a disappointment.

"I was really happy today," she said. "I stayed on my feet and I tried really hard and I'm really proud of my effort."

Cohen said the International Skating Union's new scoring system, used at the worlds for the first time this year, will help her refine her skating. The system gives precise scores for each technical element, rather than one general technical rating.

"You understand what's going on," she said. "You know the points mean something. You know that you bettered your performance, get more points. You can't really compare your performances under the 6.0 system."

Kostner capitalized on the new system's stronger technical emphasis with a triple-triple-double cascade that earned substantial points that helped offset small problems.

Kwan's performance in Moscow was her first under the new system. She was out of competition for most of the season, appearing only in a pair of invitationals before the worlds. Her free program, in which she fell on a triple salchow, lacked verve, although it was well above her qualifier, in which she skated the same program and ended ranked seventh.

"Ooh, bummer!" Kwan exclaimed after leaving the ice. "I was working on that salchow, too."

Russian skaters won gold in three of the four events, failing only in the men's after defending champion Evgeni Plushenko withdrew because of a groin injury. Switzerland's Stephane Lambiel won the men's event, his first medal of any kind in a major international competition, followed by Canada's Jeffrey Buttle and American Evan Lysacek in his debut appearance at the worlds.

In pairs, Tatiana Totmianina and Maxim Marinin won their second consecutive gold, followed by compatriots Maria Petrova and Alexei Tikhonov and China's Zhang Dan and Zhang Hao.

Ice dancers Tatiana Navka and Roman Kostomarov defended their championship. Tanith Belbin's and Ben Agosto's silver was the first medal for Americans in the event since 1985. Ukraine's Elena Grushina and Ruslan Goncharov took bronze.

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