Showing posts with label Technology. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Technology. Show all posts

No. 2 Gonzaga survives scare from BYU 70-65

PROVO, Utah (AP) — No. 2 Gonzaga knew Brigham Young wouldn't be a pushover this time.

On Thursday night, the Cougars even threw a converted football player at Bulldogs star Kelly Olynyk.

Olynyk withstood the hit and Gonzaga withstood a furious rally for a 70-65 victory before a raucous crowd of 19,731.

Olynyk scored 19 points, Gary Bell Jr. hit four 3-pointers and Gonzaga won its 10th outright West Coast Conference title.

It certainly wasn't as easy as the 20-point win at the Kennel four weeks ago.

"There was a lot of clawing, scratching, pushing, shoving and that's what the score (shows)," Olynyk said. "That's what you live for and what we want to play like.

"This place was rocking and everyone was getting all excited, in the end it was a great game."

The Bulldogs (28-2, 15-0 WCC) host Portland on Saturday and a win there could mean Gonzaga's first-ever No. 1 ranking.

"Our guys really want to finish up the conference really strong and go undefeated," Gonzaga coach Mark Few said. "This game was going to be hard for us whether we were ranked, 10th, 12th or 20th or whatever. We knew that when we looked at it on the schedule."

Gonzaga led by 11 points with 10:51 left but BYU fought back.

Consecutive 3-pointers by Brock Zylstra, another by Craig Cusick and two free throws by Brandon Davies tied it at 60 with 4:18 remaining.

Olynyk hit a key jumper with 43 seconds remaining and Kevin Pangos made two free throws to give Gonzaga a little breathing room.

After Cusick was fouled on a 3-point attempt and made all three free thows, BYU had one final chance with 6.6 seconds remaining and down three points. Gonzaga fouled Cusick before he could attempt a 3, and Elias Harris' free throws at the other end provided the final margin.

Tyler Haws, who was 0 for 9 in the first meeting, scored 19 points to lead BYU (20-10, 9-6).

Davies added 12 points and 11 rebounds in his final home game for the Cougars despite being plagued by foul trouble.

"It's crazy," said Davies, who returned after being thrown off the team two years ago for violating the school honor code just as BYU had climbed to No. 3 in the rankings. "It didn't really hit me that this was my last home game until I was walking out with my family and my fellow seniors."

Davies had two fouls in the first 2 1/2 minutes.

"That hurt us. You have to be smart," he said.

Olynyk was nearly perfect in the first game, going 9 of 9 from the field and 8 of 8 from the free throw line for 26 points.

This time, he probably felt as if he were in a football game as it was rough-and-tumble from the start, with a Cougars football player — 6-foot-7 freshman Bronson Kaufusi — even called for an intentional foul on Olynyk as he drove the lane.

He finished 7 of 10 from the field despite battling Davies and Kaufusi inside.

Bell was the lone Gonzaga player to have any success from the perimeter.

Pangos was 1 of 12 from beyond the arc and the Bulldogs 6 of 30 overall from 3-point range.

"It was there zone," Few said of taking so many 3s. "Their zone was very, very content on taking away (Olynyk) in the high post. They were really squeezing him there. They played so hard in their zone that it was tough to find any openings. We tried to attack it inside out, and those were good shots.

Pangos said he was trying to get BYU's D to respect him rather than packing it inside.

"If I had to do it over again, I'd take the same shots," he said.

"This just shows what this team is all about. We kept grinding for the whole 40 minutes and never let up, even through the ups and downs."

Gonzaga held BYU to 36.5 percent shooting and had a marked advantage at the free throw line. The Bulldogs made 20 of 34 attempts, compared to 13 of 22 for BYU.

BYU's hopes of a seventh straight NCAA appearance may come down to winning the WCC tourney in Las Vegas. The Cougars also could see their streak of six consecutive 25-win seasons end.

At least the Cougars know they pushed Gonzaga to the limit.

"I knew it was going to be an incredible environment and I knew BYU was going to give us everything we could handle," Few said.

"They play unbelievably hard. They not only did that tonight, but they stepped up and made big shots. Give them a lot of credit for taking it down to the wire."

Should Gonzaga ascend to the top spot, the question remains whether the Bulldogs would garner a No. 1 seed in the NCAA tournament — something they have never achieved.

Their only losses this season were to Butler and Illinois when both were ranked No. 13.

Provided they defeat Portland, they will have won 12 straight heading into the WCC tournament.

Do they deserve to be No. 1?

"I have no clue," Olynyk said. "I haven't looked into it at all. If they vote us that, great for us. If not, we're still going to come out and play the next game."

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Knicks overcome Curry's 54 to beat Warriors

NEW YORK (AP) — Stephen Curry rose for another jumper, and by then even the Knicks probably figured it would go in.

Curry had hardly missed in a scintillating second half of the NBA's most electric performance this season, the crowd cheering even before the ball left his hands.

This time, Raymond Felton jumped with him, making the play New York needed to finally withstand Curry.

Felton's blocked shot led to J.R. Smith's tiebreaking basket with 1:10 left, and the Knicks overcame Curry's NBA season-high 54 points to beat the Golden State Warriors 109-105 on Wednesday night.

Curry was 18 of 28 from the field, finishing one shy of the NBA record with 11 3-pointers in 13 attempts, in a performance that had the crowd hanging on his every shot. But the Knicks and Felton finally stopped him with 1:28 to play and the score tied at 105.

"My main thing is to keep playing. Like I said, once a guy gets it going like that, there's nothing I can really do. I've still got to stay in my mindset, still play my game, and I was still able to come up with some big plays at the end," Felton said. "We all came up with some big plays to get that win."

Carmelo Anthony followed Smith's basket with another one and the Knicks hung on to spoil former Knicks star and Warriors coach Mark Jackson's homecoming.

Anthony finished with 35 points and Smith had 26.

"We made the defensive stops we needed to make down the stretch," Knicks coach Mike Woodson said.

Playing all 48 minutes, Curry finished with seven assists and six rebounds while passing his previous career best of 42 points, and Kevin Durant's 52-point performance that had been the best in the NBA this season.

"I felt good all night. Obviously played the whole game, so was just trying to keep my legs underneath me on the offensive end, and you know, just stick to the game on the defensive end," Curry said. "Once I started seeing that 3-ball go down in transition, all sorts of spots on the floor, I knew it was going to be a good night."

But he had little help without All-Star forward David Lee, who was suspended one game for his role in an altercation Tuesday night in Indiana.

Tyson Chandler had 16 points and a career-best 28 rebounds for the Knicks, who won their second straight after a season-high, four-game losing streak. Amare Stoudemire had 14 points and Anthony added eight assists on the day the Knicks learned they could be without reserve forward Rasheed Wallace for the rest of the season because he needs surgery to repair a broken bone in his left foot.

Strutting all over the court whenever one of his 3s swished easily through the nets, Curry easily blew past the 38 points he scored Tuesday in Indiana, which had been his best of the season. That was spoiled when he was fined $35,000 for his role in the skirmish, which was essentially getting thrown to the ground by Roy Hibbert when he tried to intervene.

This performance — the most points by an NBA player in a loss since Kobe Bryant had 58 in a loss to Charlotte on Dec. 29, 2006 — was spoiled along with Jackson's trip back to his old home because of a few mistakes down the stretch.

Curry threw away a pass on the break with 3:13 left, and Jarrett Jack was called for a travel following Smith's go-ahead basket.

Plus, Klay Thompson finished 3 of 13 from the field, missing two straight from deep in the final minute.

Jackson, who grew up in Brooklyn and starred at St. John's before being drafted by the Knicks in 1987, didn't get a chance to coach here last season as an NBA rookie on the bench because of the lockout. He brought his wife, Desiree, to a road game for the first time this season, had his mother in the stands, and got a chance to see people he remembered from playing here years earlier.

He said he hadn't gotten to look ahead much to the game because of the schedule, but clearly enjoyed being back in Madison Square Garden once the day did arrive.

"This is a special place and it was part of my dreams as a kid," he said.

His night turned into Curry's, fans cheering even before the ball left his hand in the second half.

"We were short-handed and we needed a performance like that to have a chance," Jackson said. "He put on a clinic. Knocked down shots. Made plays. Carried us. Led us in rebounding. He did it all. I've seen a lot of great performances in this building and his goes up there. I've seen a lot. I've seen a lot, but that shooting performance was a thing of beauty."

The Knicks, who hadn't played since Sunday, looked ready to blow the Warriors out early, taking a 25-11 lead that the Warriors trimmed to 27-18 at the end of the first period before surging ahead behind Curry.

He scored 12 straight Golden State points, cutting it to 35-34 with his third 3-pointer of the second quarter. He followed Richard Jefferson's 3 with another one, giving the Warriors a 40-37 advantage. The Knicks recovered and went back ahead by nine late in the period before Curry answered with six consecutive points, and New York's lead was 58-55 at the break.

"He's a special young player with a very unique talent," Chandler said. "We ran everything at him. He just got hot. There was some shots that he couldn't have seen the rim."

Curry's drive gave the Warriors a two-point lead three minutes into the third quarter, but he didn't score again until hitting a turnaround 3 from 27 feet with 5 seconds left in the period, giving him 38 points again and cutting New York's lead to 84-81.

Already without Andrew Bogut because of a back injury, the Warriors had little size without Lee. Their lineup at one point in the second quarter had nobody taller than 6-foot-9 and Chandler simply climbed over them all night.

He came in leading the league with 4.4 offensive rebounds per game, and grabbed 13 boards in the first quarter alone.

Notes: Chandler was also the last NBA player to grab 13 rebounds in one quarter, hauling in 14 in the third quarter for Dallas on Dec. 1, 2010. ... Wallace, who hasn't played since December, will have surgery this week and the expected recovery time is eight weeks. Woodson said he didn't plan to waive the 38-year-old forward and create a roster spot, instead hoping he could be able to play in the postseason. ... Kenyon Martin, signed last week in part because of the uncertainty around Wallace, made his Knicks debut and was scoreless in 5 first-half minutes.


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Minnesota takes down No. 1 Indiana 77-73

MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Retaining that No. 1 national ranking has been elusive throughout this wild season in college basketball, and Indiana was the latest to lose at the top — again.

Most important and maybe more challenging for the Hoosiers, however, is holding on to first place in the tough-as-ever Big Ten.

Trevor Mbakwe had 21 points on 8-for-10 shooting and 12 rebounds to help Minnesota take down top-ranked Indiana 77-73 on Tuesday night, the seventh time the No. 1 team in the Associated Press poll has lost this season. Three of those losses were by the Hoosiers, who were No. 1 when they fell to Butler and Wisconsin earlier this season. All three opponents were unranked at the time.

Indiana (24-4, 12-3) has held the No. 1 ranking for 10 of the 17 polls by the AP this season, including the last four, and that will likely change next week. But fending off Michigan, Michigan State and Wisconsin is what's on the minds of the Hoosiers, who'll take a one-game lead in the conference race into Saturday's game against Iowa.

"Winning the Big Ten was going to be tough whether we won today or lost," said star guard Victor Oladipo, who had 16 points. "We knew it was going to be tough from the jump. Now it's even tougher. But I think my team is ready for it. We just have to go back and see what we did wrong and correct it."

Andre Hollins added 16 points for the Gophers (19-9, 7-8), who outrebounded Cody Zeller and the Hoosiers by a whopping 44-30 and solidified their slipping NCAA tournament hopes with an emphatic performance against the conference leader. The fired-up fans swarmed the court as the last seconds ticked off, the first time that's happened here since a 2002 win over Indiana.

"There were just too many times when that first shot went up and they were there before we were because we didn't get into their bodies," Hoosiers coach Tom Crean said. "We weren't physical enough on the glass. That's the bottom line."

Zeller, the second-leading shooter in the Big Ten, went 2 for 9. He had nine points with four turnovers. Minnesota had 40 points in the paint to Indiana's 22.

Mbakwe, a sixth-year senior, had a lot to do with that. While positing his conference-leading seventh double-double of the season, the 24-year-old Mbakwe was a man among boys in many ways in this game, dominating both ends of the court when the Gophers needed him most. He grabbed six of Minnesota's 23 offensive rebounds, two of them to keep a key possession alive. His off-balance put-back drew contact for a three-point play with 7:22 left that gave the Gophers a 55-52 lead.

Mbakwe was called for a loudly questioned blocking foul, his fourth, with 4:39 remaining on Zeller's fast-break layup and free throw that put the Hoosiers up 59-58. But Austin Hollins answered with a pump-fake layup that drew a foul for a three-point play and a two-point advantage for the Gophers.

The Hoosiers didn't lead again, and Joe Coleman's fast-break dunk with 2:35 left gave Minnesota a 68-61 cushion that helped it withstand a couple of 3-pointers by Christian Watford and one by Jordan Hulls in the closing minutes. That was the only basket Hulls made after halftime. He had 17 points.

"Just the way we bounced back is unbelievable. We showed that we can beat one of the best teams in the country. Now we have to build off this," said Mbakwe, whose team lost eight of its previous 11 games starting with an 88-81 loss at Indiana on Jan. 12. The Gophers were ranked eighth then. They didn't even receive a vote in the current poll. That could change next week.

The Hoosiers are still in position for their first outright Big Ten regular-season championship since 1993. With another home game against Ohio State on March 5, Indiana could still clinch the title before the finale at Michigan on March 10.

For now, though, the Hoosiers have to regroup and re-establish their inside game after the trampling in the post they endured here.

"They were relentless on the glass. We just didn't do a great job of boxing them out," Oladipo said.


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AP source: Tom Brady gets 3-year extension

Tom Brady will be a Patriot until he is 40 years old.

Brady agreed to a three-year contract extension with New England on Monday, a person familiar with the contract told The Associated Press. The extension is worth about $27 million and will free up nearly $15 million in salary cap room for the team, which has several younger players it needs to re-sign or negotiate new deals with.

The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the extension has not been announced.

Sports Illustrated first reported the extension.

The 35-year-old two-time league MVP was signed through 2014, and has said he wants to play at least five more years.

A three-time Super Bowl champion, Brady will make far less in those three seasons than the going rate for star quarterbacks. Brady currently has a four-year, $72 million deal with $48 million guaranteed.

Drew Brees and Peyton Manning are the NFL's highest-paid quarterbacks, at an average of $20 million and $18 million a year, respectively.

Brady has made it clear he wants to finish his career with the Patriots, whom he led to Super Bowl wins for the 2001, 2003 and 2004 seasons, and losses in the big game after the 2007 and 2011 seasons. By taking less money in the extension and redoing his current contract, he's hopeful New England can surround him with the parts to win more titles.

Among the Patriots' free agents are top receiver Wes Welker and his backup, Julian Edelman; right tackle Sebastian Vollmer; cornerback Aqib Talib; and running back Danny Woodhead.

Brady has been the most successful quarterback of his era, of course, as well as one of the NFL's best leaders. His skill at running the no-huddle offense is unsurpassed, and he's easily adapted to the different offensive schemes New England has concentrated on through his 13 pro seasons.

The Patriots have gone from run-oriented in Brady's early days to a deep passing team with Randy Moss to an offense dominated by throws to tight ends, running backs and slot receivers.

Brady holds the NFL record for touchdown passes in a season with 50 in 2007, when the Patriots went 18-0 before losing the Super Bowl to the Giants. He has thrown for at least 28 touchdowns seven times and led the league three times.

Last season, Brady had 34 TD passes and eight interceptions as the Patriots went 12-4, leading the league with 557 points, 76 more than runner-up Denver.

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A fickle format that produces the right winner

MARANA, Ariz. (AP) — For such a fickle format, the Match Play Championship sure does seem to produce the right winner.

Matt Kuchar had reason to pack a full suitcase for the high desert of Arizona based on his record in this tournament. He is the only player to reach the quarterfinals each of the last three years, and he wound up losing to the eventual champion the previous two times.

Sunday he went the distance to capture his first World Golf Championship.

Kuchar became only the second player in the 15-year history of the Match Play to win without ever seeing the 18th hole except in a practice round, or when the courtesy van ferrying him in after winning a match drove past the closing hole on the way to the clubhouse.

He played 96 holes in six rounds and only trailed after four of them.

He built a 4-up lead over Hunter Mahan in the championship match and held off a fierce rally on the back nine at Dove Mountain to close him out, 2 and 1, and add his name to an impressive list of winners.

"Match play I find to be such an amazing, unique format, so much fun to play and so much pressure," Kuchar said. "It seems like each hole there's so much momentum riding and so much pressure on every hole. To come out on top after six matches of playing the top 64 guys in the world, it's an incredible feeling."

One reason the PGA Championship abandoned match play in 1958 was that the field was cut in half after each round, giving the crowd fewer players to watch. And it was miserable for television when the biggest stars were eliminated.

That much hasn't changed.

Tiger Woods left on Thursday for the second year in a row, and the only reason he lasted that long was because of a snowstorm on Wednesday. He lost in the first round, as did Rory McIlroy, the No. 1 player in the world. By the weekend, the highest seed remaining was Masters champion Bubba Watson.

But a closer look will show that this tournament is won by some of the best in match play.

Kuchar's record improved to 15-3.

His last win came at the expense of Mahan, who had won 11 straight matches in this event — 12 overall dating to his singles win in the 2011 Presidents Cup — and had a staggering streak of 169 holes without trailing.

The previous four winners were Luke Donald, Ian Poulter, Geoff Ogilvy and Woods, all of them considered the best in the head-to-head game that many believe to be the purest form of golf.

Donald has a 17-8 record in this tournament alone, which doesn't speak to his prowess in the Ryder Cup. Poulter had a 19-3-2 record in match play worldwide the last three years, though he wound up losing twice in one day on Sunday — to Mahan in the semifinals, and to Jason Day in a consolation match.

Ogilvy was disheartened at failing to qualify this year, and it's easy to see why. He has a 20-5 record at the Match Play, with two wins and three trips to the championship match. Ogilvy has never lost in singles in the Presidents Cup, with two of those wins over Steve Stricker.

Woods, of course, needs no introduction when it comes to Match Play. He won six straight USGA titles as an amateur, and even with a recent slump at Dove Mountain — he has failed to get out of the second round since he won in 2008 — his overall record in this format as a pro is 48-15-2.

Mahan had to take down Poulter in the semifinal, and it was no picnic. Mahan twice hit tough chips to within 6 feet to win a hole, and he chipped in from 70 feet behind the 12th green to grab a 3-up lead and coast in against the Englishman, who was off his game in that match. As tough as Poulter is in match play, Mahan knew that Kuchar would be just as difficult in his own way.

"It was definitely a different vibe, for sure," Mahan said. "Kooch and I had more conversation on the first hole than I did with Poulter all day. But that's the difference between the two guys. There's nothing wrong with it either way. Poults is very steely out there. He motivates himself in a different way than Kooch does."

Poulter and Mahan learned an old lesson the hard way. There is no good time in this tournament to have a bad day. Some players can get away with one in the early rounds, but not late in the bracket when those who are left got there for a reason.

When Mahan hit a weak pitch up the slope on No. 4 and made bogey, he paid for it more ways than one. It was the first time he trailed in any match since the sixth hole of the opening round last year. And he trailed Kuchar, who doesn't make many mistakes.

Kuchar built a 4-up lead at the turn on the strength of two good birdies and two bad bogeys from Mahan, but the defending champion fought back. He won the next two holes, both into a fierce, cold wind, which the cut deficit in half and gave Mahan loads of momentum. And then he hit an 8-iron into 10 feet on the par-3 12th.

That's where the match turned in Kuchar's favor. He followed with an 8-iron to just inside 15 feet, still a difficult putt.

"The shot was certainly good, but the putt was really crucial, and when that went in, I felt like I was still in control of the match," Kuchar said. "Had that putt not gone in, it would have been only a 1-up lead, and I think the match was in anybody's hands at that point."

Mahan kept fighting and trailed by one hole when they got to the 17th, and an exciting back nine ended with a thud. Both hit into the fairway bunker on 17, but Mahan's ball was slightly sunk in the sand, and his approach never came close to reaching the green. Instead, it rolled through a patch of desert until it lodged in a bush. Mahan took four shots to reach the green and conceded the match.

Kuchar won for the fifth time in his career, pocketing just over $3.2 million for his last two titles — the WGC and The Players Championship. He moved to No. 8 in the world and is sure to be looked up on as a contender in the majors this year.

And now, no one will be deceived by Kuchar's easy smile and happy-go-lucky nature when they return to Dove Mountain next year.

"He does it differently," Mahan said. "He's more like a fuzzier, Peter Jacobsen kind of guy who likes to talk. He's super competitive, there's no doubt about it. He plays golf to win, and he works hard at it."

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Pistorius' brother facing culpable homicide charge

JOHANNESBURG (AP) — The family lawyer of Oscar Pistorius said on Sunday that the double amputee athlete's brother is facing a culpable homicide charge for a 2010 road death.

Lawyer Kenny Oldwage would not confirm details of the case Carl Pistorius is facing, but Sunday's development compounded problems for the family after Oscar was charged with premeditated murder in the Feb. 14 shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp.

Carl Pistorius was allegedly involved in a crash with a woman motorcyclist and he was supposed to be in court last Thursday, as his brother Oscar was facing a bail hearing, according to local media reports.

Oscar Pistorius was released on bail Friday and his brother Carl was seen driving into the home of their uncle Arnold early Sunday in Waterkloof, a wealthy suburb of Pretoria, the nation's capital, where Oscar is now staying.

The problems surrounding his older brother Carl are the latest twist in a case that has transfixed South Africa and much of the world. Sunday's revelation of the culpable homicide charge immediately created a stir.

"It's also doubly sad because it's involved with Oscar and his brother and all the family — so they have double sort of trouble. So, not good," said Johannesburg resident Jim Plester.

Oscar Pistorius was charged with premeditated murder, but the athlete says he killed his girlfriend accidentally, opening fire after mistaking her for an intruder in his home.

The Pistorius family has yet to react to the accusations that Carl is facing.

On Saturday, the family took steps to lower its profile on social media after someone hacked into the Twitter account of Carl. They cancelled all the social media sites for both Oscar's brother and his sister Aimee.

Carl has always been close to Oscar but was a notable absent when their uncle Arnold, flanked by Oscar's sister Aimee, read out a first reaction to the shooting on Feb. 17, even though he was also on the premises.

The three-story house where Pistorius is staying with his aunt and uncle lies on a hill with a sweeping view of Pretoria. It has a large swimming pool and an immaculate garden.

Pistorius was born without fibula bones due to a congenital defect and his legs were amputated when he was 11 months old. He has run on carbon-fiber blades and was originally banned from competing against able-bodied peers because many argued that his blades gave him an unfair advantage. He was later cleared to compete. He is a multiple Paralympic medalist, but he failed to win a medal at the London Olympics, where he ran in the 400 meter race and on South Africa's 4x400 relay team.


AP Sports Writer Gerald Imray contributed from Pretoria.

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Oscar Pistorius gets bail as murder trial looms

PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) — Oscar Pistorius walked out of court Friday — free at least for now — after a South African magistrate released him on bail, capping four days of often startling testimony that foreshadowed a dramatic trial in the Valentine's Day slaying of his girlfriend.

But as he was driven away, chased by photographers and cameramen, questions continued to hound the double-amputee Olympian about what actually happened the night he gunned down Reeva Steenkamp inside a locked bathroom in his home.

Pistorius is charged with premeditated murder, and even Chief Magistrate Desmond Nair expressed doubts about his story that he mistook the 29-year-old model for an intruder and fired out of fear.

"Why would (Pistorius) venture further into danger" by going into the bathroom at all, Nair asked.

Cries of "Yes!" went up from Pistorius' supporters when Nair announced his decision to a packed courtroom after a nearly two-hour explanation of the ruling.

Nair set bail at 1 million rand ($113,000), with $11,300 in cash up front and proof that the rest is available. The 26-year-old track star was also ordered to hand over his passports, turn in any guns he owns and keep away from his upscale home in a gated community in Pretoria, which is now a crime scene.

He cannot leave the district of Pretoria without his probation officer's permission and is not allowed to consume drugs or alcohol, the magistrate said. His next court appearance was set for June 4.

Earlier, Pistorius alternately wept and appeared solemn and composed, especially as Nair criticized police procedures in the case and as a judgment in the track star's favor appeared imminent. He showed no reaction as he was granted bail.

Pistorius left the courthouse in a silver Land Rover just over an hour after the bail conditions were set. The vehicle, tailed by motorcycles carrying television cameramen, later pulled into the home of Pistorius' uncle.

"We are relieved at the fact that Oscar got bail today, but at the same time we are in mourning for the death of Reeva, with her family," said Pistorius' uncle, Arnold Pistorius. "As a family, we know Oscar's version of what happened on that tragic night and we know that that is the truth and that will prevail in the coming court case."

Dozens of journalists and international and local television crews had converged on the red-brick courthouse to hear the decision — a sign of the global fascination with a case involving a once-inspirational athlete and his beautiful girlfriend, a law school graduate and budding reality TV show contestant.

Nair said Pistorius' sworn statement, an unusual written account of what happened during the pre-dawn hours of Feb. 14, had helped his application for bail.

"I come to the conclusion that the accused has made a case to be released on bail," Nair said.

Pistorius said he shot Steenkamp accidentally, believing she was an intruder in his house. He described "a sense of terror rushing over" him and feeling vulnerable because he stood only on his stumps before opening fire.

Prosecutors say he intended to kill Steenkamp as she cowered in fear behind the locked bathroom door after a loud argument between the two.

Yet despite poking holes in Pistorius' version of events and bringing up incidents they say highlight his temper, the state's case started to unravel during testimony by the lead investigator, Detective Warrant Officer Hilton Botha.

Botha, who faces seven charges of attempted murder in an unrelated incident, was removed from the case Thursday. His replacement, the nation's top detective, Vinesh Moonoo, stopped by the hearing briefly Friday.

While Nair leveled harsh criticism at Botha for "errors" and "blunders," he said one man does not represent an investigation and that the state could not be expected to put all "the pieces of the puzzle" together in such a short time.

The prosecution accepted the judge's decision without protest. "We're still confident in our case," prosecution spokesman Medupe Simasiku said.

Pistorius faced the sternest bail requirements in South Africa because of the seriousness of the charge, which carries a life sentence if convicted. His defense attorneys had to prove that he would not flee the country, would not interfere with witnesses or the case, and his release would not cause public unrest.

Nair questioned whether Pistorius would be a flight risk when he stood to lose a fortune in cash, cars, property and other assets. Nair also said that while it had been shown that Pistorius had aggressive tendencies, he did not have a prior record of offenses for violent acts.

Anticipating the shape of the state's case at trial, he said he had serious questions about Pistorius' account: Why didn't he try to locate his girlfriend if he feared an intruder was in the house? Why didn't he try to determine who was in the bathroom before opening fire? And why did he venture into perceived "danger" in the bathroom when he could have taken other steps to ensure his safety?

"There are improbabilities which need to be explored," Nair said, adding that Pistorius could clarify these matters by testifying under oath at trial.

Sharon Steenkamp, Reeva's cousin, said the model's family would not be watching the bail decision and had not been following the hearing.

"It doesn't make any difference to the fact that we are without Reeva," she told The Associated Press.

Before the hearing, Pistorius' longtime coach, Ampie Louw, said he hoped to put the runner back into his training routine if he got bail.

"The sooner he can start working the better," said Louw, who persuaded the double-amputee to take up track as a teenager a decade ago. But he acknowledged Pistorius could be "heartbroken" and unwilling to immediately pull on the carbon-fiber running blades that earned him the nickname "Blade Runner."


AP Sports Writer Gerald Imray contributed to this report from Johannesburg.


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NFL exec: HGH testing resolution needed

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) — NFL senior vice president Adolpho Birch says the league and players association need to reach agreement soon on HGH testing.

The NFL and the union agreed in principle to HGH testing when a new 10-year labor agreement was reached in August 2011. But protocols must be approved by both sides and the players have questioned the science in the testing procedures, stalling implementation.

Speaking at the scouting combine Thursday, Birch says the NFL has full confidence in the test and "should have been a year into this by now." He calls the delays "a disservice to all of us."

On Tuesday, the union said in a conference call it favors HGH testing, but only with a strong appeal process. Otherwise, NFLPA spokesman George Atallah said, "it's just a nonstarter."

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Prosecutors: Detective should be dropped from case

PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) — South Africa's National Prosecuting Authority acknowledged that the timing of attempted murder charges against a police detective leading the investigation into Oscar Pistorius is "totally weird" and that he should dropped from the case against the world-famous athlete.

Bulewa Makeke, spokeswoman for the NPA, said Thursday that detective Hilton Botha should be replaced, but that it's a decision for police and not prosecutors.

Police said Thursday that Botha, who gave testimony Wednesday opposing Pistorius' application for bail, faces attempted murder charges in connection with a 2011 shooting incident.

Police said Botha and two other police officers had fired at a minibus and will appear in court in May to face seven counts of attempted murder.

Pistorius is charged with premeditated murder in the Valentine's Day shooting of his girlfriend.

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Police oppose bail for Pistorius

PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) — Killing suspect Oscar Pistorius is a flight risk and should not be granted bail, South African police argued in court Wednesday.

Pistorius is charged with premeditated murder for the Valentine's Day shooting death of girlfriend Reeva Steenkamp with a 9 mm pistol.

Pistorius asserted in a court affidavit Tuesday that the shooting was accidental and he thought the model was an intruder in his home.

Police officer Hilton Botha said in the star athlete's bail hearing Wednesday that Pistorius illegally possessed .38-caliber ammunition in a safe in his bedroom. The policeman testified that Pistorius did not have a license for a .38-caliber weapon and consequently possession of that ammunition was illegal.

The detective said that all Pistorius would say after the shooting was "he thought it was a burglar."

In an additional revelation Wednesday, police said they found two boxes of testosterone and needles in the Pistorius' bedroom.

Pistorius' defense lawyer, Barry Roux, said the substance found in the bedroom was a "herbal remedy" not a steroid and not a banned substance.

Prosecutor Gerrie Nel said police are not saying that Pistorius used the substance, simply that it was found in his bedroom.

Pistorius became the first Paralympian runner to compete at the Olympic Games in London last year.

Pistorius, 26, has insisted he shot the 29-year-old Steenkamp by mistake, fearing there was an intruder in his gated and guarded luxury complex in the capital, Pretoria.

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Pistorius charged with murdering girlfriend

PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) — Olympian Oscar Pistorius fired into the door of a small bathroom where his girlfriend was cowering after a shouting match on Valentine's Day, hitting her three times, a South African prosecutor said Tuesday as he charged the sports icon with premeditated murder.

The magistrate ruled that Pistorius faces the harshest bail requirements available in South African law. He did not elaborate before a break was called in the session.

Pistorius sobbed softly as his lawyer insisted that Reeva Steenkamp's shooting was an accident.

"She couldn't go anywhere. You can run nowhere," prosecutor Gerrie Nel said at a bail hearing.

The shooting death has shocked South Africans and many around the world who idolized Pistorius for overcoming adversity to become a sports champion, competing in the London Olympics last year in track besides being a Paralympian. Steenkamp, 29, was a model and law graduate who made her debut on a South African reality TV program that was broadcast on Saturday, two days after her death.

Nel said the couple had had a shouting match and Steenkamp fled to the bathroom, down a seven-meter (yard) passage from the bedroom, and locked herself in. He said the 26-year-old Pistorius got up from bed and had to put on his prosthetic legs to reach the toilet door.

Nel told the court the door was broken open after the shots were fired. Pistorius' lawyer insisted there was no evidence to substantiate a murder charge.

"Was it to kill her, or was it to get her out?" defense attorney Barry Roux asked the court, referring to the broken-down door. "We submit it is not even murder. There is no concession this is a murder."

Pistorius, who had appeared grim and solemn at the start of the hearing, broke down and sobbed softly with his head in his hands as his lawyer argued that it was an accidental shooting. It occurred in the early hours of Feb. 14. Neighbors had heard a loud argument and then gunshots, police have said. The couple had been dating for only about three months.

As details emerged at the dramatic court hearing in the capital, Steenkamp's body was being cremated Tuesday at a memorial service in the south-coast port city of Port Elizabeth. The family said members had arrived from around the world. Six pallbearers carried her coffin, draped with a white cloth and covered in white flowers, into the church for the private service.

June Steenkamp, the mother, said the family wants answers.

"Why? Why my little girl? Why did this happen? Why did he do this?" she said in an interview published Monday in The Times newspaper.

Outside the court, several dozen singing women protested against domestic violence and waved placards urging Pistorius be refused bail. "Pistorius must rot in jail," one placard said.

South Africa has some of the world's worst rates of violence against females and the highest rate in the world of women killed by an intimate partner, according to a study by the Medical Research Council. Another council study estimates a child or woman is raped every four minutes. While homicide rates have dropped, the number of women killed by current or former partners has increased, said the council's Professor Rachel Jewkes. At least three women are killed by a partner every day in the country of 50 million, she said.

Steenkamp campaigned actively against domestic violence and had tweeted on Twitter that she planned to join a "Black Friday" protest by wearing black in honor of a 17-year-old girl who was gang-raped and mutilated two weeks ago.

What "she stood for, and the abuse against women, unfortunately it's gone right around and I think the Lord knows that statement is more powerful now," her uncle and the family spokesman Mike Steenkamp said after her memorial.

He said the family had planned a big get-together at Christmas but that had not been possible. "But we are here today as a family and the only one who's missing is Reeva," he said, breaking down and weeping.

At the court, Nel said the killing was premeditated because Pistorius had planned to say that he thought he was shooting an intruder, and had told that story to his sister, Aimee.

"It was all part of the preplanning. Why would a burglar lock himself inside the bathroom?" Nel asked. The shooting happened at Pistorius' home in a guarded and gated community in a luxury suburb of Pretoria.

Roux, in arguing that Pistorius should be freed on bail, he said there were no other charges outstanding against the double-amputee who last year became the first double-amputee track athlete to run at the Olympics.

Legal experts say it could take months for the case to be tried.

Pistorius, in a gray suit and tie, nodded after the chief magistrate asked if he was well. And he nodded his appreciation when his brother, Carl, pressed his shoulder in support. Journalists jammed into the courtroom, which was full with almost 100 people, including Pistorius' father, Henke, and sister Aimee.

In an email to The Associated Press on Monday, Pistorius' longtime track coach — who was yet to comment — said he believes the killing was an accident.

"I pray that we can all, in time, come through this challenging situation following the accident and I am looking forward to the day I can get my boy back on the track," Ampie Louw wrote in his statement. "I am still in shock following the heart-breaking events that occurred last week and my thoughts and prayers are with both of the families involved."


Associated Press writer Michelle Faul contributed from Johannesburg and AP photographer Schalk van Zuydam from Port Elizabeth.

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Danica Patrick wins pole for NASCAR's Daytona 500

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Danica Patrick is at her best in the spotlight.

Good thing, too, because she's going to be there all week.

Patrick won the Daytona 500 pole Sunday, becoming the first woman to secure the top spot for any race in NASCAR's premier circuit. It's by far the biggest achievement of her stock-car career. She's braced for the attention that will follow.

"I think when pressure's on and when the spotlight's on, I feel like it ultimately ends up becoming some of my better moments and my better races and better results," Patrick said. "I just understand that if you put the hard work in before you go out there that you can have a little peace and a little peace of mind knowing that you've done everything you can and just let it happen."

Patrick, who taped interviews Sunday with CNN, ESPN and Good Morning America, was the first woman to lead laps in the Indianapolis 500. She finished third in 2009, the highest finish in that illustrious race for a woman. And she became the only woman to win an IndyCar race when she did it in Japan in 2008.

Her latest stamp in the history books came with a lap at 196.434 mph around Daytona International Speedway. Patrick went out eighth in the qualifying session, then had to wait about two hours as 37 fellow drivers tried to take her spot.

Only four-time Cup champion Jeff Gordon even came close to knocking her off the pole. Gordon was the only other driver who topped 196 mph in qualifying. He locked up the other guaranteed spot in next week's season-opening Daytona 500.

"It's great to be a part of history with Danica being on the pole," said Gordon, who joked that at least he was the fastest guy. "I think we all know how popular she is, what this will do for our sport. Congratulations to her. Proud to be on there with her."

The rest of the field will be set in duel qualifying races Thursday.

However the lineup unfolds, all drivers — including boyfriend Ricky Stenhouse Jr. — will line up behind Patrick's No. 10 Chevrolet SS.

"I was brought up to be the fastest driver, not the fastest girl," she said. "That was instilled in me from very young, from the beginning. Then I feel like thriving in those moments, where the pressure's on, has also been a help for me. I also feel like I've been lucky in my career to be with good teams and have good people around me. I don't think any of it would have been possible without that.

"For those reasons, I've been lucky enough to make history, be the first woman to do many things. I really just hope that I don't stop doing that. We have a lot more history to make. We are excited to do it."

Even before her fast lap, Patrick had been the talk of Speedweeks. Not only did she open up about her budding romance with Stenhouse — Patrick officially filed to end her seven-year marriage to 47-year-old Paul Hospenthal in January — but she was considered the front-runner for the pole after leading practice sessions Saturday.

Now, she will garner even more hype.

"That's a huge accomplishment," team owner and fellow driver Tony Stewart said. "It's not like it's been 15 or 20 years she's been trying to do this. It's her second trip to Daytona here in a Cup car. She's made history in the sport. That's stuff that we're proud of being a part of with her. It's something she should have a huge amount of pride in.

"It's never been done. There's only one person that can be the first to do anything. Doesn't matter how many do it after you do, accomplish that same goal. The first one that does always has that little bit more significance to it because you were the first."

The result surely felt good for Patrick, especially considering the former IndyCar driver has mostly struggled in three NASCAR seasons. Her best finish in 10 Cup races is 17th, and she has one top-five in 58 starts in the second-tier Nationwide Series.

She raced part-time in 2010 and 2011 while still driving a full IndyCar slate. She switched solely to stock cars last season and finished 10th in the Nationwide standings.

She made the jump to Sprint Cup this season and will battle Stenhouse for Rookie of the Year honors.

Starting out front in an unpredictable, 500-mile race doesn't guarantee any sort of result, but securing the pole will put her in the limelight for at least the rest of the week.

"I don't think about Danica as a female race-car driver," defending Cup champion Brad Keselowski said. "I think of her as a rookie and someone that hasn't won races or proved that she is competitive."

Patrick won the pole at Daytona for last year's Nationwide race.

But this is considerably different, significantly bigger.

The previous highest female qualifier in a Cup race was Janet Guthrie. She started ninth at Bristol and Talladega in 1977.

"It's obviously a history-making event that will last a long, long time," Guthrie said, praising Patrick's feat. "It's a different era, of course. Different times. I can't imagine what I would do with a spotter or somebody telling me how to drive. It's rather a different sport now. Back then, there was a much greater difference from the front of the field to the back."

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No. 2 Duke falls to Maryland 83-81

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — As the final horn sounded and Maryland fans rushed the court to celebrate a rare victory over its bitter rival, weary Duke had just enough energy left to escape the mayhem for the safety of its locker room.

Seth Allen broke a tie by making two free throws with 2.8 seconds left, and the Terrapins stunned the second-ranked Blue Devils 83-81 Saturday night to end a six-game skid in the series.

Coming off a five-day break, Maryland notched its most significant win of the season at the expense of a tired Duke playing its fourth game in 10 days.

The Blue Devils were worn out, and it showed.

Duke was outrebounded 40-20, never led in the second half and got only four points and three rebounds from 6-foot-10 senior center Mason Plumlee.

"This has been an exhausting schedule for our team," coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "We're playing on fumes and I think you could tell that with Mason. I thought he looked exhausted the whole game. He's been great. Obviously not good tonight."

The Terrapins (18-7, 6-6 Atlantic Coast Conference) did not trail after halftime but never could pull away.

Duke (22-3, 9-3) was down by 10 with 3:39 left but pulled even when Rasheed Sulaimon made three foul shots with 16.7 seconds to go. Quinn Cook then fouled Allen as the freshman guard drove through the lane, and Allen made both shots.

After a Duke timeout, Cook's desperation 30-footer bounced off the back rim. Chaos ensued as the fans immediately rushed the court.

"I thought it was in when I got it off," Cook said of his final attempt.

Alex Len had 19 points and nine rebounds for Maryland, and Allen scored 16. The Terrapins had lost 12 of 13 against Duke, including a 20-point embarrassment last month.

"I told our players before the game, there's a lot of pride in Maryland basketball," coach Mark Turgeon said. "There's also a lot of passion about Maryland basketball. We talked about playing with those two things for us and for our fans. Our fans were just tremendous."

From the end of the Star Spangled Banner to the final buzzer, the crowd never stopped shouting for the Terps, who rewarded their fans with a memorable victory in a rivalry that appears destined to end when Maryland leaves for the Big Ten in 2014.

"I have a great deal of respect for Maryland," Krzyzewski said. "If it was such a rivalry they'd still be in the ACC. Obviously they don't think it's that important or else they wouldn't be in the Big Ten."

Oh, but it's very important to Maryland and its coach.

"This win was for my family and the fans," Turgeon said. "I know what this win means for our fan base, and I really wanted to beat Duke."

The Blue Devils had their six-game winning streak end. Seth Curry scored 25 and Cook added 18. But Plumlee was completely outplayed by the 7-1 Len, who went 6 for 8 from the field and 7 for 8 at the foul line.

"There's so much pressure for Mason to play outstanding," Krzyzewski said. "That wears on you as the season goes on. He just didn't look fresh tonight."

Said Plumlee: "I didn't show up to play today and I let my teammates down. It's all on me."

Maryland committed a whopping 26 turnovers, eight by Allen. The Terrapins shot an impressive 60 percent from the floor and finished with a 40-20 rebounding advantage.

Maryland played without reserve guard Pe'Shon Howard, who was suspended for violating team rules. Despite being demoted from his starting role last month, Howard still leads the Terrapins in assists.

Maryland led 66-63 before Allen scored on a drive. Dez Wells then stole the ball from Cook and went in for a dunk for a seven-point lead with 5:20 left. After the Blue Devils closed to 71-63, James Padgett made a layup for Maryland and Wells made two foul shots for a 10-point cushion.

The crowd increased its volume with every subsequent basket by the Terrapins, whose previous win over Duke came in March 2010, when Greivis Vasquez celebrated Senior Night with a 20-point performance.

In this one, it was 80-72 before Curry made two straight 3-pointers to bring Duke to 80-78 with just under a minute left. After Wells was called for a charge, Curry had a 15-footer bounce in and out of the basket.

It was that kind of night for the Blue Devils.

This score was 39 all before Allen hit a 3-pointer to spark a 10-2 run that included five points from freshman Shaquille Cleare. It was 53-43 before Curry bagged a 3-pointer, Alex Murphy made a layup and Curry drove the lane following Maryland's third turnover in a 60-second span.

That cut the gap to three points, and seconds after a 3-pointer by Cook got the Blue Devils to 55-53.

After the Terrapins went up by six, they committed turnovers on three straight possessions. That enabled Duke to close to 59-57 on a dunk by Murphy, but four straight free throws by Len gave Maryland a 64-59 advantage with 7:20 remaining.

The first half featured two ties, 10 lead changes and ended with the Terrapins up 35-34. Curry (14 points) was one of only four Duke players to score before halftime.

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Wrestling president quits after Olympic omission

PHUKET, Thailand (AP) — The president of the international wrestling federation has quit in the wake of the IOC's decision to remove the sport from the 2020 Olympics.

Raphael Martinetti's resignation was announced Saturday at the FILA executive committee meeting in Phuket. The Swiss had been in the position since 2002.

On Tuesday, the executive board of the International Olympic Committee dumped wrestling from its guaranteed berth in future Summer games, forcing the sport to compete for a spot on the program.

U.S.A. Wrestling executive director Rich Bender said Martinetti's departure "provides international wrestling with an opportunity to change and improve," giving the sport a chance "to create a fresh new relationship" with the IOC.

Wrestling will still be on the program at the 2016 Olympics in Rio de Janeiro.

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Report: Jerry Buss hospitalized with cancer

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Lakers owner Jerry Buss has been hospitalized with cancer, the Los Angeles Times reported Thursday.

The 79-year-old Buss has spent time in the intensive care unit at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center, according to the Times, which quoted Buss' son, Jim, Thursday saying his father was "doing fine." Several current and former Lakers players, including Kobe Bryant and Magic Johnson, have visited Buss.

Team spokesman John Black said the team has no plans to comment on Buss' health out of respect for the family's wishes. Buss spokesman Bob Steiner said information would have to come from the Lakers.

"Dr. Jerry Buss, thinking about u & wish I could be there, get well soon," former Lakers center Shaquille O'Neal tweeted Thursday. "I cant wait 2 see u on 4/2/13 (hash)LoveYou."

The Lakers will retire O'Neal's No. 34 jersey on April 2.

Buss has been hospitalized several times in recent years, including a stint last July for dehydration. He was treated for blood clots in his legs in December 2011.

A former aerospace engineer and real-estate developer, Buss has been a prominent name in American sports since he bought the Lakers, the NHL's Los Angeles Kings and the Forum from Jack Kent Cooke in 1979. Buss immediately transformed the Lakers into the NBA's most glamorous franchise, winning 10 NBA championships under his watch.

The Lakers won five titles in nine years during the 1980s, earning a reputation as basketball's most exciting team with their glamorous Showtime style led by Kareem Abdul-Jabbar and Johnson, who was Buss' first draft pick. O'Neal and Kobe Bryant then led the Lakers to a threepeat from 2000-02 under coach Phil Jackson before Bryant and Pau Gasol won two more titles in 2009 and 2010.

Buss' children moved into leadership roles with the Lakers in recent years. Jim Buss, the Lakers' executive vice president of player personnel and the second of Buss' six children, has taken a leading role in basketball decisions, while daughter Jeanie plays a major role in running the franchise's business side.

Yet Jerry Buss was deeply involved the Lakers' most recent major moves, including the acquisitions of Steve Nash and Dwight Howard last summer, along with the firing of coach Mike Brown and the hiring of Mike D'Antoni early this season.

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Pistorius charged with murder of girlfriend

PRETORIA, South Africa (AP) — Oscar Pistorius has been charged with the murder of his girlfriend after model Reeva Steenkamp was shot inside the Olympic athlete's home in South Africa.

Police said a 26-year-old male would appear in court later on Thursday. Police in South Africa do not name suspects in crimes until they have appeared in court but police spokesperson Brigadier Denise Beukes said that Pistorius was at his home after the death of Steenkamp and "there is no other suspect involved."

Beukes said the suspect was undergoing blood alcohol and forensic tests and had made a request to be brought to court immediately. Beukes said he would apply for bail, but the South African Police Service would oppose the application.

Beukes said there had been "previous incidents" at Pistorius' home.

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No. 8 Michigan State routs No. 4 Michigan 75-52

EAST LANSING, Mich. (AP) — Michigan State has muddled through much of its season, finding ways to win games short on style with gritty substance.

The eighth-ranked Spartans, though, showed their potential in an impressive 75-52 win over No. 4 Michigan on Tuesday night in the rivalry's first matchup of top 10 teams.

"The sky is the limit," guard Keith Appling said.

If Michigan State can play anything like it did against the Wolverines, Appling might be right.

The Spartans (21-4, 10-2 Big Ten) broke a first-place tie in the conference with No. 1 Indiana, which plays at Michigan State next Tuesday after the Spartans try to avoid a letdown Saturday night at Nebraska.

Appling acknowledged he was a little bit surprised by the lopsided victory — the school's largest since beating Michigan by 27 points in 2002 — but shrugged off the significance of it with much of the regular season remaining.

"We just have to take it for what it is and prepare for our next game," Appling said.

The Wolverines (21-4, 8-4) have lost three of four, but the closely contested setbacks on the road against the Hoosiers and at Wisconsin were nothing like the latest when they were held to a season-low points total.

"They bullied us — point blank," said Tim Hardaway Jr., who matched a career low with two points.

Michigan State didn't trail once, led by as many as 16 points in the first half and enjoyed 30-point leads in the second.

"We probably played our best game in three years," Spartans coach Tom Izzo said. "And, they probably played one of their worst."

Michigan coach John Beilein agreed.

"That was the worst we've played in a long, long time and credit Michigan State for that," he said.

Burke scored 18 points for the Wolverines and didn't get much help from his teammate offensively, or defensively.

"It was an embarrassing loss," Burke said.

Hardaway Jr. was held scoreless until making a layup in the opening minute of the second half — after turning down Beilein's suggestion to work on his shot during halftime warmups — and didn't score again. Hardaway was 1 of 11 from the field.

"He's been playing as good as any player in the country," Beilein said. "He had a bad night, credit Michigan State's defense. Tim had a bad night and Tim Hardaway will bounce back like he always has."

Glen Robinson III was 1 of 4 and scored two points to match his season low.

The Wolverines, who pride themselves on taking care of the basketball, had a season-high 16 turnovers and didn't have much success getting the ball away from the turnover-prone Spartans. Michigan made fewer than 40 percent of its shots and scored one fewer point than it did in a three-point loss at Ohio State.

"Maybe we got exactly what we deserve and it's medicine for the future," Beilein said.

Everything went right for Michigan State, which had just eight turnovers and made 48-plus percent of its shots.

Gary Harris scored 17 points, making five 3-pointers, and Derrick Nix had his way on the inside, scoring 14 points as part of a balanced offense.

Appling had 11 points and Branden Dawson scored 10 before leaving the court late in the game because Michigan's Mitch McGary hit him in the face inadvertently with his right arm.

Izzo said Dawson got hit in the nose and had a cut on his lip.

"I do think he's going to be OK," Izzo said.

Matt Costello scored a season-high eight points and fellow freshman Denzel Valentine had seven points to help Michigan State win its second straight in the series after losing three in a row following a run of dominance for the Spartans.

White-clad fans in the stands were fired up before the game even started and they stayed enthusiastic, standing for much of the game, because the home team gave them plenty of reasons to cheer from start to finish.

"The crowd was just awesome," Izzo said. "It kind of reminded me of back in the day."

In the first matchup of 20-win teams in Division I basketball this season, Michigan State showed it might not be a rebuilding this season.

Michigan, meanwhile, has been humbled since being ranked No. 1 last month for the first time since the 1992-92 season.

"It was a big step for us, but don't think that's the real Michigan team because it's not," Izzo said.


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AP Source: IOC drops wrestling from 2020 Olympics

LAUSANNE, Switzerland (AP) — IOC leaders dropped wrestling from the program for the 2020 Olympics on Tuesday, an official familiar with the decision told The Associated Press.

In a surprise move, the IOC executive board decided to retain modern pentathlon — the sport considered most at risk — and remove wrestling instead, the official said.

The official spoke on condition of anonymity because the decision hadn't been announced yet.

The IOC board acted after reviewing the 26 sports on the current Olympic program. Eliminating one sport allows the International Olympic Committee to add a new sport to the program later this year.

Wrestling combines freestyle and Greco-Roman disciplines. It had 11 medal events in freestyle and seven in Greco-Roman at last year's London Olympics.

Wrestling will now join seven other sports in applying for inclusion in 2020. The others are a combined bid from baseball and softball, karate, squash, roller sports, sport climbing, wakeboarding and wushu. They will be vying for a single opening in 2020.

The IOC executive board will meet in May in St. Petersburg, Russia, to decide which sport or sports to propose for 2020 inclusion. The final vote will be made at the IOC general assembly in September in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

The last sports removed from the Olympics were baseball and softball, voted out by the IOC in 2005 and off the program since the 2008 Beijing Games. Golf and rugby will be joining the program at the 2016 Games in Rio de Janeiro.

The IOC program commission report analyzed more than three dozen criteria, including television ratings, ticket sales, anti-doping policy and global participation and popularity. With no official rankings or recommendations contained in the report, the final decision by the 15-member board was also subject to political, emotional and sentimental factors.

Previously considered under the closest scrutiny was modern pentathlon, which has been on the Olympic program since the 1912 Stockholm Games. It was created by French baron Pierre de Coubertin, the founder of the modern Olympic movement.

Modern pentathlon combines fencing, horse riding, swimming, running and shooting — the five skills required of a 19th century cavalry officer. The sport's governing body, the UIPM, has been lobbying hard to protect its Olympic status, and the efforts apparently paid off.

UIPM President Klaus Schormann had considered traveling from Germany to Lausanne for the decision, but decided to stay away.

"The Olympic movement always needs history," Schormann told the AP ahead of the IOC decision. "You cannot just say we look only at the future. You can have a future when you are stable on the basic part of history. We are continuing to develop, to renovate, to be innovative and creative. We are very proud of what we achieved so far and want to deliver this as well for the next generations in 2020."

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Snedeker on the rise with Pebble win

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif. (AP) — Everything about Brandt Snedeker moves at warp speed, including his rapid rise into golf's elite.

He talks so fast that he always seems to be a few words short of a complete sentence. He plays fast, giving his hips a quick swivel to set his position before pulling the trigger. Even his putts go into the hole quickly, most of them struck with purpose instead of hope.

But when he reached the 18th tee box at Pebble Beach, he had to wait for the fairway to clear before taking a victory stroll up one of the prettiest closing holes in golf.

And that was OK with him.

"There's not much better place to be on the planet with a three-shot lead on that tee box," Snedeker said Sunday. "It felt pretty special there."

Indeed, Snedeker is in a special place.

With his 10th consecutive round in the 60s, Snedeker finally had a trophy to show for his astounding start to the 2013 season. He knew the opening seven holes were critical, and he made an eagle and three birdies to build a quick lead. He realized a late birdie would give him a cushion, and he fired at the flag on the par-3 17th to 10 feet below the cup and holed the putt. He closed with a 7-under 65 for a two-shot win over Chris Kirk in the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

It was the fifth win of his career, and his fourth in the last 22 months. But it's the last six months that have really turned heads.

He captured the $10 million FedEx Cup prize with a win at the Tour Championship, where he held off the likes of Rory McIlroy, Tiger Woods and Luke Donald going into the final round. He played in his first Ryder Cup. He started this year with a third-place at Kapalua, and runner-up finishes in consecutive weeks to Woods and Phil Mickelson, both of whom had big leads going into the final round.

Go back to the start of the FedEx Cup playoffs last August and Snedeker now has six top 3s in his last nine starts. Since missing the cut at the PGA Championship, he has broken par in 33 out of 37 rounds. No wonder he now is No. 4 in the world, the best ranking of his career.

"Just hard to put into words, to have a stretch of golf like I had the last couple of months," Snedeker said. "Something you dream about. Something you think that you can do, but you don't really know until you actually put it together. And I have.

"I'm really enjoying this, and hopefully can parlay this into the best year of my career."

Snedeker set the tournament record at 19-under 267, one shot better than Mickelson (2007) and Mark O'Meara (1997), who each had a 20-under 268 when Poppy Hills (par 72) was part of the rotation. It has been replaced by Monterey Peninsula, which is a par 70.

Chris Kirk closed with a 66 to finish alone in second, though he was never closer than two shots of the lead on the back nine and finished with a birdie. Kirk finished on 269, a score that would have been good enough to win all but four times at Pebble Beach since this tournament began in 1937.

"We've had a lot of tournaments like that on tour this year where somebody has really just kind of blitzed the field," Kirk said. "I felt like I played well enough to win a golf tournament and came up a little bit short."

Snedeker could have said the same thing — except for Woods at Torrey Pines, and Mickelson going obscenely low to win the Phoenix Open.

He wasn't about to take a back seat to anyone at Pebble Beach.

Snedeker started the final round tied with James Hahn, a 31-year-old rookie from the Bay Area, with Kirk one shot behind. He set the tone early with a 4-iron into the par-5 second hole that was on the edge of the left green. It hit the collar and kicked slightly to the right, rolling toward the pin until it settled 4 feet behind the cup.

"Kind of lucky, but it was a good shot, and to end up where it did was a great way to start the day," he said.

Hahn hit his approach high and pure, and it nearly hit Snedeker's ball before stopping 6 feet away. Hahn missed. Snedeker made. It was like that over the front nine.

Snedeker started to pull away with a 3-wood that came off the edge of the green, ran by the cup and stopped 20 feet away for a two-putt birdie. Then, he holed a 15-foot birdie putt on the seventh and was on his way.

Most impressive about Snedeker this week was bouncing back from bogey. He made five bogeys for the entire week, and four times made birdie on the next hole. On Sunday, his lone mistake was knocking an 18-foot birdie off the green and three-putting for bogey at No. 9.

The answer, like everything else about him, was fast and furious.

He knocked in a 25-foot birdie putt on the 10th, and then holed from 15 feet for birdie on the 12th. Right when it looked as though he would make another bogey on the par-3 12th, he made par from just short of 10 feet.

There's a reason Snedeker led the PGA Tour in putting last year, though it's his driving that has vastly improved. Snedeker studied some statistics last year that showed his odds of hitting the green go way up when he starts in the fairway. And once he's on the green, he's tough to beat.

Hahn, who shot 70 and tied for third, was looking forward to learning something from his debut in the final group, and he saw Snedeker put on a clinic.

"I learned that he is a better guy than he is a golfer. The dude is world class," Hahn said. "He's obviously one of the best, if not the best golfer right now, and possibly for the last year. But how he conducts himself as a person on an off the golf course, that's also world class. He deserved to win today. ... I'm sure if you ask him, it was never a doubt that he was going to win the golf tournament."

Snedeker concurred.

"I definitely didn't want to do anything but win today," he said. "I was out there for one purpose and one purpose only, and I was extremely focused all day. I did a great job of staying patient and I did a great job of playing the golf course the way you're supposed to play it."

And the outcome was just what he expected. The way he has been playing, it shouldn't have been any surprise to anyone.

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Michigan, Kansas go down as run continues

There goes another one, and another one.

No. 3 Michigan, fifth-ranked Kansas and No. 11 Louisville all lost on Saturday, continuing a perilous stretch for the Top 25.

The Wolverines became the third top-three team to fall this week when Ben Brust hit a tiebreaking 3-pointer with less than 40 seconds left in overtime, leading Wisconsin to a 65-62 victory. Brust also tied the game at the end of regulation with a heave from just inside halfcourt.

That's just the way it has gone lately for the top of the poll.

No. 2 Florida lost at Arkansas on Tuesday night, and No. 1 Indiana dropped a 74-72 decision at Illinois on Thursday. This should be the sixth straight week with a different No. 1 in The Associated Press' Top 25, which would be the second-longest streak since the first AP poll in 1949.

The Jayhawks have dropped three straight games for the first time in eight years after they lost 72-66 at Oklahoma.

"It hasn't been a good week for us by any stretch, but let's be real," Kansas coach Bill Self said. "We were ranked No. 2 in the country seven days ago, and you don't go from being a good team to a bad team overnight.

"We've had a couple of bad outings, but we're still a good team."

The current string of No. 1 swapping is the longest since 1994, when Arkansas, North Carolina, Kansas, UCLA and Duke alternated at the top seven straight weeks — the longest streak since Saint Louis debuted as No. 1 in the initial AP poll.

But it isn't just the teams at the top that are having trouble. Top 25 teams all over the country are getting knocked off by unranked opponents.

According to STATS LLC, Top 25 teams lost to unranked teams 36 times from Jan. 17 to Feb. 6 this season, most in at least 17 years.

Louisville lost 104-101 in five overtimes at No. 25 Notre Dame on Saturday night. It was the longest regular-season game in Big East history.

The Irish trailed by eight with 46 seconds left in regulation.

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