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Jim Crews served as the interim coach for the SLU Billikens men's basketball team.

Crews led the team to their first A-10 title in decades and a number 4 seed in the NCAA tournament.

The deal is reportedly long-term, but specifics have not been released.

Friday, 12 April 2013 11:46
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   ST. PAUL, Minn. (AP) - Brian Elliott notched his third straight shutout, stretching his streak to 189 minutes, 31 seconds without a goal, and the St. Louis Blues won their sixth straight game by beating the Minnesota Wild 2-0 on Thursday night.

   Roman Polak ended a 120-game streak without a goal, and Andy McDonald also scored, sending the Wild to their sixth loss in eight games. They have been shut out in three of four, the only times they have been blanked all season.

   The Wild have six goals in six games, and their scoreless streak is at 121 minutes, 25 seconds.

   The last time the Blues won at least six straight was Oct. 22-Nov. 7, 2010, a seven-game streak. They have given up five goals during the run.

 
Friday, 12 April 2013 02:49
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   AUGUSTA, Ga. (AP) - Spain's Sergio Garcia and Australia's Marc Leishman -- a pair that has compiled exactly zero major titles between them -- are the surprise first-round leaders at the 77th Masters. Garcia posted a bogey-free 6-under 66 playing in the afternoon to grab a share of the lead with Leishman, who ran off a string of four straight birdies on the way to the 66 he posted early in the day.

   Long-hitting Dustin Johnson, another player without a major to his name, finds himself just a shot back after a 67.

   Fifty-three year old Fred Couples showed he still can play the tough Augusta National course with a 4-under 68, that puts him in a group of players along with former champ Trevor Immelman.

   Four-time champ Tiger Woods posted a 2-under 70.  That's only two shots off the best first-round score Woods has ever posted at Augusta, where he is seeking his fifth green jacket. Woods has not won a major in five years.

   Chinese teenager Guan Tianlang had an impressive Augusta National debut with a 1-over 73. The 14-year-old became the youngest person to play in the Masters.

   Jamie Donaldson had one of the day's highlights with a hole-in-one on the sixth hole, but could only muster a 74.

 
Friday, 12 April 2013 02:42
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   ST. LOUIS (AP) - Jake Westbrook pitched a five-hit shutout and the St. Louis Cardinals backed him with four home runs yesterday in routing the Cincinnati Reds 10-0.

   Jon Jay, Carlos Beltran and Matt Adams homered in a span of seven at-bats off Homer Bailey as the Cardinals took two of three from the NL Central champions.

   Matt Carpenter added a two-run homer on a four-hit day. Adams homered for the second straight game and added an RBI double and walk.

   The Cardinals have dominated the Reds at home the last decade, losing just three of 28 series with two splits.

   Westbrook (1-1) threw his fourth career shutout, walking four and striking out three.

 

Thursday, 11 April 2013 02:19
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   NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) - Brian Elliott made 15 saves and Alex Steen scored to lead the St. Louis Blues to a 1-0 victory over the Nashville Predators last night.

   The Blues extended their winning streak to a season-long five games. The fading Predators have dropped four straight and seven of their last eight.

   After a scoreless first period, Steen got the game's first goal at 16:37 of the second. Carrying the puck along the boards on the left side, Steen pulled up at the top of the left circle and fired a slap shot that beat goaltender Pekka Rinne between the pads.

   Steen snapped a six-game goalless stretch.

   Elliott was relatively untested en route to his second consecutive shutout. He made four saves in the first, six in the second and five in the third.

 

Wednesday, 10 April 2013 02:25
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   ST. LOUIS (AP) - Lance Lynn struck out 10 in six sharp innings and rookie Matt Adams connected for his first career pinch-hit homer as the St. Louis Cardinals beat the Cincinnati Reds 5-1 on Tuesday night.

   Reds starter Bronson Arroyo (1-1) retired the first 15 batters. The Cardinals broke through in the sixth, with Adams hitting a two-run homer and Allen Craig and Carlos Beltran also driving in runs.

   St. Louis bounced back nicely a day after the Reds roughed up the bullpen for nine runs in the ninth inning of a 13-4 rout that made for a sour home opener.

   Brandon Phillips had a sacrifice fly and Shin-Soo Choo had two hits for Cincinnati. The Reds were held to five hits, ending a run of four consecutive games with double-figure hit totals. Choo has four straight two-hit games.

 

Wednesday, 10 April 2013 01:33
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ATLANTA (AP) -- Rick Pitino held court in a tunnel beneath the Georgia Dome, going on and on about the grittiest bunch of guys he's ever coached.

One of them sat in the corner of the locker room, a net around his neck, grinning away.

The Louisville Cardinals vowed to finish the job for Kevin Ware.

Boy, did they ever.

With their injured teammate cheering them on from the bench, Louisville capped its run through the NCAA tournament, coming back again from a 12-point deficit to beat Michigan 82-76 in the championship game Monday night.

"These are my brothers," said Ware, still getting around on crutches after a horrific injury in the regional final. "They got the job done. I'm so proud of them, so proud of them."

Ware is just getting started on what could be a yearlong recovery from a broken right leg, but he's already got something no one can take away - a championship.

They even lowered the goal so he could take a turn with the scissors, helping cut down the net that wound up around his neck.

"It meant the world to me," Ware said. "I don't really have any other words to describe how I feel right now."

Pitino knows how it feels to win a championship, having guided Kentucky to a crown in 1996. Now, working right down the road from Lexington, he became the first coach to win titles at different schools.

"This team is one of the most together, toughest and hard-nosed teams," he said. "Being down never bothers us. They just come back."

It was quite a capper to perhaps the best week of Pitino's life.

Earlier Monday, he was introduced as a member of the latest Hall of Fame class. On Saturday, his horse won the Santa Anita Derby to set up a run for the roses in the Kentucky Derby. And last week his son got the coaching job at Minnesota.

What's next?

His first tattoo, apparently.

Pitino vowed to get inked up if his players won the championship. They intend to hold him to that promise.

"I have a couple of ideas," said Luke Hancock, who became the first backup in tournament history to be designated as most outstanding player. "He doesn't know what he's getting into."

"Our biggest motivation," Peyton Siva added, "was to get coach a tattoo."

Not a bad week for Louisville, either. The school has a chance to make it two national titles in 24 hours when the surprising women's team faces Connecticut on Tuesday night in the championship game at New Orleans.

On the eve of their big game, the women got together with hundreds of fans in a hotel lobby to cheer on the men.

"It's a great time to be a Cardinal," coach Jeff Walz said.

A great time, indeed. Hancock produced another huge game off the bench, scoring 22 points, and the Cardinals (35-5) lived up to their billing as the top overall seed in the men's tournament.

They sure had to work for it, though.

Louisville trailed Wichita State by a dozen in the second half before rallying for a 72-68 victory. This time, they fell behind by 12 in the first half, then unleashed a stunning spurt led by Hancock that wiped out the entire deficit before the break.

"I had the 13 toughest guys I've ever coached," Pitino said. "I'm just amazed they could accomplish everything we put out there."

No one was tougher than Hancock, who matched his season high after a 20-point effort in the semifinal victory over Wichita State. This time, he came off the bench to hit four straight 3-pointers in the first half after Michigan got a boost from an even more unlikely player.

Freshman Spike Albrecht made four straight from beyond the arc, too, blowing by his career high before halftime with 17 points. Coming in, Albrecht was averaging 1.8 points a game and had not scored more than seven all season.

Albrecht didn't do much in the second half, but Hancock finished what he started for Louisville. He made it 5-for-5 from long range when he hit his final 3 from the corner with 3:27 remaining to give the Cardinals their biggest lead, 76-66. Michigan wouldn't go away, but Hancock wrapped it up by making two free throws with 29 seconds left.

While Pitino shrugged off any attempt to make this about him, there was no doubt the Cardinals wanted to win a title for Ware.

Watching again from his seat at the end of the Louisville bench, his battered right leg propped up on a chair, Ware smiled and slapped hands with his teammates as they celebrated in the closing seconds, the victory coming just 30 miles from where he played his high school ball.

Ware's awful injury will forever be linked to this tournament. Against Duke, he landed awkwardly, snapped his leg and was left writhing on the floor with the bone sticking through the skin. On this night, he hobbled gingerly onto the court with the aid of crutches, basking in a sea of confetti and streamers.

This one belonged to him as much as anyone on the court.

Siva added 18 points for the Cardinals, who closed the season on a 16-game winning streak, and Chane Behanan chipped in with 15 points and 12 rebounds as Louisville slowly but surely closed out the Wolverines (31-8).

Michigan was in the title game for the first time since the Fab Five lost the second of two straight championship games in 1993. Players from that team, including Chris Webber, cheered on the latest group of young stars.

But, like the Fab Five, national player of the year Trey Burke and a squad with three freshman starters came up short in the last game of the season.

"A lot of people didn't expect us to get this far," said Burke, who led the Wolverines with 24 points. "A lot of people didn't expect us to get past the second round. We fought. We fought up to this point, but Louisville was the better team today, and they're deserving of the win."

The first half, in particular, might have been the most entertaining 20 minutes of the entire men's tournament.

Burke started out on fire for Michigan, hitting his first three shots and scoring seven points to match his output from the semifinal victory over Syracuse, when he made only 1-of-8 shots.

Albrecht took control when Burke picked up his second foul and had to go to the bench for the rest of the half. The kid whose nickname comes from his first pair of baseball spikes showed he's a pretty good hoops player, knocking down one 3-pointer after another to send the Wolverines to a double-digit lead.

When Albrecht blew by Tim Henderson with a brilliant hesitation move, Michigan led 33-21 and Louisville was forced to call timeout. The freshman was mobbed on the Michigan bench, as if the Wolverines had already won the national title, with one teammate waving a towel in tribute.

Not so fast. Not against Louisville.

The Cardinals came back one more time.

"We needed a rally and we've been doing it for a couple of games straight, being down," Hancock said. "We just had to wait and make our run."

Burke, who played only six minutes in the first half because of the foul trouble, did his best to give Michigan its first championship since 1989. But he couldn't do it alone. Albrecht was held scoreless after the break, and no one else posted more than 12 points for the Wolverines.

Still, it was quite a run for a fourth-seeded team that knocked off No. 1-seeded Kansas with the greatest comeback of the tournament, rallying from 14 points down in the second half to beat the Jayhawks in the round of 16.

But they came up against the ultimate comeback team in the final, a group that was intent on keeping the title in the bluegrass state after Kentucky won it all last season.

Louisville had already pulled off a stunning rally in the Big East championship game - down by 16 in the second half, they won by 17 - and another against Wichita State.

"I've had a lot of really good teams over the years, and some emotional locker rooms, and that was the most emotional we've ever had," Michigan coach John Beilein said. "We feel bad about it. There are some things we could have done better and get a win, but at the same time, Louisville is a terrific basketball team."

No wonder Ware was grinning from ear to ear. ---

Follow Paul Newberry on Twitter at WWW.TWITTER.COM/PNEWBERRY1963 © 2013 THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. THIS MATERIAL MAY NOT BE PUBLISHED, BROADCAST, REWRITTEN OR REDISTRIBUTED. Learn more about our PRIVACY POLICY and TERMS OF USE.
Tuesday, 09 April 2013 11:26
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ST. LOUIS (AP) -- Brandon Phillips kick-started a nine-run ninth inning with a tiebreaking bloop double and Shin-Soo Choo made amends for two botched fly balls with a three-run double, and the Cincinnati Reds spoiled the St. Louis Cardinals' home opener with a 13-4 victory on Monday.

Mitchell Boggs (0-1), the stand-in closer for St. Louis, yielded six runs while getting only one out and the Cardinals needed four more pitchers to get out of the inning. Only a few thousand fans remained of the largest regular-season crowd of 47,375 for the bottom of the ninth in 8-year-old Busch Stadium history.

The defending NL Central champions Cardinals held a tribute for Stan Musial before the game.

Phillips added his 150th career homer for the Reds, who have won six of seven since losing in extra innings to the Angels on opening day and totaled 11 or more hits the last four games. Jay Bruce had four hits and Chris Heisey doubled twice with an RBI.

Sam LeCure (1-0) pitched an inning for the win.

Cardinals lefty Jamie Garcia matched his career best with 10 strikeouts in 6 2-3 innings and left with a 4-3 lead. Yadier Molina hit both of the fly balls dropped by Choo in the first and sixth, and added an RBI single.

Pinch-hitter Xavier Paul tied it in the eighth with an RBI single off Trevor Rosenthal before the Reds took off in the ninth with six hits, five walks and an error. The Cardinals last surrendered nine runs in the ninth in a 12-9 loss at Colorado July 6, 2010.

Prior to the game, Musial's four children unveiled an oversized red No. 6, the Hall of Famer's retired jersey number, on the wall in left-center. The decal matches memorial patches worn on the team's uniform sleeves.

Reds players stood on the top dugout steps as the Cardinals paraded around the warning track in flat-bed trucks, and manager Dusty Baker gave a hug to Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith.

Choo entered the season with 652 games of outfield experience but only 10 in center, and all 155 games with the Indians last year as the right fielder. Two runs scored in the first when Choo twice juggled Molina's fly ball after backtracking, and Matt Holliday scored from first to put the Cardinals up 4-2 in the sixth when the ball popped out on Choo, perhaps fighting the sun.

Reds starter Mat Latos allowed one earned run in six innings, shaving his ERA to 10.23 in five career starts at Busch to 10.23.

Garcia struck out four of the first six batters and retired eight in a row before issuing a four-pitch, two-out walk to Latos in the third. He entered with a 2.48 career ERA at Busch, the stadium's best, and his other 10-strikeout game was at home Aug. 19 against the Pirates.

NOTES: The Reds totaled two errors their first six games while their opponents had 12. ... Jason Isringhausen and Jim Edmonds, teammates on the Cardinals' 2006 championship team, threw first pitches to injured closer Jason Motte and Adam Wainwright.

© 2013 THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. THIS MATERIAL MAY NOT BE PUBLISHED, BROADCAST, REWRITTEN OR REDISTRIBUTED. Learn more about our PRIVACY POLICY and TERMS OF USE.
Tuesday, 09 April 2013 11:23
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ATLANTA (AP) - Jim Larranaga, who led Miami to the Atlantic Coast Conference regular season and tournament titles and a No. 2 ranking, has been selected The Associated Press' coach of the year.

 

Larranaga received 29 votes Thursday from the same 65-member national media panel that selects the weekly Top 25. Jim Crews of Saint Louis got 19 votes and Mark Few of Gonzaga had 11. The voting ended on Selection Sunday.

 

The 63-year-old, two-time-hip-replacement patient had a 29-7 record in his second season with the Hurricanes and they were made a No. 2 seed in the NCAA tournament.

 

He is the first Miami coach to win the award and is the first Atlantic Coast Conference coach to get it since Roy Williams of North Carolina in 2006.

 

The New York native led George Mason to the Final Four in 2006.

Thursday, 04 April 2013 16:15
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PHOENIX (AP) -- Time and again, the St. Louis Cardinals were on the verge of putting the Arizona Diamondbacks away once and for all.

Yet, for inning after inning after inning, they couldn't quite get it done.

Finally, Cliff Pennington's single in the 16th inning brought home Jason Kubel from second to give the Diamondbacks a 10-9 victory in a game that didn't end until early Thursday.

At 5 hours and 32 minutes, it was the longest home game in Diamondbacks history as far as time elapsed and tied for the longest at home in terms of innings.

"We got up on them a couple of times and they came back. That was just a really fun game to be a part of," the Cardinals' Allen Craig said. "It was really long. I wish it was a little bit shorter and we would have won, but it was fun to be a part of."

Yadier Molina drove in three runs, including a leadoff home run that put St. Louis up 8-7 in the seventh, but Aaron Hill's RBI single tied it at 8-8 before both teams scored a run in the 12th.

"We put up nine runs and got a lot of hits," the Cardinals' Allen Craig said. "We had some spots where we could have got some more. We just couldn't get it done."

Pennington was 0 for 11 to start the season before getting three hits in the extra innings.

The Diamondbacks, who won two of three against the Cardinals, came from behind four times to either take the lead or tie the game.

"Excuse me if I am smiling," Arizona manager Kirk Gibson said. "The things we practiced on, just being tough mentally, they hung in there. I don't know how many lead changes there were. It was over five hours long, 16 innings. It is just a great contribution. The guys were all there. We didn't panic when we got behind. Just outstanding. Just a great win."

Paul Goldschmidt and Martin Prado each hit a two-run homer, and Gerardo Parra homered, tripled and singled for the Diamondbacks.

Josh Collmenter (1-0) allowed one run on four hits in five innings to get the victory. He had pitched 1 2-3 innings in the team's 6-1 loss on Tuesday night.

"I felt good," Collmenter said. "It was part adrenaline, part wanting to keep in the game for the team. I think we were down to one guy and I wanted to go as long as I could. Health-wise I felt good. My arm felt good. In that situation, you don't want to let the guys down."

Fernando Salas (0-1), the last pitcher available in the St. Louis bullpen, took the loss.

In the 16th, Kubel drew a leadoff walk. Ian Kennedy, Arizona's opening day starter, pinch hit for Collmenter and put down a sacrifice bunt to move Kubel to second. That brought up Pennington, whose single to center finally ended it.

"We had some chances to finish it off. They did, too," St. Louis manager Mike Matheny said. "It was just one of those back and forth to see who's standing at the end."

Daniel Descalo tied his career high with four hits for St. Louis, including two doubles.

Paul Kozma's RBI single off Collmenter put St. Louis up 9-8 in the 12th, but in the bottom half, Mitchell Boggs allowed a leadoff single to Pennington and hit Eric Chavez in the ribs. Parra's sacrifice bunt advanced the runners then Prado's sacrifice fly tied it 9-9.

Boggs, taking over as closer in place of injured Jason Motte, said that Pennington jumped on a pitch, then his throw to Boggs got away from him too far inside.

"It was a one-run game and I put myself in the worst possible situation I could," Boggs said. "It's disappointing because our guys played outstanding tonight and fought like crazy to get a run right there, and it's tough to let it get away."

Arizona's Brandon McCarthy allowed six runs on nine hits in five-plus innings in his first outing since sustaining a horrific head injury last Sept. 5.

McCarthy, while pitching for Oakland, took a line drive to the side of his head off the bat of Erick Aybar of the Los Angeles Angels, sustaining what the Athletics described at the time as life-threatening injuries. McCarthy was hospitalized and underwent surgery after sustaining an epidural hemorrhage, brain contusion and skull fracture.

He signed with Arizona as a free agent in the offseason.

Molina singled in a pair in the Cardinals' four-run third.

Lance Lynn, an 18-game winner last season, had a 4-1 lead after four but never got an out in the fifth.

Parra narrowly missed a second home run with a triple off the wall in left-center, then scored on Lynn's wild pitch. Prado singled, then Hill bounced one over the fence into the pool area in right-center for a ground rule double to put runners at second and third.

Randy Choate relieved Lynn and gave up an RBI sacrifice fly to Miguel Montero. Choate left in favor of right-hander Joe Kelly, whose first pitch was lined by Goldschmidt off the top of the wall in left for a two-run homer that put Arizona up 5-4.

But McCarthy didn't get an out in the sixth. Matt Adams singled and Kozma doubled to put runners at first and second. Left-hander Tony Sipp replaced McCarthy and surrendered a two-run single to Descalso and St. Louis regained the lead 6-5.

Notes: Arizona's previous longest home game was 5 hours, 14 minutes. ... Parra opened the game for Arizona with his first career leadoff home run. ... Arizona OF Cody Ross, on the 15-day DL (left calf strain), begins a rehab assignment at Class A Visalia on Thursday. ... The Cardinals open a three-game series at San Francisco on Friday, sending RHP Jake Westbrook to the mound against the Giants LHP Barry Zito. ... LHP Wade Miley goes for the Diamondbacks at Milwaukee on Friday, with RHP Kyle Lohse starting for the Brewers.

© 2013 THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. THIS MATERIAL MAY NOT BE PUBLISHED, BROADCAST, REWRITTEN OR REDISTRIBUTED. Learn more about our PRIVACY POLICY and TERMS OF USE.
Thursday, 04 April 2013 09:48
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