Review Category : National Sports

Duke Defeats Wisconsin to Capture National Title

Streeter Lecka/Getty Images(INDIANAPOLIS) — Led by Tyus Jones and Jahlil Okafor, Duke’s talented group of youngsters outscored Wisconsin by 14 points over the final 13 minutes Monday night to grit out a 68-63 victory in the NCAA men’s basketball tournament championship game. It’s the program’s fifth national title.

Okafor was outplayed by Badgers center Frank Kaminsky for the most part, but came through when the pressure was highest. Okafor made two straight buckets over Kaminsky, in between a pair of 3-pointers from Jones, to help the Blue Devils (35-4) turn a nine-point deficit into an eight-point lead with 1:22 left in the game.

Wisconsin rallied but came up short, and then it was Okafor on the bottom of a dogpile — a scene very reminiscent of the last time the Final Four was Indianapolis, back in 2010 when Duke won that one, too.

Coach Mike Krzyzewski is taking his fifth title back home, putting him alone in second place all-time behind John Wooden.

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Millsap Will Miss Two Games Due to Shoulder Injury

Christopher Trotman/Getty Images(ATLANTA) — Atlanta Hawks All-Star forward Paul Millsap will miss the next two games after injuring his right shoulder in the team’s 131-99 win over the Brooklyn Nets Sunday.

Millsap was injured after running into Earl Clark while hustling after a loose ball two minutes before halftime. After the collision Millsap fell to the floor before making his way to the locker room, from which he didn’t return.

Millsap had an MRI, which revealed a shoulder sprain and contusion. The team says that after Millsap takes two games off “his status will be updated as appropriate.”

Millsap leads the Eastern Conference-leading Hawks in points (16.8), rebounds (7.8), steals (1.8), and minutes (32.8) per game.

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Rodriguez Cheered Loudly in Return to Yankee Stadium

Leon Halip/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — The fans at Yankee Stadium made sure Alex Rodriguez felt welcome on Opening Day.

Rodriguez, who missed all of 2014 because of a drug suspension, was cheered mightily in the Opening Day introductions. The home fans were even louder when their designated hitter walked to the plate for the first time in the bottom of the third inning. Many of them stood and some chanted “A-Rod.”

Rodriguez was even part of Yankee Stadium’s “Bleacher Creatures” roll call in the top of the first inning. Usually, the fans in the right field bleachers call out each player in the field until he acknowledges the crowd. But they added Rodriguez to the tradition and No. 13 happily came to the top of the dugout and tipped his cap to the crowd.

Rodriguez, who hadn’t played in a regular-season game since September 25, 2013, finished the game 1 for 2 with a walk in the New York Yankees’ 6-1 loss to the Toronto Blue Jays.

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Nationals Place Six Players on the DL to Open the Season

Major League Baseball(NEW YORK) — The Washington Nationals are a trendy pick to win the National League Pennant, but they’ll open up the season with six players on the disabled list.

The Nationals placed every-day starters Jayson Werth, Denard Span and Antony Rendon on the DL. They are joined by reserve outfielder Nate McClouth, setup man Casey Janssen, and reliever Erik Davis.

Even though Werth is on the shelf, he may be the closest to seeing the field as he’s already playing in minor league games. He is eligible to return on April 11.

Span is likely to return to the team in mid-April as he’s dealing with an abdomen issue. He’s been able to take part in minor league games, but only for a few innings at a time.

Rendon’s situation is different as it is unknown just when the budding star will be able to get back on the field as he battles a knee issue. He sought three options on the knee, and was diagnosed with a sprained MCL.

In 2014, the Nationals led the National League with 96 wins.

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Browns’ Joe Thomas Says Team Not Relying on QB Johnny Manziel

Elsa/Getty Images(NEW YORK) — Less than one year after being dubbed the quarterback of the future, Johnny Manziel of the Cleveland Browns may already be the quarterback of the past.

Before even entering the NFL, there were questions about Manziel’s maturity and ability to be the face of the franchise. He did little to alleviate those concerns, according to All-Pro tackle Joe Thomas.

“I think he’s going to have to prove to the team that football is important and being ‘the man,’ being the starting quarterback for the Cleveland Browns, is important, it is his goal, his single goal in his life,” Thomas told ESPNCleveland.com.

“You know, I think he lost probably a lot of trust among the guys on the team last year by the way he handled himself once he became the starter. And I think he had a lot of time to reflect, I’m guessing, after the season was over by the comments he made in the media and by his actions, checking himself into rehab. …I think those were really positive steps,” Thomas added.

Manziel entered voluntary treatment as a result of his partying lifestyle back on Jan. 28.

In five games during his rookie season, Manziel completed 18 of 35 passes for 175 yards, two interceptions, and one total touchdown.

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John Calipari Elected to Basketball Hall of Fame

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(INDIANAPOLIS, In.) — John Calipari will be inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall Of Fame Monday.

According to ESPN’s Jeff Goodman the vote was “extremely close” as Calipari received the necessary 18 out of 24 votes.

The news came less than a day after Calipari’s Kentucky Wildcats were defeated 71-64 by the Wisconsin Badgers and eliminated from the NCAA basketball tournament.

Calipari will be enshrined on September 11 at the museum in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Under Calipari, the Wildcats have reached the Final Four, four of the last five seasons — including a National Championship in 2012. Calipari also led Memphis and UMass to final four appearances.

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Paul George Tallies 13 in Return

Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images(INDIANAPOLIS, In.) — Perhaps fitting with his new jersey number, Paul George dropped 13 points as part of the Pacers 112-89 victory over the Miami Heat.

It was George’s first game action since breaking his right leg eight months ago as part of Team USA scrimmage.

“[It was] everything that I expected,” George said of his first game back. “Welcoming me back into the game was probably the greatest moment that I’ve had. It was so hard to not get caught up in the moment.”

George returns at a unique time for the Pacers with five games remaining on the season. Indiana moved ahead of Miami in the eastern conference playoff standing and now trails Boston by one game for eighth place.

When asked what he is looking for in terms of success going forward after the broken leg, George simply stated “winning.”

“Now I just have to have consistency and we have to have some consistency if we want to extend the season,” George said when pressed further. “Success personally was being able to move, being able to play confidently and not…overcompensating on my left leg.”

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Ronaldo Nets 5 in Win

Jean Catuffe/Getty Images(BARCELONA, Spain) — For the first time in his career, Cristiano Ronaldo scored five goals in one match, as he led Real Madrid past Granada, 9-1, Sunday.

Ronaldo’s incredible day gives him 36 goals for the season, four better than Lionel Messi.

After Gareth Bale got Madrid on the board in the 26th minute, Ronaldo followed by scoring three goals in eight minutes. Ronaldo then scored his fourth goal 10 minutes into the second half. He scored his fifth and final goal with a 90th-minute header.

Ronaldo becomes the first Real Madrid player to score five goals in one game since Fernando Morientes in 2002.

The win moves Madrid within a point of Barcelona for first place in La Liga play.

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Yasmany Tomas Sent to Minors

Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images(PHOENIX) — The Arizona Diamondbacks sent Cuban third baseman Yasmany Tomas to Triple-A Reno for the start of the regular season.

During the offseason the Diamondbacks signed Tomas to a six-year, $68.5 million contract, but this spring Tomas struggled, hitting .257 in 24 Cactus League games while having trouble adjusting to his new defensive position at third base (he’s a natural outfielder).

In 2013, his last season in Cuba with the Industriales, Tomas played in 65 games, hitting .290 with six home runs, 35 RBIs, six stolen bases, and a .346 on-base percentage.

In related news, the Diamondbacks selected the contract of pitcher Archie Bradley while also adding utility man Jordan Pacheco and catcher Gerald Laird to their 25-man major league roster.

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