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Sports Morning Headlines-Friday, 02/18/11

News from around the Texas Sports Scene for Friday, February 18, 2011.

Dirk Nowitzki Leads Mavs in Frantic Win Over Suns, 112-106 - Dirk Nowitzki's 35 points carried the Dallas Mavericks as they were victorious over the Phoenix Suns, 112-106. Down by seven at halftime, the Suns led much of the third quarter, but never by more than four points. Once Phoenix took an 80-76 lead, Dallas scored the last nine of the third quarter. The Mavs led 85-80 entering the fourth quarter and never trailed again.   READ MORE

Roddy B is as good as advertised - At first, second and third glance, Rodrigue ‘Roddy B’ Beaubois is as good as advertised.  The second-year guard for the Dallas Mavericks made his much-anticipated season debut Wednesday against the Sacramento Kings. His presence created a buzz not seen around here since the Mavs followed up advancing to the 2006 NBA Finals by posting the league’s best record at 67-15.   READ MORE

Rose in bloom spells Spurs’ doom - For four quarters Thursday, Spurs coach Gregg Popovich tried just about everything on Derrick Rose.  He sent different defenders at him. He sent different defenses at him. He sent players under screens and over screens.  And after Chicago’s ascendant point guard had polished off the best night of his career, boosting the Bulls to a 109-99 victory over the Spurs at the United Center, Popovich tried the only move he had left. He played dumb.  “That point guard, what’s his name?” Popovich said with a wink. “I didn’t know his name before the game. I should have checked.”   READ MORE

Popovich names Duncan an All-Star starter - Spurs coach Gregg Popovich vows he is “not going to coach a lick” once he gets to Los Angeles for Sunday’s All-Star Game. On Thursday, he made the one and only significant decision he’ll have to make on the Western Conference squad.  Given the prerogative of choosing an injury replacement for Houston’s Yao Ming as starting center, Popovich has opted to go with a name he’s been writing into his starting lineup for 13-plus seasons: Tim Duncan.  By earning the nod over L.A. hometown favorite Pau Gasol, Duncan will extend his streak of All-Star starts to 12 consecutive seasons by technicality.  “I think it’s totally appropriate and obvious he should be the starter,” Popovich said before the Spurs’ 109-99 loss to Chicago. “I don’t have any problem with it.”   READ MORE

Morey says team still active on trade front - GM amenable to roster change as deadline nears.  The cold, hard facts offer dour reports, but they are not what trouble the Rockets most.  The Rockets limped into the All-Star break five games shy of .500 and five games off the playoff pace, having dropped to 12th in the Western Conference standings.  Yet the record and positioning are not as great a concern as their level of play as they face the steep climb toward their playoff goal with just 25 games to make up for their many pre-break missteps.   READ MORE

Houston Rockets to Star In "Trading Places" Remake After Dreadful Homestand - Dread Rising.  One fan's clever play on the Rockets' 2010-2011 slogan became a frank, despairing locker room state of the union address.  She intended the sign as a tribute to Jordan Hill's signature 'locks. The impressive sketch she drew could have passed for the 6'10" forward's photograph on a trading card.  After Wednesday's humiliating 114-105 defeat to the Philadelphia 76ers, you better get used to that "t" word.   READ MORE


Ripken weighs in on Young drama - Hall of Famer Cal Ripken Jr. gave a speech at UT-Arlington on Thursday night, and addressed the current Michael Young situation with the Rangers.  Ripken played all of his 21 seasons with the Orioles, and made a position change from shortstop to third base in 1997.   READ MORE

Rangers, Feliz face big question: Start or finish? - The pitching story of Texas Rangers spring training in 2010 involved C.J. Wilson and his bid to make the transformation from key bullpen piece to dependable member of the starting rotation.  Wilson wanted the chance, asked for the chance, and seized the opportunity with such authority that he was the Rangers' best pitcher in Arizona and a shoo-in when pitching coach Mike Maddux sorted out the club's five best starters.  The results included 204 innings, a club-best 15 victories and three sharp performances during a postseason run that produced the first American League championship and World Series berth in franchise history.   READ MORE

No-show is one thing Rangers stalwart Michael Young will never be - His "stuff" awaits -- helmet, new batting glove, spring training parking pass, fan mail.  They sit on a blue folding chair in the Texas Rangers' spring clubhouse, right below a hanger that bears a blue jersey with the number "10" on the back and his name:  "Young."  It all seems as much a part of the room as the light switch.   READ MORE

Now here's the catch: Castro's got it - In the beginning, Astros pitching coach Brad Arnsberg would take rookie catcher Jason Castro into the video room to study opposing hitters and come up with a plan for getting them out.  Arnsberg also would show Castro video of that day's Astros starting pitcher and talk to him about the things the pitcher felt comfortable doing in certain situations and the things he didn't.  Day by day, Castro became more familiar with the process, and at some point Arnsberg found the catcher getting to the video room early and spending hours on his own, pouring himself into his job in a way 23-year-olds usually don't.   READ MORE

Norris impresses during mound session - Over the hump.  The 15 healthy pitchers who did not pitch Wednesday threw on spring training's second day, thus its second-least visually stimulating day. There are no inconsequential days, however.  Manager Brad Mills singled out Bud Norris as having a strong session on the mound, and if anyone could know the importance of a smooth spring training, it's Norris. He was one of the players whose rocky springs carried over into disappointing first halves last year.  "I did have the stomach flu for five days, which kind of messed up the throwing program a bit," Norris said. "There's no real excuses there; you have to keep making adjustments and getting better."   READ MORE

Pence, Astros head toward arbitration hearing - "Astros general manager Ed Wade and assistant general manager David Gottfried left the team's Spring Training facility Thursday morning to fly to Phoenix for Friday's scheduled arbitration hearing with right fielder Hunter Pence. Pence, the Astros' Most Valuable Player a year ago, is seeking $6.9 million. The team's offer is $5.15 million Pence was also scheduled to leave Thursday for the hearing before an arbitration panel, but he didn't want to comment on the case."   READ MORE

 

NFL labor: When people tell you not to worry, you should worry - Jim Irsay is owner of the Indianapolis Colts. According to wiki, he "ranks 347th on the 2009 Forbes 400 Richest Americans list. His net worth totals over $1.1 billion." He is also one of the rare owners of a sports franchise who participates on Twitter. Often he goes on strange rambling tangents, like a guy who really doesn't care what people think.   READ MORE

NFL, players' union agree to mediation - Two weeks before a potential lockout, the NFL and its players’ union are asking for help in their stalled negotiations.  Both sides agreed Thursday to mediation as they discuss a new collective bargaining agreement. The Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service, an independent U.S. government agency, will oversee talks in Washington beginning Friday.  After holding separate discussions with representatives from the league and the union, FMCS director George H. Cohen said both sides agreed to have the agency mediate. Mediation is not binding.  Negotiations broke down last week, leading to the cancellation of one planned session. The players are expecting the owners to lock them out if the CBA expires on March 3 without a new agreement.   READ MORE

Dallas Cowboys Defensive Coordinator Rob Ryan Speaks! - We have known for exactly one month that Rob Ryan, former defensive coordinator with the Cleveland Browns, will take charge of a Dallas Cowboys defensive unit that was historically bad in 2010. But until Thursday we hadn’t really had the chance to hear him speak. I guess it really didn’t feel that “official” to me until now.  Let me start by saying that this is definitely the son of Buddy Ryan. In fact, Rob probably emulates his father a bit more than twin brother Rex, head coach of the New York Jets. Just based on appearance, Rex looks like a guy who might do your taxes. Rob looks like a guy who might…well, “rob” you in a dark alley.   READ MORE

Cowboys' son of a Buddy lives up to his billing - Rob Ryan tried his best to be guarded and conservative.  But the Dallas Cowboys' new defensive coordinator couldn't help himself.  He is who he is.  He is the son of former Philadelphia Eagles coach Buddy Ryan, legendary for great defenses as well as his cocky attitude and vile mouth.  And he is the brother of New York Jets coach Rex Ryan, also known for his defensive expertise, confidence, predictions and use of profanity.  So roughly three minutes into his first session with the area media since being hired to fix a Cowboys defense coming off the worst season (most points allowed) in franchise history, Ryan became vintage Ryan.   READ MORE

Cowboys' Tony Romo throwing 'with a lot of velocity' - Tony Romo's golf swing looks as good as old. His broken left collarbone is healed, and Romo has been throwing the football as well as hitting the driver.  "We’ve actually thrown a few times," Cowboys quarterbacks coach Wade Wilson said. "He’s come by here [Valley Ranch]. I know he threw with the caddies at Pebble Beach, and he’s thrown with his dad a little bit. But he’s come by here and we’ve thrown a few days when the weather was good. He’s throwing the ball with a lot of velocity, and I think he’s right where he wants to be at this juncture."   READ MORE



MBB Looks to Extend Home Win Streak vs. Tech - Saturday's game will tip at 7:10 p.m. CST on FOX Sports Southwest.  QUICK HITS - • Baylor (17-8, 6-5) will try to extend its February home winning streak to nine games Saturday when the Bears host Texas Tech (11-15, 3-8) at the Ferrell Center.  • Baylor has made at least one 3-point field goal in 613 consecutive games.  • Baylor is 8-2 over the last two seasons against its three in-state Big 12 opponents -- Texas (3-1), Texas A&M (2-1), Texas Tech (3-0). BU has won four straight home games vs. its three in-state Big 12 rivals.   READ MORE

League-High Four Longhorns Named to Academic All-Big 12 Team - Balbay, Brown and Johnson earn first-team honors, while Hamilton claims second-team accolades.  Four University of Texas men's basketball players have earned a spot on the 2011 Academic All-Big 12 Men's Basketball Team, the league office announced Thursday. Seniors Dogus Balbay and Gary Johnson and sophomore J'Covan Brown were each named to the First Team, while sophomore Jordan Hamilton was selected to the Second Team. Balbay and Johnson each earned their third career selections to the academic all-league first team.    READ MORE

Stilson moving to Friday night starter for Aggies - The game will quicken this season with the new bats, so Texas A&M coach Rob Childress plans on getting the jump on everybody.  Childress is moving preseason All-American pitcher John Stilson from the bullpen to Friday night starter. Stilson finished a majority of A&M's 43 victories last season but will now lead A&M's staff as its starting ace.  "He's got a chance to force the other team to make a decision, do I want to match up my best against John Stilson?" said Childress, who will begin his sixth season at A&M in the Aggies' season-opener against Le Moyne College at 6:30 p.m. Friday at Olsen Field. "He's got a chance to make the other team feel pretty bad about themselves hopefully for a three-day period."   READ MORE

Lady Raiders Host No. 1 Baylor on Saturday - Texas Tech and Baylor play a nationally televised game on FSN at 12:30 p.m.  Texas Tech (18-7/5-6) hosts No. 1/1 Baylor (24-1/11-0) on Sat., Feb. 19, at 12:30 p.m., at the United Spirit Arena. The game is being televised nationally on FSN. It is Texas Tech's WBCA Pink Zone® initiative game for breast cancer awareness.    READ MORE

Men's Basketball on the Road at UTEP this Weekend - Cougars face UTEP at 8:05 p.m. (CST), Saturday, in game televised by CBS College Sports.  The University of Houston men's basketball team looks to get back on the winning track when it meets Conference USA rival UTEP at 8:05 p.m. (CST) 7:05 p.m. (MST) at the Don Haskins Center.  The Miners escaped with a 57-52 win at Hofheinz Pavilion in mid-January, so the Cougars need a victory this weekend to split the regular-season series.  This will be the start of a tough stretch in the Cougars' schedule. During the next eight days, Houston will face three of the league's top four teams.   READ MORE

Career Night for Mayse as Owls Defeat UTEP 76-69 - Mayse Crosses 1,000 point Plateau.  Morgan Mayse scored a career-high 23 points and Jessica Kuster posted her 10th double-double as the Rice Owls (16-10, 8-4) defeated UTEP 76-69 in Tudor Fieldhouse. UTEP falls to 13-11 overall and 5-7 in C-USA. Mayse also crossed the 1,000-point plateau with her 23 points and sits at 1,004 career points and she is the first Owl recruit for head coach Greg Williams to score over 1,000 points.  With their 16th victory of the season, the Owls have assured themselves of a winning campaign with four games remaining, plus at least one C-USA tournament contest. This is the first winning season since the 2007 squad, that played in the WNIT, won 19 games.   READ MORE

Mustangs Fall 77-70 At East Carolina As Comeback Comes Up Short - Wills led SMU with 16 points; Christian scored 15.  Delisha Wills led the Mustangs with 16 points and Raquel Christian added 15, but East Carolina took the game 77-70. With the loss, SMU fell to 13-12, 6-6 in Conference USA, while ECU improved to 12-13, 6-6 C-USA.  The Mustangs scored the first six points of the game before the Pirates went on a 13-2 run early in the first half. East Carolina shot 55.2-percent from the field in the first half, stretching the lead to as many as 14. SMU closed the half with an 8-2 run to cut the lead to 36-28 at the break.  SMU went 9-of-24 from the field in the first half (37.5-percent), making just one shot from behind the arc, but went 9-for-12 at the free throw line. The Pirates made 16-of-29 shots from the field, including a pair of 3-pointers, and made two of three free throws.   READ MORE

UTEP Men's Golf Team Drops to 15th on Day Two of John Burns - Roberto Ruiz has fired a seven-over-par 151 through 36 holes of the three-day event.  The UTEP men's golf team fell one spot into 15th place on Thursday's second day of the John Burns Intercollegiate in Honolulu.  Through 36 holes, the Miners have posted rounds of 306 and 304 for a total of 610. The final round will be played on Friday.    READ MORE

The Baseball Season Begins - It is finally here. First pitch of the baseball season will take place at 6:30PM when Matt Purke throws to the first Kansas Jayhawk hitter. With it will begin the most anticipated season in TCU baseball history. The last 2 years have raised the bar to the point where winning the National Championship is the next logical step. And this squad can do exactly that.  This is the window of opportunity for the Frogs. Sure, Coach Schlossnagle has proven that the Frogs never rebuild, they reload. But even he has to admit that Matt Purke is a once in a lifetime talent and that to have an experienced rotation the likes of which he has to work with may never happen again. The Frogs will likely lose the entire weekend rotation, plus 7 of the projected 8 starters in the field are draft eligible or out of eligibility at the end of this year. The Frogs may continue to compete for National Championships in the years to come, but the time is now.   READ MORE

Thoughts on UNT's win over USA - UNT was on the verge of another bad loss tonight, trailing a South Alabama team that is a whole lot better than its record, but still isn't all that great.  The Mean Green trailed by five at halftime and eight early in the second half before it found a way to gut out a much-needed 82-79 win. UNT didn't play fantastic defense, but it did the little things it needed to get out of a late-season funk.  UNT picked up some key stops, a few transition baskets off steals and put some pressure on the ball again. That's really all a UNT team with a bunch of firepower needs to do. That's what it did early in the season and that's what it did tonight.   READ MORE



Scoreboard watching - The Dallas Stars could have moved up the standings a couple of spots in the standings Thursday night without even playing, but at the end of the night they were still in 7th place and it didn't turn out to be a good night as far as scoreboard watching. Four teams they are battling for a playoff spot were in action and three of them won and another picked up a point to tie them at 68 points.  *The team that picked up the one point in a game was the Los Angeles Kings, who lost 4-3 in a shootout to the New York Rangers. The Kings are now 8-0-3 in their last 11 games and have moved into 8th place in the Western Conference. Over the last 29 days they have picked up 14 points on the Stars.   READ MORE

Stargazing: Stars Slump Has Brad Richards Name Back in News Cycle - I've been going over the internet with a fine tooth comb tonight, looking for something that I could consider a positive for the Dallas Stars and their fans.  The Coyotes won tonight. The Kings got a point. The Predators beat the Canucks. The Wings won. The Sharks are leading the Capitals in the third. Folks are starting to drag Brad Richards discussion back out into the light. The ownership teaser news of yesterday has yielded nothing in the way of encouraging follow up, the Stars will get no one back in the lineup tomorrow night, there's no news on Jamie Benn and to top it all off... I looked at the standings. That was a mistake.   READ MORE
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