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Sports Morning Headlines-Wednesday, 03/02/11

News from around the Texas Sports Scene for Wednesday, March 2, 2011.

Kidd, Terry lead Dallas Mavericks to seventh straight win - Of all the things the Dallas Mavericks have done well this season, one thing stands out above all others.  Their perseverance has been their best asset.  Better than triple-doubles by Jason Kidd. Better than outrageous offense by Jason Terry. Better than gritty defense at crunch time.  The Mavs had all of those Tuesday night in a 101-93 win over the Philadelphia 76ers, but it was another display of their determination that finished off a 3-0 road trip, pushed their winning streak to seven games and gives them 17 wins in the last 18 games.   READ MORE

Terry, Kidd’s Triple-Double Leads Mavs Past 76ers - Jason Terry hustled as he saw the loose ball rolling toward midcourt. In the final minute of a three-point game, first one to the ball could score the bucket that made the difference in the outcome.  Terry pounced and had an uncontested breakaway dunk, and another Dallas win was in the record book.  “That one possession signified what that game meant to us,” Terry said.  Terry scored 30 points, Jason Kidd had a triple-double, and the Mavericks won their seventh straight game, 101-93 over the Philadelphia 76ers on Tuesday night.   READ MORE

Recap: Rockets Shoot The Lights Out In 103-87 Win Over Trail Blazers - For the record, it doesn't appear the Rockets are ready to slow down from their torrid post-break run just yet. They've reached sea level with a 31-31 record, and they managed to complete their ascension to the middle with as inspiring a performance as we have seen from them all season.  Kyle Lowry had all of the answers Tuesday night. He cracked any defensive code thrown his way and made the Blazers look bad for trying. Chief of all victories for Houston was that for every solution that Lowry came across in running the Rockets' offense, LaMarcus Aldridge kept coming up empty in trying to figure out how to score on Chuck Hayes.   READ MORE

Now in rotation, Williams gets timing back - No rush for Williams.  Rockets forward and Seattle native Terrence Williams had about 20 friends and family members at Tuesday's game against the Blazers, the Rockets' last this season in the Pacific Northwest. But there were no extra nerves for the occasion; those came last week.  When Williams moved into the Rockets' regular rotation for the first time since he was traded to Houston from the Nets on Dec. 15, he went against the team that dealt him. But Williams said he was extra keyed up because he had not played in so long, an issue he said he's put behind him.   READ MORE

ProjectSpurs:  Stats of the Game: Spurs at Grizzlies - Tony Parker is expected to miss two to four weeks after suffering a strained left calf last Saturday night.  Playing their first game without starting point guard, the San Antonio Spurs (49-11) were sloppy and committed 22 turnovers in the game.  The Memphis Grizzlies took advantage of Parker's absence and poor ball handling by San Antonio to defeat the Spurs 109-93.  Here are some of the numbers that stood out in this Spurs' loss.   READ MORE

Popovich won’t be rushing to sign point guard - The injury that has sidelined starting point guard Tony Parker for at least two weeks won’t factor into any decision the Spurs make about possibly adding a player for the remainder of the regular season and playoffs.  While acknowledging that the Spurs are exploring “six or seven” potential signees from among a group of players recently freed from contracts with other teams, head coach and president of basketball operations Gregg Popovich said the club does not feel compelled to add a point guard.  George Hill started at point guard in Tuesday’s game against the Grizzlies, with Chris Quinn in the reserve role. In addition, Manu Ginobili functioned as the point guard for short stretches.   READ MORE



Looking to keep good times rolling - Third baseman Chris Johnson is ready to prove last season's success was no fluke.  The home run was more than 25 years in the making, as far as Chris Johnson was concerned. On the 114th at-bat of his major league career, Johnson launched a pitch from Chicago Cubs righthander Justin Berg into the right-center-field bleachers at Wrigley Field. The fans kept with the Wrigley tradition of throwing the ball back on the field, simplifying the Astros' task of retrieving the souvenir for Johnson.  A couple innings later, Johnson spotted the souvenir ball in a sullied state. Pitcher Roy Oswalt had taken the liberty of writing "First Home Run" with a deliberate misspelling. For good measure, Oswalt botched Johnson's name.  "The rest of the game, I'm not mad, but I'm kind of like, 'I would like to have that,' " Johnson said. "I was so excited to hit the home run, I really didn't worry too much about it. But I would have liked to have had the ball."   READ MORE

LOCKED IN WITH DREW #1 - Welcome to the first installment of LOCKED IN WITH DREW. I will try and give you an inside look at Spring Training. Camp has been a great experience so far. Pitchers and catchers reported on February 16. That was also the first day of voluntary workouts for position players. We got a few quality workouts in and got our feet under us a bit. No matter how much you work out in the off-season, the legs and feet are going to be sore the first couple days. Players always say the best way to prepare for spring training is to put a new pair of cleats on and stand in your backyard for four hours at a time.   READ MORE

MLB Spring Training 2011: Can Brandon Webb Take over for Cliff Lee in Texas? - The Rangers made a bold move in 2010, trading away prospects Justin Smoak, Blake Beaven, Josh Lueke and Matthew Lawson to the Seattle Mariners for left-handed starting pitcher Cliff Lee. Texas, looking to capitalize on being in contention for the American League West division title and a return to the playoffs, made the trade to acquire an ace to lead their inexperienced rotation.  Cliff Lee wasn't quite the same pitcher in the Texas heat (4-6, 3.98 ERA) as he was playing in Seattle (8-3, 2.34 ERA), but he did play a major role in leading the Rangers to the division title and eventually to the American League Championship title and World Series runner-up.   READ MORE

Three lefties vie for rotation spots in well-stocked Texas Rangers organization - Arthur Rhodes and Darren Oliver check in at a combined 81 years old, giving ample support to the longstanding baseball theory that left-handers can pitch forever as long as they're still effective.  Not much has been said this spring about the 41-year-old Rhodes and the 40-year-old Oliver because their jobs in the Texas Rangers' bullpen are secure.  But three other lefties, all starters, won't know their 2011 big-league fate until the end of the Cactus League schedule.  Matt Harrison, Derek Holland and Michael Kirkman are at the front of the 10-man competition for the starting rotation. The odd men out could be in the bullpen or Triple A.   READ MORE



Coveted LT Doug Free gets highest tender; WR Sam Hurd done in Dallas - The Cowboys didn't put place the franchise tag on left tackle Doug Free.  But the four-year veteran  is clearly important to them, which is why he got the highest restricted free-agent tender on Tuesday _ a one-year contract worth roughly $3.4 million with first-and-third round draft pick compensation.  Free was one of four players tendered restricted free agent contracts by the Cowboys in their attempt to cover themselves before a possible lockout, looming on Thursday.   READ MORE

Cowboy Combine Wrap-Up: Should Jerry Jones Go After Marcell Dareus? - As the Dallas Cowboys continue to prepare for the 2011 NFL draft, team owner Jerry Jones has tons of options to consider.  Should he address the issues the Cowboys had in the secondary, draft a lineman to provide additional protection for quarterback Tony Romo or maybe add some extra versatility to the defensive line?  As the clock continues to tick on Jones and he weighs his many options, it’s looking as if he may have a top five talent fall into his lap.   READ MORE

NFL Scouting Combine: Secondary Becomes Primary Focus - I'm not able to keep watching the DVR at the moment, but we can't let the day pass without bringing you a Scouting Combine update. Groups 10 and 11 are the final participants, 55 secondary players in all.  Secondary is probably the group in need of the most work for the Dallas Cowboys, with no known answers available for either safety position and both lead corners having off years. I'll cover group 10 mostly here. Patrick Peterson, LSU and Jimmy Smith, Colorado are in group 11.  Without further ado, here is the group 10 early drill recap.   READ MORE

Here’s hoping Texans NT talk is a smokescreen - Stephanie Stradley notes as part of her excellent NFL Combine entry that both Gary Kubiak and Rick Smith have recently downplayed the need for a big, wide-bodied nose tackle. It’s a fight many of us have been fighting for years… we all want a big fat guy to plug the middle and tie up blockers. The Texans, by my calculations, want us to keep wanting one.  I don’t recall a time during the Kubiak/Smith regime that the Texans “used the media” to throw other teams off the scent of what they wanted in the draft. That’s not a criticism, it’s just not their style. So no, I don’t think our dynamic duo is scheming when they play up the need for an OLB or CB, and say that they can probably make due with the guys they have at NT (or at least come off like they’re not interested in drafting one early).    READ MORE

Sign Leach to minimize uncertainty - Fullback Vonta Leach is vitally important to the Texans. Important on the field. Important in the locker room.  It's impossible to know how long the NFL owners' lockout of the players will last or what the rules of free agency will be under when a new collective bargaining agreement is completed.  All that's absolutely, unequivocally certain is the Texans will need Leach whenever they play again. In an offseason filled with uncertainty, getting Leach re-signed probably is Texans general manager Rick Smith's top priority as the start of a lockout that could last months begins at 11:59 p.m. Thursday.  Once it begins, NFL teams will not be allowed to negotiate with veterans, and Smith surely would like to get re-signed as many of his important guys as possible.   READ MORE

Texans GM to continue membership on NFL Competition Committee - Texans GM Rick Smith will continue to serve on the NFL Competition Committee in 2011 according to a league release.  Falcons President Rich McKay was named chairman of the committee after serving as co-chair since 1998.  Former Tennessee Titans head coach Jeff Fisher, a co-chair of the committee since 2001, can no longer serve in a official capacity but according to the release, Fisher will continue to serve in a non-voting, advisory role to the committee during the current offseason.  The committee studies all aspects of the game and recommends rules and policy changes to NFL clubs.   READ MORE

Stuffed in Stillwater - It was as close to a must-win as you can get for the Baylor Bears (18-11, 7-8) on Tuesday night, desperately needing a win to keep their hopes of making the NCAA Tournament alive. The Oklahoma State Cowboys (18-11, 6-9), however, weren't having any of it. The Cowboys dominated the second half, knocking off the Bears 71-60 in Stillwater.   READ MORE

Planting The Seeds: Texas tumbles to No. 3 in West - Longhorns don't have much time to make up lost ground.  In like a lamb, the Texas Longhorns can still dream of leaving March like a lion.  Losing three of your past four games, though, is no way to enter the most important month of the college basketball season.  Instead of being a No. 1 seed in the Southwest Regional in San Antonio, tumbling Texas is now precariously clinging to a No. 3 in the distant West Regional in Planting The Seeds, the American-Statesman's weekly NCAA tournament projections.  Other updated major national brackets, like Jerry Palm's at CBS Sportsline, also list Texas as a No. 3 seed.    READ MORE

Steady defense will be key for Aggies at Kansas State - Texas A&M's defense has let its guard down at times during Big 12 play. An opposing guard has scored at least 20 points in eight of A&M's last 11 games.  Texas' Yvonne Anderson was the latest to shred the Aggies. The junior scored 19 of her career-high 24 points in the second half in helping the Longhorns rally from a 16-point deficit to make the game close. A&M won 68-65, surviving UT's perimeter attack as UT guard Kat Nash teamed up with Anderson to hit 6 of 10 3-pointers while helping UT score 48 second-half points, a season-high against the Aggies.  Anderson scored by driving to the basket, and when A&M used a second defender to block her path, the Longhorns passed to the unguarded player for a wide-open shot as UT shot a blistering 59.4 percent from the field.  "We've got to get that corrected," A&M head coach Gary Blair said.   READ MORE

Paiz, Pitching by Committee Guides Texas Tech Over UNLV - Freshman earns second win this season in first career start.  LUBBOCK, Texas - Freshman David Paiz pitched five innings and recorded two RBI at the plate and seven Red Raider relievers led the way in Texas Tech's 9-4 midweek victory over UNLV on Tuesday evening at Dan Law Field.  The win marked Texas Tech's third win in a row and lifts the Red Raiders to 8-1 overall on the season. It is the ninth time in school history Tech has started 8-1 and the first time since 2005. UNLV (7-2) drops its first road game of the season.   READ MORE

Cougars falls to UTSA and some bracketology - The Houston Cougars baseball team hit the road for its first game away from Cougar Field on Tuesday but fell to UT-San Antonio 7-6 for their second straight loss.  The Cougars (5-3) trailed 7-1 heading into the ninth inning and rallied to score five runs and put the tying run in scoring position but could not force extra innings.  UTSA starter D.D. Towler pitched six innings of scoreless baseball, allowing the Cougars just three hits. UH outfielder Caleb Ramsey went 3-for-4 with two RBIs, both of which came off a double in the ninth. Third baseman Travis Trial was 2-for-3 with a solo homer.   READ MORE

Arizona Slips Past Owls 10-8 Tuesday Night - Rice Battles Back From Eight-Run Deficit But Fall 10-8 In First of Two-Game Set.  After the Rice baseball team battled back from an eight-run deficit to tie the game in the late innings, Arizona pushed across a pair of runs in the bottom of the eighth to claim a 10-8 win over the visiting Owls in the first of a two-game series against the Wildcats Tuesday evening in Tucson, Ariz.  Even after battling back to tie the game which initially looked like a runaway, the Owls have to feel the deficit should never have existed in the first place. Two Rice fielding errors in the second and fifth innings accounted for a total of six unearned runs for the Wildcats.   READ MORE

Dia Invited to Portsmouth Invitational - With many awards and accolades coming his way this season, Papa Dia, who is averaging 18.5 points per game and 9.1 rebounds per game, has grown into a leader for SMU. With many awards and accolades coming his way this season, Papa Dia, who is averaging 18.5 points per game and 9.1 rebounds per game, has grown into a leader for SMU.  His leadership and skills have granted him an invite for the 59th Portsmouth Invitational Tournament on April 6 through April 9.  The event will feature 64 seniors around the nation.   READ MORE

Miners to Take on Surging Herd on "Senior Night" Wednesday - Marshall has won five straight games and seven of nine, part of a 20-victory campaign.  UTEP (21-8, 9-5 C-USA) plays its final home game of the regular season on Wednesday against surging Marshall (20-9, 8-6 C-USA). The Herd has won five straight games and seven of nine and has emerged victorious in its last two road contests, at East Carolina on Feb. 12 (78-65) and at Tulane on Feb. 19 (79-75 in overtime).  The Miners are tied for second place in the C-USA standings with Memphis, Southern Miss and Tulsa with two games remaining in the regular season. UAB leads the pack, a game up on the Miners with a 10-4 mark. Marshall is tied with sixth place with SMU. UTEP will face the Mustangs on Saturday afternoon in Dallas before hosting the C-USA Tournament March 9-12.   READ MORE

Shorter Fuels 72-69 Win For North Texas - Powered by a career-night from senior Shannon Shorter, the North Texas men's basketball team muscled out a 72-69 road win over UALR for their second straight win. Shorter scored a career-high 24 points as North Texas (19-10, 8-8) will face the Troy Trojans in the opening round of Sun Belt Conference Tournament on March 5.   READ MORE

UTSA ends home stand on winning note - Senior Zach Calhoon came on to record the final out, putting an end to a five-run, ninth-inning rally by Houston, and UTSA held on for a 7-6 victory on Tuesday at Wolff Stadium.  The Roadrunners (5-5) nearly wasted a quality start from senior left-hander D.D. Towler, who ended up earning a win in his first start of the season.  Towler (1-0) allowed just three hits and walked four in six scoreless innings. He struck out two before giving way to the bullpen in the seventh.  Houston (5-3) rallied off junior reliever Cody Scott in the final frame. The Cougars pulled within a run when Caleb Ramsey hit a two-run double down the right-field line with two down. Calhoon recorded his second save of the spring after inducing a M.P. Cokinos fly out to center, pushing the right-hander's Southland Conference career record to 27.   READ MORE

Bobcat Baseball Takes First 2011 Road Trip To No. 16 Baylor - The Texas State baseball team has gotten off to a 5-2 start to the 2011 season after playing all seven of its games in the comforts of Bobcat Ballpark. On Tuesday, the Bobcats will have their first road test when they venture to Waco for a game against No. 16 Baylor (4-3) at 4:00 p.m.  Texas State will send sophomore right-hander Travis Ballew (0-0, 9.95 ERA) to the mound to make his first career start. Ballew made 12 appearances out of the bullpen a season ago and has pitched two games in relief this season.   READ MORE

Stars stun Coyotes on Jamie Benn's late goal - Just when it looked the like the Phoenix Coyotes were about to get at least one point thanks to a late rally Tuesday night, the Dallas Stars left them with nothing. Jamie Benn’s power play goal with 4.8 seconds remaining gave the Stars 3-2 victory to open a key four-game road trip.  “It was a pretty crazy finish,” said Stars goaltender Kari Lehtonen.  “Crazy last few minutes, going through all the emotions there,” said Stars forward Jamie Langenbrunner. “It was a great play by Benner to bury the winner with no time left.”  “It's an awful way to lose a game,” said Phoenix captain Shane Doan.   READ MORE

Video: Jamie Benn's Last-Second Goal Defeats Coyotes - Not much to say about this one, other than to point out that this goal wasn't all Jamie Benn. This was the result of hard work by Mike Ribeiro along the boards and Loui Eriksson with a very strong and very smart play to put the puck into the slot.  Of course, Jamie Benn had to nail the shot and nail the shot he did. A dagger that wins the game for the Stars in the final seconds of a very, very entertaining game.   READ MORE



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