THE GRAND RAPIDS PRESS
SUNDAY, MARCH 17, 2013 C9
STATE, NATIONAL SPORTS
Indiana falls in Big Ten semifinals
IN BRIEF AUTO RACING
Busch wins Nationwide race Kyle Larson’s first chance to get a win in NASCAR ended with him claiming a controversial Daytona victory. With a shot at grabbing his first Nationwide Series win Saturday, he wasn’t going to make that same mistake. Larson stalked Kyle Busch over the closing laps around Bristol Motor Speedway, but finished second to the Sprint Cup veteran. The 20-year-old Larson wrecked C.E. Falk III on the final lap of the “Battle at the Beach” late model race earlier this year. Brian Vickers was third and was followed by Nationwide Series points leader Sam Hornish Jr. and Kevin Harvick.
Once again, the United States could only watch as an opposing pitcher celebrated at the World Baseball Classic. This time, 38-year-old right-hander Nelson Figueroa, who led his team into the semifinals and eliminated the Americans, 4-3. Figueroa allowed two singles in six innings pitched. The Dominican Republic and Puerto Rico advanced to the semifinals along with two-time defending champion Japan and the Netherlands.
N’western fires coach
Northwestern says men’s basketball coach Bill Carmody will not return next season, ending a 13-year run in which the Wildcats raised expectations but failed to reach their first NCAA tournament. Carmody was 192-210 overall, but finished 13-19 this past season, including a nine-game losing streak to end the year.
Bus crash kills two
A tour bus carrying a college’s women’s lacrosse team to a game went off the Pennsylvania Turnpike on Saturday and crashed into a tree, killing the driver and one passenger and sending others to hospitals, authorities said. Lacrosse players from Seton Hill University and three coaches were among the 23 people aboard. It’s not clear what caused the crash, but state police were investigating. The team was scheduled to play Saturday afternoon at Millersville University in central Pennsylvania.
Shiffrin wins title
Mikaela Shiffrin delivered an astonishing second run to overtake Tina Maze and clinch the World Cup slalom title with an improbable come-from behind victory Saturday. Maze already had clinched the overall World Cup title along with the giant slalom and super-G disciplines but was visibly distraught at letting slip such a big lead to Shiffrin. Shiffrin, who turned 18 Wednesday, is the first American World Cup slalom champion since Tamara McKinney in 1984.
Chan claims crown
While Patrick Chan won his third title at the World Figure Skating Championships on Friday night, there was no doubt Denis Ten won the night. The little-known skater from Kazakhstan stole Chan’s spotlight — no easy thing to do in Canada — with a beautifully breezy and technically impressive performance to “The Artist.” Ten won the free skate, but he couldn’t overcome the lead Chan had after the short program. — The Associated Press
THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
Michigan’s Matt Vogrich grabs a rebound in front of Wisconsin’s Ryan Evans during the first half of Friday’s Big Ten quarterfinal loss to the Badgers.
Time is running out
IN A SEASON FULL OF HIGH EXPECTATIONS, MICHIGAN’S LAST CHANCE TO SHINE WILL COME IN NCAA TOURNAMENT NICK
HICAGO — Michigan has seven losses this season. Seven times, the Wolverines have been forced to stand around and answer the same questions. What’s wrong with the defense? Why is it weak in the post? Why can’t it survive long runs by an opponent? Each loss has been a little different, but each has also basically been the same. And after a disappointing 68-59 loss to Wisconsin on Friday in the Big Ten tournament quarterﬁnals, Michigan’s next loss will be its last — and there’s no time to sulk about it. “That’s just maturity,” Michigan sophomore forward Jon Horford said after the game. “A lot of times, when guys see things aren’t going their way and momentum’s shifting, they tend to get down on themselves. “They tend to sulk a little bit. ... That’s something we’re all going to have to change.” After another headscratching effort against Wisconsin, Michigan’s reality is this: The Wolverines are 6-6 over their past 12 games. They’re not playing their best basketball on the eve of the NCAA tournament, and their once-promising season is in danger of a major ﬂameout. Michigan is a likely candidate to open the NCAA tournament in Auburn Hills,
which would be a huge boost for the young Wolverines, but it’s not exactly a guarantee at this point either. At 26-7, the Wolverines have a solid resume, but not ﬁrm enough to etch in a spot at The Palace in stone. But where Michigan plays from here really doesn’t matter. How Michigan plays does. “The next time we don’t learn from this, the season will be over,” Michigan point guard Trey Burke said after the loss. “It’s disappointing, but we do have another prize ahead of us — trying to get to the Final Four. “We’re out of the Big Ten Tournament, we’re not playing Big Ten teams (anymore), maybe we can do some different things. ... This is disappointing, but we’ve got to get better from it.” On Friday, Michigan’s biggest problem — once again — was its defense. The Wolverines more than held their own during the ﬁrst half, as Wisconsin ﬂoundered out to a 5 of 29 shooting performance during the ﬁrst half. Michigan didn’t shoot much better, but it still held a 10-point lead at one point, and led by three at the break. But the second half featured another seam-busting defensive collapse, allowing the Badgers to take control of the game. Wisconsin got open look after open look at the basket, hitting 5 of its ﬁrst 6 3-pointers of the second half and starting 14 of 21 from the ﬂoor after the break. Michigan made some shots, too, but Wisconsin made more. The Wolverines didn’t rotate on defense, they didn’t communicate and the Badgers — who are known for their offensive futility on most
nights — put up a ridiculous 51 points in the second half. Nik Stauskas went 1 of 8 from the ﬂoor, Jordan Morgan had three more turnovers in just eight minutes of action. Burke scored 19, but he needed 22 shots to get there. The Badgers outscored Michigan 39-15 during the ﬁrst 15 minutes of the second. Enough said. “We really (have to) grow defensively,” Michigan coach John Beilein said. “There’s so many things you have to continue to get better at and all it takes, a team like this, it isolates you so much, it takes one breakdown here or there and they’re scoring points. “We’ll ﬁx it the best we can. We have been trying all year long.” Starting now, Michigan needs to try harder. Maybe getting out of the Big Ten will help Michigan. Maybe the Wolverines will get a favorable draw today, and won’t have to play a team that knows all of its tendencies inside and out. But, for the most part, it really doesn’t matter who the Wolverines play. Michigan controls Michigan’s fate from here on out. For better or for worse. “It’s just effort, just staying connected and staying committed to giving all your effort,” Stauskas said. “It’s very frustrating. We’ve got to solve this in practice, and everybody’s got to be committed to this one goal: Winning a championship. “There can’t be any egos out there saying ‘I’m not going to guard because I’m not getting shots.’ Everyone’s got to be committed to defending.” Email: email@example.com
CMU women clinch MAC championship THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
CLEVELAND — Crystal Bradford scored 13 points with 10 rebounds and Central Michigan showed balance and depth to beat Akron 86-68 on Saturday for its ﬁrst Mid-American Conference title and NCAA berth since 1984. The Chippewas (21-11) lost to Eastern Michigan in the title game last year on a basket with 1.5 seconds left. Central Michigan used the heartbreaking loss as motivation, and the Chippewas played a demanding schedule to prepare for March. Theyupsettop-seededToledo in the semifinals and pulled away from the Zips (23-9) in the second half. Jalisa Olive scored 14 and Niki DiGuilio made four 3-pointers in the ﬁnal 12 minutes for Central Michigan, which had six players score in
Central Michigan coach Sue Guevara, center, holds the trophy while celebrating the Chippewas’ 86-66 win against Akron in the women’s MAC championship game.
double ﬁgures. CMU’s Jessica Schroll ﬁnished with 14 points, seven rebounds and six assists. With the game in hand in the ﬁnal minutes, Bradford, who was named the tournament’s
MVP, danced in a circle on the sideline. When the final horn sounded, the Chippewas stormed the ﬂoor as Kool and the Gang’s “Celebration” played over the loudspeakers inside Quicken Loans Arena.
CHICAGO — Indiana coach Tom Crean felt his team was playing some of its best basketball of the season after the Hoosiers beat Illinois in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten tournament. A day later, he wasn’t so sure. Christian Watford had 14 points, but No. 3 Indiana struggled to score down the stretch and lost 68-56 to No. 22 Wisconsin on Saturday. “We made a couple comebacks this game, and did an excellent job of that,” Crean said. “But every time we made that comeback with what was working for us, we got away from it. We had some critical turnovers at key times, we had some critical second shots we gave up at key times.” Cody Zeller added 13 points and 11 rebounds for the Hoosiers (27-6), who advanced with an 80-64 victory over the Illini. Victor Oladipo scored 10, but was 4 for 12 from the ﬁeld and Indiana shot 38.2 percent overall. “We knew what we had to do. We knew we had to move the ball in order to be successful against Wisconsin,” Watford said. “We just tried to force the ball in; it happens.” The Hoosiers, who won the regular-season conference title, now have to wait until Sunday to see if they did enough to earn a No. 1 seed for the NCAA tournament. They have split their past six games, including losses to Minnesota and Ohio State in the bruising Big Ten. Ryan Evans scored 16 points and Ben Brust had 12 for Wisconsin (23-10), which has won three straight and six of eight. Sam Dekker scored nine of his 11 points in the second half. BIG 12 CONFERENCE: At Kansas City, Mo., the Jayhawks weren’t about to share the title with Kansas State. Jeff Withey had 17 points and nine rebounds, Perry Ellis and Naadir Tharpe added 12 points each, and the seventh-ranked Jayhawks pounded the No. 11 Wildcats 70-54 on Saturday night to win their ninth Big 12 tournament championship. Rodney McGruder scored 18 points despite a poor first half, and Angel Rodriguez had 10 for Kansas State. MAC CHAMPIONSHIP: At Cleveland, Demetrius Treadwell scored 13 points and top-seeded Akron, its season nearly wrecked by a player suspension, beat Ohio 65-46. One week ago, the Zips (26-6) were in danger of seeing a special season crash when point guard Alex Abreu
Syracuse’s Brandon Triche shoots over Louisville’s Wayne Blackshear during the first half of Saturday’s Big East Tournament championship game.
ON THE AIR
§ NCAA Tournament Selection Show, 6 tonight on CBS was arrested on drug trafficking charges. But Akron’s players rallied around coach Keith Dambrot and the Zips, playing in their seventh straight MAC title game. Ohio’s D.J. Cooper, the MAC’s Player of the Year, missed all nine field-goal attempts and scored just 3 points. The Bobcats (24-9) shot just 1 of 20 on 3-pointers. MOUNTAIN WEST CHAMPIONSHIP: At Las Vegas, Tony Snell scored 13 consecutive points for New Mexico during a second-half run as the No. 15 Lobos pulled away late Saturday to beat UNLV 63-56 and add the Mountain West tournament title to their regular-season crown. Snell finished with 21 points. MID-EASTERN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE: At Norfolk Va., Adrian Powell scored 14 points, including two free throws with 23.4 seconds to play, and blocked a potential tying 3-pointer in the final seconds Saturday as North Carolina A&T beat Morgan State 57-54 to win its first Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference tournament title since 1995. SOUTHWESTERN ATHLETIC CONFERENCE: At Garland, Texas, Derick Beltran had 13 points with a late steal and breakaway layup, and Southern University got its first NCAA tournament berth since 2006 with a 45-44 victory over Prairie View in the Southwestern Athletic Conference tournament championship game Saturday. AMERICA EAST: Mike Black scored 14 points as Albany beat Vermont 53-49 in the America East championship game on Saturday.
Trio share PGA lead THE ASSOCIATED PRESS
PALM HARBOR, Fla. — Kevin Streelman ﬁgured a good round Saturday would at least get him in the mix at the Tampa Bay Championship. It wound up giving him a share of the lead. Adam Scott and K.J. Choi led a surprising retreat at Innisbrook, allowing for a wild game of musical chairs at the top of the leaderboard with nothing remotely close to being settled going into the ﬁnal round. Sixteen players were separated by only three shots. Streelman ﬁnished his 6-under 65 nearly three hours before the last group walked off the 18th green. Justin Leonard ran off four birdies in a ﬁvehole stretch around the turn and had the lead to himself before a bogey from the bunker on the 15th. He had a 67. George Coetzee bounced back from his lone bogey with a birdie on the rowdy 17th hole, leading to a score of 68. They were tied at 6-under 207, more evidence that the Copperhead course is perhaps the most complete test in Florida. Scott had a two-putt birdie on the opening hole to brieﬂy take the lead, and that was the highlight of his day. He threeputted from about 15 feet for
bogey on third, made bogey with a wedge in his hand on the par-5 ﬁfth hole and stumbled to a 76. Choi, who also was one shot out of the lead, didn’t make a birdie in his round of 76. They still were only ﬁve shots out of the lead. LPGA FOUNDERS CUP: At Phoenix, Ai Miyazato regained control in the LPGA Founders Cup, ending up with a bigger cushion than she expected after Stacy Lewis was penalized two strokes after the round. Miyazato shot her second straight 5-under 67 after opening with a tournamentrecord 64. At 19-under 197, the Japanese star had a four-stroke lead over Stacy Lewis and Jee Young Lee. TOSHIBA CLASSIC: At Newport Beach, Calif., David Frost maintained a one-stroke lead over Fred Couples in the Champions Tour’s Toshiba Classic, eagling the final hole for a 5-under 66. Jim Gallagher Jr. was third at 8 under after a 68, and Scott Hoch (64), Jay Haas (66), Bob Tway (67) and D.A. Weibring (68) were another stroke back. AVANTHA MASTERS: At Greater Noida, India, South Africa’s Thomas Aiken shot a 10-under 62 to take a three-stroke lead after the third round of the Avantha Masters. Aiken was 18 under at Greg Normandesigned Jaypee Greens in the event sanctioned by the European and Asian tours.