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Sports

  • Frank Martin got doused in South Carolina’s celebration after clinching a Final Four berth

    Make a Cinderella run to the Final Four, and you’re going to get wet.

    South Carolina is in the Final Four. This came out of nowhere and has never, ever happened before. The Gamecocks, on one of the coolest Cinderella runs in recent March Madness history, are the talk of the NCAA tournament.

    This calls for a celebration, so the Gamecocks celebrated. Here’s what it looked like when Martin’s players doused him with drinks after a win against Florida on Sunday punched their tickets to Glendale:

    Pretty great! Life’s too short not to have a ball when you pull off incredible, unexpected achievements. That’s what the Cocks have done here.

    South Carolina looks like it’s taking the time to enjoy itself, and that probably starts with Martin. The Gamecocks’ fifth-year head coach has been deeply introspective in his public comments this month, and he was emotional on the court after his team clinched its Final Four spot. An interview with CBS:

    “It’s all these guys.” – Frank Martin #FinalFour #ForeverToThee pic.twitter.com/GIGWxOVGXT

    — NCAA March Madness (@marchmadness) March 26, 2017

    That’s a pretty nice garnet suit Martin’s got on. Here’s to hoping it dries out in time for him to wear it for the Cocks’ national semifinal against Gonzaga.

  • Thunder vs. Rockets: Score, Highlights, Reaction from 2017 Regular Season

    Sunday’s matchup between the Houston Rockets (51-22) and Oklahoma City Thunder (41-31) was billed as a showdown between league-leading MVP candidates James Harden and Russell Westbrook.

    However, the focus quickly shifted from a compelling one-on-one clash to a team-wide thrashing as the Rockets cruised to a 137-125 win at Toyota Center.

    The Rockets put on a masterclass in offensive execution all game long, and they collectively shot 63.3 percent from the field and 51.3 percent from three en route to capturing a 3-1 season series victory over the Thunder.

    The Starters’ Tas Melas explained the Rockets’ spread pick-and-roll attack opened up the court in eye-popping ways:

    Harden was his usual, effective self with 22 points (8-of-15 shooting) and 12 assists, and he buried the Thunder for good with a long-distance trey at the third-quarter buzzer:

    The real story, though, was the play of Houston’s bench, as SB Nation’s Mike Prada noted:

    Lou Williams was locked into a special zone all game long, and he poured in a team-high 31 points on 11-of-15 shooting, including 7-of-8 from three, in 31 minutes off the bench.

    Sam Dekker, meanwhile, chipped in eight points—including a silky spin move through contact as the Rockets created separation during a 79-point first half, as the team’s official Twitter account documented:

    Speaking of which, ESPN Stats & Info noted the Rockets’ scoring explosion over the game’s first 24 minutes was nearly unprecedented:

    Trevor Ariza and Eric Gordon added 24 points apiece. Those figures jumped out, considering Oklahoma City’s supporting cast couldn’t offer Westbrook similar reinforcements.

    While Westbrook carded his 36th triple-double—five shy of Oscar Robertson’s single-season recordwith 39 points, 13 assists and 11 rebounds, the Thunder had just one other player (Enes Kanter) top 20 points on a night when they were outscored 60-33 from beyond the arc.

    That didn’t cut it against the Rockets’ cadre of scorching shooters.

    If there’s good news for the Thunder, it’s that they’ll be right back at it Monday night against the Dallas Mavericks with a chance to put Sunday’s defensive debacle in the rear-view mirror.

    For the Rockets, Monday will represent a day off as they hunker down and prepare to host the Golden State Warriors on Tuesday, in what could be a Western Conference Finals preview.

  • NCAA Tournament 2017: South Carolina beats Florida 77-70

    The Gamecocks are headed to their first-ever Final Four.

    The No. 4 Florida Gators and No. 7 South Carolina Gamecocks faced off Sunday afternoon with a trip to the Final Four on the line. These two teams are quite familiar with each other, having played twice this season. South Carolina won the first matchup, winning at home 57-53. Florida won the second matchup last mont by a score of 81-66.

    In the first half, Florida’s offense executed well against South Carolina’s stifling defense. The Gators shot 58% from behind the three-point line. Justin Leon led the unit scoring 15 points, three of them coming from behind the arc. The Gamecocks still kept things tight, and trailed by just seven at the half. South Carolina’s Sindarius Thornwell, who’s been productive throughout the NCAA tournament, has 17 in the first half. Duane Notice and P.J. Dozier both had 18, as well.

    In the second half, Florida’s offense slowed down significantly, shooting just 33% from the field and the Gators didn’t make a three-point shoot the entire half. A tip-in shot made by Malik Kostar gave the Gamecocks their first lead with 11:34 left in the game. The game continued to go back and forth as the clock wound down in second half, with both teams exchanging leads.

    Things were tight in the final two minutes of the game. With 53 seconds left and the Gators trailing by five, KeVaughn Allen scored and was fouled, which pulled the Gators within two, 70-68. The Gamecocks went to the line again with 50 seconds left, and the South Carolina regained a four-point lead. South Carolina got a steal on Florida’s next possession, and the Gators were forced to foul again. But South Carolina was able to pull away thanks to Florida’s misses on the offensive end. A bucket by Notice with 11 seconds left sealed the Gamecock victory.

    Thornwell finished with 36 on the day, and Dozier and Notice had 38 and 37, respectively.

    South Carolina has officially made it to their first-ever Final Four appearance, and it will face the winner of the No. 1 North Carolina Tar Heels and No. 2 Kentucky Wildcats.

  • MotoGP Qatar Grand Prix 2017 Results: Winner, Standings and Reaction

    Maverick Vinales prevailed at the MotoGP Grand Prix of Qatar in the opening race of the championship, as Yamaha claimed first and third on Sunday.

    Andrea Dovizioso held the lead for much of the race but finished second, with icon Valentino Rossi grabbing third after an exceptional ride.

    Marc Marquez could only claim fourth, and the world champion did not have the pace to challenge for victory.

    The start of the event was delayed for safety reasons as rain threatened the grip on the track, and the race was reduced to 20 laps as a result.

    MotoGP highlighted the delighted winner:

    Here are the final standings for the race:

    After additional warm-up laps, it was Andrea Iannone who made the cleanest start as he dashed past Vinales in pole.

    However, Johann Zarco burst into the lead, pushing his machine to the limit as he carved out an advantage.

    Marquez established himself in second as the positions of the field interchanged, but Iannone stayed close to the reigning champion.

    The riders remained cautious around the corners of the drying track, but there were no accidents in the opening moments.

    Zarco was quicker than anyone in the race in his debut, and his sheer pace left the current champion in his wake.

    The leader’s splits were hugely impressive as Marquez chased, but the champion simply could not close the gap between himself and the former Moto2 kingpin.

    MotoGP highlighted the race emerging behind Zarco:

    Cal Crutchlow crashed out as he lost control on the tricky Qatar track, ending his hopes, but the most dramatic moment of the day came as Zarco hit the floor and slid out of contention through the gravel.

    As a result, Dovizioso took over the lead as the crowd remained in shock at Zarco‘s exit, and the race became an open affair.

    MotoGP shared the moment the leader exited the race:

    Marquez remained under pressure from Iannone, and the pair chased Dovizioso in a dramatic final 10 laps.

    Iannone continued to sprint hard and lost his front end. The Italian crashed out to leave the existing front two with the chance to duel.

    MotoGP once again shared the action:

    Vinales replicated his pace from practice as he worked his way forward, and the pole rider was soon on the back wheel of second-placed Marquez.

    Surprisingly, Marquez immediately lost two places as Vinales and Rossi overtook the Catalan racer.

    Rossi recorded his quickest lap of the race in the final stages (1 minute, 56.398 seconds), saving his best for the last seven laps.

    Vinales wrestled the lead as Dovizioso lost significant grip and his front tyre began to degrade at an alarming rate.

    However, Dovizioso continued to show heart in an exciting race, pushing for the lead with Rossi in his slipstream.

    The Ducati rider simply would not give up as he pursued Vinales, but the threat of Rossi was beginning to shape the race.

    The 38-year-old legend was producing a performance level many believed he would not in this event, and his experience saw him ride a great strategy.

    Honda’s Marquez was out of contention in the final three laps, and he simply did not have the pace to threaten the very front.

    Vinales defended the lead in the final lap, as Dovizioso failed to make a quality move to pass, and it was the Yamaha that swept past the chequered flag to conclude the action.


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