49’ers serious contender in Peyton Pursuit

SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Jim Harbaugh coaching Peyton Manning. In the Bay Area, they’re beginning to think about the possibility and believe it truly might happen.

A former NFL quarterback, Harbaugh worked wonders with Alex Smith in a matter of months for the NFC West champions, and now all signs point to the 49ers being a serious player in the Manning sweepstakes. Smith, who had a three-year offer on the table to return, traveled to Miami on Sunday to meet with the Dolphins.

“It’s crazy,” said 49ers running back Frank Gore, who has long been a big supporter of Smith. “I’m going to sit back and let them do their job. I’m sitting back and waiting for it to happen.”

Everybody is eagerly anticipating decision day, likely this week.

If San Francisco doesn’t sign Manning, the 49ers will have some serious relationship-building to do with Smith even after he developed a close relationship with Harbaugh. The Niners might even need to bump him up from the $24 million he has reportedly been offered.

And there could be similar fallout in Tennessee and Denver if those teams don’t land Manning, who turns 36 on Saturday. The four-time NFL MVP sat out the 2011 season and is trying to come back after he was released by Indianapolis following a string of neck surgeries.

For Smith, his visit to South Florida also could be a move by the 2005 No. 1 overall draft pick to protect himself with a possible backup plan. He and Manning are both represented by agent Tom Condon of CAA Sports.

“This is the NFL. I guess nothing surprises me anymore,” Smith told the South Florida Sun-Sentinel upon arriving at the airport Sunday. “I never thought a year ago (Peyton) Manning would be a free agent either. I’m never surprised by anything.”

Harbaugh watched Manning work out last Tuesday at Duke, and now the former Colts star has held sessions for all three of the franchises believed to be the finalists to sign the biggest free agent of 2012. Only the 49ers are yet to publicly acknowledge their interest.

Manning worked out for Tennessee on Saturday in Knoxville, one day after he showed his skills to Hall of Famer John Elway and the Broncos at Duke.

While Harbaugh and offensive coordinator Greg Roman saw Manning last week and San Francisco emerged as a surprise contender to sign the 2007 Super Bowl-winning quarterback, it seems 49ers CEO Jed York and general manager Trent Baalke certainly would want to make their pitch to Manning in person, too.

Pulling off this one would be the second major splash by the 49ers’ brass in as many offseasons.

In January 2011, York and Baalke wooed Harbaugh away from nearby Stanford on a $25 million, five-year deal. And what a job Harbaugh did: San Francisco went 13-3 and ended an eight-year stretch without a playoff berth or winning record, losing 20-17 in overtime of the NFC title game to the eventual Super Bowl champion New York Giants.

If Smith leaves and Manning doesn’t sign or were to get hurt, the 49ers would be left with unproven second-year pro Colin Kaepernick, but this is a team that isn’t afraid to take chances when the reward could be huge. Just look at a two-day span for San Francisco last week. The 49ers signed Randy Moss on Monday and a day later cornerback Perrish Cox, who was acquitted earlier this month on sexual assault charges in Colorado.

Harbaugh has a knack for coaching anybody into a winner with his “Who’s got it better than us? Nobody!” chants and other unorthodox motivational tactics — some of which he learned from his coaching father, Jack, and big brother and Baltimore Ravens coach John.

The NFL coach of the year last season, Harbaugh has to believe he’ll have no problem coaching a veteran quarterback like Manning. The former Colt is among the greatest ever to play with 54,828 yards passing, 4,682 completions and 399 touchdown passes.

“He’s a Hall of Famer, first ballot, that’s all I got to say,” Gore said of Manning. “He’s one of the best ever to play the game. I’m going to sit back and let them do what they think is best.”

If winning is more of a priority for Manning than a big payday, the 49ers have put things in place over the past week. They signed Moss to a one-year deal, then brought back Pro Bowl cornerback Carlos Rogers on a $31.3 million, four-year contract to give San Francisco 11 returning starters on Vic Fangio’s talented defense. The 49ers then agreed to terms on a two-year contract with former Giants wideout Mario Manningham late Saturday.

“I know coach Harbaugh and Trent Baalke feel good about what they’re doing,” Gore said. “They know what they’re doing.”

Perhaps all of that is enough to attract Manning, despite the thought he would prefer to stay in the AFC and not have to regularly face off with his younger brother, Eli.

This year marks Manning’s 15th in the NFL — the same number of seasons Harbaugh spent in the league with the Bears, Colts, Ravens, Chargers and Panthers. A first-round draft pick taken 26th overall by Chicago in 1987, Harbaugh completed 2,305 of 3,918 passes for 26,288 career yards and 129 touchdowns in the NFL. He also ran for 18 TDs.

Elway, of course, also has quite the pedigree.

Perhaps Elway’s pursuit of Manning might mean he doesn’t have faith in Tim Tebow as the Broncos’ QB for the future. Denver squeaked into the playoffs as AFC West champions on the final day of the regular season last year.

Titans owner Bud Adams declared earlier this month he wanted Manning and considers him the missing piece to a championship team. That might not sit too well with Matt Hasselbeck, who signed to a three-year contract last July with Tennessee.

The pursuit of Manning has kept the Titans from addressing their defensive line early in free agency, one of their top needs. Mario Williams signed with Buffalo, John Abraham re-signed with Atlanta and Jason Jones left Tennessee for Seattle.

Other teams also might be behind in building their rosters because of the chase for No. 18.

The Dolphins and Arizona fell out of the running, and the Cardinals are moving ahead with quarterback Kevin Kolb.

Gore, who spends his offseason in Miami each year, isn’t going to begin to guess what might happen next in the Manning story — and what it might mean for him next season.

“I don’t know, man,” he said. “I don’t know.”

____

AP Sports Writers Steven Wine in Miami, Teresa M. Walker in Nashville, Tenn., and Pat Graham in Denver contributed to this story.

 

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.

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UTC Highland Team

By Elizabeth Miller qbt426@mocs.utc.edu

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/The Loop)

A new club sport, the Highland games, has been added to the list of activities at UTC this past semester.

Daniel Broadway, 19, President and founder of the Highland team at UTC, says the Highland games are basically a Scottish strongman competition. Every single Highland competitor must wear a kilt otherwise they will be unable to compete he said.  Broadway says competitors also wear a shirt to represent their team or sponsors as a part of their uniform.

According to Broadway the Highland competition traditionally has nine events depending on the game, it may have seven. The most well known events are the caber toss and sheaf toss he said.

To listen to Daniel Broadway talk about Highland games and training for events click here.

The UTC Highland team will have two home games this year, Broadway said. He says the team will also have an away game with Covenant College their current rival.

Broadway says the home games will not only entail the sports events but a true Scottish festival with vendors. According to Broadway, “One we will try to have at the end of the first semester, if we could I’d like to have it on the intramural field, I’d just be the perfect place for it. I’m going to try to have any where from 15 to 20 vendors come out so we will have a real Scottish Festival.”

Broadway says in the first active semester of the club, it has attracted 30 members.

Although the turn out of members is high, the club is not well known on campus yet. When questioned about the Highland Club, UTC student, Katie Redmond, said “ Yeah, I have actually heard of the Highland games, I’ve also heard that we have a new club about the highland games on campus. But I haven’t really heard any information about where its taking place or what sort of if events their doing. I’m really interested to know more about it.”

Broadway says he plans to promote the Highland games by making a few banners, sending out a mass E-mail to scrappy and to have a few players walk around in kilts on campus to get the word out.

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New Pool In The ARC

By Hannah Abu-Asaba

qnh117@mocs.utc.edu

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (UTC/The Loop) -UTC gets to experience a new pool in the Aquatic Recreation Center for the first time this year.

The Universities campus website said that the ARC service satisfies the outdoor and indoor activities that are now available to all current students.

Click here to listen to Miles Ledford talk about the pool in the ARC

“I do think UTC has spent money wisely building the new pool that gives us another way to exercise in a state of the art pool facility,” Ashley Freeman, Chattanooga, Tenn., senior, said.

Freeman said that she enjoys what the campus has to offer students in between classes.

“Aquatic center of the ARC has a lazy river with a kayak plunge, thirty person bubble bench, a five lap line swim area, a two story high slide that is a hundred feet long, a water basketball court, and a water volley ball court, and its open Monday through Friday eleven to one lap swim only, and free swim from one till closing time.” Kaila Gunter, Chattanooga, Tenn., arc control, said.

With all the features the pool provides students have a new opportunity to have fun wile exercising.

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University offers several activities for students to “catch” a break

By Taylor Sims

nht863@mocs.utc.edu

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn., (UTC/The Loop) – Campus recreation allows students, as well as faculty and staff, the opportunity for fun competition, meeting new people, and staying in shape.

The university’s Club Sports program currently offers 21 different sports and activities. Just a few of these include baseball, fencing, ladies lacrosse, and paintball.

The Club Sports website states that its goal is to “produce ‘student-lead, student-run’ organizations that enhance participants teamwork and leadership abilities while also maintaining a safe, fun, and friendly environment for all.”

A few of the Intramural Sports at UTC include horseshoes, Frisbee golf, and racquetball. These activities are open to any student, faculty, or staff member as long as they have a valid Mocs card.

Senior Stephen Mitchell participates in an intramural co-ed basketball team every year.

“I had fun with intramurals because I got to play my favorite sports after high school,” said Mitchell. “I got to hangout with my friends and meet new people as well as stay in shape, be healthy, be active, and relax my mind instead of studying all night long.”

Junior Gaby Dixon is one of the co-captains the ladies lacrosse club team. She said that while she enjoys playing the sport, organization and funding are difficult.

“It’s hard to get everyone in the same place at the same time,” said Dixon. “Plus it’s hard for us to get good practice schedules because there are so many club teams.”

Club and intramural sports provide students with much needed breaks from the everyday stresses of class and study time.

The new ARC, including the brand new aquatic center, along with other facilities such as intramural fields, Maclellan gym, and the racquet center are used for the several sports and activities offered.

Students who wish to get involved in club or intramural sports can stop by the Club Sports/Intramurals offices or visit the university website.

Click here to hear about intramural and club sports at UTC

 

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Tennis Players from Around the World Come to UTC

By Jake Chapman

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn (UTC/The Loop) — A positive environment and enthusiastic coach drew three tennis players from all over the world to UTC.

Trent Cobb, a Melbourne, Australia, freshman, said the relaxing and multicultural environment of Chattanooga was one of the key reasons he chose to play at UTC.

“It’s great to be in a not-as-fast pace city like home,” Cobb said.  “Melbourne is fast-paced all the time, but Chattanooga is more easy going and peaceful.”

Cobb said Chattanooga smaller population may be one reason.

“The population size here in Chattanooga is smaller and more spread out than Melbourne and I enjoy that,” Cobb said.

Cobb has played tennis since he was six years old.  He is a computer engineering major.

It was friends from back home that attracted Rick van de Bovenkamp, Oud-Beyerland, The Netherlands, senior, to UTC.  He said he started emailing coaches and visiting schools after his friends convinced him to come to America and play.

Like Cobb, Bovenkamp enjoys the relaxing area that is Chattanooga because he grew up in a fast-paced city.

“I enjoy the city life very much, but Chattanooga is more than just a decent sized city,” Bovenkamp said.  “It has more to offer than the city life like the outdoor activities here are really enjoyable.”

Bovenkamp has played tennis since he was 10 years old.  His major is Economics and plans on staying in the United States after he graduates.

Bovenkamp may have been drawn by friends from back home, but Roberto Vieria, a Bedfordview, South Africa, sophomore, said that his coach from the tennis academy he played at back home, Earl Langer, roomed with UTC head coach Carlos Garcia during his college years.  Granger also worked for UTC early on in his coaching career before he went to South Africa.

“My coach told me that coach Garcia was a trustworthy man and he loved his players,” Vieria said.

Vieria has played tennis since he was four years old.  He is a mechanical engineering and wants to go back to South Africa to help out his country.

Garcia’s love for his players not only drew Vieria to UTC, but Cobb and Bovenkamp as well.

“A coach that actually cares about his players is a big deal to us,” Vieria said.  “Coach’s enthusiasm and energy when he first met me drew me to UTC and the rest of the team will agree with me.”

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Cold Welcoming for New Coaches

By Bryson Simpson

Bryson-Simpson@mocs.utc.edu

ORLEANS (AP) — Welcome to the NFL head coaching fraternity, gentlemen. By the way, you can’t talk to your players, install new schemes or go after free agents right now.

That’s not exactly what the rookie coaches bargained for. With the lockout, it’s what they’ve got.

It’s a most damaging dynamic to teams starting anew such as the 49ers, Browns, Panthers and Broncos who went completely outside their organization to hire a new head man. At least Denver grabbed a grizzled veteran in John Fox, who won a conference title during his nine seasons in charge in Carolina. Jim Harbaugh in San Francisco, Pat Shurmur in Cleveland and Ron Rivera in Carolina are newbies.

The new coaches in Tennessee (Mike Munchak), Oakland (Hue Jackson), Minnesota (Leslie Frazier) and Dallas (Jason Garrett) either were with those organizations last year or, in Frazier’s and Garrett’s cases, actually took over as interim coaches in 2010. So their handicap isn’t quite as severe.

Still, the lockout is a hindrance as all eight of them try to rebuild struggling teams.

“It’s given us a little disadvantage,” Rivera said. “You want to have the team around and your veteran guys so you get a sense or a feel for what they do. There will always be a learning curve and now it’s steeper.”

More like a slippery slope. Rivera couldn’t put in place his offensive and defensive systems. He can’t identify who the key players will be on his roster because of all the turnover required in Carolina. He can’t chase free agents to fill some of the massive holes on both lines.

Teams aren’t exactly dead in the water because all 32 of them are preparing for the draft, which was protected under the collective bargaining agreement that expired on March 11. But it’s hardly business as usual.

“We have to be fluid, be ready as time goes on,” Rivera said. “The bottom line that we talk about is we have to be ready to play and adjust to whatever the situation winds up being.”

The longer the work stoppage, though, the more difficult it will be for the new guys. Except in Dallas and Cleveland, the quarterback scenario is in flux. It’s possible the starter whenever the season begins — if there is a 2011 season — isn’t even on the roster in San Francisco, Minnesota, Tennessee or Carolina.

New coordinators in most of those cities have little familiarity with their players. No matter how quick a study they might be, an assistant coach’s film work doesn’t replace hands-on teaching.

“The coaches are getting plenty of time to get ready for that,” Munchak said with a chuckle. “You have to be smart about it. Let your staff do what it does best, let your coordinators do what they are comfortable with, nothing drastic. You don’t want to be switching from a 4-3 defense to a 3-4.”

Oops. That’s almost what Fox is doing as he moves from Carolina to Denver; the Broncos are switching to the 4-3.

But Fox also knows his way around the league, going 73-71 with the Panthers and losing the 2004 Super Bowl to New England.

“Retread,” he said with a loud laugh.

“I had a chance to meet our players early on. I’ve watched plenty of tape. I think system-wise offensively we’re not much different since our offensive coordinator from a year ago will be back again. Defensively we’ve got some (coaches) back, but there’s no doubt we’ve got an adjustment as we go 4-3.

“But again, these things are not rocket science.”

They can be complex, though, when someone is coming from the college ranks and has been out of the NFL since 2003. Harbaugh, who spent 14 years as a pro quarterback for five teams, comes from coaching bloodlines. His father Jack has spent more than four decades on the sideline, and brother John has led the Ravens to the playoffs in all three seasons in charge in Baltimore.

For the new 49ers coach, who chose San Francisco over Miami — or remaining at Stanford or going back to his alma mater, Michigan — the biggest challenge is to stay positive.

“It doesn’t do any good to get frustrated and I wish I could be with the players right now,” said Harbaugh, who is finishing up his playbook and preparing for the draft. “The thing I was most looking forward to coaching in the National Football League was being back with those guys. The pros.

“It’ll happen. But they’ll be back. We’ll be back with them.”

When that occurs, the Niners in many ways will be starting from scratch. The other three teams in the division — Seattle, St. Louis and Arizona — are far deeper into their systems, their staffs far more familiar with the players.

“Everybody seems to agree that it’s a disadvantage for first-year coaches,” Harbaugh said. “It probably is. But we’ll find a way to overcome it.

“I just love being in uncharted waters. There is something about it. There’s more of a challenge to it. Maybe it’s because I grew up in 12 different towns before I graduated from high school, I don’t know. Something about it, I just feel more comfortable when it’s the uncharted waters.”

 

Copyright 2011

 

 

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Grizz Keep Playoff Hopes Alive with 90-87 Win Over Celtics

By Grahm Long

xpf623@mocs.utc.edu

BOSTON (AP) — The Memphis Grizzlies are still in the playoff chase, and they’re doing it with a couple of guys who know a little bit about the postseason.

Leon Powe and Tony Allen, members of the Celtics’ 2008 championship team, returned to Boston on Wednesday night to help the Memphis Grizzlies win 90-87 and solidify their hold on the eighth and final playoff berth in the Western Conference.

“When you can come on the road and beat a great team like that, and do it on the defensive end, it’s huge for a young, up-and-coming team,” said Powe, who scored 13 points. “That just adds to our confidence.”

Marc Gasol scored 11 points with 11 rebounds and Zach Randolph had 13 and eight for Memphis, which improved to one-half game behind seventh-place New Orleans in the West. The Grizzlies remained two games ahead of ninth-place Houston, which beat Golden State later Wednesday.

Powe, who spent the first three years of his career in Boston, saw little action in Cleveland before the Cavaliers released him to sign with Memphis on March 5. He came off the bench to score 13 points in 17 minutes — his best game since signing with the Grizzlies.

“Leon Powe was the baddest man on the planet tonight,” Celtics coach Doc Rivers said. “It’s not like they tricked us. They just drove through somebody and scored.”

Allen spent the first six years of his career in Boston before signing with Memphis as a free agent last summer. He scored nine with five assists.

“They’re both really tough, physical guys. They’re veteran guys who have been to the mountaintop and won,” Memphis coach Lionel Hollins said. “This is our second year in a row coming in here and getting a win, so this is special. But I’m sure for those guys this is extra special.”

Paul Pierce scored 22 for Boston, but he missed an off-balance 3-pointer at the buzzer that could have sent the game into overtime and the Celtics lost for the fifth time in nine games and fell one game behind Chicago (51-19) in the race for the best record in the Eastern Conference. Rajon Rondo had six points, seven steals, 11 rebounds and 11 assists, but he missed an ill-advised one-handed floater in the lane with 18 seconds left and Boston trailing 88-87.

“It’s so easy to second-guess it now,” said Rivers, who didn’t call a timeout because he thought Rondo was going to pass it to Pierce. “I just think your best offensive player should always touch the ball on the last possession.”

Memphis led 84-77 in the fourth quarter before Boston cut the deficit to one point, 86-85, with just over 3 minutes left on Pierce’s 3-pointer. Gasol made it a three-point game before Glen “Big Baby” Davis made a jumper with 52 seconds left to cut the lead to one point.

Davis had a chance to put Boston ahead, but Gasol blocked it, and then Gasol stole a pass from Ray Allen with 80 seconds left before converting a layup to make it 88-85. Davis’ jumper made it a one-point game again, then Rondo rebounded a Memphis miss and brought the ball the length of the court before floating up a one-handed shot that bounced off the back of the rim.

The Celtics sent Mike Conley to the line with 14 seconds left, and he made both free throws. Davis’ 3-point attempt to tie it missed, but after Gasol was fouled he missed both free throws with 4.6 seconds left, giving Boston the ball and a chance to send the game into overtime.

Boston inbounded the ball to Pierce but he couldn’t get off a clear shot.

“He is one of those prolific-type dudes,” Tony Allen said. “He’s hit shots like that in his career. He missed and we got the win.”

After falling behind 36-26 in the second quarter, the Celtics scored eight straight points — including back-to-back 3-pointers from Allen— to make it a two-point game. It was 38-34 when Boston again scored eight in a row to take the lead before Memphis scored twice in the final minute to make it 45-44 at the half.

Notes: Powe and Tony Allen received a warm welcome from the crowd at introductions. … Ray Allen wore a bandage above his right eye. He received seven stitches after being elbowed by Jared Jeffries in Monday night’s game against the New York Knicks. Allen and Pierce are the only Celtics to play in all 70 games this season. … The Grizzlies said on Tuesday that No. 2 scorer Rudy Gay would miss the rest of the season to have surgery on his partially dislocated left shoulder.

 

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

 

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Grizzlies weather the storm, top Thunder in OT

By Sean Jones

sean-jones@mocs.utc.edu

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — On both ends of the court, Tony Allen proved to be a more than capable replacement for Rudy Gay.

Allen started in Gay’s place and scored a season-high 27 while harassing NBA scoring leader Kevin Durant, and the Memphis Grizzlies beat the Oklahoma City Thunder 105-101 in overtime Tuesday night.

Allen had five of the Grizzlies’ 11 steals and prevented Durant from having much of an impact in overtime as Memphis won on the road in the second game of a back-to-back despite being without two key players.

“The guy was an all-pro all night on both ends of the floor — 27 points and he made Kevin work for every shot. I thought he won the game for them,” Oklahoma City coach Scott Brooks said.

“Certain guys in this league compete every possession, and he’s one of them. He competes every possession, and I love guys that hate getting scored on.”

Durant still had 31 points and 11 rebounds, but got off just one shot in overtime and also had a key turnover in the final 20 seconds with the Thunder down by three.

“He was just an unbelievable player on defense,” Grizzlies coach Lionel Hollins said of Allen. “Durant is a great player and he’s going to score. I thought Tony kept him from going off and getting 40 on us.”

Zach Randolph had 31 points and 14 rebounds, and all five Memphis starters scored in double figures. Sam Young scored 14, Mike Conley had 13 and Marc Gasol finished with 12.

Gay sat out with a sprained big right toe, and the Grizzlies were already without O.J. Mayo because of a league-imposed 10-game suspension.

“Having Rudy out and O.J. not here and guys banged up here and there but to still come out and beat a good team like Oklahoma City, it shows a lot about our team,” said Conley, who put Memphis ahead to stay with a free throw with 2:55 left in overtime.

Young’s baseline jumper bumped the lead to 100-97 and Russell Westbrook missed two critical free throws before Durant made two to get Oklahoma City back within one. Randolph then converted inside for a layup with 28 seconds left to make it 102-99.

Durant tripped while trying a crossover dribble at the other end, and the Thunder were forced to foul Conley. He went 1 for 2 but it was enough to keep Oklahoma City from getting a shot at the tie.

After Jeff Green tipped in Serge Ibaka’s missed 3-pointer, Conley hit two more free throws to ice it with 5.4 seconds left.

Oklahoma City made just one of its first eight shots in overtime, with Durant connecting on his only attempt in that span. But when he did get the ball late, he couldn’t bail out the Thunder.

“Tony Allen did a great job making sure that Durant didn’t get too many touches, making sure that if he did get touches, he was right there in his face and made him take a tough shot every time,” Young said.

Westbrook added 21 points and 11 assists but also tied his season-high with eight turnovers for Oklahoma City, which lost for the first time in six overtime games this season.

Memphis, which leads the league in steals and forced turnovers, had 23 takeaways that produced 31 points. Allen was the catalyst for it all.

“I just played hard, and that’s it. That’s all,” Allen said. “It was a team win, and I was able to take advantage of my opportunity.”

James Harden scored 13 and was the only other player in double figures for the Thunder, who lost despite a 58-36 rebounding advantage.

Durant’s jumper from the left wing put the Thunder up 95-92 with 1:43 left in regulation.

After a Westbrook miss, Allen raced down for a fast-break layup that led to a tying three-point play. The Grizzlies had a chance to go back ahead, but Conley traveled with 21.7 seconds left in regulation.

Westbrook had the ball tipped away before airballing a 3-pointer from the right wing, and Harden’s acrobatic putback at the buzzer didn’t fall.

“It was a must-win game. It was a game that we needed just on the simple fact that we just lost two and we didn’t want this game to translate to a three-, four-, five-game losing streak. We had to dig down,” Young said.

Oklahoma City gave up its fewest first-half points in 22 games, having allowed 55.4 points on average during that stretch, and led 54-44 at the break.

Allen’s putback of a Greivis Vasquez miss put the Grizzlies ahead in the final minute of the third quarter, and Randolph added two free throws to make it 74-71 Memphis after three quarters.

NOTES: Durant was selected as a participant in the 3-point shootout. He won the H-O-R-S-E competition the last two years, but there won’t be one this year. “Hopefully I can have a good time and hopefully I come back with a win,” Durant said. Coach Scott Brooks went a step further. “He can win it. I guarantee a win.” … The Thunder weren’t sure whether a rib injury would keep Ibaka, a participant in the NBA’s slam dunk contest next weekend, out until after he arrived at the arena. … Memphis plays 17 of its last 28 games at home.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

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Standout safety Jackson withdraws from UT

By Josh Mosley

sjh196@mocs.utc.edu

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee sophomore safety Janzen Jackson has voluntarily withdrawn from school for personal reasons.

Volunteers coach Derek Dooley says the team will support the Lake Charles, La., native as he addresses personal issues and that his absence from school is temporary. Jackson would still be eligible to compete if he enrolls at Tennessee for the fall semester.

Jackson finished the 2010 season with 69 tackles and a team-high five interceptions.

Dooley dismissed freshman linebacker Jerod Askew for a violation of team rules and also said freshman defensive back Ted Meline permanently withdrew from school for personal reasons while junior center Cody Pope will not return to the team for medical reasons.

Dooley has reinstated junior defensive back Art Evans, who was suspended indefinitely on Nov. 5 for an unspecified violation of team rules.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press.

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Big Blue wipes out Orange in Pearl’s return

By: Emily Neutens

Emily-Neutens@mocs.utc.edu

LEXINGTON, Ky. (AP) — DeAndre Liggins tied a career-high with 19 points and No. 18 Kentucky ruined Tennessee coach Bruce Pearl’s return to the bench with a 73-61 victory on Tuesday night.

Josh Harrellson added 16 points as the Wildcats (17-6, 5-4 Southeastern Conference) broke a modest two-game losing streak by burying the Volunteers with a big run in each half.

Pearl, suspended for Tennessee’s first eight conference games by SEC commissioner Mike Slive as punishment for lying to NCAA investigators during an ongoing probe into the school’s recruiting practices, wore his trademark creamsicle blazer but was more subdued than usual.

Melvin Goins led Tennessee (15-9, 5-4) with 16 points and Scotty Hopson had 11 after missing two games with a left ankle injury but the Volunteers never got going.

Tennessee shot just 41 percent from the field, turned it over 14 times and never got closer than five points over the game’s final 30 minutes.

Kentucky coach John Calipari said the Wildcats were in “crisis” after consecutive losses to Mississippi and No. 17 Florida, the first losing streak he’s endured in six years. He stressed the need for his team, particularly the upperclassmen, to play with some urgency after slipping into a tie for last place in the competitive SEC East.

Kentucky responded with arguably its best game against a quality opponent in weeks. Maybe it helped that former star John Wall, now playing for the Washington Wizards, was around to provide inspiration from his spot courtside.

Liggins, averaging 5.0 points on 29 percent shooting over the last five games, was aggressive at both ends of the court. He made 5 of 6 field goals and 7 of 8 free throws while adding five rebounds and five steals.

Harrellson, chided by Calipari for inconsistent play after appearing to be on the verge of a breakthrough a month ago, scored 12 points in the second half including two big putbacks on offensive rebounds.

It was more than enough to put a damper on Pearl’s much-anticipated return to work.

Pearl said Monday he was ready to get back on the bus after watching Tennessee’s first eight conference games on television. He joked Slive actually wanted to suspend him for 10 games but shortened it to eight after seeing Tennessee played at Kentucky and Florida this week.

Pearl was smiling when he said it. The smile faded quickly once he walked onto the Rupp Arena court, perhaps because of a well-prepared student section that featured a handful of signs hinting at Pearl’s NCAA trouble.

Tennessee’s play early in the first half did little to lift his mood. Kentucky overcame a slow start, making five of its first six 3-pointers build a 19-point lead even with point guard Brandon Knight spending the last 9:28 on the bench saddled with two fouls.

Hopson soon followed after collecting his second foul, but Pearl sent him back out to keep Tennessee in it. His presence seemed to calm down the Volunteers and they ended the half on a 14-2 run to get within 35-28.

While the students were giving Pearl an eyeful, the fans directly behind the Tennessee bench gave him an earful. Pearl asked security to get involved as he walked off the court at halftime and his assistants appeared to exchange words with several people in Kentucky gear moments before the second half started.

The razzing, however, turned into a roar as Kentucky used a 16-3 surge early in the second half to grab a 51-33 lead and cruise from there.

Copyright 2011 The Associated Press

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