October 31, 2014

Excitement level high for Nebraska basketball

Fans got their first chance to see the 2014-15 Nebraska basketball teams on Wednesday night as both the Husker men and women scrimmaged as part of Big Red Tip-Off at Pinnacle Bank Arena. There were a  pair of 15-minute scrimmages and a three-point shooting contest.  Both, men’s coach Tim Miles and women’s coach Connie Yori previewed the upcoming season.

In the men’s three-point contest, Walter Pitchford advanced to the finals with 16 points, making ten straight, but lost in the finals to Emily Cady, 12-11, as Pitchford missed the final shot at the buzzer to tie.

The Husker men closed the event with a 15-minute scrimmage, with the Red squad posting a 50-35 victory. Newcomer Andrew White III led all scorers with 18 points, including four 3-pointers in his Pinnacle Bank Arena debut.

In the 15-minute, women’s scrimmage, guard Tear’a Laudermill and Cady led the Red team to a 24-19 victory. Laudermill scored 12 points, including a pair of three-pointers, while Cady added seven points including a three. Freshman Kaylee Page buried a three while fellow freshman Natalie Romeo added a transition layup to round out the scoring for the Reds.

Former Husker nearly turns himself into a World Series hero (VIDEO)

Lincoln native and former Cornhusker Alex Gordon was close to becoming a World Series hero.

Bottom of the ninth, two outs Game 7, Gordon keeps the Royals season alive with a single to center off Giants ace Madison Bumgarner. Like a movie, the Giants turn into the Bad News Bears…the ball gets past center fielder Gregor Blanco, left fielder Juan Perez boots the ball at the wall and all of the sudden Gordon is thinking inside the park home run.

Gordon talks about his hit. (VIDEO/MLB.com)

Gordon, who thought single as soon as he hit the ball, turned up the gas as he saw Blanco turn around.  He stumbled a bit coming past second.  Third base coach, former Omaha manager Mike Jirschele made the right call holding up Gordon at third.

Jirschele talks about his decision to hold up Gordon (VIDEO/MLB.com)

Alex is left stranded, the Royals lose game 7 of the World Series 3-2. Gordon went 2 for 3 and drove in one of the Royals runs.

Former Omaha Storm Chasers help lead Royals to a Game 7 in the World Series

By now you’ve heard the stat.  Going back to 1982, eight of ten teams that returned home down 3-2 in the World Series came back to win the championship.

The Royals moved one step closer to becoming the ninth of 11, when they rocked the San Francisco Giants 10-0 in Game 6 of the World Series, Tuesday night at Kauffman Stadium.  The Royals are looking for their second title.

There were three key areas the Royals needed to control and they accomplished each of those to perfection.

First, the Royals needed to get to Giants starter Jake Peavy…and I mean early.  The reason?  Giants manager Bruce Bochy had his full compliment of pitchers with two days rest, following a day off and Madison Bumgarner’s complete game.  Bochy wouldn’t have to rely on five or six innings from Peavy, like he tried back in Game 2.  Instead Bochy could go to someone like Yusmeiro Petit whenever he felt he needed.

Lorenzo Cain walked and Eric Hosmer singled with two outs, but Billy Butler grounded out to end the first inning.  In the second, the Royals got going and didn’t stop.

Alex Gordon hit a flare to short center, just his third hit of the Series, and moved to third on a single by Salvador Perez.  Mike Moustakas, moved up in the order by Ned Yost, ripped a shot down the first base line for a double scoring Gordon and putting the runners on second and third.  After an Omar Infante strikeout, Peavy got Alcides Escobar to tap towards the first base side.  Brandon Belt hesitated to see if Perez would come home, then Belt got stuck in no man’s land, having no time to flip to second baseman Joe Panik at first or tag the speedy Escobar.  That loaded the bases, instead of giving Peavy two outs.  That play was the turning point of the game.

Nori Aoki got his first hit of the World Series on a single to left scoring Perez and keeping the bases loaded.  Peavy’s night was done.

First goal accomplished:  Get at least three runs off Peavy.  His line:  1.1 innings, six hits, five earned runs.

Bochy went to Petit, who entered the game with 12 scoreless playoff innings and 13 strikeouts, while allowing  just four hits and four walks.  This was the second objective the Royals needed to handle…prove they could hit the deceptive Petit.

Cain kept the rally going, singling off Petit, scoring two more runs to make it 5-0.  Cain then advanced on a wild pitch, giving Hosmer two runners in scoring position.  Hosmer ripped a double making it a 7-0 game and Butler followed with the team’s third double of the inning to make it 8-0.

Goal two accomplished:  Hit Petit. His line: 2/3 of an inning, three hits, two earned runs.

The Royals added solo runs in the third, fifth and seventh innings as Bochy used Jean Machi, Hunter Strickland and then starter Ryan Vogelsong to clean up the mess.

With the exception of Petit, Bochy still has his top bullpen arms available, including two lefties and the use of Madison Bumgarner for relief to come in after Tim Hudson starts Game 7.  However, by the Royals being able to get to Petit, that gave Yordano Ventura the cushion he needed to go deep in the game.

That was the final objective.  Get a quality start out of Ventura.  Yost had a bullpen that was taxed.  Kelvin Herrera looked gassed, Wade Davis was hit in Game 5.  If Yost had to call on those arms again for Tuesday’s game and then need them for a potential Game 7, they wouldn’t have made it.

Stacked with a seven run lead, then eight as Ventura entered the fourth inning, he just rared back and threw a lot of fastballs.  Ventura went seven innings, throwing 100 pitches, with over 65% of them clocking in the mid 90’s.

Goal three accomplished:  Get a quality start from Ventura.  His line:  7 innings, three hits, no runs, five walks and four strikeouts.

Yost used Jason Frasor for the eighth and ninth and now we have a Game 7 final that will feature stocked bullpens with fresh arms and two teams coming off stretches where they both hit the ball really well.  By the Royals being able to rest Herrera and Davis, along with Holland, Yost has his ‘pen set up for his formula of success.

Win the first six innings on Wednesday and the Royals likely “Take The Crown.”

For the first time since ’69-’70, Creighton will have three alums in NBA at the same time

Chicago Bulls Doug McDermott drives the lane Minnesota Timberwolves Ronny Turiaf in the second quarter at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis on October24, 2014.    UPI/Bill Greenblatt

Chicago Bulls Doug McDermott drives the lane Minnesota Timberwolves Ronny Turiaf in the second quarter at the Scottrade Center in St. Louis on October24, 2014. UPI/Bill Greenblatt

McDermott played at Creighton from 2010-14 and left as the most decorated men’s basketball player in school history. He ranks fifth in NCAA history with 3,150 career points and swept 14 National Player of the Year awards as a senior. McDermott was a three-time conference player of the year and became the first male in 30 years to be named a First Team All-American three straight seasons by the Associated Press.

McDermott was drafted 11th overall in the 2014 NBA Draft by the Denver Nuggets, then traded an hour later to the Chicago Bulls. McDermott will wear No. 3 with the Bulls.

Kyle Korver, Anthony Tolliver and Doug McDermott will open the 2014-15 season in the National Basketball Association when their teams debut on Wednesday. Korver is back with the Atlanta Hawks, Tolliver joined the Phoenix Suns in the off-season, and McDermott embarks on his pro career with Chicago Bulls after a draft day trade from Denver.

Korver played at Creighton from 1999-2003 and was succeeded by Tolliver, who played for the Bluejays from 2003-07. In 2012-13 they were teammates with the Hawks, where they became CU’s first alums who were NBA teammates since 1970, as well as becoming the first Bluejay alums to start an NBA game as teammates.

Korver begins his 12th year in the NBA and third with the Hawks. Known as one of the elite long-distance shooters in the NBA, Korver ranks 22nd in NBA history with 1,508 career three-pointers and is 11th in league history with his 42.49 percent marksmanship from three-point range. The only other player in league history with at least 1,500 treys and 42 percent accuracy is Steve Nash.

Korver’s 53.6 percent marksmanship from three-point range in 2009-10 remains an NBA record for a season, smashing a mark held by noted sniper Steve Kerr. Last season, Korver smashed the NBA record with a 127 game streak with a 3-point basket obliterating the Hawks franchise mark of 42 and the previous NBA mark of 89 formerly held by Dana Barros. He also led the NBA  by shooting 47.2 percent from long-range in 2013-14.

For his NBA career, Korver has scored 7,967 points (third-most among Creighton basketball alumni) in 809 games (9.8 ppg.). He has also made 88.0 percent of his career free throws.

Korver wears No. 26 with the Hawks.

Tolliver enters his first year with Phoenix after also spending time with the Cleveland, San Antonio, Portland, New Orleans, Golden State, Minnesota, Atlanta and Charlotte organizations in his career.

Creighton fans who remember Tolliver as an inside force may be surprised to learn of his perimeter game. More than 51 percent of his shots have come from behind the NBA three-point arc, and he has made 35.2 percent of those shots from downtown. Last season he made 41.3 percent of his three-point tries, ranking 15th in the NBA. Tolliver has also sunk 78.4 percent of his shots at the line and owns 282 career assists (against just 196 turnovers), 108 blocks and 117 steals.

Tolliver went undrafted and spent time in the NBA D-League and Germany before becoming an NBA regular. He will switch to wearing No. 40 with the Suns.

Including 2014-15, Creighton has now had an NBA player in 31 of the last 32 years, and 48-of-51 seasons since 1964-65.

The last time Creighton had three (or more) NBA players on rosters at the same time was the 1969-70 season, when Paul Silas, Neil Johnson, Bob Portman and Wally Anderzunas were active at the same time.

Story courtesy of GoCreighton.com

High school football 2014 playoff pairings with days and times

Class A Friday’s games, opening round

No. 16 Lincoln Southwest (4-5) at No. 1 Omaha North (9-0), 7 p.m.
No. 9 Kearney (6-3) at No. 8 Norfolk (7-2), 7 p.m.
No. 12 Omaha Westside (5-4) at No. 5 Millard West (6-3), 7:30 p.m.
No. 13 Columbus (5-4) at No. 4 Grand Island (8-1), 7 p.m.
No. 14 Omaha Burke (4-5) at No. 3 Creighton Prep (8-1), 7 p.m.
No. 11 Omaha Central (6-3) at No. 6 Lincoln East (7-2), 7 p.m.
No. 10 Papillion-La Vista South (6-3) at No. 7 Bellevue West (6-3), 7 p.m.
No. 15 Bellevue East (4-5) at No. 2 Millard North (9-0), 4 p.m.

Nov. 7 quarterfinals

Southwest-Omaha North winner vs. Kearney-Norfolk winner
Omaha Westside-Millard West winner vs. Columbus-Grand Island winner
Omaha Burke-Creighton Prep winner vs. Omaha Central-Lincoln East winner
Papio South-Bellevue West winner vs. Bellevue East-Millard North winner

Class B Friday’s games

No. 16 Waverly (4-5) at No. 1 Omaha Skutt (7-2), 7 p.m.
No. 9 Sidney (7-2) at No. 8 Seward (7-2), 7 p.m.
No. 12 Beatrice (6-3) at No. 5 Elkhorn South (7-2), 7:30 p.m.
No. 13 Aurora (5-4) at No. 4 Scottsbluff (8-1), 6 p.m. MT
No. 14 Omaha Gross (5-4) at No. 3 McCook (8-1), 6 p.m.
No. 11 Blair (6-3) at No. 6 Crete (7-2), 7 p.m.
No. 10 York (7-2) at No. 7 Elkhorn (7-2), 4 p.m.
No. 15 Lincoln Pius X (4-5) at No. 2 Gretna (8-1), 7 p.m.

Nov. 7 quarterfinals

Waverly-Omaha Skutt winner vs. Sidney-Seward winner
Beatrice-Elkhorn South winner vs. Aurora-Scottsbluff winner
Omaha Gross-McCook winner vs. Blair-Crete winner
York-Elkhorn winner vs. Pius X-Gretna winner

Class C-1 Friday’s games

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