FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — A memorable season capped by a super title game with a record TV audience has NFL executives and fans beaming.
The smiles might soon disappear.
Pro football is headed into the great unknown. Barring a quick — and totally unexpected — agreement with the players’ union on a new contract, 2010 will have no salary cap. After that, perhaps a work stoppage, something NFL Players Association executive director DeMaurice Smith puts at “14” on a scale of 1 to 10.
AUSTIN, Texas (AP) — Kansas gave Texas a lesson in not only what it takes to get to No. 1, but how to stay there.
It started with a big early run and a rally-killing finish as the top-ranked Jayhawks beat No. 14 Texas 80-68 on Monday night, easily handling a team that a few weeks ago was supposed to challenge them for the Big 12 title.
FAYETTEVILLE — Duke plays cerebrally. Arkansas just plays street ball.
That was the national typecast of Nolan Richardson’s Razorbacks until they outplayed Duke to win the 1994 national championship.
National writer Mitch Albom’s smug TV observation, “The smart team will win, and the smart team is Duke” didn’t seem so smart.
Especially with Duke outsmarted.
Luring the Blue Devils too long into a too-fast tempo, Arkansas outsmarted the Dukies in addition to outplaying them even as both teams gallantly battled tooth and nail to the buzzer.
FAYETTEVILLE (AP) — Even during this 4-game winning streak, nothing is coming easily for Arkansas.
Courtney Fortson scored 24 points, and the Razorbacks withstood a fluky basket at the end of regulation to beat Auburn 82-79 in overtime Saturday. Arkansas won despite an injury to center Mike Washington — and moved into sole possession of first place in the SEC West just two weeks after losing by 31 points at Kentucky.
PARAGOULD — Batesville Lady Pioneer Alex Davidson hit two free throws with eight seconds remaining in the opening varsity game here Friday night and they held up for a 50-48, 5A-East District victory.
It was the number of Lady Pioneers who contributed that provided the real difference, their coach said.
PARAGOULD — The Batesville Pioneers hit 14 of 19 free throws in the fourth quarter here Friday night to hold off the Paragould Rams for a 59-49, 5A-East District high school basketball victory.
And there were other bigger numbers.
The win was their first in district play this season and stopped a losing streak at 16 games. Their previous victory happened Nov. 23, a 58-55 decision against the Searcy Lions in Pioneer Gymnasium.
The Pioneers are 1-6 in the district and 2-17 overall.
“Long time coming,” Batesville Coach Jeff Morrow said Sunday afternoon.
Slater Belew continued his hot streak, but the Lyon Scots came up six points short in their quest to knock off the fourth-place Mid-Continent Cougars Saturday afternoon in Becknell Gymnasium.
Belew, a freshman, scored 23 points to lead the Scots. That performance follows, a career-best 26 points and is the third straight game he’s scored 20 or more.
The Lyon Pipers blasted out of the starting block and never looked back en route to a 70-44 decision over the Mid-Continent Lady Cougars Saturday in Becknell Gymnasium.
The Lady Cougars opened the TranSouth Athletic Conference contest with a bucket on its first possession, but Lyon cruised to a 22-10 lead eight minutes in.
Mid-Continent got as close as seven (30-23), but that was as close as it would get. The Pipers scored the last 10 points of the first half to take a 40-23 lead into the locker room.
That lead grew to as many as 29 points during the second half.
NEWARK — The Melbourne Lady Bearkatz broke away in the third quarter and went on to clinch the 2A-2 District regular-season title here Friday night.
Leading 15-13 at halftime, the Lady ’Katz limited the Cedar Ridge Lady Timberwolves to six points in the third quarter en route to a 46-33 decision.
“I just thought it was a really strong defensive effort by the entire team,” Melbourne Coach Bruce Adams said. “Lots of times we’ve outscored people, but here in the second half of the season we’re defending much better.”
MIAMI — The New Orleans Saints turned the Super Bowl’s postgame celebration into something out of the French Quarter.
From the trophy podium on the field, Drew Brees blew kisses and caught confetti raining down as Dr. John and Professor Longhair blared from the stadium speakers. Coach Sean Payton hung over the railing clapping and shouting down to the crowd as if he were rolling on a Mardi Gras float, then waved a newspaper with the banner headline “WORLD CHAMPS.”
Who are the champions? The New Orleans Saints, dat’s who.
Lyon’s baseball home-opener with Mid-America Nazarene has been canceled due to field conditions, Coach Tony Roepcke said.
Mid-America Nazarene was scheduled to play Lyon for a single game today and a doubleheader Saturday. All three games have been nixed.
Roepcke said he has arranged a doubleheader at Henderson State for Sunday. The start time is noon.
Weather permitting, the Scots will play their home-opener Tuesday against Christian Brothers.