Plenty of hoops action makes an entertaining night
Last night's all-hoops line-up started and ended with a bang as the Knicks grabbed a close one early in the night and the Lakers added an exciting West Coast nightcap. A slate of women's and men's college basketball smashed in the middle provided for a truly hoop-tastic night.
NBA: As Walt "Clyde" Fraizer would say, the Knicks were tantalizing and percolating last night as they grabbed their sixth straight win for the first time in five years. A great bounce on a Raymond Felton tie-breaking 3-pointer with 2.7 seconds left sealed the win against the Raptors.
"It was bouncing, it was bouncing. I was just praying, praying, praying," Felton said of the shot. The Raptors didn't make it easy, overcoming a 13-point deficit to tie it at 110 with just 28 seconds left. Amar'e Stoudemire (34 points) got in foul trouble early but finished with at least 30 points for the sixth straight time. If Stoudemire scores 30 or more in the next game he will tie the franchise record at seven. Danilo Gallinari (20 points) lost the Italian baller battle to Andrea Bargnani (career-high 41 points).
Since my home girl Jane couldn't stay up past her bedtime for the battle of L.A., I've got you covered on the Lakers-Clippers matchup. She missed a good one, as Derek Fisher hit a game-winning floater at the buzzer to sneak the Lakers past the Clippers 87-86 and go on a three-game win streak. Kobe Bryant led the pack with 24 points. Eric Gordon also carried the Clippers with 24 points and almost put the game away with a drive to the basket and dish off to DeAndre Jordan for the slam, to go up 86-85 with 15 seconds left on the clock. But Derek Fisher had the last word at the buzzer using the same left-handed drive off the glass from Game 3 of the 2010 Finals. Lamar Odom couldn't hold a young Blake Griffin, who hit a double-double (16 points, 11 rebounds), and Odom fouled out late in the game. The Lakers lost rookie forward Derrick Caracter to a sprained ankle after just three minutes of play.
Men's college basketball: Coach Mike Krzyzewski moved into third place on the career wins list (877) with Duke's 83-48 rout over Bradley at home. Walt Lemon Jr. scored 14 points for the Braves, who were rolling off a four-game losing streak and trailed the entire game. Duke sophomore Andre Dawkins stepped up in place of Kyrie Irving (toe) to score a career-high 28 points. Duke struggled from the field in the first half but opened the second half, hitting nine of its first 11 3-pointers. The Blue Devils are on a 19-game win streak -- one that includes both last season's Atlantic-Coast Conference tournament title and NCAA title, by the way.
In Kentucky-Notre Dame news, John Calipari and the Wildcats escaped their first losing streak with a 72-58 win over Notre Dame at the SEC/Big East Invitational. Kentucky used the crowd to its advantage in what was supposed to be a neutral site in Lousiville, Ky., just an hour away from the school's home in Lexington. Freshman forward Terrence Jones redeemed himself from a poor performance last Saturday with a team-high 27 points and 17 rebounds.
Meanwhile, Missouri defeated Vanderbilt in a nail-biting 85-82 overtime win at home. Marcus Denmon (21 points) secured the win with a 3-point play off a steal with 5.8 seconds left in OT. Vanderbilt gave the game away by missing four consecutive free throws in the final minutes of regulation. Missouri is now 51-0 against non-conference opponents at home.
Women's college basketball: The Sooners bounced back from their only loss of the season by quickly putting away the Stephen F. Austin Lumberjacks, 84-57 at home. The freshman duo of Morgan Hook (career-high 26 points) and Aaryn Ellenberg (17 points) led the Sooner pack to keep them undefeated (7-0) at home. Oklahoma took the lead early (18-16) with 10:54 left in the first and never looked back. Lumberjacks Tammara Marion and Decreasha Goodner each scored a team-high 14 points for the Ladyjacks.
College football: University of Florida head coach Urban Meyer stepped down as head coach of Gator Nation for the second time, citing a desire to spend more time with his family. His tenure will officially end after the Gators take on the Penn State Nittany Lions in the Outback Bowl on Jan. 1. The sudden retirement of the 46-year-old coach in his prime came as a shock to Gator Nation, and it has them wondering if he will stay retired (unlike last year, when it lasted only 24 hours). I'm sure college football's longest tenured coach -- and Meyer's Outback opponent -- Joe Paterno is somewhere listening to the TV with the volume turned up high wonder what this "quitting thing" is that Meyer keeps referring to.