Sports digest: U.S. Olympic men’s basketball team tops Nigeria in last tuneup
Mon., Aug. 1, 2016
Carmelo Anthony scored 19 points and the U.S. Olympic basketball team wrapped up its unbeaten exhibition tour with a 110-66 victory over Nigeria in Houston on Monday night.
The Americans weren’t quite as potent this time but were dominant defensively after pouring on the points in a record-setting romp over the Nigerians four years ago. They forced the African champions to miss their first 22 3-point shots and held them to 4 for 29 behind the arc.
Klay Thompson had 17 points and Kevin Durant added 14 for the U.S., which went 5-0 and wasn’t tested during its easy pre-Olympic schedule. The U.S. men and women – who arrived in Houston earlier Monday and attended the game – are scheduled to fly Tuesday night to Rio de Janeiro, where both will be favored to repeat as Olympic basketball champions.
The men’s team will have to wait until it gets there for a close game – if one comes at all. The Americans previously defeated Argentina, China twice and Venezuela by an average of 42.8 points, scoring 101 per game. They play the Chinese again to open Olympic play on Aug. 6 and also meet Venezuela again.
This one was only close for a few minutes, perhaps a little longer than the Americans’ 156-73 victory in the 2012 Olympics, when Carmelo Anthony set U.S. records by scoring 37 points and going 10 for 12 from 3-point range in just 14 minutes. He was 0 for 6 beyond the arc this time but scored nine points in the third quarter, when the lead ballooned to 43 points.
The Americans rang up the most points ever scored in an Olympic game in the London game, but Nigeria started better this time. Ben Uzoh brought the players on the Nigerian bench to their feet with a dunk over DeAndre Jordan in the first quarter, but the Americans gradually pulled away late in the first quarter and kept increasing the lead from there.
DeMar DeRozan had a few powerful dunks and Kyle Lowry and Jordan hooked up on a spectacular one, as Lowry threw an alley-oop pass from beyond halfcourt that Jordan slammed down.
Chamberlain Oguchi finally got Nigeria’s first 3-pointer with a little under 4 minutes remaining. He added three more from there and finished with 21 points.
The U.S. played without starting point guard Kyrie Irving, who rested a bruised left thigh he sustained when he was bumped on a pick in the Americans’ victory over Venezuela on Friday in Chicago. Also, Indiana’s Paul George missed a second game with a left calf injury.
Lowry started for Irving and finished with eight points, 11 assists and eight rebounds.
WNBA’s 20th season produces strong numbers and ratings
A milestone season has produced strong numbers for the WNBA.
The league has amassed more than 24 million video views across its social media platforms, nearly five times more than at this point last season. It also has seen a record number of subscriptions to WNBA League Pass, up more than 20 percent from last year.
The WNBA has made a huge marketing push this year – the league’s 20th season – and that certainly has helped.
Says WNBA President Lisa Borders: “This is a historic season and all the metrics are trending in a positive direction and we’re thrilled about that.”
ESPN has seen household ratings increase 100 percent over last year and 23 percent among viewers.
After NBA retirement, Stoudemire to play for Israeli team
Amare Stoudemire isn’t done yet.
After retiring from the NBA on July 26, Stoudemire signed a two-year contract to play for Israeli team Hapoel Jerusalem.
Stoudemire says it was a very emotional decision for him and his family. The six-time NBA All-Star has visited Jerusalem on multiple occasions, but said getting the opportunity to play in Jerusalem will be a spiritual journey. Stoudemire has said he considers himself culturally Jewish.
Stoudemire was part of an ownership group that purchased Hapoel Jerusalem in 2013. As part of his new contract, he will sell his shares to majority owner Ori Allon.
Stoudemire is a 14-year NBA veteran who was the No. 9 pick in the 2002 draft by the Phoenix Suns.
Former Colorado coach Bill McCartney has Alzheimer’s
The family of Bill McCartney says the former Colorado football coaching great was recently diagnosed with late-onset dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Family members said in a statement that McCartney is “still the same Coach Mac – biking, golfing, supporting the Buffs and being an active member of his church.”
Therefore, the statement continued, “We are making this public to ask for your understanding and patience as we know he frequently runs into fans, friends and former players. This is a frustrating and confusing disease, and if he appears disconnected or unknowing, please don’t take it personally.”
McCartney, who led the Buffaloes to their only national championship in 1990, is the winningest coach in Colorado history at 93-55-5. He was inducted into the College Football Hall of Fame in 2013.
Blue Jackets sign Gagner to $650,000, one-year deal
The Columbus Blue Jackets have signed forward Sam Gagner to a $650,000, one-year deal.
Agent Jeff Jackson confirmed the terms of the contract, which Gagner signed exactly a month into NHL free agency.
Gagner is a low-risk, high-reward signing for Columbus after his previous contract was worth $4.8 million a year. He’s 26 and has 124 goals and 228 assists in 615 games.
Blue Jackets general manager Jarmo Kekalainen called Gagner a “talented, right-handed-shot center” who will add skill and depth to the roster.
Gagner spent last season with the Philadelphia Flyers, putting up eight goals and eight assists in 53 games. The sixth overall pick in the 2007 draft, Gagner played seven seasons for the Edmonton Oilers and one for the Arizona Coyotes.
No charges against Gopher basketball player
A prosecutor has decided not to charge a Minnesota basketball player arrested on suspicion of criminal sexual conduct in May.
The Hennepin County Attorney’s office said that no charges will be filed against center Reggie Lynch.
Spokesman Chuck Laszewski tells the St. Paul Pioneer Press the office found “insufficient evidence to prove that a crime was committed.”
Lynch was arrested May 8. He was released from jail when a 36-hour hold expired and the prosecutor delayed a decision on whether to charge him.
Lynch’s attorney, David Valentini, tells The Associated Press he is “very happy” no charges will be filed.
Minnesota earlier suspended the 21-year-old Lynch pending an investigation. The 6-foot-9 player from Edina didn’t play last season as he sat out following his transfer from Illinois State.
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