<![CDATA[NBC Connecticut - Sports]]> Copyright 2015 http://www.nbcconnecticut.com/news/sports http://media.nbcbayarea.com/designimages/NBC_Connecticut.png NBC Connecticut http://www.nbcconnecticut.com en-us Sat, 28 Feb 2015 07:30:01 -0500 Sat, 28 Feb 2015 07:30:01 -0500 NBC Owned Television Stations <![CDATA[Stokes Is Dominating Defensive Presence]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 12:50:35 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/UCONN13.jpg

Kiah Stokes has a just a few games left in her college career. The 6-3 senior has played in all 28 games this season (3 starts), averaging 19.5 minutes, 4.8 points, 7.8 rebounds and 4.3 blocks per contest.

On Saturday, she along with Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis, will be honored on Senior Day. The thing is, Stokes almost didn't come to UConn.

“On the way to the airport we found out our flight had been canceled,” Stokes told SNY.com's Carl Adamec about her planned recruiting visit back in Oct. 2010. “My mom goes, ‘Do you still want to go?’ I went, ‘If we can find another flight, sure. But if not it’s all right because I probably won’t end up going there anyway.’”

We know how that turned out. And now, more than four years later, Stokes has won two national titles on the nation's best team.

“Now that it’s near, it’s sad,” she said. “But knowing that we’ll have a chance to play at least one more at Gampel in the NCAA Tournament is a good feeling. I’m trying to keep my emotions off to the side while we’re in-season and when it’s over I’ll be sad. But right now I’m working to stay strong and stay focused to the end.”

Stokes' strength is dominating the lane; she's one block away from 300, and six blocks away from passing former Husky Tina Charles for third on the all-time list.

“I never expected her to have the defensive presence she’s had here,” coach Geno Auriemma told Adamec. “I don’t want to say it came out of nowhere but it’s been way more than I thought she was capable of. And it’s something she takes great pride in.

“I would venture to say that Kiah’s biggest strengths are the things she brings off the court. Some kids have no presence off the court. Their contribution is only what’s on the floor. What she contributes in all the other areas, she has a tremendous impact on her teammates. There’s a lot to be said for a kid that does that.”

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Can Huskies Sustain Momentum?]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 12:44:11 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/483300299.jpg

We've been here before. The Huskies string together a few wins and we're left wondering if this is the time they put it together ... only to watch them lose a game they shouldn't.

So here we are. UConn beat ECU on the road in convincing fashion and the timing couldn't be better. The regular season is almost over, the conference tournament is nigh and , along with with, any hopes of defending that national title. Because as senior point guard Ryan Boatright made clear last week: the only way the Huskies are getting an NCAA invite is by winning the American Athletic Conference tourney.

But back to point: Has this team finally figured it out?

"It's great," Rodney Purvis said shortly after the ECU game on Wednesday, via the Hartford Courant. "But we're kind of past this now. We got the win under our belts but we've got a huge game on Sunday, so we're going to get back and prepare for that."

Freshman Daniel Hamilton added: "This (ECU win) is real big, especially going into SMU, the No.1 team in our conference. This is a big conference win, and we've been struggling on the road, so this is a good win for us."

And Boatright said; "We learned from our mistakes from our losses on the road and we stayed together and fought to the end."

Meanwhile, coach Kevin Ollie admits that even the wins aren't stress-free.

"It was frustrating, the first half, I'm not going to lie," he said of ECU. "But we stayed in, stayed believing in one another and what we wrote on the board was 'execution' and 'connected' and we wanted to do that for 40 minutes, and I think we did that."

But can the Huskies do this consistently, night in and night out? We'll find out one way or the other soon enough.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Earl Lloyd, First Black NBA Player, Dies at 86]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 09:14:52 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP861620179640.jpg

Earl Lloyd, the first black player in NBA history, died Thursday. He was 86.

Lloyd's alma mater, West Virginia State, confirmed the death. It did not provide details.

Lloyd made his NBA debut in 1950 for the Washington Capitals, just before fellow black players Sweetwater Clifton and Chuck Cooper played their first games.

"The State family mourns the loss of a fellow Yellow Jacket and trailblazer who was a true champion both on and off of the basketball court," West Virginia State President Brian Hemphill said in a statement. "When Earl stepped out on the court on that fateful date in 1950, this remarkable man rightfully earned his place in the historic civil rights movement and, more important, he opened the door to equality in America."

Lloyd helped the Syracuse Nationals win the 1955 NBA title, joining teammate Jim Tucker as the first black players to play on a championship team.

The 6-foot-5 forward averaged 8.4 points and 6.4 rebounds in 560 regular-season games in nine seasons with Washington, Syracuse and Detroit. He missed the 1951-52 season while serving in the U.S. Army.

Inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame in 2003 as a contributor, Lloyd was 22-55 as Detroit's coach in 1971-72 and the first nine games in the 1972-73 season.

Lloyd, a native of Alexandria, Virginia, lived in Crossville, Tennessee. 

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Eagles Acho Taking Va. Teen to Prom]]> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 16:45:32 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/228*120/2015-02-26_1345.png

A Loudoun County, Virginia, teen got the surprise of a lifetime Friday when Philadelphia Eagles linebacker Emmanuel Acho agreed to take her to prom.

Back in January, Hannah Delmonte reached out to Acho on Instagram and asked if he would take her to prom if she got 2,000 retweets on Twitter, Comcast SportsNet Philly reports. But Acho upped the ante -- Delmonte had to reach 10,000 retweets.

And she did.

Delmonte's post received over 17,000 retweets, far surpassing her goal.

Acho dropped by Woodgrove High School in Purcellville on Friday and surprised Delmonte with a customized Eagles jersey with the number 15 and the word "prom" written across the back.

Acho also plans to play piano and sing Delmonte a song on the night of the prom, according to Comcast SportsNet Philly. Prom is scheduled for May 9, according to the school's calendar.

Check out her priceless reaction in the video above.

Photo Credit: Comcast SportsNet Philly
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<![CDATA[Purvis Shines in Win Over ECU]]> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 13:37:44 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/rodney-purvis-uconn44.jpg

The Huskies improved their record to 16-11 (9-6 in the AAC) with a 60-49 victory over ECU on Wednesday night in Greenville, NC. By itself, the win means little this time of year; as Ryan Boatright has said for weeks, UConn is going to need to win the American Athletic Conference Tournament to get an invitation to the Big Dance.

But it is encouraging when players other than Boatright, the senior do-everything point guard, see their games grow, and help the team get better in the process. Which brings us to Rodney Purvis, the NC State transfer who has been inconsistent during his first season in Storrs. On Wednesday, however, his development continued; Purvis scored 12 points in 38 minutes, including two big 3-pointers down the stretch. It probably didn't hurt that he was playing so close to his Raleigh, NC home.

"This is great," he said, via the Hartford Courant. "I was happy to see all my family. Even with bad weather they made effort to get down here. I'm not technically home, but this is close as it's going to get. So I'm enjoying this moment and I'll be back next year."

Coach Kevin Ollie has been lamenting for some time about the need for other players stepping up, and it's a good sign that Purvis is finally able to do that.

"He's just getting better and better," Ollie said. "He's getting tougher, mentally tougher. That showed tonight, all the fans were screaming his name. He went 1-for-6 in the first half and came back and had three huge threes. Great penetration, finding other guys, doing the energy things we need. His defense on Whisnant was awesome."

<![CDATA[Is Byron Jones NFL 1st-Round Pick?]]> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 13:33:47 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/byron+jones+uconn+cornerback.jpg

Byron Jones didn't participate in every drill at last weekend's NFL Combine, but what he accomplished in the broad jump and vertical leap was enough to get every scout, coach and general manager's attention.

Not only are NFL teams scurrying to do more homework on Jones, who UConn coach Bob Diaco has been talking up since this summer, at least one mock draft expert thinks Jones could be a first-round pick.

And to be clear, we don't use "mock draft expert" lightly; in this day and age, everybody has a mock draft. But NFL Network's Daniel Jeremiah is a former NFL scout, and one of the most knowledgeable draft commentators. It's noteworthy that he likes Jones.

In his Feb. 25 mock draft, Jeremiah has the Eagles selecting Jones with the 20th pick.

"Jones put on a show in Indy, but he's much more than a workout warrior," Jeremiah wrote "He was a four-year starter at UConn with toughness and smarts. That fits the Chip Kelly profile."

This is the first time we've seen Jones mentioned as a first-rounder. The cornerback class isn't particularly deep; Michigan State's Trae Waynes, Washington's Marcus Peters and LSU's Jalen Collins were widely considered the best draft-eligible cornerbacks heading into the combine, but that could certainly change in the coming weeks and months.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[UConn Defeats East Carolina 60-49]]> Wed, 25 Feb 2015 21:56:54 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/215*120/481616597.jpg

Ryan Boatright scored 16 points and freshman Daniel Hamilton grabbed a season-high 17 rebounds to lead UConn to a 60-49 victory over East Carolina on Wednesday night.

Amida Brimah and Rodney Purvis each had 12 points for the Huskies (16-11, 9-6 American Athletic Conference), who used a 14-2 run to start the second half to sweep the season series against ECU (12-16, 5-10). Hamilton added nine points and a game-high five assists.

UConn won its first road game since a 62-53 victory at Tulane on Feb. 7 and recorded its third league win away from home this season.

Marshall Guilmette scored 13 points to lead the Pirates, who were hosting a defending national champion for the first time in school history. B.J. Tyson added 11 for ECU, which shot just 32.2 percent from the field, including 3 of 20 from 3-point range.

Brimah's dunk capped the Huskies' game-changing run and made it 38-35 UConn with 12:03 left in the game.

ECU's Lance Tejada hit a 3 to tie the game at the 11:31 mark, but Purvis, a Raleigh native playing about an hour and a half from home, answered with a 3-pointer to put UConn back on top for good, 41-38.

The Huskies took their biggest lead on two Boatright free throws that completed the scoring with 1:05 left to play.

In the first half, the Pirates used a 15-3 run to take a 25-17 lead. Tyson hit consecutive layups in the final minute, including a driving score past Boatright with two ticks left to give ECU a 33-24 lead at halftime.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[2-Year-Old Son of NFL Long Snapper Sings National Anthem]]> Thu, 26 Feb 2015 05:48:08 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/180*120/AP828165311104.jpg

Forget football! The 2-year-old son of Cincinnati Bengals' long snapper showed he is ready for the stage when he belted out the National Anthem at a high school basketball game.

The NFL player, Clark Harris, held son Trent's hand as he led him to the court for the tot's performance.

Decked out in a blazer and with hair reminiscent of his father's mane, Trent sang in front of a packed gym ahead of a matchup between the Southern Regional High School and Pinelands Regional High School boys' basketball teams.

Clark's wife and proud mom, Jessica, posted Trent's rendition to YouTube, captioning the video: "My sons first performance!! ... I'm so proud!!!" 

Watch the full video below.

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<![CDATA[NFL Stadium Proposals ]]> Wed, 25 Feb 2015 14:41:02 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/carson-stadium.gif

Ever since the Rams and the Raiders left Los Angeles in the mid-1990s, there have been attempts to bring an NFL team back to the city.

The football league approved an expansion franchise for Los Angeles as early as 1999, but no agreement was reached and a team went to Houston. The NFL requires a three-quarters vote of the 32 teams for any team to move.

There are now four proposals on the table. Here they are:

Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers to Share a Stadium

The Oakland Raiders and San Diego Chargers have announced that they will together pursue a new home at a $1.7 billion stadium in Carson, in Los Angeles County,  but only if both teams cannot find alternatives in their home markets. The stadium, which would require voter approval, would have more than 72,000 seats and with 18,000 parking spots, room for tailgating. It would be built on the site of an old municipal landfill at the intersection of the 405 Freeway and Del Amo Boulevard. Right now, the Jets and the Giants are the only NFL teams to share a stadium.

Meanwhile negotiations over a new stadium for the Raiders in the Bay area could be facing a 30-day deadline, according to a report in the San Francisco Chronicle. Oakland Mayor Libby Scaaf has said she would be wiling to spend taxpayer money to help pay for a new stadium, which could total up to $300 million, according to columnists Phil Matier and Andy Ross. But issues over using public money could be insurmountable, they report.

Replacing Hollywood Park Racetrack

Stan Kroenke, the owner of the St. Louis Rams, wants to build a new $2 billion stadium on the site of the now closed Hollywood Park racetrack in Inglewood, California. The proposal is for an 80,000-seat stadium, 6,000-seat performance venue, 300-room hotel, and 1.5 million square feet of retail, office and residential space.

The developer, not the public, would pay for the cost of building the stadium, according to a consultants' report.

The Inglewood City Council unanimously approved the plan on Feb. 24.

Kroenke has partnered with Stockbridge Capital Group and is the first NFL team owner to control a site large enough for a new stadium. The Rams are playing at the Edward Jones Dome in St. Louis, but are unhappy with the conditions. The Inglewood proposal will put pressure on St Louis to reach a deal for a new stadium or watch the team return to Southern California, where it played from 1946 to 1994.

Farmers Field

The Anschutz Entertainment Group or AEG agreed in 2012 to build a football stadium at the L.A. LIVE complex downtown and renovate the Los Angeles Convention Center. In October, the city granted AEG a six-month extension. AEG plans to commit $600,000 to development, but it is also offering alternatives to a stadium, meaning a large hotel might be built in its place.
Grand Crossing

Developer Ed Roski Jr., the president of Majestic Realty Co., in 2008 announced plans to build an $800 million stadium in the city of Industry near the interchange of the 60 and 57 freeways. The project is being called Grand Crossing.

<![CDATA[Boston Olympics Criticism OK: Mayor]]> Tue, 24 Feb 2015 17:02:07 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/Walsh+Olympics.jpg

It's now OK for city workers to criticize Boston's bid for the 2024 Olympics, thanks to a change to the city's deal with the U.S. Olympic Committee.

Mayor Marty Walsh announced the change Tuesday, saying that the agreement with the USOC had been revised to remove any language discouraging city employees from criticizing the Olympic bid. Walsh had earlier defended the stipulation, which civil liberties advocates had criticized.

The Boston Globe reported last month that the "joinder agreement" between the city and the USOC banned city employees from badmouthing the 2024 Olympic bid. The American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts said the agreement was a violation of the First Amendment right to free speech.

"This revised agreement is the result of positive negotiations with the United States Olympic Committee to reach a consensus that accurately represents how Boston is moving forward with our Olympic bid," Walsh said in a statement.

"I want to thank those who have already offered their thoughts on Boston's bid and I continue to encourage all residents, including city employees, to share their opinions over the coming months. My top priority is to ensure an open and transparent process, and it is important that any proposal is shaped by the input and ideas of people from every neighborhood in order to offer the greatest benefit to our city," Walsh continued.

Walsh's statement characterized the original ban on employee criticism of the Olympic bid as "boilerplate language that all cities have historically signed regarding city employees and their participation in the Olympic process."

Rich Davey, Boston 2024's CEO, said the new agreement "will strengthen Boston's efforts to work with communities to build a stronger Olympic bid."

The next citywide Olympic discussion is scheduled for Tuesday night at 6:30 at the Condon School Cafeteria in South Boston. 

Additional citywide meetings are scheduled for March 31, April 28, May 19, June 30, July 28, Aug. 25 and Sept. 29.

Photo Credit: FILE - NECN]]>
<![CDATA[Top Sports Photos 2015]]> Fri, 27 Feb 2015 11:30:50 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/topSports-aRod-GettyImages_464511922.jpg Click to see dramatic sports photos from the NFL, to basketball, baseball and more.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Tulsa Shock Interested in KML With No.2 Pick]]> Tue, 24 Feb 2015 13:49:15 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/kaleena+mosqueda+lewis+uconn.jpg

Back in December, we first heard that WNBA teams were looking at Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis as a first-rounder. Not surprising, really, just confirmation what most of us expected, even with Mosqueda-Lewis battling injuries for part of her junior season.

As KML's senior season winds down, WNBA eyes will be watching her closer than ever. The Hartford Courant John Altavilla writes Tulsa Shock coach Fred Williams will doing just that on Saturday. Tulsa has the second pick in this spring's WNBA Draft and it sounds like they'll think long and hard about taking Mosqueda-Lewis should she get past the Seattle Storm, who select first.

"Well, it all depends what happens with the first choice," Williams said of Seattle. "Players with her skill set, with the ability to shoot deep threes with a high basketball IQ, are great qualities to have. ...

"If Seattle happens to pass on her, we will deeply consider taking her."

The Shock have Skylar Diggins and Odyssey Sims; adding Mosqueda-Lewis would give them three of the league's best perimeter shooters.

"You always want to have shooters and those who can really cover the floor [defensively]," Williams continued. "In my career, I have always favored quickness and speed and strength. When you have all those qualities assembled on the perimeter, it only helps your post game succeed even more.

"If you have a player like that on your team, you know the opponent has to practice to stop her and make sure they always know where she is in transition. You can never leave her alone for a spot-up shot."

<![CDATA[Calhoun Making Best of Tough Situation]]> Tue, 24 Feb 2015 13:47:02 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/omar-calhoun-jan15.jpg

Omar Calhoun's junior season may be going better than his sophomore season, but the bar was set pretty low a year ago. He battled injuries and found himself lost in the mix as the Huskies were making their championship run.

Finally healthy, Calhoun still hasn't had the success he saw as a freshman, when he averaged 32 minutes and 11.1 points per game. As a junior, those numbers are down to 16 minutes and 6 points, but he's done the little things in recent weeks that not only have caught coach Kevin Ollie's attention, they've helped UConn get much-needed wins. On Sunday, he scored 12 points in 28 minutes in the Huskies' 67-60 victory over Tulane. More importantly, Calhoun was solid on defense.

"That was good, that was great," Ollie said, via the Hartford Courant. "Omar came in and what I really liked was Omar's defense down the stretch. That's what I keep stressing with Omar, if he plays better defense he can stay on the court. He stepped up to the plate and showed he could do that down the stretch."

Calhoun agreed: "If I play D I can stay on the court and produce offensively. The coaches liked how I was taking the initiative on defense and trying to do more on that side."

It's an interesting transformation for Calhoun, who arrived in Storrs as a sharpshooter and has evolved into a defensive stalwart. Still, he knows there's room for improvement -- for both him and his teammates.

"We had to communicate even more," he said. "A couple of times in the first half (against Tulane) we didn't communicate getting back in transition and they hit open threes. We did a better job late in the game of communicating, calling our switches, and we put the game away."

The Huskies host ECU on Wednesday in Gampel Pavilion.

<![CDATA[Byron Jones Blows Up at NFL Combine]]> Tue, 24 Feb 2015 13:45:25 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/byron+jones+uconn+cornerback.jpg

On Monday, the rest of the world got a glimpse of what Bob Diaco has been saying for months: Byron Jones is legit.

At the NFL Combine in Indianapolis, working out with other defensive backs, the former UConn cornerback's broad jump measured 12 feet, 3 inches. Not only is that eight inches better than the previous combine mark, but it would have been a world record (12'2" has stood since 1968).

"My personal [broad jump] record was 11-7. That's what I was doing at the training facility, and I obviously broke that," Jones told The Associated Press in a telephone interview. "It feels good to put a [personal record] up."

There's more: Jones' vertical was 44.5 inches, just a half-inch behind the combine-best 45 inches Chris Conley jumped on Saturday. Jones didn't run at the combine -- he'll likely do that at his pro day on March 31, but NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said he texted Diaco, who thinks Jones will run in the 4.3s.

If that happens, expect Jones to, ahem, leap to the top of the list as one of the draft's best cornerbacks. He wisely points out that while all the attention is nice, at the end of the day, his game film is what matters most. And that's where Diaco comes in. The Huskies' coach has been talking up Jones for months.

"I think he will be one of the best players in the country,” Diaco said last summer. "Everyone will see it eventually when they put him in those compression shorts [at combines]. You will see a tall, long, lean and fast and explosive and athletic player. His numbers, with our developmental process, you are going to see at the end of the day one of the best tangibly gifted cornerback players in the country.

"[Y]ou factor in this incredible résumé socially, academically, he's an 'A' student and on all the committees. At that position, he has some intangible traits that are an incredible commodity."

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[Wash. NFL Football Team: Canceling Trademark Violates Free-Speech]]> Tue, 24 Feb 2015 12:54:50 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/212*120/1104-redskins-generic.jpg

Lawyers for the Washington NFL football team are telling a judge that the team's free-speech rights will be infringed upon if a federal panel's decision to cancel the team's trademarks is allowed to stand.

A board of the U.S. Patent And Trademark Office ruled last year that the trademark of the "Redskins" should be canceled because the name is disparaging to Native Americans.

The team is suing in federal court in Alexandria to have the board's decision overturned. In court papers filed Monday, the team says the law barring registration of disparaging trademarks is unconstitutional under the First Amendment.

The government has intervened in the civil lawsuit to defend the law's constitutionality. Government lawyers say the law doesn't ban disparaging speech; it just denies the protection of a federal trademark.

<![CDATA[Logano Overwhelmed by Texts After Daytona Win]]> Mon, 23 Feb 2015 19:32:20 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/160*120/kevandjoey022315.jpg Kevin Nathan goes one-on-one with Daytona 500 champ Joey Logano. The 24-year old from Middletown is just the second driver from New England to win the Super Bowl of NASCAR.]]> <![CDATA[Geremy Davis Has Strong Combine]]> Mon, 23 Feb 2015 13:22:23 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/geremy-davis-catch.jpg

Geremy Davis' 2014 season didn't go as planned, but that had more to do with the lack of consistency along the offensive line, at quarterback and in the running game than anything else. Still, Davis, who caught 165 passes for 2,292 yards in 46 career games, did enough to earn an invite to the NFL Combine over the weekend and he made the most of his opportunity.

He ranked seventh among 20 wide receivers in the 3-cone drill (6.86 seconds); third in the 60-yard shuttle (11.28); eighth in the broad jump (10'4") and managed a 36.5-inch vertical, which was about average.

But Davis was at his best during "the gauntlet," the pass-catching drill in which balls are fired at receivers from two different directions as they make their way from sideline to sideline. Davis was flawless in the drill, not dropping a pass.

The UConn standout didn't run the 40-yard dash, which he plans to do at his pro day. on March 31.

"I just want to take everything event by event, so if it starts with the bench press, I want to have my mind-set to where all I'm doing is focusing on bench press ... shuttle, so forth and so on. I don't want to think big picture," Davis told the Hartford Courant before the combine. "I want to think of each individual one as I'm competing in the drills."

Mission accomplished.

<![CDATA[UConn Outlasts Tulane, 67-60]]> Mon, 23 Feb 2015 13:19:32 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/482962317.jpg

The Huskies' roller coaster-ride of a season continued on Sunday when they bounced back from Thursday's loss in Memphis to defeat Tulane, 67-60, at Gampel Pavilion. The win moves UConn to 15-11 overall (8-6 in the AAC) but the point senior point guard Ryan Boatright made last week still holds: the team is going to have to win the conference tournament to get into the Big Dance.

For now, they're enjoying the victory, one that saw sophomore center Amida Brimah score 19 points on 8 of 8 shooting. Boatright added 12 points and Omar Calhoun went for 12 more on a night when the Huskies shot 53 percent from the floor while holding Tulane to just 38 percent.

"It wasn’t an easy win, but we’ll take it," coach Kevin Ollie said afterwards. "Ed (Conroy) does a great job with that team. They never get blown out, they’re always in the game. They’re a scrappy bunch and they’ve got three great guards. We just grinded it out, and they make you play that way.

Every possession, every cut, they’re not taking bad shots. They run their offense real well. It was a great test for us. I think we passed it. Hopefully, we’ll get some momentum on our side going to ECU.”

Ollie shuffled his lineup and it paid off; big man Phil Nolan got the nod over guard Terrence Samuel. And Calhoun, who is still looking to regain the form that saw him have so much success as a freshman, took advantage of his minutes.

"We had a talk about what we're committed to, these last five games, and what we need to do to win," Calhoun said. "[Ollie] wants me to commit on defense, and that will help me stay on the court where I can produce offensively."

Freshman Daniel Hamilton, who might be the second-best player on the roster after Boatright, added: "We're playing with a sense of urgency, and I like the ball in my hand a lot, because I can make plays, not just scoring. I can make passes, I can do different stuff. Whatever is available, whatever the defense gives me."

Next up: UConn travels to Greenville, North Carolina to face ECU on Wednesday.

Photo Credit: Getty Images]]>
<![CDATA[Back9Network Suspends Operations]]> Mon, 23 Feb 2015 20:52:15 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/Backnine00000000.jpg

The Hartford-based Back9Network golf lifestyle network has suspended operations "due to a temporary shortfall in capital," according to a statement from the network Monday.

"Management and the board of directors are planning next steps and will continue their efforts to secure long-term, operating capital," the network said in a statement.

The network plans to update the public with "any new developments," the network said.

The state gave financial assistance to Back9Network, Inc., helping create 10 jobs and to retain 40, according to the state's business assistance website. The Back9Network was given $5,000,000 worth of loans in 2013 to start up in Downtown Hartford last year by the state and is supposed to be geared towards the sport of golf, but the video has nothing to with sports.

The media company was under fire in November 2013 after a video full of profanity and sexual references was posted on its website for the network’s show called “What She Said” in which the host answers viewer questions about their personal issues and her responses are vulgar. Taxpayers complained about the content because state money was used to help start the business.

The President of the Back 9 Network, Carlos Silva pulled the video from the website, and previously  told NBC Connecticut, managers did not approve it and he disciplined the workers involved.

The state agency that helped fund the network said the content of the video was inappropriate and offensive, and was glad the company apologized.

<![CDATA[Social Reaction to Chargers-Raiders Stadium News]]> Fri, 20 Feb 2015 16:33:25 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/chargers+raiders+stadium+rendering+13.jpg

News that rival professional football teams the San Diego Chargers and the Oakland Raiders are joining forces on a proposal that could have them share a Southern California stadium surprised many when it broke late Thursday.

By Friday, some players and officials had taken to Twitter to share their thoughts on the plan to build a $1.7 billion stadium in Carson, California, if the teams' efforts to construct their own new venues in their respective hometowns fall through.

Here's a look at some of the reaction seen so far:  

Shareece Wright, starting cornerback for the Chargers tweeted: 

Kevin Faulconer, mayor of San Diego had a four part message to share: 

Shawne Merriman, former Chargers linebacker said: 

Corey Liuget, the defensive end of the Chargers said: 

Photo Credit: MANICA Architecture
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<![CDATA[UConn Football's 2015 Schedule Released]]> Fri, 20 Feb 2015 13:17:28 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/uconn+diaco+temple.jpg

Bob Diaco enters his second season as the Huskies coach and he desperately wants to improve on his inaugural 2-10 mark. On Thursday, the American Athletic Conference unveiled UConn's 2015 schedule.

The highlights, via the news release:

The Huskies' 12-game slate includes eight league match-ups and six home contests at Rentschler Field. Kickoff times and television information will be announced at a later date.

The American will feature divisional play for the first time this season. The Huskies square off against each of the other five members of the East division as well as three crossover opponents from the West. The East Division includes UCF, Cincinnati, UConn, East Carolina, USF and Temple. The entire West Division is Houston, Memphis, Navy, SMU, Tulane and Tulsa.

The Huskies' 2015 schedule features games against eight teams that played in bowl and playoff games last season.

2015 UConn Football Schedule

Thu., Sept. 3 Villanova
Sat., Sept. 12 Army
Sat., Sept. 19 at Missouri
Sat., Sept. 26 Navy *
Fri., Oct. 2 at BYU (ESPN/ESPN2/ESPNU)
Sat., Oct. 10 at UCF *
Sat., Oct. 17 USF *
Sat., Oct. 24 at Cincinnati *
Fri., Oct. 30 East Carolina * (ESPNU)
Sat., Nov. 7 at Tulane *
Sat., Nov. 21 Houston *
Sat., Nov. 28 at Temple *

* American Athletic Conference Game

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[Memphis Drops UConn, 75-72]]> Fri, 20 Feb 2015 13:15:29 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/kevin-ollie-2013season.jpg

Senior point guard Ryan Boatright didn't mince words in the days leading up to Thursday's AAC showdown with Memphis when he said the Huskies were going to have to win the AAC Tournament to get their invite to the Big Dance.

By Friday, those sentiments were truer than ever after the Tigers outlasted the Huskies, 75-72 at the FedEx Forum. Boatright, the conference's leading scorer and UConn's unquestioned leader, scored just seven points on 2-of-6 shooting.

"They were playing a box-and-one on him," coach Kevin Ollie explained, via the New Haven Register. "If he’s gonna take bad shots all night, I don’t want him to do that. They weren’t focusing on Daniel, and Daniel played a tremendous game."

That would be freshman Daniel Hamilton, who scored a career-high 25 points, but this last shot -- a three-pointer at the buzzer -- didn't connect. Still, Ollie was impressed with what he saw.

“He had a tremendous game, almost a triple-double, had some rebounds, had some bad turnovers, though," Ollie said of the freshman. "He got in that four-hole, he was aggressive, he was shooting, still had great vision with seven assists. We want him to keep playing like that, and hopefully Boat can come back and play his type of game. ...

"We’ve all seen Daniel do things like this -- not to this capacity yet in his career -- but he’s a wonderful player," Ollie continued. "I just like how he gets to the boards. He’s about 185 (pounds), and he’s leading the conference in rebounding. Hopefully this is a confidence-builder for him. Hopefully Ryan can come back and play a great game. Hopefully this takes a little pressure off Ryan.”

Memphis 58 percent in the first half and led by as much as 13 before a late UConn rally cut the lead to 39-33 at the break. The Huskies kept it close over the final 20 minutes, and Amida Brimah's two free throws with 19 seconds to go made it 72-70.

"Amida came in and played tremendous," Ollie said. "They had three guys on Ryan most of the night. We don’t want him forcing shots. We’ve got to get him out on the fast break.”

This has been a theme all season, and one that has to change if the Huskies are want to play in the NCAA Tournament.

<![CDATA[SoCal City Wants Joint NFL Stadium]]> Fri, 20 Feb 2015 21:08:46 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/carson-stadium.gif

A $1.7 billion NFL stadium next to one of the busiest highways in America could draw two California football teams to Los Angeles, if their cities don't provide them better facilities at home.

The San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders support the proposal, revealed Thursday, to build a 72,000-seat arena next to the 405 Freeway in Carson that would host both teams. Each has been in protracted negotiations with their respective cities to build more modern accommodations than the 1960s-era stadiums they play in now.

On Friday, elected officials from Carson, a city between Los Angeles and Long Beach, announced wide community support to build the huge stadium complex on an empty, 168-acre lot in the city. A local coalition, Carson2gether, backs this latest proposal to bring a team to Los Angeles.

"If you can't work it out with your cities, we welcome you with open arms here in Carson," Congresswoman Janice Hahn said at what amounted to a pep rally to show community support.

"We will give you a beautiful new stadium, we will give you fans like you've never had before," Hahn continued.

Representatives from the Chargers and Raiders didn't appear at the rally in Carson. For the most part, the local politicians and community leaders who spoke focused on the Carson community, which must approve the stadium through a ballot measure.

The teams, which have both played full seasons in LA before, stressed in a joint statement released Thursday that they were working with their current cities to "find permanent stadium solutions that are publicly acceptable."

"If we cannot find a permanent solution in our home markets, we have no alternative but to preserve other options to guarantee the future economic viability of our franchises," the teams said.

Oakland reaction: "It would be a great blow"

San Diego reaction: "That’s not how you do business

After years without an NFL team, Los Angeles suddenly has an abundant set of options with a range of backers, from a major sports development group to a current NFL owner, making a Los Angeles NFL team a likelier prospect that it's been in decades -- though certainly not a guarantee.

The National Football League has long wanted a football team in Los Angeles, a huge market for television viewers, where it hasn't had one since 1994, when the Raiders returned to Oakland. The league set up a committe on Los Angeles, according to the Chargers-Raiders statement.

The Chargers and the Raiders have both been publicly courting moves because both play in outdated stadiums -- Qualcomm Stadium and O.co Coliseum, respectively. Meanwhile, the Oakland situation is even more complicated because there have been talks about the Raiders sharing a venue with the Oakland A's baseball team at new stadiums on the same site.

Any team that relocates to LA would need its proposal approved by three-fourths of the NFL's owners, according to the Chargers-Raiders statement.

NBC Bay Area's Lisa Fernandez contributed to this report.

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<![CDATA[Blackhawks Surprise Girl Scout]]> Thu, 19 Feb 2015 19:09:45 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/235*120/blackhawks9.jpg

The Chicago Blackhawks have made it a habit of surprising fans in new and exciting ways, but they somehow managed to find a new one as teammates Andrew Shaw and Jonathan Toews brightened one little Girl Scout’s day.

Alexis got the thrill of her life when she met up with Shaw at the Palace Grill near the United Center, and from there she went to Toews’ condo with one mission in mind: to sell him boxes of Girl Scout cookies.

Watch the video to see her pitch to the Blackhawks' captain.

We’ll have to stay tuned on whether or not she gets to meet up with Patrick Sharp.

This story uses functionality that may not work in our app. Click here to open the story on our mobile site.]]>
<![CDATA[Curious Crow Videobombs Stadium Cam]]> Fri, 20 Feb 2015 10:51:37 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/214*120/2015-02-19_18-19-37.jpg

You might say one fan already has a bird’s eye view of Saturday’s stadium series NHL game at Levi’s in Santa Clara.

A timelapse video of the Levi's stadium being turned into a hockey arena for the upcoming San Jose Sharks and Los Angeles Kings hockey game got a surprise cameo by one curious crow. 

The camera caught the black bird checking out the digs and crowing at the camera.

Face-off is set for Saturday night, but for this bird, face-time couldn't wait.

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<![CDATA[Auriemma Explains Williams' Playing Time]]> Thu, 19 Feb 2015 12:49:22 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP884776180431.jpg

Coach Geno Auriemma is forever preaching consistency and earning his trust when it comes to playing time. We've seen it with Breanna Stewart, arguably college basketball's best player, and we've seen it with Saniya Chong, who has seen her playing time increase in recent weeks.

But it doesn't fully explain why freshman Gabby Williams, who has played important minutes for much of the season, only saw four minutes of action against then-No. 1 South Carolina last week.

"It's a tough thing," senior Kaleena Mosqueda-Lewis said, via the Hartford Courant. "Gabby had been playing so well. She was feeling as if she was ready to go. But sometimes in a game like that, it's not so much about physical ability, how you have performed in the past, but where you are mentally at that moment. The South Carolina game was one where you needed to be mentally prepared.

"Coach needs to feel he can trust you on a consistent basis. And it's just hard, at this point of the season, for him to feel like he can trust everyone in a game like that one. When you are playing an opponent as competitive as South Carolina, I can understand Coach perhaps feeling iffy about whom he wanted in the game."

It wasn't lost on Auriemma that Williams was sitting on the bench, but he says her presence there had more to do with how the game was unfolding.

"(Williams) did not deserve to not play in that game. Her performance was not an issue. It was never a situation where I determined that she did not deserve to play. It wasn't even close to that.

"It was just that those guys (starters) had it going so well, they were in such a rhythm against South Carolina, that I wasn't sure I wanted to disrupt it. So it wasn't a knock against Gabby as much as it was a vote (of confidence) in those who were already there. We had something special going and I just didn't want to mess with it."

Either way, Williams understands where her coach is coming from.

"I don't know if disappointed is the right word because your team had just beaten the No. 1 team in the country who was undefeated," Williams said. "I feel like we all won. But it was a wake-up call. I've been going great, but it still hasn't been enough. I need to do better. That's just how it is in this program.

"I didn't talk to him about it. I don't think the right way to go is to beg him for playing time. That's not the kind of behavior this program wants. All I can do is find a way to get him to trust me. I understand you have to wait your time, make way for the experienced players.

"But at the same time, I'm not going to be satisfied to just sit on my butt and wait for it to happen. I'm going to do what's necessary to change it."

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Verducci: Diaco Can Rebuild Huskies]]> Thu, 19 Feb 2015 12:46:15 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/bob+diaco+uconn+pumped.jpg

Bob Diaco hired offensive coordinator Frank Verducci earlier this month, but the two men go way back.

"I have known him since he was 15 years old and it's almost, I wouldn't say a father, but a big brother and uncle watching him rise through the ranks," Verducci said of UConn's second-year coach, via the New Haven Register. "We share a common vision. For me to be able to come in here and mesh that vision with his and carry that vision to the offense, I am excited about that.

"His father and my dad were best friends, his older brothers played their entire high school career for my dad so I have known his family forever it seems like. I have watched his career and I couldn't be more proud of him."

Diaco is coming off a two-win season, and the Huskies have had one of the worst offenses in FBS for several years now (dating back to before Diaco's tenure in Storrs began in Dec. 2013). Still, Diaco has been preaching patience as he rebuilds the program, and Verducci has every expectation that Diaco will pull off this turnaround.

"He is the most sincere guy I have ever worked with," Verducci said, via the Register. "He is going to tell you the good and the bad, now it is up to you to digest it and move forward from there. He has tremendous energy and he has what all the great coaches have, he has tremendous passion. He has, for a lack of a better term, the complete package. We all share his vision and our job is to impart the message.

"He is truly a self-made man. He got started as a graduate assistant when I was at Iowa. I had hoped in some way that we would work together at some point and this is just a wonderful situation to share in his vision. I was aware there were going to be some changes on the staff and I followed the season closely, I understood what the difficulties had been so we talked about it. Coach is very big on chemistry and it was evident when I came here."

We're get our first look at the Huskies in Year 2 under Diaco next month when spring practice starts.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut]]>
<![CDATA[Boatright: We're Going To Have To Win the AAC Tourney]]> Thu, 19 Feb 2015 12:37:49 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/217*120/AP1201238715.jpg

From here on out, every game is a big game for the Huskies. At 14-10 (7-5 in the AAC) and with six regular-season matchups remaining, there is no margin for error. This development isn't news to senior point guard Ryan Boatright, who said Wednesday, "It's no secret, we're going to have to win the (AAC) tournament."

Cue the Sam Elliott voiceover of "The longest journey starts with the first step..." because we've seen this movie before. The only question is how will this one end. As it stands, UConn look like the longest of shots to do what they did with Kemba Walker in 2011 and Shabazz Napier last season.

“It’s irritating, it’s frustrating," Boatright said of the season to date, via the New Haven Register. But it’s my job, as the captain of this team, to stay with it and stay positive.

 “I’m always confident going into a game," he continued. "It’s gonna be a tough game. You can’t look past anybody. They haven’t had a great season as well. They’re hungry to get a win, just like us. We’re on the road, where we have trouble. It’s gonna be a tough game. We’ve got to go in there and have the right mindset.”

The Huskies face Memphis at the FedEx Forum Tuesday at 9 p.m.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Elite Jumping Horses of Cuba ]]> Thu, 19 Feb 2015 11:32:39 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/AP247924812525_CubaHorses.jpg Already renowned for fine rum and fancy cigars, Cuba is carving out a new luxury niche that is attracting Latin American elites to the communist-run island: elite jumping horses.

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[Juniors Reach 100-Win Milestone]]> Wed, 18 Feb 2015 13:12:11 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/uconn-AP967109896261.jpg

Another game, another blowout win for the Huskies, this time an 85-26 decision over Houston. The victory moves UConn to 25-1 on the season -- the 22nd consecutive season the team has won at least 25 games -- and it also gives the junior class 100 career victories in Storrs.

That means Breanna Stewart, Morgan Tuck and Moriah Jefferson -- three of Geno Auriemma's most important contributors -- have been part of 100 wins since arriving on campus in the summer of 2012.

“With Stewie, Moriah, and Morgan, you’re talking about three of the best players in the country coming out of high school and three of the best players in college today,” UConn coach Geno Auriemma said, via SNY.com's Carl Adamec. “It goes with the territory. If you look back and say, wow, these guys won X-number of games, it probably traces back to when they were in high school they were pretty good. They won a lot of games in high school, they won a lot of games in AAU, and they won a lot of games with USA Basketball. They’ve won a lot of games everywhere they’ve been. I’m proud of them because they’ve been pretty consistent every year they’ve been here.

“We had this celebration a little while back about 900 wins. Those two things kind of go together, don’t they? You have a lot of really good players that win a lot of games year after year after year. The thing is, and we talk about this all the time, is the consistency that we have day-in, day-out, year-in, year-out. Things don’t waver that much at Connecticut. We try to live up to a certain standard that we set a long time ago. Every class that comes in here as freshmen get to see it. It doesn’t mean everyone will be able to do it, and I’m sure they’ve had some help along the way. It’s no coincidence that all those junior classes had a lot of help along the way.”

Photo Credit: AP]]>
<![CDATA[UConn, Syracuse Spar Over Twitter]]> Wed, 18 Feb 2015 12:53:42 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/213*120/uconn+snow_1200.jpg

Syracuse and UConn have a lot of history between them, almost all of it coming when they were both part of the Big East. Now the Huskies are in the American Athletic Conference and the Orange are in the Atlantic Coast Conference ... but that doesn't mean that can't engage in a little good-natured trash talk.

UConn got the proverbial ball rolling with this tweet from Tuesday morning:

Obviously, Syracuse wasn't going to let that slide.

And UConn, seeing an opportunity, pounced.

Okay, that was cold. That said, there's no chance the two teams will get a chance to meet on the court this postseason to solve their differences; UConn is still struggling with consistency while the Orange have already declared themselves ineligible for tournament play.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut
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<![CDATA[Free Red Sox Tickets? Pick up a Shovel in Snow-Battered Boston]]> Wed, 18 Feb 2015 11:52:21 -0500 http://media.nbcconnecticut.com/images/180*120/462343178.jpg

Helping Boston shovel out from under feet of snow could score you free Red Sox tickets.

Fans who clear out five snow-buried fire hydrants sometime between now and 3 p.m. Wednesday, Feb. 18 could be rewarded with a pair of Sox tickets.

Eligible fire hydrants are those located in the city of Boston, including associated neighborhoods. Only In Boston and The Boston Calendar, which partnered with the Sox on the offer, will give out Sox tickets as long as supplies allow.

For complete information on how to participate, click here.

Meanwhile, some location fire departments are issuing challenges of their own.

If you shovel a hydrant in Natick, Massachusetts, and tweet the picture of you and the hydrant to @NatickFire with the hashtag #HydrantChallenge, you could win a Natick Fire Department sweatshirt, and dinner with the firefighters.

A similar initiative is going on in Brookline, Massachusetts. And, you could win a T-shirt. Tweet your photos to @BrooklineFD with the hashtag #HydrantChallenge.

Photo Credit: FILE - Getty Images]]>