1 'Cuse survives with help of some questionable calls

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1 'Cuse survives with help of some questionable calls

From Comcast SportsNet
PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Syracuse was missing its starting center. North Carolina-Asheville thought the Orange got help from three men in striped shirts. With Syracuse facing the kind of NCAA tournament history no team wants to make, the top-seeded Orange rallied for a 72-65 victory Thursday in the second round of the East Regional. Two calls by the officials had the sellout crowd of 18,927 at Consol Energy Center -- except for those wearing orange -- booing throughout the final minute but it didn't matter. Syracuse made it 109-0 for No. 1 seeds against No. 16s since the NCAA went to a field of 64 in 1985. "I don't think luck had anything to do with this game today," Syracuse coach Jim Boeheim said, "and I think the better team won." The Orange were staring at NCAA tournament history. A No. 1 seed has never lost to a No. 16 seed, and they were trailing North Carolina-Asheville with just over 6 minutes to play. "We gave it everything we had. We battled the best that we could," Asheville coach Eddie Biedenbach said. "These guys are great. They deserved a better fate than they had today." Syracuse, which won the national championship in 2003, had already made negative history in the tournament, becoming the first No. 2 seed to lose to a 15 when it fell 73-69 to Richmond in 1991. The Orange managed to avoid adding another black mark by holding Asheville to one field goal over the final minute while they went 6 of 7 from the free throw line. Syracuse was playing without 7-foot center Fab Melo, who was declared ineligible for academic reasons by the school and will miss the tournament. "The fact that this game was close had nothing -- nothing -- to do with the center position," Boeheim said. Syracuse (32-2) will play eighth-seeded Kansas State in the third round on Saturday. The Wildcats beat Southern Mississippi 70-64. The Bulldogs (24-10), who talked Wednesday about pulling off the upset, were led by J.P. Primm's 18 points. They led 34-30 at halftime -- the third 16 to do that -- but the Orange took the lead for good with 6:17 left on a turnaround jumper by reserve James Southerland, who had 15 points and a season-high eight rebounds. "James has to continue to make the shots and I think he will," Syracuse guard Scoop Jardine said. "I'm happy for him because he's a big part of our offense and today he showed it." Southerland, who scored 13 points in the second half, had three of the Orange's five 3-pointers. "James came in, gave us a huge lift off the bench," Boeheim said of the 6-foot-8 junior. The Bulldogs got within three points three times in the final 1:04 but could get no closer as Syracuse made its free throws and the officials made a couple of controversial calls. The first call that caused the crowd to react was a lane violation with 1:20 left. Jardine missed the front end of a 1-and-1 but Primm was called for passing the head of the key before Jardine let the shot go. Jardine got to shoot the front end again, made it, and made the second for a 64-58 lead. "They gave me a second chance to make the shot and I made it," Jardine said. "I got myself into a rhythm. I made every free throw from there on out because I do what I practice and believed in myself at that time and made the shots for us." Primm said: "They showed it on the replay, I think the crowd let him know that it wasn't the right call. ... Like I said, when it gets crunch time like that, like I say, everyone is human." With 35 seconds left and the Orange leading 66-63, the ball appeared to go out of bounds off Syracuse's Brandon Triche but the officials pointed the other way and gave it to the Orange. Jardine made two free throws a second later. Coordinator of Officiating John Adams said he would have given the ball to UNC Asheville on the inbounds play. "The out of bounds is not reviewable and it is not a play we would discuss," official Ed Corbett told a pool reporter. "I'm not going to comment further because it is a judgment call. It was a clear (lane) violation. The player released early, before the ball hit the rim. We've since watched the replay 20 times and it was the right call." Boeheim had his own take on the play with Triche. "First of all, all the noise about the ball going out of bounds, I mean, Triche got pushed. That's why it went out of bounds," he said. "Maybe they missed the out of bounds, they missed the foul call. Those things equal out." Inexplicably the Orange kept shooting 3-pointers and missing. Despite having a huge height advantage -- Asheville's talllest starter was 6-foot-5, bigger only than the Syracuse guards -- the Orange kept taking 3s against the Bulldogs' 2-3 zone, which isn't as well known as the one Syracuse has played for decades but was just as effective Thursday. The height advantage didn't do much for the Orange as far as rebounding went either as they had 33, one more than the Bulldogs. Then again, Syracuse was outrebounded by its opponents for the season. "We just played a good 2-3 zone and mixed it up a little bit, playing man-to-man on one possession, zone on the other, just enough to try to keep em off balance," Biedenbach said Kris Joseph and Dion Waiters both had 12 points for Syracuse, which played its fourth game this season without Melo, the Big East defensive player of the year who missed three games in January over academic issues. The Orange are 3-1 without him. "We (would) love to have him, but it's about us playing the game," Jardine said. "We got a lot of guys that stepped up today." Jaron Lane added 16 points and Jeremy Atkinson had 12 for the Bulldogs, whose leading scorer, Matt Dickey, went 1 for 13 from the field, 1 of 9 from 3. Asheville went 9 of 23 from beyond the arc. "The excitement of the game was crazy. It was March Madness at its finest," Dickey said. "It was awesome and we'll cherish this moment and the opportunity that we had but we'll always look back at this moment and say we should have won or could have won, but that's not enough." Other No. 1s have trailed a 16 at halftime, the last Kansas, which was behind by two points before going on to beat Holy Cross 70-59 in 2002. There have been two one-point wins by No. 1s over 16s -- Georgetown over Princeton and Oklahoma over East Tennessee State, both in 1989. And there was one two-point game -- Purdue over Western Carolina in 1996 -- and one that went overtime -- Michigan State 75-71 over Murray State in 1990. Boeheim earned his 46th win in the NCAA tournament, breaking a tie with Bob Knight for seventh on the career list.

49ers awarded fourth-round compensatory pick

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49ers awarded fourth-round compensatory pick

The 49ers were awarded a compensatory pick in the fourth round of the April draft, the NFL announced on Friday.

The 49ers’ additional pick – No. 37 in the fourth round and No. 143 overall – is a result of the team losing guard Alex Boone in free agency last year to the Minnesota Vikings. The 49ers had no qualifying free-agent gains, according to the league.

“Under the rules for compensatory draft selections, a team losing more or better compensatory free agents than it acquires in the previous year is eligible to receive compensatory draft picks,” the NFL stated in announcing the 32 compensatory selections.

Compensatory picks are determined by a formula based on salary, playing time and postseason honors.

Compensatory picks can be traded this year for the first time.

The NFL draft is scheduled for April 27-29 in Philadelphia. Here are the compensatory picks announced by the NFL with Round, No. in round, and No. overall:

Compensatory picks
3-33-97 Miami
3-34-98 Carolina
3-35-99 Baltimore
3-36-100 Los Angeles Rams
3-37-101 Denver
3-38-102 Seattle
3-39-103 Cleveland
3-40-104 Kansas City
3-41-105 Pittsburgh
3-42-106 Seattle
3-43-107 New York Jets

4-32-138 Cincinnati
4-33-139 Cleveland
4-35-141* Los Angeles Rams
4-36-142 Cleveland
4-37-143 San Francisco
4-38-144 Indianapolis
5-33-178 Cincinnati
5-34-179 Denver
5-35-180 Miami
5-36-181 Arizona
5-37-182 Kansas City
5-38-183 Cleveland
5-39-184 Green Bay
5-40-185 New England
5-41-186 Miami

6-33-218 Kansas City
6-34-219 Cincinnati
6-35-220 Kansas City

7-33-253 Cincinnati
7-34-254 Denver
7-35-255 Denver

* As the result of League discipline, the New York Giants’ original selection in Round 4 (4-23-130) has been relegated to selection 4-34-140. Because that pick is a regular selection, it does not appear on the above list of compensatory draft selections.

The compensatory free agents lost and signed in 2016 by the clubs that will receive compensatory picks in the 2017 draft:

ARIZONA
Lost: Johnson, Rashad; Larsen, Ted; Massie, Bobby; Sowell, Bradley; Weatherspoon, Sean; White, Corey
Gained: Branch, Tyvon; Mathis, Evan

BALTIMORE
Lost: Osemele, Kelechi; Schaub, Matt; Upshaw, Courtney
Gained: Watson, Benjamin; Weddle, Eric

CAROLINA
Lost: Norman, Josh; Nortman, Brad
Gained: Gradkowski, Gino

CINCINNATI
Lost: Jones, Marvin; Lamur, Emmanuel; Nelson, Reggie; Sanu, Mohamed; Smith, Andre
Gained: None

CLEVELAND
Lost: Bademosi, Johnson; Benjamin, Travis; Gipson, Tashaun; Mack, Alex; Robertson, Craig; Schwartz, Mitchell
Gained: Davis, Demario

DENVER
Lost: Bruton, David; Davis, Vernon; Harris, Ryan; Jackson, Malik; Mathis, Evan; Osweiler, Brock; Trevathan, Danny
Gained: Crick, Jared; Okung, Russell; Stephenson, Donald

GREEN BAY
Lost: Hayward, Casey; Tolzien, Scott
Gained: None

INDIANAPOLIS
Lost: Fleener, Coby; Freeman, Jerrell; Lowery, Dwight
Gained: Robinson, Patrick; Tolzien, Scott

KANSAS CITY
Lost: Allen, Jeff; Branch, Tyvon; Daniel, Chase; Smith, Sean; Stephenson, Donald
Gained: Schwartz, Mitchell

LOS ANGELES RAMS
Lost: Fairley, Nick; Jenkins, Janoris; McLeod, Rodney
Gained: None

MIAMI
Lost: Matthews, Rishard; Miller, Lamar; Shelby, Derrick; Sheppard, Kelvin; Vernon, Olivier
Gained: Abdul-Quddus; Isa, Branch, Andre

NEW ENGLAND
Lost: Hicks, Akiem; Wilson, Tavon
Gained: McClellin, Shea

NEW YORK JETS
Lost: Davis, Demario; Harrison, Damon; Ivory, Chris
Gained: Forte, Matt; McLendon, Steve

PITTSBURGH
Lost: Beachum, Kelvin; Blake, Antwon; Johnson, Will; McLendon, Steve; Spence, Sean
Gained: Green, Ladarius; Harris, Ryan

SAN FRANCISCO
Lost: Boone, Alex
Gained: None

SEATTLE
Lost: Irvin, Bruce; Mebane, Brandon; Okung, Russell; Sweezy, J.R.
Gained: Sowell, Bradley; Webb, J'Marcus

Versatility could help Wendle in crowded A's infield

Versatility could help Wendle in crowded A's infield

MESA, Ariz. — He committed to winter ball for the opportunity to play third base. Instead, Joey Wendle wound up playing lots of shortstop for Yaquis de Obregon in the Mexican League.

It all served the same purpose — make the A’s second baseman more versatile for an organization that values versatility more than ever.

A glance at the numbers shows Wendle faces an uphill battle to make the 25-man roster. Oakland has veteran Jed Lowrie slated to start at second base, and Adam Rosales was brought on board to be the utility infielder. But Wendle made a strong impression in September during his first major league call-up, and he’ll fight to make the A’s infield roster decision a tough one.

“It’s the same approach I’ve always kept,” Wendle said Friday morning. “Just continue focusing on what I can do and playing my game. That’s really all I can control. Everything else is up to the front office and coaching staff. If I do what I feel I’m capable of, I think I’ll put myself in a good position to help the team out at some point this year.”

The A’s like the strides the 26-year-old Wendle has made defensively at second since being acquired from Cleveland in December 2014. He hit .260 with one homer and 11 RBI in 28 games in September, serving as a leadoff man for much of that time.

Manager Bob Melvin likes the fact that Wendle got experience over the winter playing on the left side of the diamond. Wendle found out when he arrived in Mexico that a shortstop originally slated to play for Obregon didn’t pan out, so he got substantial time at short over the course of his 34 games.

“I think just playing the position, understanding what the shortstop has to go through as a second baseman helps you,” Melvin said. “Seeing the game from the other side of the diamond, having to make different throws. He’s a pretty athletic guy.

“It wouldn’t surprise me if he could do it. And if you’re keeping one extra infielder and now you can add the position to your repertoire, it gives you another chance to stay at the big league level.”

Wendle took only four or five days off at the end of last season before heading to Mexico, so his 2016 season essentially stretched into late November. He and his wife, Lindsey, lounged on a beach near Obregon to celebrate their second anniversary, but by the time he finished winter ball, Wendle was “pretty fried” in his words.

But he arrived at camp refreshed and ready to compete for a roster spot.

“Until a player makes it to the major leagues, there’s a big question mark in his head as to whether he can do it or not,” Wendle said. “(The September call-up) was big for me. I think I proved to myself to an extent that at least I’m capable of playing at that level. Obviously, it’s a game of adjustments, so the ability to do that is going to be huge if I get another opportunity up there.”