Dalembert, Thornton lead Kings to rout of Wolves

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Dalembert, Thornton lead Kings to rout of Wolves

March 20, 2011BOXSCORE KINGS VIDEONBAPAGE NBASCOREBOARD
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) The Sacramento Kings were still smarting from a humbling beat down the previous game when they walked into Target Center to face the Timberwolves in a matchup of the two worst teams in the West.
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They responded with an emphatic performance, handing the Wolves a defeat that could linger in Minnesota for quite a while, too.Samuel Dalembert had 26 points and 17 rebounds, and Marcus Thornton added 23 points, nine assists and eight boards to lead the Kings to a 127-95 victory over the Timberwolves on Sunday.Rookie DeMarcus Cousins was ejected in the third quarter after shoving Martell Webster, but the Kings went on a 21-0 run without him. The Kings picked up their 17th win of the season, tying them with the Wolves for fewest in the West."We had our worst game of the year last game and our guys responded extremely well tonight," coach Paul Westphal said, referring to a 22-point loss at home to Philadelphia on Friday. "I was happy for the effort."There was no such effort from the Wolves in the second-biggest home loss in franchise history.Luke Ridnour scored 22 points for the Wolves, who played most of the game without All-Star Kevin Love. He left in the second quarter with an injured left groin and finished with three rebounds and no points in 14 minutes.Michael Beasley scored 13 points, but played just 14 minutes while still dealing with a sore left hip from a flagrant foul committed by the Lakers' Andrew Bynum on Friday.Listless throughout, the Wolves were outrebounded 47-27, turned the ball over 25 times and allowed the Kings to shoot 56 percent, one game after taking the Lakers to the wire in Los Angeles. RELATED: Lakers hold off Timberwolves, 106-98
"As part of being professionals, you have to learn how to play every game the same," Wolves forward Anthony Tolliver said. "Unfortunately we don't. A lot of guys on this team don't bring it every night. It's something that we all have to work on."The Kings were short-handed as well. They have played the last 17 games without point guard Tyreke Evans, who has been out with plantar fasciitis in his left foot. And Cousins, who was averaging 18.8 points and 11.8 rebounds in his previous nine games, was given an early exit after losing his cool yet again.Cousins got into a confrontation in the third quarter after getting tangled with Ridnour while setting a screen. Ridnour took exception and shoved Cousins, who pushed back.Minnesota's Nikola Pekovic stepped in and pushed Cousins out of the way. When Webster got near the area, Cousins shoved him as well, and referee Bob Delaney tossed Cousins from the game. He finished with three points and one rebound.Ridnour received a technical foul as well."I don't really understand what happened," Cousins said. "I got pushed and I pushed back. I shouldn't have reacted that way. ... I was just setting a screen. I don't know."It's the second time Cousins has been ejected in a rookie season that has seen several discipline issues. He was fined by the team and missed a game in February after fighting with a teammate and also has gotten into a few verbal altercations with coaches and teammates.The Kings didn't need him to snap a five-game road losing streak, thanks to 33 points scored off of turnovers and a 42-20 fourth quarter.After Beasley's free throw trimmed the deficit to 81-75 with 48 seconds to go in the third, the Kings made their move.Donte Greene scored seven points during the surge and the Wolves turned it over four times. Beno Udrih capped it with a jumper that gave them a 102-75 lead. Minnesota didn't get on the board in the fourth until just under seven minutes remained."It was kind of looked like it was going downhill when I got ejected," Cousins said. "It ended up they did a great job in the fourth quarter."Beasley appeared agitated and distracted from the outset. He thought he was fouled on a drive to the basket in the opening minutes but didn't get a call and proceeded to complain loudly to assistant coach J.B. Bickerstaff as he headed back down the court.Once there, Beasley was given a technical foul for griping to the officials. He picked up his second personal foul in short order and spent all but five minutes of the first half on the bench."Us as teammates, we have to keep each other accountable," Tolliver said, speaking in general and not specifically about Beasley. "It's everybody's fault because we allow it to happen."NOTES: Darko Milicic had 13 points and six rebounds for Minnesota. ... Kings backup PG Pooh Jeter scored 13 points and added six assists. ... Timberwolves owner Glen Taylor presented Love with a ball honoring his 53-game double-double streak in the first home game since it came to an end. It's the longest streak since 1973-74.

Stanford tops North Carolina on PKs, advances to NCAA final

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USATSI

Stanford tops North Carolina on PKs, advances to NCAA final

HOUSTON — For the second straight season, Stanford found itself depending on penalty kicks to advance to the College Cup final.

Like last season, the Cardinal came out on top. After each team converted its first nine attempts in the tiebreaker, Amir Bashti made it 10-for-10 for Stanford. Tar Heels defender Alex Comsia then sent his try over the crossbar to end it, giving Stanford a 10-9 win.

"They had just as many good chances as us, and it could have been a 1-0 game either way," Stanford coach Jeremy Gunn said.

Stanford (14-3-5) will face Wake Forest in the College Cup final on Sunday in search of its second straight national championship.

"It's not his fault. We could have done things in the game to have his back," North Carolina defender Colton Storm said of Comsia's miss. "It could have been any of us."

"It's the nature of the game," North Carolina coach Carlos Somoano said. "Sometimes they go in, sometimes they don't. Sometimes there's moments you seize the moments, and sometimes it runs away from you."

North Carolina (14-3-4) had the two best chances of the game. Late in the second half, forward Alan Winn was denied by goalkeeper Andrew Epstein, who made a nice save with his legs.

Later, Epstein made the best save of the match in the final seconds of the second overtime on a shot from forward Tucker Hume. After gaining possession in the right side of the 18-yard box, Hume unleashed a shot that Epstein deflected wide with his legs.

"He made the plays to keep the game at 0, and he deserves credit," Somoano said.

After a flurry of corner kicks and a free kick in an attacking area, Stanford had the best opportunity to score in the first overtime on a header from Drew Skundrich, but he put if over goalkeeper James Pyle, who had six saves. Foster Langsdorf, the Stanford goal leader who scored in the team's first three tournament games and has 15 on the season, had three shots and two on goal but was unable to break the deadlock before the game went to penalty kicks.

"Any result like that is going to be tough to swallow," Storm said. "Stanford's a really good team. We each had our chances. National semifinal, it's going to be tough to swallow no matter what."

While Epstein was unable to stop any of North Carolina's penalties in the shootout, his saves late in the game enabled Stanford to continue its quest for a repeat.

"Andy's never really attracted much attention, but when you're his coach you appreciate him," Gunn said. "You can depend on him."

Stanford has won 15 of its last 18 games after starting the season with three ties and a loss. The Cardinal have yet to concede a goal through four tournament games, while North Carolina's season ends after a third consecutive tournament shutout.

After winning the first national championship in program history last season, Gunn praised his team for continuing to push forward this season.

"It's incredible," Gunn said. "You've always got to be optimistic. There's no point in being anything else. We started the year so well in January. I thought, 'These players are so hungry.'"

Rewind: Sharks fall behind early again, lose 3-2 to Ducks

Rewind: Sharks fall behind early again, lose 3-2 to Ducks

ANAHEIM – Spotting a team the first two goals is a difficult recipe for winning hockey games. That’s even truer when you’re the Sharks, and you’re having tremendous difficulty scoring more than two goals on any given night in the first place.

While the Sharks hung with Anaheim in a closely contested game at Honda Center on Friday night, the Ducks got that extra necessary score. Brent Burns and Kevin Labanc answered first period goals by Rickard Rakell and Antoine Vermette, but Hampus Lindholm’s marker with 5:38 to go in the third period was the difference.

For the fifth time in their last six, and ninth in their last 12, San Jose's scuffling offense couldn’t eclipse the two-goal plateau in a 3-2 defeat.

Coach Pete DeBoer said giving up the first two scores, like they also did on Wednesday in a similar loss against Ottawa, “is not optimal, obviously. But we battled back, and I thought the game could have gone either way. 

“I give our guys credit for battling back. … We didn't hang our head, we battled, and we're just finding a way to lose right now instead of win, which, we've been winning games like that."

For the second straight game, Sharks captain Joe Pavelski had numerous prime chances but couldn’t find a way to get one. An early third period opportunity stood out among the rest, though, when Pavelski was staring at a wide open net in a 2-2 game from close range.

Typically that’s an automatic score for Pavelski, who led the league in game-winners last season. But this time, it went five feet wide.

“Kind of rolls up, catches the blade, and it’s not even close,” Pavelski said. “Those are the moments you’ve got to cash in on. I haven’t done that.”

The Sharks’ best stretch came early in the second period, when they outskated the Ducks and peppered Jonathan Bernier while trailing, 2-1. The Ducks goalie turned them all away until Labanc squeezed one through at 8:40 after the rookie was nicely set up by linemate Logan Couture.

“He didn’t give me much room. You just want to get that off as quick as you can,” Labanc said. “Just took a quick shot, and it went in the net.”

In a game of momentum swings, though, the Ducks outplayed San Jose in the third. They took the lead when Joel Ward gave Lindholm a little too much room to pick his spot on a wrist shot from the top of the circle.

After looking like they were in good shape after two periods, Labanc thought the Sharks were “a little too confident” headed into the third.

“We stopped skating, stopped dumping the puck in, and working hard in the corners,” he said.

Pavelski bemoaned the fact that for the second straight game, a regulation loss in the final minutes, that the Sharks didn't even manage to get the point in the standings for forcing overtime despite fighting back.

"The last few games you have a chance to at least push it to the end," he said. "We're not giving up a whole lot."

The Sharks nearly did tie the game with Martin Jones pulled for an extra attacker, though. After Burns made a pair of remarkable shot blocks on Andrew Cogliano bidding for an empty netter, DeMelo and Ward each had whacks at the puck, but somehow it remained out. 
 
“A bunch of chaos, really,” is how DeMelo described it. “It was really tight. I think we were just inches away from getting the equalizer.”

Again, though, they just couldn’t find a way to get that third score.

“We were close,” DeBoer said, “but not close enough."