Kings triumph over Delfino, Bucks 97-90

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Kings triumph over Delfino, Bucks 97-90

March 23, 2011BOXSCORE KINGS VIDEONBAPAGE NBASCOREBOARD
MILWAUKEE (AP) John Salmons tried and failed to come up with just how the Milwaukee Bucks could come up with such a poor effort against the Sacramento Kings with the playoffs still seemingly within reach."It's a shame," he said. "That's all I'll say, it's a shame."Marcus Thornton scored 27 points, Beno Udrih added 25 and the Kings beat Milwaukee 97-90 Wednesday night to damage the Bucks' fading playoff hopes. Milwaukee (28-42) fell three games behind Indiana for the eighth and final spot in the Eastern Conference with 12 left to play after the Pacers won earlier in the night."We just didn't have the type of intensity and focus you'd like to see and understanding the enormity of the game, we were kind of passive," Bucks coach Scott Skiles said. "It hurts for sure."Sacramento has won two of three on this five-game road trip and rebounded from an ugly 40-point loss to Chicago on Monday night, the Kings' worst in more than two years. Kings coach Paul Westphal said he challenged his young team after the blowout to the Bulls."I think they heard me in the second half. We really did crank up our defense," the coach said. "We got some really good performances from our backcourt, but mostly it was our defense and our rebounding in the second half that won it for us. It was first class."Milwaukee's Carlos Delfino scored 30 points for the second consecutive game to again match his career high, but had 22 of them in the first half.The Kings, who are expected to get Tyreke Evans back for Friday's game at Indiana, got contributions from all over, including 13 points from DeMarcus Cousins and 11 points and 12 rebounds for Samuel Dalembert to snap Milwaukee's two-game winning streak."Mixing Tyreke in there gives us a very strong backcourt rotation," Westphal said. "The way Beno and Marcus are playing, it shows we have a chance to have a really, really good backcourt."Andrew Bogut scored 15 points, Luc Richard Mbah a Moute had 11 and rookie Larry Sanders added 10 despite back spasms for Milwaukee, but the Bucks' schedule gets much harder from here.They play at New York on Friday and have a home game with Chicago on Saturday.Salmons, who started 1 for 9, hit a 3 that gave Milwaukee a 79-78 lead early in the fourth quarter, but finished 3 of 14 for the game as Milwaukee faded away."That's a shame, too," Salmons said. "I didn't feel in rhythm from the beginning for whatever reason."Jason Thompson answered with a big one-handed slam, Thornton had a dunk of his own and Thompson added a layup as Sacramento went ahead 86-81 with 5:44 to play.The Bucks, the worst-shooting, lowest-scoring team in the NBA, went cold at the wrong time, missing six of their final seven shots and committing three turnovers in the final 3:20.Delfino hit a 3 that cut the Kings' lead to 92-90 with 1:11 left, but after a miss by Udrih, Bogut was called for an offensive foul when Milwaukee had a chance to tie.Thornton missed a jumper, but Thompson grabbed the offensive rebound and Udrih was fouled with 18 seconds left and Sacramento hit five of their last six free throws to end it."We aren't going to just quit on the season," Thompson said. "We want to finish strong."Thornton, acquired from New Orleans with cash in exchange for Carl Landry this year, continued his run of strong performances, scoring in double figures for the 14th time in the last 15 games.Sacramento began the trip with a 32-point win at Minnesota before losing by 40 at Chicago.They rebounded in a big way against Milwaukee and should be even better when they get back Evans, the reigning NBA rookie of the year who has missed the last 19 games with plantar fasciitis in his left foot."It will be great to have him back," Udrih said. "It will be interesting to see how coach is going to divide up the minutes."Notes: Delfino finished 12 of 20 from the field and is 29 of 46 in his last three games, averaging 28.7 points. ... Sanders fell to the court untouched in the final seconds of the first half and had to be helped off by teammates after a back spasm. He returned late in the third quarter. ... Bucks PF Drew Gooden (left foot plantar fasciitis) was active for the first time in six weeks, but did not play. ... Bucks G Michael Redd now expects to play Saturday after initially planning to return on Friday. He has missed 14 months and the better part of two seasons after twice tearing the same ligaments in his left knee.

Hermanson scores 17, No. 22 Saint Mary's beats BYU 70-57

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USATSI

Hermanson scores 17, No. 22 Saint Mary's beats BYU 70-57

PROVO, Utah — Saint Mary's knows all about the raucous atmosphere at BYU. The Gaels hadn't won in Provo since 2013 and had only come out on top in three of their previous 12 trips.

Make it four out of 13.

Calvin Hermanson scored 17 points and No. 22 Saint Mary's cruised to a 70-57 victory over BYU on Saturday night, snapping a three-game road losing streak to its West Coast Conference rival.

"It's definitely one of the tougher places to play for us," Hermanson said. "Coming in here we know it's a huge crowd and we know they can get riled up on any 3-point shot or any run they make. We wanted to try to limit their runs and their big plays.

"The second half was pretty unbelievable how quiet the crowd was. It felt great for us."

With two games remaining on the regular-season schedule, the Gaels (24-3, 14-2) clinched a second-place finish in the conference standings behind top-ranked and undefeated Gonzaga.

Saint Mary's controlled the game most of the night, riding its staunch defense on one end and running efficient offense on the other. The Gaels were able to get to the rim consistently, but also knocked down 10 3-pointers.

BYU (19-10, 10-6) shot 39.7 percent from the field and connected on four 3s.

Evan Fitzner had 15 points for Saint Mary's, including 11 in the second half.

"We didn't turn the ball over and we shot the ball well," Gaels coach Randy Bennett said, "and were able to get some separation and then it made it tough on them. We kind of just wore them out after that.

"We're a little different team with Fitzner out there. He spaces the floor," Bennett added. "We just play a little different with Fitzner out there versus Jock (Landale). It's nice to have a Plan A and Plan B."

Saint Mary's took a 41-30 lead into halftime thanks to Hermanson's hot shooting and plenty of that trademark defense. The Gaels began the day ranked second in the nation in scoring defense, then held the Cougars to 37.9 percent shooting from the field in the first 20 minutes.

Saint Mary's shot 57.1 percent at the other end, including a 3-for-4 effort from Hermanson from behind the arc.

"I feel like we're better than we showed tonight," BYU guard TJ Haws said. "That team made a lot of runs on us. Tough defensive and offensive team. Very poised and disciplined.

"I want our team to just fight. When they punch us in the face, I want us to punch them right back."

BYU kept Landale under control in the half — and in foul trouble throughout — but Saint Mary's scored 22 of its 41 first-half points in the paint.

Eric Mika had 18 points for BYU, and Yoeli Childs added 13.

"The key to the game was that they were comfortable the entire time in our gym," BYU coach Dave Rose said. "That's on us. We need to be ahead. We need to get them to speed up a little bit because they're a little bit uncomfortable.

"But the game went pretty much exactly how they wanted it to go and we couldn't flip it. We couldn't get on top."

BIG PICTURE

Saint Mary's: The Gaels will be the No. 2 seed in the WCC tournament. No. 1 Gonzaga secured the regular-season title Saturday with a win over Pacific. An early December defeat to UT-Arlington is the Gaels' only bad loss this season, with the other two coming against Gonzaga.

BYU: The Cougars likely needed a win against the No. 22 team in the country to make an argument for the NCAA Tournament off their regular-season credentials. BYU has lost all three games against ranked opponents by double digits, including to Saint Mary's twice, and doesn't have a signature win. The Cougars get one last chance against Gonzaga next Saturday.

POLL IMPLICATIONS

No. 22 Saint Mary's might find itself moving up a bit after No. 17 Florida State and No. 21 South Carolina lost on Saturday.

UP NEXT

Saint Mary's: Travel to face Pepperdine on Thursday.

BYU: Play at Portland on Thursday.

Three takeaways: Fourth line leads the way for Sharks in Arizona

Three takeaways: Fourth line leads the way for Sharks in Arizona

For the first time in five tries this season the Sharks managed to secure a regulation win over the last place Coyotes, 4-1 at Gila River Arena on Saturday. They keep their four-point lead over Edmonton, and are assured of going into the bye week in sole possession of first place in the Pacific Division.

Here are our three takeaways from the win…

1 – Burns turns the tide…again

For the second time in a week, Brent Burns changed the momentum of a game with his deadly wrist shot. The Sharks were on their heels early – Arizona had a 16-9 shot advantage in the first period, perhaps jolted be a pregame ceremony – but Burns’ shot through traffic staked the Sharks a 1-0 lead and they were on their way.

“We kind of weathered their storm early,” Joe Pavelski told reporters. “There was a lot of energy in the building.”

It was similar to a game in New Jersey last Sunday, when Burns had a pair of second period goals, erasing a 1-0 deficit and putting his team on the track to victory.

According to Elias, Burns – who added a third period power play goal, too – is the first defenseman to score 18 goals on the road since Paul Coffey’s 22 in 1983-84. His 26 goals equal his total from last season, tying his franchise record.

“He’s having an MVP season,” Pete DeBoer told reporters. “He’s been that good for us all year and it’s every night. I don’t know what else to say. In my mind right now he’s the best player in the league, and we’re happy to have him on our team.”

Burns remains in third in the league in scoring with 63 points, four points behind Edmonton’s Connor McDavid.

2 – Dell gets the job done…again

Getting his second start in a week, Aaron Dell made a new season high (and, thus, career high) with 36 saves. His best stop was early in the second period on Radim Vrbata, when he managed to snag a pin-balling puck from crossing the line, keeping the Sharks ahead 2-0. Had that one trickled over, the Coyotes might have been able to seize the momentum.

“I think I had it the whole time,” Dell told reporters. “I kind of saw it for a second and then when I turned back I was able to find it and scoop it underneath me.”

DeBoer said: “He’s been good every time we’ve put him in there.”

Dell, whose goals-against average is down to 1.95, outplayed Sharks nemesis Mike Smith, who had stopped 121 of 127 San Jose shots in three games this season.

“We got to Smitty in the first period, which was great,” Pavelski said. “We kind of know what he’s done to us the past few games, stopping a lot of pucks. … That was a big key for us.”

3 – Fourth line magic

Through two periods, the Sharks’ top two lines had generated a total of three shots on goal – one each from Joe Thornton, Kevin Labanc and Patrick Marleau.

Fortunately for the big guys, the fourth line was there to pick up the slack. Melker Karlsson posted three points (1g, 2a), Micheal Haley had one goal and one assist, and the fourth line generated all three of San Jose’s goals through 40 minutes.

One goal from the fourth line is a bonus. Three is virtually unheard of. 

“They showed up and played the right way,” DeBoer said. “Right from the drop of the puck they put pucks behind the other teams defense, they had good support, they created a lot of chances, and got rewarded for it. I think Dell and them were the difference in the game early through the first half, until we got going a little bit.”