SJSU looking for historic win vs. Navy

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SJSU looking for historic win vs. Navy

The SJSU football team is experiencing one if its best starts to a season in recent history. This weekend, the team will travel to Annapolis, Md. and with a win over Navy, will dabble into the schools all-time record books.The program has never won a game on the East Coast neither has it ever won four games in the month of September. A win Saturday will accomplish both feats for the program that has seen a great amount of improvement this season.Many of our kids have never been to the East Coast in their lives, said head coach Mike MacIntyre, so it will be a great experience all the way around but the most important experience will be going out there and giving all we have to win the football game.The Spartans are a motivated and inspired team coming off a 38-34 win on the road over favored San Diego State this past Saturday. In order for SJSU to grasp its second road win of the season, the defense will need to do a better job stopping the oppositions run game something it did not do well at all against San Diego State.RELATED: SJSU kick returner wins WAC special teams award
Against the Aztecs, the Spartan run defense allowed 271 yards on 55 attempts. This weekend, it will face a triple-option Navy offense coming off a very productive and efficient game in the teams 41-3 over Virginia Military Institute. The Midshipmen run game, which ranks 10th in the nation with 265.7 yards per game, racked up 403 yards on the ground against VMI.MacIntyre knows his run defense will need to step up this Saturday.This week, well have to do our responsibilities and have to make the open field tackles, he said adding, We just need to tackle better, but the running backs have a say in that as well.The triple-option features senior running back Gee Gee Green, sophomore fullback Noah Copeland and junior quarterback Trey Miller, in ranking order of the teams top rushing leaders. Still, the offense cant be predicted to run through either of those three. Eight other offensive players have contributed to 292 yards rushing through the triple-option offense.You cant follow the football, thats what they want you to do with all the deception, MacIntyre said.They have a lot of different schemes. Certain blocking schemes happen and certain guards pull and certain backs are going certain places and when they come to block you have to either fit inside or outside and you have to realize that quick.MacIntyre said forcing the Navy run game to turn the ball over will be crucial to both stopping the Midshipmen offense and winning the game.They kind of methodically go down the field we have to be able to cause turnovers, he said. Thats how youre able to stop an option team. They put the ball on the ground and youre able to hop on it.MacIntyre also said that Navys passing game, which is ranked 118th in the nation, cannot be counted out to contribute to moving the ball against the Spartan defense.They are a better passing team than they were in previous years, he said. I know theyll try and establish the run and do that, but I do know theyll try to exploit us in the passing game as well.We have to fit the run and react to the pass. The offensive line does a good job in selling the run and then all of a sudden its a pass. We have to be aware or else someone is going to pop right up.The team will spend an hour on Friday touring some of the local historical sights in Washington D.C., something MacIntyre said is important for his players to do. He added the tourism wont distract the team at all, in fact he think it could do the opposite.It will make us more focused on being proud of being an American, really, he said. Proud to be able to play the game of football, to go to school and live in a free country. Afterwards, well get into our same routine and go from there.

Former Napa star Josh Jackson leaving Kansas, entering NBA Draft

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Former Napa star Josh Jackson leaving Kansas, entering NBA Draft

LAWRENCE, Kan. -- Josh Jackson declared for the NBA draft on Monday after one of the best freshman seasons in Kansas history, one marked by plenty of highlights on the floor and a few distractions off it.

The 6-foot-8 swingman, who is considered a certain lottery pick, was the Big 12 newcomer of the year after averaging 16.3 points and 7.4 rebounds. He helped the Jayhawks to a 31-5 record and its 13th straight regular season Big 12 title before losing to Oregon in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Tournament.

Jackson signed with former NBA player B.J. Armstrong of Wasserman Media Group.

"After thoroughly consulting with my family, I have decided to enter the 2017 NBA draft and pursue my dream of playing professional basketball," Jackson said in a statement Monday.

"I am very thankful for all of the support I have received from my coaches and teammates at Kansas," he said, "and I look forward to starting my career in the NBA."

Jackson was the nation's No. 1 recruit when he signed with the Jayhawks out of Prolific Prep Academy in California. He immediately earned a spot in the starting lineup, teaming with national player of the year Frank Mason III and Devonte Graham to form one of the nation's top backcourts.

With natural athleticism and ability to slash to the basket - not to mention defensive chops that are rare among freshmen - Jackson quickly established himself as one of the nation's top draft prospects.

His importance was never more evident than in the Big 12 Tournament, when he was suspended by coach Bill Self following a series of off-the-court issues. The top-seeded Jayhawks stumbled in a quarterfinal loss to TCU, ending their run at the conference tournament before it really began.

He returned for the NCAA Tournament and played well in wins over UC Davis, Michigan State and Purdue, but was hamstrung by foul trouble and managed just 10 points in a season-ending loss to the Ducks.

Jackson's suspension came following an incident outside a Lawrence bar in December, when a member of the Kansas women's basketball team got into an altercation with Jackson's teammate, Lagerald Vick.

Jackson followed the woman to the parking lot and the woman said he kicked her car and caused hundreds of dollars in damage. He pleaded not guilty last week in Douglas County District Court to one misdemeanor count of criminal damage to property and a trial is scheduled for May 24.

His attorney, Hatem Chahine, said he was planning to file for diversion.

Jackson also was ticketed in February after he struck a parked car and fled the scene, and that drew Self's ire when he didn't tell his coach about the incident until several weeks later.

His decision to declare for the draft came a week after teammate Svi Mykhailiuk announced he would skip his senior season. But unlike Jackson, the 6-8 sharpshooter has not hired an agent and could withdraw his name by May 24 and return to the Jayhawks.

Redemption: Year after heartbreak, UNC outlasts Gonzaga to win title

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AP

Redemption: Year after heartbreak, UNC outlasts Gonzaga to win title

BOX SCORE

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- It's OK, Carolina, you can open your eyes.

An unwatchable game turned into a beautiful night for the Tar Heels, who turned a free-throw contest into a championship they've been waiting an entire year to celebrate.

Justin Jackson delivered the go-ahead 3-point play with 1:40 left Monday and North Carolina pulled away for a 71-65 win over Gonzaga that washed away a year's worth of heartache.

It was, in North Carolina's words, a redemption tour - filled with extra time on the practice court and the weight room, all fueled by a devastating loss in last year's title game on Kris Jenkins' 3-point dagger at the buzzer for Villanova.

"Just unreal that we get a second chance at this," junior Theo Pinson said, recounting a pre-game conversation with teammate Joel Berry II. "Not a lot of people can say they can do that. I told him, `We're about to take this thing. I'm about to give everything I got.' I knew he would, too, We just didn't want to come up short again."

But to say everything went right for Roy Williams' team at this Final Four would be less than the truth.

The Tar Heels (33-7) followed a terrible-shooting night in the semifinal with an equally ice-cold performance in the final - going 4 for 27 from 3-point land and 26 for 73 overall.

Gonzaga, helped by 8 straight points from Nigel Williams-Goss, took a 2-point lead with 1:52 left, but the next possession was the game-changer.

Jackson took a zinger of a pass under the basket from Pinson and converted the shot, then the ensuing free throw to take the lead for good. Moments later, Williams-Goss twisted an ankle and could not elevate for a jumper that would've given the Bulldogs the lead.

Isaiah Hicks made a basket to push the lead to 3, then Kennedy Meeks, in foul trouble all night (who wasn't?), blocked Williams-Goss' shot and Jackson got a slam on the other end to put some icing on title No. 6 for the Tar Heels.

Williams got his third championship, putting him one ahead of his mentor, Dean Smith, and now behind only John Wooden, Mike Krzyzewski and Adolph Rupp.

"I think of Coach Smith, there's no question," Williams said. "I don't think I should be mentioned in the same sentence with him. But we got three because I've got these guys with me and that's all I care about right now - my guys."

Berry recovered from ankle injuries to lead the Tar Heels, but needed 19 shots for his 22 points. Jackson had 16 but went 0 for 9 from 3. Overall, the Tar Heels actually shot a percentage point worse than they did in Saturday night's win over Oregon.

Thank goodness for free throws.

They went 15 for 26 from the line and, in many corners, this game will be remembered for these three men: Michael Stephens, Verne Harris and Mike Eades, the referees who called 27 fouls in the second half, completely busted up the flow of the game and sent Meeks, Gonzaga's 7-footers Przemek Karnowski and Zach Collins, and a host of others to the bench in foul trouble.

The game "featured" 52 free throws. Both teams were in the bonus with 13 minutes left. Somehow, Collins was the only player to foul out.

Most bizarre sequence: With 8:02 left, Berry got called for a foul for (maybe) making contact with Karnowski and stripping the ball from the big man's hands. But as Karnowski was flailing after the ball, he inadvertently grabbed Berry around the neck. After a long delay, the refs called Karnowski for a flagrant foul of his own.

"I'm not going to talk about refs," Karnowski said. "It was just a physical game."

Zags coach Mark Few handled it with class, calling the refs "three of the best officials in the entire country," and insisting they did a fine job.

He might have wanted further review on the scrum with 50 seconds left. The refs were taking heat on social media for calling a held ball, which gave possession to the Tar Heels, on a pile-up underneath the Carolina basket. It set up the Hicks layup to put Carolina ahead by 3. One problem: Meeks' right hand looks to be very much touching out of bounds while he's trying to rip away the ball.

"That was probably on me," Few said. "From my angle, it didn't look like an out of bounds situation or I would have called a review. That's tough to hear."

The Bulldogs (37-2), the Cinderella-turned-Godzilla team from the small school in the West Coast Conference, tried to keep the big picture in mind. Twenty years ago, this sort of run at that sort of place looked virtually impossible. With less than 2 minutes left, they had the lead in the national title game.

"We broke the glass ceiling everyone said we couldn't break," junior forward Johnathan Williams said.

And North Carolina got over a hump that, at times this season, felt like a mountain.

"They wanted redemption," Williams said. "I put it on the locker room up on the board - one of the things we had to be tonight was tough enough. I think this group was tough enough tonight."