Utah State runs all over SJSU in 49-27 romp

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Utah State runs all over SJSU in 49-27 romp

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Seventeen second-quarter points looked to keep SJSU within reach of Saturdays game against Utah State, but the Aggies played a convincingly dominant game on both sides of the ball through all four quarters and outscored the Spartans 21-7 in the second half to claim a 49-27 victory.With Western Athletic Conference standings implications on the line for both teams, Utah State came into Spartan Stadium and showed all in attendance why they are the better team. The Aggies (5-2, 1-0 WAC) sacked SJSU (4-2, 0-1 WAC) quarterback David Fales 13 times for a loss of 102 yards and out-gained the Spartans 212-4 on the ground.We have to find a way to fix it, said head coach Mike MacIntyre about the alarming number of sacks in the game. We knew they had a good front but it should not have been like that. I thought they would have a few sacks but not that many.Fales, who finished the game with 467 yards on 38-of-50 passing and three touchdowns, said the high number of sacks was a communication issue.Obviously the sacks were a big part of this game, he said, but if you get sacked 13 times you got to communicate better and make adjustments. Well look at the film and come back better next week.They threw a couple different looks at us, but it was all similar stuff. They just kept getting good jumps at us.With the score at 28-20 in favor of Utah State at halftime, the Aggies began the second half with a vigor that showed they didnt want to let SJSU climb back into the game whatsoever. An 86-yard touchdown run from running back Kerwynn Williams on the Aggies third play of the second half a 3rd-and-1 situation set the tone for the rest of the game for Utah State.Neither Williams nor the Aggies looked back from the instance Williams was handed the ball for the long touchdown run. The conference-leading rusher finished the game with 176 yards on the ground on 15 rush attempts and added three touchdowns.Utah State quarterback Chuckie Keeton also had a substantial input on the outcome of the game. Keeton passed for 273 yards and rushed for another 47. The main ingredient for Utah States and Keetons success no sacks allowed.I knew it coming in that 16 (Keeton) and 25 (Williams) would make plays so we worked and worked to stop them but we didnt do enough, MacIntyre said.Despite coming back from a 28-3 deficit with 9:26 remaining in the first half to bring the score to 28-20 at halftime, the Spartans second-half performance looked like the team that allowed Utah State to jump out the early lead.Keeton tacked on a 28-yard touchdown run on Utah States second possession of the second half, adding to the ferocious ground game Williams exhibited with his 86-yard strike. Williams also added a 12-yard touchdown run in the fourth quarter to close the games scoring at 49-27. By games end, Williams had 176 yards on 15 carries and three touchdowns.Theyre good together, said defensive end Travis Johnson. They are tricky with the handoffs and have good communication and execution. We just didnt do it today.SJSUs only glimmer of hope came from scores on three straight possession to close the first half as strongly as the team played through the first two quarters. A three-yard touchdown pass from Fales to wide receiver Kyle Nunn brought the score to 28-10. A defensive three-and-out stop lead to a SJSU drive that resulted in a 26-yard field goal by Austin Lopez followed on the teams following possession to make it a 28-13 score.With 1:18 left in the first half, SJSU took over and methodically moved the ball down the field, attacking the right sideline with passes that allowed receivers to get out of bounds and stop the clock.Fales finished the drive on 8-of-8 passing to four different receivers with a 20-yard touchdown pass to wide receiver Noel Grigsby wit 0:24 left in the first half. By halftime, Fales was 21-for-24 passing for 277 yards and 2 touchdowns.Utah State came out in the first quarter firing with all cylinders on both sides on the ball, and thats putting it lightly. SJSU was able to move the ball into the Utah State red zone, gaining 67 yards on its opening drive but was held to a field goal by Austin Lopez. The Spartans accumulated just six more net yards the rest of the quarter, due mainly to three first-quarter sacks by the Aggies on Fales.Utah State scored on each of their first two possessions both on passes from Keeton. The first went to wide receiver Chuck Jacobs for a 17-yard strike, the second to wide receiver Matt Austin on a five-yard pass.The start of the second quarter was just as grim if not, worse for the Spartans. On Utah States first play from scrimmage of both its drive and the second quarter resulted in a 50-yard touchdown run by Williams, who went nearly untouched on his way to the end zone.The Aggies kept pouring it on as they scored on their fourth consecutive play to begin the game, the first time the team has done so this season. A 21-yard pass from Keeton to wide receiver Travis Van Leeuwen brought the score to 28-3 with 9:26 left in the second quarter.It wasnt happening today, said defensive end Travis Johnson. Were going to keep working and come back next week.Wide receiver Noel Grigsby, who caught 11 passes for 181 yards and vaulted into number one on SJSUs all-time receiving yards list, called the loss a slap in the face.We need to get better we have a group of guys that all think that way, he said. We dont want to ride the roller coaster, wed come back the same even if we won. Well be OK.

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."