Remembering the great Final Fours in New Orleans

718070.jpg

Remembering the great Final Fours in New Orleans

From Comcast SportsNet
NEW ORLEANS (AP) -- Two of the most replayed shots in NCAA tournament history. Two terrible mistakes that are played over and over. Freshmen redeeming the most painful loss in school history. That's what New Orleans has given college basketball fans in the first four Final Fours it has hosted. No. 5 starts Saturday, and as sure as there will be hot sauce in your jambalaya, you can expect New Orleans to add to its tradition of throwing a great party -- on and off the court. To start with the positives, a freshman from North Carolina named Michael Jordan made the first big jumper in 1982. Five years later a junior college transfer from Indiana named Keith Smart hit what turned out to be the game-winner from almost the same spot on the Superdome court. If you haven't seen either shot, just watch the commercials and teases for college basketball. Jordan, still known as Mike then but with his tongue sticking out just a bit, made his with jumper with 17 seconds to go to give the Tar Heels a 63-62 lead over Georgetown. When those 17 seconds ticked off, North Carolina coach Dean Smith had his first national championship. "I'm very blessed for what that shot did, and my name did change from Mike to Michael," Jordan recounted five years ago. "To sit back and think What if?' is a scary thought. There are a lot of other options. I could be pumping gas back in Wilmington, N.C." Smart's jumper with 5 seconds left gave Indiana a 74-73 win over Syracuse, which had a chance to expand its lead when Derrick Coleman missed the front end of a 1-and-1 with 28 seconds to play and none of his teammates along the lane. The national championship was coach Bob Knight's third and last at Indiana, and the loss was a crushing one for Orange coach Jim Boeheim. "If it goes in, it's my shot," Smart, now the coach of the Sacramento Kings said then of his game-winner. "It's a pickup game shot." Jordan's shot was followed by one of the biggest mistakes ever seen in sports. Georgetown's Fred Brown had the ball inside the midcourt line, setting up the Hoyas' chance at a win in their first Final Four appearance ever and first in a three-year span with center Patrick Ewing. Inexplicably, Brown turned and flipped the ball to James Worthy of the Tar Heels who was fouled but missed both free throws. One of the lasting images of that NCAA tournament was Georgetown coach John Thompson hugging a disconsolate Brown after the game, telling him the Hoyas wouldn't have gotten to that point without him. Thompson will be in New Orleans this weekend, this time as a radio analyst. He's glad to be back in the Crescent City, even with that memory from 30 years ago. "I think the moment itself is difficult to deal with as is the case with everybody that got that far," Thompson said Thursday. "You lose, you feel bad, but you put it in perspective. New Orleans was the first city we played in a Final Four in. It was the first city we got to the final two. If you're competitive you're always disappointed when you lose. I don't hate New Orleans because we lost. Just the opposite, I love it because it was the first place we had a chance to play for the national championship." When the Final Four was held in New Orleans in 1993, North Carolina again made it to the championship game, this time facing the Fab Five of Michigan, who were playing for the title for a second straight season. The Tar Heels led 73-71 when Michigan got the ball with 20 seconds to go. Chris Webber, the best of the Wolverines' young team, took off like a runaway train and finally stopped in front of his own bench and called a timeout Michigan didn't have. Under the rules at the time, Michigan was charged with a technical foul and lost possession of the ball. Donald Williams made all four free throws, and North Carolina had another national title in New Orleans that was sealed by another major mistake by its opponent. In one of the most standup news conferences ever, Webber, still a teenager, faced every question thrown at him. "I just called a timeout and we didn't have one and it probably cost us the game," he said. "If I'd have known we didn't have any timeouts left, I wouldn't have called a timeout." Steve Fisher was the coach of the Wolverines then. Now the coach at San Diego State, he said Thursday that the NCAA tournament always stirs up memories of that night. "When they talk about plays in tournament history, that's one of the things they talk about," he said. "It's part of who we are, our legacy. ... I wish it hadn't happened, but it happened to us." Brown and Webber never got a chance to atone for their Superdome transgressions. Syracuse did. In 2003, the last time the Final Four was held here, the Orange were led by freshmen Carmelo Anthony and Gerry McNamara in an 81-78 win over Kansas that gave Syracuse its first national championship. The game was sealed with seconds to play when sophomore Hakim Warrick, appropriately nicknamed "Helicopter," came from out of nowhere to block Michael Lee's potential game-tying shot from the corner. Boeheim, who had left New Orleans 16 years earlier with a tough loss, had the trophy in his hands and a net around his neck. "I was glad we got to go back in '03," Boeheim said Thursday. "We had an opportunity to win, to get to erase the memory. Honestly, it was better than if we won someplace else."

Giants hammer Taillon, return favor with 11-3 win over Pirates

Giants hammer Taillon, return favor with 11-3 win over Pirates

BOX SCORE

SAN FRANCISCO -- Giants pitcher Madison Bumgarner saw no reason to make a big deal over his first win of the year, even if it came far deeper into the season than anyone expected.

In a season that long ago spun out of control for both San Francisco and its ace, Bumgarner was happier seeing the struggling Giants have one of their best games of the year.

Bumgarner allowed one run over five innings for his first win of the season, and the Giants beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 11-3 on Tuesday night.

"It was nice to be on the board now individually," Bumgarner said. "But that's not what it's about. It's about us winning games, and we played really good tonight."

Eduardo Nunez drove in two runs in his final game with San Francisco as he was traded to Boston for two minor leaguers. The veteran infielder was pulled in the fifth inning and was later seen on television shaking hands with several teammates in the Giants' clubhouse. The deal was announced after a few minutes after the final out.

Bumgarner also singled and scored, Buster Posey had three hits and an RBI and Joe Panik added a bases-loaded triple as struggling San Francisco won for only the fifth time in 16 games.

Josh Harrison singled twice for the Pirates, who fell behind 9-0 and couldn't recover. Pittsburgh stranded seven runners in the first five innings, including four in scoring position.

Making his third start since coming off the disabled list after nearly three months following a dirt bike accident in Colorado on April 20, Bumgarner (1-4) was mostly sharp while quieting a potent Pittsburgh lineup and ending the Pirates' seven-game winning streak at AT&T Park.

Three years after pitching a complete game to beat Pittsburgh in the NL wild card on his way to winning the 2014 World Series MVP, Bumgarner pitched out of a pair of early jams, allowed six hits and had four strikeouts.

"He did a nice job," San Francisco manager Bruce Bochy said. "I'm sure he's glad to get that (first win) taken care of. Once he went five that was enough."

It's the first win by a Giants starting pitcher since July 5.

Jameson Taillon (6-4) took the loss, giving up 10 runs in three innings.

"I didn't make good pitches once they got runners on," Taillon said. "They didn't waste any time. They had a merry-go-round going."

UMPIRE GOES DOWN:
Posey lined a single that hit second base umpire Ed Hickox in the foot and knocked him down in the fifth inning. Hickox slowly got to his feet and was attended to by a member of the Giants medical staff but remained in the game.

TRAINER'S ROOM:
Giants: RHP Johnny Cueto may need to make a rehab start before rejoining the rotation. Cueto has been hindered by blisters on multiple fingers of his pitching hand, an issue that has lingered for much of the past month. The right-hander played catch from 105 feet before the game. Pablo Sandoval moved from Single-A San Jose to Triple-A Sacramento as he continues to try to work his way back into the big leagues. RHP Chris Stratton was recalled from Sacramento and IF Orlando Calixte was optioned down.

UP NEXT:
RHP Jeff Samardzija (4-11, 5.05 ERA) pitches the finale for the Giants seeking to beat Pittsburgh for the second time this season while RHP Trevor Williams (4-4, 4.74 ERA) takes the mound for the Pirates looking for his fourth win in the last five road starts.

Giants trade Eduardo Nunez to Red Sox

Giants trade Eduardo Nunez to Red Sox

Eduardo Nunez's time with the Giants is up as they have traded the third baseman to the Boston Red Sox.

The teams announced the trade shortly after the Giants beat the Pirates 11-3 on Tuesday night.

Fox Sports was the first to report the news.

The Giants will acquire minor league pitchers Shaun Anderson and Gregory Santos.

Anderson, Boston's third-round pick out of Florida in 2016, has a 3.42 ERA in 97.1 innings between Low-A Greenville and High-A Salem this season.

Santos, a 17-year-old right-handed pitcher, was signed by Boston out of the Dominican Republic in 2015. Pitching in the Dominican Summer League this season, Santos has allowed just three earned runs in 30 innings pitched.

Nunez was lifted for pinch-hitter in the bottom of the fifth inning Tuesday night and was seen hugging teammates as he left the dugout.

In 75 games with the Giants this season, Nunez hit .308/.334/.417 with 21 doubles, four home runs, 29 RBI and 17 stolen bases.

Nunez was acquired from the Twins last summer for two prospects.