Stanford beats Notre Dame 28-14, finishes regular season 11-1

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Stanford beats Notre Dame 28-14, finishes regular season 11-1

BOX SCORE

STANFORD (AP) -- Andrew Luckwalked back into the overcrowded home locker room at Stanford Stadium,greeted by hugs and handshakes and serenaded with a chant that suitedhim just perfectly."Macho, Macho man!" teammates bellowed, singing the lyrics to the Village People's famous song. "I want to be a Macho man!"Only one has earned that title on The Farm.Luck set the school record for themost career touchdown passes and eclipsed his own single-season mark,throwing for 233 yards and four scores to lead fourth-ranked Stanfordpast No. 22 Notre Dame 28-14 in his home finale Saturday night.Luck topped John Elway's record of 77touchdown passes and helped the Cardinal (11-1) build a 21-0 halftimelead. He has thrown for 80 touchdowns in three years - while it tookElway all four - and 35 this season."There's no player in America like Andrew Luck," Stanford coach David Shaw said. "Forget about the stats. Forget about the comparisons of other guys. It doesn't matter."Luck of the Irish? Forget it.Luck is on Stanford's side.The victory likely vaulted theCardinal into consideration for an at-large BCS bowl bid for the secondstraight year - with the Fiesta Bowl among the leading possibledestinations - but they will not play for a major championship thisseason. The lone loss to Oregon put the Ducks in the Pac-12 title gameout of the North Division and crushed Stanford's dreams of a nationaltitle."I think one loss, that's great,"said Luck, who turned down a chance to be the NFL draft's top pick thisyear. "We've been on a 23-2 run for a while, I think it's prettyimpressive. We put ourselves in position to be in a good bowl game, andthat's what we wanted to do."Notre Dame's stumbled at the finish line again.Tommy Rees threw an interception, lost a fumble and took a bruising blow to the ribs for Notre Dame (8-4) before getting benched. Andrew Hendrix threw for 192 yards and a touchdown and ran for another score in a second-half rally for the Fighting Irish that came up short.Keeping Stanford close gave the Irish little satisfaction."We didn't come here for secondprize," said Notre Dame coach Brian Kelly, who would not name astarting quarterback for the bowl game. "We got off to a slow start andbattled against it. To me, the scoreboard showed 28-14 and that's notgood enough. The slow start put us in a tough position."Stanford coach David Shaw shined thespotlight on his program and his quarterback's Heisman Trophy campaignwith a calculated rip of the "flawed" BCS system this week. TheCardinal's play matched his words for 30 minutes.A sloppy second half almost took everything else Stanford had worked for this season.Kelly benched Rees in favor ofHendrix to start the third quarter, and the move pumped some life intoa stagnant Irish offense. Notre Dame took advantage of passinterference and roughing the passer penalties for its first score.Hendrix threw a 6-yard TD to Michael Floydto slice Stanford's lead to 21-7 halfway through the third quarter.Floyd finished with 95 catches on the year, breaking the single-seasonmark of 93 set by Golden Tate in 2009.The Irish were driving for another score when Hendrix overthrew a receiver, the ball was tipped and intercepted by Michael Thomas. When Notre Dame regained possession, Hendrix was sacked by A.J. Tarpley for a 13-yard loss that sent another drive tumbling."Consistency is the one thing I have struggled with the most," said Hendrix, who completed 11 of 24 passes.Only room for one quarterback to steal the show.Luck quickly connected with Coby Fleenerfor a 55-yard TD pass to extend Stanford's lead to 28-7 with 5:40remaining to put the game out of reach. Fleener also caught a 28-yardTD in the first half that gave Luck every major school touchdownrecord.Stanford's Senior Day belonged to the redshirt junior.Luck lobbed a fade to the short corner of the end zone to complete a 3-yard score to Levine Toilolo,giving Stanford a 7-0 lead in the first quarter. Even he had to holdback a smile running to the sideline to a swarm of well-wishes fromteammates for the records-tying toss.But Luck lost his rhythm when a back-side blitzer closed the pocket, and he tossed a short pass that Darius Flemingintercepted and returned 35 yards. Notre Dame took over at the Stanford10 after a 15-yard penalty on Fleener for a horse collar.Stanford stifled the Irish on consecutive plays and forced a 20-yard field goal that David Ruffer missed wide right.Luck followed with a 28-yard TD pass to Fleener. The tight end dragged cornerback Robert Blanton the final 10 yards into the end zone, sealing Luck's marks in the school record book."I think it's something I'll be ableto tell my kids and grandkids when I'm watching Andrew on TV someday,"Fleener said. "He's got my Heisman vote."

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."