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March 22, 2013 at 11:22 PM   |   0 comments

Florida Gulf Coast pulls off NCAA shocker

PHILADELPHIA, March 22 (UPI) -- A spectacular dunk by Eddie Murray ignited a second-half run Friday that led Florida Gulf Coast to a shocking 78-68 NCAA Tournament win over Georgetown.

In one of the most unlikely results in the history of college basketball's biggest show, Florida Gulf Coast eliminated the Big East Conference powerhouse while making its tournament debut.

The Eagles built a 19-point lead with 12:33 to play and desperately hung on to advance as a No. 15 seed in the South Region. It marked the seventh time a No. 15 seed had won in the tournament since it was expanded to 64 teams in 1985.

Florida Gulf Coast (25-10), in only its sixth season as a Division I basketball team, reached the NCAA Tournament by upsetting regular-season champion Mercer by 13 points in the finals of the Atlantic Sun Conference tourney.

In their first trip to the NCAA event, the Eagles were given little hope against a team that tied for the regular-season title in the Big East.

The Eagles, however, battled Georgetown on even terms in the first half and reached intermission with a two-point lead.

The game was tied at 31-31 with 17:31 to play when Florida Gulf Coast suddenly went on a 19-2 run to stun the Hoyas.

That surge was highlighted when Murray came storming down the lane, grabbed the rebound of a missed shot by Brett Cormer and slammed it home.

After falling behind 52-33, Georgetown battled back to within four with 52 seconds remaining. The Hoyas shots then stopped falling, however, and Florida Gulf Coast closed out the victory at the free throw line.


Miami runs winning streak to 25

MIAMI, March 22 (UPI) -- LeBron James brought Miami back from an early deficit Friday and lifted the Heat to their 25th consecutive victory -- 103-89 over Detroit.

Miami is eight games away from equaling the longest winning streak in NBA history, the run of 33 games established by the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers.

The Heat rallied from 27 points down against Cleveland to keep the streak alive on Wednesday and fell behind the Pistons by 11 during the first half.

James, however, hit 12-of-15 from the field and scored 29 points while pulling down eight rebounds and handing out eight assists.

Dwyane Wade added 19 points. Miami last lost Feb. 1 in a trip to Indiana.

Detroit lost its 10th in a row. Greg Monroe scored 23 points and seized 15 rebounds for the Pistons, who shot just 40 percent from the field compared with Miami's 55.

Miami will be heavily favored to keep the streak going with games against Charlotte and Orlando Sunday and Monday.


Rose, Haas share lead, Woods falters

ORLANDO, Fla., March 22 (UPI) -- Justin Rose and Bill Haas shared the lead Friday at the midway point of the Arnold Palmer Invitational while Tiger Woods let a potential low round slip away.

Haas shot a 66 at the Bay Hill Club & Lodge course while Rose, leader after the opening round, had a 70.

They wound up tied at the top with 36-hole scores of 9-under 135.

John Huh, last season's rookie of the year on the PGA Tour, was alone in third at 137 and Ken Duke, J.J. Henry and Jimmy Walker shared fourth at 138.

Woods was nearing the completion of a solid round, having eagled the par-5 sixth hole and standing at 5-under for the day through 15 holes. He was just one shot out of the lead, but stumbled to bogeys on the final three holes to shoot a 70 for a 139 total.

Woods drove into a fairway bunker at the par-5 16th and put his second shot in the water. He hit a wild tee shot at the par-3 17th that finished 25 yards left of the green and then produced another bad drive at the par-4 18th, leading to another bogey.

All of that left him with work to do on the weekend if he is to win this tournament for the eighth time. He needs a victory to climb past Rory McIlroy into the No. 1 spot in the world rankings.

Rickie Fowler and rookie Luke Guthrie were among those tied with Woods for 10th place.

A score of 3-over 147 was needed to survive the 36-hole cut and among those missing it was Phil Mickelson, who had three 7s on his card in a round of 79. Mickelson finished at 152 in front of just nine players in the field of 132.

The 66 shot by Haas was the low round of the day and included an eagle at the 16th. Haas, winner of the $10 million FedEx Cup top prize two years ago, completed that hole in half as many strokes as it took Woods to play it.


Baltimore Ravens to open season on road

NEW YORK, March 22 (UPI) -- The NFL announced Friday the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens would have to open the season on the road.

It has become a tradition that the Super Bowl titleholder hosts the first game of the following season on a Thursday night, but logistical problems involving the Ravens and baseball's Baltimore Orioles will prevent that from happening this year.

The Orioles are scheduled to play a home game against the Chicago White Sox with a 7:05 p.m. ET starting time on the night the Ravens had hoped to host the NFL opener.

Orioles officials told the NFL the starting time could not be changed and because the baseball and football stadiums are next to each other it would have created a traffic nightmare to open both arenas at the same time.

"While we are disappointed for the fans in Baltimore, we appreciate the efforts of the Ravens, Orioles and Major League Baseball and understand the logistical problems in trying to schedule the teams on the same day," NFL spokesman Greg Aiello said in a statement.

"The Ravens will open the season on the road on Thursday night, Sept. 5. We are exploring potential fan activities in Baltimore around the kickoff game, including a pre-game concert."

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