- Associated Press - Thursday, February 19, 2015


DURHAM, N.C. (AP) - In a thriller befitting college basketball’s fiercest rivalry, Quinn Cook scored 22 points, freshman Tyus Jones matched a season high with 22 and Duke outlasted the No. 15 Tar Heels 92-90 on Wednesday night.

The Blue Devils (23-3, 10-3 Atlantic Coast Conference) let an early 13-point lead slip away and trailed by 10 with less than four minutes left in regulation before rallying for their sixth straight win this season, and their ninth in 12 meetings in the series.

Tyus Jones had 22 points, Justise Winslow added 16 points and Jahlil Okafor had 12 points and 13 rebounds for Duke.

“It’s tough for this game to always live up to the hype,” Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski said. “But I think tonight’s game exceeded it.”

The three freshmen who start for Duke had their customary big games: Jones added eight assists, Justise Winslow added 16 points and Jahlil Okafor had 12 points and 13 rebounds.

Kennedy Meeks and Brice Johnson each scored 18 points to lead North Carolina (18-8, 8-5). Nate Britt pulled the Tar Heels within two with one free throw with 3.5 seconds left. He missed the second, Marcus Paige raced in and got his hands on the rebound - but Winslow grabbed it as the buzzer sounded.

LAS VEGAS (AP) - The Las Vegas Strip dimmed its lights late Wednesday night to honor legendary University of Nevada, Las Vegas men’s basketball Coach Jerry Tarkanian who died Feb. 11 at the age of 84.

One by one the Las Vegas Strip’s casinos and downtown Las Vegas shut off their lights for a few minutes, leaving ghostly shapes of buildings from a distance.

A darkened Strip has honored the legacies of Las Vegas entertainers including, in order, Elvis Presley, Sammy Davis Jr., Dean Martin, George Burns and Frank Sinatra after their deaths, according to the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority.


MINNEAPOLIS (AP) - The Timberwolves have had exploratory discussions with the Brooklyn Nets about possibly bringing back Kevin Garnett back to Minnesota, a person with knowledge of the discussions tells The Associated Press.

The Wolves and Nets started discussing the possibility in earnest Wednesday, one day before the NBA’s trade deadline. The person requested anonymity because no deal has been agreed upon.

Garnett spent his first 12 years in Minnesota before being traded to Boston, where he won a championship. He is still wildly popular in Minnesota.

He is in the final year of his contract with the Nets, but has a no-trade clause that gives him all the leverage.

The Timberwolves likely would have to part with Thaddeus Young to get Garnett.

ESPN first reported the talks.

GREENBURGH, N.Y. (AP) - Carmelo Anthony will have surgery on his left knee that could keep him off the court for four to six months.

New York Knicks President Phil Jackson said Wednesday a timetable for Anthony’s recovery couldn’t completely be determined until after the surgery, but early indications were that he could be back on the court this summer and be ready for training camp.

Jackson said he anticipated the procedure, which will include a left knee patella tendon debridement and repair, would be performed this week.

Anthony has had pain for most of the season but continued to play despite the Knicks’ league-worst 10-43 record. He was able to start in Sunday night in the All-Star Game at Madison Square Garden but appeared to be struggling, scoring 14 points on 6-of-20 shooting.


PHOENIX (AP) - Larry Fitzgerald is staying with the Arizona Cardinals, the only home he’s known in his 11-year NFL career.

The eight-time Pro Bowl wide receiver has agreed to a restructured, two-year contract, Cardinals general manager Steve Keim announced at the NFL combine in Indianapolis.

The deal guarantees Fitzgerald $11 million in each of the two years, a person with knowledge of the details said, and will save the Cardinals nearly $13 million off their salary cap figure. The person spoke to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the salary figures had not officially been made public.


VIRGINIA WATER, England (AP) - Darren Clarke has been selected as the captain of the European team for the 2016 Ryder Cup at Hazeltine.

The European Tour announced its decision following a meeting of a five-man selection panel, which included the last three captains - Colin Montgomerie, Jose Maria Olazabal and Paul McGinley.

Top-ranked Rory McIlroy and stalwarts of the European team like Ian Poulter, Justin Rose and Graeme McDowell have backed Clarke, who won the British Open in 2011 and played on four winning teams in the Ryder Cup. He was vice captain in 2010 and ‘12.

Europe will defend the cup after beating the U.S. at Gleneagles in September.


SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) - With manager Bruce Bochy saying his team wants “to have a lot of fun in an odd year,” the World Series champion San Francisco Giants were one of the first teams to open spring training.

That “odd year” would be 2015. San Francisco won it all in 2012 and 2014.

Pitchers and catchers reported Wednesday to the Giants, Cincinnati Reds, Cleveland Indians and Philadelphia Phillies.

They report to the rest of the major league teams over the next few days, half of them in Arizona, half in Florida.

As usual, pitching should be San Francisco’s strength. Bochy says he’s pretty set on the five-man rotation that will open the season.


DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) - Danica Patrick and Denny Hamlin wrecked during Daytona 500 practice Wednesday.

Patrick’s No. 10 Chevrolet sustained enough damage that she was forced to switch to a backup car and will have to start at the back of the field in the second of two qualifying races Thursday for Sunday’s season-opening race. Hamlin’s No. 11 Toyota was repairable.

Patrick and Hamlin started the pileup by making contact coming out of turn two. Casey Mears, Michael Annett and Jeb Burton also were involved.

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) - Dale Earnhardt Jr. recognized the anniversary of his father’s death Wednesday and said it was not a day for mourning.

Junior took to Twitter to acknowledge the 14th anniversary of Dale Earnhardt’s death, which came on the final lap of the 2001 Daytona 500. Earnhardt Jr. posted, “(On) this day I do not mourn his death. I thank God he lived. #DaleEarnhardt.”

He was asked about later in the day at Daytona International Speedway and said the date doesn’t really stir painful emotions anymore.

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