Howdy, I’m your host, Austin Knoblauch, filling in for Houston Mitchell. Let’s get right to the news.
Ben Bolch on the UCLA men’s basketball team: There was drama, there were upsets, there were unexpected heroes during UCLA’s run from the First Four to the Final Four last season.
It could be a madhouse inside Tyger Campbell’s room on the ninth floor of the Indianapolis Marriott Downtown. That was the nightly gathering spot where the Bruins played one another in marathon sessions of Super Smash Bros. after being given Nintendo Switches during the NCAA tournament.
“Very loud, very rowdy,” guard Jaime Jaquez Jr. recalled. “It was almost more competitive in there than it was on the court.”
The battles carried over to a not-so-friendly round of Topgolf, where Jaquez and teammate Johnny Juzang each claimed supremacy over the other — and continued to do so six months later.
Said Jaquez recently: “You know, there’s no debate. I won. Whatever he said, not true.”
Responded Juzang: “It wasn’t even close. I took him down.”
Nobody on this team concedes defeat. Not after falling behind by 11 points at halftime against Michigan State. Not against favored Brigham Young. Not against second-seeded Alabama and its speedy guards or top-seeded Michigan and its towering lineup. What was widely expected to be a stay of a few nights ended up earning loads of Marriott points.
When it was over, Gonzaga’s 40-foot miracle shot banking off the backboard and through the net, the season had ended but the appreciation for what had transpired only deepened. Before walking off the court inside Lucas Oil Stadium, the Bruins huddled, arms slung around shoulders, sharing how proud they were and how much they loved one another.
“It was a beautiful moment,” Juzang said. “You don’t get that often where every single guy is playing for one another, leaving it out there. That type of camaraderie is something special to be a part of.”
It was so special that no one would give it up. Juzang and Jaquez spurned the NBA draft for another college season. Fringe contributors who could have entered the transfer portal happily stayed.
More on the Bruins: UCLA fears Mac Etienne could be second Bruins player lost to season-ending injury
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Broderick Turner on the Lakers: This time, Anthony Davis made key plays on offense and defense and refused to let the Lakers blow a game in which they collapsed again after building a big lead.
The Lakers wasted a 14-point lead in the fourth quarter against the Charlotte Hornets on Monday night at Staples Center. The game went to overtime after Davis shot an airball on a three-point try with 1.3 seconds left in regulation and Miles Bridges also shot an airball on a long attempt as time expired.
But in the overtime, Davis made two free throws with 49.4 seconds left to give the Lakers a three-point lead and blocked a three-point try by Terry Rozier with 6.2 seconds remaining. The Hornets’ Cody Martin then missed a three-point attempt, allowing the Lakers to escape with a 126-123 victory.
The Lakers blew a 26-point lead against Oklahoma City and lost that game Oct. 27. The Lakers blew a 19-point lead against the Thunder on Thursday and lost that game too.
But with Davis producing 32 points, 12 rebounds and five blocks Monday, the Lakers ended a two-game losing streak.
“We needed a win mostly,” said Davis, who has a cold and is recovering from a stomach bug, throwing up at the end of the third quarter. “We wasn’t losing this game.”
Jorge Castillo on the Dodgers: Andrew Heaney is a Dodger again. This time he’s expected to stick around as the Dodgers replenish their starting rotation depth for 2022.
Heaney and the Dodgers agreed Monday to a one-year deal worth $8.5 million, pending a physical, according to a person with knowledge of the situation. It will be Heaney’s second stint with the club. His first ended in a blink.
The Dodgers acquired the left-handed pitcher in December 2014 as part of a seven-player deal with the Miami Marlins. Dee Gordon, Miguel Rojas and Dan Haren went to Miami. Kiké Hernández, Austin Barnes, Chris Hatcher and Heaney went to Los Angeles. Heaney was then traded that same day to the Angels for Howie Kendrick.
Jack Harris on the Angels: Shohei Ohtani has already racked up several pieces of hardware this offseason.
On Monday, he was officially announced as a contender for the biggest award yet.
The Angels’ two-way star was revealed as one of three finalists for the American League most-valuable-player award, a long-expected development following his historic 2021 season. Toronto Blue Jays first baseman Vladimir Guerrero Jr. and second basemen Marcus Semien were the other finalists for the award, the winner of which will be announced Nov. 18 on MLB Network.
Dodgers right-hander Max Scherzer, who was acquired in a July 30 trade with the Washington Nationals, was named a finalist for the National League Cy Young Award. Scherzer went 15-4 with a 2.46 ERA in 30 starts for the Nationals and Dodgers in 2021.
ALSO: Be sure to check out our Angels offseason tracker for the latest free agency news.
Gary Klein on the Rams: Rams rookie receiver Jacob Harris, who suffered a knee injury during the Rams’ defeat to the Tennessee Titans, will have season-ending knee surgery, coach Sean McVay said Monday.
Harris, a fourth-round draft pick from Central Florida, was injured while playing on special teams in the 28-16 loss at SoFi Stadium.
“It’s a bummer — I hate that for Jacob, we were hoping to kind of get him a little more involved,” McVay said.
The 6-foot-5, 211-pound Harris was drafted as a hybrid tight end and played that position through training camp and the preseason. Since the season began, Harris has played mainly on special teams. He played six offensive snaps against the New York Giants, and nine against the Houston Texans.
Jeff Miller on the Chargers: In attempting to advance their running game Sunday, the Chargers actually went backward in the third quarter.
They finished with minus-one yard in four rushes against Philadelphia. At that point, the Chargers had gained only 30 yards in 15 attempts.
“It was a bloody kind of rushing game,” coach Brandon Staley said Monday. “But that commitment really served us well throughout.”
In the fourth quarter — a quarter the Chargers would win to secure a 27-24 last-second victory — they ran the ball 12 times for 59 yards. Austin Ekeler had gains of 10, 14 and 16 yards in the final 15 deciding minutes.
Near the halfway point of the season, the Chargers are 10th in the NFL in total yards but only 22nd in rushing yards. Even so, the ability to claim real estate on the ground in the fourth quarter is vital.
From the Associated Press: Jonathan Quick made 33 saves and the Kings beat Toronto 5-1 on Monday night, snapping the Toronto Maple Leafs’ five-game win streak.
Phillip Danault had two goals and an assist for the Kings, who have won five straight. Andreas Athanasiou added a goal and assist, former Leafs forward Trevor Moore scored and Adrian Kempe chipped in with an empty-netter. Alex Iafallo had two two assists.
John Tavares scored for Toronto.
Jack Campbell, who was Quick’s understudy with the Kings for parts of two seasons, made 24 stops in his first career start against his former team.
Ben Bolch on UCLA football: It was a bye leading to hello.
UCLA welcomed back quarterback Dorian Thompson-Robinson as a full participant in practice Monday, without any hand wraps or limitations, after the team’s week off provided extra rest for his injured right thumb.
“The bye week came at a pretty good time,” said Thompson-Robinson, who was hurt on his team’s final drive against Oregon late last month and sat out the game against Utah the following week. “You know, I got a full two weeks off of not having to use my hand or anything, so the first day of practice for Colorado being Monday today and felt pretty good.”
Thompson-Robinson speaking with the media was another sign he’s expected to play for the Bruins (5-4 overall, 3-3 Pac-12) against Colorado (3-6, 2-4) on Saturday evening at the Rose Bowl.
Thompson-Robinson participated in warmups for the game against Utah before deciding his thumb had not sufficiently healed to allow him to play.
THIS DATE IN SPORTS
1912 — The lateral pass is used as an offensive weapon for the first time by Worcester Tech coach William F. Carney. Carney’s team beats Amherst 14-13.
1946 — Second-ranked Notre Dame fights to a 0-0 tie with No. 1 Army at Yankee Stadium to snap the Cadets’ 25-game winning streak. The Irish defense holds Army’s running backs Doc Blanchard and Glenn Davis to a combined 79 yards.
1953 — The U.S. Supreme Court rules 7-2 that baseball is not subject to antitrust laws, maintaining the game is a sport, not a business.
1972 — John Bucyk of the Boston Bruins scores his 1,000th point with a goal in an 8-3 win over the Detroit Red Wings.
1984 — Larry Holmes scores a 12th-round technical knockout of Bonecrusher Smith to retain the IBF heavyweight title in Las Vegas. 1989 — The Milwaukee Bucks beat the Seattle SuperSonics 155-154 in five overtimes, matching the second-longest game in NBA history. The game is the longest game since the advent of the 24-second shot clock in 1954.
1991 — Marshall Faulk of San Diego State returns after missing three games due to injury and breaks the NCAA record for touchdowns by a freshman with his 20th in a 42-32 win over Colorado State.
1991 — Houston’s Roman Anderson becomes the first player in NCAA history to surpass 400 points by kicking a 32-yard field goal in the Cougars’ 23-14 victory over Texas.
1996 — Evander Holyfield pounds Mike Tyson into submission at 37 seconds of the 11th round to win the WBA heavyweight title in Las Vegas. Holyfield, a 7-1 underdog, becomes the second man to hold a piece of the heavyweight title three times.
2001 — Detroit’s Luc Robitaille scores in the first period against Anaheim, becoming the 13th player in NHL history to reach 600 career goals.
2005 — Carolina’s Erik Cole is the first player in NHL history to be awarded two penalty shots in one game. He scores on the first, helping the Hurricanes defeat Buffalo 5-3.
2011 — Joe Paterno is fired by the Penn State board of trustees despite saying he would retire as coach after the football season ended. Paterno is brought down by the growing furor over the handling of child sex abuse allegations against assistant coach Jerry Sandusky. Penn State President Graham Spanier is also ousted.
2014 — Aaron Rodgers throws six touchdown passes to tie the Green Bay game record and match the NFL record for a half in a 55-14 rout of the Chicago Bears. Rodgers ties the NFL mark for TD passes in a half set by Oakland’s Daryle Lamonica in 1969.
2014 — Landon Donovan scores three goals and sets up Robbie Keane’s goal, propelling the LA Galaxy into the Western Conference finals with a 5-0 victory over Real Salt Lake.
2016 — Golden State makes 17-of-33 three-pointers in a 116-95 blowout of the Dallas Mavericks, with teammates Stephen Curry, Kevin Durant, Klay Thompson, and Draymond Green all making four apiece. The Warriors are the first team to have four players hit four three-point shots.
The Chicago Bears tried to beat the Pittsburgh Steelers on a 65-yard field-goal attempt Monday night. Check out what happened here.
Until next time…
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