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NEW YORK -- DeAndre Daniels UConn teammates were going to keep passing him the ball u
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NEW YORK -- DeAndre Daniels UConn teammates were going to keep passing him the ball until he cooled off. Mark Stone Jersey . By the time that happened, it was too late for Iowa State. Daniels scored 19 of his 27 points in the second half, and the Huskies hung on for an 81-76 victory Friday to reach the East Regional final a year after UConn was barred from the NCAA tournament. "DeAndres a scorer, and once you feel that you have that confidence, the next shots going to go in," said senior Shabazz Napier, who knows a thing or two about scoring himself. "We kept feeding him, and he got super hot." Daniels hit his first six shots after halftime, the only Husky to make a field goal for over 8 1/2 minutes. His 3-pointer gave seventh-seeded UConn a 49-32 lead. The third-seeded Cyclones rallied late, pulling within 67-63 with 2 1/2 minutes remaining. But senior Niels Giffey hit a 3 in the corner for his first points since the games opening moments, and when the Huskies (29-8) made their free throws in the final minute, the UConn fans packing Madison Square Garden could celebrate. The Huskies will face fourth-seeded Michigan State on Sunday for a trip to the Final Four after the Spartans beat top-seeded Virginia 61-59 in the late game. Dustin Hogue scored a career-high 34 points for Iowa State (28-8), but Big 12 player of the year Melvin Ejim was 3 of 13 for seven points, more than 11 below his average. The Cyclones, in the Sweet Sixteen for the first time since 2000, were playing their second game without third-leading scorer Georges Niang, who broke his foot in their tournament opener. They trailed by 16 with less than 7 1/2 minutes to go but nearly came all the way back behind Hogues scoring inside. "Thats who these guys are, theyre fighters," coach Fred Hoiberg said. With UConn clinging to a 70-65 lead and less than a minute left, Iowa States Naz Long missed a 3-pointer, and the 6-1 Napier pulled down the rebound and was fouled by Hogue. The guard calmly drilled both free throws. UConn was 20 of 22 from the foul line, while Iowa State was 6 of 15. Napier, the American Athletic Conference player of the year, drained four early 3-pointers, then made only one more field goal the rest of the way. But the quick start by Napier and backcourt mate Ryan Boatright opened up space for the 6-foot-9 Daniels, an inconsistent junior who can score all over the court when hes on. Since a stretch in late February and early March when he failed to reach double figures in four straight games, Daniels had averaged 15 in his last six outings before Friday. Then against Iowa State, he shot 10 of 15 and pulled down 10 rebounds. "With our seniors on this team, I just want them to go out with a bang," Daniels said. Ejim and DeAndre Kane, Iowa States top scorers, were a combined 9 of 31. But Hogue, from nearby Yonkers, found plenty of space, shooting 15 for 19. "To play in the Garden, its something I dreamed about as a kid," he said. After Napiers difficult early 3-pointers -- he was falling away on two of them and stepping back to open a sliver of space on a third -- Boatright and Daniels took over. The three combined for all but six of the Huskies points as they built a 36-26 halftime lead. Second-year coach Kevin Ollie is now 3-0 in the NCAA tournament after taking over for mentor Jim Calhoun, who gave him a big hug after this one was over. The last time UConn made it this far, the Huskies won a national title when Napier and Giffey were freshmen. The current upperclassmen could have transferred after the programs low scores on the NCAAs academic progress measure kept UConn from last years Big East and NCAA tournaments. "We were banned from a lot of things," Ollie said. "We couldnt come here for the tournament, but they werent banned from loving and pushing and encouraging each other, and thats what its all about. Those dark times, if you dont give up in the dark times, it will reverse, the wind will start going in your favour, your direction. "And I think thats whats happened now." Jason Spezza Jersey . The 17-time Grand Slam champion, who lose three straight finals in Monte Carlo to Rafael Nadal from 2006-08, has not played in the tournament since 2011, when he lost to Jurgen Melzer in the quarterfinals. Daniel Alfredsson Jersey .ca. Kerry, I hope you address Ron MacLeans comment during the second intermission of Game 4 in Montreal-Tampa series. Basically, he suggested that the NHL should not have used a referee from Quebec, following the Game 3 disputed non-goal, because the referee could be biased towards Montreal. http://www.senatorssale.com/customized/ . Thats exactly what happened. And they enjoyed every moment. Durant remained sizzling with 33 points, Serge Ibaka added 22 and the Thunder roared back from an abysmal start -- they trailed 22-4 early -- to embarrass the Miami Heat 112-95 on Wednesday night, erasing that big deficit out of the gate by outscoring the two-time defending champions by 43 points over a 33-minute span.(SportsNetwork.com) - Sometimes regal lineage isnt so easy to prognosticate. With the 24th pick of Round 2 of the 1998 NFL Draft, the New England Patriots chose Rod Rutledge, a 6-foot-5, 262-pound tight end from Alabama - making him the fourth selection in a three-round haul breathlessly labeled by the New York Times as great, pretty impressive and a talent stockpile. The Patriots had the best draft of any team this year, according to five general managers, read an April 20 draft recap penned by Times sportswriter Mike Freeman, under a headline that suggested the team had drafted superbly. One general manager said that the Patriots draft may have been the best in the last three or four years. Needless to say, Freemans next-day assessment of Rutledge and fellow early- rounders Robert Edwards, Tebucky Jones, Tony Simmons, Chris Floyd and Greg Spires inspires little beyond an ironic chuckle these days, as a then-moribund franchise preps for its sixth subsequent Super Bowl participation. Only Jones, a lanky defensive back, started more than two seasons worth of games for the Patriots. And only he and the 6-foot-1 Spires, an undersized pass-rushing defensive end, managed a career whose duration exceeded the six-man groups collective averages of five-plus seasons and 38 games started. Spires, though, made just three of those starts with New England before finding a niche in Tampa Bay, where he started 87 games across six years and won a Super Bowl ring under Jon Gruden. At any rate, though, when kickoff comes on Sunday in Glendale, Ariz., its the long-since anonymous Rutledge wholl have the most direct link to this years dynastic personnel. Though hes not appeared in an NFL game since 2002 and not caught a pass since 2001, the now 39-year-old was on the receiving end of the first completion thrown by the now-veteran quarterback wholl arguably enter University of Phoenix Stadium within 60 minutes of billing as the games all-time best. These days, everyone knows that quarterback as Tom Brady. The guy ex-NFLer Heath Evans places atop the historic list, regardless of this weekends score. You look at the collection of talent that was consistently around Joe (Montana) - and this is no knock on Joe, its just the era he played in, Evans said. And then now, the constant mixing and matching. Tommys done it with a defense and without a defense. Hes done it with a running game and without running games. Hes done it without Pro Bowl wide receivers and with Pro Bowl wide receivers. Whether he is or isnt better than Montana is undoubtedly a hot sports radio topic now. But back then, in the midst of mop-up duty that wrapped up New Englands 34-9 Thanksgiving Day 2000 loss at Detroit, he was just another late-round wannabe (Round 6, 199th overall) trying to impress a coach (Bill Belichick) whose first season on the job was careening toward a 5-11 disappointment. Belichicks starter that day, Drew Bledsoe, completed 17 throws for 148 yards before an errant toss to Bryant Westbrook with less than five minutees left yielded a 101-yard pick-6 for the Lions cornerback - and a late-game opening for the Michigan rookie, who, at the time, nobody mistook for a king. Matt Duchene Jersey. In reality, Brady hadnt so much as taken a snap through the seasons initial 11 games while sitting behind the likes of Bledsoe, John Friesz and Michael Bishop, and to say his arrival in Week 13 was instantly interpreted as a sign of Belichicks genius would be an overstatement of mythical proportions. Not even Brady - whose Canton inclusion is now certain - was convinced his ascension was imminent. I wasnt prepared to play my first year. Thats all that would have happened, I wouldve gone out and get beat and lost a ton of confidence in what I was doing, he said. I was lucky to really have a chance that whole first year to be in a situation where I wasnt forced to play and lose a bunch of confidence. While the six-yard toss to Rutledge - Bradys lone completion in three tries - got him on the official stat sheet for posterity, it was only worthy of a space-filler mention in Nick Cafardos Friday morning post-mortem in the Boston Globe, and a one-line inclusion in the Patriots notebook piece the same day. Then came the Westbrook interception, on a pass intended for Glenn, Cafardo wrote. Bledsoe gallantly fought to make the tackle but had no chance to catch Westbrook, who danced into the end zone. Bledsoe got a handshake from Bill Belichick and was told Tom Brady was taking over. Brady wound up making no more appearances for the duration of the 2000 season, and his lingering presence on the roster the following fall -- with former No. 1 overall pick Bledsoe still firmly entrenched as starter - generated literally no mention when it came time for James Alder, an occasional blog Times blog contributor and football consultant for BBC Radio, to issue his 2001 season forecast. Instead, when it came to the AFC East, Alder and others dismissed the whole team entirely. (The East) will be a three-team race this season, and one of those teams will not be the New England Patriots, he wrote in an Aug. 10 preseason preview. They still have Drew Bledsoe running the offense, but this team has a shortage of impact players on offense and defense. If they manage to put together a decent running game, they may win as many as six games this year. Needless to say, by the time Alder prepped the next years follow-up, the horizon had changed. The frequently-recited version of the Brady legend began in Week 2 of 2001, when Bledsoe was splattered along the sidelines by New York Jets linebacker Mo Lewis. The Patriots wound up losing to Vinny Testaverdes Jets and fell to 0-2 as Brady went 5-for-10 for a pedestrian 46 yards, but 11 wins in 14 regular- season starts followed -- as did a Super Bowl win against St. Louis that made Rutledge a trivia footnote, Bledsoe an offseason castoff and Brady a superstar. Its fun to watch him. Hes poetry in motion, Washington coach Jay Gruden said. Obviously a Hall of Famer and the best of all time. 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