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Front and center: Christmas, Grant face stout test versus No. 25 Pitt if Keita can’t play

first_imgFor the first time this year, Rakeem Christmas will take the floor with likely no backup center on Wednesday — and for Syracuse, it couldn’t come at a worse time.The Orange travels to a jam-packed Petersen Events Center, where it is 1-6 all time. It will face a head coach with a 10-5 record against Jim Boeheim’s 2-3 zone and a Pittsburgh team seeking to avenge a game it had nearly wrapped up in the Carrier Dome on Jan. 18.For No. 1 Syracuse (23-0, 10-0 Atlantic Coast), the 25th-ranked Panthers (20-4, 8-3) may be the perfect storm to end the Orange’s undefeated season and deny it the longest winning streak in program history. “Having just one center is going to make our job much harder,” SU forward C.J. Fair said. “It puts a little more pressure on Rakeem to play honest defense.”With senior center Baye Moussa Keita unable to practice after spraining his right knee against Clemson on Sunday, the Orange will lean on 210-pound forward Jerami Grant to help man the middle of its zone in its staunchest road test of the season so far.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textGrant held his own against the Tigers, but a Talib Zanna-led frontcourt presents a far bigger problem. The 6-foot-9, 230-pound center gave the Orange frontcourt fits in the first matchup as Christmas (4), Fair (3) and Grant (3) all worked through foul trouble.On Monday and Tuesday, Grant practiced with the centers. But he’ll likely need more than just extra repetitions to hold his own in the paint against the Panthers. If Keita is sidelined, that will force Grant into the middle early and often.“It’s definitely going to be tough,” Grant said, “but if I’m put in the same situation, I’ve got to do the same thing.”Pitt head coach Jamie Dixon said his team will try to force Grant into the middle by attacking Christmas early and often. In their first matchup, Zanna gave Christmas trouble using a pump-fake out of the high post to get to the basket, as well as opening up passing lanes into the low post.In addition to looking for Zanna, Dixon said the Panthers will attack the offensive glass to provide second and third scoring opportunities, as well as additional chances to draw whistles.That’s where Keita’s potential absence could hurt the Orange. “Unless you get foul trouble on their starting center, Christmas,” Dixon said on the ACC coaches’ teleconference Monday, “it really won’t change too many things.”Christmas said that he knows he needs to make a more concerted effort to avoid collecting fouls. He’s racked up at least four in five of the Orange’s last seven games.But keeping him on the court may take more of a team effort. Fair said the Orange will try to pack in its zone against Pittsburgh in hopes of taking away the entry pass to the high post.“I think if we do a good job of packing our defense in and helping Rak out, I think we can kind of save him,” Fair said.But foul trouble or not, Christmas isn’t expected to play 40 minutes. When Grant is out there, the zone may not have to tighten, but it will have to help rebound.After the Clemson game, Grant said rebounding out of the middle of the zone was the hardest part of his adjustment. He grabbed just one rebound in the second half.And considering Pitt outrebounded the Orange 35-24 last time, there’s only more reason to crash the boards.“We just know we’ve got to do more team rebounding,” SU guard Trevor Cooney said. “Everyone’s got to go back. Tyler (Ennis) and I have to go back and get the loose balls that are tipped out and help rebound.”Individually, Grant struggled in his first two possessions against Clemson, but worked to stay out of the low post and keep the Tigers’ big men from posting him up.“For Jerami, you’ve just got to beat him to the spot,” Christmas said. “That’s what he was doing out there (against Clemson), and he was doing a good job of it.”For Syracuse, clean play from Christmas and damage control from Grant will be key in remaining undefeated. Playing in a hectic environment against a coach with success against the zone is tough enough — but the Orange knows what’s coming. Barring a return from Keita, it’s just a matter of whether or not Syracuse can stop it. Comments Published on February 12, 2014 at 2:35 am Contact Stephen: [email protected] | @Stephen_Bailey1 Facebook Twitter Google+last_img read more

Record-man Ronaldo puts Portugal into last 16

first_imgAt the other end, a save from Hungary goalkeeper Gabor Kiraly, who has made grey sweatpants the must-have fashion back home, saved a swirling Ronaldo free-kick on 29 minutes.Nani had the ball in the Hungary net five minutes from the break, but his effort was ruled offside. The Fenerbahce forward was not to be denied and his crisp finish, after a lovely pass in from Ronaldo, put Portugal level on 42 minutes.The game burst into life with four goals in the opening 20 minutes of the second-half.Hungary regained the lead just two minutes after the break when Dzsudzsak’s well-struck free-kick took a slight deflection off the Portugal wall on 47 minutes.The stage was set for Ronaldo.The Real superstar made sure he would leave the Stade de Lyon with two records when he flicked his shot past Kiraly on 50 minutes to make it 2-2.But Portugal’s second equaliser only served to galvanise Hungary’s resolve.Dzsudzsak drilled a free-kick off the wall, but pounced on the rebound and his left-footed shot deflected off Nani, past Rui Patricio, into the far corner on 55 minutes for a 3-2 lead.There was, however, no denying Ronaldo.Just moments after coming on, Ricardo Queresma fired in a corner and Ronaldo drove his header past Kiraly on 62 minutes.By now it was end-to-end stuff as Hungary’s attacking midfielder Akos Elek hit the woodwork on 64 minutes as it stayed 3-3 at the final whistle.Share on: WhatsApp Pages: 1 2 3 Euro 2016Portugal 3 Hungary 3Iceland 2 Austria 1Belgium 1 Sweden 0Rep. Ireland 1 Italy 0COPA AmericaChile 2 Colombia 0Final: Chile vs ArgentinaLyon, France | AFP |Cristiano Ronaldo scored two trademark brilliant goals Wednesday to go into European Championship history and rescue Portugal in a 3-3 draw with Hungary that took them into the last 16.The 31-year-old opened his account in style with a deft backheel flick on 50 minutes, then a bullet header 12 minutes later to twice equalise at the Stade de Lyon.The result left Hungary on top of Group F. Portugal squeezed through as one of the best third-place finishers but now face a tough match against Croatia. Republic of Ireland scored their own memorable 1-0 win over Italy and Belgium beat Sweden by the same score to both move into the last 16, ending the international career of Swedish legend Zlatan Ibrahimovic in defeat.The Real Madrid ace became the first player to score at four European championship finals and his 17th match in a Euro tournament was also a record.It was his 128th appearance for Portugal, further extending the record he set last Saturday, as he made a record 17th appearance at Euro finals.Following their draws with Iceland and Austria, Portugal’s captain had been feeling the pressure.He threw a TV reporter’s microphone in a lake on the morning of the game in Lyon.But he delivered when it mattered as Portugal equalised three times in a topsy-turvy match — not one for the faint-hearted.Hungary captain Balazs Dzsudzsak matched Ronaldo by netting two second-half goals as the Mighty Magyars took first place in Group F winners.With three draws, Portugal advance as third behind Iceland.Hungary took the lead in sweltering conditions at the Stade de Lyon when veteran midfielder Zoltan Gera unleashed a thunderbolt.There was nothing on when Portugal fail to clear a corner.But the 37-year-old Gera belted a low left-footed drive into the bottom-right corner which gave Portugal goalkeeper Rui Patricio no chance on 19 minutes.last_img read more

Woman crashes stolen ambulance into Fort Pierce police car

first_imgFort Pierce Police say a woman was arrested after stealing an ambulance and crashing into a police cruiser, Wednesday morning.Paramedics were on a call around 9:30 a.m., when 29-year-old Amber Lynn Sills jumped into the ambulance and took off with a patient inside, according to St Lucie Fire officials.Sills crashed into a patrol SUV while being chased by authorities.The officer identified as Todd Warner was exiting the SUV at the time of the crash. No injuries were reported, and a second vehicle came to the scene to take the patient.Sills faces charges of aggravated fleeing and eluding, and grand theft.This story is developing.last_img read more

Governor DeSantis says summer camps can reopen without restrictions

first_imgGovernor DeSantis says he will allow summer camps across Florida to reopen without any state level restrictions.The announcement was made during a press conference in Jacksonville on Friday afternoon.The Governor says he decision was based on data showing that while Florida has reported 49,000 cases of the coronavirus and 2,190 COVID related deaths, there are no fatalities under the age of 25:“I think the data is pretty clear: Kids don’t seem to get infected at the same rates that adults get infected,” Governor DeSantis said.While there will be no state imposed restrictions of summer camps, the governor says individual counties can enforce their own restrictions based on what is believed to be right for their communities.“I hope that this will be good for folks over the summer. I really trust parents. I trust the physicians who work with the kids, the local leaders, coaches, camps,” Gov. DeSantis said.last_img read more

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