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NO. 13 SAINT LOUIS TOPS HAWKS, WINS 15TH STRAIGHT

Thursday, 06 February 2014 07:32 Published in Sports

PHILADELPHIA (AP) -- Rob Loe scored 17 points and Jordair Jett had 10 points and seven assists to help No. 13 Saint Louis top Saint Joseph's 65-49 on Wednesday night for a team-record 15th straight victory.

The Billikens (21-2, 8-0 Atlantic 10) topped 14-game winning streaks set in the 1958-59 and 1993-94 seasons.

The Billikens, who needed overtime to beat George Mason on Saturday, extended their best start in team history and are 8-0 on the road.

Saint Louis last lost Dec. 1 to Wichita State, 70-65.

Ronald Roberts Jr. had 19 points for the Hawks (15-7, 5-3), who missed 14 of 15 3-point attempts.

The Hawks blew a chance midway through the second half to make a big dent in their 15-point deficit when DeAndre Bembry missed three of four free throws during a pivotal stretch. Roberts also missed two from the line, keeping Saint Louis' lead at nine points. The Billikens showed Saint Joseph's how to get it done from the line, making four straight to open a 45-32 lead, and they hit just enough big shots down the stretch to hold off the Hawks.

Hawks coach Phil Martelli basically used a six-man rotation and his tired team didn't have enough lift in those late-game jumpers to mount a serious rally. Mike McCall Jr. and Loe broke the game open with 3s in the final minutes for an 18-point lead, propelling the Billikens into the team record book.

The Hawks had 17 turnovers and only five assists.

Saint Joseph's, which hasn't made the NCAA tournament since 2008, had won 11 of 13 since Dec. 7 to at least start thinking about some kind of postseason play. The Hawks were coming off a 73-68 win over No. 21 UMass and hoped to beat Top 25 teams in consecutive games for the first time since March 1966. That drought will go on.

Saint Louis has worked its way up the rankings in large part to a defense that allows only 59 points per game, tops in the A-10 and eighth nationally. The Billikens led the A-10 in field goal percentage defense (39 percent) and were second in 3-point field goal defense (29 percent).

The tentative Hawks got a taste of what it's like playing against the Billikens: They missed 16 of 22 shots from the field (1 for 6 on 3s) for a miserable 27 percent. That's not good enough to beat even the weakest nonconference team, much less against a program that's won NCAA tournament games in consecutive seasons.

Austin McBroom hit a 3 and drove the lane for an uncontested layup during a 13-1 run late in the first half that sent Saint Louis into the break with a 35-22 lead.

The Billikens might want to stick around Philadelphia - they play Saturday at La Salle.

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5 THINGS TO KNOW ABOUT THE SOCHI OLYMPICS

Thursday, 06 February 2014 07:28 Published in Sports

SOCHI, Russia (AP) — Fast five, Thursday edition: Things you'll want to know about the 2014 Winter Olympics.

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SECURITY: It's foremost on many minds as Olympic competition begins and thousands stream into the Black Sea resort city. The Russian government says it's doing all it can to ensure safety, and on Thursday a deputy prime minister went even further. "We can guarantee the safety of the people as well as any other government hosting a mass event," said Dmitry Kozak.

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TOOTHPASTE: It's the latest item to fall under scrutiny after the U.S. Homeland Security Department warned airlines flying to Russia that terrorists might try to smuggle explosives on board hidden in toothpaste tubes. The threat was passed onto airlines that have direct flights to Russia, including some that originate in the United States, a law enforcement official speaking on condition of anonymity told The Associated Press.

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SNOWBOARDING: It begins, but without marquee name Shaun White, the world's most famous snowboarder. He pulled out of slopestyle, a new Olympic event, to concentrate on the halfpipe, where he'll have a chance to win his third straight title next week. After practice slopestyle runs, White said: "The potential risk of injury is a bit too much for me to gamble my other Olympics goals on."

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WORLD LEADERS: It's a record, says the Sochi Olympics' chief organizer: Sixty-five heads of state and government and international organizations will be attending Russia's first Winter Games. Dmitry Chernyshenko says that's more than any other Winter Olympics and three times the number of leaders who attended the 2010 Olympics in Vancouver. Here's who you won't see, though: President Barack Obama, French President Francois Hollande, British Prime Minister David Cameron and German President Joachim Gauck.

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OPENING APPROACHES: Friday night's opening ceremony will showcase Russia to the world on its own terms — a storyline intended to impress the many nations in attendance and allow President Vladimir Putin to put forth the message he's been trumpeting for months now: that his country has successfully combined its storied history with modern innovation and is ready for anything. The intended audience is as much Russians as it is the rest of the world.

HAGEL ORDERS URGENT PUSH FOR ETHICS CRACKDOWN

Thursday, 06 February 2014 07:27 Published in National News

WASHINGTON (AP) — Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel wants military leaders to inject more urgency into ensuring "moral character and moral courage" in a force suffering a rash of ethical lapses.

Hagel has been worried by a string of scandals that has produced a wave of unwelcome publicity for the military. But in light of new disclosures this week, including the announcement of alleged cheating among senior sailors in the nuclear Navy, Hagel on Wednesday demanded a fuller accounting of the depth of the problem.

Last month the Air Force revealed it was investigating widespread cheating on proficiency tests among nuclear missile launch officers in Montana, and numerous senior officers in all branches of the armed forces have been caught in embarrassing episodes of personal misbehavior, inside and outside the nuclear force. The Air Force also is pursuing a drug use investigation, and a massive bribery case in California has ensnared six Navy officers so far.

At the same time, hundreds of soldiers and others are under criminal investigation in what the Army describes as a widespread scheme to take fraudulent payments and kickbacks from a National Guard recruiting program.

The steady drumbeat of one military ethics scandal after another has caused many to conclude that the misbehavior reflects more than routine lapses.

"He definitely sees this as a growing problem," Hagel's chief spokesman, Navy Rear Adm. John Kirby, told a Pentagon news conference Wednesday after Hagel met privately with the top uniformed and civilian officials of the Army, Navy, Air Force and Marine Corps.

"And he's concerned about the depth of it," Kirby said. "I don't think he could stand here and tell you that he has — that anybody has — the full grasp here, and that's what worries (Hagel) is that maybe he doesn't have the full grasp of the depth of the issue, and he wants to better understand it."

Hagel's predecessor, Leon Panetta, had launched an effort to crack down on ethics failures more than a year ago, and the matter has been a top priority for the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey, for even longer.

Kirby said Hagel has come to realize that he needs to investigate as well.

"We don't fully know right now what we're grappling with here and how deep and serious it is," Kirby said. "And I think, you know, for a leader at his level with the responsibilities that he carries every day, not knowing something like that is something to be concerned about. And he wants to know more."

Hagel believes that the vast majority of military members are "brave, upright and honest," and he is encouraged by efforts already underway to curb misconduct, including sexual assaults, Kirby said.

But Hagel told the service leaders Wednesday that he "also believes there must be more urgency behind these efforts" and that all Pentagon leaders must "put renewed emphasis on developing moral character and moral courage in our force."

Kirby was asked whether Hagel believes ethics lapses are a symptom of overuse of the military for the long wars in Iraq and Afghanistan.

"He believes that that is a factor that should be looked at," the spokesman said.

A significant portion of the concern about military misbehavior is aimed at two segments of the nuclear force: the Air Force's land-based nuclear missile corps and the Navy's training program for operators of nuclear reactors used as propulsion systems for submarines and aircraft carriers. Neither of those fields was directly involved in significant ways in either of the wars since 2001.

The Navy announced on Tuesday that it opened an investigation into cheating allegations against about 30 senior sailors representing about one-fifth of its instructors at a school for naval nuclear power reactor operators based in Charleston, S.C.

Unlike an Air Force cheating probe that has implicated nearly 100 officers responsible for land-based nuclear missiles that stand ready for short-notice launch, those implicated in the Navy investigation have no responsibility for nuclear weapons.

The Navy said its implicated sailors are accused of having cheated on written tests they must pass to be certified as instructors at the nuclear propulsion school. A number of them are alleged to have transmitted test information to other instructors from their home computers, which if verified would be a violation of restrictions on the use and transmission of classified information.

The matter was being probed by the Naval Criminal Investigative Service.

Separately, Kirby announced that the Pentagon has picked two retired officers to lead an independent review of personnel problems inside the Air Force and Navy nuclear forces. They are Larry Welch, a former Air Force chief of staff, and John Harvey, a retired Navy admiral and nuclear-trained surface warfare officer.

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