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Quinn, Rams sack Bucs 23-13, finish strong at home

Sunday, 22 December 2013 15:55 Published in Sports
ST. LOUIS (AP) — The St. Louis Rams wore throwback jerseys from their Super Bowl title season, then Robert Quinn outdid one of those former stars.
 
Quinn got three of St. Louis' seven sacks and set a franchise season record in a 23-13 victory over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers on Sunday.
 
The Rams won without left tackle Jake Long, who injured his knee on the first series. Coach Jeff Fisher believes Long tore a knee ligament.
 
Quinn leads the NFC with 18 sacks. He broke Kevin Carter's franchise record of 17 sacks in that 1999 Super Bowl title season.
 
Zac Stacy rushed for 104 yards on 33 carries and a touchdown, and two other rookies also had big games for the Rams (7-8), who matched their victory total from last year. Stedman Bailey scored on a 27-yard reverse, and Alec Ogletree forced two fumbles.
 
Ogletree stripped Bobby Rainey early in the second quarter. Bailey scored his first career touchdown on the next snap on the reverse to put the Rams up for good at 14-7.
 
The Buccaneers (4-11) managed just 170 total yards, setting a season low for the second straight week. Vincent Jackson had five catches for 98 yards.
 
Rainey opened the scoring with a 1-yard run in the first quarter and Stacy scored on a 1-yard run early in the second quarter.
 
There were thousands of empty seats for an unattractive matchup with attendance announced at 54,423 — about 12,000 shy of capacity.
 
James Laurinaitis added two sacks and Greg Zuerlein kicked three field goals, including a season-best 54-yarder in the third quarter after Tampa Bay had cut the deficit to a point.
 
The Buccaneers are 1-6 on the road, the lone win in overtime at Seattle after an 0-8 start to the season. Tampa Bay finishes at New Orleans next week.
 
Quinn's first sack helped force the Bucs to settle for a 35-yard field goal by Rian Lindell to cut the Rams' lead to 14-10 at the half.
 
Bailey has gotten involved in the offense the last few weeks and stepped up with Tavon Austin, his former teammate at West Virginia, sidelined for a second straight week by a left ankle injury. The reverse was his first career NFL TD and first rushing at least before college, and he had three catches for 44 yards.
 
Bailey was just as prolific as Austin in college, scoring 27 touchdowns as a senior.
 
Sloppy play helped the Bucs keep it close in the first half. Quarterback Kellen Clemens fumbled on a scramble at the Tampa Bay 4 to burn a scoring opportunity, with Gerald McCoy knocking it loose and Keith Tandy recovering. On the Rams' next snap, Dekoda Watson stripped Stacy and Lavonte David recovered at the Bucs 47.
 
Tampa Bay had first and goal at the Rams 9 near the end of the half before sacks by Laurinaitis and Quinn on consecutive plays pushed the Buccaneers back 16 yards.

No. 23 Missouri edged at end by Illinois 65-64

Saturday, 21 December 2013 23:50 Published in Sports
ST. LOUIS (AP) — When Jabari Brown made a 3-pointer with 14.9 seconds left, No. 23 Missouri celebrated as if it had won its fifth consecutive Braggin' Rights game against Illinois.
 
This time, though, there was a different ending.
 
Johnathan Williams III fouled with 4.6 ticks remaining, and Tracy Abrams made both free throws to give the Illini a 65-64 victory.
 
Missouri's Tony Criswell heaved a last-ditch attempt from half-court, but the shot fell harmlessly into the stands.
 
"We just had to make a play," Jordan Clarkson said. "We had to make a stop at the end of the game. We just didn't finish the game the way we wanted to."
 
Clarkson finished with 25 points, six rebounds and a career-best eight assists. Earnest Ross added 13 for the Tigers (10-1), who entered the game as the lone unbeaten school in the Southeastern Conference.
 
The Tigers scored their fewest points of the season one game after its previous low in a 66-60 win against Western Michigan.
 
Missouri coach Frank Haith said the Illini were the more physical team.
 
"It was a hard-fought game," he said. "It was like two heavyweight fighters going at it, and I think you've got to adjust to the game when it's going to be officiated like that in terms of the physicality of the game. And they did a better job of that than we did."
 
Missouri bungled its final play after Abrams' free throws, as Criswell's inbounds pass was slightly behind a streaking Clarkson. The ball caromed off Clarkson's arm before Criswell ended up with the ball for the final shot.
 
"It was a tough pass to catch," Clarkson said. "I was coming down full speed and the ball went behind me a little bit and slipped out of my hand. Tony just got it and I feel like we got a good shot at the basket. That was the only shot we could get."
 
Abrams finished with a season-best 22 points and Rayvonte Rice added 14 points for Illinois (10-2), which leads the annual series between the schools 21-12. Abrams finished 7 for 10 at the line.
 
The Illini were unranked for the pre-Christmas game for the first time in four years, and perhaps learned from a loss at No. 15 Oregon their last time out.
 
The last four years, the schools entered with a combined 72-7 record. The teams combined for 15 lead changes, setting up the frenzied final seconds.
 
"We just got to do the little things," Brown said. "We missed free throws, we had some turnovers. We don't win or lose the game on that last play. It was an accumulation of things."
 
Among those attending were Hall of Fame baseball manager Whitey Herzog, Missouri Gov. Jay Nixon and the football coaches from both schools, Missouri's Gary Pinkel and Illinois' Bob Beckman.
 
The schools traded runs in the second half that kept it tight, 10-1 by Missouri to go up by near the midway point and 9-0 by Illinois with a pair of three-point plays by Abrams for a two-point lead with 6:17 to go.
 
Illinois climbed out of an early hole behind 3-point shooting, hitting six of its first 10 — by six players — and led 31-27 at the half. Missouri led 8-0 and had a nine-point cushion at 15-6 after Rice's second foul with 13:47 to go in the half.
 
Illinois answered with a 10-0 run the next 3½ minutes, including 3-pointers from Kendrick Nunn and Abrams, and scored seven in a row late in the half for a six-point lead ended by Clarkson's driving basket with five seconds to go.
 
"That was a really good ballgame, I think," Haith said. "Two good teams, playing hard. It comes down to two free throws to lose the game. I like where our team is at."

NYC EXPANDS SMOKING BAN TO INCLUDE E-CIGARETTES

Friday, 20 December 2013 08:42 Published in National News

NEW YORK (AP) -- With smokers exiled 12 years ago to New York City's sidewalks, some took up electronic cigarettes as a way to come in from the cold. They could puff away once again in restaurants, offices or even libraries without running afoul of the city's ban on smoking in indoor public places.

Now they're down to their last few puffs with the City Council's 43-8 vote Thursday to expand the smoking ban to include e-cigarettes. Outgoing Mayor Michael Bloomberg is expected to sign the measure, which he has pushed throughout his 12 years in office. The ban would then take effect in four months.

Also Thursday, the council paved the way for an eventual ban on plastic foam containers and approved the creation of a website that will help the public track federal dollars budgeted for Superstorm Sandy-related damages. The flurry of activity - more than two dozen introductions and resolutions were passed - came on the council's last legislative session of the year.

Speaker Christine Quinn said before the vote on e-cigarettes that the evidence on whether nicotine inhalers are truly safe is insufficient. She said allowing the devices in places where cigarettes are now banned also could "renormalize" smoking and undermine the public perception that the habit is now acceptable only in the privacy of one's own home.

"We don't want a step backward with that," she said.

The vote came amid sharp disagreement within public health circles over how to treat e-cigarettes. The tobacco-free smokes heat up a chemical solution and emit vapors while giving smokers their nicotine fix.

Manufacturers say the mist is harmless, and most scientists agree that regular smokers who switch to e-cigarettes are lowering their health risk substantially.

The devices, though, aren't heavily regulated. And experts say consumers can't yet be sure whether they are safe either for users or people exposed to second-hand vapor puffs.

Like regular cigarettes, the nicotine in e-cigarettes is also highly addictive. People who use them may be unable to quit, even if they want to. That has raised concerns that a new generation of young people could gravitate toward e-cigarettes and wind up hooked for life or even switch to tobacco cigarettes.

The Food and Drug Administration has said it intends to regulate e-cigarettes as tobacco products but has yet to issue any rules, leaving manufacturers free to advertise while regular cigarette ads are banned.

Several states, including New Jersey, Arkansas, Utah and North Dakota, have already expanded their indoor smoking bans to include e-cigarettes. Other bans have been proposed in several big cities. About half of the states restrict sales to minors.

At a City Council hearing earlier this month, city Health Commissioner Thomas Farley urged the council to approve a ban, saying the city couldn't risk rolling back the progress it has made driving down smoking rates.

The American Lung Association and the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids agreed. Other public health advocates did not. They said that in a nation where roughly 1 in 5 adults are hooked on indisputably deadly cigarettes, safer alternatives should be embraced, not discouraged, even if science hasn't rendered a final verdict.

E-cigarette manufacturers say they don't believe their products will be used as a gateway drug to cigarettes, and they have criticized New York's proposed ban as a rush to judgment.

"Companies like us want to be responsible, but when you have municipalities prematurely judge what should be and what shouldn't be, based not on the science, I think it does the public a disservice," said Miguel Martin, president of e-cigarette brand Logic.

While the measure's advocates say e-cigarettes resemble tobacco smokes enough to confuse restaurateurs trying to enforce smoking laws and send a message of social acceptability, manufacturers say that reasoning is muddled.

"That's like saying we shouldn't be able to sell water because it looks like vodka," Martin said.

The foam bill allows lawmakers to ban the product - technically called expanded polystyrene foam - if after a yearlong study the commissioner of the Sanitation Department finds the material can't be recycled effectively. It takes a long time to break down in landfills, and there's debate over how readily it can be recycled once it's soiled by food.

An online database to track the use of Sandy funds already exists and is operated by the Bloomberg administration. Thursday's bill will update the website, creating a searchable, interactive online tool that allows users to look-up by zip code information about how federal Sandy dollars are being spent.

---

Associated Press writers David B. Caruso and Jennifer Peltz contributed to this report.

© 2013 THE ASSOCIATED PRESS. ALL RIGHTS RESERVED. THIS MATERIAL MAY NOT BE PUBLISHED, BROADCAST, REWRITTEN OR REDISTRIBUTED. Learn more about our PRIVACY POLICY and TERMS OF USE.

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