The St Louis baseball Cardinals have extended General Manager John Mozeliak's contract through 2016 and picked up manager Mike Matheny's option for 2014. The announcement was made Thursday morning by team President Bill DeWitt, Jr. at spring training camp in Jupiter, Florida.
KTRS Sports contributor Joe Strauss tweets that if Mozeliak serves out his term as GM, he and predecessor, Walt Jocketty, will have steered the club for 23 seasons.
Mozeliak, who is entering his sixth season as the team's general manager, had his contract extended through 2016.
During Mozeliak's tenure as GM, the Cardinals have won the 2011 World Series and they have been to the postseason three times, including the past two seasons.
The 2012 club, managed by Matheny, was one win away from a second consecutive National League pennant when it lost a three-games-to-one lead in the National League championship series to the San Francisco Giants.
"It looked like a case of here we go again," St. Louis coach Ken Hitchcock said.
The Blues, though, had other plans.
Alexander Steen stuffed in a rebound 52 seconds into overtime to lift St. Louis to a 4-3 much-needed victory over Detroit on Wednesday night.
"Just hoping something bounced out," Steen said. "Got lucky. I think we got scared into the right direction. I think that fear made us play hockey."
The Blues were good early, starting 6-1, then lost five straight before rallying for a win in Detroit.
"This is a real boost for our team," Hitchcock said. "This is the boost that we need to start playing like last year."
St. Louis advanced in the playoffs last year for the first time in a decade before being swept by the eventual-champion Los Angeles Kings in the second round.
After sputtering early in the lockout-shortened season, Detroit had won a season-high three straight wins with a stretch of success that started with a 5-1 victory over St. Louis.
The Red Wings set themselves up to extend the streak, but blew a two-goal lead in the first period and chances to win in the third period on a pair of chances with an extra skater.
"If we would have kept playing like we did in the first I don't think we would have needed a power-play goal," Detroit captain Henrik Zetterberg said. "It was probably our best first period of the whole year and then they took over completely in the second period."
St. Louis goalie Jake Allen, making his first NHL start in his second game in the league, made 15 saves. Jaroslav Halak missed his fifth straight game with a groin strain, an injury he had in a Feb. 1 loss against Detroit, and Hitchcock said he's day to day.
Hitchcock was happy with the way Allen, and his teammates, bounced back after being down 0-2.
"This is a game that could've gotten away on us," Hitchcock said.
Jimmy Howard faced just three shots in the first period and finished with 21 saves for the Red Wings.
Allen gave up a goal on Detroit's first shot, getting fooled by fellow rookie Tomas Tatar's deke in front of the net that set up his first score of the season 2:17 into the game. Drew Miller scored his first goal of the year 5-plus minutes later to give the Red Wings a 2-0 lead.
"Our third and fourth line, they got us the goals," Red Wings coach Mike Babcock said. "I should have probably stuck with them longer than I did."
Patrik Berglund's short-handed goal late in the first period pulled St. Louis within a goal. Rookie Vladimir Tarasenko's sixth goal of the season tied it at 7:12 of the second period and Chris Stewart put the Blues ahead 3-2 less than 2 minutes later.
"Berglund's goal short-handed really calmed everything down," Hitchcock said.
Pavel Datsyuk tied it again with his sixth goal midway through the second period, scoring from behind the net on a shot that went off Allen's left leg.
The Red Wings had two power plays in the third period, but couldn't take advantage. They had just six shots combined over the second and third periods after getting 11 on net in the first.
"I didn't tell `em not to shoot," Babcock bristled.
NOTES: Red Wings F Johan Franzen missed the game with a hip injury and Patrick Eaves replaced him in the lineup. ... Detroit and St. Louis played for the fourth time in 13 games during the lockout-shortened schedule and will meet for a fifth and final scheduled April 7 in Detroit. ... Tatar played in his fifth game this year for the Red Wings and the 14th of his career. ... The Blues recalled Allen from Peoria on Tuesday. ... St. Louis has power-play goals in each of its last seven games. ... Seven-time Norris Trophy winner Nicklas Lidstrom got a standing ovation when he was shown on the videoboards, attending his first game since retiring last summer. ... Detroit had beaten the Blues four games in a row at home.
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Missouri (18-6, 7-4 Southeastern Conference) jumped out to a 14-0 lead in the opening minutes and led 34-10 by halftime. It took Mississippi State (7-16, 2-9) more than nine minutes to score its first basket — a 3-pointer by Colin Borchert — but by then the game was basically finished.
Missouri won its first road game of the season. Mississippi State’s losing streak has reached nine games and spanned more than a month.
It is Mississippi State’s longest losing streak since 1987 and the 42-point loss is the worst in the history of Humphrey Coliseum, which opened in 1975.
Trivante Bloodman led the Bulldogs with 13 points.
Missouri led by as many as 44 points in the second half. The Tigers shot 31 of 58 (53.4 percent) from the field.
Bell finished 10 of 16 from the field, including 2 of 4 from 3-point range.
His 24 points tied a season high and the performance was punctuated by a 360-degree dunk late in the second half.
Brown was 7 of 11 from the field. Missouri outrebounded Mississippi State 46-25.
Missouri’s first road win of the season came with ease. The Tigers pushed ahead 23-4 on Bell’s jumper 7:11 remaining and were never challenged.
Mississippi State continues to explore the depths of ineptitude with only six scholarship players and two walk-ons in the playing rotation. The Bulldogs haven’t won since beating Georgia on Jan. 12 and now face two road games over the next week against LSU and Alabama.
It took Mississippi State more than nine minutes and 12 shot attempts to score.
Borchert finally got the Bulldogs on the board with his 3-pointer, but the points didn’t come much faster after that.
It’s been a trying season for first-year coach Rick Ray, whose roster has been decimated by defections and injuries. But nobody in the SEC is going to feel sorry for the Bulldogs, and they found that out once again during Wednesday’s beatdown.
Mississippi State shot just 4 of 25 (16 percent) in the first half. Missouri’s Bell outscored the Bulldogs by himself in that half, scoring 16 to lead the Tigers.
The Bulldogs looked a little better early in the second half. A Roquez Johnson free throw pulled Mississippi State within 42-23 with 14:56 left but Missouri scored the next 12 points to erase what little doubt remained.
Mississippi State couldn’t shoot the ball from anywhere. The Bulldogs were just 11 of 46 (23.9 percent) from the field, 3 of 19 (15.8 percent) on 3-pointers and 11 of 22 (50 percent) on free throws.
He thought about who wasn't.
Wilt Chamberlain? Not there. Michael Jordan? Not there. Shaquille O'Neal? Not there, either. In NBA history, only Adrian Dantley and Moses Malone had put together five straight 30-point, 60-percent efforts - that is, until James joined their super-exclusive club.
And now, he stands alone.
James scored 30 points on 11 for 15 shooting to get into the NBA record books, Chris Bosh scored 32 points and grabbed 11 rebounds, and the Miami Heat wound up beating the Portland Trail Blazers 117-104 in a wild, momentum-swinging game Tuesday night.
"It kind of blew my mind," James said. "To see how small the list was and for me to even be a part of the list, to start off, it's like, `Wow.'"
"Wow" doesn't even come close to summing up how he's been in the last six games. He's shot 66 for 92 - and take away a "slow" 6-for-12 start at Toronto on Feb. 3, he's made 60 of his last 80 field-goal tries, a ridiculous 75 percent success rate. He's scored either 30, 31 or 32 points in all six of these games.
His latest brilliance came in Miami's 1,000th regular-season win. But the only history anyone will remember was what James accomplished.
"I'm at a loss for words," James said. "Like I say over and over, I know the history of the game. I know how many unbelievable players who came through the ranks, who paved the way for me and my teammates.
"And for me to be in the record books by myself with such a stat - any stat - it's big-time."
Dwyane Wade added 24 points for Miami, which wasted a pair of 14-point leads - then put the game away with a 14-0 run in the final minutes. Ray Allen added 14 for Miami.
Damian Lillard had a game-high 33 points for Portland, which got 29 from LaMarcus Aldridge and 20 from Wesley Matthews. Just like the Heat, the Blazers also saw a 14-point lead slip away in the game, and then simply got shut down late by a stretch of airtight Miami defense.
"That was typical Miami Heat stuff," Lillard said. "Transition, finishing strong around the rim, and LeBron picking defenses apart."
Pretty good assessment from the rookie. For as great as he was, it was James' night.
"That's why he is who he is," Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said. "The best player in the game."
Added Wade: "Obviously, he is doing something that is amazing and special."
And on a night when the teams took turns putting together big runs, it was the Heat who had the last rally - ultimately, the last laugh as well.
With the game tied at 99, James drove baseline on former Cleveland teammate Sasha Pavlovic for a two-handed slam that he punctuated with a long scream.
The Heat immediately responded. Matthews made a 3-pointer on the next Portland possession to give the Trail Blazers their last lead. Miami scored the next 14 points, and when James got loose for a dunk with 2:38 remaining, the 30-point mark - and history - was his.
"He played a very good basketball game," Spoelstra deadpanned afterward. "That's all you're going to get out of me right now. He competes. He loves to compete. He loves close games. ... And he's leading us, not just with his talent."
Bosh made a jumper with 1:55 left to end the run and seal the win, Miami's sixth straight overall.
Miami next plays Thursday night in Oklahoma City, an NBA Finals rematch before heading into the All-Star break. The Heat topped the Thunder in the first meeting of the clubs this season, winning in Miami on Christmas Day.
"It's a game we'll look forward to," Wade said.
A glance at the halftime boxscore - Portland 59, Miami 58 - would have suggested the opening two quarters were closely contested, back-and-forth basketball.
Miami started with a flurry, hitting its first seven shots and doing so with James collecting five assists in the game's first 3:52. The Heat led 14-5 after that burst, and were still shooting 75 percent with a minute to go in the opening quarter.
They also were trailing at that point. The Blazers were doing anything they wanted on the offensive end.
"I thought it was a good effort by our team," Blazers coach Terry Stotts said. "Miami's one of the best if not the best team in the league right now and they are playing at a high level. We matched it for about 44 minutes."
More than matched it for a while, too.
Aldridge went on a personal 13-0 run over a stretch of nearly four minutes midway through the half, single-handedly seeming to turn what was a 29-24 Portland deficit into a 37-29 Portland lead. And another quick burst, this time a 10-1 run by the Blazers, gave the visitors what was their biggest lead, 57-43 with 4:48 left in the half.
Take away Miami's sizzling start, and the Blazers outscored the Heat 52-29 over a huge swath of the first half. Miami answered with a 34-12 run, rebuilding a 14-point lead midway through third.
And after Portland had one more rally, it was all Miami in the final minutes.
NOTES: It was the 25th time Lillard scored more than 20 points this season, adding to his rookie-of-the-year credentials. ... Aldridge has at least 11 field goals in each of his past five games. ... The Heat were without Mike Miller, the latest victim of the flu bug that has ripped through the locker room, and lost starting forward Udonis Haslem to a lower-leg contusion in the opening quarter. X-rays on Haslem's shin were negative.
The move comes after Jaroslav Halak aggravated a groin injury before game against the Kings last night. Allen has appeared in 31 games for the Rivermen and recorded two shutouts.
Blues next game is Wednesday night as they visit the Red Wings in Detroit.
The International Olympic Committee is dropping Wresting from the 2020 Summer Games.Wrestling has been part of the Olympics since the first modern games in Athens - in 1896. But a combination of factors - like low TV ratings and ticket sales put it on the bubble - along with modern pentathlon, the combination of fencing, horse riding, running, swimming and shooting. In the end, wrestling lost out.
The International Olympic Committee's executive board says it's renovating the Olympics and will likely add something new in 2020. Possibilities include baseball, karate, sport climbing and wakeboarding.
Brian Elliott has been in net the last four games of the Blues' five-game losing streak, during which time they've allowed 26 goals. Elliott made 19 saves in a surprise start a day after Jaroslav Halak was activated from injured reserve, led the team onto the ice for the pregame skate and was listed on the game sheet. Halak apparently tweaked a groin strain, although the team had no comment on the switch.
Jonathan Bernier was solid with 21 saves in just his second start of the season for the Kings. Los Angeles outscored the Blues 15-6 while eliminating them in five games in the second round of the playoffs last spring en route to the Stanley Cup finals.
Davis Drewiske made it 3-0 at 13:22 of the second period with his first goal of the season on a power play. Alex Steen scored on a power play in the final minute of the second for St. Louis with Andy McDonald earning his 300th career assist.
The five-game skid is the first since Jan. 2-12, 2011, for the Blues, who began the season 6-1. It's their first five-game losing streak at home since Jan. 23-Feb. 6, 2010.
Carter tapped in a backhander on a break-in with Slava Voynov at 8:31 of the first, just the Kings' fifth first-period goal of the season, then got behind defenseman Ian Cole for his sixth of the season early in the second. Drewiske was wide open in the slot off a feed from Dustin Brown.
The Kings are 89-1-10 their last 100 games when leading after two periods, and got insurance on Jarrett Stoll's second goal of the season that made it 4-1 early in the third. Voynov earned his second assist on the play.
Elliott entered the game 3-4-1 with a 3.51 goals-against average and coach Ken Hitchcock said after a 6-5 shootout loss to the Ducks on Saturday that he'd start rookie Jake Allen against Los Angeles if Halak wasn't ready to go. Allen was assigned to Peoria, Ill., when Halak, 3-0 with a 2.10 goals-against average and two shutouts, was activated on Sunday.
The Kings entered as the NHL's lowest-scoring team and matched their season best for goals.
Notes: Carter's last two-goal game during the regular season was March 3 against the Ducks. ... Attendance of 14,498 was the Blues' lowest of the season, more than 4,000 shy of capacity. ... The victory was Bernier's first since March 17, 2012, over the Predators. ... The Blues have scored on the power play in six straight games.
Phil Pressey had four assists to break Anthony Peeler's career school record and had 22 points for Missouri (17-6, 6-4 Southeastern Conference), which bounced back nicely from its latest discouraging road loss, a 1-point setback at Texas A&M on Thursday. The Tigers are 14-0 at home and 0-5 on the road.
Marshall Henderson had 16 points on 4-for-15 shooting for Mississippi (18-5, 7-3), which was on the verge of cracking the Top 25 last week but has lost three of four. Jarvis Summers also had 16 points while Murphy Holloway, coming off a career-best 24 points, was held to seven in 30 minutes.
Ole Miss whipped then-No. 10 Missouri 64-49 at home on Jan. 12, but gave up 50 points in the first half of the rematch and was outrebounded 50-32.
The game got testy with about 7 1-2 minutes to go when Reginald Buckner apparently was tripped by Oriakhi after the Tigers scored to make it 80-58 and came up swinging with a couple of wild punches that missed Laurence Bowers as Oriakhi danced away.
Buckner was ejected, leaving the court with a towel draped over his right shoulder and then tossing the towel into the stands after finishing with nine points and four rebounds. Oriakhi was called for a flagrant foul, plus Brown, Bowers and Holloway were whistled for technicals.
Missouri matched its season best with 12 3-pointers, four by Pressey and three each by Keion Bell and Jabari Brown. Bell added 21 points and Brown had 14.
Pressey, a junior, has 498 assists in three seasons, one more than Peeler totaled from 1988-92. He leads the SEC at 7.1 assists per game and finished with four assists and one turnover, one game after committing seven turnovers and missing a potential game-winning shot at Texas A&M.
The 50-point first half was a season best for Missouri, which led by as many as 23 points and had a 16-point halftime lead. After Brown's 3-pointer with 7:07 to go in the half, Missouri was up 38-18 and had more 3-pointers (7) than Mississippi had baskets (6). Pressey was just 4 for 13 overall, but hit his first three 3-pointers to fuel the fast start.
Mississippi shot itself out of the game, at 38 percent overall and 2 for 9 from 3-point range. Coming off a career-best 24-point game against Mississippi State, Holloway was scoreless until 6 1/2 minutes to go and totaled two points in the half.
The loss dropped the Tigers (16-6, 5-4 Southeastern Conference) to 0-5 in true road games. They have won three games at neutral sites this season.
Laurence Bowers was wide open when he hit a 3-pointer to give Missouri its first lead of the game, 68-67, with 53 seconds left.
Harris turned it over on Texas A&M's next possession, but Phil Pressey gave it right back with a turnover to set up the winning score for A&M (14-8, 4-5).
Ray Turner blocked a shot by Keion Bell with 2 seconds left to secure the win.
Alex Oriakhi led the Tigers with 15 points.
Ole Miss muscled in on the powerhouses that usually dominate national signing day, landing some of the most sought-after prospects in the country on college football's annual first-Wednesday-in-February frenzy.
The Rebels, coming off a promising 7-6 season in their first season under coach Hugh Freeze, had the experts swooning by signing three of the bluest chips still on the board and building a well-rounded class otherwise.
"I do think (this class) has the possibility of being a program changer," Freeze said. "But it's all on paper right now.
The day started with defensive end Robert Nkemdiche from Loganville, Ga., rated the No. 1 recruit in the country by just about everyone who ranks them, deciding to join his brother, Denzel, in Oxford, Miss.
"I feel like it's the right place for me," Nkemdiche said after slipping on a red Ole Miss cap. "I feel like they can do special things and they're on the rise. I feel like going to play with my brother, we can do something special."
Nkemdiche originally committed to Clemson last year, then backed off that and narrowed his picks down to LSU, Florida and Mississippi - and the Rebels beat the big boys.
They weren't done. Coaches in the Ole Miss war room were exchanging hugs and high-fives again a couple hours later when Laremy Tunsil, a top-rated offensive tackle from Lake City, Fla., picked the Rebels over Florida State and Georgia.
"Tunsil to Ole Miss I think was the biggest surprise of the whole (recruiting season)," said JC Shurburtt, national recruiting director for 247Sports.com.
And, as if the Ole Miss needed more good news, highly touted defensive back Antonio Conner from nearby Batesville, Miss., chose the Rebels over national champion Alabama.
Ole Miss also landed Laquon Treadwell from Crete, Ill., one of the best receiver prospects in the country. He made a verbal commitment to the Rebels back in December, and sealed the deal Wednesday, the first day high school players can sign binding letters of intent.
The end result was a class good enough to even catch the attention of LeBron James.
"Ole Miss ain't messing around today! Big time recruits coming in. SEC is crazy," the NBA MVP posted on his Twitter account.
Crazy good. While the Rebels racked up, it's important to remember they still have plenty of ground to gain on the rest of their conference.
Nick Saban reloaded the Crimson Tide with a class that Rivals.com ranked No. 1 in the country.
SEC powers Florida, LSU and Georgia pulled in typically impressive classes. SEC newcomer Texas A&M cracked the top 10 of several rankings. Even Vanderbilt, coming off a nine-win season, broke into the top 25.
It's the cycle of life in the SEC, which has won seven straight BCS championships. Stock up on signing day and scoop up those crystal footballs at season's end.
SLIPPING AWAY FROM USC
Signing day didn't do much to soothe the scars left from a difficult season for Southern California.
NCAA sanctions limited the number of scholarships coach Lane Kiffin and the Trojans could hand out this year, and then as signing day approached USC had several players who had given verbal commitments change their minds.
The most notable defection on signing day was five-star defensive back Jalen Ramsey of Brentwood, Tenn., who flipped to Florida State. Defensive end Jason Hatcher from Louisville, Ky., bailed on USC and signed with Kentucky, and defensive end Torrodney Prevot from Houston not only reneged on his USC commitment, but he landed at Pac-12-rival Oregon.
"People expected (Prevot) to flip from USC, but they thought it would be to Texas A&M," Shurburtt said.
USC's class won't be lacking blue chippers. Quarterback Max Browne from Washington is considered the next in a long line of topflight Trojans quarterbacks, and Kenny Bigelow from Maryland is rated among the best defensive linemen in the nation.
Kiffin will be banking on quality to make up for the lack of quantity, but that's a precarious way to play a game as uncertain as recruiting.
IF MOMMA'S NOT HAPPY ...
Alex Collins, a top running back prospect out of Plantation, Fla., announced on Monday night that he was going to Arkansas instead of Miami.
It was considered a huge victory for new Razorbacks coach Bret Bielema.
But on Wednesday morning, when it was time to make it official, Collins' letter of intent didn't come spinning through the fax machine in Fayetteville, Ark.
There were some odd reports about Collins' mother not being happy with her son's decision to go so far from home.
College coaches aren't allowed to talk about specific players before they sign, but Bielema did acknowledge during his signing day news conference that Arkansas' class of 22 players could "grow by one."
THE BIG TWO
Ohio State and Michigan received two thumbs up from experts on their signing day classes. They all had the Buckeyes and Wolverines around top five in the country.
After that, there was a drop off. Nebraska received solid grades and Penn State, despite NCAA sanctions that limited its class to 17 signees, held up pretty well.
"That's a tribute to the job (Penn State coach) Bill O'Brien and the staff did," Shurburtt said.
But signing day 2013 signaled that Urban Meyer's Buckeyes and Brady Hoke's Wolverines are primed to pull away from most of the Big Ten, and maybe - just maybe - give the league a team or two that can challenge those SEC teams for a national title.
BUILT TO LAST
Notre Dame followed up its best season in more than two decades with a recruiting class that coach Brian Kelly hopes can keep the Fighting Irish contending for more national titles.
The class includes a famous name in Torii Hunter Jr., the son of the All-Star outfielder. Hunter Jr. is a top-notch receiver prospect, though he broke his leg during an All-Star game and it could be a while before he's back on the football field.
Linebacker Jaylon Smith from Fort Wayne, Ind., is generally regarded as the jewel of a class that experts have ranked among the best in the country.
"I love agreeing with experts," Kelly said.
BASEBALL OR FOOTBALL?
Oklahoma hopes it has found the next Sam Bradford in Cody Thomas, a pocket passer from Colleyville, Texas.
One small problem. Thomas is also a big-time baseball player who could draw interest in the major league draft this summer.
"We wouldn't have pursued him if we didn't feel there was a great chance he'd be playing football," Oklahoma coach Bob Stoops said.
South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier said recruiting classes "don't always pan out. Of course, they always seem to pan out at Alabama."
AP Sports Writer David Brandt in Oxford, Miss., and Associated Press Writer Tom Coyne in South Bend, Ind., contributed.
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