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Cardinals sign Cuban free agent to contract

Sports

March 9th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

JUPITER, Fla. (AP) — The St. Louis Cardinals signed Cuban free agent shortstop Aledmys Diaz to a major league contract and he’ll report to spring training on Monday. The Cardinals were among a number of teams who held private workouts for the right-handed hitting Diaz. The 23-year-old Diaz batted .315 with 12 home runs and 11 steals in 270 at-bats in 2012 for Los Naranjas de Villa Clara, Cuba’s highest professional league, which has produced Oakland’s Yoenis Cespedes, the Dodgers’ Yasiel Puig and Cincinnati’s Aroldis Chapman.

The Cardinals anticipate the 6-foot-1, 195-pound Diaz will start the year at the high minor league level.

Big 12 coaches pick Ejim as league’s top player

Sports

March 9th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

IRVING, Texas (AP) — Iowa State senior forward Melvin Ejim has been selected as the Big 12’s player of the year by the league’s coaches. Ejim was second in the league with both his 18.2 points and 8.6 rebounds a game. The All-Big 12 awards selected by the 10 coaches were announced Sunday.

A pair of Kansas freshmen earned individual awards, with Andrew Wiggins voted the top freshman and 7-foot Joel Embiid the defensive player of the year. Iowa State guard DeAndre Kane was chosen as the newcomer of the year, and Texas’ Rick Barnes is coach of the year.

Joining Ejim, Kane and Wiggins on the All-Big 12 first team are Oklahoma State sophomore guard Marcus Smart and West Virginia junior guard Juwan Staten. The Associated Press releases its awards Monday.

Harlan beats Western Dubuque for 4A title

Sports

March 9th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Jess Schaben scored 24 points with nine rebounds and top-ranked Harlan held on in the final 2 minutes to beat No. 8 Western Dubuque 55-51 Saturday night and win the Class 4A state title. Harlan (26-0) steadied after letting a 13-point lead slip away in the fourth quarter and claimed the basketball title to go with the 4A volleyball championship the Cyclones won in November.

Schaben, a 6-foot-2 junior who has committed to Iowa State for volleyball, made 10 of her 11 shots. She also blocked two shots and handed out an assist. Rose Simon-Ressler and Megan Maahs led Western Dubuque (23-3) with 12 points each.

Zoey Weber scored nine for the Bobcats, whose rally fell short after they trailed 46-33 early in the fourth quarter.

Dowling Catholic wins 5A title over SE Polk

Sports

March 9th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

DES MOINES, Iowa (AP) — Audrey Faber scored 19 of her 26 points in the second half and No. 5 Dowling Catholic fended off No. 9 Southeast Polk 66-55 on Saturday night for the Class 5A championship. Dowling Catholic (23-3) reversed the outcome of last year’s title game, won 43-34 by Southeast Polk, and claimed its fifth state title. Luci Sarcone added 14 points and nine rebounds for Dowling Catholic and Hayden Butler scored 11 points.

Becca Hittner finished with five points but was named captain of the all-tournament team. Sierra Mitchell came off the bench to hit four 3-pointers for Southeast Polk. She led the Rams (18-7) with 12 points.

Ekey’s 3 lifts Illinois over No. 24 Iowa 66-63

Sports

March 9th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

IOWA CITY, Iowa (AP) — Jon Ekey hit a 3-pointer in the final second to lift Illinois to a 66-63 victory at Number 24 Iowa Saturday night. Rayvonte Rice scored 15 points to lead the Illini (18-13, 6-12 Big Ten), who notched consecutive road wins against ranked opponents for the first time since 2005. Iowa’s Roy Devyn Marble — the Big Ten’s leading scorer — was held to eight points on 3-of-11 shooting. The Hawkeyes (20-11, 9-9) have lost five of their last six games.

Ekey’s 30-foot game-winner left only a half-second on the game clock. An Iowa foul with 13.8 seconds left had reset the shot clock and gave Illinois the final shot. Ekey hit another big 3-pointer with 3:03 left to give the Illini a 63-59 lead. A layup by Marble and Gabe Olaseni’s putback with 41 seconds left tied the game at 63.

Illinois’ Nnanna Egw scored 14 points. Aaron White led Iowa with 12 points.

No. 23 Iowa tops Ohio St. 77-73 in Big Ten semis

Sports

March 8th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

INDIANAPOLIS (AP) – Theairra Taylor scored 21 points and made a go-ahead layup with 1:32 left as fifth-seeded and No. 23-ranked Iowa held on for a 77-73 win over eighth-seeded Ohio State on Saturday in the semifinals of the Big Ten tournament.

After Taylor’s go-ahead layup gave Iowa (26-7) a 75-73 lead, Ameryst Alston missed a layup on Ohio State’s ensuing possession. Martina Ellerbe then missed a potential game-winning 3-pointer for Ohio State (17-18) with 10 seconds left and Melissa Dixon sunk two free throws for Iowa with a second remaining as the Hawkeyes advanced to the Big Ten title game for the first time since 2010.

Bethany Doolittle and Ally Disterhoft each added 18 points and Melissa Dixon scored 16 for Iowa, which never trailed the entire game.  Alston led Ohio State with 20 points while Ellerbe and Darryce Moore each added 15 for the Buckeyes.

Cardinals, 3B Carpenter agree to $52M, 6-year deal

Sports

March 8th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

JUPITER, Fla. (AP) – The St. Louis Cardinals and third baseman Matt Carpenter have agreed to a $52 million, six-year contract. The deal includes a team option for a seventh year in 2020 at $18.5 million. Should the St. Louis decline the option, they would pay Carpenter a $2 million buyout.  Carpenter’s agent, Bryan Cahill, says the 28-year-old received a $1 million signing bonus and he’ll make $1.5 million this season. The salary escalates each year, reaching $14.5 million in 2019.

Carpenter says the decision to sign a long-term deal with St. Louis was a “no-brainer.”  He hit .318 while leading the National League in hits (199), doubles (55) and runs (126) last season while playing second base. He is moving to third this season.

Iowa State students tease Smart with mass flop

Sports

March 8th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

AMES, Iowa (AP) – Iowa State students teased Oklahoma State’s Marcus Smart on Saturday by doing a “mass flop” in the stands at Hilton Coliseum when the Cowboys’ star was introduced by the public address announcer before the game.

The stunt was organized by Iowa State junior Michael Harris and fliers with instructions for fans were handed out to those in the student section before the game. Harris says he was inspired by Smart’s “infamous” reputation around the Big 12 for trying to draw fouls by flopping.

Smart leads the Cowboys with 17.6 points and 4.7 assists per game. He was suspended for three games after shoving a Texas Tech fan who was taunting him last month.

No. 12 Oklahoma St. tops Iowa St. 67-57 in Big 12

Sports

March 8th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) – Brittney Martin scored 17 points and grabbed 11 rebounds as fourth-seeded and 18th-ranked Oklahoma State pulled away late to beat Iowa State 67-57 in the quarterfinals of the Big 12 tournament on Saturday.  The Cowgirls (23-7)  face top-seeded and ninth-ranked Baylor in the semifinals on Sunday. Oklahoma State got 14 points each from Tiffany Bias and Brittany Atkins and Kendra Suttles, who was clutch off the bench down the stretch, had 11.

The Cyclones (20-10) tied the game at 52 with 8:45 to play but went cold. OSU used a 6-0 surge for separation and closed the game by hitting 6 of 8 free throws. Suttles scored seven straight points for the Cowgirls as they pulled away. Hallie Christofferson led Iowa State with 21 points and 11 rebounds and Nikki Moody had 14 points. ISU shot just 34 percent, going 7 for 25 from 3-point range.

Oklahoma State shot 50 percent and forced Iowa State into 16 turnovers.

Rosenthal pain-free, Wacha pitches well for Cards

Sports

March 8th, 2014 by Ric Hanson

JUPITER, Fla. (AP) – Trevor Rosenthal had a pain-free spring training debut and Michael Wacha pitched three effective innings for the St. Louis Cardinals in a 4-4 tie with a Washington Nationals split squad that was called after 10 innings Saturday.

Groin pain prompted the Cardinals to sideline Rosenthal for a few days this spring, but that wasn’t a problem Saturday. The hard-throwing closer said he’s nearly in regular-season form following his first Grapefruit League appearance.  Wacha worked two perfect innings before allowing a run on two hits and a walk in the third.

Destin Hood’s three-run homer gave the Nationals a 4-1 lead in the eighth. St. Louis tied it with three in the bottom half, including Greg Garcia’s two-run single.