F R I D A Y, M A R C H 1 6 , 2 0 0 7 • S E C T I O N B
2007 SUBREGIONAL BUFFALO, NEW YORK
One and stunned
By Rodney McKissic
NEWS SPORTS REPORTER
his will be tucked safely away
into the NCAA Tournament
archives, another moment to
commit to memory when the
discussion turns to upsets, great games
and mid-major programs. Virginia
Commonwealth’s mind-blowing, 79-77
victory Thursday will be recalled as the
night when almighty Duke came tum-
bling down on the first day of the
VCU sophomore guard Eric Maynor
sent Duke back to Durham, N.C., by
drilling a 17-foot jumper with 1.8 sec-
onds remaining, in front of 18,844 wit-
nesses in HSBC Arena.
“These guys believed all year long
that if we came out and played the way
we are capable of playing, we could
win,” said VCU coach Anthony Grant,
the former Florida assistant who won a
national title with the Gators a year ago.
“We could win the
onship, we could win
the tournament, and
we could go deep
into the NCAA
Related: confident and Maynor – fearless,
Bob reluctant to play a
DiCesare’s secondary role to
column on his opponent’s sup-
Page B2. posed magnitude
– sent shock waves
throughout the West
region and the tournament’s first
round, which lacked drama and upsets
until Maynor buried the game-winner
and Duke. It was the Rams’ first NCAA
win in 22 years and placed them one
step away from the Sweet 16.
“Duke’s one of the better teams
in America with their tradition and
everything,” said VCU’s Jesse
Pellot-Rosa. “So it feels good not just
to beat Duke but to win a game in the
So much for heritage. So much for
seedings. So much for Duke (22-11).
On this night, none of that mattered to
VCU, which will play Pittsburgh in
HSBC Arena in the second round Sat-
urday. Nothing bothered the Rams (28-
6). Not the Duke brand name, nor its
talent, nor its Hall of Fame coach.
Nothing rattled Maynor, who
brought the Blue Devils to their knees
with 22 points. He took the game over
in the final 3:56, scoring eight of the
Rams’ last 10 points, including the
winner with Duke’s Jon Scheyer wav-
Mark Mulville/Buffalo News
ing a hand in his face.
Virginia Commonwealth’s Eric Maynor breaks into a strut after his 17-foot jump shot sent Duke to defeat.
VCU gave the Blue Devils a sliver of
hope when Pellot-Rosa missed a free
throw with 16 seconds left and the
Rams leading, 77-75.
Virginia Commonwealth’s victory over Duke gave the NCAA Tournament a jolt in HSBC Arena
Duke’s DeMarcus Nelson took the on Thursday night. Another ACC powerhouse, Maryland, struggled for a half before
ball the length of the court, twisting
and turning to get into the lane before putting the clamps on sharpshooter Stephen Curry and defeating Davidson in Thursday’s opening game.
scoring on a layup with 10.3 seconds
left. That tied the game for the sixth Reserve Pete Campbell heated up for Butler, which won ugly over Old Dominion
See Duke on Page B3 in a contest dominated by defense. COVERAGE ON PAGES B2-5
Eagles stop for film session NU, KU have mirror guards Bowie Kuhn dies at 80 Sabres beat Panthers
NU taking on Kansas • Page B4 Jerry Sullivan’s column • Page B4 Ruled baseball for 15 years • Page B6 Conklin steps up. Page B7
A transcendent journey: In mid-February, Jerry Sullivan’s bracketology: Today’s matchups:
Niagara had to wonder if it was a contender or a pretender. The Buffalo bracket looks like a fertile field Scouting reports, statistics and features
4 Then came 12 straight wins. 6 for potential upsets. 8 for the opening round in HSBC Arena.
TOURNAMENT HSBC ARENA
’07 T H U R S DAY, M A R C H 1 5 , 2 0 0 7 • S E C T I O N F
From left to right, Lorenzo Miles, Brandon Rush, Mike Krzyzewski,
D.J. Strawberry, DeMarcus Nelson and Mike Cook.
D6 The Buffalo News / Monday, February 12, 2007
M O N D A Y E X T R A
Determined and in great shape, Steve Nash
is singularly focused on winning the NBA title
Photos by Getty Images
By Jerry Brown / M c C L A T C H Y NEWS SERVICES
PHOENIX – He’s in the midst of his sixth straight season engineering the NBA’s most proliﬁc offense.
He’s going to his ﬁfth All-Star Game and putting up the kind of numbers that make a third straight NBA Most Valuable Player awa
a realistic possibility. He has the Suns pointed toward a franchise record for wins and battling for the league’s best record.
Steve Nash thinks all of that is very nice. § And he couldn’t care less.
ash turned 33 years old on Wednes- up with the points,” D’Antoni said. “But once we said
day – young for almost every walk of that we thought it would make us better if he shot
life but his chosen profession. And more, he was OK with it. He couldn’t argue with
since he returned for battle in making the team better.”
September with a shaved head, a Nash disagrees that he’s “taking over” more games,
supremely toned physique and a one- saying that he’s still taking what the defense offers up.
track mind, Nash has made it clear to But he also has no problem with taking the big shots.
anyone listening that anything short of an NBA title – or “I don’t mind at all taking responsibility for a loss,
exhausting every reserve in the pursuit – is unacceptable. but I do mind not giving myself and my team a chance
As the Suns reeled off winning streaks of 15 and 17 to win,” he said. “Sometimes you have to put yourself on
games and one of the best 35-game runs in league the line. I feel much better at night if people are point-
history (33-2), a less kind, less gentle Nash muted his ing a ﬁnger at me for not getting the job done than if
praise and took every opportunity to point out slippage I’m pointing the ﬁnger at myself because I didn’t try to
and sloppiness around the edges. step up. That’s the stuff that eats at you.”
Some understood the message. Others saw him as Nash has made no secret of his pride for Amare
“Steve the Buzz-Kill,” nitpicking home wins over losing Stoudemire’s explosive return to the team, not only as an
teams that rarely produce supreme efforts. offensive force but for his attention to detail. Last year, as
But his message stayed on point: Winning isn’t Stoudemire toyed with attempts at a quick return from
everything – at least not yet. microfracture knee surgery, Nash all but blocked out the
“There is only one successful conclusion to this sea- comeback talks, viewing it as an unnecessary distraction
son,” he said. “If we play the best we can possibly play to a team that needed to learn to win without him.
and still get beat – OK, it happens – but I think our best “That was such a devastating injury for Amare, so
will get us where we want to go. The time is now, and hard to overcome,” he said. “I really felt he was outside
the opportunity to win a championship is in front of of our problems. He had such a long road ahead of him,
us if we accept the challenge to make it happen. I felt like we had bigger things to worry about.
“I don’t know if I’m less gentle or whatever, but I “This year, I’ve been extremely impressed and proud
deﬁnitely feel an evolved focus. of Amare. At his age, to really change his attitude and be-
“Winning division titles and MVPs and all that come a better teammate, a more willing defender, more
stuff is great, but it’s part of a journey, not the end. accountable to the little things, that’s so impressive.”
What wins games in December won’t win them in May. And while Shawn Marion’s All-Star talents and
The focus has to be on the ultimate goal, and everyone Leandro Barbosa’s improvement are keys, Nash sees
has to commit to it.” Stoudemire as the X-factor, the key to unlock the path
Suns coach Mike D’Antoni understands the sense of to the NBA Finals – where he has never been – and a
urgency coming from his coach on the ﬂoor. championship the Suns have never achieved.
“When you are a supreme talent, you are also realis- “We scored as much or more without him last year,
tic. You know when you think you have a chance to go all and with the players around him he’s going to have a
the way,” D’Antoni said. “Steve looks around, and he sees chance to dominate most nights,” Nash said. “But his
what we have around him, he sees the competition and willingness to buy into the team concept, to be that in-
he sees we’re a team that can win it. So now his job is to side defensive presence and ﬁt into what was here, has
leave no stone unturned to make sure we get there.” been inspiring to me.”
The byproduct might be a third straight MVP. While Nash feels he is playing the best basketball of his
still leading the league and setting a personal best for as- career, and that he’s still improving.
sists (almost 12 a night), Nash leads the team in scoring He can see himself playing another ﬁve years at this
and, at the behest of D’Antoni, is shooting more often – “The time is now, and the level. But the ﬁnancial realities and no clear-cut dynasty
while actually improving his percentage at the same time. ruling the league all combine to step up the urgency.
Nash not only has a handful of game-winning or opportunity to win a championship “The time is now, the opportunity is in front of us,”
game-tying shots but at least as many “dagger jumpers” is in front of us if we accept the he said. “I don’t sense there is a window closing, and I
that thwart comeback attempts or put away opponents. challenge to make it happen.” don’t sense that I’m running out of time. But I sense a
“We had to push him toward that because it’s his chance to win a championship. The question is, what do
nature to always make the best choice, whoever winds we do with it?”
THURSDAY, AUGUST 30, 2007
SPECIAL SECTION E
High School Football Preview
After countless hours in the weight room, perfecting plays at passing camps and two weeks’
worth of sweat at summer practices, they are all ready to go. Thousands of Western New York student-athletes
hit the football field this weekend with the hopes that their hard work will pay off with a season-opening win,
and maybe even a season-ending championship. § Among the best in Buffalo are, left to right,
St. Joe’s Phil Scaffidi, Canisius’ Justin Volk and McKinley’s Willie Burnett.
TEAM O’HARA KICKING OFF
CAPSULES FLYING HIGH IN STYLE
All the names to know, Cardinal O’Hara has The season gets off to
all the games to gone from not having a great start with some
see for all 87 schools in a team to being one must-see matchups
Brandon Murie of Western New York. of the area’s very best. on opening weekend.
defending large school poll
champion Iroquois. PA G E S E 4 -7 PA G E E 2 PA G E E 3
T H U R S D AY, S E P T E M B E R 6 , 2 0 0 7 • S E C T I O N B
Hitting statistical benchmarks
pushes winning teams into the playoffs
– and we’ve got their numbers
THROWBACK STILL CONFERENCE BILLS PREVIEW:
HAUNTS THE BILLS: PREVIEWS: Despite glaring weaknesses,
Music City Miracle ended last Patriots reload, but Jets may team should be a fun
appearance in playoffs. Page B13 keep up with Jones. Page B9 bunch to watch. Page B4
W E D N E S D A Y, A P R I L 2 5 , 2 0 0 7 • S E C T I O N E
B U F F A L O S A B R E S NEW YORK RANGERS
THE PRESIDENTS’ TROPHY-WINNING BUFFALO SABRES,
AFTER DISPOSING OF THE ISLANDERS IN FIVE GAMES,
TAKE ON THE SIZZLING NEW YORK RANGERS, WHO SWEPT
FIRE ON ICE
THE ATLANTA THRASHERS AFTER ROLLING THROUGH THE END
OF THE REGULAR SEASON. NOW IT’S JAROMIR JAGR AND COMPANY
AGAINST THE SABRES AND THEIR CAPTAIN CLUTCH, CHRIS DRURY,
IN A BATTLE OF TWO OF THE HOTTEST TEAMS IN HOCKEY.
Bucky Gleason’s column:
The buck stops with Lindy Ruff.
His team has the talent but can he get the Sabres
to crank up the volume?
RYAN MILLER WILL MAN.
THE PIPES FOR THE SABRES.
Verbal volleying begins:
Sabres and Rangers trade barbs,
giving an emotional edge to their on-ice
7 Jerry Sullivan’s column:
There’s bad blood between these two teams,
which could be just what the Sabres need.
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S U N D AY, N O V E M B E R 4 , 2 0 0 7 • SECTION B
‘‘ You’ve got to be selfish.
You know what I don’t like
and I don’t understand?
Who made that word
a bad word?
Photos by Getty Images
Bengals wideout Chad Johnson has led the AFC in receiving yards the past four seasons. He is averaging an NFL-best 104 yards pe game this year.
Johnson talks a good game and backs it up on the field,
C O M M E N TA RY
but he can’t really ‘be Chad’ until the Bengals are winning again
Polian’s focus By Mark Gaughan
“You know how I play the game and
the way I am,” Johnson said. “I’m an
NEWS SPORTS REPORTER
easy target for that word selfish because
incinnati Bengals receiv- of my flash, my flamboyance, my mouth,
er Chad Johnson plead- all the stuff that I do.”
the lines ed guilty this week to a
charge of selfishness in
the first degree.
Johnson’s talking ability is exceeded
only by his playing ability.
He has been voted NFL All-Pro three
Bill Polian’s teams have won 210 games “You’ve got to be selfish,” straight years. He is one of a handful of
in his career as an NFL general manager. Johnson told Buffalo NFL players who fans specifically pay to
But after waiting 20 years to win his first media as he prepared for today’s game watch. There will be a lot of eyes at
Super Bowl championship, Polian knows against the Bills. “You know what I don’t Ralph Wilson Stadium today focused on
better than anyone that the final game of like and I don’t understand? Who made — and worried about — the graceful
the season is all that really matters. that word a bad word? It don’t matter form wearing No.85 in white.
So you’d think Polian would be steam- what position you play, you’ve got to be But Johnson’s ability to talk, prance
ing over the hype for today’s showdown selfish at what you do. You have to want and show off have become the subject of
between the unbeaten Patriots and Colts it! You have to. You already know at the debate in Cincinnati. Is his selfishness
(4:15 p.m., Ch. 4), which is being billed receiver position unselfishness is a lot getting in the way of a Bengals team
as Super Bowl XLIø. higher than everybody else’s because we that’s off to a disappointing 2-5 start?
It’s a reward Polian’s Colts are don’t get to touch the ball very often. We Hogwash, says the man who calls
for football defending Super Bowl have to rely on a lot of people for it to go himself Ocho Cinco as he launched into
champions, yet people right for us. So our selfishness is higher
fans who have are acting as if their than everybody else’s.” See Johnson on Page B15
been subjected title is on the line
to some today. In his Buffalo
deathly days, Battlin’ Bill BILLS VS. BENGALS: Ralph Wilson Stadium • Kickoff: 1 p.m.
boring games would be pounding TV: Ch. 4 • Radio: 96.9 FM • Latest line: Bills (+1) • Weather: Showers, 49 degrees
his fist on the table at
this season. the perceived insult.
“I don’t view it as
an insult,” Polian said Thursday from
Indianapolis. “But it is laughable. As far as
I know, they’re not going to give a trophy
for it. There’s little or no long-term signifi-
cance to it. I’m not even sure, given the
Bills’ offense has Super Bowl comes THE NFL WRAP
schedules for both teams, that it’ll affect chance to break out a few months early Check out our new, four-page wrap-around
home-field advantage that much. The Bills’ offense Mark Gaughan analyzes section that includes pages B2, B15, B16.
“As Tony [Dungy] said, it’s just one should pose some Super Bowl XLIø, today’s show-
game out of 16. There’s a lot of football left matchup problems down between the undefeated
to play, no matter who wins or loses.” for a Bengals defense New England Patriots and
Whoa, Bill. It’s hardly just another ranked 31st in the league. Indianapolis Colts.
regular-season game. It’s the first time (Scouting report on Page B2). (Inside the NFL on Page B15).
two unbeatens have played this late in the
season. It’s a matchup of the league’s best
teams and most successful franchises. The
See Sullivan on Page B15
SPORTS: UB rallies but comes up short against Miami (Ohio) / Page B3
M O N D A Y, F E B R U A R Y 5 , 2 0 0 7 • S E C T I O N D
S U P E R B O W L
I N D I A NA P O L I S C O LT S CHICAGO BEARS
Manning and Colts get their crowning moment
by slip-sliding past Bears in soggy title game
Colts quarterback Peyton Manning earned the MVP award but what he really craved was the Vince Lombardi Trophy.
Inside the game At Super Bowl XLI / Mark Gaughan
Manning caps his great career
MIAMI — Sometimes good guys finish first.
Peyton Manning officially, for once and for all, shed the “Can’t Win the Big One”
label Sunday night.
While it’s naive to think sport is about righteousness or morality, this is a case
where justice was served.
Bears couldn’t Quarterly Report Dungy rides off Manning, who stands for everything that’s right about the NFL, has been better over the
protect the ball dissects the game into Super history first nine years of his pro career than any quarterback who ever lived. Except in the playoffs.
Despite a fast start, five News NFL reporter Mark Tony Dungy and Lovie But on a rainy night against the best defense in football, Manning took his rightful
turnovers deny the Bears, Gaughan analyzes each Smith made history as the place among the great NFL champions by leading the Indianapolis Colts to a 29-17
who were bidding for quarter, from the opening first African-American victory over the Chicago Bears.
their second Super Bowl kick to the final gun, com- coaches in the Super Bowl. “Peyton Manning is a tremendous player,” said Colts coach Tony Dungy. “He’s a great
championship. plete with key statistics. But Dungy got the Lom-
(Story on Page D2) (Story on Page D3) bardi trophy. (Page D10) See Super Bowl on Page D2
INSIDE: Faulty finishes leave Sabres baffled / Page D5 • Purple Eagles rise to occasion / Page D5