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After Breaking Record, Mathews Breaks Hearts With Game Winner

LOS ANGELES – Jonah Mathews closes the regular season with a record-breaking performance in the USC Trojans’ 54-52 victory over the UCLA Bruin’s Saturday afternoon at the Galen Center, ending their cross-town rival’s seven-game winning streak.

Mathews entered the game needing to make four threes to break Elijah Stewart’s Trojan record of 245 three pointers. Mathews made a season-high five three pointers to set a new Trojan record at 247. But none was more important than the game-winning three he made with one second left on the clock.

UCLA’s Cody Riley, who scored a Bruin-leading 13 points, made two free throws to give Bruins a 52-51 lead with 9 seconds left. The Trojans called a timeout in between to try to ice Riley, to no avail but to also set up the final play.

“We set a high ball screen, “ said USC head coach Andy Enfield. “Jonah can take on the big and go to work. It was his call to drive or step back. You put the ball in your best playmaker’s hands.”

The ending was a moment of redemption for Mathews. With 1:41 on the clock and Trojans leading 51-48, Mathews missed a pair of free throws that could have given his team more cushion and pressure on the Bruins in the final minutes.

“Coach told me before the free throw even happened, he was putting the ball in my hands and we’re going to live or die,” Mathews said. “So I was like ‘We’re going to live today!’ We’re going to live and celebrate.”

The moment was particularly special considering it was against the Trojans’ rivals.

“That was a dagger in their heart,” said Mathews.“It’ll stick with them forever like this will stick with me forever… I actually dreamed it last night. I said, ‘What if I end it like that, what if I break the record?’”

Onyeka Okongwu, who scored 16 points for the Trojans grabbed a huge offensive rebound with two Bruins draped all over his back. He then passed to Mathews at the top of the three-point arc who then made a three to put USC up 43-38. It was Mathews’ fourth of the game and the record breaking 246th of his career.

It was a close game for all 40 minutes, with the largest lead either team held at five points. And another of the grind-it-out variety for the Trojans, who once again kept an opponent to under 40 percent shooting; they improve to 16-3 when doing so.

Senior Class 2020

With the win, the Trojans finish tied for third place in the Pac-12 Conference and secures a bye for the first round of the conference tournament, to be played later this week in Las Vegas, Nevada.

Dallas Outlasts New Orleans’ Offensive Surge

Dallas, TX – While the home crowd eagerly awaited a Zion Williamson sighting, it was the presence of New Orleans players Brandon Ingram and Lonzo Ball that made Wednesday evening’s 127-123 Dallas victory especially hard-fought.

Ingram scored 27 points. Ball added 25 points, making seven three point baskets. Williamson contributed 21 points for the Pelicans.

Dallas Mavs Luka Doncic shooting one handed from the paint vs New Orleans Pelicans. (Photos by Ari Talton)

Dallas starter Dorian Finney-Smith left the game in the first half with an apparent hip injury, leaving the Mavericks without one of their better defenders and his constant contribution of second-chance points. 

Kristaps Porzingis led all scorers with 34 points. The big man also added 12 rebounds and blocked five shots. Luka Doncic totaled 30 points, 17 rebounds and 10 assists Wednesday night, earning his 14th triple-double of the season. Doncic passed Dallas legend Jason Kidd Wednesday night by earning his 22nd triple double – he now has more triple doubles than any player in Mavericks’ history.

With a balanced offensive attack from both teams and a hectic final quarter, the night’s matchup proved entertaining for the Dallas crowd. Nicolo Melli scored his first basket of the night for the Pelicans with just seconds remaining on the clock, inevitably sending the game into overtime with a 112-112 tie.

Overtime was all about the collaboration of Doncic and Porzingis. The two now appear more in sync than ever before this season. The Mavericks simply did a lot of things right in overtime and outlasted the Pelicans.

“I’ve been just playing my game,” Porzingis shared postgame. “It took me a little bit of time to figure out my spots and when to be aggressive.”

Trojans Exact Revenge on Sun Devils

NCAA College Basketball game action during the college basketball game between the Arizona State Sun Devils and the USC Trojans at Galen Center in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Jevone Moore/Full Image 360)
NCAA College Basketball game action during the college basketball game between the Arizona State Sun Devils and the USC Trojans at Galen Center in Los Angeles, CA. (Photo by Jevone Moore/Full Image 360)

LOS ANGELES – Jonah Mathews and Daniel Utomi carried the torch, leading four Trojans scoring double figures in a 71-61 USC victory over the Arizona State Sun Devils Saturday night at the Galen Center. It was the second consecutive win over an NCAA-Tournament bound team, completing a home sweep over the Arizona schools.

Mathews scored a game-high 23 points. Utomi scored 19 and added 11 rebounds. Nick Rakocevic, seemingly recovered from a virus that caused him to lose 16 pounds in two days, also had a double double of 13 points and 11 rebounds. Big O, who fouled out of this game, chipped in with 10 points.

These teams met three weeks prior to this contest in Tempe, Arizona.  The Sun Devils forced the Trojans to commit 24 turnovers that day, which was the most by an ASU opponent since 2002, en route to a 66-64 victory for the Sun Devils.

Now as visitors, the Devils tried to use the same recipe but lacked a little bit of sauce. Meaning they did the same thing as before but couldn’t get any buckets. The Trojans showed up on defense again, as they held the Sun Devils to below 33 percent shooting.

Romello White opened the game scoring for Sun Devils. But the 2-0 lead would be the last and only time they were ahead on the scoreboard. Mathews evened the game with a pull up jump shot, followed by an Utomi three, and another Utomi three, then Utomi made a three again. Before they knew it, the Devils trailed by 10 by the first TV timeout at the 15:48 mark.

“He’s definitely the X-factor on the team,” said Mathews about Utomi.  “When he plays well, we’re for sure playing good. He came out hot with four threes. He played well and had a double double tonight. So it wasn’t just shooting, he rebounded. He was tough.”

Coach Andy Enfield couldn’t have liked the 14 turnovers by USC in the first half. Trojans shoot 59% from the field, Arizona State made only 35% but it was only a 41-36 game at halftime. Sun Devils strategy of applying pressure after every made basket and whenever the Trojans inbounded the ball worked well enough to keep them in the game.

“They have to go make plays,” said Enfield. “You have to be tough with the ball and run through your catch. You have to go perform and we finally did that in the second half. We limited our turnovers in the second half and played much better.”

The Trojans came out of the break looking to put the visitors away early as their lead was increased to 12 points over the first eight minutes of the closing half. However, the Devils showed resiliency and went on an 11-0 blitz during the next four minutes. That’s when Mathews stepped in and grabbed the Devils by their horns.

“We knew they were gone come back with a punch,” said Mathews. “At that point, I just wanted to solidify the win. My teammates found me. I had to make plays, as a senior. Coach put the ball in my hands so I had to produce.”

Mathews responded to the run with a traditional three-point play as he got fouled making a layup. The next time down the floor he made a three pointer, giving his team a seven-point lead. After the Sun Devils’ Remy Martin, who led his team with 22 points, made a layup, Mathews answered with one of his own, making it a 62-55 score and put the game away for the Trojans.

USC is now 21-9 on the season and face cross-town rivals UCLA next Saturday at the Galen Center. UCLA defeated the Arizona Wildcats 69-64 Saturday after beating these same Sun Devils on Thursday. This means both LA schools had a home sweep the Arizona schools in Pac-12 play this week.

The Trojans Declaw Cats in Big Win

USC men's basketball game at Galen Center on February 13, 2020 (Photo by Stephanie Lovell)

LOS ANGELES – Dealing with injuries, grief, and a virus, the USC Trojans fight on in a huge 57-48 victory over Pac-12 foes Arizona Wildcats Thursday night at the Galen Center.

Playing for their NCAA tournament lives, Andy Enfield’s team had to call on its defense to pull out the win.  The Wildcats were held to 28 percent shooting from the field. The 48 points by Arizona is their lowest scoring output of the season.

“We tried to challenge everything,” said coach Enfield. “Coach Hart had a great game plan. We came up with some different ideas and we just executed defensively as best as we could and challenged to try to make it tough for everything they got.

“I thought we did a really good job of taking their inside away and we challenged every three. To hold their guards to 5-of-32 is just a credit to our players.

According to many bracket prognostications, the Trojans were sitting on the 12 seed line and slated for a play-in game entering Thursday’s contest. Knowing his team was inside the NCAA tournament bubble, senior guard Jonah Matthews led the Trojans in scoring with 14 points while playing with a do or die attitude.

“It’s do or die, I don’t have another year,” said Mathews. “Every rebound, every shot, everything matters. It’s crunch time before March Madness.”

Mathews, like most players in this game, got off to a slow start, which coach Enfield attributed to a virus some members of the team was afflicted with on its Rocky Mountain trip last week but had to play through it as his team needed him.

“They take teams that win, said Mathews.  “If we win, we’re in. We can’t afford to drop any game… We have fight in us. No one feels sorry for us. This team is resilient and fights.”

Onyeka “Big O” Okongwu had his 11th double double of year with 11 points and 10 rebounds. In an ugly first half, Big O was the one bright spot as he heaved a three quarters court shot as the buzzer sounded and set off a loud cheer from the crowd. It was his first made three pointer of his collegiate career.

“I just saw that Nico [Wildcat guard Nico Mannion] missed the shot,” said Okongwu. “I always work on the shot after practice so I just took a chance. Got fouled but no call and it still went in anyways.”

That shot turned out to be huge because it gave the Trojans their largest lead of the game, to that point at 26-21, which they never relinquished. Arizona jumped out to a fast 9-2 lead in the contest but both teams threw up bricks in a back and forth first half. Okongwu led the Trojans with seven rebounds in the first half to go along with five points.

The Trojans featured balanced scoring with the six players in the rotation who played significant minutes all scoring at least seven points. A very ill Nick Rakocevic only logged 11 minutes.

The Trojans improve to 20-9 on the season, 16-1 when holding opponents under 70 points, and 3-0 holding foes under 49 points.  Their next game will be in the Galen Center against Arizona State on Saturday, then they close the season the following Saturday as they host the rival Bruins.

DORRELL NAMED HEAD FOOTBALL COACH AT COLORADO

The Black and Gold Game Spring Game for the Colorado Buffaloes at Saturday April 27, 2019. (Photo by Laura Domingue / fi360 News)

BOULDER — Karl Dorrell, who has two previous “tours of duty” on the University of Colorado football staff, has been named the 27th full-time head football coach for the Buffaloes, athletic director Rick George announced Sunday.

George has proposed that CU’s Board of Regents approve a five-year deal for Dorrell worth $18 million, in which the first-year salary would be $3.2 million and then increase by $200,000 annually, not including additional compensation for any of several incentives in the contract that are met.  He is also proposing a salary pool of $3.8 million for the assistant coaches, which is an increase from $3.155 million for the previous staff.  The Regents must approve Dorrell’s contract, which campus leaders will present for their consideration at a meeting in the near future.

“I’m excited to be back, it’s like coming home,” Dorrell said.  “The thing that excited me about this job is that my experience in the past here for the most part has been very successful.  We had a lot of good teams, went to a lot of good bowl games.  It’s a top caliber program that has a lot of potential, and I’m excited to return it to that level.”

Dorrell, 56, replaces Mel Tucker, who resigned on February 11 when he accepted an offer to become the new head coach at Michigan State.  He was named CU’s head coach on Dec. 5, 2018, and coached the Buffaloes just one year, as Colorado posted a 5-7 record for the 2019 season.  Tucker was hired after a 16-day search; the process to hire Dorrell actually took less time – 12 days.

                Dorrell returns to Colorado from the National Football League’s Miami Dolphins, where he was the receivers coach for the 2019 season; he had just been promoted to assistant head coach last Thursday (Feb. 20) by head coach Brian Flores. 

“I am excited that Karl Dorrell has agreed to become our head football coach,” George said. “Karl has had great success as a college coach, both as a head coach and an assistant, and he knows the Pac-12 Conference and West Coast well. It was important that our next coach have CU ties, and Karl has those ties having worked at CU twice previously.  Karl shares my passion for Colorado and our vision for winning championships.  He will be a tremendous mentor and role model for our student-athletes, and he will provide great leadership for our program going forward.”

Dorrell was actually coaching his second time as a member of the Dolphins staff, as he returned as the team’s wide receivers coach a little over a year ago, on Feb. 8, 2019.  He previously served as the receivers coach from 2008-10 and was the quarterbacks coach in 2011, all four years under the late head coach at the time, Tony Sparano (he passed away in July 2018).

                Bill McCartney hired him at Colorado as his receivers coach on Feb. 20, 1992, Dorrell’s first full-time job on the Division I-A (now FBS) level.  In his first year on the staff, two of his players, Charles Johnson and Michael Westbrook, became just the fourth pair of receivers on the same team at the time to each have over 1,000 receiving yards in NCAA history; the first two do so at Colorado, Johnson caught 57 passes for 1,149 yards and five touchdowns, while Westbrook pulled in 76 receptions for 1,060 yards and eight scores. Westbrook earned first-team All-America honors for that season, becoming just the third Buffalo wide receiver to do so, joining Cliff Branch (1971) and Dave Logan (1975).  Johnson added another 1,000-yard season in 1993, again hauling in 57 balls for 1,082 yards and nine TDs, earning second-team All-American accolades, with Westbrook repeating as a first-team his senior year in 1994.

The Buffs were 17-5-2 those two seasons, which included a win over Fresno State in the ’93 Aloha Bowl.

After leaving for the 1994 season to coach the receivers at Arizona State under coach Bruce Snyder, he would return to Boulder in 1995 as a member of Rick Neuheisel’s staff, reuniting with his quarterback from their playing days at UCLA. Neuheisel, on McCartney’s final staff in ’94, replaced the legendary McCartney as CU’s head coach and brought back Dorrell to be CU’s offensive coordinator and receivers coach on Jan. 12, 1995.  He would add coaching the quarterbacks in 1998, the last season on the CU staff.  CU’s offense under Dorrell’s direction proved electric, as the ’95 Buffaloes were eighth in the nation in scoring (36.9 points per game), sixth in total offense (486.6 yards per game, still the second most in a single season at Colorado) and eighth in passing offense (297.2 yards per game).  CU was 33-14 in his second go-round on the staff, which included three bowl wins, two over Oregon in the 1996 Cotton and 1998 Aloha and over Washington in the 1996 Holiday.

It’s actually his fourth time he’ll be establishing roots in the state of Colorado.  In addition to his two previous stints as an assistant coach for the Buffaloes, he was the receivers coach for the Denver Broncos for three years (2000-2002) under Mike Shanahan.  Rod Smith’s first two career Pro Bowl selections coincided with Dorrell’s first two years with the team, and Smith surpassed the 1,000-yard receiving mark all three years under Dorrell’s tutelage.  In Dorrell’s first season with the team in 2000, Smith and Ed McCaffrey combined for 201 receptions for 2,919 yards and 17 touchdowns.

He originally came to Colorado from Northern Arizona University, where he was the offensive coordinator and receivers coach in 1990 and 1991; in his last year there, NAU set school records for first downs (255) and total offense (4,539 yards).  That followed his first full-time job as receivers coach at the University of Central Florida in 1989, that on the heels of his first taste in coaching as a graduate assistant at his alma mater, UCLA in 1988.

CU Boulder Chancellor Philip P. DiStefano, who serves on the NCAA Board of Governors, the NCAA Division I Board of Directors and is the Pac-12 Conference’s CEO group chair, praised George for identifying and hiring someone with the high character, integrity and experience in Karl Dorrell.

“I know Karl from his past stints at CU, and am confident that his character, experience and passion for leading student-athletes makes him the right fit at the right time for our program,” DiStefano said.  “I want to thank Rick George for his leadership, as well as our student-athletes for their dedication to the program during two coaching changes in the past 15 months.  They are fine representatives of our university, and I know their character and enthusiasm will mesh well with Coach Dorrell as he leads the team toward re-establishing our football program as a top-tier competitor in our conference and nationally.”

                The Dolphins finished with a 5-11 record last season after starting 0-7, showing dramatic improvement over the second half of the season.  Miami averaged 276 passing yards per game during that stretch, with the season ending with a dramatic 27-24 win at New England which cost the Patriots a first round bye.  DeVante Parker led the team in receiving with 72 catches for 1,202 yards and nine touchdowns, with 48 for 859 yards and six scores the final nine games of the year.

Prior to his second stint with Miami, Dorrell spent four seasons (2015-18) with the New York Jets as their wide receivers coach.  During that span, the Jets had five different players record at least 50 receptions in an individual season while often enduring coaching a unit ravaged with injuries.  Two of his receivers were former Denver Broncos in Brandon Marshall (who he previously coached at Miami) and Eric Decker.  In Dorrell’s first season with the Jets in 2015, he helped Marshall set franchise records for receptions (109), receiving yards (1,502) and receiving touchdowns (14).  All three marks ranked in the top five in the NFL that season, while Decker caught 80 passes for 1,027 yards and 12 touchdowns. The pair combined for the most receptions (189) and receiving touchdowns (26) by any wide receiver duo in team history, while setting an NFL record by scoring touchdowns in the same game on nine occasions.

He had returned to the NFL after one season (2014) at Vanderbilt University, where he was the offensive coordinator and quarterbacks coach under first-year head coach Derek Mason.

He was the quarterbacks coach for the Houston Texans in 2012 and 2013, where he worked with Matt Schaub and Case Keenum.  Schaub passed for 4,008 yards and 22 touchdowns in 2012, leading the Texans to a 12-4 record, the AFC South Division title and a wild card playoff victory over Cincinnati before falling to New England in the divisional round.  

After five years as head coach of UCLA, Dorrell went back to the NFL, where he served as Miami’s wide receivers coach (2008-10) and then its quarterbacks coach (2011).  In his last year there, the Dolphins lost quarterback Chad Henne to a season-ending injury in the fourth game; Dorrell helped Matt Moore step in and pass for 2,497 yards and 16 touchdowns, with an 87.1 quarterback rating for his 12 starts.  In 2010, Dorrell tutored Marshall and Davone Bess to form one of the top pass-catching combinations in the NFL, as the two would combine for 165 receptions for 1,834 yards and eight touchdowns (the receptions were the most by a Dolphins duo in team history).  In his first season in 2008, Miami won 10 games more than the previous season, posting an 11-5 mark and winning the AFC East, as three of Dorrell’s receivers – Bess, Ted Ginn Jr. and Greg Camarillo – all had over 50 receptions and 500 yards (165 catches for 1,957 yards and 10 touchdowns combined).

In 2003, Dorrell was named head coach at his alma mater, UCLA.  During his time heading up the Bruins’ program, the school posted a 35-27 record (24-18 in Pacific 10 Conference games) and earned a bowl berth all five seasons.  His first team finished 6-7 and his second 6-6, with both suffering defeats in their bowl games.  In his third season in 2005, UCLA went 10-2, recorded a victory over Northwestern in the Sun Bowl and finished with a No. 13 national ranking in the USA Today Coaches poll (No. 16 by the Associated Press).  For the team’s performance that year, Dorrell was named the Pac-10 Conference co-Coach of the Year.  In 2006, his Bruins upset cross-town rival and second-ranked USC, 13-9, knocking the Trojans out of a second straight BCS Championship game.  That team finished the year with a 7-6 mark, and his final squad there was 6-6 before he was dismissed as head coach prior to the Bruins’ Las Vegas bowl date against BYU.

He twice worked with the Denver Broncos’ staff during training camp in both 1993 and 1999 as part of the NFL’s Minority Coaching Fellowship program, first under Wade Phillips and then under Shanahan, who would give him his first full-time position in the professional ranks the following spring.

                Dorrell is not the first to be hired as the head coach at Colorado who previously was an assistant coach at the school; in fact, he is the fifth.  He joins an impressive list of those who spent time in Boulder as an assistant before being named head coach: Frank Potts (assistant for the 1927-39, 1941-43 and 1946-47 seasons), Rick Neuheisel (1994), Gary Barnett (1984-91) and Jon Embree (1993-2002).  Dorrell joined the Buffs the season after Barnett was named head coach at Northwestern, and Neuheisel actually had replaced Dorrell on the Colorado staff under Bill McCartney.

                He also becomes the third CU coach to take over the program after signing day: Chuck Fairbanks arrived in Boulder on April 4, 1979 after a lengthy court battle with the New England Patriots to release him from their contract, and McCartney was hired on June 9, 1982 after Fairbanks left to coach New Jersey in the fledgling United States Football League (USFL).

As a student-athlete at UCLA, he lettered four times at wide receiver under coach Terry Donahue from 1982-86.  He caught 108 passes for 1,517 yards and nine touchdowns, and at the time of his graduation, he was second in receptions and fourth in receiving yards on the Bruins’ all-time charts.  He signed as a free agent with the Dallas Cowboys and played half of the 1987 season before he was placed on injured reserve.

Dorrell was born on December 18, 1963 in Alameda, Calif., and graduated from Helix Charter High School in La Mesa, Calif., a San Diego suburb (he was a two-time all-league performer and an honorable mention All-American as a senior).  He is married to the former Kim Westley, and the couple has two grown children, son Chandler, who was a receiver at both Stanford and Vanderbilt, and daughter Lauren, who lettered three times on CU’s volleyball team from 2016-18.

AT-A-GLANCE—As a full-time coach, he has coached in 428 career games: in Division I-A (FBS) 168 games, with his teams owning a record of 98-68-2 which includes eight bowl games (1993 Fiesta, 1993 Aloha, 1996 Cotton, 1999 Holiday, 2003 Silicon Valley, 2004 Las Vegas, 2005 Sun, 2006 Emerald).  In his two previous stints at Colorado, the Buffaloes were 50-19-2.  He coached in 22 games in Division I-AA (now FCS), 10 games in Division II, and in the National Football League, he coached in 224 regular season games (80 with Miami, 64 with the New York Jets, 48 with Denver and 32 with Houston) as well as in four NFL playoff games (2 with Houston, 1 each with Denver and Miami).

LA Wildcats pull off a shocker

Photo by Jerry Kelly

The DC Defenders are arguably one of the best teams in the XFL. Their social media handle prior to their game against the LA Wildcats was all deked out in going 13-0, thinking that no team would stand in their way. In a way they were allowed to talk in that sort of sense. Last week they took care of an incomplete New York Guardians team in a 27-0 shut out and had a solid offensive outing from Cardale Jones, going for 276 yards passing with two touchdowns, and combined for over 100 yards rushing. The LA Wildcats, meanwhile, didn’t have enough in a late comeback against Dallas, and their direction was also going a bit south. There was every reason to believe that this matchup would be lopsided.

Photo by Jerry Kelly

Well, it was lopsided. And every LA Wildcat left Dignity Health Stadium with a much different outlook to the 2020 season. A 39-9 win had twitter blowing up and really giving it to anyone who thought the Defenders find this an easy matchup.

In fact, just last week, the DC Defenders made a trade with the Wildcats with LA getting defensive captain Anthony Johnson. Johnson called it a prayer leaving just after the fiasco the Wildcats had letting go of their defensive coordinator after just one game.

Coach Winston Moss was given the game ball after the team first win in franchise history took place.

“This isn’t about me, this is about all of us. We’re just getting started. We gotta be ready to go to work on Tuesday.” said LA Wildcats coach Moss

Seems like the Wildcats had the last laugh in all of this.

Photo by Jerry Kelly

In a crowd of just under 13,000, the Wildcats gave the fans what they were looking for. Jones had an off day throwing four interceptions. LA also got out to an explosive 27-0 lead in the first half all set up by a handful of turnovers. Josh Johnson bounced back as well throwing for over 275 yards and three touchdowns. He even managed a 45 yard strike, something he couldn’t muster up last week.

“I’m proud how we responded. Coach challenged us at the beginning of the week to not focus on our record, to not focus on their record,” Johnson said in a postgame interview on FS1. “It’s only one game.

“Now we gotta get our season rolling.”

“Josh really prepared, not only himself, but he got this team prepared,” Wildcats head coach Winston Moss said. “He challenged the players for more commitment, more dedication, and the results speak for themselves. I think that the players really found out what it took to go deep and dig deep and find out what they were made of. They had to really make a concerted effort to get this first victory. I know it was hard for them; they were pressed all week long and they responded very well today.”

Tre McBride also dazzled with over 100 yards receiving.

With the Wildcats getting their first win off their backs, their next step is raising their attendance. Bringing in under 13,000 in week 3 was the lowest attendance out of the four home games. In fact, out of the first 12 games this season, the Wildcats numbers Sunday afternoon were the lowest for any home game for any team thus far. They don’t return back to Los Angeles until March 8, but they are competing with an NBA hometown showdown with the Lakers and Clippers. The only benefit: kickoff is set for 6PM while the basketball showdown tips off at 12:30. As head coach Winston Moss mentioned in week 2: If you win, fans will come. The Wildcats found a way to win big against one of the better teams in the league. Now they have to worry about keeping afloat and being noticed.

5 REASONS WHY THE PEBBLE BEACH PRO-AM GOLF TOURNAMENT MUST BE ON YOUR BUCKET LIST

           The Pebble Beach Tournament is an experience that will help you think about what you want out of life and can motivate you to make those dreams come true. Watching the tournament on television captures the professional golfers and looks similar to the other tournaments where a few privileged individuals compete over the weekend for an insane amount of money. 

The average person cannot relate to this lifestyle. For the non-golfing spouse, who would want to stand around in silence while unknown people come to put a ball in a hole? Pebble will help you overcome this common misperception. Once you attend Pebble, you will return to Pebble. Here are 5 reasons why this experience may change your life. 

Harold Varner III (All Photos by Terry Collins)

1. It’s The Perfect Mix Of Golf And Entertainment

The competitors consist of the top-ranked golf professionals, the entertainers that brought you joy and the athletes that are part of your morning routine. The purse for the winner is $7.8 million and all the participants are serious players. No other tournament allows a fan to sunbathe on the beach, drink their favorite libation and wait for people that they know and love to continuously perform for them within 50 feet.  

You get to see the true pros Phil Mickelson, Jason Day, Kevin Streelman and the rest of the field attempt to chase down the winner Nick Taylor. The television cannot capture the energy of the tournament and the tension at the hole. You actually get to see the landscaping of the course, how the grass is contoured to make the ball curve, and how these pitfalls require a level of skill that your neighborhood golf course does not require. You will want to elevate your level of play to get to this level.Playing on a team with the pro is another person that has also brought you some fond memories. Whether it was the Great One Wayne Gretzky scoring the goal, Peyton Manning or Aaron Rogers throwing the touchdown pass that made you scream at the television, or Bill Murray making you laugh, they all are there to perform for you. You get to see the big screen come to life while these people are amenable to having a conversation with you after they leave the hole. There is someone for everyone that attends Pebble.

2. There Is Entertainment And Great Food At The Tournament

The tournament coordinators understand that people need to be entertained. In 2020, award-winning artist Macklemore was there to provide some entertainment. The AT&T Loft allows everyone to put on a simulator for free. The simulator moves and recreates the course and gives the average Joe a chance to see if he or she would have made the iconic shot from a previous tournament.  

There are amazing food vendors throughout the main course at Pebble where people can partake in everything from nachos to exotic seafood dishes. Many people opt to enjoy the wild décor of Clint’s Saloon or Palmer’s Club 18 presented by Citrix.

Pebble did not forget about the kids. Take the youngsters to the “Autograph Zone” where they can get a selfie and autograph from their favorite celebrity. During the tournament, many people log onto social media and post all the excitement of the event.

3. The Nearby Attractions Are Amazing

The tournament will be over by 5 pm. There are so many things to do that are within a 10-20 mile radius of the tournament. Many people opt to leave a little early to catch the perfect sunset while they drive or bike the infamous 17-Mile Drive. Others take a horseback ride on the Beach or visit Cannery Row and the Monterey Bay Aquarium. You can also find vintage and high-end arts and clothing as you shop on Ocean Drive at Carmel By the Sea. Fine dining, gourmet candy shops, and award-winning Vineyards and Tasting Rooms are 5 miles away in Carmel Valley. If you need some exercise, you can run along the beach at the nearby Monterey Tides or hike at Point Lobos or Big Sur. The white sandy beaches tend to provide for sanctuary and reflection that we all sometimes need. A few groups opted to travel to the places depicted in the phenomenal HBO Series Big Little Lies, which was filmed in Monterey, CA. 

4. The Energy From The Staff Is Amazing

The 3 courses at Pebble include the mainstay Pebble Beach, Monterey Peninsula C.C. Shore Course and Spyglass Hills. Every course is a postcard picture in itself and is the most diverse and magnificent scenery in golf. What is more impressive than the scenery are the people that host the tournament. The vast majority of personnel are volunteers. Instead of experiencing the underpaid worker that doesn’t truly want to be there, you get someone who is ecstatic to be there. One couple travels annually from Kansas City to help at the tournament. Even though they are escaping the winter in KC, they opt to spend the week helping you enjoy and understand the history of the tournament. Pebble also provides a huge party for its volunteers and makes sure that they are appreciated. There is another level of concierge and positive energy when the staff wants to be present. The energy from the time you enter the gates ofPeeble is extremely positive and refreshing. 

5. Pebble May Refocus Your Value System

There is nothing that challenges your value system like money. Pebble is affluent. As you to approach the course, you are surrounded by homes that cost $2 million. If you want a peek at the water, pay $4 million. If you want a home on the course, pay upward of $20 million. This will be your second home and you have not purchased furniture. 

There is nothing wrong with wanting to grind harder and achieve these goals. However, you see many couples holding hands while walking around. They tend to have been reminded that they are part of a team. A team that consists of more than money and things. The partnership and the journey are just as valuable as the purchase.   

In sum, the Pebble Beach Tournament may bring you fond memories, breathtaking views, great food and entertainment, and a renewed value system. Put it on your bucket list. 

It was a tight finish on the Last day at Riviera as Adam Scott Claims Genesis Invitational

Courtesy Photo

Pacific Palisades, CA- Matt Kuchar held the lead for the first three rounds and most of the fourth at Riviera Country Club, but it was Adam Scott (-11) who was able edge out Kuchar to walk away as the 2020 Genesis Invitational Champion.

“It’s incredibly satisfying to win a tournament of this stature on a golf course of this stature. It was a wonderful week, it was incredibly enjoyable just being here with the weather like this, the course in perfect condition and a great field,” said Scott “Even better to come out on top and kind of have your game really tested today. It was not easy and that was most enjoyable to kind of see that my game is holding up to that.”

Genesis Courtesy Photo

Scott, Kuchar and Rory McIlroy were tied for the lead at 10-under par after the third round.  After two rounds of 68 and one of 67, McIlroy had his worst round on Sunday shooting a 73. He finished the tournament tied for fifth at -8.

“Yeah, yeah, definitely the toughest day of the week.” said McIlroy , “The wind was up, hole locations were sort of tricky spots, the course was firming up again.”

Kuchar finished the tournament tied for second. Like McIlroy, Kuchar also had his worst round on Sunday, shooting a 72.

“It’s tricky, knowing that I didn’t have my best stuff. Proud of the way I kind of held up and managed around this golf course. There are weeks where you really have it, you’re in control and you think the game’s easy,” said Kuchar, “Certainly was really pleased to feel like I was able to make the most of what I had. So I look back at this week and say it was a good run, I made the most of what I had.”

Scott Brown and Sung Kang also tied for 2nd place, along with Kuchar.

Host of the Tournament, Tiger Woods, finished in last place with a score of 11 over par.

Wildcats slow to show off XFL Legacy in Home Opener

XFL Running-back #34 Cameron ArtispPayne of the Dallas Renegades during the Renegades 25-18 win against the Los Angeles Wildcats, at Dignity Health Sports Park, in Carson Ca., on February 16, 2020. (Daniel Bowyer)

With the XFL 20 years removed, it all seemed like an afterthought with the league going one and done when NBC bailed and no other major market waned to touch the league. Fans of the league remember how different the staging was compared to what the NFL wanted to portray: custom jersey names, removing the coin toss from the kickoff and instead making it a free for all, and giving fans access to practically everything, all down to the cheerleader locker rooms.

20 years later, nearly everyone forgot that the Los Angeles Xtreme were actually a pretty good football team. They were also winners of the only XFL championship, finishing also with a 7-3 record and had won most of their games by double digits. Of course, when you have an eventual NFL super bowl winning quarterback like Tommy Maddox and a CFL standout like Jermaine Copeland, teams like that will be hard to beat.

Wide receiver #18 Adonis Jennings of the Los Angeles Wildcats during the Dallas Renegades 25-18 win against the Wildcats, at Dignity Health Sports Park, in Carson Ca., on February 16, 2020. (Daniel Bowyer)

Los Angeles was then awarded with a second chance at the league that has revamped itself as trying to not compete with anyone else. With far different rules compared to the NFL, fans on Sunday were treated to a much different, and arguably more fan friendly experience. Fans got shout-outs from the players all game long. They were greeted to a much more inexpensive football experience full of pregame parties, autographs from the players, and in your face action.

With all the positives outside of the game, inside was a little different. The Wildcats last week were manhandled by Houston which led to the firing of defensive coordinator Pepper Johnson. Their defense was much better against Dallas on Sunday, but both sides could not score. In fact, the Wildcats drove the ball inside the Renegades 10 yard line, only to cough up the football. Back and forth the two teams were unable to find the endzone until the fourth quarter when Josh Johnson found Nelson Spruce in the back of the endzone to give the Wildcats their first lead of the 2020 season.

Dallas eventually found the endzone after the ensuing Wildcats touchdown with Cameron Curtis Payne capping off a six play drive going 68 yards in just three minutes. By then both offenses picked everything up, but trading touchdowns ended up going into the hands of Dallas with a 25-18 victory.

“The adjustments in the second half kept us in,” Johnson said. “But the entire game we left a lot on the field, and I mean a lot. We have to use this week in practice to get mentally better.”

“Right now we are just making mistakes,” Spruce said. “The only good news is that we aren’t getting overmatched completely. But

Mascot for the Los Angeles Wildcats at Dignity Health Sports Park, in Carson Ca., on February 16, 2020. (Daniel Bowyer)

All in all though, it seemed like that fans cared more about being in the action more than anything else. The announced crowd of 14,979 made the game the way it was. All the oos and ahhs after each play, starting waves that rocked the stadium, and your usual fight in the stands breaking out here and there gave everyone the full on experience that certainly will want people to come out again, so it seems.

“This was definitely a different experience, and a great one at that,” Wildcats head coach Winston Moss said. “The great thing about Los Angeles is if we win, the city will back you up. I am disappointed that we didn’t get the win today, but I am thrilled that the fans showed up and I definitely felt a lot of that today.”

XFL Running-back #25 Lance Dunbar of the Dallas Renegades during the Renegades 25-18 win against the Los Angeles Wildcats, at Dignity Health Sports Park, in Carson Ca., on February 16, 2020. (Daniel Bowyer)

At 0-2, the Wildcats do appear to be far apart from teams like DC and Houston. Having late scoring surges trying to keep up will make this short 10 week season drag in a hurry if they can’t find themselves. Taking on a DC team that has already scored 58 points through the first two weeks could already be sensing trouble for the Wildcats in week 3.

“We have a lot of work to do,” Moss said. “Right now it’s a ball security issue. We can’t win games if we can’t take care o the football. During our practices that is one of our main focuses. If we can’t take care of the football, there is no way we can win in any type of football game.”

Oregon extends winning streak with dominating win over USC

The USC women’s basketball team kept it close early but the No. 3 Oregon Ducks used strong shooting in the second half to defeat the Trojans, 93-67, Sunday afternoon at the Galen Center. 

The Ducks won their 12 straight game and improve to 24-2 overall  and 13-1 in Pac-12 play. USC drops to 13-12 and 5-9. 

Oregon vs USC Women’s Basketball at Galen Center. (Photo by Stephanie Lovell)

“The difference in defending them than anybody else, they’ve got five kids that are 40 percent three-point shooters,” USC coach Mark Trakh said.

USC got off to a hot start with a 7-0 early lead. The Ducks offense woke up and went on a 6-0 run to take a 10-point lead with 4:46 left in the first half. Oregon went into halftime with a 43-32 lead. 

Oregon continued their hot shooting from beyond the arc in the third quarter. Sabrina Ionescu drained a three-pointer from the corner to give the ducks a 20-point lead. 

Oregon vs USC Women’s Basketball at Galen Center. (Photo by Stephanie Lovell)

Erin Boley made four three-pointers in the third quarter and the Ducks outscored USC 25-18 to pull away from the Trojans. 

“The perimeter players were open for 3s, so we took advantage of it,” Boley said. “We didn’t come out to a great start. That’s definitely something we need to work on, coming out and playing to our level and not playing to whoever our competition is.”

Boley went 9-of-14 from the floor, 7-of-11 from three-point range for a season-high 25 points to lead the way today for Oregon. 

Oregon vs USC Women’s Basketball at Galen Center. (Photo by Stephanie Lovell)

Ionescu finished 12 points, 13 assists and seven rebounds, notching her team-leading 14th double-double of the year and 52nd of her career.

The Trojans concluded a stretch of playing five ranked opponents in six games, beating only the ranked Oregon State Beavers and unranked California.

USC will be back in action when they visit the Washington Huskies in a 7 p.m. battle on Friday, Feb. 21.

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