The Latest – March 2, 2012 02 Mar 12

Suns Storm Past Wolves
(Phoenix, AZ) — Phoenix forward Grant Hill led a balanced attack with 20 points as the Suns stormed past the Timberwolves 104-95 last night in Arizona. Steve Nash collected 13 points, 17 assists and eight rebounds for Phoenix, which outscored Minnesota 58-44 in the second half. Marcin Gortat netted 17 points in the victory. Kevin Love returned from a one-game absence and had 23 points and 10 boards for Minnesota. Luke Ridnour finished with 15 points and eight assists in the loss. The Wolves dropped the final two games on their three games and three nights stretch. Minnesota is at Portland tomorrow night.

Przybyilla Back In Action
(Portland, OR) — Monticello native Joel Przybilla signed an NBA contract with Portland on Monday and was expected to make his first appearance of the season tomorrow night against his homestate Timberwolves in Portland. Instead, Przybilla was thrown into action last night for the Blazers, filling in for the injured Kurt Thomas. The “Vanilla Gorilla” scored four points and grabbed six rebounds in 19 minutes of action last night in a Portland loss to Miami. It was the first game action for Przybilla since last March when his season ended for Charlotte with a knee injury.

Gopher Women Bomb Wisconsin
(Indianapolis, IN) — Gopher senior Kiara [[ kee-AR-uh ]] Buford of St. Paul nailed eight of the ten shots she took en route to a 19-point effort, helping Minnesota beat Wisconsin 81-49 in the opening round of the Women’s Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis last night. Three other Gophers scored in double figures, including Rachel Banham of Lakeville and Kionna Kellogg of Ames, Iowa; each with 11 points. Micaella Riche [[ muh-KAY-luh ruh-SHAY ]] netted ten points. The ninth-seed Gophers now face top-seeded Penn State this afternoon at 5 p.m. in the quarterfinals.

Big Ten Women’s Basketball
(Indianapolis, IN) — Here are results from Thursday’s first-round women’s basketball games at the Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis, Indiana:

Michigan vs. Illinois, 10:30am
Nebraska vs. Northwestern, 12:30pm
Minnesota vs. Wisconsin, 5pm
Michigan State vs. Indiana, 7pm
(Ohio State, Iowa, Purdue, and Penn State receive first-round byes)

(Indianapolis, IN) — Here is Friday’s slate of quarterfinal women’s basketball games at the Big Ten Tournament in Indianapolis, Indiana:

Ohio State vs. Michigan, 10:30am
Iowa vs. Nebraska, noon
Minnesota vs. Penn State, 5pm
Purdue vs. Michigan State, 7:30pm

Gophers Host Huskers Tomorrow
(Minneapolis, MN) — The Minnesota Golden Gopher men’s team wraps up its regular season tomorrow when hosting Nebraska at Williams Arena. Minnesota beat the Cornhuskers earlier this season in Lincoln. The Gophers suffered a 52-45 setback at 15th-ranked Wisconsin on Tuesday to fall to 5-and-12 in the Big Ten. They are 17-and-13 overall.

Habs Clip Wild In Shootout
(Montreal, Quebec) — Montreal’s David Desharnais [[ des-har-NAY ]] scored the only goal of the shootout to give the Canadiens a 5-4 win over the Wild, spoiling Minnesota’s comeback bid. Montreal pulled out the win after Minnesota scored three goals in the final 3:53 to force extra time. Minnesota’s Matt Kassian scored twice, while Devin Setoguchi lit the lamp with only nine seconds left for Minnesota to force the overtime. Dany Heatley also scored for the Wild in their second straight loss. Niklas Backstrom stopped 5-of-6 shots before leaving in the first period with an apparent leg injury. Josh Harding came on and made 19 saves. The Wild are at Detroit tonight.

Wild Sign Young Star
(St. Paul, MN) — The Wild and forward Charlie Coyle have agree to a three-year entry level contract. The 19-year-old Coyle has been playing in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League after playing for Boston University for a time. He will finish the season for Saint John in the Quebec league. Coyle was a first-round pick of the San Jose Sharks in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft and traded to the Wild in 2011 as part of the trade that sent Brent Burns to the Sharks.

Nystrom Won’t Be Disciplined For Letang Hit
(Frisco, TX) — Dallas Stars forward Eric Nystrom is apparently going to be avoiding punishment for his hit on Kris Letang. Multiple reports say the NHL won’t be disciplining Nystrom for the incident, which knocked the Pittsburgh defensemen out of Wednesday night’s game. Nystrom is fourth on the team in goals with 16. Nystrom started the season with the Wild before being traded to the Stars.

National Hockey Center Renovation Groundbreaking
(St. Cloud, MN) — The long-awaited groundbreaking for the National Hockey Center renovation in St. Cloud is this afternoon at center ice on the main rink. The 30-million-dollar renovation will happen in two phases over the course of a couple years. Six-and-a-half-million dollars is coming from state bonding money. Besides enhancing the fan experience for SCSU hockey fans, the plans also include creating a facility that can host concerts and other events. Seating capacity will increase from 66-hundred to more than eight-thousand.

WCHA Women’s Hockey
(Duluth, MN) — Here is the schedule of games in the WCHA Women’s Hockey Final Face-Off in Duluth this weekend:

Friday – Minnesota-Duluth vs. Wisconsin, 4:30pm
Friday – Minnesota vs. North Dakota, 7:30pm
Saturday – Championship Game, 7pm

MIAC Women’s Hockey
(Undated) — Here are results from Thursday’s semifinal games of women’s hockey games in the MIAC Tournament, as well as the championship schedule:

Wednesday – Gustavus Adolphus 1, Bethel 0 (overtime final)
Wednesday – Concordia-Moorhead 4, St. Thomas 3 (final)
Saturday – Concordia-Moorhead at Gustavus Adolphus, 2pm

Predicting Vikings Stadium Bill Passage
(St. Paul, MN) — The chairman of the Minnesota House Tax Committee wants at least a vote on a Vikings stadium this legislative session, but also predicts it will pass. Preston Republican Greg Davids says as far as paying for the state’s portion, he wonders whether electronic pull-tabs would generate as much revenue as backers say. He adds that racino is not out of yet and he still likes the White Earth Band of Ojibwe’s approach. The White Earth Band has offered to build a metro area casino and split proceeds with the state. That proposal would likely see strong opposition from other tribes with casinos in or near the Twin Cities area.

Twins Win “B” Game
(Fort Myers, FL) — The Twins won a loosely-played “B” game against the Red Sox 6-5 yesterday in Fort Myers. The main goal of the game was for each team to get some pitchers some game activity and that was accomplished. The game does not count in the Grapefruit League standings, nor was it played in a typical fashion. The umpires didn’t show up until the third inning, so Twins third base coach Steve Liddle called balls and strikes, while a groundskeeper was umpiring on the bases. The “real” spring training schedule begins tomorrow for the Twins with a game against Tampa Bay in Fort Myers.

M’s, A’s Kick Off Spring Training Slate
(Undated) — The smell of hotdogs and the crack of the bat will be heard around spring training ballparks throughout Florida and Arizona this weekend. The first official game is this afternoon as the Seattle Mariners open Cactus League play against the Oakland Athletics at Phoenix Municipal Stadium in Arizona. Meanwhile, the Nationals, Tigers and Yankees all play exhibition games today in Florida against college teams. The Grapefruit League campaign begins Saturday with five games, including the Twins and Rays in Fort Myers.

X-Rays Negative After Rays’ Longoria Struck On Hand
(St. Petersburg, FL) — Tampa Bay Rays third baseman Evan Longoria left Thursday’s intrasquad game after pitcher Matt Bush hit him on his right hand. X-ray’s on Longoria’s hand were negative and manager Joe Maddon doesn’t expect him to miss any time. Longoria batted .244 with 31 home runs and 99 RBI last season. Tampa Bay opens Grapefruit League play tomorrow against Minnesota.

Gophers Fall At Home
(Minneapolis, MN) — The Golden Gopher baseball team lost a home game yesterday 4-1 to New Mexico State at the Metrodome. The Aggies snapped a 1-1 tie by scoring three runs in the top of the ninth inning to secure the victory. Minnesota is now 3-and-5 on the year. The same two teams will play again tonight as part of the Dairy Queen Classic tournament happening all weekend at the Metrodome.

State Team Wrestling
(St. Paul, MN) — Apple Valley won its seventh straight Class 3-A Minnesota state team wrestling title yesterday, Simley won its fifth consecutive crown in Class 2-A, and Jackson County Central won its third Class 1-A trophy in a row. Each team won three dual meets at the state tournament yesterday in St Paul. Individual championships will be crowned over the next two days at the Xcel Energy Center.

State Boys Swimming/Diving
(Minneapolis, MN) — The 2012 Boys’ state swimming and diving meet continues today at the University of Minnesota Aquatic Center. Competition got underway yesterday with preliminary swimming and diving events. The championship events are slated for Saturday.

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