James Harden Scores 26 to Help Houston Beat Toronto

Jeremy Lin poured in 31 points and James Harden scored 10 of his 26 points after regulation as the Houston Rockets outlasted the Toronto Raptors in a 110-104 double-overtime thriller at the Toyota Center.Lin finished 10-of-17 from the field and netted nine of his points in the two overtimes to help Houston bounce back from two straight home losses. The Rockets were nearly dealt a third after Toronto rallied from a 17-point third- quarter deficit to force extra time.Dwight Howard and Chandler Parsons each had 18 points in the win, with Howard pulling down 24 rebounds and blocking five shots.“We just have to stick with it,” Howard said. “Second half we didn’t play as good as we wanted to, but we got a good win. We needed on especially at home, and I’m glad we got it.”Rudy Gay put up 29 points and 10 rebounds for the Raptors before fouling out in the final stages. DeMar DeRozan and Kyle Lowry had 22 and 16 points, respectively, in the loss, with Jonas Valanciunas notching a double-double of 10 points and 13 rebounds.After missing out on a chance to win at the end of regulation and failing to hold onto a four-point lead in the first overtime, the Rockets finally put a game Toronto squad away in the second extra session.Lin ended Houston’s opening possession with a successful jumper and Harden buried a 3-pointer with 3:19 left for a 100-95 advantage. Lowry sank a pair of triples around another Harden basket, however, and Gay was fouled while canning a short jumper and sunk the bonus shot for a 104-104 tie with 1:50 remaining.The Raptors didn’t score again, however. Howard grabbed an offensive board and fed Terrence Jones for a go-ahead layup with 1:13 left, and Lin scored in the lane after an unsuccessful offensive trip for Toronto for a four-point spread with 33.4 seconds on the clock.“We fought with them obviously through two overtimes and shots that we usually hit, weren’t falling, you could say fatigue or a lot of different things but they are a great team and they played well,” Gay said. “I just wish I would’ve hit the easy ones (shots) and maybe things would’ve worked out differently.”This was the seventh straight loss in Houston for the Raptors.Source: SportsNetwork.com read more

Ohio State mens volleyball coach Pete Hanson Libero the quarterback on volleyball

Freshman libero Gabriel Domecus (7) attempts to hit the ball during a match against Saint Francis Feb. 9 at St. John Arena. OSU won, 3-1.Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo editorThey’re often the first player to touch the ball when it enters their side of the court. They lead the defense every match while having top-of-the-line passing skills.Those are just some aspects of play that go into fulfilling the role as a libero on the volleyball court.Men’s volleyball consists of six players on each side of the court, and one position in particular stands out from the rest.“We wear a different color jersey and we are not allowed to play front row. Unfortunately, we don’t get to hit the ball or serve,” senior libero Danny Baker said.This specific player is called the libero, and can be defined as the rearmost roaming defensive player in volleyball, however coach Pete Hanson said the primary skill coaches are looking for in a libero is their passing ability.“The digging skill is very important, but recently we have looked at this position as more as an asset to the offense,” Hanson said.Hanson said a successful libero is similar to the “quarterback” role of volleyball and takes ownership of the back row. Along with excelling in particular athletic skills, this player also must portray many key personality traits.“You are looking for someone who is aggressive, confident, communicative and a take-charge kind of a player, and that is what we try to tell our guys who are playing that position,” Hanson said.A libero is considered to be a defensive and passing specialist that can sub for any player in the back row at any time during the match.“The main job of my position is to be the defensive leader on the court. It’s the libero’s job to cover as much of the court as possible when the opposing team plays it back to our side,” freshman libero Gabriel Domecus said.Because of the fast-paced nature of volleyball, these players need to have skill on offense and defense and the libero is in charge of communicating with the team and making sure every player is in place and on their toes, ready for whatever is going to happen next.“Our main job is to take control of the defense and passing. We need to communicate before, during and after each play to make sure everyone is on the same page,” Baker said.Next up, OSU is scheduled to take part in a weekend series against Grand Canyon Friday and Saturday at St. John Arena. Both matches are set for 7 p.m. read more

Opinion Braxton Millers chance to cement legacy potentially ruined by injury

Junior quarterback Braxton Miller lifts the Silver Football, awarded to the Big Ten’s football MVP Feb. 20 at the Schottenstein Center.Credit: Shelby Lum / Photo editorWhen he announced in early January that he would be returning to Ohio State for one final ride along the banks of the Olentangy, Braxton Miller had a chance.A chance to rush or pass for the 505 yards he needed to become OSU’s all-time leader in total offense.A chance to win 11 games to become the all-time winningest quarterback in OSU’s history.A chance to throw for the six necessary touchdowns to own the record for total passing touchdowns as a Buckeye.A chance to pass for the 2,256 yards he needs to become OSU’s all-time passing yards leader.A chance to score the single touchdown he needed to become OSU’s all-time touchdown leader.A chance to become the most dominant statistical quarterback in OSU history, as evidenced by the very attainable numbers above.After throwing a pass on Monday that left his right shoulder in pain and the future of his football career uncertain, Braxton Miller is awaiting word following a Tuesday morning MRI that will reveal whether or not that chance remains.But as the star quarterback and legions of Buckeye fans await the news, as it stands right now, what does his legacy look like?While all the numbers above might merit placing him amongst OSU’s greatest quarterbacks, there’s one thing that holds Miller back.Art Schlichter, OSU’s quarterback from 1978 through 1981 and the holder of many of the aforementioned career records, won two Big Ten Championships and a Liberty Bowl matchup against Navy.Bobby Hoying, another famed quarterback and holder of the record for touchdown passes at OSU, won a Big Ten Championship and a Holiday Bowl against the BYU Cougars.Joe Germaine, another of OSU’s most legendary passers, won the MVP of the 1997 Rose Bowl when the Buckeyes topped Arizona State.Troy Smith won the Heisman Trophy, in addition to the 2006 Fiesta Bowl, all the while leading the Buckeyes to the 2007 National Championship Game against Urban Meyer and the Florida Gators.Thus far, Miller has yet to win a postseason game. He has yet to finish higher than fifth in Heisman Trophy voting. Yes, he’s twice won the Silver Football given annually to the Big Ten’s most outstanding player, but that’s about the extent of the hardware sitting upon Miller’s proverbial shelf.2014 was Miller’s chance to receive some of the hardware he’s worked toward for the past three seasons. It was his chance to become the only three-time winner of the Silver Football. It was his chance to become OSU’s most recent Heisman Trophy finalist.It was his chance to clear that seemingly insurmountable hurdle and win his first postseason game, and maybe more, as a Buckeye.Instead, after committing to another year at OSU, avoiding the lure of the NFL, Miller lies upon a table, machines surrounding him, as he anxiously awaits the fate of his season, his career and his legacy.If the test results end No. 5’s time in scarlet and gray, how would he be viewed amongst the greatest players in Buckeye football lore?I’d say that Braxton Miller never really got a chance. read more

Opinion Where will Buckeyes at the Scouting Combine fall in the 2015

Doran GrantJust a year ago, many Buckeye fans were worrying about how the OSU secondary would improve on a 112th ranked pass defense after losing Bradley Roby to the first round of the draft.Grant not only filled Roby’s shoes, but ran out of them.Grant took on the likes of Tony Lippett and Amari Cooper during the 2014 season and greatly improved his draft stock, which many might say was nonexistent heading into the national title run.The Akron product led a defensive secondary that led the Big Ten in passes defended, as the Buckeyes collected 25 interceptions in 2014, five of which belonged to Grant.Grant earned a first team All-Big Ten selection by the coaches, and in the process, also an invitation to Indianapolis for the NFL Combine.While he might not go as high as Roby, he will likely give more effort to the team that selects him. OSU then-senior tight end Jeff Heuerman (5) attempts to set a block during the 2015 College Football Playoff National Championship against OSU on Jan. 12 in Arlington, Texas. OSU won, 42-20. Credit: Mark Batke / Photo editorFor four now-former Ohio State football players, the next chapters of their football careers are just around the corner.Tight end Jeff Heuerman, cornerback Doran Grant, wide receiver Devin Smith and defensive lineman Michael Bennett all earned invitations to the 2015 NFL Scouting Combine, set to begin Tuesday.Where will these former Buckeyes land? It all starts in Indianapolis. Michael BennettThe anchor in the middle of the national title-winning defense at OSU was once a projected first round pick before sliding down draft boards early in the season.Bennett, who did not record a sack until the fifth game of the year against Maryland, had a breakout game on the big stage in East Lansing, Mich., as he recorded a sack, and two tackles for loss in an upset win over Michigan State.That performance, combined with a dominating two-sack, four-tackle for loss effort against Wisconsin put Bennett back on the map as a dominant force in college football.While it might not be enough to get him back into the first round, his late-season dominance showed many teams that he can have a future at the nest level.Projection: Late 1st, early 2nd round Jeff HeuermanHeuerman, who was tabbed as the second-best tight end prospect by ESPN football analyst Mel Kiper before the 2014 season, might have fallen since that time because of a drop-off in production from the 2013 season.The Florida native, who caught 26 passes for 466 yards and four scores in 2013, caught just 17 passes in 2014 for 207 and two scores.The decline in production could be attributed to nagging injuries, one of which forced him to miss OSU’s third game of the season against Kent State.That being said, Heuerman has shown his ability to run and pass block in coach Urban Meyer’s complex offensive system and not many will argue with his pass-catching ability.If Heuerman can impress in Indianapolis, there is no reason why he shouldn’t be either the first or second tight end off the board. Projection: 4th round Devin SmithArguably one of the best wide receivers to ever play at OSU, Smith soared up draft boards with his performances in the Big Ten title game and the Sugar Bowl.The deep-ball threat not only led the Big Ten in yards per catch, he led the conference in touchdown receptions with 12, four of which came against Wisconsin and Alabama combined.Smith, who became famous in Columbus for his game-winning catch against Wisconsin in 2011, continued to help the Buckeyes win games as OSU never lost a game in which Smith caught a touchdown pass.It would be tough to argue that any player in college football helped his draft stock more than Smith down the stretch, and an impressive performance at the combine could even boost him higher. Projection: 2nd round Projection: Late 1st round read more

Ohio State womens lacrosse set to open Big Ten play against rival

Senior defender Taylor Donahue (left) streaks up the field during a game against Niagra on March 1 in Columbus. OSU won, 15-2.Credit: Leah Alexander / Lantern photographerAfter women’s rowing was added to the Big Ten in 1999, it took 14 years for another women’s sport to officially join the conference. That changed in June 2013 as the Big Ten announced that women’s lacrosse would be joining the conference as the 28th official sport.Almost two years later, Michigan, Penn State, Rutgers, Maryland, Northwestern and Ohio State are set to open the first Big Ten women’s lacrosse season this weekend.After playing in the American Lacrosse Conference throughout her career, OSU senior attackman Jackie Cifarelli said she is honored to be playing in the Big Ten.“It’s awesome. Being a Buckeye, just knowing you’re in the Big Ten, going against some of the best schools in the country, it’s exciting,” Cifarelli said. “Having the Big Ten logo on our jerseys now, it’s an honor.”Fittingly, the No. 14 Buckeyes (8-2, 0-0) are set to take on Big Ten rival, the Michigan Wolverines (5-4, 0-0), in their first game competing in the conference. Last year, the Buckeyes played the Wolverines for the first time in the program’s history and won, 18-3. But despite that blowout victory, coach Alexis Venechanos said she won’t overlook Michigan this year.“They are a more improved team and they play a physical brand of lacrosse, so we are excited to match that and use that to our advantage,” Venechanos said. “I think you just kind of throw away the records and throw away all the numbers when you play such a rivalry game.”The Buckeyes had high expectations entering the season after appearing in the NCAA tournament last year for first time since 2003. OSU started its 2015 season 8-2, but suffered losses to No. 15 Stanford and No. 19 Notre Dame. OSU has yet to showcase its true potential, Venechanos said. “We talked about playing a fearless brand of lacrosse. We haven’t played our best lacrosse yet, but we’ve had a great week of practice. And if we just continue to be aggressive and be fearless, we can be successful,” she said. The Buckeyes have the some key individual pieces in place, but Cifarelli said success comes from the whole team working together to play the full game. “Our team is so dynamic, so just being able to play the full 60 minutes, just finishing every game and finishing every goal,” Cifarelli said. “We are so fast, our midfielders are always working so hard down the field, but I think now just practicing and knowing when to slow it down, we can limit our turnovers and win the games.”Venechanos said the Buckeyes’ first Big Ten game presents an opportunity to improve after losing to Notre Dame on Saturday.“Every time we step on to the field we want to be better. We are excited to always leave a mark. Our program has continued to get better and we are excited for these opportunities,” she said.The Buckeyes are scheduled to take on the Wolverines on Friday at 5 p.m. and Hofstra on Sunday at noon. read more