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Luck of the 'Irish?' Notre Dame gets hot late while Cards fall mid-flight in Louisville

Demetrius Jackson scored 21 points and No. 12 Notre Dame made its final seven shots to pull away for a 71-59 victory over No. 16 Louisville on Wednesday night that clinched third place in the Atlantic Coast Conference. Jackson's 3-pointer with 7:52 left gave the Irish a 53-48 lead. He then added consecutive jumpers to twice provide nine-point cushions that sealed the victory for the Fighting Irish (25-5, 13-4 ACC). He also had plenty of help from other teammates such as Bonzie Colson, who made a big jumper down the stretch en route to 17 points on 7-of-7 shooting. Jerian Grant added 12 points and Steve Vasturia 10 as Notre Dame finished 54 percent from the field and made 20 of 25 from the free-throw line. Montrezl Harrell had 23 points for the Cardinals (23-7, 11-6), but missed several free throws as they tried to rally. Louisville finished 11 of 18 from the line. The Irish also made the Cardinals force shots and finished 42 percent from the field after they opened the second half with an 11-0 run that tied the game. Louisville had its three-game winning streak snapped. Notre Dame showed few signs of rust from an eight-day layoff and delayed arrival in Louisville because of plane issues. Then again, stopping its balanced offense led by Grant (16.9 points per game) and five starters averaging at least nine points per game proved to be difficult for Louisville. Wayne Blackshear and Terry Rozier each had 11 for the Cardinals, who just didn't have enough offense to keep up with an Irish squad whose 50.8 shooting rate ranked second nationally. The fast-paced game resembled their old days as Big East rivals. Louisville scored the game's first six points before Notre Dame scored the next 10 to take the lead with a fast tempo and multiple passes to find the open man. Good things often followed as the Irish started 11 of 15 from the field, including four 3-pointers. Notre Dame cooled off to finish the half 58 percent from the field, good enough to lead 42-31 at halftime and punctuated by Grant's fadeaway jumper at the buzzer. Louisville shot respectably (48 percent) and outrebounded the Irish 14-10, but had plenty of room for improvement on defense. The Cardinals regrouped with an 11-0 run over 3:23 to tie the game thanks to tighter pressure on the Irish. Notre Dame shook it off to eventually go ahead and stay there thanks to Jackson and others' clutch shooting. Trying to find some consistency in the win column, the Cardinals have one last chance on Senior Day to make an impact when the host one of the hottest teams in the nation, the #2 Virginia Cavaliers. Pregame at 4:00 pm, tip-off at 5:30 pm on K95.7 WCCK Sports.

Fighting like Cats and Dogs...UK withstands bark and bite with late rally at Georgia

No. 1 Kentucky overcame a nine-point deficit in the second half to keep its perfect season intact, beating Georgia 72-64 on Tuesday night. The Wildcats (30-0, 17-0 SEC) had won their previous five games by an average of 24 points. They were really challenged in this one by Georgia (19-10, 10-7 SEC), which had the sellout crowd roaring when Yante Maten tipped in a miss of his own shot to put the Bulldogs up 56-47 with 9 minutes remaining. But Kentucky showed it knows how to win the close games, too. The Wildcats began pounding the ball inside to 6-foot-11 freshman Karl-Anthony Towns, who managed to stay in the game until the closing seconds after picking up his fourth foul. Kentucky seized the game with a 14-0 run, and Georgia hurt its chances by missing three straight 1-and-1s. Towns led the Wildcats with 19 points. Nemanja Djurisic topped Georgia with 18 points, 14 in the first half.. Georgia, using its quickness to offset Kentucky's huge size advantage, had the Wildcats on the ropes after Maten's hustle play capped a 17-4 spurt. But it was all Kentucky from there, with Towns scoring all but two of his points after halftime. Kentucky pushed out to its largest lead of the first half at 32-27, taking advantage of a flagrant foul on Kenny Gaines. But Georgia scored the final five points, the last of them coming on a running floater off the baseline by Djurisic, the ball dropping through the basket as the horn sounded. Djurisic and the Bulldogs sprinted toward the locker room, tied at 32 and very much in the game. That was a striking change from the first meeting in Lexington, when Kentucky raced out to a 42-27 halftime lead and cruised to an 11-point win. One away from history as the Cats look to complete their undefeated season on Senior Day this Saturday when they host arch-rival Florida. Pregame at 11:30 am, tip-off at 1:00 pm on 99.1 FM WCBL Sports.

Perfection! Racers claim only 5th OVC regular season sweep in tight finale with Skyhawks

Sophomore Cameron Payne scored 31 points with eight rebounds and six assists as Murray State rallied in the second half to defeat Tennessee-Martin 73-67 on Saturday night, pushing its conference-record win streak to 24 in a row. Murray State (26-4, 16-0 OVC) had already clinched top seed at the OVC tournament in Nashville next week, but was trailing UT-Martin (18-11, 10-6 OVC) 34-31 at halftime. Inside the first minute of the second half, Jeffrey Moss knotted the score with a 3-pointer. Payne and Jarvis Williams added five more points in a seesaw struggle. Williams sparked a 14-3 surge until the Skyhawks called time trailing 53-42. UT-Martin came as close as 64-62 with 3:15 remaining but missed six of its last eight shots. Deville Smith led the Skyhawks with 21 points and Twymond Howard added 17. The Skyhawks are the OVC's No. 4 seed. Williams added 15 points and 10 rebounds for the Racers. It's off to Nashville as the Racers have a bye to the semi-final round of the OVC Tournament in the Municipal Auditorium on Friday at 6:30 pm against Morehead State.

Lakewood Gymnastics opening in new location

Celebrating 30 years in business and announcing the grand-opening of a third location – that's how Lakewood Gymnastics is starting off the new year. With two very successful locations already in place, one in McCracken County and one in Marshall, their third location will now encompass some 10,000 square feet of Paducah's Energy Fitness building located at 3055 N. Friendship Road, beginning in April. This new location will also serve as the primary location for the popular Cheers Elite program. A new class schedule will be organized for April and May.

Local student wins state Hoop Shoot

Kyzer Phillips, a Benton Elementary 2nd grade student, is a state champion. On February 7, Kyzer competed in the Kentucky Elks Hoop Shoot in Frankfort where he sank 21-of-25 free throws to win the 8-9 year-old division state championship. On the local level at the Marshall County Hoop Shoot, he hit 18-of-25 free throws and on the regional level he hit 21-of-25. He now advances to the National Regional Final in Paris, Tenn., on March 4 and will join winners from Tennessee, Arkansas, Missouri and Kentucky.

North Marshall Middle places 6th in state in boys basketball

The North Marshall Middle School 7th grade boys' basketball team played in the State Tournament for all middle school teams this month at the KBA Center in Lexington. They played two pool play-in games, in which they defeated Whitley County 51-23 and defeated McCreary County 55-33, before starting a 56 team tournament. In the first round of the tournament, North Marshall defeated Johnson County 47-24 and defeated Anderson County 32-29 to make it to the final eight. The Marshals then faced Crosby Middle School out of Louisville, which won the King of the Bluegrass in November, and fell to them 41-35. The Marshals received a final state ranking on the season of 6th in the state. Austin Riley and Tyler Stokes were selected to the All-State Team.

Tennessee Titans hire new assistant coach

Former Pittsburgh Steelers defensive coordinator Dick LeBeau will join the Tennessee Titans as assistant head coach/defense. LeBeau will oversee Tennessee's defense, though Ray Horton will remain the team's defensive coordinator. LeBeau departed the Steelers after 16 seasons in Pittsburgh last month. Under LeBeau's leadership, the Steelers were consistently one of the best defensive teams in the NFL. Pittsburgh won Super Bowl XL and Super Bowl XLIII under LeBeau's watch. In 2014, the Steelers ranked No. 18 in total defense and No. 18 in scoring defense. The Titans finished 2-14 in 2015. LeBeau, 77, was elected to the Pro Football Hall of Fame in 2010.

City of Murray offering spring softball league

The Murray-Calloway County Parks Department is offering a Men's Spring Softball League for ages 18 and over. The season will run March 2 through April 12 with a double-elimination post season tournament.  The league will be played by NSA rules. A minimum of six and maximum of 10 teams will be allowed. Entry fee is $425 per team and the league is open to teams throughout the region. For more information contact Tab Brockman at (270) 762-0325 or tab.brockman@murrayparks.org.

Marshall-Graves alumni football game scheduled for April

An alumni football game for all former Marshall County and Graves County players will be held Saturday, April 25, at Graves County High School's Eagle Field in Mayfield. All interested alums can click here to fill out the online registration form. Cost of playing is $100, which includes entry fee, playing insurance and personalized jersey. More information will be made available in February concerning practice schedules and other alumni events.

Murray State officially introduces new football coach and staff

Former Samford defensive line coach Chris Boone was named as the new defensive coordinator by Murray State head football coach Mitch Stewart, while former Racer great Casey Brockman returned home to take over as coach of the quarterbacks. In addition, Stewart announced that defensive line coach Santos Carrillo will be promoted to assistant head coach, offensive tackles/tight ends coach Gordon Steele will be promoted to offensive line coach/run game coordinator and director of football operation Steve Adams will be promoted to director of recruiting and player personnel.

Lynn and Cardinals agree to three-year contract extension

The St. Louis Cardinals announced today that they have reached agreement with right-handed pitcher Lance Lynn on a three-year contract (2015-17), thus avoiding salary arbitration. Drafted by the Cardinals in the 1st round (39th player overall) of the 2008 amateur draft, Lynn has compiled a 49-28 career won-loss mark with a 3.46 ERA in 119 games (97 games started). Since debuting in 2011, Lynn has been a member of a Cardinals team that has reached the postseason for a franchise-record four consecutive seasons with Lynn having appeared in a franchise-record 23 postseason games. Lynn's 48 wins since 2012 are the 3rd-highest amongst National League pitchers, trailing only teammate Adam Wainwright (53) and the Dodgers Clayton Kershaw (51). Lynn also ranks among N.L. leaders in games started (95-T7th) and innings pitched (581.1-11th) since 2012 and his 59 quality starts since 2012 rank 10th. Lynn, 27, is ranked 5th among active Major League pitchers in winning pct. (.636) and the Cardinals have gone 60-37 in his 97 career starts. The Indiana native is 27-12, 2.80 ERA in his 57 career appearances at Busch Stadium III, ranking 4th among the stadium's all-time wins leaders.

 Athletic Foundation

HIGH SCHOOL SCOREBOARD

1ST REGION QUARTER-FINALS

Girls Basketball: Graves Co. 60 McCracken Co. 33 Final (3/3)

Girls Basketball: Murray 70 Fulton Co. 16 Final (3/3)

Girls Basketball: Carlisle Co. 40 Ballard Mem. 36 Final (3/2)

Girls Basketball: Tilghman 59 Marshall Co. 39 Final (3/2)

2ND REGION QUARTER-FINALS

Girls Basketball: Henderson Co. 73 Crittenden Co. 19 Final (3/3)

Girls Basketball: Madisonville-NH 50 Christian Co. 43 Final (3/3)

Girls Basketball: Hopkins Co. Cen. 61 Lyon Co. 44 Final (3/2)

Girls Basketball: Webster Co. 62 UHA 50 Final (3/2)

1ST DISTRICT FINALS

Boys Basketball: Carlisle Co. 59 Fulton City 50 Final (2/27)

Girls Basketball: Carlisle Co. 48 Fulton Co. 36 Final (2/26)

2ND DISTRICT FINALS

Boys Basketball: Tilghman 55 St. Mary 46 Final (2/27)

Girls Basketball: Tilghman 54 McCracken Co. 30 Final (2/26)

3RD DISTRICT FINALS

Boys Basketball: Graves Co. 58 Ballard Mem. 48 Final (2/26)

Girls Basketball: Graves Co. 71 Ballard Mem. 43 Final (2/26)

4TH DISTRICT FINALS

Boys Basketball: Calloway Co. 49 Murray 45 OT Final (2/26)

Girls Basketball: Murray 53 Marshall Co. 32 Final (2/25)

5TH DISTRICT FINALS

Girls Basketball: Lyon Co. 45 Crittenden Co. 37 Final (2/27)

Boys Basketball: Trigg Co. 40 Crittenden Co. 37 Final (2/26)

6TH DISTRICT FINALS

Boys Basketball: Henderson Co. 59 Webster Co. 47 Final (2/27)

Girls Basketball: Henderson Co. 63 Webster Co. 45 Final (2/26)

7TH DISTRICT FINALS

Boys Basketball: Madisonville-NH 61 Caldwell Co. 55 Final (2/27)

Girls Basketball: Madisonville-NH 68 Hopkins Co. Cen. 51 Final (2/27)

8TH DISTRICT FINALS

Boys Basketball: Hopkinsville 98 UHA 56 Final (2/27)

Girls Basketball: UHA 59 Christian Co. 51 Final (2/27)

1ST DISTRICT SEMI-FINALS

Boys Basketball: Fulton City 51 Fulton Co. 43 Final (2/24)

Girls Basketball: Fulton Co. 48 Fulton City 34 Final (2/24) 

Boys Basketball: Carlisle Co. 69 Hickman Co. 54 Final (2/23)

Girls Basketball: Carlisle Co. 65 Hickman Co. 23 Final (2/23)

2ND DISTRICT SEMI-FINALS

Boys Basketball: St. Mary 62 McCracken Co. 57 Final (2/24)

Girls Basketball: McCracken Co. 73 St. Mary 43 Final (2/24)

Boys Basketball: Tilghman 91 CCA 29 Final (2/23)

Girls Basketball: Tilghman 69 CCA 20 Final (2/23)

3RD DISTRICT SEMI-FINALS

Boys Basketball: Ballard Mem. 76 Mayfield 62 Final (2/24)

Girls Basketball: Ballard Mem. 56 Mayfield 38 Final (2/24)

4TH DISTRICT SEMI-FINALS

Boys Basketball: Murray 50 Marshall Co. 44 Final (2/24)

Girls Basketball: Marshall Co. 58 Calloway Co. 32 Final (2/23)

5TH DISTRICT SEMI-FINALS

Girls Basketball: Lyon Co. 43 Livingston Cen. 40 Final (2/24)

Girls Basketball: Crittenden Co. 63 Trigg Co. 38 Final (2/24)

Boys Basketball: Crittenden Co. 59 Lyon Co. 35 Final (2/23)

Boys Basketball: Trigg Co. 61 Livingston Cen. 47 Final (2/23)

6TH DISTRICT SEMI-FINALS

Boys Basketball: Webster Co. 55 Union Co. 34 Final (2/24)

Girls Basketball: Webster Co. 62 Union Co. 42 Final (2/23)

7TH DISTRICT SEMI-FINALS

Boys Basketball: Madisonville-NH 72 Hopkins Co. Cen. 47 Final (2/25)

Girls Basketball: Hopkins Co. Cen. 62 Caldwell Co. 42 Final (2/25)

Boys Basketball: Caldwell Co. 73 Dawson Springs 38 Final (2/24)

Girls Basketball: Madisonville-NH 50 Dawson Springs 13 Final (2/24)

8TH DISTRICT SEMI-FINALS

Boys Basketball: Hopkinsville 101 Ft. Campbell 38 Final (2/26)

Boys Basketball: UHA 86 Christian Co. 80 Final (2/26)

Girls Basketball: Christian Co. 72 Ft. Campbell 35 Final (2/25)

Girls Basketball: UHA 79 Hopkinsville 55 Final (2/25)

KHSAA