Out with a bang: No. 8 Missouri rallies to knock off Iowa State on Senior Night

(Photo: Rich Sugg-Kansas City Star)

COLUMBIA, Mo. – Michael Dixon led all scorers with 19 points off the bench to help no. 8 Missouri knock off Iowa State 78-72 at Mizzou Arena. The victory clinches the no. 2 seed in next week’s Big 12 tournament for the Tigers, who recorded their 13th conference win Wednesday night.

“Iowa State is a terrific ball club,” Missouri coach Frank Haith said after the game. “I said this early on, they are an NCAA Tournament team. They have one of the toughest matchups in the country in Royce White. He’s just a load to guard.”

Dixon bounced back from last week’s debacle in the final seconds of overtime versus Kansas, scoring the game-winning lay-up with 3:36 left. Senior Marcus Denmon nailed a three-pointer before Phil Pressey stole the ball from Iowa State’s Scott Christopherson and took it coast-to-coast for an easy layup to push the score to 71-64 with 1:23 left.

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Grand Finale: Conklin, SLU roar back to beat Xavier on Senior Night

ST. LOUIS – Senior Brian Conklin put on a show in his final game at Chaifetz Arena, racking up 23 points and six rebounds to help Saint Louis University knock off Xavier 70-59 Tuesday night. The victory improves the Billikens to 11-4 in the Atlantic 10 and guarantees them a first-round bye in the A-10 tournament.

SLU’s halftime deficit may have been just 10 points, but they looked like a team on the verge of a total collapse after the first 20 minutes. Their long-range shooters hit just two of 12 three-pointers, while their usually airtight defense had allowed the Musketeers to shoot 52% from the floor.

“In the first half, they were tentative offensively,” SLU coach Rick Majerus said in an interview with Post Dispatch writer Tom Timmerman. “They don’t understand that your defense drives your offense, so we had a bit of complacency defensively.”

Playing in front of the second largest crowd in the four-year history of Chaifetz Arena, the Billikens roared back from a 10-point halftime deficit, outscoring the Musketeers 30-9 over the first 15 minutes of the second half.

Perhaps the biggest turning point of the game came when Dezmine Wells missed a dunk five minutes into the second half that would have given Xavier a three-point lead.

Earl Austin Jr. called it an omen during the radio broadcast and sure enough, SLU grabbed its first lead of the night on the very next possession behind a lay-up from Conklin.

Xavier attempted to stage a late comeback, cutting the score to 64-54 with two minutes left, but Conklin responded with a jumper to drive in the final dagger for SLU.

Things went so well in the second half for SLU that Majerus was even able to call a timeout with two seconds left to sub out his two seniors, Conklin and Kyle Cassity, and let them get a standing ovation from the energetic crowd.

“I knew we weren’t going to lose this one,” he said. “I definitely wasn’t going to go out with a loss. That wasn’t going to happen, so I was not worried at all [at halftime].”

Cassity, who, to avoid upsetting the team’s rotation, turned down an opportunity to start in his final home game, chalked Tuesday’s victory up to a strong defensive performance.

“It was all defense,” he said. “We didn’t do much different on offense. We hit some shots, but defensively, we just stopped them.”

Kwamain Mitchell headed to the locker room early in the second half after a collision with a Xavier defender left him disoriented. He returned with about four minutes left and finished the game with 14 points. Mike McCall also scored in double figures for the Billikens, who finished the game shooting 38% from the floor and 28% from behind the arc.

Dezmine Wells finished recorded a double-double with 13 points and 10 rebounds for Xavier, who out-rebounded the Billikens 34-30.

If Temple wins tonight, they will clinch the A-10 tournament outright. If they lose, however, SLU could grab at least a share of the title with a victory Saturday morning against Duquesne. Tip-off in that game is scheduled for 11 am in Pittsburgh.

Quotes via STLToday.com

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Reports: Cardinals and Molina finalizing five-year contract extension

Molina told reporters that he wanted to remain with the Cardinals...but only for the right price. (Image: Doug Pensinger-Getty Images)

JUPITER, Fla. – The Saint Louis Cardinals and catcher Yadier Molina are close to an agreement on a five-year contract extension, according to multiple reports.

Joe Strauss of the Saint Louis Post Dispatch first reported that a deal between Molina and the Cardinals was all but done Monday afternoon. Fox Sports Ken Rosenthal confirmed Strauss’s original report, adding that the five-year deal is worth between $70-$75 million.

If Rosenthal’s sources are correct, Molina’s average salary would be $14-$15 million, making him the second-highest paid catcher in Major League Baseball. Joe Mauer of the Minnesota Twins makes roughly $23 million per year.

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Talkin’ Pucks-Trade Deadline Special (February 27)

February 27-FULL SHOW

This week’s guest: Kevin Lorenz

SEGMENT 1-Kevin Lorenz

InsideSTL Blues’ writer Kevin Lorenz joins the program to talk about deadline deals; Ben Bishop is being sent to Ottawa’s AHL affiliate, that’s surprising; Blues’ ownership situation is a lot worse than people think; CBJ simply wanted too much for Nash; Nashville didn’t make any sense; Seems like Rangers did all they could to land Nash; Preds are good, but not good enough to knock off Detroit; What’s going on in Minnesota?; Rank your three deadline winners

Kevin was kind enough to give Talkin’ Pucks/HSB a plug Tuesday night during his appearance on The Joe Roderick Show on Team 1380. You can listen to that clip here!

SEGMENT 2Blues Talk

Happy birthday Trevor!; Blues did exactly what everyone thought they would…nothing; Ben Bishop is going to the AHL; I guess it doesn’t matter to us anymore; Is the ownership situation that bad?; All NHL teams lower revenue numbers because of pending labor negotiations;

SEGMENT 3-NHL Talk

Trevor and Brian break down the major moves from Monday’s trade deadline

Talkin’ Pucks-Trade Deadline Special (February 27)

February 27-FULL SHOW

This week’s guest: Kevin Lorenz

SEGMENT 1-Kevin Lorenz

InsideSTL Blues’ writer Kevin Lorenz joins the program to talk about deadline deals; Ben Bishop is being sent to Ottawa’s AHL affiliate, that’s surprising; Blues’ ownership situation is a lot worse than people think; CBJ simply wanted too much for Nash; Nashville didn’t make any sense; Seems like Rangers did all they could to land Nash; Preds are good, but not good enough to knock off Detroit; What’s going on in Minnesota?; Rank your three deadline winners

Kevin was kind enough to give Talkin’ Pucks/HSB a plug Tuesday night during his appearance on The Joe Roderick Show on Team 1380. You can listen to that clip here!

SEGMENT 2Blues Talk

Happy birthday Trevor!; Blues did exactly what everyone thought they would…nothing; Ben Bishop is going to the AHL; I guess it doesn’t matter to us anymore; Is the ownership situation that bad?; All NHL teams lower revenue numbers because of pending labor negotiations;

SEGMENT 3-NHL Talk

Trevor and Brian break down the major moves from Monday’s trade deadline

Blues Trade Bishop to Ottawa for 2nd Round Pick

The Ben Bishop era in St. Louis is over almost before it began. Regarded as the best goalie not currently in the NHL, Bishop was rumored to have been shopped to several teams before landing in Ottawa. The native St. Louisan and graduate of Chaminade High School, Bishop went 4-5 in 13 games with the Blues over 2 years, with 2.83 goals against average and a .896 save percentage.

Some fans are upset with the return for Ottawa (a 2nd round pick in the 2013 NHL Draft) but unproven goaltenders don’t usually fetch much. Speculation was rampant that the Blues could have packaged Bishop with another player or a draft pick to bring back something more substantial, but GM Doug Armstrong decided against that strategy. The Blues’ negotiating position was made weaker by the fact that Bishop will be an unrestricted free agent after this season unless he plays in 28 NHL games by the end of the year. The Senators only have 19 games left this season but are currently 7th in the Eastern Conference standings.

This is a good trade for the Blues. They weren’t going to get anything major for him, and they were going to lose him after the year anyway. Once Brian Elliott was re-signed, the writing was on the wall for Bishop in St. Louis. 2nd round picks are pretty valuable. It’s another asset the Blues have, and keep this in mind: David Backes was a second rounder.