Thursday, February 22, 2018
Sports

No. 5 Florida Gators lose stunner at home to Loyola-Chicago

GAINESVILLE — Aundre Jackson scored 23, Cameron Krutwig added 14 and Loyola-Chicago stunned No. 5 Florida 63-59 Wednesday, handing the Gators a third consecutive loss.

Less than 48 hours after Florida coach Mike White said his team’s performance against rival Florida State was "the epitome of soft," the Gators delivered another dud.

This one could knock them out of the Associated Press Top 25 next week, especially if they lose to No. 17 Cincinnati on Saturday.

UF (5-3) shot 36.9 percent from the field, missed 17 of 19 3-pointers and had just seven assists.

The Ramblers (9-1) were much more efficient, shooting 52 percent from the field and making half their 12 3-pointers.

White tweaked several aspects of Florida’s approach: Deaundrae Ballard and Keith Stone replaced KeVaughn Allen and Jalen Hudson in the starting lineup, and UF pressed more than usual. Allen had started 68 consecutive games.

In its first six games, Florida shot 46 percent from 3. In its past two, losses to FSU and Loyola, the Gators are 8-for-44 (18.2 percent).

FSU 96, Loyola (MD.) 71: Braian Angola scored 18 to lead host Florida State, 8-0 for the first time since the 2003-04 season when it won its first 10.

WOMEN: Arike Ogunbowale scored 23 and No. 3 Notre Dame (8-1) beat visiting Michigan State 90-59.

Football: Vols search

Alabama defensive coordinator Jeremy Pruitt is the new leading candidate for the Tennessee coaching job, according to Yahoo Sports. ESPN reported that new Vols athletic director Phillip Fulmer is bringing in three SEC defensive coordinators for second interviews concerning the head coaching job: Pruitt, Auburn’s Kevin Steele (a Tennessee alumnus) and Georgia’s Mel Tucker.

GATORS MOVE TO MJ: Florida is switching from Nike to Jordan Brand, becoming the fourth college football program to represent the Jumpman and the first in the SEC. The partnership also will include the men’s and women’s basketball. Jordan Brand now has a presence in five Division I conferences — SEC, Big Ten, Big 12, ACC and Big East.

FROST HONORED: Scott Frost has been named the Home Depot Coach of the Year for leading UCF to a 12-0 record two years after it finished 0-12 under the previous administration. Frost, who has taken the head coaching job at Nebraska, will accept his award tonight during the College Football Awards Show (7, ESPN).

HOGS MAKE A HIRE: Arkansas hired SMU’s Chad Morris as its new coach. Morris, 49, agreed to a six-year contract worth $3.5 million annually.

Meyer, ‘Pony Express’ coach, dies at 76

AUSTIN, Texas — Ron Meyer, the football coach behind SMU’s powerhouse "Pony Express" teams who later called for a snowplow to clear a spot so the New England Patriots could kick the winning field goal against Miami in one of the NFL’s most memorable moments, died. He was 76.

Mr. Meyer died Tuesday after collapsing with an aortic aneurism while playing golf, his family said in a statement.

"Devastated to hear the passing of my coach and great friend Ron Meyer. My mom and I loved Coach Meyer. He was a great man," tweeted former NFL star Eric Dickerson, who played for Mr. Meyer at SMU (1979-81).

That was SMU’s heyday, when the Mustangs, led by running backs Dickerson and Craig James, turned a middling program into a Southwest Conference champ before it got the NCAA’s "death penalty" ruling for jaw-dropping rules violations.

Mr. Meyer left SMU before the harshest sanctions hit, taking over the Patriots in 1982. He spent parts of nine seasons in the NFL and his first one produced perhaps his most memorable moment. He was AFC coach of the year in the strike-shortened 1982 season when he led the 5-4 Pats to the playoffs with a key win over the Dolphins in a December snowstorm in New England. The game was 0-0 when Mr. Meyer called timeout late in the fourth and sent a stadium worker out on a tractor to clear the Miami 23-yard line of snow for John Smith’s 33-yard attempt.

With clear turf, Smith made the kick as Dolphins coach Don Shula furiously looked on. The final: 3-0. "I wanted to go out there and punch him out," Shula said years later. "In retrospect, I should have laid down in front of the snowplow."

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