Minnesota Sports Roundup: Wolves, Gophers win last nightMinnesota Sports
-- The Timberwolves handed the 76ers a 105-88 loss behind Josh Howard's 16 points and 10 rebounds last night in Philly.
PHILADELPHIA - The Minnesota Timberwolves handed the 76ers a 105-88 loss behind Josh Howard's 16 points and 10 rebounds last night in Philly.
Alexei Shved added 17 points off the bench while Dante Cunningham scored 13 points. Luke Ridnour and Malcolm Lee each scored 10 points while J.J. Barea had 11 points and 10 assists for Minnesota. The Wolves have won three of their last four. Evan Turner had 19 points to lead Philadelphia. The Wolves are in Boston tonight.
The 14th-ranked University of Minnesota men's basketball team took advantage of an injury-riddled South Dakota State team with an 88-64 win last night in Minneapolis. The visiting Jackrabbits were without leading scorer Nate Wolters of St. Cloud. He missed the game with a severe ankle sprain. The Gophers led by 24 points at halftime and built a 31-point second half lead at one point. Minnesota's Andre Hollins scored 22 points in the win, scoring 20 in the first half. He nailed his first six shots from three-point range. Jordan Dykstra led SDSU with 17 points. Minnesota is now 9-1 on the season, while the Jacks fell to 6-3.
Golden Gopher sophomore quarterback Max Shortell is transferring from Minnesota. Shortell, a sophomore from Shawnee Mission, Kansas, started three games and played in a total of seven contests this past season before being replaced by true freshman Phillip Nelson of Mankato. Shortell led the team in passing yards with 853 and also threw six scoring strikes. He relieved starter MarQueis Gray in the Western Michigan game and led the Gophers to a win. He followed that up with a good game in a win over Syracuse. He then lost his next two starts at Iowa and against Northwestern. He was replaced by Nelson the next week at Wisconsin. Head coach Jerry Kill said in a statement that he wished Shortell the best.
The Minnesota Vikings return to the practice field later today, after a day off yesterday. The 6-6 Vikes' are gearing up for the 8-4 Bears, who visit the Metrodome on Sunday for a noon game. Minnesota head coach Leslie Frazier says while it is apparent that current quarterback Christian Ponder is struggling, he also needs the current crop of wide receivers to step up and play better. Frazier says that is especially true with Percy Harvin missing the last three games.
Chicago Bears linebacker Brian Urlacher will reportedly miss the next three games and possibly the rest of the season with a hamstring injury. Urlacher reportedly has a Grade Two hamstring strain, but he hopes to be fully recovered for the playoffs. Returning in Week 17 against Detroit is also a possibility, according to a report in the Chicago Tribune Urlacher suffered the injury late in Sunday's 23-17 overtime loss to Seattle. The 34-year-old has 68 tackles, two forced fumbles and one interception in 12 games this season. The 8-4 Bears battle the 6-6 Vikings on Sunday in Minnesota.
Former Viking and current Washington Redskins cornerback Cedric Griffin has been suspended for the final four games of the regular season for violating the league's policy on performance enhancing substances. Griffin will be eligible to return to the roster on December 31st, the day after the regular season finale against Dallas. Griffin has 33 tackles in nine games this season. The 6-6 Redskins host the 9-and-3 Baltimore Ravens this Sunday.
Major League Baseball's Winter Meetings continue today in Nashville. Twins general manager Terry Ryan says yesterday was a little quieter than day one, but he is making progress in trying to line up some potential free agent deals or trades to solidify the Minnesota pitching staff. Ryan says they've accelerated a few discussions to get some answers from a few player agents and other general managers. But, so far, no new deals have transpired.
Meetings between NHL owners and players on Tuesday produced optimism that an abbreviated season could be saved. A total of 18 current players attended the day's meetings after being invited by the NHL Players Association. Penguins captain Sidney Crosby was joined by fellow stars Jonathan Toews of the Blackhawks, Shane Doan of the Coyotes and David Backes of the Blues in an effort to bridge the gap in the ongoing labor dispute. Backes is from Spring Lake Park and played college hockey at Minnesota State-Mankato. The two sides met at a hotel in New York for hours and reports indicate Crosby, along with Pens owner Ron Burkle led the way in trying to end the more than 80-day lockout. Crosby and Toews played prep hockey at Shattuck-St. Mary's in Faribault NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr did not attend Tuesday's meetings, but remain in New York while talks are ongoing. The Wild were to have played a game in Phoenix tonight.
Businesses in Saint Paul affected by the Minnesota Wild lockout can turn to the U.S. Small Business Administration for potential help. Minnesota District Director Nancy Libersky says there's a roundtable meeting Friday with Senator Amy Klobuchar (DFL-Plymouth) and Mayor Chris Coleman when they'll sit down and talk with small businesses in the general area of the Xcel Energy Center. Libersky says affected business owners might consider a loan deferment with their lender, restructuring their financial statement, or doing something different with outstanding debt. The Wild were scheduled to play tonight in Phoenix.
The WCHA has named the weekly awards winners in men's hockey. Minnesota-Duluth freshman forward Austin Farley of Niles, Illinois is the Offensive Player of the Week after helping the Bulldogs to earning three of four points last weekend against Michigan Tech. Farley tallied five points. Minnesota State-Mankato teammates also earned honors. Mavericks sophomore Brett Stern of Lino Lakes is the WCHA Defensive Player of the Week, along with Wisconsin goaltender Landon Peterson. MSU-Mankato goaltender Stephon Williams was named the league's Rookie of the Week after the Mavs swept Bemidji State over the weekend.