By California on a goal as time expired, its 12th NCAA men's water polochampionship. With Cal leading USC 6--5 in the fourth quarter, goalie MarkSheredy (above), the tournament's most valuable player, stopped a penalty shot,but the Trojans finally got the equalizer past him with 1.78 seconds left.After a timeout Cal's assistants drew up a play—coach Kirk Everist had been redcarded—and Jeff Tyrrell scored on a tipped shot from about 30 feet. It wasEverist's first championship as a coach after winning two as a Cal player.
By Lincoln University, the NCAA Division III record for points in a basketballgame. The No. 11 Lions beat Ohio State--Marion 201--78 last Saturday. (Marion,which is 1--5, dressed only six players.) Sami Wylie made 21 three-pointers andhad 69 points in 24 minutes for Lincoln, which set a D-III record with 97points in the first half and broke it with 104 in the second. The Lions lostthe previous night and were chewed out by coach Garfield Yuille. "I don'tlike it when my coaches get on me," Wylie said. "So I had to take itout on the team that we were playing."
By the Arena Football League, that New Orleans will host ArenaBowl XXI nextJuly, the first team championship game in the city since Hurricane Katrina. Thecity's AFL franchise, the VooDoo, suspended operations last year but willreturn this season. "It is our hope that ArenaBowl XXI can, in its ownsmall way, encourage other [events] to consider returning to New Orleans assoon as possible," said AFL commissioner David Baker.
For the Houston Texans, Olympic 100-meter champion Justin Gatlin. The Athensgold medalist is facing an eight-year suspension from track after testingpositive for testosterone in April. (Gatlin, 24, has maintained that he doesnot know how synthetic testosterone got into his system, and he will appeal hissuspension in coming months.) Gatlin, who last played football in high school,impressed Texans coaches with his speed—he reportedly ran a 4.1 in the 40-yarddash—and his hands. Coach Gary Kubiak said the Texans are not ready to signGatlin (who has reportedly worked out for several teams) just yet. If Houstonpicks up Gatlin, he would be a teammate of Pro Bowl kick returner JeromeMathis, who ran in the 2004 Olympic trials.
By 94-year-old legally blind bowler Esther Medley, a 244 game. Medley can seeenough of the floor to line up her shot, but she relies on her husband to tellher which pins are still standing after her first ball. Her 244 came in aleague game in Centralia, Wash.
The 95th Davis Cup, by Russia, which beat Argentina in the finals. Marat Safin(above), who lost his first singles match to put Russia in an early hole,rallied to win the fifth and deciding match in Moscow on Sunday, beating JoséAcasuso in four sets. (Russia reached the finals by beating the U.S., extendingthe Yanks' streak of not winning the Davis Cup to 11 years.) Russia had achance to wrap up the title before Safin took the court, but David Nalbandianupset the world's No. 3 player, Nikolay Davydenko. "I wasn't nervous in thelocker room, but when I got out onto the court, it was a totally differentstory," Davydenko said. "I froze up."
To help his hometown replace a police dog that was killed, Steelers quarterbackBen Roethlisberger. Flip, a 5 year-old Belgian Malinois who worked for theFindlay, Ohio, police department, was shot after he wandered away from hishandler's home and onto a neighbor's property. Roethlisberger said he willdonate money for the department to buy a new dog. "My dad instilled in me alove and respect for animals," Roethlisberger said. "This is a good wayto combine that passion with a desire to support the police and firedepartments."
By coach Pete Carroll during a USC team meeting, receiver Dwayne Jarrett, afterrapper Snoop Dogg was arrested while wearing a Trojans jersey with Jarrett'snumber 8. Snoop, who in 2004 ran pass routes and took a few throws at a USCpractice, was arrested on weapon and drug charges after leaving a TV appearance(right) last week, prompting some ribbing of Jarrett. "It was cool becausehe wore it on the Jay Leno show and it was all fun, like, 'OK. He's wearingit,'" Jarrett told the Los Angeles Times. "And then afterward I waslike, Oh, man. That's all I could say: 'Man.'"
By a security guard at a charity event, Vikings wide receiver Troy Williamson.Early on Nov. 27 Williamson was at a club participating in Sharperpalooza, abirthday party--charity event thrown by Minnesota safety Darren Sharper, whenhe reportedly got decked for refusing to leave at closing time. Williamsonwasn't hurt and no charges were filed, but the 24 year-old was placed on theinactive list for Sunday's loss to the Bears. The confrontation was yet anotherblack eye for the Vikings, who have been involved in several controversialoff-field incidents. "We have been so ... used to dealing with distractionsfrom last year ... guys don't let that bother them when they come to play onSunday," said Sharper.
With resisting arrest, Bengals rookie wide receiver Reggie McNeal, after heallegedly became belligerent upon being denied entrance to a Houston club earlySunday morning. When McNeal, 23, arrived at The Red Door, two police officersnear the entrance told him the club was about to close. McNeal allegedly sworeat the officers and elbowed one of them in the chest; he was released on a$1,000 bond and is due in court on Friday. McNeal is the seventh Cincinnatiplayer to be arrested in the last 12 months.
A three-round exhibition for charity, Memphis mayor Willie Herenton and formerheavyweight champ Joe Frazier. Herenton, 66 and a former Golden Gloves champ,won all three rounds against Smokin' Joe, 62, in the hype-filled but gentlebout, which was attended by a crowd clad in tuxedos and evening gowns. At onepoint Frazier (right) slipped and fell into the ropes. "A lot of local fanswanted me to knock him out," Herenton said. "I've been mayor for 15years, so there were definitely people hoping he'd knock me out too." Thebout was expected to raise $100,000 for the Shelby County Drug Court, whichhelps rehabilitate drug addicts.
Look East, G.M.
You'd have thought that pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka wasthe last player left in Japan, given what the Red Sox bid ($51.1 million) lastmonth just to talk to him. (D-Mat has yet to sign.) But plenty of Japaneseleague stars are attracting attention on this side of the Pacific:
• Kei Igawa, LHP. The Yankees won the rights to the27-year-old (left) with a $26,000,194 bid—the last three digits a tribute tohis league-leading strikeout total last season. He has yet to sign with theYanks, but nonetheless he's ready for the Sox: "I'm looking forward tohaving a pitching duel with Matsuzaka."
• Hideki Okajima, LHP. The Red Sox gave him atwo-year, $2.5 million deal to come out of the bullpen—and be a buddy toMatsuzaka. Said G.M. Theo Epstein, "If we do end up with two Japanesepitchers, that certainly would help the assimilation process."
• Akinori Iwamura, 3B. A day after the Matsuzaka derbyended, the Devil Rays won the rights to the 27-year-old Yakult Swallows slugger(right) with a $4.5 million bid. A career .300 hitter, he is reportedly closeto signing a deal.
•Julio Zuleta, 1B. One of the Japan's leadingsluggers, the former Cub, 31, is eyeing a return to the bigs. His sales pitch:He owns Matsuzaka, off whom he hit seven homers. Said Zuleta's agent, "He'sseen him more than anybody."
Career rushing yards by Pittsburg State's Germaine Race, making him the alltimeDivision II leader.
Years since an NFL player had three rushing touchdowns and at least 100 yardsreceiving in the same game before the Saints' Reggie Bush did it against the49ers on Sunday.
Fifty-point performances against the Jazz in November (by Kobe Bryant andMichael Redd); Utah is the first team since the 1990 Nuggets to allow multiple50 point games in the same month.
NCAA women's soccer titles won by North Carolina in the 25-year history of theWomen's College Cup after the Tar Heels' 2--1 win over Notre Dame onSunday.
Unseeded UCSB completed its improbable run to the NCAAsoccer championship
IN OCTOBER, as UC Santa Barbara's men's soccer teamwas spinning its wheels with a 7--6 record, coach Tim Vom Steeg and his staffblew off a little steam. "We were really done with this group," saidVom Steeg, who told his team to expect major lineup changes if they didn'timmediately play better. "We thought this group wouldn't have what it takesto win a league championship, much less win a league playoff game, much lesswin a national championship."
Vom Steeg told that story on Sunday afternoon in snowySt. Louis, shortly after his players had proved him wrong. Led by forward NickPerera, who had a goal and an assist, the Gauchos beat UCLA 2--1 in the NCAAtitle game, their 11th win in 12 games since Vom Steeg's October rant. Theygave the school its first national championship since the men's water polo teamwon in 1979. (The eighth-seeded Bruins, on the other hand, were gunning forUCLA's 100th NCAA title.)
The championship caps what had been a down year forthe Gauchos, who hadn't lost more than five games in a season since 2000 andhave become a perennial title contender. (They lost to Indiana in the final onpenalty kicks two years ago.) Santa Barbara became the first unseeded teamsince 2000 to win the title. "For us, this is a big deal," said VomSteeg. "This is a big deal for our town."
BEN LIEBENBERG/WIREIMAGE.COM (WATER POLO)
KOICHI KAMOSHIDA/GETTY IMAGES
GREG CAMPBELL/AP (HERENTON & FRAZIER)
SCOTT BALES/ICON SMI (PERERA)
BRUIN SLAYER Perera scored the first goal against UCLA and set up the second.
PAUL DRINKWATER/NBC PHOTO (SNOOP)
OLEG NIKISHIN/EPSILON/GETTY IMAGES (SAFIN)