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WWAY's Tuesday night sports - Feb. 25

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- We invite you to follow our sports on twitter @WWAYSports

Pairings for round two of the state playoffs:
Wednesday, Feb. 26
6:00 Laney at South Central girls
6:30 Kestrel Heights at Whiteville boys
6:30 Wallace-Rose Hill at East Columbus girls
6:30 Jack Britt at Ashley girls
7:00 Spring Creek at Trask boys
7:00 Knightdale at New Hanover boys
7:00 North Pitt at East Bladen girls
7:00 Cleveland at West Brunswick boys

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DURHAM, NC (AP) - Duke can finally take a breather.

Rodney Hood scored 21 points to help the sixth-ranked Blue Devils beat Virginia Tech 66-48 on Tuesday night, a game that followed a demanding stretch that included games against their fiercest rival and the nation's top-ranked team in a span of about 48 hours.

Duke (23-6, 12-4 Atlantic Coast Conference) completed a stretch of five games in 11 days by beating the last-place Hokies (9-18, 2-13).

"We need to get away a little bit," coach Mike Krzyzewski said. "We need to review our stuff instead of always planning for someone else's stuff."

The Blue Devils fought to the final second to hold off Maryland on Feb. 15, then traveled to Georgia Tech before losing the weather-delayed rivalry game at North Carolina. Two nights later, they held off then-No. 1 Syracuse at home, then returned once more to Cameron Indoor Stadium to beat Virginia Tech in what Krzyzewski called "a grueling stretch."

"It's kind of like - I don't know if you do this - getting that last bit out," Krzyzewski said. "Even though you've got two full containers, you're going to get that last little bit. Today was kind of, let's get it out there."

Duke doesn't play again until next Wednesday's trip to Wake Forest, followed by the regular-season finale against UNC at Cameron Indoor Stadium on March 8. The Blue Devils have won 32 straight home games, the longest streak in the nation.

"Probably everybody in the back of their minds was looking forward to (the break)," sophomore Rasheed Sulaimon said, "but at the same time we knew we had to take care of business."

Hood said the coaches didn't let the players ease into this one, jumping on them about a sluggish pregame shootaround. The Blue Devils responded by running out to a 24-4 lead midway through the first half, though they struggled to land a game-finishing blow on the Hokies.

"We started to warm up and we came back in and they got us pretty good because we didn't look like we were ready to go out there and fight," Hood said. "I mean, we've got to be prepared for that. The ACC tournament, you can play three or four games in three or four days so there's no excuse for us. I think it's taxing on us, but we've got to be ready and get rejuvenated for next week."

The win, along with Clemson's loss at Wake Forest, helped secure some extra rest for the Blue Devils. They are assured a top-four seed in Greensboro and the double-round bye that comes with it.

Sulaimon scored 15 points for the Blue Devils, who shot 39 percent and went 10 for 33 from 3-point range - well below their ACC-leading 40.7 percent from behind the arc.

Freshman Trevor Thompson matched his season-high with 15 points for Virginia Tech, which has won once since the start of the calendar year. The Hokies have failed to reach 60 points in 10 of those 14 games.

Still, Virginia Tech shot 48 percent after halftime to keep the Blue Devils from running away with it.

Virginia Tech finished with 15 turnovers, six from freshman Devin Wilson, that led to 22 points for the Blue Devils. The Hokies also went 8 minutes without a basket in the second half as Duke crept further ahead.

"They do what bothers us, that pressure defense bothers us," Hokies coach James Johnson said. "And they did a good job with that. And at that time (in the second half), we're probably running out of gas a little bit."

Duke ran out to a 15-2 lead on Sulaimon's first 3-pointer, then pushed the early lead to 20 points when Sulaimon knocked down another 3 off a feed from Hood at the 9:50 mark.

Virginia Tech cut into the deficit when reserve C.J. Barksdale came in and hit shots on three straight possessions to finally give the Hokies some confidence. Then, after trailing 32-20 at halftime, Jarell Eddie drove by Hood for a basket that got the Hokies within 34-27 with 17:59 left.

But Virginia Tech got no closer, with Sulaimon knocking down two 3s then reserve big man Marshall Plumlee slamming home a miss to push the lead to 51-36. The Hokies never got the lead to single digits again.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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WINSTON-SALEM, NC (AP) - Devin Thomas scored 12 points and Wake Forest snapped a seven-game losing streak by beating Clemson 62-57 on Tuesday night.

Tyler Cavanaugh added 12 points for the Demon Deacons (15-13, 5-10 Atlantic Coast Conference).

They erased an early 10-point deficit, shot 55 percent against the league's second-stingiest defense and held on to avoid just their third winless February since the school started keeping complete records in 1951.

Damarcus Harrison scored 15 points for the Tigers (17-10, 8-7). They pulled within two points on Jaron Blossomgame's three-point play with 29.1 seconds left.

After Cavanaugh made it a four-point game with two free throws with 20.7 seconds left, Rod Hall missed on a contested drive.

Travis McKie added a free throw with 8.2 seconds remaining.

K.J. McDaniels - the league's third-leading scorer - had 10 points on 3-of-11 shooting. The Tigers' NCAA tournament hopes took a serious hit.

(Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)

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WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- New Hanover High and ECU alum Jay Ross will return to the football sideline this summer as the head coach of the Wilmington Tigers semi-pro football team. Ross will replace Gilbert Wallace as head coach. The season for the Tigers typically runs from mid July through September. Home games are held at Legion Stadium in Wilmington. A news conference will be held on Friday to formally introduce Ross as the new head coach.

The Buffalo Bills released Ross from their 53-man roster in October. Ross has been in and out of the NFL the last few seasons, mainly as a practice squad player

The Wilmington resident played for Buffalo in 2012 and 2013. The defensive tackle was released by the Green Bay Packers prior to the start of the 2011 NFL regular season. The Wilmington resident spent the majority of the 2010 NFL season as a member of the practice squad for the Green Bay Packers. In fact he earned a Super Bowl ring after the Packers defeated the Pittsburgh Steelers for the title. Ross was a member of the New Orleans Saints prior to his tenure with Green Bay.

The New Hanover High alum holds an annual free football camp at the Martin Luther King center in Wilmington every summer. He's done that every year since his graduation from East Carolina. Ross says while the drills at the camp are about footwork and football, he hopes the lessons the kids learn help them on and off the field. "A lot of these kids out here, I'm teaching them how to grow up and be men," Ross said. "I'm telling them to be positive and listen to their teachers, do good in school and listen to their parents. Because, believe it or not, a lot of them don't have male figures in their lives."

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TUESDAY NIGHT HIGH SCHOOL SCOREBOARD

Girls Soccer
East Duplin 2
Whiteville 0

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ELON, NC (UNCW) -- Pinch hitter Wil Leathers singled in Sebastian Gomez from second base in the bottom of the eighth to lift Elon to a 3-2 win over visiting UNCW on Tuesday at Latham Park. Elon improved to 6-1 with the home win, their fourth-in-a-row. The Seahawks saw their modest three-game winning streak halted with the road loss and evened their record at 4-4.

Elon reliever Graham Edwards (1-0) earned the win with three innings of shutout baseball. He allowed two hits and a walk. Starter Matt Harris, making his first collegiate start, struck out eight and allowed two runs on five hits and two walks over five innings.

Senior reliever Kelly Secrest (1-1) was credited with the loss after allowing difference making run on a hits and a walk in the ninth. Sophomore Ryan Foster, who was also making his first collegiate start, struck out a career-high seven in five innings.

Freshman Robbie Thorburn collected three hits and knocked in two runs to lead the Seahawks. Senior Drew Farber added two hits. Quinn Bower led Elon with two hits on the afternoon.

How it happened: Secrest walked Gomex to open the eighth and he was advanced into scoring position with a sacrifice bunt. Leathers followed with a single to left scoring Gomez ahead of Thorburn's throw from left.

Inside the box score: UNCW was just 1-for-11 in RBI opportunities and 1-for-18 with runners on base … Elon pitchers did not yield a two-out hit to the Seahawks all game … Both teams combined to land the leadoff hitter on base in 9-of-17 innings … UNCW stranded 12 runners on base … UNCW has not committed an error in its last two games.

Notes: UNCW's bullpen of Ricky Holden, Christian MacDonald and Kelly Secrest combined to allow one run on two hits over three innings … For Thorburn, it was his second three-hit game of the season … For Elon, it was its third straight win over the Seahawks dating back to last season … UNCW dropped to 9-12 at Elon all time … UNCW has posted a 1.29 ERA over its last four games and opponents are hitting just .162 during that span.

Up next: The Seahawks head to the west coast for an appearances in the USD Tournament. Originally slated to open on Friday, UNCW will now play host San Diego on Thursday at 8 p.m. EST.

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WILMINGTON, NC (UNCW) - - Sophomore pitcher Nick Monroe and freshman Casey Golden were honored as Colonial Athletic Association Pitcher and Co-Rookie-of-the-Week, respectively, after a solid weekend for UNCW.

Monroe, a right-hander from Mebane, N.C., flirted with perfection, carrying a perfect-game into the ninth inning against Liberty before settling for a one-hit, complete game shutout against Liberty, the defending Big South Conference champions. Monroe struck out four and needed just 92 pitches to go the distance.
Golden moved into the starting lineup against Ohio on Saturday and hit 7-for-14 with a double, two triples and six runs scored. The Siler City, N.C., native stole two bases and knocked in two runs.

The Seahawks return to action Tuesday with a 4 p.m. start against future CAA member Elon. UNCW continues its five-game road swing this weekend at the USD Tournament, hosted by San Diego. The tournament, which includes Baylor, California and host USD, opens on Friday.

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WILMINGTON, NC (UNCW) -– UNCW heads to College Park, Md., this week where the men look to extend their Colonial Athletic Association championship string and the women hope to join them on the winner’s podium for the first time since 2006.

The Seahawks have won the last 12 CAA men’s titles and the women have three titles to their credit since 1998.

Last season the men edged William & Mary, 674.5-633.5 and were fueled by winning four of five relay events. Valtteri Halonen keyed that title effort, leading the Seahawks with 53 points while Michael Baric added 47, to round out UNCW’s returning top-10 point scorers.

The Seahawks finished four behind champion Towson, James Madison and William & Mary.

Halonen enters the meet as the top-ranked swimmer in the 100 Butterfly with a time of 49.39. He’s also third in the 50 Freestyle. In his stronger events, he’s second in the 100 Backstroke and fourth in the 200 Back, where he set the CAA championships record with a time of 1:44.49 last year.

The men’s 200 Freestyle relay owns the league’s top-time and will be the top-seed in the event.

In diving, freshman Allen Crosby looks to give UNCW valuable points as he is the top diver in the 1-meter and second in the 3-meter board.

Senior Gabe Thran will represent the Teal and Blue in the freestyle sprints, ranking second in the 200, third in the 100 and fourth in the 50.

On the women’s side, stalwarts Hannah Stephenson and Jenson Engen pace the Seahawks.

Stephenson, a junior, is third in the conference in the 100 Backstroke and 11th in the 200. She finished in the 100 Back last season.

Engen, a sophomore, is third in the 100 Breaststroke and fourth in the 200.She placed fifth and scored in both events as a freshman.

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JACKSONVILLE, FL (UNCW) -- Senior Payne McLeod and freshman Preston Harrington tied for 46th to lead UNCW at The Hyat, Collegiate Invitational hosted by North Florida at Sawgrass CC.

Second-ranked Oklahoma State captured the tournament title and set a tournament record with a three-day total of 845, besting the previous record of 849 set in 1998 by South Carolina and later equaled by Florida in 2001.

UCF's Greg Eason claimed medalist honors and also set a new tournament record with a 54-hole total of 205. UNCW finished 15th in the tournament.

UNCW Results: T46. Payne McLeod (75-73-77=225); T46. Preston Harrington (79-72-74=225); T69. Stefan Brewer (79-73-79=231); T69. Ryan Nagy (77-76-78=231); T78 Thomas Lilly (78-79-80=237)

Team Results: 1. Oklahoma State (282-281-282=845); 2. UCF (287-279-289=855); 3. UAB (290-280-289=859); 4. North Texas (299-278-293=870); 5. Troy (300-290-288=878); 6. GRU Augusta (296-286-297=879); T7. Tennessee (300-293-291=884); North Florida (290-293-301=884); 9. Tulsa (298-288-299=885); 10. Coastal Carolina (293-294-300=887); 11. Louisville (297-290-302=889); 12. Liberty (297-298-295=890); 13. Jacksonville (313-292-292=897); 14. Furman, 300-303-303=906); 15. UNCW (309-294-308=911)

Individual Leaderboard: 1. Greg Eason (UCF) 71-65-69=205; 2. Sam Love (UAB) 67-68-73=208; T3. MJ Maguire (UNF) 70-72-69=211; Zachary Olsen (OSU) 69-73-69=211; 5. Talor Gooch (OSU) 71-71-70=212; T6. Jason Roets (UNT) 73-65-75=213; T6. Wyndham Sutton (OSU) 70-73-70=213; T8. Thomas Sutton (UAB) 73-68-73=214; t8. Jordan Niebrugge (OSU) 72-69-73=214

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WRIGHTSVILLE BEACH, NC ( NC PRESS RELEASE) -- Stability and speed, agility and endurance, on the water and on the sand, will determine the winners of the 5th annual Wrightsville Beach Biathlon when the two sports converge on Saturday, March 22.

"This race is a good warm-up after a long, cold winter," said Jarrod Covington, Wrightsville Beach Biathlon chair and race director. "Local paddlers have stayed active in the ocean, especially because of the winter storm waves we have seen recently."

But flat water paddlers are a different beast in the winter months, Covington said. With weather conditions improving daily, he predicts biathlon athletes will feel water temperatures ranging from 50-60 degrees F and air temps in the 60s.

"The cold water is a motivator to stay up on the board and spring-like temperatures are excellent for a beach run," Covington said.

The 4-mile channel and waterway course and the 4-mile pier-to-pier beach run course are strenuous challenges for rebuilding endurance and training competitively. Who crosses the finish line first may come down to the details: water currents and tide charts, SUP board and paddle choices, clothing and footwear, or relay team matchups.

Two-time Wrightsville Biathlon Team Champ, Matt Whistoff

For two consecutive years, the Bike Cycles of Wilmington, N.C. team anchored by marathon runner Matt Whistoff claimed the relay championship with times o f 1:19 in 2013 and 1:13 in 2012.

Covington, himself a two-time individual men's champ (1:14 in 2013, 1:20 in 2012) said he won't compete this year but expects plenty of local contenders, adding, "the Charleston (S.C.) crew led by Jeremy Whitted will most likely make a strong appearance."

Two-time Women's Champion, Kimberly Sutton

Two-time women's champion, Kimberly Sutton, (1:26 in 2013, 1:34 in 2012) may be returning, Covington said, "but this shouldn't discourage anyone from coming out and going for the upset."

Covington and others will lead clinics to be announced during the days leading up to big race and a portion of registration fees will benefit For Masonboro, a nonprofit citizens' advocacy group that serves to protect Masonboro Island, an estuarine reserve and native habitat for diamondback terrapins and nesting loggerhead sea turtles, among other species.

Though not the first race of the calendar year to be hosted by Wrightsville Beach and the Blockade Runner Beach Resort, the Wrightsville Beach Biathlon is considered the launch of the SUP season in the southeast Atlantic's regional mecca for clean water sports, followed one month later by the Carolina Cup in April.

"SUP is very much still hot and always will be as long as people enjoy exercise and being outside on the water," Covington said. "The flat water exercise, marsh exploration and family/friendly adventures will never grow old."

Disclaimer: Comments posted on this, or any story are opinions of those people posting them, and not the views or opinions of WWAY NewsChannel 3, its management or employees. You can view our comment policy here.

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