Navy Coach Ken Niumatalolo: “Just one more play. That’s all it would have taken, just one more play”

An 11-play, 76-yard drive with less than four minutes to play gave Notre Dame the late lead over Navy, but it was a 4th and four stop by the Irish with just over a minute to go that clinched the victory. Navy running back Shawn Lynch initially looked like he had room after taking a pitch from quarterback Keenan Reynolds. Linebacker Jaylon Smith, however, closed the hole quickly and stuffed Lynch for no gain. Notre Dame’s stop gave the Irish a hard-fought 38-34 win over Navy.

Ken Niumatalolo had this to say about the game in his post-game interview: “It was hard fought game. I am super proud of our players. Everybody in this room can rest assured that those are the type of young men that are going to be protecting us, tough, hard?nosed kids. Yes, we would have liked to have won the game, but I couldn’t be more proud of a group of young men that just continued to battle at the end.”

Niumatalolo was very happy with the play of his quarterback: “I thought Keenan played well. I thought we had the perfect scenario. We got the ball to the 50 yard line, all our time?outs left. I didn’t want to give them the ball back. If we were going to score, I wanted to score with basically nothing on the clock, and we had a chance. Like I said, we had a chance. Got to go back and look at the tape, but I think we’re one guy away from breaking it, but we didn’t get it done. I thought Keenan played great in a hostile, tough environment to play. This is a great, great atmosphere to play at. I thought the kids prepared well for the game. Just one more play. That’s all it would have taken, just one more play.”

Navy, 4-4 on the season, will play Hawaii at home next week. Niumatalolo doesn’t want to see a letdown from his team. “What we can’t do is let this loss turn into two losses. We can’t let Notre Dame beat us twice. They’re a good team, but hopefully they won’t beat us twice. Hopefully, we’ll bounce back next week.”

Stevens and Ritvo Discuss Mucho Macho Man’s Breeders’ Cup Classic Win

It was a day of firsts in the Breeders’ Cup Classic. Gary Stevens, who  came out of retirement earlier this year, had never won the $5 million  Classic in his long career. Kathy Ritvo, nor any other woman trainer, had ever won a Breeders’ Cup Classic either. The two talked about the race after Mucho Macho Man won the Classic by a nose over Will Take Charge.

Stevens on Mucho Macho Man: “He was super, super sharp today.  My intention in any big race is, I don’t care if you’re coming from off the pace or you’re laying up close, you need a good, clean break.  And he left there like a quarter horse today and actually outbroke them.  I could have put him on the lead, had him on the lead. He’s a big, long striding horse, and he was powerful down the back side.  He was really pretty aggressive.  Not rank at all, but giving me a feel different than what I had in the Awesome Again.  I heard them coming.  I knew they were coming, but he was super, super tough the last 16th of a mile. ”

“The race was a mile and a quarter, and not a mile and a quarter and a stride, so it was perfect. ” Stevens said. “Had I known it was that close, I probably wouldn’t have celebrated.  But we’re not wrong very often.  He had his head down.  He was fully stretched out, and just a tremendous training job by Kathy and a tremendous effort from a great, great horse. He ran huge last year.  And it takes so much out of him when you have an effort like he did last year, and to come back and have an improved effort, but I think that was all their planning that had everything to do with the outcome today.”

Ritvo had this to say about Mucho Macho Man: “He’s been a pleasure to get up and see in the barn in the morning.  I love this horse.  He’s fantastic.  He gives us a hundred percent.  He’s a happy horse, intelligent.  I’m just very blessed to be here.  Very blessed to have met him.  Very blessed to have my team, Finn, my assistant, the groom, the exercise rider, his hot walker.  It’s been an amazing, amazing trip, amazing ride.  Everybody that supports us and myself, it’s like Gary said, I thought we would be here, but I still don’t even know how to feel.”

 

Pistons Host the Celtics as Nine Point Favorites

Boston Celtics +9 at Detroit Pistons -9 Total: 192

The Detroit Pistons are favored by nine points against the Boston Celtics in Sunday night NBA action. The Pistons are coming off an overtime defeat to Memphis on Friday night, a tough loss that Detroit was still pleased with.

“That was a Western Conference Finals team last year, and we had a chance to win,” Pistons coach Maurice Cheeks said. “I’m proud of our guys. We knew they were going to be tough, and our guys were there the whole time.”

“I think we need to stay calm,” Detroit guard Chauncey Billups said. “Everything was frantic. We took some tough shots, but we played really good.

“We showed a lot of fight, and played hard.”

Detroit is 1-1 on the season, averaging 110.5 points per game while giving up 106.5. They are 2-0-0 against the spread, with their over/under record 2-0-0. When their opponents have the ball, the Pistons are allowing 48% shooting from the field, including 37% from the three point line. Its defensive rebounding rate off those misses is 75%, and the team is averaging 9 steals and 3.5 blocks per game so far this season. On offense, the Pistons are shooting 49% from the field, including 36% from deep. Their free throw percentage so far this season is 75%, and they have gotten rebounds off their own misses 32% of the time. Detroit has turned the ball over 19.5 times per game this year, and have seen their shots blocked an average of 5 times per game.

The Celtics are scoring 92.5 points per game so far this season, en route to a 0-2 record overall and a 1-1-0 record against the spread. Boston has given up 99 PPG, and have an O/U record of 1-1-0 on the year. On defense, the Celtics have held their opponents to a 43% field goal percentage, 34% from three point land. They are creating 12.5 turnovers per game , and blocking 6.5 shots per game. Their assist to turnover ratio is 0.72. The Celtics are shooting 47% from the field so far this season, with a 24% success rate from beyond the three point line. Their overall rebound percentage is 49%; its offense rebound rate is 32% with the defense collecting 63% of their opponent’s misses. The Celtics are shooting 69% at the free throw line this year.

Slow Starting Heat Take on Wizards

Washington Wizards +13 at Miami Heat -13 Total: 199

The defending champions Miami Heat, losers of two straight games after their opening night win against Chicago, welcome the Washington Wizards to town as 13 point favorites. Miami lost Friday night 101-100 at Brooklyn, falling just short of coming back from a 16 point third quarter deficit. They are not panicking, however.

“We’ve dealt with this before. This story line continues,” guard Dwayne Wade said of the team’s struggles. “At the end of the day, we want to play better. We would love to play better, obviously the start, the first and the third, but we had a chance to win the game. We have to find a way to pull it out.”

Miami is averaging 105.7 points per game while giving up 103.3. They are 1-2-0 against the spread, with their over/under record 3-0-0. When their opponents have the ball, the Heat are allowing 48% shooting from the field, including 37% from the three point line. Its defensive rebounding rate off those misses is 77%, and the team is averaging 10.7 steals and 3.3 blocks per game so far this season. On offense, the Heat are shooting 50% from the field, including 46% from deep. Their free throw percentage so far this season is 78%, and they have gotten rebounds off their own misses 14% of the time. Miami has turned the ball over 18.3 times per game this year, and have seen their shots blocked an average of 3 times per game.

The Wizards are scoring 102 points per game so far this season, en route to a 0-2 record overall and a 0-2-0 record against the spread. Washington has given up 111 PPG, and have an O/U record of 2-0-0 on the year. On defense, the Wizards have held their opponents to a 51% field goal percentage, 32% from three point land. They are creating 19 turnovers per game , and blocking 5 shots per game. Their assist to turnover ratio is 1.31. The Wizards are shooting 44% from the field so far this season, with a 37% success rate from beyond the three point line. Their overall rebound percentage is 48%; its offense rebound rate is 29% with the defense collecting 73% of their opponent’s misses. The Wizards are shooting 71% at the free throw line this year.