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SALT LAKE CITY, May 20 - This MVP stuff is all new to Karl Malone, so
you'll have to excuse his behavior Monday night.
He practically snubbed David Stern. He gave the silent treatment to the
fans. He made the media wait an hour for a postgame interview.
He didn't even play up to his MVP standards.
Still, the rest of the Jazz gave solid backing to Malone on the night he
picked up his trophy as Utah defeated Houston 101-86 Monday night in
Game 1 of the Western Conference finals.
Game 2 is Wednesday night, and much of the MVP hype should be finished
by then. That didn't stop Malone from trying to put an early end to it.
In a pre-game ceremony hosted by the commissioner, Malone picked up his
trophy as quickly as he could, refused to say any words to the crowd,
held the trophy up, spun around and sprinted back to the Jazz bench.
The whole thing lasted barely more than a minute.
``I didn't want to draw any more attention to the MVP than had already
been on me,'' Malone said. ``They wanted me to say something, and I said
absolutely not. I don't want the fans to think I snubbed them, but I
didn't want to get caught up in it because this game was big for us.''
But couldn't he at least have thanked the fans? Couldn't he have given
the home crowd a little insight into what this accolade meant?
``Me talking could have gotten the other team revved up to play, so I
made it short and sweet, I turned to every direction of the crowd so
they could see it, and then I was out of there,'' he said.
Malone played -- at least for him -- a mediocre game with 21 points, 13
rebounds, five turnovers and a 6-for-16 shooting performance. But he
also helped hold Charles Barkley to 12 points as part of a strong
team-wide defensive effort.
``You look at the stats and see that Karl had a bad game -- at least for
him -- and it's good because we won and we know he will be back
stronger,'' Jeff Hornacek said.
Hornacek scored 19 points, John Stockton had 16 points and 13 assists,
rookie Shandon Anderson scored 11 and and Greg Foster came off the bench
to score nine points in the second quarter when Utah pulled ahead to
Hakeem Olajuwon had 30 points but didn't score in the fourth period.
Clyde Drexler scored 13 and Mario Elie 10 for Houston, which was playing
just two days after finishing off Seattle in a seven-game series.
``We looked like a tired team, but I thought we would have applied
ourselves more,'' Houston coach Rudy Tomjanovich said. ``I'm very
disappointed that we didn't make this closer.''
The Jazz, who have won their last 20 home games, outshot Houston 44
percent to 38 percent and finished with only 15 turnovers after
committing eight in the first quarter.
``There was some rust, but there was energy, too. So it all balanced
out,'' Hornacek said.
Houston got a 3-for-10 effort from Barkley and a 2-for-9 evening for
Matt Maloney. Olajuwon, who was 9-of-14 from the field and 12-for-17
from the line, was the only member of the Rockets to shoot above 50
``I played terrible,'' Barkley said. ``I just write it off as a bad
night. We were all terrible and I was the leader of the pack.''
With Malone on the bench, Utah went on a 10-0 run early in the second
quarter for a 30-24 lead. Foster scored nine points for Utah in the
first seven minutes of the quarter before Malone returned with the Jazz
leading by six.
``We had a four-point lead, and then all of a sudden we're down nine.
That was because of their bench. They were terrific,'' Barkley said.
The margin stayed about the same until Stockton ended the half with a
3-point heave from 26 feet that banked in to give Utah a 49-40 lead.
Utah quickly bumped its lead to double digits early in the third
quarter, then answered the pair of runs Houston made.
The Rockets trailed 79-65 entering the fourth and pulled within nine
points twice before Utah finished them off for good.
(Copyright 1997 by The Associated Press)
The first session of lessons will run from June 2-13 at the PHS pool,
while the second is scheduled for June 16-27, Pecos High School swimming
coach Terri Morse said. The sessions will be open for preschool
students, ages 3-4 and school-age boys and girls from age 5 and up.
The first registration for both sessions was Monday night, and persons
who missed that day can sign-up next Monday, May 26, from 4 to 6 p.m. in
the lobby of the pool, with a registration cost of $23 a student per
For further information on ei¬ ther adult or youth swimming les¬ sons,
call Morse at 447-7242.
OVERLAND PARK, Kan., May 22 -- Five Texas teams will be part of this
year's NCAA baseball tournament. For the first time since 1977, the
Texas Longhorns aren't among them.
The NCAA on Monday announced a tournament field dominated by four
conferences and five states. Defending champion Louisiana State and
top-ranked Alabama, both from the Southeastern Conference, were made No.
The SEC landed six berths in the 48-team field, which begins play at
eight regional sites on Thursday. Five bids went to the Pac-10 while the
Atlantic Coast and Big 12 conferences each got four.
Twenty-six berths -- more than half the field -- went to schools in
California, Florida, Texas, Alabama and North Carolina.
Miami, the No. 1 seed in the Atlantic Regional and last year's runnerup
to LSU, extended its NCAA record with a 25th consecutive bid. Marist and
Southwest Texas State will be making their first appearance in the
51-year-old tourney while Tennessee Tech, seeded sixth in the Mideast
Regional, returns for the first time since 1956.
Other Texas teams in the tournament are Texas Tech, Texas A&M, Rice and
Houston. Texas (29-22), a perennial powerhouse in recent years under
coach Gus Gustafson, failed to make the field in Gustafson's first year
``Competition for the 48 slots is incredible,'' said Ron Maestri,
chairman of the selection committee. ``We had 70 teams with 30-plus wins
and eight with 40-plus wins.''
Maestri said this year's tournament strengthens the growing argument to
expand the field to 64 teams.
The six-team regional tournaments will run Thursday through Sunday and
the eight regional winners will advance to the College World Series May
30-June 7 in Omaha, Neb. Six of the regonal hosts, all selected last
week, drew No. 1 seeds.
In the Atlantic Regional at Coral Gables, Fla., No. 1 seed Miami
(44-15), will meet No. 6 seed Richmond (33-24). No. 2 seed Florida
(38-22) meets No. 5 St. John's 35-15) and No. 3 Arizona State (36-20)
plays No. 4 Florida International (42-19).
In the Central Regional at Lubbock, Texas, it's No. 1 seed Texas Tech
(46-12) vs. No. 6 Southwest Texas State (36-24); No. 2 Rice (43-14) vs.
No. 5 Southwest Missouri State (33-23) and No. 3 Clemson (40-21) vs. No.
4 Nevada (38-19).
The East Regional at Tallahassee, Fla., has No. 1 Florida State (46-15)
vs. No. 6 seed Marist 32-17), No. 2 Auburn (45-14) vs. No. 5 Western
Carolina (41-18) and No. 3 Central Florida (40-22) vs. No. 4 South
In the Mideast Regional at Mississippi State, it's No. 1 seed Georgia
Tech (44-13) vs. No. 6 Tennessee Tech (38-21), No. 2 Mississippi State
(41-18) vs. No. 5 Ohio State ( 42-16) and No. 3 Southwestern Louisiana
(43-16) vs. No. 4 Washington (43-18).
The Midwest Regional at Stillwater, Okla., pits No. 1 UCLA (40-18-1) vs.
No. 6 Harvard (32-14), No. 2 Tennessee (41-17) vs. No. 5 Ohio (43-16)
and No. 3 Oklahoma State (43-17) vs. No. 4 Stetson (37-24-1).
LSU (48-12), the NCAA champion in 1991, '93 and '96, meets No. 6 North
Carolina Greensboro (44-15) in the South I Regional at Baton Rouge, La.
No. 2 South Alabama (40-17) will meet No. 5 Houston (40-21) and No. 3
Oklahoma (39-18) draws No. 4 Long Beach State (37-24).
The South II Regional at Tuscaloosa, Ala., has Alabama (48-12) No. 1
seed. The Crimson Tide, who beat LSU 12-2 Sunday in the SEC tournament
and replaced the Tigers as No. 1 in the Baseball America poll, will meet
No. 6 Troy State (36-22). No. 2 Southern Cal (39-18) will meet 5
Virginia Tech (33-26) and No. 3 North Carolina State (41-18) plays No. 4
Wichita State (51-16).
Kyle Peterson, whose 337 stikeouts broke Jack McDowell's career school
record, will lead No. 1 Stanford (39-18) against No. 6 Northeastern
(33-17) in the West Regional at Stanford, Cal. No. 2 California
State-Fullerton (38-22-1) will meet No. 5 Santa Clara (39-18), and No. 3
Texas A&M (39-20) draws No. 4 Fresno State (37-26).
(Copyright 1997 by The Associated Press)
State and Regional Sports Pages--San Angelo Standard-Times
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