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By JON FULBRIGHT
PECOS, Dec. 4 -- The first six minutes of the Pecos Eagles' game Tuesday
night against the Monahans Loboes looked a lot like their bad night two
weeks earlier on the Loboes' home court. And the last four minutes were
disappointing as well for Eagles coach Mike Sadler.
But in between, the Eagles were a far better team than the one that fell
by 42 points to Monahans on Nov. 19.
Pecos, 84-41 losers that night, were down by a 19-6 score 5½ minutes
into Tuesday's game, before coming back to tie the score four times
during the third period. But they never were able to take the lead, and
could manage only a pair of free throws in the final four minutes of
play, allowing Monahans to turn a 57-51 lead into a 72-53 victory.
"I thought it was a well-played game by both teams," Sadler said, but
added, "I'd still rather win the game. Everybody's happy the score was
closer, but we're going to have to get over the hump and actually win."
The Eagles could manage just a pair of lay-ups by Omar Hinojos and
Fabien Adame in the game's opening four minutes, while the Loboes' Jason
Pittman and Shannon Shorter put in 14 of their teams first 17 points.
Pittman had nine of his 17 points in that span, and he and Shorter both
connected on 3-point jumpers.
The lead reached 19-6 after a pair of Zack Stevenson foul shots when the
Eagles finally got their offense in gear. Eric Abila found Fernando
Navarrete underneath for a lay-up, and he and Hinojos would both connect
on 3-pointers before the period was over. But so did Shorter as time
expired, and that left the Loboes up 26-14 entering the second quarter.
The margin stayed in double-digits until the final 3½ minutes of the
half, when a Hector Garcia jumper began a 10-2 run that cut the lead to
34-30. Pecos then scored the first two baskets of the third period, off
lay-ups by Navarrete and Moses Martinez, to tie things at 34-all.
The Eagles had a couple of chances to take the lead, but missed several
in-close shots, and that was enough to let the Loboes regain control.
Stevenson, Shorter and Jeremy Ornelas traded lay-ups with Hinojos,
Navarrete and Garcia, before a Pittman lay-up put the Loboes ahead for
good, at 42-40.
The lead was 57-50 after an Adame lay-up with five minutes to play when
Ornelas was hit with a technical foul for interfering with an inbounds
attempt. Hinojos hit one of two foul shots and the Eagles retained
possession. But with a chance to cut the lead to as little as three,
Pecos saw Shorter steal a pass inside and go in for two, and the Eagles
would go without a basket the rest of the way.
Joey Woods scored off a rebound to make it 61-51, and the Loboes would
just about double that margin over the final 2:31, as Pecos could manage
just one shot each time downcourt.
"Turnovers and lay-ups killed us," said Sadler. "We had some easy shots,
but we've got to convert."
Shorter led all scorers with 24 points, which was still eight under his
average against Pecos over the last three years. Stevenson also was in
double-figures with 14, and the Loboes remained unbeaten on the season
Hinojos was the lone Eagle in double figures with 19, and the Eagles
fell to 4-4 on the season. Pecos will be off for the next 10 days,
before opening play on Dec. 13 in their own three-day tournament.
Monahans also won Tuesday's freshman and junior varsity games, by 62-55
and 52-39 final scores. Jacob Esparza's 21 points led the ninth graders,
and Frank Perea had 4 to top the JV.
Woods 1 0-0 2; Pittman 7 2-4 17; Shorter 8 6-10 24; Stevenson 4 6-7 14;
Ornelas 4 0-0 8; Montes 2 1-1 5; Stephens 0 0-0 0; Swarb 0 0-0 0; Avery
0 0-2 0; Rivera 0 0-0 0; Wittie 0 0-0 0; Valencia 0 2-3 2; Flores 0 0-0
0. Totals 26 17-27 72.
E. Abila 2 0-0 6; Martinez 3 0-1 6; Hinojos 7 3-5 19; Garcia 3 1-2 7;
Adame 3 1-2 7; Navarrete 4 0-0 8; Marquez 0 0-0 0; Luna 0 0-0 0. Totals
22 5-10 53.
Monahans 26 8 17 21 --72
Pecos 14 16 16 7 --53
Three-point goals: Monahans 3 (Shorter 2, Pittman), Pecos 4 (E. Abila 2,
Hinojos 2). Technical foul: Monahans, Ornelas. Fouled out: Monahans,
Pittman. Pecos, Martinez, Navarrete. Total fouls: Monahans 20, Pecos 25.
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By DENNE H. FREEMAN
AP Sports Writer
IRVING, Texas, Dec. 4 -- The Dallas Cowboys started the season without
their best receiver because of an NFL drug suspension, and they'll
finish the year without their best defensive lineman for the same
Defensive tackle Leon Lett was suspended a minimum of one year --
effective immediately -- Tuesday for violating the league's drug policy
a second time. Lett was suspended for four games in 1995 and told that
another violation would land him at least a one-year suspension without
Jerry Jones, who last week denied any knowledge of a possible suspension
for Lett, issued a one-paragraph statement Tuesday.
``On behalf of the Dallas Cowboys, this is a time of concern for Leon
Lett the person,'' Jones said. ``Our thoughts are with him and his
family. And we will continue to offer our help and support any way we
Coach Barry Switzer said the team was determined to win without its star
``We're playing without Charles Haley. We're playing without (Jay)
Novacek. Now we're going to play without Leon,'' Switzer said. ``He's
not the only reason we've won on this football team.''
Teammates expressed concern for Lett's well-being.
``I don't want to be shallow enough to look at it in terms of how it
affects us on the football field,'' said Troy Aikman. ``I think there's
a bigger issue here and one that Leon needs to address. We hope to be
able to help him through it.''
Said fullback Daryl Johnston: ``He is going to have a difficult time
restoring confidence with the public and with the team. It's a difficult
Lett is only the latest Cowboy in hot water over drug problems. All-Pro
wide receiver Michael Irvin was suspended for the first five games of
the season after pleading no contest to drug charges stemming from an
Five Dallas players -- Lett, Irvin, Clayton Holmes, Corey Fleming and
Shante Carver -- have been suspended since 1994 for violations of the
league's drug policy.
``I want everyone to know that everyone on that football team knows what
the rules are,'' said veteran safety Bill Bates. ``The rules are not
there to be broken.''
Lett, the Cowboys best defensive lineman and a former Pro Bowl player,
will be replaced in the lineup by Tony Casillas. The defending Super
Bowl champions (8-5) are tied for first place in the NFC East.
``The burden will now be on the offense like it was on the defense
earlier in the season when Irvin was suspended,'' Johnston said. ``We
will have to raise our level of play. It's for sure the defense won't be
as good without him.''
Lett, 28, was recently informed that he had violated the policy, NFL
spokesman Greg Aiello said. Lett appealed the penalty to NFL
commissioner Paul Tagliabue, who denied the appeal.
Lett was not immediately available for comment. He canceled a scheduled
radio talk show appearance.
His agent, Jim Steiner, was traveling and not in his office, his
secretary in St. Louis told The Associated Press.
Lett has been tested up to 10 times per month since the NFL suspended
him last season.
According to the NFL's substance policy, a suspended player may not
participate with his team in any way during the time he is out. A player
suspended for one year may apply for re-instatement no sooner than 60
days prior to the one-year anniversary date of his suspension.
He is the leading tackler on the Cowboys' top-rated defense. He has
recorded 3½ sacks and recovered two fumbles.
In addition to his drug history, Lett may be best known for two gaffes
With the Cowboys leading comfortably in the 1993 Super Bowl, Lett
recovered a fumble, and holding it in one hand, returned it 64 yards
only to have Buffalo wide receiver Don Beebe catch him from behind at
the goal line and strip the ball before Lett could score.
In a 1993 Thanksgiving Day game played in the snow, Lett bungled an
attempted fumble recovery in the closing seconds, giving the Miami
Dolphins a second chance to kick a game-winning field goal.
The Cowboys have been involved in a number of off-the-field incidents in
recent years besides Irvin's drug trial.
--October 1994: Offensive lineman Erik Williams was involved in a
one-car wreck, and sustained a right knee injury that sidelined him
until next season. He later pleaded no contest and received two years'
probation on a misdemeanor drunken driving offense.
--April 1994: A 17-year-old topless dancer accused Williams of sexually
assaulting her at his North Dallas home. A grand jury decided not to
charge Williams two months later after the teen-ager refused to
cooperate with prosecutors following an out-of-court settlement with the
--November 1995: The NFL suspended Holmes for a year following a
positive drug test.
--April 1996: A Dallas grand jury indicted Irvin and two women on drug
charges. Irvin pleaded no contest and was put on four years probation
and fined $10,000.
The last time Lett was suspended he issued this statement: ``I regret
that this situation has occurred and I apologize for any actions on my
part that led to the suspension. I regret that this situation has
occurred and I apologize to my family, my teammates, Jerry Jones, the
entire Cowboys organization and all of my loyal fans who have supported
me. I hope to put this behind me as soon as possible.''
Lett was a seventh-round draft pick in 1991 out of Emporia State.
Then-coach Jimmy Johnson took a chance on Lett because of his imposing
size -- 6-foot-6, 300-plus pounds. He quickly established himself as one
of the best defensive linemen in the NFL. His quickness has earned him
the nickname ``The Big Cat'' with teammates.
(Copyright 1996 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)
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