Published on March 9, 2016 at 5:26 pm Contact Jesse: [email protected] | @dougherty_jesse WASHINGTON — Frank Howard picked up his dribble and locked his eyes on Michael Gbinije. That was the start of his mistake.Then he threw the ball without ever seeing James Robinson dart into the passing lane. That was the brunt of it. Then Robinson dribbled down the court, sidestepped past Howard and converted a layup to give Pittsburgh a two-point lead it never gave up. That was the result.“I should have taken Frank Howard out of the game, but I just thought that he had been playing well,” SU head coach Jim Boeheim said. “I should have taken him out and put Trevor back in. It was my mistake.”Before that costly turnover — which came with the game tied and 1:08 left — Howard was at the center of Syracuse’s (19-13, 9-9 Atlantic Coast) comeback in a heartbreaking 72-71 loss to Pittsburgh (21-10, 9-9) in the second round of the ACC tournament at the Verizon Center on Wednesday. He tied a game-high with five assists and, just by being in the game, allowed Michael Gbinije to work off the ball and pace the Orange with 24 points. His length played a key part in SU’s full-court press, which kickstarted a game-tying 14-2 run in the final 4:18.But the late turnover, despite having a small effect on his final line, remains the most memorable play of his performance.AdvertisementThis is placeholder text“As a point guard you have to see it,” Howard said. “If you don’t make that play at that time of the game, I feel like, it hurts.”Howard played 18 minutes while Trevor Cooney — who eventually missed a game-winning 3 attempt in the final seconds — played a season-low a season-low 24. Boeheim said Cooney wasn’t hurt, and Cooney said he wasn’t given an explanation for the decreased time and sitting for most of the second half. Whatever the reason, it put Howard at the head of the Orange’s offense in crunch time of his first-ever postseason game.He handled it precociously, loosening Pittsburgh’s air-tight man-to-man defense with consistent penetration. That freed up Gbinije and Malachi Richardson on the wings, and Richardson particularly used that space to attack closing-out defenders off the dribble. He also created opportunities for Dajuan Coleman, who finished with 11 points and 11 rebonds, off passes and on the offensive glass.“Coach always tells me he wants me to play downhill, go to the basket,” Howard said. “That’s what I really try to do, just try to make sure I get past someone and make a play or finish at the rim. That’s basically it.”And when Syracuse needed him to facilitate to the best of his ability, Howard was sure Gbinije was in clear space. A split second before, Gbinije had run around an off-ball screen and Howard said he expected Robinson to “play Gbinije’s hip,” which would have allowed him to comfortably fit a pass in.Instead, Robinson surprised Howard by leaving Gbinije and stepping into the passing lane. A play drawn up for Gbinije quickly sped the other way. It was the first domino to fall in an eventual one-point loss, which could put Syracuse on the wrong side of the NCAA Tournament bubble come Selection Sunday.“He’s a young talent, and hopefully we’ll need him in the future,” said Gbinije, smirking uneasily at the Orange’s murky Tournament hopes. “So you just want to tell him next play. I know he’s good, I know he’s a confident guy. He’s probably ready to bounce back.” Comments Facebook Twitter Google+
Marcus Rashford was the other scorer in a breathless opening 45 minutes, which witnessed Spain conceding three on home soil for the first time in their history.“To play the way they did, this should be a great reference point for this team for the future,” Southgate said.Paco Alcacer, on as a substitute, headed in before the hour to spark hopes of a comeback but England were home and dry by the time Sergio Ramos scored in the 98th minute, with the last action of the match.Spain’s Sergio Ramos scored in the 98th minute but too late to change the final result, 3-2 to England © AFP / JORGE GUERREROIt means England keep alive their hopes of finishing top of Group 4 in the UEFA Nations League, the position Spain had needed only a point to all-but-guarantee would be theirs.It was a night for streaks ending and records tumbling. Sterling’s opening goal was his first in 1,102 days for England, even more remarkable given he added his second 22 minutes later.“The only thing we did say is when he scores he will score again,” Southgate said. “He managed to do so pretty quickly.”The last time England won away against Spain was 1987 — which was also when they last scored against Spain away from home, Gary Lineker on target.With an average age of just over 23, this was also the youngest England starting line-up in the 21st century. That will be the most exciting aspect for Southgate.For Spain, Alcacer now has an astonishing 10 goals from his last 10 shots on target. But defeat represents something of a reality check. “Waving the flag for goals,” read Marca’s front page on Monday. They had scored 12 in three games since Luis Enrique took charge.“Clearly it wasn’t our night,” he said. “We have made mistakes on an individual level and their goals were medicine for them and poison for us.”England’s Harry Kane (R) showed the value of a top-class centre forward to set up England’s second goal in a 3-2 win over Spain © AFP / CRISTINA QUICLERBut Eric Dier set the tone early on. He left Sergio Busquets, sluggish throughout, hopping out of his first pass and then slid through Ramos, who was also out of sorts.After a frantic start, England settled and in the 13th minute, scored. Under pressure at the back, they kept the ball until the risk was too great and Jordan Pickford drove forward to Harry Kane.With Spain caught upfield, he was able to turn and find Rashford, whose quick switch set Sterling free. He finished into the top corner.“We are staying up,” sang the away support as Thiago Alcantara danced around England’s midfield with flicks and tricks. But to little effect.Instead, Kane showed the value of a top-class centre forward for England’s second. He outmuscled Ramos to win Pickford’s punt downfield, outpaced Nacho to the loose ball with a superb reverse pass in behind. Rashford only had to finish.Spain’s early confidence was gone and England added a third before the interval, which was greeted by whistles from the home fans.Ross Barkley’s sumptuous ball over the top caught Ramos napping again and Kane squared for Sterling to tap in. “Are you Scotland in disguise?” came the taunt from the corner.Spain were sent out early for the second period, among them Alcacer, who replaced Saul. He scored with his first touch, heading in Marco Asensio’s corner, given away after a fumble by Pickford.It was a nightmare few minutes for England’s goalkeeper, who then dallied and was tackled by Rodrigo.Pickford scrambled the ball away but probably fouled Rodrigo in the process and Spain were adamant they deserved a penalty. The referee was not convinced.England played for time, with a handful of players going down injured, and Spain’s pressure gradually eased. Rodrigo shot wide in the final 10 minutes. Asensio went even closer.Marcos Alonso then deflected onto the bar deep into injury time and Ramos headed home in the 98th minute. But there was not even time for a restart. England’s win was complete.0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000Raheem Sterling’s opening goal was his first in 1,102 days for England, even more remarkable given he added his second 22 minutes later © AFP / JORGE GUERREROSEVILLA, Spain, Oct 15 – Raheem Sterling scored twice as England delivered one of their finest victories of the modern era by beating Spain 3-2 in Seville on Monday.Away from home, and against a Spanish side in scintillating form under their new coach Luis Enrique, this was certainly England’s best win under Gareth Southgate and, perhaps, their most impressive since thrashing Germany 5-1 in Munich in 2001.