Akers trying to fix kicking woes
After missing a winning field goal in overtime in two of the last three games, kicker David Akers and his fellow 49ers (8-3-1) special teamers are as perplexed as anybody about what has gone wrong. The six-time Pro Bowl kicker is 21-for-30 on field goals this season.
"David really brings a passion and emotion to our unit," long snapper Brian Jennings said. "That's one of the contributing factors as to why he's been so great throughout his career, and then also why if things don't go the way we'd like them to, it can be particularly hard on him."
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Just a year ago, Akers set an NFL single-season record with 44 field goals. He missed only eight kicks — and none of them of such magnitude. The success of last season has made this year's shortcomings maddening.
Akers missed a 51-yard attempt with 4:16 remaining in overtime of San Francisco's 16-13 loss at St. Louis on Sunday. The kick sailed wide right by mere inches and came only two weeks after he missed left on a 41-yard try — also in overtime against the Rams before the game ended in a 24-24 tie.
Akers has made only 15 of his last 24 attempts, but he has tried to focus on his technique, not his misses. And while he watches film of most kicks, he hasn't been able to pinpoint what has gone wrong — or at least he's not saying as much publicly.
"I have no idea," said Akers, who played at Tates Creek and the University of Louisville. "I've done it for a lot of years. Lot I've gone through. Some I've missed. I don't really contemplate on those issues. If I've noticed something, I probably would have made a correction."
■ The Lions put wide receivers Titus Young and Ryan Broyles on injured reserve. Young had been inactive for the last two games after what Coach Jim Schwartz called "unacceptable" behavior in a game against Green Bay last month. Broyles needs surgery on his right knee.
■ Elusive Patriots punt returner Julian Edelman went on injured reserve on Tuesday with a foot injury.
Murray State rolls to win over Bethel
Ed Daniel had a career-high 23 points and 14 rebounds to lift Murray State to a 76-54 win over Bethel (Tenn.) on Tuesday night.
Stacy Wilson contributed 16 points and Isaiah Canaan 15 to Murray State's (6-1) victory in which Daniel recorded his fifth-straight double-double and scored the game's first eight points.
After getting the ball at the opening tip, Daniel scored the first eight points for the Racers. He started with a jumper 15 seconds into the game, followed by two layups — both on assists by Wilson — before completing the spurt with a dunk.
■ Mike DiNunno scored 21 points and Eastern Kentucky stayed unbeaten with a 63-57 victory at North Carolina Central. The Colonels (8-0) led 31-22 at halftime, closing the half on a 10-1 run. It's Eastern Kentucky's best start since the 1946-47 season, which began 11-0.
■ Jaye Crockett scored 16 points and grabbed eight rebounds to lead Texas Tech to a 75-69 win over Northern Kentucky on Tuesday night in Lubbock, Texas. Crockett has led the Red Raiders in scoring in five consecutive games.
Eshaunte Jones led the Norse (0-6) with 16 points, going 4-for-7 from behind the three-point line. Tyler White added 14 points, while Chad Jackson (Rose Hill/Scott County) added 13.
■ BJ Young's floater in the closing minute helped Arkansas snap a three-game losing streak with an 81-78 win over visiting Oklahoma. Marshawn Powell added a career-high 33 points to help the Razorbacks (4-3).
■ Laurence Bowers scored a career-high 26 points to help No. 12 Missouri rally from 10 points down at halftime and beat Southeast Missouri State 81-65 in Columbia, Mo.
■ Wendell Lewis scored a career-high 20 points and grabbed five rebounds to lead Mississippi State to a 53-42 victory over visiting Texas-San Antonio.
■ Andre Hollins scored 20 of his 22 points before halftime, and No. 14 Minnesota breezed to an 88-64 win over South Dakota State.
■ Freshman Marcus Georges-Hunt scored a career-high 18 points and Georgia Tech never trailed while beating Georgia 62-54.
■ Otto Porter had 14 points and eight rebounds to lead No. 15 Georgetown to a 64-41 victory over Texas in the opener of the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden in New York.
Coach: No timeline for Wall's return
Already sidelined for more than two months, Washington Wizards point guard John Wall still is not ready to practice, let alone play — and Coach Randy Wittman said Monday night he does not know when his best player will return. Wall hasn't played at all this season for Washington, an NBA-worst 1-13 before a surprising 105-101 win against the defending champion Heat on Tuesday night.
Asked Monday for an idea of when Wall, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2010 draft out of Kentucky, will be available, Wittman replied: "I can't give you one. I don't know what you want me to say."
Wittman continued: "I mean, right now, we're still progressing the way we are with his rehab. He's not been on the floor to practice. He's been on the floor to shoot some, but he's not progressed to the point that he can get out and practice. So obviously until that happens, I don't know what that timetable's going to be."
High school basketball
Triple-doubles for Morris, Moore
Maci Morris, a sophomore guard, had 17 points, 11 rebounds and 10 assists in the Bell County girls' 78-45 victory against Corbin.
■ Leslie County sophomore Katie Moore also had a triple-double — 26 points, 14 rebounds and 10 assists — in Leslie County's 85-52 win at home against Jackson City.
■ Kayla Rankin had 35 points and 20 rebounds in Perry County Central's 78-50 win at Middlesboro.
■ DaiJia Ruffin's 23 points, 16 rebounds and five assists sent Sacred Heart to a 64-54 win against visiting Highlands.
■ Mike Smith led four Paul Dunbar players in double figures with 20 points in a 68-54 win at Lafayette. William Gary added 14 and Eric Trigg and Jamal Adu Peasah had 12 and 10, respectively. Jackson Davis had 16 points and 10 rebounds for Lafayette.
■ Jack Whitman had 16 points and four rebounds in Lexington Catholic's 67-47 victory against visiting DeSales.
■ Aaron Jackson scored 15 points to go with 12 rebounds and three steals in Frankfort's 72-59 win at Sayre. Justin Sanders hit four three-pointers and finished with 21 points for the Spartans.
■ Jordan Fucci had 14 points, 15 rebounds and four assists in Tates Creek's 47-37 win at home against Lexington Christian.
Victorino, Red Sox agree to 3-year deal
Free-agent outfielder Shane Victorino and the Red Sox agreed Tuesday to a $39 million, three-year contract. Victorino hit a combined .255 with 11 home runs and 55 RBI last season for the Phillies and the Dodgers. He also stole a career-high 39 bases.
■ Free agent pitcher Dan Haren and the Nationals were close to completing a one-year deal for $13 million, a source told The Associated Press. Haren was 12-13 with a 4.33 ERA for the Angels.
The last word
On Monday night, the Giants could have damaged the Redskins' playoffs hopes and sent a strong message to rookie quarterback Robert Griffin III. Instead, Washington won after New York committed nine penalties and played an all-around ugly game that still had its coach annoyed 24 hours later. The Giants' Tom Coughlin said:
"We didn't get the ball back when we had to get it back. We didn't score when we had the ball in position. The penalties are a natural thing that eat away at your gut. How in the world can a team with something this important be as careless as we were? Those are the things that still eat away at me."