Strong: Louisville players distracted by video game
Louisville Coach Charlie Strong said his Cardinals were more focused on a video game than they were on Pittsburgh — and it cost them. Strong said Tuesday that his team grew complacent following a three-game winning streak and focused on the release of a video game — Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 — rather than practice and trying to lock up bowl eligibility.
Unfamiliar with the first-person military game, Strong said he began hearing about it midweek and later saw mentions of it on players' Twitter profiles. He said at least one player missed class after staying up all night to play the game.
The coach said his team is especially prone to distractions, whether they come from campus congratulations after a big win or from things like video games.
One of the nation's youngest teams, Louisville (5-5, 3-2 Big East) was coming off Strong's first victory against a ranked opponent at West Virginia. The Cardinals are expected to start eight freshmen when they travel to Connecticut on Saturday.
"We're dealing with young guys who all of a sudden there's something new. They want to try it and it just engulfs them," he said.
Brandon Dunn doesn't play video games often, but might as well after everything he heard.
"I don't own 'Call of Duty' but the way we talked about it this last week I feel like I do," the sophomore defensive lineman said.
Dunn said he saw fewer teammates studying film on their own last week but that the team has refocused following a frank team discussion Sunday night.
"They got called to duty," Strong said.
Hayden conference player of the year
Thomas More sophomore running back Domonique Hayden was named Presidents' Athletic Conference's player of the year by the conference's head coaches. Hayden, a former Lexington Christian standout who was also named first-team All-PAC, led the Saints' rushing attack for the second straight season. He has carried the ball 136 times for 756 yards and 14 touchdowns. He also has 36 catches for 424 yards and three touchdowns.
The Saints, ranked 18th in NCAA Division III, will play No. 16 Franklin on Saturday in the first round of the playoffs.
NBA players file antitrust lawsuits
Locked-out NBA players including Carmelo Anthony and Kevin Durant filed class-action antitrust lawsuits against the league on Tuesday in at least two states, moving pro basketball's labor dispute from the negotiating table to federal court. Attorney David Boies, who represented the NFL during that sport's work stoppage and now has been brought aboard by basketball's players, said the NBA lockout violates antitrust laws by refusing to allow players to work.
Boies also said NBA Commissioner David Stern's ultimatum to the now-disbanded union to accept the owners' last economic model or face a harsher proposal "turned out to be a mistake" that strengthens the players' case because it proves that the collective bargaining process had ended.
"If you're in a poker game, and you run a bluff, and the bluff works, you're a hero. If someone calls your bluff, you lose. I think the owners overplayed their hand," Boies said at the players' association headquarters. "They did a terrific job of taking a very hard line and pushing the players to make concession after concession after concession, but greed is not only a terrible thing — it's a dangerous thing."
Tuesday marked the 138th day of the lockout. Already games through Dec. 15 have been canceled.
Boone County's Moss signs with Florida
Boone County senior guard/forward Sydney Moss, one of the favorites to win Miss Basketball, signed to play at Florida. Moss, the daughter of former NFL star Randy Moss, averaged 22.9 points, 11.8 rebounds, 3.4 assists, 2.8 steals and 1.3 blocks last season. Sydney Moss is ranked 50th in ESPN's HoopGurlz rankings.
■ Eastern Kentucky men's coach Jeff Neubauer announced that former Lafayette star Dominique Hagans signed with the Colonels. The 6-foot-3 guard is a sophomore at Southeastern Illinois College. He averaged 16.4 points, 5.5 assists and 3.0 steals as a freshman. ... Franklin County's Ashli Mayes, a 5-foot-10 guard, signed with Samford for women's basketball.
State's top tennis star picks Kentucky
Greenwood's Beck Pennington, who is ranked as the No. 1 high school player in the state and No. 53 nationally by tennisrecruiting.net, signed to play at Kentucky. Pennington won the KHSAA Singles Championship this past season.
"One of our recruiting goals is to always get the best player in the state of Kentucky," UK Coach Dennis Emery said. "On our current 11-man roster, four are in-state players. I just think that playing for UK is always special for these players."
Roethlisberger has broken right thumb
Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger is nursing a fractured right thumb. Roethlisberger said he suffered the injury sometime during Sunday's 24-17 win over Cincinnati. He noticed the injury while coming out for the second half but did not miss a snap.
■ Houston Texans quarterback Matt Schaub hopes he can return this season from a foot injury, though he acknowledges "it doesn't look good." Schaub injured a Lisfranc joint in his right foot in the second quarter of Sunday's 37-9 win in Tampa Bay.
U.S. holds on for 3-2 win at Slovenia
The United States won for just the second time since Jurgen Klinsmann took over as coach, with Clint Dempsey and Jozy Altidore scoring in a two-minute span late in the first half to lead the Americans over Slovenia 3-2 in Ljubljana. Tim Matavz scored twice for Slovenia, and Edson Buddle got the opening goal for the Americans, who had been outscored 5-2 in going 1-4-1 since Klinsmann replaced Bob Bradley in late July.
The Americans, who have dropped to 34th in FIFA's world rankings, finished a disappointing year 6-8-3, their worst record since going 7-9-11 in 1994. But this was their first victory in Europe in 3½ years, having gone 0-5 since winning at Poland in March 2008.
Dunbar grad earns top Atlantic Sun honor
Lipscomb middle blocker Katie Rose, a senior who starred at Paul Dunbar, was named Atlantic Sun co-Player of the Year by the league's coaches. Rose shared the honor with Belmont senior Maggie Johnson. Rose ranked in the top 10 in the league in hitting percentage (.346), kills per set (3.18) and blocks per set (0.78).
The last word
The Green Bay Packers' biggest play of their 45-7 rout of the Minnesota Vikings on Monday night came from rookie Randall Cobb, who returned a punt 80 yards for a touchdown in the first quarter. It was an up-and-down night for the former University of Kentucky star, who muffed a punt to set up the Vikings' only touchdown — then immediately rebounded with a 55-yard kickoff return. Cobb said afterward:
"I guess when the lights come on my tempo, my game speed goes up. But I've got to get to where I'm doing it every game, not just on big games. ... I'm still having some ups and downs. I've got to get better and get more consistent at that."