first_imgStoke defender Andy Wilkinson is hopeful he will sign a new contract with the club despite just two Barclays Premier League starts this season. The 29-year-old’s current deal expires in the summer and, despite injury problems, he is set to get an extension of at least 12 months. “I have been offered it. It’s positive and it’s ongoing at the minute,” Wilkinson, a graduate from the Potters’ academy, told The Sentinel. “But obviously this is a club I love and I want to stay at, so hopefully we can get it sorted as soon as possible. “It is my club and it would be hard for me to leave. Obviously I want to play games and I feel I can do that this season. “It’s been really frustrating for me not playing many games and having an injury set me back once I got back into the team. “But hopefully I can sort it out and force my way back into the team now.” center_img Press Associationlast_img read more

first_img Published on March 1, 2013 at 10:29 am Facebook Twitter Google+ For 39 minutes, Michael Carter-Williams played the goat. Turnovers piled up – eight in all. Shots misfired and clanked off of the rim – he finished 4-for-13 from the field. But when it mattered most, he delivered.With 26 seconds left, Louisville guard Peyton Siva fired a pass to Wayne Blackshear. Carter-Williams leapt in the way, intercepting the ball and finishing a two-handed slam with 23 seconds remaining to put Syracuse up one.“It was just all off adrenaline,” the SU point guard said after the game. “I just owed it to my teammates and to my coaches and to finish that play and to win the game.”Carter-Williams knocked down a free throw on the Orange’s next possession, and came away with a steal on the one after to ice then-No. 6 Syracuse’s 70-68 upset of the No. 1 team in the country in front of 22,814 at the KFC Yum! Center in Louisville, Ky.The Orange jumped out to a quick 6-0 lead, forcing a UofL timeout. SU stretched its lead to as large as eight points before the Cardinals battled back.AdvertisementThis is placeholder textCarter-Williams turned the ball over at a rapid rate – five in the first eight-plus minutes – but Syracuse still held a lead. But with 10:26 remaining in the first half, Cardinals guard Kevin Ware drilled a 3-pointer to give Louisville a 19-18 lead. The Orange wouldn’t lead again until 15-plus minutes into the second half.They would, however, hold a tie going into halftime after a Carter-Williams 3 with seven seconds left in the half – his first to that point – evened the game at 38.“They forced me to turn the ball over, obviously, and I just knew that I was better than that, better than I was playing in terms of turning the ball over,” Carter-Williams said. “It was tough but I didn’t lose faith in myself and I kept attacking.”The Cardinals wasted no time responding, though. Louisville scored 10 of the first 12 points of the second half to take a 48-40 lead. But SU kept battling, staying within six through the rest of the game.With 7:37 remaining, Russ Smith jammed home a dunk to give Louisville a 62-57 lead. The Cardinals would score just six more points the rest of the way.“They made some really terrific defensive plays down the stretch and that was the game,” Louisville head coach Rick Pitino said. “Give them credit, they made the plays.”It set the stage for Carter-Williams’ heroics. Even on a day when shooting guard Brandon Triche was the one keeping Syracuse in the game with 23 points, including a perfect 7-for-7 first half, the point guard, instead, was the one who came up with the crunch-time plays.His first 20 minutes were a disaster, and much of the next 19 didn’t go much better. But in the end, it was redemption for the Orange’s polarizing point guard.“It’s not how you start all the time, it’s how you finish,” Triche said. “And I think he finished a game that he should, he finished in a way that pretty much won us the game.”— Compiled by David Wilson, asst. sports editor, Commentslast_img read more

first_imgKatie Chin | Daily TrojanSwinging for the top · Redshirt junior Frankie Rios takes a swing at a pitch. Rios and the team take to the road to face Arizona on Friday.After capturing its first two Pac-12 series of the season against Washington State and Arizona State, USC heads to Tucson this weekend for a three-game showdown with No. 13 Arizona.“To win two in a row separates your record a bit,” head coach Dan Hubbs said. “Now we’ve got to go to Arizona and find a way to hopefully continue the streak and win another one.” Like USC, Arizona is also off to a hot start to the season. The team now stands at 17-7 after beginning this year’s campaign with a 10-game winning streak. Hitting has been the Wildcats’ greatest strength so far, as they possess a conference high .332 team batting average. The Wildcats also lead the Pac-12 in runs, RBIs, hits, slugging percentage and walks. The key to the Wildcats’ early statistical prowess has been an experienced and deep batting order. Six players are currently batting over .320, with sophomore Alfonso Rivas III leading the way with an eye-popping .395 average. The Wildcats may have lost five starters from last year’s team, but the College World Series runner-ups remain a top national contender. While they may lack the same offensive efficiency, USC has also been hitting well to start the season. Sophomore Lars Nootbaar has been the team’s clutch performer so far, with a team-leading four home runs and 21 RBIs. Fellow sophomore Brandon Perez has been a pleasant surprise this year; after seeing limited at-bats last season, he is hitting .338. Senior Corey Dempster is currently on a 11-game hitting streak after solidifying the Trojans’ victory against San Diego State on Wednesday with an eighth inning RBI single. “I’m just attacking the fastball and being aggressive,” Dempster said. “I think the biggest thing is not being afraid to let ball speed go early in the count or being afraid to get behind either.”As opposed to hitting, pitching has been more of an adventure for the Trojans. The young bullpen has had its bright spots — freshman closer Austin Manning has three saves and fellow freshman Chris Clarke has provided key innings when called upon. However, inconsistency has been an issue for regular starters such as sophomore Marrick Crouse and junior Brad Wegman. Overall, USC is eighth in Pac-12 team ERA, which could be problematic against Arizona’s stacked batting order. One storyline to watch this weekend will be who Hubbs decides to start behind the plate at the catcher position. Senior transfer Cris Perez and freshmen Kaleb Murphy and Blake Sabol have all seen significant time behind the plate so far this season. As the Trojans head deeper into the heart of conference play, it will be interesting to see if the position becomes more solidified. After wrapping up the series against Arizona, USC has a quick detour against Long Beach State on Tuesday before returning to Dedeaux Field for a three-game series with Stanford starting on Thursday. “It’s a grind week in and week out, day in day out,” Hubbs said. “The guys just have to be prepared for it.”last_img read more