Willie Burtonthe Initials Game

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  1. Willie Burton The Initials Game Of Thrones
  2. Willie Burton The Initials Game On

Michigan State's slow starts of the previous two road games at Indiana and Purdue showed up again. The difference was the defense this time, preventing the fans from ever becoming a significant. Bob Mathers is the only player in the Golfweek Sandestin Amateur field marking his Titleist 6 with his grandkids’ initials. Bob Mathers, 63, keeping pace in a tournament full of college golfers Subscribe to Golfweek for just $24.95 (print+digital).

MINNEAPOLIS -- Michigan State weathered another sluggish start, then wore down Minnesota.

The Spartans reasserted themselves after a rough loss, and the Gophers paid the price.

Cassius Winston had 18 points and eight assists and Xavier Tillman added 17 points and 10 rebounds, as 11th-ranked Michigan State cruised to a second victory over Minnesota in three weeks, 70-52 on Sunday.

'We did a good job this game of just stepping on the gas and making them shoot tough shots,' Tillman said, 'and making sure we got those defensive rebounds.'

Willie

After falling 67-63 at Indiana three days ago, the Spartans (15-5, 7-2) stayed on the road for focus and bonding and kept pace with Illinois to stay in a first-place tie in the Big Ten. The Spartans held the Gophers (11-9, 5-5) to season lows in field goal (28.1%) and 3-point (17.9%) shooting and cut their turnover total from eight in the first half to just three in the second half.

'They just keep coming at you. They've been that way for a long time,' Minnesota coach Richard Pitino said.

Minnesota's three starting guards, Marcus Carr, Gabe Kalscheur and Payton Willis, were a combined 7 for 32 from the floor. Daniel Oturu led the Gophers with 19 points, Kalscheur chipped in 15 points and Carr finished with 11 points, but the Gophers took their first home loss in Big Ten play after winning their first four.

'I felt for Richard, because I've been there,' Michigan State coach Tom Izzo said.

With 12 of the 14 teams in the top 50 entering this week in the NCAA's NET rankings that help determine the NCAA Tournament field, the Big Ten is as strong as ever. Home teams were 41-7 in conference play at the beginning of the week, but the Spartans gave the visitors a seventh victory in seven days.

Backed by their biggest and loudest crowd of the season, announced at 12,114, the Gophers bungled a golden opportunity to build a lead in the first half with some shaky jump-shooting. They missed 19 of their first 23 attempts from the floor, including 12 of 13 from 3-point range, while spoiling a spirited effort on defense against the potent Spartans. Some of them were prime looks at the basket, but the ball just wasn't dropping in. The Gophers were scoreless for a 5:22 stretch, while the Spartans went on a 12-0 run to take a 22-9 lead.

'Our spirit got zapped a little bit,' Pitino said.

Michigan State's slow starts of the previous two road games at Indiana and Purdue showed up again. The difference was the defense this time, preventing the fans from ever becoming a significant factor in the flow of the game. They were ready to roar a bunch of times before the break, with a groan and an exhale following each untimely miss by Minnesota.

'They were there for us. We just didn't show up for them,' Carr said.

Carr, who delivered the tiebreaking 3-pointer in the closing seconds on Thursday at Ohio State, fouled Winston at the top of the key as he swished a 3-pointer in the opening minute of the second half. Winston converted the four-point play for a 34-22 lead, and the Spartans stayed at a double-digit-point advantage for the most of the rest of the game. The Gophers were within six at the 17-minute mark, but they never came closer.

Carr stole the ball from Hall for a breakaway at the midpoint of the second half, but he tried and missed a dunk off the front rim instead of laying it up in an awkward moment of apparent indecision while the Gophers trailed 53-40. They had a stretch of 7:07 without a basket, missing eight attempts, until Carr's three-point play cut the lead to 54-45.

Winston and the Spartans always had an answer, though, whether with a clutch 3-pointer or a well-executed pick-and-roll.

SENTIMENTAL SUNDAY

Players didn't find out about the death of NBA great Kobe Bryant until after the game. Oturu, a huge fan, was in tears afterward, Pitino said.

Minnesota held a halftime ceremony to honor Willie Burton, the program's third all-time leading scorer. Burton, whose guests included his coach Clem Haskins, helped the Gophers reach the final eight of the NCAA Tournament as a senior in 1990 on a team that had six players appear in the NBA. Burton, who was the ninth overall pick in the draft by Miami, would have gone to Michigan State had he not chosen Minnesota. Izzo recruited him as an assistant for the Spartans.

Burton, who returned to the university in 2013 to complete his degree, works with youth and athletics for the public school system in his native Detroit. Burton joined Lou Hudson, Charley Mencel, Trent Tucker, Whitey Skoog, Mychal Thompson, Kevin McHale, Randy Breuer, Jim Brewer and Dick Garmaker with their numbers on banners in the rafters.

Willie Burton The Initials Game Of Thrones

BIG PICTURE

Michigan State: Rocket Watts (10 points) and Malik Hall (seven points, six rebounds) responded well to their insertion in the starting lineup, with Marcus Bingham Jr. and Aaron Henry relegated to a reserve role, with Izzo pushing Henry in particular to play more consistently.

'I think Henry had a great attitude,' Tillman said. 'He came off the bench and made some huge plays, played really hard.'

Minnesota: Pitino fell to 2-9 overall against Michigan State in seven seasons. He's 0-4 at home against the Spartans.

UP NEXT

Michigan State: Hosts Northwestern on Wednesday.

Willie Burton The Initials Game On

Minnesota: Plays at Illinois on Thursday.

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More AP college basketball coverage: https://apnews.com/Collegebasketball and https://twitter.com/AP-Top25

MIRAMAR BEACH, Fla. – Bob Mathers is the only player in the Golfweek Sandestin Amateur field marking his Titleist 6 with his grandkid’s initials. The event at Sandestin’s Raven Golf Club drew in a field of mostly college players looking for tournament starts in a fall season marred by COVID.

Mathers lives 20 miles up the road in Niceville, Florida. He retired on Sept. 1 after 32 years as a pilot for Delta Airlines. When a friend told him about the event, he assumed it was only for college teams. He googled it and determined he was eligible.

There’s at least a 40-year age difference between Mathers and most of the other players in the field, but he lands squarely in the middle of the pack – T-24 in a field off 55 players after opening rounds of 75-73.

A group of players who heard his name mentioned in scoring knew Mathers immediately. This 63-year-old has game, and a reputation for that in the Florida panhandle on up north into Alabama.

Leaderboard: Golfweek Sandestin Amateur

“I like watching good guys as much as I like playing,” Mathers said of why he entered this event. And as a recent retiree, expect to see his name in more tournaments. He already played the U.S. Mid-Amateur in 2011, his first USGA start, and was the first alternate for the U.S. Amateur that same year at Erin Hills.

Mathers knows the college golf setting, even if it may look a little different these days. He played on the University of Alabama team from 1975-79 and captained the first Tide men’s golf team to win the SEC title in ’79.

That team was honored at halftime of last year’s Alabama basketball game against Ole Miss. A few years ago, current Alabama head coach Jay Seawell pulled together an informal match between the 1979 SEC title team and the 2008 SEC title team. A team of freshman also competed.

Mathers found himself paired with Bud Cauley and Michael Thompson.

“Coach Seawell does a great job of keeping the old guys and the young guys together,” Mathers said.

At Sandestin, Mathers has kept the big numbers to a minimum. The Raven course, formerly the host of the Boeing Classic on the PGA Tour Champions, is a Robert Trent Jones Jr. design that Mathers feels levels the playing field.

“He does a really, really nice job of making hard holes where it fits a bomber’s eye but then he always throws holes in there that are just placement-type holes, like 15, the short par 4 over there,” Mathers said. “He always does a good job of just place the ball in the right place. Even tee shots, at the landing area he’ll have downhills and they’ll run out and end up in the same place like No. 11, the par 5.”

Mathers does something else that no other player in the field is doing: plays with a broomstick putter. Mathers left the game in 1991 and came back in 2005, at which point he picked up a short putter and “couldn’t hit the hole from 18 inches.”

He was inspired by watching another player with a long putter, but Mathers never anchored.

“All I did in my mind was pin the end of the putter in space and just use it like that,” he said. “…I moved it away from my body and just pinned the end of the putter in space. It kind of made sense to me.”

In the opening round at the Raven, Mathers teed it up alongside his second cousin, Drew Mathers. Bob’s first cousin, Terry, is Drew’s dad. Needless to say, the name “Mathers” is trending in golf right now.

Drew is a fifth-year senior on the Alabama-Birmingham team. The 22-year-old was the No. 2-ranked Division II player in the nation at the end of his senior season at Huntingdon, an NCAA Division III school in Mobile, Alabama, and transferred to UAB.

The Blazers won all three of their fall events but now the season is over. So Drew came back to a place he played three times with his old Huntingdon team. After rounds of 74-67, Drew is tied for seventh at 1 under, and only five shots off the lead.

Before playing together in the first round at Sandestin, Mathers and Mathers first competed against each other three years ago in an annual match pitting top amateurs in Florida against those from Alabama. Storybound pdf free download full. In a pairings party the night before the first round, someone joked that the Mathers men should play against each other.

Bob had only ever seen Drew’s game on the driving range.

“I said I don’t know if I want any part of that at all,” Bob joked.

It wasn’t just that Drew and Bob hadn’t connected on a golf course until those matches. They had never met at all.

“I actually have heard of his name,” Drew said. “I asked my dad, he’s like, ‘Yeah, that’s your second cousin.’ I’m like why haven’t I met him?”

Having played with Drew, Bob is now convinced he’ll be watching him on TV someday.

Forty years ago, when Bob’s college career was over and it was time to make a decision about playing professionally, the resources just weren’t there. Drew will get that chance. Before he gained another year of college eligibility because of COVID, Drew was set to attempt qualifying for the PGA Tour Canada. He’s working on his game another year while completing a Masters degree in marketing.

With Mathers genes, he’ll have longevity no matter where he takes his game.

“I can tell you I hope by the time I’m his age,” Drew said, “I hope I’m playing like him.”