The Times Herald (Norristown, PA)

Houston reaches No. 1 in AP poll for first time since 1983


Make some room, Phi Slama Jama. Another Houston team has reached the top of men’s college basketball.

Nearly four decades after Clyde Drexler and Akeem Olajuwon took the Cougars to No. 1, the latest bunch led by Marcus Sasser and star freshman Jarace Walker took over the top spot in the AP Top 25 on Monday. They received 45 of 63 first-place votes from the national media panel, easily outdistanc­ing second-place Texas and third-place Virginia.

“It’s not like we went online and applied for it and waited for a response back. We’ve been working for this,” said Houston coach Kelvin Sampson, whose team is coming off a Final Four and Elite Eight trip the past two seasons. “But remember, it’s a rental. You don’t own it. You’re just renting it because someday somebody else is going to be No. 1.”

North Carolina had been No. 1 all season, but the Tar Heels lost to Iowa State and in a four-overtime thriller to Alabama at the Phil Knight Invitation­al to cede the top spot to Houston, which beat Kent State in its only game last week.

Women’s basketball

SOUTH CAROLINA TOPS WOMEN’S AP TOP 25 >> South Carolina remained the unanimous No. 1 choice in

The Associated Press women’s basketball poll released Monday as the Gamecocks keep close watch on the foot injury of reigning Player of the Year Aliyah Boston.

The Gamecocks received all 29 first-place votes in the poll released Monday, a day after Boston left a game with her injury. Coach Dawn Staley said Boston was “questionab­le” going forward but added that the “team doctor wasn’t too, too concerned.”

South Carolina’s next game is Tuesday at home against No. 15 UCLA.

Stanford remained No. 2 after cruising through a tournament in Hawaii. It’s the 618th appearance for Cardinal coach Tara VanDerveer, tying the late Pat Summitt for most alltime. Summitt’s teams only missed being in the poll 14 times during her Hall of Fame career at Tennessee.

College football

STANFORD FOOTBALL AT CROSSROADS AFTER SHAW STEPS DOWN >> David Shaw helped build Stanford into a physical powerhouse that was one of the top college football programs in the nation last decade.

Shaw now believes a new coach will be best positioned to return the Cardinal to that level, leading to his decision to step down after a 16-year run on The Farm, including the last 12 as the head coach who won the most games in school history.

“It’s time. It’s time for me to step away. Time for Stanford to find that next person to lead,” Shaw said at a news conference Monday, two days after announcing his decision following a season-ending loss to BYU.

“I hope the next person beats (our accomplish­ments). I really do . ... We’ve got a lot of great young people here, a lot of recruits I know are waiting to see what’s going to happen. But this place is special. This place is magical and I can’t wait for Stanford to be on top again.”

But pulling off a similar turnaround to the one that started when Shaw was an assistant on Jim Harbaugh’s first staff in 2007 and then built on as head coach starting in 2011 could be even more difficult now. MICHIGAN QB MCNAMARA ENTERS TRANSFER PORTAL >> Michigan quarterbac­k Cade McNamara has entered the transfer portal, team spokesman Dave Ablauf confirmed on Monday.

McNamara had a seasonendi­ng injury to his right knee on Sept. 17 against Connecticu­t, one game after J.J. McCarthy won the starting job.

McCarthy will lead the second-ranked Wolverines against Purdue on Saturday night in the Big Ten championsh­ip game in Indianapol­is, needing a win to earn a spot in the College Football Playoff.


RECORD >> UNLV fired football coach Marcus Arroyo, athletic director Erick Harper announced on Monday.

Arroyo went 7-23 over three seasons. He had two years left on his $7.7 million contract. Harper said Arroyo would be paid a $2.3 million over the remainder of that term.

Kenwick Thompson will serve as the interim coach if UNLV, which is 5-7, is invited to a bowl. The Rebels began this season 4-1 before going on a six-game losing streak.


JONES, MADDUX, MORRIS CONSIDER BONDS, CLEMENS FOR HALL >> Hall of Famers Chipper Jones, Greg Maddux, Jack Morris and Ryne Sandberg are among 16 members of the contempora­ry baseball era committee that will meet Sunday to consider the Cooperstow­n fate of an eight-man ballot that includes Barry Bonds, Roger Clemens and Rafael Palmeiro.

Hall of Famers Lee Smith, Frank Thomas and Alan Trammell also are on the panel, which will meet in San Diego ahead of the winter meetings.

They will be joined by former Toronto CEO Paul Beeston, former Boston Red Sox and Chicago Cubs executive Theo Epstein, Anaheim Angels owner Arte Moreno, Miami Marlins general manager Kim Ng,

Minnesota Twins president Dave St. Peter and Chicago White Sox executive vice president Ken Williams.

Three media members/ historians are on the committee: longtime statistica­l analyst Steve Hirdt of Stats Perform, La Velle E. Neal III of the Minneapoli­s Star Tribune and Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle. Neal and Slusser are past presidents of the Baseball Writers’ Associatio­n of America.

Hall Chairman Jane Forbes Clark will be the committee’s non-voting chair.


ENGLAND STRIKER KANE CLEARED TO PLAY WALES >> Harry Kane will be available to start for England in the team’s final World Cup group game against Wales on Tuesday.

The striker took a hit on his ankle in England’s opening game against Iran and looked off the pace in the 0-0 draw with the United States on Friday.

England coach Gareth Southgate said the injury had caused issues with Kane’s foot, but on Monday said the player would be available against Wales.

“With Harry, obviously we are going to pick a team we believe can win the game,” Southgate said. “That is our priority as always.

“He is fine in terms of the knock he had. He’s trained well.”

WORLD CUP TV PUNDIT UNDER FIRE FOR DISPARAGIN­G QATARI ATTIRE >> Former Germany forward Sandro Wagner is under fire for a disparagin­g remark he made about Qatari men’s traditiona­l attire while commentati­ng for TV during Germany and Spain’s World Cup match on Sunday.

Wagner was commentati­ng on the teams’ 1-1 draw for German broadcaste­r ZDF when he said in the 79th minute he thought one end of the Al Bayt Stadium in Al Khor was full of German fans.

“Only then did I realize that they are the Qatari bathrobes,” Wagner said

Wagner was referring to the thaub, the traditiona­l white full-length robes with long sleeves worn by many men in the region.

Wagner’s comments led to furious reactions on social media.


MAVS CLOSE TO DEAL WITH FOUR-TIME ALL-STAR WALKER >> The Dallas Mavericks are close to a deal with four-time All-Star guard Kemba Walker, a person with knowledge of the agreement told The Associated Press on Monday.

Walker’s career has been on hold because of knee injuries, but the 32-year-old could give superstar Luka Doncic some much-needed backcourt help for the struggling Mavericks.

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