Atop the hitting leaderboards this season, you’ll find an unexpected — yet familiar — name: 40-year-old David Ortiz leads baseball in Weighted Runs Created Plus, a full 12 points beyond wunderkind Mike Trout. Big Papi’s return to the ranks of the elite hitters corresponds with a de facto loosening of one of his least-favorite rules: a restriction on how much time batters can take to ready themselves for the next pitch. This season, the pace of play has begun to creep back toward 2014 levels, and older hitters such as Ortiz may be reaping the benefits.Just before the 2015 season, new MLB Commissioner Rob Manfred added new rules designed to speed up the game. And they worked: after the average game took an all-time high of 3 hours and 2 minutes the previous year, it fell by 6 minutes in 2015. Manfred’s tweaks had the desired effect, and his attention moved to other problems in the game, like the lack of offense.But unlike offense, which continues to spike, Manfred’s pace-of-play fixes didn’t last long. The average game has nearly reverted to its 2014 high this year, at an even 3 hours. Part of that increase is due to the surge in offense — it takes longer to get 27 outs when outs are happening less frequently — but some of it comes from a decrease in pace, or the time between successive pitches. On average, the time between pitches has increased by 0.07 seconds per pitch compared to last season, which explains about 9 percent of MLB’s overall 4-minute increase in average game time.1Here, I am using PitchInfo data.Manfred’s rules aimed to shorten this time by forcing batters to keep one foot in the box between pitches, thus eliminating some hitters’ long and involved pre-pitch rituals. But the rule has numerous exceptions: if the hitter swings, steps back to avoid a pitch or even if he simply asks for a timeout, he may leave the box to refasten his gloves or kick the dirt. As hitters became more familiar with the rule, they began taking advantage of each exception, so that over the course of the 2015 season, time between pitches increased from just under 21 seconds at the beginning of the year to around 21.6 seconds by the end. That gradual slowing of the game’s pace has continued in 2016, with the average time between pitches swelling to 21.69 seconds.Whether because veterans command more respect or have a better grasp of the exceptions to the rules, older hitters have always moved a little slower at the plate than youngsters. In 2015, for instance, hitters older than 28 took 21.49 seconds between their pitches, while hitters age 28 and younger took 21.25 seconds.2I used age 28 because it was the median for MLB hitters in 2015, making it a rough dividing line between young and old. But this year, older hitters have widened that gap dramatically: They are taking 21.87 seconds between pitches on average, as opposed to only 21.47 for their younger counterparts. While both populations have seen their average pace decline, the difference between old and young has also expanded some 67 percent.3Older hitters tend to be more disciplined, and hitters’ counts tend to take more time to get into, so it’s possible that we’re seeing a decrease in pace as an effect, rather than a cause, of older hitters being better. However, even after adjusting for count and the presence of men on base, older hitters tend to take an additional 0.3 seconds per pitch, suggesting that the increased time is not just a result of superior plate discipline.As I wrote last year, some older hitters may derive special benefits from taking their time between pitches. Ortiz claims that the additional time lets him make better guesses about the next pitch, perhaps allowing him to offset a decline in raw bat speed with the benefit of experience. That benefit may not apply equally to less cerebral players, and so not all 40-year-olds are seeing the same success as Big Papi.But even if old hitters don’t derive any special time-related benefit relative to youngsters, they have still received the lion’s share of the extra seconds in MLB’s pace slowdown — and more time is correlated with better outcomes for hitters.4The correlation coefficients between time and linear weight value for both 2015 and 2016 were statistically significant with a p-value under 2.2e-16. This really shows up when the time between pitches exceeds 30 seconds: hitters produce an average of 0.05 runs5Using pitch-type linear weights. on those pitches, vs. -0.01 runs per pitch when hitters have 30 seconds or less to think. While there are thorny issues of correlation vs. causation here, it’s generally true that the longer a player has to ponder the next pitch, the better he fares. And this season, older hitters have gotten a disproportionate share of that extra time.Ortiz is far from the only veteran batter witnessing a late-career revival. Daniel Murphy has seen his performance soar far beyond expectations, and Robinson Cano is on pace to have one of his best seasons in 2016 after one of his worst in 2015. After years of steady decline by MLB’s senior citizens, the weighted age for MLB batters in 2015 was the lowest it had been since the early 1990s — but that figure has actually increased this season. In fact, MLB is seeing the largest single-year bump in WAR-weighted age since the strike-shortened 1994 season; before that, you have to go back to 1981 to see a similar swell.It’s hard to tell whether and how much of the resurgence of older hitters is due to additional time at the plate, vs. the many other factors which may be lengthening careers. On top of pace, we could also point to a combination of better training, medical advancements and a (potentially) juiced ball as prolonging hitters’ careers. But the next time you find yourself checking your watch mid-plate appearance, you’ll know who to blame for — and who may be benefitting from — MLB’s slower pace of play.
Jabari Parker has been called unflattering names for signing with Duke, an indication of how the Blue Devils are perceived in the black community.As a guest on ESPN Radio in Chicago a day after choosing Duke over Michigan State, the No. 2-ranked player in the country said it was a tough choice, but he selected Duke because of coach Mike Krzyzewski. Over the years, although the Duke program has been extremely successful, the perception in the black community is not positive.Parker, a 6-foot-8 diverse player who is black and Mormon, said he received countless Tweets about his decision, most of them ugly, some too ugly too print. Here are a few:• “Ur a loser. Have fun not having a pro career after duke #dukesucks #UNC”• “committing to duke???youra joke. UNC is wheres it’s at…..Hope you never get to the league”• “Ungodly amounts of respect lost for @JabariParker22 tonight… Duke? Seriously?”“Fans are just now giving me a hard time,” Parker said on the radio show. “They sometimes just forget I’m a kid. . . Real hateful stuff. It’s no problem, though. I know it comes with the territory, and it’s just going to make me stronger.”Parker had 34,175 Twitter followers. he Tweeted: “Trying to grow up fast. Act with a lot of class. I want to be respectful ALL the time. Sometimes people forget I’m 17#strivingforcharacter”Parker it was “difficult” to pass on coach Tom Izzo, who recruited him since h was 14.Parker was Illinois’ Mr. Basketball as a junior and the national Gatorade player of the year. He averaged 19.5 points, 8.9 rebounds, 4.9 assists, 3.3 blocks and 1.4 steals a game.He announced his commitment to the Blue Devils at Simeon Thursday live on ESPNU. He chose Duke over BYU, Florida, Michigan State and Stanford.
Ohio State redshirt junior guard Kam Williams attempts a shot in the first half against Maryland at the Schottenstein Center on Jan. 31. Credit: Ashley Nelson | Sports DirectorFrustration is mounting in Columbus, with the team, coaching staff and fan base. It’s been like this way for awhile.But after a disheartening loss to Iowa on Saturday and another single-digit home loss in a pivotal conference matchup, it doesn’t seem like the frustration around the Ohio State men’s basketball program will stop anytime soon. With a 77-71 defeat at the hand of No. 17 Maryland on Tuesday, the Buckeyes (13-10, 3-7 Big Ten) continued their descent down the Big Ten standings.The Terrapins (20-2, 8-1 Big Ten) remain in first place in the conference with the win, riding the performance of freshman forward Justin Jackson who had 22 points on 8-of-12 shooting, including 4 for 7 from 3-point range.Junior forward Jae’Sean Tate led OSU with 20 points. Senior forward Marc Loving had 18.“We were playing on our heels defensively at the beginning of the game. They just sort of had their way with us,” OSU coach Thad Matta said. “When guys are active, we’ve done a pretty good job. It’s got to be every possession. We got to get back to locking down on the defensive end.”At four different times, OSU cut the deficit to a single point. Loving drilled a 3 with 7:10 to go. Tate scored a layup at the 4:54 and 4:10 mark, each answered by a Maryland field goal.Sophomore guard C.J. Jackson hit two free throws with 2:35 on the clock, trailing the Terrapins 70-69. After a foul on the floor, Maryland’s go-to junior guard Melo Trimble buried a 3-ball to put the Terrapin lead back to four which sealed the game.The one-point deficit was symbolic of OSU’s season and its inability to simply get over the hump.“I think that at those certain times we have to believe that we have another gear,” Tate said. “You have to have even more of a sense of urgency. You have to want it a little more than the other team. At times, we did not do that.”OSU also found itself down by double digits early in the second half, which has become a theme in Big Ten play. Maryland closed the half on a 7-0 run to lead 42-36 at the half, then came right out of the gate and scored a quick four points in the second half.In the first four minutes before the first media timeout of each half, OSU gave up a combined 22 points. The Buckeyes also struggled with keeping Trimble and freshman guard Anthony Cowan out of the paint on drives to the basket. The two combined 22 points and nine of the team’s 15 assists.On the defensive glass, another struggle for OSU this season, the Buckeyes stumbled on executing long closeouts and rotating when boxing out. Sophomore guard JaQuan Lyle, particularly, was taken out of the game in the final 12 minutes despite being one of OSU’s best scorers.Matta said that move was strategic in the fact that Jackson was playing better than Lyle and the matchup favored using Jackson. However, the lack of focus on the defensive end is a visible problem and a fixable one.Aside from the opponent’s’ offensive rebounds and the ease that opponent’s guards have when driving the lane against OSU’s man-to-man defense, the effort and heart on the defensive end is worth questioning and it’s not something coaching can fix. It’s up to the player. Tate said that it should be obvious for players that they have to play with grit on the defensive end. For those who don’t, he didn’t have an answer as to why that is.“As the leaders on this team, we have to figure out ways to — if guys are in funks or if guys aren’t playing to the best of their ability — we have to figure out a way to lift them up,” he said. “But also, it’s on them to buy into us. We can’t lead if they don’t want to be led.”Up NextOhio State travels to Ann Arbor, Michigan, for a battle with the Wolverines at 6 p.m. on Saturday at the Crisler Center. It’s the team’s only meeting this year.
The men’s tennis team won its fifth consecutive Big Ten regular-season title after defeating Wisconsin 4-3 in Madison. No. 2 singles player Justin Kronauge took back-to-back sets to seal the victory for the Buckeyes. Kronauge has won 21 consecutive matches this season. The Buckeyes finished the season undefeated in Big Ten play and 29-1 overall and will receive the No. 1 seed in the Big Ten Tournament.The men’s golf team closed out regular-season play with a second place finish at the Boilermaker Invitational. The team finished 3-over 867 on the par-72 Kampen Course in West Lafayette, Ind. Brad Smith led the charge for OSU, finishing 4-under on the 54-hole tournament.The No. 19 women’s golf team finished in third place at the Big Ten Championships held in Madison, Wis. The team shot 37-over in four rounds of golf on the par-72 course and finished behind Michigan State. League champion Purdue swept the competition, finishing 6-over.
Terrelle Pryor is recovering from his January surgery to repair torn ligaments in his left foot, but he informed his Twitter followers on Monday that he recently went through another medical procedure. The Buckeye quarterback underwent minor surgery on March 28, and wanted to let those following his Twitter account, @TPeezy2, know that all was well. “2 the followers that support myself and THEOhioState Buckeyes. Foots getting better, had minor surgery on Monday jogged last week all smiles,” Pryor said in a tweet on Monday. Athletic department spokeswoman Shelly Poe confirmed Pryor’s tweet in an e-mail to The Lantern, saying, “He had a followup (sic) procedure to his original surgery.” Pryor is limited during spring practices to recover from his January surgery, and is working to get back for summer camp.
Ohio State rising redshirt junior cornerback Bradley Roby could have declared for the 2013 NFL Draft. After a season in which he ranked No. 7 in the nation in passes defended per game with 19 over 11 games played, Roby was a potential first-round draft pick. Instead, Roby put his NFL dreams on hold to return to Columbus and lead the Buckeyes’ secondary this season. Roby said the decision was not easy. He said he felt physically and mentally ready to play professionally, and was “50-50” on whether to declare before ultimately deciding to return. “I made my decision, I’m happy with it and I’m glad I took that step because it’s just going to make me better,” Roby said. “It’s going to make our team better as well … NFL can wait.” Roby said he plans to enter the 2014 NFL Draft, and expects to be a top-10 draft pick. “I feel like after another year, I’ll be even more ready, so that next year I can start right in and start right away for a team,” Roby said. Roby said he received advice from his coaches and talked to NFL players, but had to make his own decision. Cornerbacks coach Kerry Coombs said he was honest with Roby throughout the decision process, and tried to make it a “business decision” for Roby although he wanted him to come back. “It’s very hard in a situation like this to not be selfish, because we’re better if he’s at Ohio State,” Coombs said. “He’s a grown man. He’s got to make a grown-man decision. And he can’t make it to please me, he can’t make it to please Coach Meyer and he can’t make it to please the Buckeye nation. He’s got to make it to please Bradley Roby. I think that he did.” Coombs said he believes Roby made an “outstanding decision,” and thinks Roby can meet his draft expectations next year. “I think his stock does nothing but go up, and I think it helps him down the road,” Coombs said. “I think next year, or whenever he decides to come out, he’s going to be a first-round pick, a top-10 pick, if he really wants to work. He’s not there yet … I’m going to help him get there.” Coombs said he has seen significant improvement in Roby this spring from where he was last spring. “What I’ve learned about Bradley through the course of the season … is how hard he works at studying the game,” Coombs said. “He is a very intelligent player. He’s gifted athletically, but that’s not where it ends, that’s where it begins. He has a great understanding of offense, he studies his opponent, he understand split rules, he knows what’s going on, he looks at formations and he’s making a plan. I don’t think he had that thought process last year at this time. Now he does.” Coombs added, however, that his expectation for the cornerback to be a first-round pick is not exclusive to Roby. “That’s the standard in our room,” Coombs said. “Be a first-round draft pick. If you’re not, figure out why not, and get to that point.” Asked about passing up the money that comes with playing professional football for another year, Roby said his plan for his career was more important. “Everybody struggles in college, but at the end of the day, I have a vision for the future and I see what’s coming to me in the future,” Roby said. “So I’ll be broke for a little bit longer, it’s OK. “I told a guy a long time ago I was going to be one of the best corners to ever be here. I don’t feel like I’ve accomplished that yet.” Roby added that he needs to become a better leader in order to accomplish that. Roby said he felt he deserved to be a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award, which is awarded to the nation’s best defensive back, last season. He said one of his goals this year is to win the Bednarik Award, which is awarded to the nation’s best defensive player, but that the team’s success is more important than individual awards. “It starts with leadership,” Roby said. “I have to have leadership to make our whole defense better, ’cause you can’t be a Bednarik winner on a bad defense. I just want our defense to be one of the top in the country, and that’s all I’m worried about, I’m worried about everybody else first and all my accolades, they’re going to fall in place. “I was so worried about myself the first couple years … I was kind of a selfish player,” he added. “I already have leadership traits, a lot of people have told me that … I would go talk to guys one-on-one off the field but I have to have that leadership on the field. That’s what’s going to make other people better, and that’s what I’ve been working on.” Rising junior cornerback Doran Grant, who is expected to start across from Roby this season, said Roby has already provided him with leadership “like a big brother.” “He like another coach out there, for real,” Grant said. “It’s crazy, the knowledge of the game he has, and that’s why I try to always be around him.” With the Buckeyes replacing six starters in their defensive front seven, Roby said he and the other two returning starters in the secondary, rising senior Christian Bryant and rising redshirt senior C.J. Barnett, have to be the leaders of their defense. “We’ve got a lot of new guys up front and some people are hurt, so we’ve just got to be a leader and show them to play Silver Bullet defense,” Roby said.
Former Ohio State running back stands in the end zone during warmups of a game against Illinois Oct. 15, 2011 in Champaign, Ill. OSU won, 17-7.Lantern file photoFormer Ohio State running back Jaamal Berry had it in his head that he was going to be able to showcase his talents for NFL scouts and general managers at OSU’s Pro Day Friday.But then Berry said he was told he couldn’t, because of an NFL rule that was “new” to him.“I guess it’s a rule that I could only do it in my hometown, like a hometown state school or school I was just attending,” Berry said.That school was Murray State in Murray, Ky., where Berry transferred to prior to the 2012 season. He was suspended from the OSU football team Nov. 2, 2011, after his involvement with an incident that saw him charged with assault, battery and disorderly conduct.Former Buckeye linebacker Etienne Sabino — who graduated from OSU after the 2012 season — was allowed to participate Friday, because of a rule that allows players who are just one year removed and not with an NFL team to work out at their former college, an OSU spokesman said.In Berry’s case, he was unable to work out Friday with former Buckeyes who he called “some of his best friends” because he has not been at the school since being charged.An OSU spokesman said Friday he “was under the impression” Berry was going to work out Friday.“(I thought) that he had gotten some approval like that,” the spokesman said.Despite the circumstances under which Berry left OSU, he said he still views his time at OSU as a positive in his life.“Leaving here was a big wake up call for me, even going to a smaller school,” Berry said. “A lot of things that I got here wasn’t going down at Murray State. It made me grow up real fast and appreciate the moment, live in the moment. So I’m definitely grateful for that.”Berry played in 11 games as a Buckeye from 2010-11, averaging 25.4 yards per kickoff return after being recruited by former OSU coach Jim Tressel.Berry said he called his former coach after he graduated from Murray State in December, to thank him.“When I graduated and finished I let him know I graduated and thanked him for the opportunity to experience some of the best years of my life to come here,” Berry said.The former OSU running back — who is from Pinecrest, Fla. — said he might go back to his home state to see if he can get a chance to show scouts what he can do, after he talks to his agent.
OSU quarterback Troy Smith (10) buys some time and eludes Indiana’s Keith Burrus (97) in the second quarter of a football game Oct. 21, 2006 at Ohio Stadium. OSU won, 44-3.Credit: Courtesy of MCTA former Heisman Trophy winning quarterback and two five-time National Football League Pro Bowl selections are among 13 new members of the Ohio State Athletics Hall of Fame.Troy Smith, who won the 2006 Heisman, Antoine Winfield, who won the 1998 Thorpe Award, and Bob Vogel are to be joined by eight other former student-athletes and two OSU coaches in the 2014 class, according to a press release.The group is scheduled to be inducted at a dinner Sept. 26 and is set to be introduced at halftime of the Buckeyes’ Sept. 27 football game against Cincinnati, according to the release.Aside from his Heisman Trophy, Smith led the Buckeyes to a 25-3 mark in his 28 starts and an appearance in the 2006 BCS National Championship. He quarterbacked the Buckeyes to two Big Ten titles and a victory in the 2005 Fiesta Bowl. During his Heisman campaign, Smith set a school record with 30 touchdown passes. He played for the Baltimore Ravens and San Francisco 49ers during a short NFL career and currently plays for the Montreal Alouettes of the Canadian Football League.Winfield was a two-time All-American and was the first defensive back to ever be named the Buckeyes team MVP after the 1997 season. He was selected by the Buffalo Bills in the first round of the 1999 NFL Draft and played five seasons in Buffalo before moving to the Minnesota Vikings from 2004 to 2012.Vogel was part of OSU’s 1961 National Championship football team before being selected No. 5 overall in the NFL Draft. He played in two Super Bowls and won Super Bowl V with the Baltimore Colts.The remainder of the inductees include one women’s hockey player, one women’s basketball coach, a fencer, two women’s track and field competitors, a men’s golfer, a wrestling coach, one synchronized swimmer, one men’s tennis player and two additional football players.Along with Smith, Winfield and Vogel, former football player Ralph Wolf will bring the total number of football players in the Hall of Fame to 113. So far, 277 men have been inducted since 1977 and 106 women have been inducted since 1993 – the first year women were brought into the hall.Boaz Ellis is the third men’s fencer selected for the hall, Ralph Guarasci is the 15th men’s golfer, Jeremy Wurtzman is the fifth men’s tennis player and Russ Hellickson will be the first wrestling coach ever selected for the hall. Tessa Bonhomme will be just the second OSU women’s hockey player enshrined while Becky Kim will be the 10th synchronized swimmer. The induction of Rosalind Goodwin and Tami Smith will bring the total number of track and field athletes to 11. Nancy Darsch will be the second women’s basketball coach enshrined in the hall.Bonhomme is the only OSU women’s hockey player to be named an AHCA first team All-American. She played for the Buckeyes between 2004 and 2008 and played for Canada’s gold-medal winning team at the 2010 Olympics.Darsh coached at OSU from 1986 to 1997 and led the Buckeyes to their only women’s Final Four appearance to cap the 1993 season. She later coached the New York Liberty of the Women’s National Basketball Association.Ellis won three NCAA Championships and was named an All-American three times. He is also a five-time Israeli National Champion and came in second at the World Cup in 2000 and 2001.Goodwin and Tami Smith, who were teammates in 2002 and 2003, combined for four All-American selections. Each set school records during their time with the Buckeyes.Guarasci helped OSU to four straight Big Ten Championships from 1975 to 1978. He was a first team All-American in 1976 along with PGA Tour players, such as Jay Haas and Mark O’Meara.Following Hellickson’s lead from 1986 to 2006, the OSU wrestling program had 41 All-American honorees and he won Big Ten Coach of the Year in 1991 and 2002. Hellickson is also a member of the National Wrestling, Wisconsin Wrestling, University of Wisconsin and Midlands Open Hall of Fames.Kim was a four-time All-American and six-time U.S. Collegiate Champion. She was a member of the U.S. National Team at the 2008 Olympics in Beijing.Wolf was a first team All-American in 1937 and was part of three Buckeye squads to beat Michigan in shutout victories. He was part of OSU’s first-ever victory against a nationally-ranked team when it beat Northwestern, 7-0, in 1937.Wurtzman was an All-American selection in 2004 and was the first OSU tennis player to win the ITA National Championship. He finished his career with two singles championships in 2003 and 2004.The Athletics Hall of Fame Dinner is set to take place in the Archie M. Griffin Ballroom at the Ohio Union. Tickets will be available to the public July 1.
Ohio State redshirt junior forward Keita Bates-Diop (33) attempts to block a shot in the first half in the game against Radford on Nov. 12. Credit: Jack Westerheide | Photo EditorAfter coasting through its first two wins of the season, Ohio State (2-0) will look to keep its momentum up against Texas Southern (0-2) at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Schottenstein Center.Ohio State head coach Chris Holtmann said his team has spent a lot of time preparing for the Tigers by watching film and gearing up for a “really talented” team.“They’re athletic. They’re explosive offensively,” Holtmann said. “It’ll be one of the better nonconference teams we’ll play. It’s clearly the best we’ve played up to this point. So our focus is on getting better and preparing for them.”Texas Southern lost its leading scorer from last year, Zach Lofton, when he transferred to New Mexico State in the offseason. Sophomore point guard Demontrae Jefferson has filled the offensive void, averaging 21 points and 3.5 assists per game. He has shot 50 percent from 3-point range in the first two games of the season. Holtmann referred to the 5-foot-7 guard as one of the Tigers’ “dynamic playmakers.”Averaging nine points and 11 rebounds per game, redshirt junior center Trayvon Reed represents a tall task for the Buckeyes. Ohio State has outrebounded opponents 48 to 27.5 on average to begin the season, but have not encountered the size and strength presented by the 7-foot-2 center.Ohio State redshirt junior forward Keita Bates-Diop, who leads the Buckeyes with 20.5 points and 10.5 rebounds per game, understands his team must account for the threat Texas Southern poses inside. He said the team has been emphasizing the importance of playing physical in practice.“A lot of box-out drills,” Bates-Diop said. “A lot of just making sure we’re hitting guys and checking guys and knowing where guys are at least on the defensive boards.”Texas Southern redshirt senior guard Donte Clark also has been a force for the Tigers. The 6-foot-4 guard averages 17.5 points and 2.5 steals per game, along with 11 rebounds per game.Ohio State redshirt senior Andrew Dakich, who serves as junior C.J. Jackson’s primary backup at point guard, noted he and Jackson will have to expand their responsibilities to deal with an aggressive backcourt.“That’s been harped about from the point guard position because we don’t normally have to block out just because our guy’s getting back on defense,” Dakich said. “So that’s kind of been an area of improvement where C.J. and I have to go block someone out all the time, so we can get extra possessions and eliminate their extra possessions.”Whichever team wins the rebounding battle and earns more possessions will put itself in a good position to win the game. Extra possessions lead to extra shots, and Texas Southern has shown some weakness defensively through two games. Texas Southern has struggled defending the 3-point line, allowing 13 3-pointers per game at a 36.6 percent clip. While Ohio State has made only 6.5 3-pointers per game on 28.9 percent shooting, Bates-Diop, Jackson and redshirt senior guard Kam Williams have combined for five made 3s per game at a 41.6 percent rate.The Buckeyes will need to keep the Tigers off the glass and win the physical battle in the paint to have success. Holtmann’s team will also look to capitalize on its opportunities from the perimeter in order to defeat Texas Southern. Holtmann said the Tigers are well-coached and use their combination of size and explosiveness to exploit defenses.“They have kind of matchup issues all over the floor,” Holtmann said. “And with their ability to dribble, pass and shoot — spread you out — makes it a challenge.”Correction: An earlier version of this story inaccurately said Texas Southern has averaged a rebounding advantage of 51 to 39.5 on average in its first two games. In fact, it was out rebounded 45-44 by Washington State and 57-35 by Gonzaga.
Two couples – one living in Kent, one 30 miles away in West Sussex – have woken to find their garden hedges stolen in recent days.Peter and Julie Vine from Wrotham in Kent had planted 127 shrubs on their property, costing them £1,300, in order to block out noise from the road.However, on the morning of August 20 they found that every one of them had been taken in the night.“To do a theft like that on a main road is just bizarre,” Mr Vine told the Kent Messenger.“We are right on the border of the A227 and I just cannot believe it – for someone to take 127 trees takes time.“You’ve got to pull them out, load them onto the back of something, and I have to ask what is the point of doing something like that.”Kent Police are making enquiries into the theft. In a separate incident, Anthony and Daphne Hawley from Copthorne in West Sussex lost a 30ft laurel hedge to thieves in the early hours of August 25.”We had about 25 laurels at the front of our garden,” Mr Hawley told the East Grinstead Courier. “They have only been planted for two years and they were about six foot high.”We woke up and everything was just gone. It must have happened overnight.”We never heard anything and when we checked our CCTV cameras they didn’t show anything either.”But the laurels are gone, you can see quite clearly where they have been dug up and you can also see tyre tracks on the road outside.”Whoever it was they must have needed a large truck, because 25 laurels certainly aren’t small things.”They probably cost about £25 each and now we are looking at needing to pay £750 to replace them.” Want the best of The Telegraph direct to your email and WhatsApp? Sign up to our free twice-daily Front Page newsletter and new audio briefings. Credit:Katherine Clementine / SWNS.com