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Bulldogs stroll into Columbia

One of Gonzaga’s best players may not be at 100 percent against Missouri today, but considering the level the Bulldogs have been playing at, that probably won’t be enough to slow them down.

A little more than a week after falling six points short of upsetting No. 1 Illinois, on Dec. 22, Missouri (6-5) will have another chance to play giant-killer as the Tigers host a hobbled Ronny Turiaf and No. 12 Gonzaga (10-1) tonight at 7 in Mizzou Arena.

Last opportunity for many Chiefs

KANSAS CITY — Brian Waters looks around the Kansas City locker room, and a feeling of nostalgia tugs at his heart.

The Pro Bowl left guard knows that with one game left in a bitterly disappointing season, he will soon say goodbye to a host of friends and teammates who don’t want to leave.

Martz dismisses Turley incident

ST. LOUIS — St. Louis Rams offensive tackle Kyle Turley, upset about a remark that the team hadn’t seen him since he re-injured his back in training camp, engaged in a recent shouting match with coach Mike Martz.

Turley has had little contact with the team since going on injured reserve in early August. Martz has said he had no success contacting Turley after the player left the team early in training camp to visit specialists about his back.

Bruins reach championship game

For the second straight game the Rock Bridge boys’ basketball team set a record at the Holiday Classic at William Jewell College.

In a 50-26 semifinal victory against Cameron on Wednesday, the top-seeded Bruins set the fewest points allowed mark, limiting the Dragons to 25 percent shooting and forcing 15 turnovers.

Shoot around

Travis Dye stands on a square cement slab with his 15-pound shotgun in hand.

Dye calmly raises his gun and sets it into his rotator cuff. He nestles his right cheek gently against the butt, clears his thoughts and mutters, “Pull it.”

Jackson arrives for Rams

ST. LOUIS — Belatedly, the future has arrived for the St. Louis Rams’ running game.

They’ve just got to hope rookie Steven Jackson, a young, fast, physical alternative to the aging Marshall Faulk, can stay on the field.

Kewpies earn 10th at 18-team event

The Hickman wrestling team placed 10th at the two-day, 18-team Springfield Holiday Tournament that ended Tuesday at Parkview High.

Ozark won the team title with 363.5 points and Carthage was second with 292.5. The Kewpies had 158.

Austin’s record night powers Bruins

LIBERTY — A record performance from junior Alex Austin helped the Rock Bridge boys’ basketball team overcome a slow start and sloppy play on Monday.

The Bruins defeated Kansas City Central 73-62 in the first round of the Holiday Basketball Classic at William Jewell College.

Rams stay in playoff chase

ST. LOUIS — The Rams desperately needed a win and played like it. The Eagles desperately wanted to stay healthy and played like it.

Rookie Steven Jackson’s best NFL performance carried St. Louis to a 20-7 victory against Philadelphia that kept the Rams in the NFC playoff race. Jackson rushed for 148 yards and a touchdown, but he also limped off midway through the fourth quarter with a bruised right knee.

Vermeil seeks win in finale

KANSAS CITY — If ever an NFL game might seem meaningless, it’s Sunday’s regular-season finale between playoff-bound San Diego and the going-nowhere Kansas City Chiefs.

Nevertheless, there are several ways for each team to approach things, and Dick Vermeil can only guess what path the Chargers will take.

McNabb remembers

ST. LOUIS — For Donovan McNabb, the heartache began at the hands of the St. Louis Rams.

For three straight years, the Philadelphia Eagles have finished their season one victory away from the Super Bowl. The trend began in January 2002, a 29-24 loss at St. Louis where McNabb remembers jealously watching the celebration on the field.

Surging Chiefs going nowhere

KANSAS CITY — The football year is winding down for Kansas City the way it was supposed to start.

With one game left, there’s not enough time for this season-ending surge that has reached four straight victories to accomplish a thing.

Top NFL defender dies at 43

CORNELIUS, N.C. — Reggie White, a fearsome defensive end for the Philadelphia Eagles and Green Bay Packers who was one of the great players in NFL history, died Sunday, his wife said. He was 43.

The cause of death was not immediately known, but White had a respiratory ailment for several years that affected his sleep, according to Keith Johnson, a pastor serving as family spokesman. An autopsy was to be performed.

Up to the challenge

There’s always uncertainty when a player is elevated to the varsity team.

For Brett Gifford, a 6-foot-9 junior center at Rock Bridge, the increased competition has showcased his skills.

Tigers’ improvement shows

ST. LOUIS — The Missouri men’s basketball team is not playing at the level coach Quin Snyder said he wants them to, but the Tigers came closer against Illinois on Wednesday night in the Braggin’ Rights game at Savvis Center.

Entering the game, few believed the Tigers could compete with No. 1 Illinois (11-0). Missouri, though, stayed in the game and in the end came close to winning, but the Fighting Illini held on for a 70-64 victory.

Bulger says he will play

ST. LOUIS — Marc Bulger said Thursday he is ready to return from a bruised shoulder, good news for a suddenly feeble St. Louis Rams’ offense that totaled one touchdown during the two games he missed.

“When you’ve got your best players on the field, you feel a lot better, no question about it,” defensive tackle Tyoka Jackson said. “He’s a Pro Bowl quarterback in my opinion.”

MISSED CHANCE

ST. LOUIS — It’s not too often the nation’s best team has an off night.

When No. 1 Illinois did, Missouri was in position to take advantage but failed to convert on several late opportunities, and the Fighting Illini held on to beat Missouri 70-64 in front of 22,153 fans in the Braggin’ Rights game Wednesday at Savvis Center.

Illini guards wear down McKinney

In his hometown, guarding two of the best players on the No. 1 team in the country, Missouri’s No. 1 was nowhere to be found for the first 35 minutes.

Nothing seemed to be going right offensively for Tiger guard Jimmy McKinney, who wears No. 1, in Missouri’s 70-64 loss to top-ranked Illinois.

Horton shines for Tigers

Missouri freshman Jason Horton probably had the game of his life Wednesday night against Illinois.

His superior play didn’t show up on the stat sheet. He scored eight points and had four assists in 35 minutes, but he played great defense against one of the best point guards in the nation.

Taguchi back in fold with Cards

The St. Louis Cardinals have agreed to one-year contracts with outfielder So Taguchi and pitcher Mike Myers, the club announced Wednesday.

Taguchi will earn $550,000 plus performance bonuses. Myers agreed to $600,000.

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