Kelly lifts No. 3 Duke past No. 5 Miami 79-76

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) — Ryan Kelly had waited two months for the chance to help his Duke teammates reclaim the form that made them the nation's top-ranked team.

He returned with a stunning performance that shook up No. 5 Miami and left his own Hall of Fame coach struggling for the right words.

The senior scored a career-high 36 points in his return from a foot injury that had sidelined him since January, helping the third-ranked Blue Devils beat the Hurricanes 79-76 on Saturday night in a matchup of the Atlantic Coast Conference's top teams.

"I guess I was ready for it," Kelly said. "That's all I can say."

Kelly knocked down 10 of 14 shots — including 7 of 9 3-pointers— for the Blue Devils (25-4, 12-4 ACC), who avenged a blowout road loss in January by grinding out a tough win in Cameron Indoor Stadium. He also went 9-for-12 from the foul line and pulled down seven rebounds in 32 minutes.

It left Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski joking to reporters that he was interested to read how they'd describe Kelly's big night.

"I mean, me saying 'spectacular' or whatever doesn't do his performance justice," Krzyzewski said. "One for the ages. Probably as good a performance as any player has had — a Duke player has had — in Cameron."

Kelly's performance was the highlight of a game that certainly lived up to the teams' lofty rankings and their status as the league's best. Miami led by seven in the first half and by two at the break, while Duke never led by more than five until the final 3 minutes.

Quinn Cook added 15 points, including a 3-pointer that gave Duke a 10-point lead with 1:55 left.

But the Hurricanes (23-5, 14-2) made a frantic rally and missed two 3s in the final seconds to tie it. Shane Larkin came up short on the first over Kelly. Durand Scott ran down the rebound and fired a pass to the left corner to Rion Brown, whose final 3 clanged off the rim as the horn sounded.

Kelly's season-high was 22 points and his career-best was 23 points before Saturday. He had missed 13 straight games with the right foot injury, though he had been gradually increasing his work in practice in recent days before going right back in the starting lineup Saturday.

"I just knew I was going to play my hardest," Kelly said. "Honestly, though, more than anything it was just going to be whether I could hold up with my breathing. I haven't played any games in a long time, and being in a game is a lot different from being in practice or anything you can do. But I think I held up all right."

He missed a 3 on Duke's first possession, but knocked one down 2½ minutes in and never looked rusty.

"Well, I thought we prepared for Ryan Kelly but obviously not for that Ryan Kelly," Miami coach Jim Larranaga said. "He was sensational from start to finish."

Miami had beaten Duke 90-63 in January and had already clinched at least a share of the ACC regular-season title with the Blue Devils' loss at Virginia on Thursday night. Miami will win its first ACC crown outright by beating either Georgia Tech or Clemson at home this week.

But Saturday's game was about more than just the league standings or the chance to avenge that blowout loss for the Blue Devils. Rather, this was their chance to reclaim some momentum for March with Kelly's return.

"The thing (the win) does for us is it gives us a chance over the next few weeks to transition to the NCAA tournament," Krzyzewski said. "We're just running a little bit different race than anybody else right now. And it doesn't mean everything's OK, but it's a lot better."

Duke was unbeaten with nonconference wins against Kentucky, Louisville and Ohio State when Kelly went down against Clemson in January. It was during Kelly's absence that Duke suffered 27-point loss at Miami on Jan. 23, a game that saw the Hurricanes romping unchecked through Duke's passive defense and even slapping the floor in an apparent jab at the Blue Devils' tradition.

The 6-foot-11 forward was averaging 13 points and five rebounds, and stretched defenses with his outside shot to open space for Mason Plumlee inside.

Fittingly, he started the spurt that finally put the Blue Devils ahead for good. First he hit a pair of free throws, then knocked down a 3-pointer over Kenny Kadji with the shot clock winding down to push Duke to a 58-56 lead with 9:13 left. Plumlee followed with a short hook to cap the 7-0 run for a 60-56 edge.

Duke extended its lead with another 7-0 burst, with freshman Rasheed Sulaimon scoring a pair of driving baskets before Cook's 3 that appeared to have Duke in control.

Miami fought back, getting a 3-pointer from Trey McKinney Jones to make it a one-possession game with 1:06 left. But in addition to those late misses, Larkin also had a costly turnover when he threw away a sideline pass to Brown with Miami trailing by just two with about 30 seconds left.

"This is the type of game that everybody lives for," said Durand Scott, who scored 12 for the Hurricanes. "You can't really get mad at this. We went out there, we played our hardest, we're proud of ourselves, and our team did the best that we could. We just fell short a 3."

Duke shot 52 percent, with Kelly's big day offsetting Seth Curry's struggles (seven points on 2-for-8 shooting) and Miami's domination on the boards that led to a 20-4 edge in second-chance points.

Larkin scored 25 points to lead Miami, while Kenny Kadji added 17 points and 10 rebounds. But big man Reggie Johnson had a miserable night by going scoreless on 0-for-5 shooting and picking up his fourth foul in the first minute after halftime.

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‘Star Trek’ Beams Into Oscar Night

Star Trek” fans got quite a treat last night during the Academy Awards last night (Feb. 24).

Actors who portray major characters from the film and television versions of the iconic science fiction series made cameo appearances during the three-hour-long ceremony celebrating the best movies of 2012.

William Shatner, the actor that played Starship Enterprise captain James T. Kirk in original series helped open the awards show with host, Seth McFarlane.

“I’ve come back in time from the 23rd century to stop you from destroying the Academy Awards,” joked Shatner to McFarlane.

Actors Chris Pine and Zoe Saldana also had a part to play in the festivities. Pine, who plays Kirk in 2009′s “Star Trek” and its sequel “Star Trek Into Darkness “ being released later this year, and Saldana, who plays the Enterprise’s communications officer Uhura, recapped an earlier event they co-hosted on Feb. 10 called the “Sci-Tech Oscars.”

The smaller ceremony is designed to showcase the technical achievements of designers and technicians on movie sets.

The newest movie in the Star Trek franchise, “Star Trek Into Darkness,” is set to be released on May 17.

Follow Miriam Kramer on Twitter @mirikramer or @Spacedotcom. We’re also on Facebook & Google+

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U.S. evolves on same-sex marriage


  • The president and the nation have shifted perspectives on same-sex marriage

  • Supreme Court ruling on California's same-sex marriage ban a critical test

  • Growing public support for gay marriage give proponents hope for change

Washington (CNN) -- The nation's growing acceptance of same-sex marriage has happened in slow and painstaking moves, eventually building into a momentum that is sweeping even the most unlikely of converts.

Even though he said in 2008 that he could only support civil unions for same-sex couples, President Barack Obama nonetheless enjoyed strong support among the gay community. He disappointed many with his conspicuously subdued first-term response to the same-sex marriage debate.

Last year, after Vice President Joe Biden announced his support, the president then said his position had evolved and he, too, supported same-sex marriage.

So it was no small matter when on Thursday the Obama administration formally expressed its support of same-sex marriage in a court brief weighing in on California's Proposition 8, which bans same-sex weddings. The administration's effort was matched by at least 100 high-profile Republicans — some of whom in elections past depended on gay marriage as a wedge issue guaranteed to rally the base — who signed onto a brief supporting gay couples to legally wed.

Obama on same-sex marriage: Everyone is equal

Then there are the polls that show that an increasing number of Americans now support same-sex marriage. These polls show that nearly half of the nation's Catholics and white, mainstream Protestants and more than half of the nation's women, liberals and political moderates all support same-sex marriage.

According to Pew Research Center polling, 48% of Americans support same-sex marriage with 43% opposed. Back in 2001, 57% opposed same-sex marriage while 35% supported it.

In last year's presidential election, same-sex marriage scarcely raised a ripple. That sea change is not lost on the president.

"The same evolution I've gone through is the same evolution the country as a whole has gone through," Obama told reporters on Friday.

Craig Rimmerman, professor of public policy and political science at Hobart and William Smith colleges says there is history at work here and the administration is wise to get on the right side.

"There is no doubt that President Obama's shifting position on Proposition 8 and same-sex marriage more broadly is due to his desire to situate himself on the right side of history with respect to the fight over same-sex marriage," said Rimmerman, author of "From Identity to Politics: The Lesbian and Gay Movements in the United States."

"I also think that broader changes in public opinion showing greater support for same-sex marriage, especially among young people, but in the country at large as well, has created a cultural context for Obama to alter his views."

For years, Obama had frustrated many in the gay community by not offering full-throated support of same-sex marriage. However, the president's revelation last year that conversations with his daughters and friends led him to change his mind gave many in that community hope.

Last year, the Obama administration criticized a measure in North Carolina that banned same-sex marriage and made civil unions illegal. The president took the same position on a similar Minnesota proposal.

Obama administration officials point to what they see as the administration's biggest accomplishment in the gay rights cause: repealing "don't ask, don't tell," the military's ban on openly gay and lesbian members serving in the forces.

Then there was the president's inaugural address which placed the gay community's struggle for equality alongside similar civil rights fights by women and African-Americans.

"Our journey is not complete until our gay brothers and sisters are treated like anyone else under the law, for if we are truly created equal, then surely the love we commit to one another must be equal, as well," Obama said in his address after being sworn in.

In offering its support and asserting in the brief that "prejudice may not be the basis for differential treatment under the law," the Obama administration is setting up a high stakes political and constitutional showdown at the U.S. Supreme Court over a fast-evolving and contentious issue.

The justices will hear California's Proposition 8 case in March. That case and another appeal over the federal Defense of Marriage Act will produce blockbuster rulings from the justices in coming months.

Beyond the legal wranglings there is a strong social and historic component, one that has helped open the way for the administration to push what could prove to be a social issue that defines Obama's second term legacy, Rimmerman said.

The nation is redefining itself on this issue, as well.

Pew survey: Changing attitudes on gay marriage

The changes are due, in part, to generational shifts. Younger people show a higher level of support than their older peers, according to Pew polling "Millennials are almost twice as likely as the Silent Generation to support same-sex marriage."

"As people have grown up with people having the right to marry the generational momentum has been very, very strong," said Evan Wolfson, president of Freedom to Marry, a gay rights organization.

That is not to say that there isn't still opposition.

Pew polling found that most Republicans and conservatives remain opposed to same-sex marriage. In 2001, 21% of Republicans were supportive; in 2012 that number nudged slightly to 25%.

Conservative groups expressed dismay at the administration's same-sex marriage support.

"President Obama, who was against same-sex 'marriage' before he was for it, and his administration, which said the Defense of Marriage Act was constitutional before they said it was unconstitutional, has now flip-flopped again on the issue of same-sex 'marriage,' putting allegiance to extreme liberal social policies ahead of constitutional principle," Family Research Council President Tony Perkins said in a statement.

But there are signs of movement even among some high profile Republican leaders

Top Republicans sign brief supporting same-sex marriage

The Republican-penned friend of the court brief, which is designed to influence conservative justices on the high court, includes a number of top officials from the George W. Bush administration, Mitt Romney's former campaign manager and former GOP presidential candidate Jon Huntsman.

It is also at odds with the Republican Party's platform, which opposes same-sex marriage and defines marriage as a union between a man and a woman.

Still, with White House and high-profile Republican support, legal and legislative victories in a number of states and polls that show an increasing number of Americans support same sex-marriage, proponents feel that the winds of history are with them.

"What we've seen is accelerating and irrefutable momentum as Americans have come to understand who gay people are and why marriage matters," Wolfson said. "We now have a solid national majority and growing support across every demographic. We have leaders across the spectrum, including Republicans, all saying it's time to end marriage discrimination."

CNN's Peter Hamby, Ashley Killough and Bill Mears contributed to this report.

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Rescuers end effort to find body of man presumed dead in sinkhole

SEFFNER, Florida -- Florida rescue workers have ended their efforts to recover the body of a man who disappeared into a sinkhole that swallowed his bedroom while he slept in a suburban Tampa home, and the house will be demolished, a public safety official said on Saturday.

Jeff Bush, 36, who is presumed dead, was asleep when the other five members of the household who were getting ready for bed on Thursday night heard a loud crash and Jeff screaming.

Authorities have not detected any signs of life after lowering listening devices and cameras into the hole.

"Our data has come back, and there is absolutely no way we can do any kind of recovery without endangering lives of workers," said Hillsborough County Fire Rescue spokeswoman Jessica Dam.

The sinkhole also has compromised the house next door, officials said Saturday.

Officials planned to let family members, accompanied by firefighters, into the threatened  home for about 20 minutes to gather some  belongings, Hillsborough County Fire Rescue spokesman Ronnie Rivera told reporters Saturday.

She said demolition of the home would begin early on Sunday.

Bush's body hadn’t been removed by Saturday afternoon and the ground near the home was still "very, very unsafe," Rivera said at a televised press conference Saturday.

"At this time we did some testing and we determined that the house right next to the house that’s actually damaged is also compromised by the sinkhole," Rivera said.

Jeff's brother, 35-year-old Jeremy Bush, jumped into the hole and furiously kept digging to find his brother.

"I really don't think they are going to be able to find him," Jeremy said on Saturday. He "will be there forever."

A small memorial of balloons and flowers for his brother had formed near the house on Saturday morning.

"I thank the Lord for not taking my daughter and the rest of my family," he said.

Jeremy himself had to be rescued from the sinkhole by the first responder to the emergency call, Douglas Duvall of the Hillsborough County Sheriff's Office. When Duvall entered Jeff Bush's bedroom, all he saw was a widening chasm but no sign of Jeff.

"The hole took the entire bedroom," said Duvall. "You could see the bed frame, the dresser, everything was sinking," he said.

Norman Wicker, 48, the father of Jeremy's fiancee who also lived in the house, ran to get a flashlight and shovel.

"It sounded like a car ran into the back of the house," Wicker said.

"There is a very large, very fluid mass underneath this house rendering the entire house and the entire lot dangerous and unsafe," Bill Bracken, the head of an engineering company assisting fire and rescue officials, told the news conference late on Friday.

"We are still trying to determine the extent and nature of what's down there so we can best determine how to approach it and how to extricate," Bracken said.

After suspending the search overnight, it resumed at daylight on Saturday, with engineering consultants trying to determine the extent of the collapse so that a perimeter boundary can be established for setting up heavy equipment for future excavation.

Several nearby homes were evacuated in case the 30-foot wide sinkhole got larger but officials said Friday it only appeared to be getting deeper. Soil samples showed that the sinkhole has compromised the ground underneath a home next door, engineers said Saturday.

The residents of that house were allowed 20 minutes in their home on Saturday to gather belongings. Firefighters and residents formed an assembly line to move items out of the house into SUVs and trucks.

Rescue officials said that in addition to soil samples, they were focusing on engineering analysis, ground penetration radar and other techniques to determine the extent of the ongoing collapse. Listening devices were being used to detect any evidence of life although Bush was presumed dead.

The Bush brothers worked together as landscapers, according to Leland Wicker, 48, one of the other residents of the house.

The risk of sinkholes is common in Florida due to the state's porous geological bedrock, according to the Florida Department of Environmental Protection. As rainwater filters down into the ground, it dissolves the rock, causing erosion that can lead to underground caverns, which cause sinkholes when they collapse.


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