Associated PressBOSTON -- Another big upset for Scott Brown's family.Just a few hours after her father wassworn in as the newest member of the U.S. Senate, Ayla Brown helpedBoston College knock off sixth-ranked Duke 61-57 on Thursday night."He sent me a text message before thegame saying, 'I wanted to be at the game, but I'm so proud of you. Winit for me,'" Ayla Brown, a backup forward on the Eagles and a formerAmerican Idol contestant, told The Associated Press. "And that's whatwe did."Carolyn Swords scored 14 points andadded nine rebounds for BC (13-10, 4-4 Atlantic Coast Conference),going 8 for 8 from the line in the final 5 minutes. It was the Eagles'first victory over a ranked team since beating then-No. 2 Ohio State inthe second round of the 2006 NCAA tournament.Jasmine Thomas scored 19 points for Duke (18-4, 6-1), which has spent 200 straight weeks in the AP Top 25."It only takes one game like this toturn our team around in terms of our confidence level," BC coach SylviaCrawley said. "Until that happens, you're always intimidated by thoseteams. This is huge for this team. A mindset is a hard thing to change.I think they are coming around in terms of believing in what we'redoing."Brown scored six points, making a keybasket midway through the second half after Duke went ahead 41-38 tomatch its biggest lead of the game. Swords hit a pair of free throws togive BC the lead, and though the game remained close the Eagles nevertrailed again.Swords went 10 for 10 from the linein all, and BC made 20 of 21 free throws in the game as they foughtback the Blue Devil's attempt at a comeback."If we're going to be a special team, we've got a long way to go," Duke coach Joanne McCallie said.Scott Brown, a former state senator,overcame a double-digit deficit in the polls to stun Democrat MarthaCoakley and win the seat that had been held by Ted Kennedy for almost50 years. At a Capitol Hill ceremony on Thursday, Vice President JoeBiden swore him in as the Senate's 41st Republican - giving the GOP thevote they need to filibuster Democratic initiatives.So, which was the bigger upset?"I think Brown over Coakley is abigger upset, because that's for the state of Massachusetts," said AylaBrown, who had an active role in the campaign. "But in my eyes, this isthe biggest upset I've ever experienced in my basketball career."And that even made it worth missing her dad's big day."Obviously, I wish I was there,"Ayla Brown said. "But at the same time, I have a job to do. That's whyI stayed behind, and he understood."It was the second straight victoryfor BC, which beat Miami on Sunday after losing its previous fourgames. The Blue Devils had won four straight since losing to top-rankedConnecticut 81-48, but they've played just two games in the past 11days.The rust showed early.Duke fell behind 7-0 but the gamewas tied 30-all at halftime and the Blue Devils opened a 41-38 leadbefore Brown's jumper and Swords free throws to give the Eagles thelead. Duke tied it one last time when Thomas came out of a timeout andhit a floating jumper from the side of the key to make it 55-alll with59 seconds left.But Brittanny Johnson made a pair offree throws and then Swords - shaking off a timeout called to ice her -did the same. By the time Bridgette Mitchell's basket brought Dukewithin two points, there were only three seconds left.After Picco's foul shots iced it andthe last second ticked off the clock, the BC players ran to the centerof the court to celebrate.
Quotes, notes and stars from the Red Sox’ 8-7 win over the Rangers:
* “(Matt) Bush has tremendous arm, but what we’ve seen . . . I don’t know that there’s anyone that throws a hard enough to get it by Mookie [Betts]. Just lightening bat speed . . . The dugout erupted when he caught it.” - Farrell said on Betts’ ninth inning homerun.
* “It was an outstanding comeback. Just a tremendous character win tonight by our guys. The work that our bullpen did tonight was just outstanding. ” - John Farrell said following the comeback win over Texas.
* “Koji comes back after a couple of rough outings and was vintage Koji here tonight.” - Farrell said on Uehara striking out the side in the ninth to earn the save
* “The homerun. Without that homerun, you don’t get to that wild pitch.” - Jackie Bradley said on what the Red Sox dugout was more excited about in the ninth.
* “Winning, to me that’s everything. I definitely want to go out there and throw the baseball better. I want to win myself. But at the end of the day I want the Red Sox to win.” - David Price said following the Red Sox win, despite his inability to keep the game close throughout the duration of his start.
* David Ortiz extended his hitting streak to 10 games with his fourth inning single. He’s now 12 for his last 36 during his 10-game hitting streak.
* Sandy Leon’s ninth inning double was his 12th hit of the year. He’s now 12-for-22 (.545) to start his 2016 campaign. Four of his hits are doubles and he also has four RBI.
* David Price’s 2.1-inning start is his shortest with Boston yet. The lefty gave up a season-worst 12 hits -- the most hits he’s given up since May 8th last season in a 6.1 inning start.
* Hanley Ramirez’s two-run homerun marks his third in the last ten games.
* The Red Sox improve to 22-3 when Jackie Bradley Jr. hits a homerun following his 13th homerun of the season.
1) Mookie Betts
Betts had over three hours between his two base hits, but his second proved the most important. He launched a 2-0 fastball into left center, tying the game in the ninth.
2) Jackie Bradley Jr.
Bradley laced a homerun into the right field second deck to put Boston in striking distance at 7-4. In addition to knocking in two runs, he scored in the ninth after he walked, starting the ninth inning comeback.
3) Koji Uehara
Despite struggling of late, Uehara was called on to close and struck out the side to seal the win. He was the final piece of the 6.2 innings of relief from the bullpen that came in one of Boston’s biggest wins of the year.
Nick Friar can be followed on Twitter: @ngfriar
The wheels of the Kevin Durant free agent train have been set in motion.
"Durant’s representatives at Roc Nation are working to solidify invitations" for meetings with a list of five teams, which includes the Boston Celtics, according to The Vertical's Adrian Wojnarowski. The other teams listed are the Warriors, Clippers, Heat, Spurs and Thunder. The Nuggets, Knicks, Lakers, Rockets, and Wizards could "could still find audiences with him," but they are considered outsiders.
Wojnarowski says the Thunder remain the frontrunners, but "the Warriors have Durant's attention."
If Durant chooses the Warriors it could happen very quickly. Warriors restricted free agent Harrison Barnes could sign an offer sheet for a contract on July 1, which would mean the Warriors would have only have three days to match the deal. They'd likely need a decision from Durant before then, or they'd risk losing one of their valuable pieces without being able to fill his role.
Durant plans on making his decision before July 9 anyway, according to Wojnarowski, because that's when he's leaving for a publicity tour in the Far East.
The fact the Celtics are even on Durant's primary list shouldn't come as a surprise considering his actions after his game in Boston against the Celtics earlier this year. They do have tough competition though. Both the Warriors and Heat have the cap space to absorb Durant's likely max contract worth about $26.4 million, and the Spurs can easily create the space if necessary.
The Clippers are interesting though, because they'd have to deal one of their stars (Chris Paul, DeAndre Jordan, or Blake Griffin) to free the cap space to sign Durant. If he does choose the Clippers, maybe Danny Ainge could help Doc Rivers swing a deal. How about something involving Blake Griffin and Jae Crowder?
But the Celtics have an edge. Their the only team listed that can sign two max contract free agents. If Durant wants to play with his buddy Al Horford, or anyone else for that matter, the Celtics can make it happen easily. How about a 2007 draft class reunion with Durant, Horford, and Jared Dudley? It's an odd trio, but Dudley has already expressed interest in joining the Celtics.
No matter what happens, though, the Celtics are in the race. Celtics fans might be disappointed after Thursday night. But we're just getting started, folks.
Kevin O’Connor can be followed on Twitter: @KevinOConnorNBA
First impressions of the Boston Red Sox’ 8-7 win over the Texas Rangers:
Boston’s offense is always in striking distance.
The Red Sox had an uphill battle from the get-go thanks to David Price’s tough outing.
But somehow they took advantage of Texas’ equally bad pitching—that just happened to be more spread out than Boston’s bad pitching.
If Jackie Bradley Jr. doesn’t earn a walk, or Sandy Leon doesn’t fight tooth and nail for a two-out double in the ninth, that Mookie Betts homerun can’t happen.
The Red Sox need another long outing from Steven Wright.
Obviously they’d prefer a strong performance -- but the knuckler may need to bite the bullet if he’s off Saturday night.
Boston’s bullpen has been used and abused of late, and needs some rest following the Chicago series and a 2.1 inning outing from Price.
Price continues to struggle against the Rangers in his career.
Even when he was able to walk out of the first with just the one run after a bases loaded double play, but couldn’t clamp down with two outs.
The biggest reason he struggled wasn’t his velocity—although it seemed down most of the night—but his location. He left a lot of pitches up in the zone and Texas is not the team you can do that with.
Although Price was bound to have a rough start, this start went worse than anyone could’ve anticipated. To say this was a bad start is putting it nicely.
Texas gave him a nice wake-up call. He still has room to grow.
Matt Barnes had a solid performance.
It wasn’t his best, but given the situation, he did well. First off, the Rangers are a very hot team and swing early in the count. Barnes left the ball up time after times, but only surrendered the one run.
Additionally, he entered the game far earlier than he’s used to -- in the midst of a blowout where his team was on the wrong end. That’s not an easy thing to walk into for a reliever, especially one who’s used to pitching late in tight ballgames.
He gave Boston a chance when the offense started to gain momentum.
Hanley Ramirez’s power continues to show.
Although he’s not hitting at the rate he did to start the year, Ramirez laced another homer against the Rangers Friday night.
This homerun may have been his most impressive, coming on a 1-2 slider away, driving it to straightaway center -- the deepest part of the ballpark.
Boston just saw what they look like when they almost blow games.
All season the talk around the league has been how explosive the Red Sox lineup is.
Well, the Rangers offense is right there with them. The league’s hottest team didn’t waist any time scoring, and had 15 hits before Boston pitching recorded an out in the fifth inning.
Although the Red Sox outslugged Texas late, they saw what a potent offense outside the AL East can do -- and how bad pitching can undo all of that.
Nick Friar can be followed on Twitter: @ngfriar