Penn State officials will face perjury charges

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Penn State officials will face perjury charges

From Comcast SportsNetHARRISBURG, Pa. (AP) -- A judge on Wednesday upheld perjury charges against two Penn State administrators accused of lying to a grand jury that investigated allegations ex-assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky sexually abused children.Dauphin County Judge Todd Hoover ruled against the motions by former vice president Gary Schultz and athletic director Tim Curley that would have thrown out the count of perjury against each man.The judge did not rule on the other count they each face, failure to properly report suspected child abuse. In that case, the defendants have argued the statute of limitations has expired. The judge said that dismissal request would be ruled on separately.The judge said the claim made by Schultz and Curley that there is insufficient evidence to corroborate the perjury charges will be more appropriately pursued during the trial. He also said prosecutors have given the defendants sufficient information about which parts of their grand jury testimony make up the perjury allegation."Having satisfied the request to specify the statements it will seek to prove as perjurious, we find that the commonwealth need not identify the manner in which it intends to prove the alleged falsity of each statement," the judge wrote.The perjury counts are felonies, while failure to report suspected child abuse is a summary offense, less serious than a misdemeanor.Schultz, the university's former vice president for business and finance, has retired. Curley, the athletic director, is on leave. Their trial is scheduled to begin in Harrisburg with jury selection on Jan. 7. Defense lawyers are seeking to split the criminal cases against them.A spokesman for the attorney general's office declined to comment on Wednesday. A spokeswoman for the defendants' lawyers did not immediately return messages seeking comment.Sandusky, a former Penn State defensive coordinator, was convicted in June on charges he sexually abused 10 boys, some on campus. He remains jailed awaiting sentencing Oct. 9.Eight young men testified against Sandusky, describing a range of abuse they said went from grooming and manipulation to fondling, oral sex and anal rape when they were boys and for some included acts that occurred inside Penn State team showers. One young man testified his muffled screams from the basement of the Sandusky home in State College, where Penn State is based, went unanswered as Sandusky attacked him.The 68-year-old Sandusky maintains his innocence, acknowledging he showered with boys but insisting he never molested them. Given his age and the serious nature of the crimes of which he was convicted, he's likely to receive a sentence that will keep him in prison for life.The abuse scandal touched off by Sandusky's Nov. 5 arrest rocked Penn State, bringing down famed coach Joe Paterno and the university's president and leading the NCAA, college sports' governing body, to levy unprecedented sanctions against the university's football program.Former FBI Director Louis Freeh, hired by university trustees to conduct an investigation into the university's handling of abuse complaints against Sandusky, concluded that Paterno, ousted president Graham Spanier, Curley and Schultz concealed a 2001 allegation against Sandusky to protect Penn State from bad publicity.The late coach's family, as well as Spanier, Curley and Schultz, have hotly disputed Freeh's assertions.

Sixers' success against C's defense shows Boston still has room to grow

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Sixers' success against C's defense shows Boston still has room to grow

Avery Bradley was a member of the NBA’s All-Defensive first team a year ago. And Al Horford has been among the league’s best interior defenders for a number of years.

But as talented defensively as they may be, the Celtics are still learning how to play with each other as well as off of one another.

Injuries have slowed down the chemistry developing as quickly as some might expect. Horford missed nine games due to a concussion, and another game due to wife giving birth to their second child, Alia Horford.

And in Boston’s 107-106 win over Philadelphia on Saturday night, defensive chemistry -- not only among Horford and Bradley, but with all of the players -- remains a work in progress for sure.

Boston had a number of defensive issues in the first half which factored in the Sixer shooting 46.1 percent from the field while shooting 9-for-18 from 3-point range.

But the second half was an entirely different story as Boston’s defense picked up his intensity and focus level which would prove to be just enough to beat a scrappy Sixers team.

The Celtics (12-8) are four games over .500 for the first time this season currently have the third-best record in the Eastern Conference behind Cleveland (13-5) and Toronto (14-6). 

And while the players point to a handful of games that they felt they gave away, Avery Bradley reminds all that the success of this team this season has for the most part come with key players out of the mix or limited in some capacity.

“We haven’t played that many games with the full roster,” Bradley told reporters after the win. “We’re still learning how to play with each other.”

Bradley pointed out a moment in Saturday’s victory where a miscommunication between him and Horford led to a defensive miscue.

Boston has had similar mistakes made on offense this season, too.

“We haven’t really been in pick-and-roll that much,” Bradley said. “Every single game we need to improve.”

And that improvement has to continue evolving on the defensive side of things for this team to achieve its goals this season which include being among the last teams standing in the East.

Doing that will likely mean Boston re-establishing itself as a defensive force, something that should come with time and experience playing with each other.

Horford, who signed a four-year, $113 million deal with Boston in the offseason, says it’s an ongoing process for all involved.

“I have to learn to play with our concepts, the guys have to learn to play with me,” Horford told reporters after Saturday’s win. “We just have to make sure we keep playing the right way, be more consistent with that. I feel like we’re getting better but there’s still some work that we need to do.”

Stars, studs and duds: Thomas churns out another strong fourth quarter performance

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Stars, studs and duds: Thomas churns out another strong fourth quarter performance

The pressure that comes with a tight game in the fourth quarter can be a weighty proposition for some NBA players.

Then there’s Boston’s Isaiah Thomas who continues to save his best work for the fourth quarter.

Saturday’s 107-106 win at Philadelphia had yet another Thomas-like finish for the Celtics as the 5-foot-9 guard was at his most dominant state in the game’s final minutes.

Thomas finished with a season high-tying 37 points which included a stretch in the fourth in which he scored 12 straight.

“I just love the fourth quarter,” Thomas told reporters following the win. “I just want to win. Whether it’s making plays for myself or making plays for my teammates, it’s about making the right play. I get ultra- aggressive in that fourth quarter. That’s what I’ve always done.”

And his teammates appreciate how Thomas elevates his play in the game’s most pivotal moments.

“A lot of the credit is to Isaiah, how he was able to finish the game tonight,” said Avery Bradley. “He was able to make shots when we needed him to.”

And while Thomas knows his shots won’t fall all the time down the stretch, his fourth quarter mentality does provide him with a level of confidence that no matter what the defense does to him or what the score may be, he can swing the game’s momentum in his team’s favor.

“Some guys get a little tight, they get a little timid (in the fourth quarter),” Thomas said. “I embrace it. I want to be great. I want to be somebody my teammates can call on when the game is close.”

Here are the Stars, Studs and Duds from Saturday night’s game.

STARS

Isaiah Thomas: There was no more dominant player on Saturday night than Thomas. He finished with a game-high 37 points along with seven assists.

Dario Saric: It was a breakout game for the 22-year-old rookie who led the Sixers with 21 points as well as 12 rebounds for his third double-double this season. Both his points and rebound totals tied his career highs in those categories.

STUDS

Avery Bradley: Boston’s surge towards victory did not kick in until the third quarter which is when Bradley elevated his play offensively. In the third he scored 10 of his 20 points on the night, to go along with a team-high nine rebounds.

Ersan Illyasova: He finished with 18 points which included a pair of three-pointers in the closing seconds of the game. He also grabbed six rebounds and two assists.

DUDS

Celtics first half defense: There wasn’t much to like about Boston defensively in the first half. The Celtics struggled to take away or limit Philadelphia’s only strength Saturday night which was three-point shooting. The Sixers nailed nine of their 18 three-point attempts in the first half in addition to hurting the Celtics’ transition defense which gave up seven fast-break points to Philly compared to Boston scoring just one point in transition.