Rivers: Milicic 'most likely' won't return to Celtics

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Rivers: Milicic 'most likely' won't return to Celtics

WALTHAM, MA The Boston Celtics are in the process of severing ties with Darko Milicic.

"Most likely, yes," was C's head coach Doc Rivers' response when asked if Milicic's time in Boston was over.

Milicic is in Europe with his ill mother and may consider staying there instead of returning to Boston.

Rivers acknowledged that the situation with Milicic's mother had been discussed previously, and that his decision to leave the team did not come as a surprise.

"We've talked about it three or four times," Rivers said.

The Celtics signed Milicic to a one-year deal for the veteran's minimum before the season. If Milicic does not return, the Celtics would likely waive him and reach some type of buy-out agreement, which would then create an open roster spot.

There isn't a very deep pool of free agents still available, but one player who will get some consideration in forward Kenyon Martin.

Rivers did not sound overly optimistic about the Celtics adding another player to replace Milicic on the C's roster.

"We're going to look around, but I can tell you that we are in no rush," Rivers said.

Milicic's departure ends a run that saw him play just five minutes, a signal of just how little impact this former No. 2 overall pick had on the Celtics roster.

And while his struggles certainly weren't helped by the steadily-improving play of Chris Wilcox, there was no doubt in Rivers' mind that the health issues affecting Milicic's family wore on him mentally.

"You could see a change with him when he found out his mom wasn't doing well," Rivers said. "There's no doubt about that."

Rivers added, "I told him he has to do what he thinks is right. I'm going to support him one way or another."

Syracuse uses late 99-yard drive to beat UConn, 31-24

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Syracuse uses late 99-yard drive to beat UConn, 31-24

EAST HARTFORD, Conn. - Syracuse receiver Amba Etta-Tawo is making the most of his final year of college eligibility.

The graduate transfer from Maryland caught 12 passes for a school-record 270 yards and two touchdowns and the Orange beat UConn 31-24 on Saturday to snap a two-game losing skid.

Etta-Tawo scored twice in the game's first five minutes on touchdown receptions of 57 and 30 yards. His 59-yard catch from the shadow of his team's goal line highlighted a 12-play 99-yard fourth-quarter drive that put the game away for the Orange (2-2).

It was his fourth straight game with at least 100 yards receiving.

"It goes back to chemistry with the quarterback and the coaches trusting me," Etta-Tawo said. "They trust that I'll make the plays and they keep on giving me opportunities to make the plays."

Syracuse quarterback Eric Dungey completed 26 of 40 passes for 407 yards and those two scores. He also scored on a 6-yard run to complete the length-of the field drive.

"We had to do it," said Etta-Tawo. "We had to drive down the field and try to put the game out, and that's exactly what we did. Everybody dug in, dug a little deeper."

Noel Thomas had 14 receptions for 111 yards for UConn (2-2). Huskies running back Arkeel Newsome ran for 81 yards and a touchdown.

It took Syracuse just 51 seconds on its first drive and 92 seconds on its second for Dungey and Etta-Tawo to make it 14-0. Etta-Tawo had five catches for 115 yards in the first quarter.

"I think he's already passed his previous career high as a collegian in the first four games with us, (more than) his whole entire career he had at the other school," coach Dino Babers said. "I think, if you asked him, I think he might have made a good choice (to transfer)."

The Huskies responded by scoring twice in the second quarter and for the second straight week, the Orange couldn't hold the early double-digit lead.

"We can't just go up 14-0, 17-0 in the beginning of the game and then put ourselves back in a dog fight," said linebacker Zaire Franklin, who was in on 14 tackles. "Some of these games we've got to have it over by the beginning of the second quarter."

Cordell Hudson pickup off a tipped pass from UConn quarterback Bryant Shirreffs and ran 22-yards down the left sideline for a touchdown that gave the Orange a 24-17 lead. It was just the second interception for the Orange this season.

The Huskies had a chance to tie the game in the fourth quarter after holder Tyler Davis, a former high school quarterback, hit tight end Tommy Myers with a 17-yard pass on a fake field goal to set the Huskies up at the Syracuse 8-yard line.

But Syracuse's defense held, and linebacker Franklin stopped Shirreffs on a fourth-and goal from the 2-yard line with just over 6 minutes left. The Orange marched the length of the field to put the game away.

"Going back, I would probably buy some more time and throw it to the back of the end zone," said Shirreffs, who threw a 24-yard touchdown to Davis with 33 seconds left to make the final score close. "I came up short. The linebacker made a good play and I didn't."