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Georgia Tech Sports

    First it was Crisshawn Clark. Then came Corey Manigault. Now, Damon Wilson becomes the latest member of the Pitt basketball program to depart. I am grateful for my experience at Pitt for these last two year, but I have decided to finish my college years at another school. H2P!! — Damon Wilson (@IHate_DamWilson) March 22, 2017 If you count the Justice Kithcart mid-season dismissal and the graduations, that makes a total of eight players that are gone from this year's sub .500 squad. I'm not entirely sure where I come out on the Wilson departure but it's really difficult to be too upset about it. Wilson played nearly 11 minutes a game last season and, despite not making a big impact, certainly got onto the court to show a little of what he can do. He shot below 35% from the field and was benched for much of this season. When he did get onto the court this year, it mostly was not very good. He made only 26% of his shots and missed all 12 three-pointers that he shot. There just wasn't a whole lot there and it's pretty clear that without a change in scenery, I'm not sure how much he would have progressed here. I always caution about giving up on underclassmen too soon and if Wilson went somewhere else and thrived, it wouldn't be the strangest thing in the world, I suppose. But I just think his confidence had to be shot here after this season. Pitt desperately needed guard depth and with Clark out and Kithcart often struggilng, Wilson's chance to play was probably as good as he was going to see. So when even this year he couldn't play, I'm sure he felt like the writing was on the wall. Wilson averaged less than a point per game this year after scoring 3.3 the year before. Where he ends up is anybody's guess. But don't forget that he is only two years removed from being a four-star recruit once with several offers from programs like Georgia Tech, Georgia, and Virginia Tech. Maybe someone is convinced that all he needs is a year of development and some playing time. He also has two years of eligibility left. He may choose a lower level just to get playing time but a weaker major-conference team with holes to fill showing some interest wouldn't surprise me entirely, either. The narrative that Kevin Stallings will have his own team next year only gets stronger. And ordinarily, while losing so many players in one season is a major blow, when you finish under .500 it's a lot easier to swallow. As Craig Meyer of the PG notes, Pitt has two scholarship spots open for next year. Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and founder/editor @AnsonWhaley.
  • ATHENS — It was a fitting epitaph for a season that began with big hopes. Once again, Georgia entered Sunday night hoping to pull off the upset, and once again it only ended with disappointment. The NCAA Tournament selection committee left the Bulldogs out of the 68-team field, dealing an expected but still harsh blow to a team that began the season with big hopes. Instead of the desired NCAA trip, Georgia heads back to the NIT, where a possible rematch with Georgia Tech awaits, if both teams reach the second round. Georgia was given a No. 2 seed and will host Belmont in the first round on Wednesday at 7 p.m. If Georgia wins that game, it could get a re-match with Georgia Tech, which will be facing Indiana in the first round, in Atlanta on Tuesday night. It’s intriguing, but not the tournament the Bulldogs were hoping to be in. Georgia (19-14) was hoping that its schedule strength (14th in the nation) and many close losses would sway the selection committee. But the message seemed clear: Scheduling is great, but a team must win its share of those games too. Georgia finished 1-9 against teams in the RPI top 50, the only win coming at home over Vanderbilt. While the achingly close losses in SEC play — twice to Kentucky and South Carolina, and also at Florida and Texas A&M — will be talked about, it may have been the nonconference portion of the season that was more costly. Georgia went 10-4, with an acceptable loss to Kansas, but also lost at Oakland and Clemson, which didn’t make the field, and at home to Marquette, which made the NCAAs. “You can’t go back and play the games again,” Georgia junior forward Juwan Parker said after Friday’s SEC Tournament loss to Kentucky. “Did we make some mistakes in close games and could have won, should have won, yeah. But you can’t look back on them now, the results are the results.” The last at-large team to make the NCAA field was Kansas State, which had an RPI rank of 57 and schedule strength rank of 39. Its nonconference schedule ranked 230th. Georgia’s RPI rank was 52, its schedule strength 14th, and nonconference schedule strength was 21st. But Kansas State had four wins against teams in the RPI top 50, including two over Baylor. Then there’s Southern California, the second-to-last at-large team selected: The Trojans had a better RPI rank (41) than Georgia, but its schedule strength was 73 and nonconference schedule ranked 139th. The Trojans did have two wins over top 50 teams, both in the top 20. And as it turns out, Georgia wasn’t even among the first four teams left out of the field. The NCAA committee revealed that to be California, Syracuse, Illinois State and Iowa, and subsequently those four will be the four No. 1 seeds in the NIT. It will be Georgia’s third NIT appearance in four years. The team last made the NCAA Tournament in 2015. The only upshot will be a chance to get a 20th win for a fourth straight season — unprecedented in program history — and for Georgia fans to see senior guard J.J. Frazier one more time at Stegeman. When Frazier led Georgia to a senior-night win over Auburn two weeks ago, he smiled afterwards and said “hopefully it’s our last home game.” As he and others feared, it wasn’t. But last Friday when asked about playing in the NIT, Frazier said the team would put forth its best effort. “Basketball’s fun, man,” Frazier said. “When you put your heart and soul out there and you come up short, it’s disappointing. But you’ve got to live with it.”
  • Senior Jamel Artis lands Panther of the Week honors as Pitt goes 1-1 in the ACC Tournament. Jamel Artis took home the Panther of the Week award from the ACC Tournament with a solid showing in a victory and then a loss. Tuesday night Artis came up one rebound short of a double-double in a win over Georgia Tech. The following night, while Pitt came up short, Artis almost hit for 20 points to keep the Panthers in the game against Virginia well into the second half. Though Artis didn’t shoot particularly well against the Yellow Jackets, he still finished with 11 points, nine rebounds, four assists, and two blocks. The following night did see the senior step up his shooting as he contributed 18 points, three rebounds, and one assist. Artis shot 43% from the floor. That’s not impressive, but it is when you consider he only hit 3/12 on Tuesday evening. Artis also hit 86% of his free throws in the two games Pitt played in the conference tournament. While this senior season was one that Artis and his fellow seniors would like to forget, the Baltimore native certainly did his part on the offensive side of the ball. He finished the season with 18.2 points per game and 4.9 rebounds per contest. Artis also dished out over three assists per game, while also having over 2 turnovers per game. Those aren’t the numbers you’d like to see from a person handling the point, but considering Pitt didn’t have a true point guard, it makes Artis’ year even better, when you take that into account. People have been saying Pitt lacked a true point guard all year and they are not wrong. It makes you wonder how much better this team could have been with someone else running the point and players like Artis concentrating more on other parts of his game. One can only wonder, as he will move on after this season while a couple of true PGs come into the program. Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author@BrunoPittsburgh
  • Well, it wasn't pretty at the end but Pitt held on for a 61-59 win over Georgia Tech in the first round of the ACC Tournament. The Panthers nearly blew it, if you happened to miss it. They held a 58-51 lead with only about 40 seconds left but that proved to be plenty of time for Georgia Tech to make a run. A Chris Jones foul helped the Yellow Jackets cut it to 58-53 and then a turnover and ensuing layup made it 58-55 at 33 seconds. After a Chris Jones free throw and Georgia Tech tip in, we were looking at a 59-57 game with 12 seconds left. A Cam free throw (and miss) made it 60-57 but the Yellow Jackets simply ran out of time as Pitt wisely fouled before Georgia Tech could get a three-point shot off. I was a little surprised when Georgia Tech trailed by two but opted to make a free throw instead of missing it intentionally with only about two seconds left. The odds of grabbing a rebound and getting a two-pointer seemed better to me than having to foul immediately, where time ran off the clock, then get a hail Mary pass all the way down the court for a basket. Jamel Artis, the player fouled, did miss one of his free throws so it was only a two-point game. But with only about 1.5 seconds left on the clock, I mean, what are the chances of the Yellow Jackets successfully catching a long pass (they didn't even get that far) and then getting in position to make a shot right away? Heck, Artis was better off missing the shot and forcing them to take a desperation shot all the way from the other end. Artis even looked like he was trying to miss if you saw his second free throw, which was a line drive, and then his body language afterward. I would be very surprised if he was trying to make that. Either way, it was good to see Pitt win. No, the team's NCAA hopes are still slim to none. Next up for Pitt is a date with Virginia and then two more difficult games. But for now, it's nice to know the season will go at least one more game. Perhaps the most remarkable thing is that Pitt managed to win despite not getting much offensively from Cam Johnson (five points) and Artis (11 ... more on him in a bit). The team, as a whole, just didn't shoot well, making 39% of their shots. The good thing for them is that Georgia Tech was even worse, making 35% of their attempts, and Pitt's defense was pretty solid tonight. Again, it was almost all of the starters getting the job done for Pitt. The Panthers had only three bench points, courtesy of a three-pointer by Jonathan Milligan. Michael Young led the way with 17 points and while Jamel Artis had nine rebounds, he continued to struggle offensively with only 11 points on 3-12 shooting and three turnovers. Artis really hasn't been himself lately and as I wrote in the All-ACC recognition post earlier, he hasn't even reached his season average since the big 43-point game he had against Louisville about two months ago. That's not to suggest he's been terrible. He's put together some good games since then but when the team has no bench scoring, it gets hard to make up those missing points. And it's even harder when he's taking a lot of shots but not making them. Scoring 11 points while taking five shots is a lot different than scoring 11 and taking 12 shots. Without him scoring in bunches, Pitt has a hard time winning even games against weaker teams. It's practically impossible to beat the better ones if he and Young aren't having good games. For Pitt to go further, they absolutely need more from him. To a neutral observer, the story line from the other side is more intriguing than from the Pitt standpoint. Georgia Tech was seen as a bubble team probably needing a few wins to have a chance to get into the NCAA Tournament. But a loss to Pitt tonight likely ends any hope of getting in now and the Panthers have taken at least one team off the bubble. I think Georgia Tech would have had a hard time getting regardless. Unless they won the ACC Tournament, they would have ended up with 15 losses and I'm not sure any 15-loss team has ever made it in. But without a conference tourney win, there's practically no chance of them getting in. Next up, Pitt will face Virginia on Wednesday night at 9:00 p.m. Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author and founder/editor @AnsonWhaley.
  • Vegas has thrown Pitt fans a curve ball by giving them a slight edge in the opening round of the conference tournament. Just when you thought it was OK to not care or even tune in tonight, Vegas has decided it would do the ultimate “Pitt” move and make you take a peek. That’s because Vegas has opened up with a 1.5 point advantage for Pitt in their ACC Tournament matchup with Georgia Tech. The line has moved a little bit, but still stands at a full point favoring Pitt. The game will tip off at 7PM and can be seen on ESPNU. It will be played, for the first time in ACC history, at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn, NY. Georiga Tech comes in with the 11 seed, while Pitt is in at 14. Both teams were crushed in their season finales by 20 plus points, so no momentum to be found there. The Yellow Jackets are 17-14 and 8-10 in conference play, while the Panthers stand at 15-16 and 4-14. Adding to this mysterious line is that just one week ago, Pitt fell to Tech by nine points down in Atlanta. I have no answers here, so you figure it out. The winner of this game will get Virginia in the next round, but neither one can afford to look past this game. One week ago, it was junior center Ben Lammers throwing in 20 points on the Panthers, which helped head coach Josh Pastner keep thinking about the big-dance. Pitt finished with three players in double-digits, but couldn’t get much from anyone else (stop me if you’ve heard that one before), which sealed their doom. Can the Panthers turn things around and make you care before the end of a season most would like to forget? Will the seniors continue to tune in and tune out Kevin Stallings? Are you still reading this? All these questions should be answered in just a little over 12 hours from now. Feel the excitement. Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author@BrunoPittsburgh
  • Cam Johnson knocks off the seniors for the first underclassman to win Panther of the Week. Let’s be honest with each other about this past week for Pitt basketball. It wasn’t kind. They dropped two more games to lower their record to 15-16 overall and 4-14 in the conference, heading into the ACC Tournament. The games were not pretty, but we did make a little history this past week. That’s because Cam Johnson did enough to give us our first underclassmen to win Panther of the Week this season. The sophomore was neck and neck with Michael Young, but Johnson’s overall stat line gave him the nod. Against Georgia Tech, the Moon, PA native put up 13 points to go along with four rebounds and three assists. He also continued to rack up the steals this season by adding on one more in the loss, in Atlanta. Johnson followed that up by hitting for nine points in the blowout loss to Virginia. No one lit up the scoreboard at UVA, but Johnson did also put up a Lamar Patterson-like stat line with five rebounds, two assists, four steals, and one block. Johnson has quietly gone from a player that Panther fans complained about with regards to hustle, defense, and rebounding and turned it around this year. Now, he’s one of the few Pitt players that fans seem excited about coming back next season. He’s turned up the pressure on defense with a lot of steals and been a contributor on the boards. Pitt will now head to the ACC Tournament to attempt to salvage something from this disaster of a season. Another strong performance by Cam Johnson could help them accomplish something in the post-season. I’m not talking about going on a run to the big dance by running the table in the conference post-season, but a win and a close game wouldn’t be a bad thing for this team. My, how times and goals have changed for this program. Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author@BrunoPittsburgh
  • Pitt lost to Virginia, it was bad. Today was doomed from the start. Pitt senior stars, Jamel Artis and Michael Young reportedly showed up late for the team breakfast. Kevin Stallings removed both players from the starting lineup and sat them for the first 10 minutes. Predictably, it went terrible for the Panthers. They lost to Virginia 67-42. Pitt did not make a field goal until the 9:16 mark with a Cam Johnson layup, and that shot cut the Virginia lead to 21-4. It was a total train wreck of a first half, with Pitt not being able to buy a shot and found themselves trailing 32-15 at the break. The second half did not get much better. It was Virginia’s senior day, and their lone senior Londan Perrantes had himself a day. He had a game-high 22 points, including four 3-pointers. As a team, the Cavaliers made 11 shots from the outside. The closest Pitt got in the second half was 18 points, as Virginia had control pretty much from start to finish. Mike Young ended up leading Pitt in scoring with 14 points. The next highest scorer was Cameron Johnson, who finished with 9. Johnson made just 1 of his 6 three-point attempts. As a team, Pitt was 4-20 from behind the arc. It was a pretty stark contrast, when Pitt made 13 three-pointers in their upset win over Virginia earlier in the year 88-76. The loss drops Pitt below .500 at 15-16 in the regular season. They finish ACC play at 4-14 and will be the 14 seed heading into the ACC Tournament next week in Brooklyn. They will play the 11 seed, and that should become more clear tonight, the opponent looks to be either Wake Forest of Georgia Tech. The game will be at 7:00 Tuesday night from the Barclays Center and will be featured on ESPNU. Should Pitt win, they will play at 9:00 on Wednesday night on ESPN2.
  • Panthers lose their third straight game. Pitt traveled to Atlanta Tuesday night and fell to the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets 61-52. The Panthers now drop to 15-15 on the season, and 4-13 within the ACC. It was another close game in which Pitt faltered down the stretch. The Panthers grabbed the lead at the 5:18 mark in the second half on a Jamel Artis three-point play, but the Yellow Jackets took the lead back, and held it from there. Mike Young did cut the lead to 54-52 at the 2:55 mark, but Pitt was held scoreless the remainder of the game and Josh Pastner’s squad finished the game on a 7-0 run. Pitt was led in scoring by senior Michael Young, who finished with 16 points and 4 rebounds. Also in double figures were Cameron Johnson with 13, and Jamel Artis with 12. Pitt held a narrow halftime lead, but the second half turned into a grind reminiscent of an old-Big East game. The Panthers shot 37.7% from the field, and made just 7 of their 23 3-point attempts. Today marked the return of Ryan Luther, who has missed the last 12 games with a foot injury. He had a quiet return with just 1 points and 3 boards. In fact, his foul-shot was the only point Pitt received from their bench. Georgia Tech’s offense wasn’t much better throughout most of the game, but they did heat up in the late game. They were paced by 6’10” junior center Ben Lammers, who finished with 20 points. The Panthers seemingly did not have an answer inside for him. Pitt will conclude the regular season on Saturday at #23 Virginia. Pitt actually defeated the Cavaliers earlier in the season 88-76 in overtime. The Cavaliers have been struggling in recent weeks, but did just hold down North Carolina by a score of 53-43.
  • Georgia Tech and Pitt are in survival mode as the season winds down, and Vegas gives GT the edge. It will be Senior Night in Atlanta this evening and Georgia Tech is in desperate need of a victory. So is Pitt. Both teams come in with two game losing streaks when they really couldn’t afford it, in regards to the NCAA bubble. Pitt now stands at 15-14 and 4-12 in the ACC, while the Yellow Jackets are 16-13 and 7-9 in the conference. Both squads have two remaining conference games and you have to believe that Georgia Tech gets in with a .500 ACC record. Vegas has installed the Jackets as a two point favorite over Pitt this evening. The game tips off at 9PM and can be seen on ESPNU. The last two losses for both teams were big blows to their tourney resumes. Georgia Tech bowed to NC State and Notre Dame and both were close games that they really needed. First year head man Josh Pastner will look to the home court advantage of McCamish Pavilion to lift the Jackets to victory tonight. Kevin Stallings will rely on his dynamic duo and hope that someone else shows up this evening to support Jamel Artis and Michael Young. For both teams it isn’t really win and you are in this evening, BUT, it is lose and you’re probably out without a magical run in the conference tournament. No team wants to have to win the ACC Tourney to get into the big dance. It’s even more daunting when you look at the conference as a whole. Running the table with this conference, to be kind, just isn’t happening for these two teams. Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author@BrunoPittsburgh
  • North Carolina came in waves and Pitt couldn’t handle it, as they drop to the Heels by 18. Pitt rode the emotions of senior day for as long as they could yesterday before falling to the eighth ranked North Carolina Tar Heels, 85-67. Pitt led around the under 12 timeout, before UNC chipped away and then took over before halftime. The Heels used three point shooting and domination of the offensive glass to take apart the Panthers. Justin Jackson led all scorers with 23 points, while Joel Berry II and Kennedy Meeks finished with 19 and 18 respectively. The Heels shot 10 out of 24 from beyond the arc and Pitt just couldn’t stay with them. Seniors Jamel Artis and Michael Young each put up 17 points a piece on their final performance in front of the Oakland Zoo, but it wasn’t enough. Pitt chipped away to cut the Carolina lead to eight in the second half, but the three pointers wouldn’t stop from North Carolina. UNC quickly built the lead back up to take away any doubt in the outcome. The Panthers were also badly hurt on the boards, as Roy Williams’ squad crushed Pitt in that category. Pitt finished the game with 28 total rebounds. North Carolina had 24....OFFENSIVE REBOUNDS. Yes, that tally is just offensive rebounds. Meeks had seven of the offensive rebounds, but it was really the entire team that crashed the glass, as no other Tar Heel recorded more than four offensive boards. North Carolina stayed atop of the ACC conference with a 13-3 record and pushed their overall mark to 25-5. Pitt fell to 15-14 and 4-12 in the ACC. Pitt is finished with their season at The Pete (save for maybe a lesser post-season game). They will finish up on the road, with matchups against Georgia Tech and UVA. Be sure to join Cardiac Hill's Facebook page and follow us on Twitter@PittPantherBlog for our regular updates on Pitt athletics. Follow the author@BrunoPittsburgh

News

  • Russia's opposition, often written off by critics as a small and irrelevant coterie of privileged urbanites, put on an impressive nationwide show of strength Sunday with scores of protest rallies spanning the vast country. Hundreds were arrested, including Alexei Navalny, the anti-corruption campaigner who is President Vladimir Putin's most prominent critic. It was the biggest show of defiance since the 2011-2012 wave of demonstrations that rattled the Kremlin and led to harsh new laws aimed at suppressing dissent. Almost all of Sunday's rallies were unsanctioned, but thousands braved the prospect of arrests to gather in cities from the Far East port of Vladivostok to the 'window on the West' of St. Petersburg. An organization that monitors Russian political repression, OVD-Info, said it counted more than 800 people arrested in the Moscow demonstrations alone. That number could not be confirmed and state news agency Tass cited Moscow police as saying there were about 500 arrests. Navalny, who was arrested while walking from a nearby subway station to the demonstration at Moscow's iconic Pushkin Square, was the driving force of the demonstrations. He called for them after his Foundation for Fighting Corruption released a report contending that Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev has amassed a collection of mansions, yachts and vineyards. Navalny is a persistent thorn in the Kremlin's side. He has served several short jail terms after arrests in previous protests and has twice been convicted in a fraud case, but given a suspended sentence. He intends to run for president in 2018 — an election in which Putin is widely expected to run for another term — even though the conviction technically disqualifies him. Putin has dominated Russian political life, as president or prime minister, since 2000. No overall figures on arrests or protest attendance were available. Some Russian state news media gave relatively cursory reports on the demonstrations; the state news TV channel Rossiya-24 ignored them altogether in evening broadcasts. Police estimated the Moscow crowd at about 7,000, but it could have been larger. The one-hectare (2.5-acre) Pushkin Square was densely crowded as were sidewalks on the adjacent Tverskaya Street. In St. Petersburg, about 5,000 protesters assembled in the Mars Field park, shouting slogans including 'Putin resign!' and 'Down with the thieves in the Kremlin!' Russia's beleaguered opposition is often seen as primarily a phenomenon of a Westernized urban elite, but Sunday's protests included gatherings in places far from cosmopolitan centers, such as Siberia's Chita and Barnaul. 'Navalny has united people who think the same; that people don't agree with the authorities is obvious from what is going on in the country today,' Anna Ivanova, 19, said at the Moscow demonstration. 'I am a bit scared.' Scuffles with police erupted sporadically and the arrested demonstrators included a gray-haired man whom police dragged along the pavement. Police cleared the square after about three hours and began herding demonstrators down side streets. 'It's scary, but if everyone is afraid, no one would come out onto the streets,' 19-year-old protester Yana Aksyonova said. The luxuries amassed by Medvedev include a house for raising ducks, so many placards in Sunday's protests featured mocking images of yellow duck toys. Some demonstrators carried running shoes — a reference to Navalny's assertion that tracking shipments of running shoes for Medvedev helped reveal his real-estate portfolio. Others showed up with their faces painted green, a reminder of a recent attack on Navalny in which an assailant threw a green antiseptic liquid onto his face. 'People are unhappy with the fact that there's been no investigation' of the corruption allegations, said Moscow protester Ivan Gronstein. There were no comments reported from Putin, Medvedev or other top Russian politicians, leaving in doubt what the Kremlin's strategy may be for countering the protests. Previous waves of demonstrations have dissipated through inertia or the intimidation of increasingly punitive measures; under a 2014 law, holding an unauthorized protest is punishable by 15 days in jail, or five years imprisonment for a third offense. In Vladivostok, police forcefully detained some demonstrators near the city's railway terminal, in one case falling down a small grassy slope as they wrestled with a detainee. News reports and social media reported demonstrations in large cities throughout the country, including Novosibirsk, Tomsk and Krasnoyarsk. At least 25 people were reported arrested in Vladivostok and 12 in Khabarovsk. About 40 people were detained in a small protest in the capital of Dagestan, a restive republic in the Russian Caucasus, according to Tass, ___= Irina Titova in St. Petersburg contributed to this report.
  • Knoxville Zoo officials are investigating why 33 reptiles, including three endangered species, died Wednesday.  Herpetologists came to work that morning to find a majority of the 52 animals housed in one of the reptile buildings dead. They immediately evacuated the snakes and lizards, giving them oxygen and checking their heartbeats with an ultrasound device. “This is a devastating and catastrophic loss to our zoo,” Lisa New, president at the zoo, told the Knoxville News Sentinel Saturday. “These animals were important ambassadors who helped so many people understand the role snakes and lizards play in the balance of nature.” >> Read more trending news Veterinarians from the zoo as well as from the University of Tennessee College of Veterinary Medicine are investigating the cause of death. “We also lost breeding programs for several endangered and threatened species,” she added. “It is especially difficult for our herpetologists who have dedicated their careers to caring for and advocating for these animals.” Three critically endangered species died; the Louisiana pine snake, the Catalina Island rattlesnake and the Aruba Island rattlesnake. The zoo’s forest cobra and albino Eastern diamondback rattlesnake also died. “We don't know exactly what occurred to cause this terrible event, but we do know it was isolated to a single building,” the zoo said in a post on Facebook. “We are continuing to investigate all the physical systems and conducting necropsies to see if we can gain any insight.”
  • The pilot of a single-engine plane that crashed into a Marietta house has been identified, officials say. Robert George Westlake, 78, of Atlanta, was killed Friday evening, when a Cessna Citation I aircraft went down near a home in the 100 block of Vistawood Drive in Marietta, Cobb County police spokesman Sgt. Dana Pierce said. No one else was on board. This was the third time in less than six weeks that federal officials investigated a deadly plane crash in or near metro Atlanta. The 1976 plane was en route to Fulton County Airport from Cincinnati, Ohio, Pierce said. Westlake radioed that he was having mechanical troubles moments before the crash, Pierce said. RELATED: Pilot killed after plane crashes near Cobb County house Flames from the crash spread to the home, setting it on fire, Channel 2 Action News reported. The residents, Norm and Barbara Keller, were at church at the time of the crash. No injuries were reported from the fire. 'From what it looks like at this point, it came over from the top of the house and landed in the front yard,' Danell Boyd of the Cobb County fire department told Channel 2. The crash site is near Kennesaw State University’s Fifth Third Bank Stadium and Town Center at Cobb. Smoke was visible from the stadium. Witnesses said the plane nose-dived to the ground, Channel 2 reported.  'I heard a swoosh and then a clap and an explosion and I pretty much knew before I looked outside that it was a plane crash,' said Joe Thomas, a resident in the area. The neighborhood will be blocked off while National Transportation Safety Board investigators look into the crash. On Feb. 16, a plane crash at the Barrow County airport killed two people on board. On March 4, the pilot was killed when a plane went down near the Cherokee County airport.
  • Alanna Smith's jumper with 23 seconds left capped Stanford's rally from a 16-point deficit in the second half, Erica McCall blocked a last-second shot and the Cardinal edged top-seeded Notre Dame 76-75 Sunday to reach its first Final Four since 2014. Brittany McPhee scored 27 as the second-seeded Cardinal (32-5) won its eighth in a row overall. This was the third straight year Stanford and Notre Dame have met in the NCAA Tournament, with the Cardinal winning twice. Down 47-31 in the third quarter, Stanford surged to end Notre Dame's 17-game winning streak. The Irish (33-4) had a final shot, but McCall blocked Arike Ogunbowale's drive near the basket. The win in the Lexington Regional gives Stanford a chance to pursue its third national championship under coach Tara VanDerveer. Among those in the crowd at Rupp Arena was Jon Samuelson, whose daughter, Karlie, scored 15 for Stanford. A day earlier, he was at the Bridgeport Regional to see another daughter, UConn star Katie Lou Samuelson, help the Huskies win their 110th straight game. Smith finished with 15 points. Ogunbowale had 25 and Marina Mabrey 20 for Notre Dame, which had sought its sixth Final Four in seven seasons. After driving for a basket with 51 seconds left, Smith added her biggest shot for the go-ahead score. Stanford then denied Notre Dame's Lindsay Allen and Ogunbowale on successive attempts in the final 15 seconds to spark a wild celebration. THE BIG PICTURE Stanford once again proved no deficit was too big to overcome. The Cardinal shot 12 of 26 on 3-pointers, Samuelson and McPhee each making five. Not bad, considering Stanford shot 2 of 15 overall in the second quarter while getting outscored 23-7. ... McCall had 15 rebounds. Notre Dame seemed to do everything right for most of the game but couldn't stop Stanford's perimeter game in the second half. The Irish also made just 11 of 31 shots after halftime and were topped 33-32 on the boards. UP NEXT Stanford faces the South Carolina-Florida State winner in the Final Four in Dallas next weekend.