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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

  • Long before his short stints in jail turned into years behind bars, Khalid Masood was known as Adrian Elms, with a reputation for drinking and an unpredictable temper. At least twice he was convicted of violent crimes, well before he stabbed a police officer to death Wednesday in London with a motion that one horrified witness described as 'playing a drum on your back with two knives.' But as he checked out of his hotel to head toward London for his deadly rampage, the manager said he was struck by his guest's friendly manner. Within hours, Masood drove his rented SUV across the crowded Westminster Bridge, leaving a trail of dead and wounded. Then he jumped out and attacked Constable Keith Palmer, an officer guarding Parliament, stabbing him to death before being shot to death by police. In all, he killed four people and left more than two dozen hospitalized. Masood, who at 52 is considerably older than most extremists who carry out bloodshed in the West, had an arrest record dating to 1983. The violence came later, first in 2000 when he slashed a man across the face in a pub parking lot in a racially charged argument after drinking four pints, according to a newspaper account. The victim, Piers Mott, was scarred for life, said his widow, Heather. Masood's last conviction was in 2003, also involving a knife attack. It's not clear when he took the name Masood, suggesting a conversion to Islam. Heather Mott said Masood appeared to come out of jail 'even worse.' She said she got chills when she learned the identity of the London attacker. 'What a pity they didn't realize he was a nutter,' she said. Police are combing through 'massive amounts of computer data' and have contacted 3,500 witnesses as they look for clues as to why the British-born man launched the deadly attack. 'Clearly that's a main line of our investigation is what led him to be radicalized: Was it through influences in our community, influences from overseas or through online propaganda? Our investigations and our arrests will help in that, but the public appeal will make a big difference if people come forward with more information,' said Britain's top counterterrorism officer, Mark Rowley. A security official who spoke Friday on condition of anonymity because he was not authorized to speak about an ongoing investigation confirmed that Masood had spent time in Saudi Arabia but said investigators were still trying to determine how long he stayed and what he was doing. Prime Minister Theresa May said Masood was 'investigated in relation to concerns about violent extremism' years ago. But she called him 'a peripheral figure.' The Islamic State group described Masood as 'a soldier,' claiming responsibility for the attack. Rowley said police are investigating whether he 'acted totally alone inspired by terrorist propaganda, or if others have encouraged, supported or directed him.' People made arrests across the country as they investigate whether anyone else helped Masood prepare his attack. Six people were released without charge Friday night, leaving four in custody on suspicion of preparing terrorist acts. Detectives have searched 21 properties in London, Brighton, Wales, Manchester and the central English city of Birmingham in one of Britain's biggest counterterrorism operations in years. Wednesday's attack was the deadliest in Britain since suicide bombers killed 52 commuters on London's transit system on July 7, 2005. Once Masood's identity became known, police and the media began tracing his final hours. The manager of the Preston Park Hotel in the beachside city of Brighton where Masood stayed the night before the attack said he seemed unusually outgoing and mentioned details about his family, including having a sick father. 'He was normal, in fact friendly, because we spent possibly five or 10 minutes talking to him about his background and where he came from,' Sabeur Toumi told Sky News. He was 'laughing and joking, telling us stories about where he lived.' Police raided the room, searching for clues about Masood. Masood's mother lives in rural Wales, according to a website on which she sells handmade cushions and handbags. The listings on Folksy by Janet Ajao have been taken down, but in an archived version of the site, she describes living in 'rural west Wales with my husband, border collie and a few chickens.' Calls to the home in remote Trelech, Wales, went unanswered Friday. When Masood was in school, he took his stepfather's name, Ajao. He was athletic and popular in high school, known as someone who liked to party, according to Stuart Knight, a former classmate, who said the young man was one of only two black students in the school of 600. 'I am in shock — that is not sympathy for what he has done — he was a nice guy and I'm surprised he turned and did what he did,' Knight said. In one of the last places Masood lived, a home in Birmingham, neighbors recalled him as a quiet man whose wife was veiled and who wore traditional Muslim clothing. But the neighborhood is not among one of the city's many Muslim enclaves, suggesting he was not deeply embedded in its religious community. Moazzam Begg, a former Guantanamo prisoner born and raised in Birmingham, said the details emerging of the attacker's life raised questions about where was radicalized. 'He did not live in a Muslim neighborhood. In my mind, in my analysis, he was probably a drifter,' said Begg, adding that no one he knew in the community had met Masood. 'I'd also be surprised if he had any connection with a mosque, because sadly they are places where you can no longer discuss politics or air grievances.' Since British authorities began cracking down on mosques, many people are instead being radicalized online, Berg added. Cultural and religious alienation can fuel such violence, he added. Begg helps run a group called Cage that has encountered extremists who spoke of their alienation before they committed attacks. While in prison, Begg said he saw others who succumbed to radicalism. He said groups like IS can exploit people's weaknesses and criminality. Late Friday, the British government honored a lawmaker who battled to save the life of the police officer slain in the Parliament attack, giving him mouth-to-mouth resuscitation. May's office said Tobias Ellwood has been named to the Privy Council, a committee of senior lawmakers, judges and others that advises Queen Elizabeth II. The institution dates back a millennium. Security Minister Ben Wallace, who helped coordinate the government response to Wednesday's attack, was also named to the council. ___ Hinnant reported from London, where Associated Press writers Danica Kirka, Jill Lawless and Gregory Katz contributed.
  • A Cherokee County middle school teacher died Thursday morning after his pickup truck went off a 100-foot embankment on I-575, officials said. The driver of the F-150 was identified as Kevin White, 37, of Canton. He was a chorus teacher at Booth Middle School in Woodstock. The incident happened on the southbound side of the interstate at Little River Bridge near Ridgewalk Parkway in Woodstock. The truck was found upside down. “It’s a significant drop,” Cherokee County sheriff’s Lt. Jay Baker told Channel 2 Action News. “It appears they were traveling at a pretty high rate of speed (considering) the distance where the car went airborne.” Baker said the truck veered into the median and went through a construction zone before striking a gravel embankment that caused it to become airborne. The accident caused major delays during the morning commute. The Cherokee sheriff’s office and Woodstock police are investigating. In other news:
  • U.S. stocks flirted with sharp losses but managed a mixed finish after Republicans canceled a vote on their health care bill because it became clear the bill would fail. Hospital stocks soared in response, while companies that stand to benefit from other Trump proposals faltered. For the second day in a row, stocks started higher and wilted as it became clear the health care bill was in trouble. The Dow Jones industrial average plunged as much as 126 points in afternoon trading on reports of the bill's impending failure, although Wall Street cut its losses after the vote was canceled. Consumer-focused companies like Nike, Starbucks and clothing company PVH rose. The health care act became something of a proxy for the rest of the Trump agenda and it dominated the market for most of this week. It was the worst week for stocks since the week before the presidential election. Banks and small-company stocks, which made huge gains after Trump was elected, both suffered their biggest losses in more than a year. President Trump and other Republican leaders said they were moving on from health care, and Michael Scanlon, a portfolio manager for Manulife Asset Management, said investors will be glad if that happens. 'You're going to see a very quick pivot to corporate tax reform,' he said. A corporate tax cut could give stocks a large boost by increasing profits, and it might also raise tax revenue. After the close of trading, House Speaker Paul Ryan said Republicans will proceed with tax reform proposals, but acknowledged the health care debacle will make that task more difficult. The Standard & Poor's 500 index finished down 1.98 points, or 0.1 percent, at 2,343.98. The Dow lost 59.86 points, or 0.3 percent, to 20,596.72 as Goldman Sachs and Boeing sank. Technology companies inched higher and the Nasdaq composite rose 11.04 points, or 0.2 percent, to 5,828.74. The Russell 2000 index of smaller-company stocks added 1.22 points, or 0.1 percent, to 1,354.64. Trading was relatively light as investors waited for answers about the state of President Donald Trump's business-friendly agenda. That may have contributed to the big fluctuations. Hospitals and insurers that do a lot of business with Medicaid celebrated the demise of the bill. HCA Holdings, the largest U.S. hospital company, climbed $2.87, or 3.5 percent, to $86.04 and Community Health Systems jumped 84 cents, or 9.7 percent, to $9.54. Among Medicaid-focused companies, Centene and Molina Healthcare each gained about 5 percent. The American Health Care Act would likely have left more Americans uninsured and would make big changes to Medicaid, a joint federal-state health program for low-income Americans. Those stocks fell when the bill was introduced because investors were concerned hospitals would have to take in more patients who lack insurance and that insurers would get less money from Medicaid. Insurance companies slumped. Cigna fell $3.36, or 2.3 percent, to $142.82 and Anthem shed $2.63, or 1.6 percent, to $126.77. With Trump and majority Republicans unable to pass the first big item on their agenda, there were some signs of concern that his proposals of tax cuts, infrastructure spending, and regulatory cuts will take longer. Those are aspects of Trump's proposed agenda Wall Street is excited about. Vulcan Materials, a construction materials maker, sank $2.65, or 2.3 percent, to $112.74. Steel maker Nucor declined $1.50, or 2.4 percent, to $59.76. Construction and machinery companies also stumbled. Engine maker Cummins shed $1.45, or 1 percent, to $150.77 and Boeing sank $1.44 to $175.82. Scanlon, of Manulife, said investors want Trump and Congress to come up with a real proposal that changes corporate taxes. 'Something needs to be done with a permanent solution, not just one of these holiday things,' he said, because 'the goal is to be a stimulus for domestic investment.' Bond prices rose slightly. The yield on the 10-year Treasury note fell to 2.41 percent from 2.42 percent. U.S. crude oil futures rose 27 cents to $47.97 a barrel in New York. Brent crude, used to price international oils, added 24 cents to $50.80 a barrel in London. In other energy trading, wholesale gasoline gained 2 cents to $1.60 a gallon. Heating oil rose 1 cent to $1.50 a gallon. Natural gas added 3 cents to $3.08 per 1,000 cubic feet. The dollar inched down to 110.80 yen from 111.07 yen. The euro edged up to $1.0808 from $1.0786. Gold rose $1.30 to $1,248.50 an ounce. Silver jumped 16 cents to $17.75 an ounce. Copper lost 1 cent to $2.63 a pound. In Germany, the DAX added 0.2 percent and the French CAC 40 dropped 0.2 percent and Britain's FTSE 100 index dipped 0.1 percent. Japan's benchmark Nikkei 225 index rose 0.9 percent following recent losses. The Kospi of South Korea shed 0.2 percent while Hong Kong's Hang Seng reversed earlier losses to finish 0.1 percent higher. ___ AP Markets Writer Marley Jay can be reached at http://twitter.com/MarleyJayAP His work can be found at http://bigstory.ap.org/journalist/marley-jay
  • A judge has dismissed a large part of the case against the man accused of holding six women against their will inside a Sandy Springs mansion.Kenndric Roberts appeared before a judge Thursday and heard the extensive case against him.Channel 2's Mike Petchenik was inside the courtroom and live-tweeted the hearing as a detective went on the stand to detail the investigation.We'll have more on the new details released in the case on Channel 2 Action News starting at 4Roberts was facing 14 felony charges, including six counts of human trafficking and six counts of false imprisonment, and weapons charges.Charges that remain are:1. False Imprisonment 2. False Imprisonment 3. Weapons charge Prosecutors said Roberts held six women against their will at a mansion and forced them to dance at the Pink Pony strip club.They said he took their money, by one account, $78,000, for just two months of work. RELATED STORIES: Woman held captive was forced to dance at strip clubs, mother says Man accused of holding women captive faces 14 felony charges Man accused of holding 6 women captive in Sandy Springs mansion Investigators also said he also threatened harm to the women if they left him.'He took her phone, we found her passport in his bedroom,' said detective Justin Clutter. 'Basically she was in fear because she saw firearms. He ended up sending her to Dominican Republic to get a breast augmentation and a butt lift. And he started making threats.'Roberts attorney called him a 'poor man's Hugh Hefner,' who had legit contracts with these women to pay them for the work they were doing for him.He argued Roberts lavished them with expensive gifts as part of their payment and that they were free to leave as they wanted. Minute by minute coverage of the case: Judge also sets a bond for Kenndric Roberts. D.A. arguing victims weren't notified about potential bond.-- Mike Petchenik (@MPetchenikWSB) March 23, 2017 Breaking: Judge dismissed all but three charges against Kenndric Roberts. pic.twitter.com/v0Op6UrYqS-- Mike Petchenik (@MPetchenikWSB) March 23, 2017 Defense attorney argues women weren't held against their will, wanted to partake in the lavish lifestyle Kenndric Roberts was providing.-- Mike Petchenik (@MPetchenikWSB) March 23, 2017 Prosecutor: Roberts threatened to cut the breast implants out of a victim if she tried to leave him.-- Mike Petchenik (@MPetchenikWSB) March 23, 2017 Attorney: 'My client is a poor man's Hugh Hefner.'-- Mike Petchenik (@MPetchenikWSB) March 23, 2017 Attorney points out Kenndric Roberts has no previous arrest record, despite allegations of gang affiliations.-- Mike Petchenik (@MPetchenikWSB) March 23, 2017 Attorney: 'They were living pretty high off the hog, weren't they?' Det: 'That's debatable.'-- Mike Petchenik (@MPetchenikWSB) March 23, 2017 Attorney says Roberts paid for health insurance for the woman, provided them vehicles, expensive jewelry.-- Mike Petchenik (@MPetchenikWSB) March 23, 2017 Attorney says women had housing, personal chef, tanning contracts and beauty salon stipends while working for Roberts.-- Mike Petchenik (@MPetchenikWSB) March 23, 2017 Defense attorney argues all the girls had contracts with a 'termination clause' in it.-- Mike Petchenik (@MPetchenikWSB) March 23, 2017 I obtained this handwritten note Roberts' attorney says he wrote showing items he says he gave one woman who worked for him. pic.twitter.com/uFQUsoiWLw-- Mike Petchenik (@MPetchenikWSB) March 23, 2017 Det. testifies Roberts forced the women to dance at the Pink Pony in Brookhaven, then took all their tips.-- Mike Petchenik (@MPetchenikWSB) March 23, 2017 Det: Kenndric Roberts put vehicles in the name of one victim who had good credit.-- Mike Petchenik (@MPetchenikWSB) March 23, 2017 Det.says one human trafficking victim wrote an e-mail to the Attorney General's office laying out allegations of abuse at the home.-- Mike Petchenik (@MPetchenikWSB) March 23, 2017 Det. says Roberts wouldn't allow the women to keep any money on them at all.-- Mike Petchenik (@MPetchenikWSB) March 23, 2017 Detective says Roberts stole $78k from women he forced to work at strip clubs.-- Mike Petchenik (@MPetchenikWSB) March 23, 2017 Detective testifies Roberts sent victim to Dominican republic to have breast work and butt lift.-- Mike Petchenik (@MPetchenikWSB) March 23, 2017 A #SandySprings special investigator is testifying in human trafficking case. pic.twitter.com/Z4GGAli63x-- Mike Petchenik (@MPetchenikWSB) March 23, 2017 Kenndric Roberts is in court for his prelim hearing on human trafficking charges. pic.twitter.com/w0eXros87D-- Mike Petchenik (@MPetchenikWSB) March 23, 2017