National sports briefs
NORMAN, Okla. — New Oklahoma coach Lon Kruger has been through a couple of rebuilding projects.
This, he says, is different.
“This program has got great tradition, so we’re not rebuilding. We’re not bringing it back,” Kruger told a crowd of hundreds who gathered Monday at McCasland Fieldhouse to see him formally introduced as the Sooners’ coach.
“We’re just hoping to continue what’s been very good here for a long time.”
Oklahoma is only two years removed from a trip to the regional finals of the NCAA tournament, but the span since then represents the school’s first back-to-back losing seasons since 1967.
Kruger, 58, spent the last seven seasons rebuilding a struggling program at UNLV and before that coached at Illinois, Kansas State and Florida. He took all four of those schools to the NCAA tournament.
“The thing we do regardless is surround ourselves with as good of players as we possibility can, and good people. We’ve always had a staff of coaches that are very genuinely interested and motivated out of the well-being for the student-athlete, not only on the court but off and in every way,” Kruger said.
• COLUMBIA, Mo. — Frank Haith is returning to the Big 12 as Missouri’s head coach.
Missouri announced Monday night that the former assistant to Rick Barnes at Texas had agreed to leave Miami and take over the Tigers.
The Hurricanes said earlier in the day that Haith had resigned to take the Missouri job, but the Tigers were quiet until university curators met for nearly two hours late in a closed session to approve his hiring.
The 45-year-old Haith spent three years as an assistant at Texas, four years as an assistant at both Texas A&M and Wake Forest, and had stints at Penn State and North Carolina-Wilmington.
He took over Miami in 2004 as his first head coaching job.
Missouri will introduce Haith on Tuesday. He replaces Mike Anderson, who went to Arkansas after five years in Columbia. Under Anderson, the Tigers made three consecutive NCAA tournaments and fell one win short of the 2009 Final Four. Their 77 wins over the past three seasons is the best three-year-run in school history.
NEW YORK — Brandon Dubinsky and Michael Sauer scored 51 seconds apart late in the third period, and the New York Rangers turned a likely crippling defeat into their most stirring victory of the season by rallying to beat the defensive-minded Boston Bruins 5-3 on Monday night.
The Rangers, who trailed 3-0 in the second period, seemed beaten by the Northeast Division champion Bruins when the game suddenly turned without warning. Dubinsky scored the tying goal with 3:48 remaining and Sauer followed at 17:03 with the winning tally that shook Madison Square Garden.