ACCRA, Ghana - Ghana picked Michael Essien and Kevin-Prince Boateng in a preliminary 26-man World Cup squad on Monday. Arizona Coyotes Store . The group will be trimmed to a final 23-man squad after a friendly game against the Netherlands on May 31, the Ghana Football Association said. AC Milans Essien and Schalkes Boateng were named after returning to international football last year. They had both asked for time away from the national team in the years after the last World Cup. Ghana captain and striker Asamoah Gyan and midfielder Sulley Muntari were also included and are set to play in their third consecutive World Cups. Ghana was the best-performing African team at the 2010 tournament, reaching the quarterfinals and just missing out on the semifinals after a penalty shootout loss to Uruguay in South Africa. Ghana will play the United States, Germany and Portugal in Group G in Brazil, and opens its campaign against the U.S. in Natal on June 16. Ghana beat the U.S. in the second round of the last World Cup. Coach Kwesi Appiah didnt reveal what his target was for the team that nearly became the first African nation into the last four of a World Cup four years ago. "Once the players are all fit we hope to deliver," Appiah said. "Every coach has a target and l believe in my players and the national team, but l cannot tell where we will get to. The only thing l can say is we will not disgrace Ghanaians." Essien missed the 2010 World Cup through injury and is likely facing his last chance to play at the showpiece in Brazil. Boateng stepped down from national team duties in 2011 but was recalled to Ghanas squad toward the end of the World Cup qualifying campaign late last year. Ghana will play in its third straight World Cup in Brazil. Appiah also picked Marseilles Andre Ayew, Juventus Kwadwo Asamoah and young attacking midfielder Wakaso Mubarak. Defender Jeffrey Schlupp, who plays for Englands Leicester City, was the biggest surprise in the initial squad. The GFA announced Monday that Ghana would play the Netherlands in Rotterdam on May 31 and South Korea in Miami on June 9 in its final World Cup warm-ups before facing Jurgen Klinsmanns U.S. team in Brazil. ___ Provisional squad: Goalkeepers: Adam Kwarasey, Fatawu Dauda, Stephen Adams. Defenders: Samuel Inkoom, Daniel Opare, Harrison Afful, Jeffrey Schlupp, John Boye, Jonathan Mensah, Jerry Akaminko, Rashid Sumaila. Midfielders: Michael Essien, Rabiu Mohammed, Emmanuel Agyemang-Badu, Kwadwo Asamoah, Sulley Muntari, Albert Adomah, Wakaso Mubarak, Christian Atsu, David Accam, Andre Ayew, Afriyie Acquah. Forwards: Asamoah Gyan, Kevin-Prince Boateng, Abdul Majeed Waris, Jordan Ayew. Nick Schmaltz Jersey.com) - A pair of programs shooting for their 10th win of the season get together at Madison Square Garden on Saturday, as the NC State Wolfpack tangle with 22nd-ranked West Virginia during the challenge round of the Gotham Classic. Barrett Hayton Jersey . Wayne and Cindy Tuck of Ilderton, Ont., closed out round-robin play earlier in the day with a 7-3 win over Finland but needed a win over Austria to reach the final eight.TORONTO - The Toronto Raptors will try to shake off a pair of losses tonight when they host the struggling Detroit Pistons. Toronto has dropped games to Indiana and Miami since a five-game winning streak and closed out a three-game road trip at 1-2. In Tuesdays 86-79 loss at Indiana, DeMar DeRozan led the way with 28 points and Patrick Patterson added 20 for the Raptors, who shot 37 percent for the game and received 16 points from Kyle Lowry. "Down the stretch, you cant beat a team like that by trading baskets with them," said Patterson. "You have to get stops and we just couldnt do that." The 79 points were a season low for the Raptors, who managed just 80 in a loss to Chicago on Nov. 15. DeRozan has scored 20 or more points in six of his last seven games. Toronto will open a three-game homestand Wednesday versus Detroit, Brooklyn and MMilwaukee, and is 6-8 at Air Canada Centre. Keith Yandle Jersey. For their part, the Pistons are caught in a funk and will resume a three-game road trip tonight. Detroit has dropped five in a row and three straight on the road, including Tuesdays 89-85 setback at New York in the opener of the trek. Josh Smith led the Pistons with 21 points and 12 rebounds, while Greg Monroe ended with 19 points and Andre Drummond added 12 and 17 rebounds. The Pistons fell to 8-9 on the road, shot 37.2 percent and made just 3-of-19 3-pointers. "It was a very good effort," said Pistons coach Maurice Cheeks. "(We) got down 17 and was able to fight back. We just didnt make any shots in the end to get over the hump. We played hard though." Detroit will close the trek Friday at Philadelphia. The Raptors and Pistons split four meetings last season. ' ' '
Phoenix, AZ (SportsNetwork. Richaun Holmes Jersey .com) - DeMarcus Cousins had 25 points and 18 rebounds but fouled out late in regulation and had to watch two overtime periods from the bench. His teammates stepped up in crunch time and the Sacramento Kings took a 114-112 win over the Phoenix Suns, extending one of the best starts in franchise history. Darren Collison had 16 points and Ben McLemore scored 15 for the Kings, who improved to 5-1 on the young season despite shooting just 3-of-16 from behind the arc. They have also won five straight games for the first time since 2006-07. Eric Bledsoe had 23 points and eight assists for Phoenix, losers in three of four. Goran Dragic scored 22 points and Miles Plumlee filled the stat sheet with 15 points and 16 rebounds. We just gotta do a better job of closing out games, Bledsoe said. Phoenix led 88-77 through three quarters, but the visitors dominated the fourth, holding the Suns to just 4-for-18 shooting. Plumlee made it 94-83 with his free throw at 7:28 when Sacramento rattled off 11 straight points to tie it. Cousins scored five during the run, including free throws at 4:57 to make it 94-94. The Kings took their first lead of the fourth when Cousins converted a three- point play at 1:37. After empty possessions both ways, Bledsoe tied it when he darted through the defense for a scoop layup. Sacramento took a timeout to advance the ball but whatever play was drawn up in the huddle ended before it began, with Cousins getting called for his sixth foul on an illegal screen. Former King Isaiah Thomas, who signed with Phoenix this offseason, missed a contested 3-pointer as the buzzer sounded. The Suns scored the first seven points of overtime, with P.J. Tucker hitting a triple from the left wing at 3:34 to make it 106-99. They were held scoreless the rest of the way as Sacramento clawed back. Collison scored back-to-back field goals and McLemore made a pair of free throws. Collison split a pair from the stripe to tie it. The Kings had the final look this time, but Rudy Gay dribbled off his leg and had to settle for a heave from near midcourt. Gay finished with 11 points on just 5-for-22 shooting. Bledsoes layup three minutes into the second overtime period gave the Suns a 112-108 lead. Once again, the Kings fought back. McLemore potted a triple from the corner and Gay hit a turnaround jumper. Collison split a pair at the line with 15.1 seconds left to make it a 114-112 game. They made runs, we made runs, said Gay. We had to finish out like we do. Were starting to get that mentality about us now. Phoenix had two final looks at the basket, with Tucker missing a corner 3-ball and Marcus Morris coming up short on his fade-away midrange jumper. Game Notes The Kings are 3-0 on the road for the first time since 1995-96 ... The Kings are 5-1 for the first time since starting 9-1 in the 1999-2000 season ... Tucker scored 15 for the Suns ... Cousins shot 13-of-14 from the free throw line ... Sacramento won the rebounding edge, 60-42 ... Both teams shot 42.9 percent from the floor. Ralph Sampson Jersey . According to a report from ESPN, the Green Bay Packers have re-signed the cornerback to a four-year, $39 million deal with a $12. Adrian Smith Jersey .com) - The game was all punts and field goals before Kodi Whitfields catch.LAS VEGAS -- Demetrious Johnson retained his flyweight title Saturday night at UFC 178, submitting Chris Cariaso in the second round. Johnson easily scored a takedown in the first round and stunned Cariaso with a looping right hook, followed by a knee to the jaw as the horn sounded to end the round. Johnson kept the pressure on in the second and gained top control after Cariasos slip. Johnson swiftly manoeuvred into side control, landed a few elbows and secured a Kimura, forcing Cariaso to tap out at 2:29 of the second. I felt good. It was a great fight, Johnson said. Im just trying to get better at my ground game. Johnson improved to 21-2-1 with his fifth straight title defence. Cariaso dropped to 17-6. In the co-main event, lightweight Donald Cerrone moved closer to a title shot with a unanimous decision over Eddie Alvarez. Cerrone used powerful leg kicks to wear down Alvarez, winning 29-28 on all three scorecards. Theres no quit in this dog, Cerrone ssaid. Marvin Bagley Jersey . . If youre going to beat me, you better do it in the first. In a battle of rising featherweights, Conor McGregor made short work of Dustin Poirier, earning a TKO victory in the first round. McGregor improved to 16-2, and Poirier fell to 16-4. I dont just knock them out, I pick the round, McGregor said. When featherweights get hit by me its a whole new ballgame. Yoel Romero survived a back and forth brawl to beat Tim Kennedy by TKO, and No. 1 womens bantamweight contender Cat Zingano moved into position for a title shot with a third-round TKO over Amanda Nunes. Former bantamweight champion Dominick Cruz highlighted the undercard with a first-round TKO over Takeya Mizugaki. Jorge Masvidal, Stephen Thompson, Brian Ebersole, Kevin Lee and Manvel Gamburyan also won. On the preliminary card, Stephen Thompson defeated Montreals Patrick Cote by unanimous decision. Judges scored the bout 29-28, 29-28, 30-27 in favour of Thompson. ' ' '