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Around & About / News and notes

Book details 'The Destroyer'

Section VI wrestlers who aspire to win the annual "Destroyer award" can now read about the man's life.

A book entitled: 'Masked Decisions: The Triangular Life of Dick 'The Destroyer' 'Doctor X' Beyer, From American Athlete to International Icon' details the life of Dick Beyer, who currently resides in Akron. It paints an in-depth portrait of Beyer's unexpected journey from a working-class Buffalo upbringing to a sports standout at Syracuse University to a world class wrestling trailblazer. Through early television broadcasts of wrestling, Beyer gained respect, but not marquee status until a Los Angeles promoter put him in a mask and named him 'The Destroyer.'

The book, authored by Vince Evans, is available in paperback ($23.95) and a Kindle ($9.99) version and may be purchased through Amazon.com, Barnes and Noble.com and through the publisher's website, Outskirts Press.

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Xavier gets a victory

Tu Holloway scored 21 points and No. 14 Xavier ended a three-game losing streak with an 87-77 victory over Southern Illinois on Sunday in the seventh-place game of the Diamond Head Classic in Honolulu.

Before a sparse, morning crowd on Christmas Day, the Musketeers won for the first time since Dec. 10, when they beat Cincinnati in a game cut short in the closing seconds by brawling and mayhem on the court.

This was the first three-game losing streak for Xavier under coach Chris Mack and first since the 2007-08 season.

Mark Lyons had 17 points and 10 rebounds for the Musketeers (9-3). Andre Walker and Travis Taylor added 13 apiece for Xavier, which made 36 of 48 free throws. Walker also had 10 rebounds. The Salukis (3-8), losers of three in a row, were led by Dantiel Daniels with 22 points.

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Bowl season continues

Big changes are coming for the football programs at Missouri and North Carolina. Before they happen, there's one more football game to play.

The Tigers and Tar Heels meet today in the Independence Bowl in Shreveport, La. (5 p.m., ESPN2), and both teams have become quite experienced at juggling questions about their long-term future with the upcoming matchup. Players and coaches are adamant the focus will be squarely on the field.

"We're expecting to play our best game," Missouri coach Gary Pinkel said. "And we expect North Carolina to play their best game."

Not that there aren't reasons to be distracted. North Carolina (7-5) is in the midst of a coaching change, while Missouri (7-5) is preparing for its move to the Southeastern Conference after an acrimonious exit from the Big 12.

The Tar Heels endured more than their share of turmoil this season under interim head coach Everett Withers, who took over in July after Butch Davis was fired shortly before preseason camp in the shadow of an NCAA investigation. Withers was a candidate for the full-time job until last week, when North Carolina announced the hiring of Southern Mississippi coach Larry Fedora.

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Hats off to Fedora

Austin Davis made the plays when it counted to send Southern Mississippi coach Larry Fedora out a winner.

Davis threw two touchdowns, including a 4-yarder late in the game, and No. 22 Southern Miss earned a school-record 12th victory by holding off Nevada, 24-17, in the Hawaii Bowl in Honolulu late Saturday night.

"It wasn't his best game, but he did enough to help us win this football game," said Fedora, who is leaving after four seasons to take over at North Carolina.

Davis overcame a shaky game for the Conference USA-champion Golden Eagles (12-2), and the defense in the second half managed to shut down Nevada's potent pistol attack led by Lampford Mark.

"I thought we struggled the entire game offensively. We made a few big plays at the end, but really the defense, these guys were special and they've done that all year," Davis said. "We made a play or two on offense when we needed to."

Nevada was without its top receiver, Rishard Matthews, who has 91 receptions for 1,364 yards and eight TDs.

From News Staff and wire service reports