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No choke: Lineman turns hero for Ducks

Based on the way Oregon’s trip to Southern California has gone so far, the Ducks could be in for a rough day against Wisconsin in Monday’s Rose Bowl.

Running back LaMichael James got Oregon’s Griswold family-style vacation off to an amusing start when a photo surfaced of him wearing a terrified look on his face while riding Disneyland’s Space Mountain roller coaster.

But James’ scary ride was nothing compared to nine of his teammates getting trapped inside a hotel elevator for two hours and Ducks offensive tackle Mark Asper performing the Heimlich maneuver on an Oregon fan choking on a piece of meat.

The Oregonian reported nine players left the 11th floor of the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Century City on Monday night and were headed down when the elevator slammed to a halt between the seventh and eighth floors.

While waiting for help after reaching hotel staff on the elevator intercom, the players took turns sitting down because there wasn’t enough space for everyone to sit.

Joking with cornerback Avery Patterson, Asper told him, “You were the smallest guy in that elevator. You would have been the first one they ate, man. If it had come down to it, it’s survival of the fittest. You probably would have got eaten.”

The 6-foot-7-inch, 325-pound Asper might not earn recognition at the Rose Bowl, but he certainly was the hero of the traditional Beef Bowl hosted by Lawry’s The Prime Rib in Beverly Hills.

Paul Diamond was dining Wednesday at Lawry’s — which has hosted the meat-eating competition between Rose Bowl foes for the past 56 years — with his son Tom Diamond, an Oregon student, when he started choking and gestured for help.

With Tom Diamond’s efforts failing, Asper sprung into action.

“I patted him on the back and said, ‘If you don’t know what you’re doing, I do, because I’m an Eagle Scout,’ ” the 26-year-old Asper said. “The first heave was a test heave, because the guy seemed a little old, and I didn’t want to break his ribs or anything.

“So, test heave, then it seemed like he could handle the full force, so I popped it out.”

It’s unclear if the dislodged hunk of meat counted against Oregon’s intake total.

Either way, Diamond didn’t sound entirely grateful for Asper’s intervention.

“He came up to me afterward and said, ‘Hey, man, thanks a lot, but you broke my sunglasses,’ ” Asper said.

■ KENDRICK PERKS UP — After being criticized by NBA analyst Chris Webber, who said former Boston Celtics center Kendrick Perkins is not a good fit for Oklahoma City, Perkins took a shot at Webber on Twitter for failing to win a title during his career.

“And I’m tired of Chris Webber hatin on me,” Perkins tweeted. “Get a ring first and then I can respect ya comments other wise keep my name out of ya mouth.”

Webber reportedly tried to halt the verbal battle by calling timeout, but he didn’t have any left.


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