Kidd wins duel with Marbury
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., Dec. 6 (UPI) -- Jason Kidd won his duel with Stephon Marbury Wednesday night and Kenyon Martin's scuffle with Rodney Rogers sparked the New Jersey Nets to a rousing 106-87 victory over the Phoenix Suns, who had their five-game winning streak snapped.
During the offseason, the Nets and Suns swung a blockbuster deal in which the teams exchanged All-Star point guards. The Nets acquired Kidd, who has helped a young team win. The Suns received Marbury, who has provided a scoring boost.
Both teams have benefited from the trade. New Jersey came in a surprising 10-6 while Phoenix was 12-7.
With the score tied late in the second quarter, Kidd stripped Marbury and Martin picked up the loose ball. He was going in for a breakaway layup when he was fouled hard by Marbury and Rogers, both of whom tried to catch Martin before he fell into the seats.
Martin shoved Rogers as the players fell and the pair had to be separated. Both received technical fouls, but the incident seemed to spark the Nets. They closed the quarter with an 11-2 run that built a 55-46 halftime lead.
It continued in the third quarter with Kidd doing much of the damage. He had two three-pointers, five assists and five rebounds as New Jersey widened the advantage to 82-61 entering the final period.
Other NBA results: Boston 95, Denver 80; San Antonio 120, Atlanta 112; Detroit 95, Seattle 91; Orlando 102, Chicago 74; Los Angeles Lakers 98, Dallas 94; Golden State 93, Philadelphia 87.
Colorado extends unbeaten streak
DETROIT, Dec. 6 (UPI) -- Radim Vrbata had a goal and an assist and Joe Sakic set up a pair of scores Wednesday night as the Colorado Avalanche extended its season-best unbeaten streak to six games with a 4-1 rout of Detroit.
Detroit's 22-5-1-1 record and 46 points are tops in the league, but red-hot Colorado moved three games over .500 (15-12-2-0) for the first time this season.
Sergei Fedorov had his 13th goal of the season for Detroit, which has endured back-to-back losses for the first time since Jan. 20-21 -- a span of 60 games.
Red Wings goaltender Dominik Hasek was shaky in net, stopping just eight of 10 shots in the opening period. He faced just eight shots the rest of the way but surrendered goals to Steven Reinprecht and Blake over the final 40 minutes.
Other NHL results: Florida 2, Columbus 0; New Jersey 2, Montreal 1; Chicago 4, Minnesota 2; Ottawa 6, Dallas 3; Edmonton 3, Anaheim 2 in overtime; Phoenix 3, St. Louis 0.
Duke stays No. 1
It was never close as Dunleavy scored 17 of his 24 points in the opening half, propelling the unbeaten Blue Devils (7-0) to a 41-28 lead after 20 minutes and their fourth straight victory over the Owls (3-3).
Last season, Duke topped Temple twice on neutral floors, posting a 63-61 triumph in the title game of the Preseson NIT at Madison Square Garden in New York and a 93-68 win at the First Union Center in Philadelphia eight days later.
Lynn Greer netted 22 points for the Owls, who had their three-game winning streak halted.
In the only other game involving a top 10 team, No. 4 Florida fought off No. 16 Michigan St., 74-70.
Report: Expos owner can buy Marlins
MIAMI, Dec. 6 (UPI) -- John Henry reportedly has been given permission to sell the Florida Marlins to Montreal Expos owner Jeffrey Loria.
Citing a Major League Baseball source, the Miami Herald reported Wednesday that the deal could be made final in the next few days. Three-quarters of baseball's owners would need to approve the sale.
A spokesperson from the Marlins and Expos had similar responses, saying they do not comment on a "rumor." When asked if anything was official, a MLB spokeswoman simply said, "no."
The Expos are expected to be either contracted or taken over by Major League Baseball, which would buy the team from Loria in case contraction is aborted, leaving him an opportunity to own the Marlins.
Other teams wanting to acquire the star players in a dispersal draft likely would fight such a move.
Torre reportedly signs three-year deal
According to the New York Times, the deal is worth just over $16 million, although a team spokesman denied it Wednesday.
The Yankees also never announced the re-signing of General Manager Brian Cashman, who inked a new deal some time after the end of the World Series.
Torre's contract expired on Oct. 31, four days before the Yankees suffered a 3-2 loss to the Arizona Diamondbacks in Game Seven of the World Series.
Torre guided the Yankees to three straight World Series titles from 1998-2000 and four overall since replacing Buck Showalter in 1996. He is sixth all time with 19 wins in the World Series and is 582-387 during his tenure with New York to raise his career record to 1,476-1,390.
Torre has called Giambi in hopes of luring the Oakland Athletics slugger to New York. This past season, the 2000 American League Most Valuable Player batted .342 with 38 home runs, 120 RBI and a league-leading 129 walks.
Brocail signs with Astros
HOUSTON, Dec. 6 (UPI) -- Doug Brocail will have a chance to make up for a lost season with the Houston Astros.
The 34-year-old reliever, who missed the entire 2001 season due to injuries, signed a one-year, minor league contract with the club Wednesday. The deal includes an invitation to spring training.
Brocail, who earned $2.3 million last season, began the year on the disabled list with a hamstring injury and underwent season-ending elbow surgery on April 27.
Brocail was acquired from the Detroit Tigers on Dec. 11, 2000 in a six-player deal. In his second tour with Houston, Brocail, who also has spent time with San Diego, has a career record of 28-36 with a 3.87 ERA and five saves.
In other signings Wednesday, Boston inked lefthander Jeff Wallace to a one-year contract and pitcher Jason Christiansen signed a three-year deal with the San rancisco Giants.
Bears near playoff bid
NEW YORK, Dec. 6 (UPI) -- The National Football League computers came to the conclusion Wednesday that the Chicago Bears can win a playoff spot this weekend.
A lot of things have to happen, but the Bears can earn their first playoff appearance in seven years with the right set of breaks.
No other team can qualify for the playoffs this weekend.
Chicago, which is 9-2 and has a one-game lead over the Green Bay Packers in the NFC Central, can clinch at least a wild card berth if one of these three possibilities play out:
-- The Bears win while Tampa Bay loses or ties, the New York Giants lose or tie and Atlanta loses.
-- The Bears win while Tampa Bay loses or ties, the New York Giants lose or tie, New Orleans loses and Philadelphia loses.
-- The Bears win while Tampa Bay loses or ties, the New York giants lose or tie, New Orleans loses and Washington loses or ties.
Manuel has gallbladder removed
CLEVELAND, Dec. 6 (UPI) -- Cleveland Indians manager Charlie Manuel, who has missed 27 games over the past two seasons bacause of health problems, had his gallbladder removed Wednesday.
Manuel, who will be 58 in January, is expected to leave the Cleveland Clinic on Thursday.
An abdominal infection cost Manuel 14 games this past season, including a win that clinched the American League Central Division title.
Manuel was hospitalized twice in late August and again in late September. On Aug. 28, he had scar tissue removed from his colon, which was operated on twice between February and May 2000.
Batch out for the season
PONTIAC, Mich., Dec. 6 (UPI) -- Detroit Lions quarterback Charlie Batch, who suffered a separated right shoulder in Sunday's loss to the Chicago Bears, had his season come to an end Wednesday when he was placed on injured reserve.
Batch landed hard on his shoulder after he was sacked by Chicago Bears safety Mike Brown late in the third quarter of Detroit's 13-10 defeat. The Lions, who dropped to 0-11, originally announced that Batch would be sidelined four to six weeks.
He completed 18 of 28 passes for 214 yards in three quarters and left with the Lions holding a 10-3 lead.
The Bears rallied for 10 fourth-quarter points, and the Lions lost a chance to tie the game when Jason Hanson missed his third field-goal attempt of the game -- a 40-yarder with 24 seconds left.
Batch's injury should provide a further opportunity for rookie Mike McMahon, who nearly rallied the Lions to a victory over Green Bay on Thanksgiving.
Broncos stipped of third-round pick
NEW YORK, Dec. 6 (UPI) -- The Denver Broncos have been stripped of a third-round pick in the 2002 draft for violating guidelines under the NFL's deferred compensation fund.
The Broncos also were ordered to make payments totaling nearly $1 million for failing to submit money in a timely fashion between 1998 and 1999, a league spokesman confirmed Wednesday.
Denver is forced to pay $968,000 -- $663,000 of which was determined by the NFL to be the equivalent of the interest the Broncos gained by holding on to the money.
Under league rules, each team is required to place a portion of its deferred players' and coaches' salaries into a league reserve fund to ensure that teams do not go into long-term debt and that players who sign contracts that include deferred money are guaranteed it will be available in the future.
Indiana fires football coach
BLOOMINGTON, Ind., Dec. 6 (UPI) -- A season-ending victory over Purdue was not enough for Indiana football coach Cam Cameron to keep his job.
Cameron, a 1983 graduate of Indiana, was fired Wednesday after posting a five-year record of 18-37. The Hoosiers finished 5-6 this season, their best record under Cameron.
Indiana athletic director Michael McNeely said the program needs to head in another direction. In their first four seasons under Cameron, the Hoosiers were 2-9, 4-7, 4-7 and 3-8.
Cameron failed to produce a winning season despite the presence of Antwaan Randle El, who earlier this year became the all-time NCAA Division I-A rushing leader among quarterbacks.
SMU hires Kansas St. assistant
DALLAS, Dec. 5 (UPI) -- Phil Bennett, the defensive coordinator and defensive backs coach at Kansas State for the past three years, was named Wednesday as football coach at Southern Methodist.
Bennett, 46, takes over a program that has endured four straight losing seasons. He replaces Mike Cavan, who was fired on Nov. 19 after posting an 18-28 record over five years.
"This announcement is the next step in our commitment to excellence within our football program," athletic director Jim Copeland said. "We plan to win championships here at SMU and Phil has all of the characteristics that we were looking for in a leader of our program.
"He is passionate, enthusiastic, disciplined, has great integrity and has a great football mind. Without a doubt, Phil Bennett is the best fit for our program."
Kansas State is ranked third in the nation in total defense this season after placing fourth in 2000.