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In Sports from United Press International

April 27, 2003 at 1:11 AM   |   Comments

Defensive linemen dominate draft

NEW YORK, April 27 (UPI) -- The NFL Draft began in predictable fashion Saturday, then turned almost comical and finally settled in with a big run on defensive linemen.

Heisman Trophy winner Carson Palmer, who signed a contract 48 hours earlier with the Cincinnati Bengals, became the fifth quarterback in six years to be chosen No. 1.

Injured superstar running back Willis McGahee was selected No. 23 by Buffalo even though he will probably not play in 2003, NCAA single-season sack record holder Terrell Suggs of Arizona State went to Baltimore at No. 10 and New Orleans traded two first-round picks for one in order to move up to the sixth slot and select Arizona defensive tackle Johnathan Sullivan.

A record 11 defensive linemen were selected in the opening round Saturday and the Miami Hurricanes had a player chosen in the first round for ninth straight year, equaling the University of Florida for the all-time record.

Four Miami players went in the first round, bringing that school's total to a remarkable 13 drafted in the opening round over the past three years.

The initial selections went according to form with Palmer, receivers Charles Rogers of Michigan State and Andre Johnson of Miami, defensive tackle Dewayne Robertson of Kentucky and cornerback Terence Newman of Kansas St. filling out the first five picks.

The Bengals, Detroit Lions, Houston Texans, New York Jets and Dallas Cowboys all landed players who have been projected as likely NFL superstars.

On Thursday, Palmer signed a six-year deal worth $40 million with another possible $9 million in incentives. The contract is worth $18.25 million over the first three years with a signing bonus of $10 million.

After the Bengals went through the ceremony of choosing Palmer, Detroit chose Rogers, Houston went with Johnson, the Jets selected Robertson and Dallas picked Newman.

The draft then went off on a tangent when New Orleans worked a deal with Arizona that put the Saints in the No. 6 position. They surprisingly chose defensive tackle Johnathan Sullivan from Georgia.

Arizona thus passed on a chance to draft two tremendous defensive players -- either Washington State cornerback Marcus Trufant (who eventually went to Seattle at No. 11) or Suggs (who was picked by Baltimore at No. 10).

When it came time for Minnesota to pick at No. 7, the first round took an odd twist. The 15-minute deadline for a choice in the first round was reached and the Vikings announced they would pass.

As it turned out, the Vikings thought they had worked out a trade with Baltimore and were waiting for the Ravens to announce the trade to NFL officials. But that announcement never came.

So Jacksonville, which had the eighth choice, rushed in to announce its pick -- which was Marshall quarterback Byron Leftwich. Carolina, which followed Jacksonville, also dashed into action to get in front of Minnesota and chose offensive tackle Jordan Gross of Utah.

The Vikings finally made their pick known and they went with the player most expected them to select in the first place -- defensive end Kevin Williams of Oklahoma State.

When Seattle moved quickly to choose Trufant at No. 11, there had been four selections in four minutes, an unheard of pace for the first round.


Ducks keep rolling

DALLAS, April 27 (UPI) -- Mike Leclerc scored 1:44 into overtime Saturday, giving the Mighty Ducks of Anaheim a 3-2 victory over the Dallas Stars.

Anaheim has taken a stunning 2-0 lead in their Western Conference semifinal series and the New Jersey Devils also grabbed a 2-0 advantage over Tampa Bay in the East.

The Ducks shocked the hockey world in the conference quarterfinals by sweeping the defending Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings.

Following Petr Sykora's goal 48 seconds into the fifth overtime that gave Anaheim a win in Game 1 against the top-seeded Stars on Thursday night, the Ducks remained unbeaten in the playoffs Saturday.

After taking a 1-0 lead midway through the first period in this one, the Ducks were surprised when Brenden Morrow evened the game 1.2 seconds before intermission.

The goal brought new life to the Stars, who took the lead on Mike Modano's tally 8 1/2 minutes into the second and maintained control until a bad bounce late in the third.

Rob Niedermayer's attempted pass with 69 seconds left deflected off the skate of Stu Barnes and past goaltender Marty Turco, knotting the contest and forcing another overtime.

But the Ducks were quick to strike this time as Leclerc's wrister beat Turco.

In East Rutherford, Jamie Langenbrunner scored his league-leading seventh playoff goal 2:09 into overtime, giving New Jersey Devils a 3-2 victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning.

New Jersey's first overtime of this year's playoffs was short and sweet.

Langenbrunner got a pass from John Madden and wristed a shot from the right faceoff circle. Nikolai Khabibulin made a chest save, but Langenbrunner beat several defenders to the rebound and tucked a backhander around the goaltender's right pad for his fourth postseason game-winner.

The Devils forced overtime on Grant Marshall's first goal in 66 playoff games. With 9:34 left in the third period, Scott Gomez wristed a shot from the left circle that hit Marshall's left skate and deflected past Khabibulin.

Less than three minutes earlier, Martin Brodeur kept New Jersey in the game with an acrobatic glove save on Martin St. Louis, who beat him on a shorthanded breakaway late in the second period but was denied on a backhander.


Jazz slow down Kings

SALT LAKE CITY, April 27 (UPI) -- Utah, New Orleans and Milwaukee all won on their home court Saturday to add some spice to the opening round of the NBA playoffs.

Milwaukee evened its series with New Jersey while Utah and New Orleans both won for the first time to create some instant concern for Sacramento and Philadelphia.

Greg Ostertag scored 22 points and Karl Malone added 20 to boost Utah past Sacramento, 107-104, and cut the Kings advantage in their series to 2-1.

Sacramento had hoped for a sweep of the Jazz and gain some rest, but now appear to have a fight on its hands.

In New Orleans, Baron Davis scored 15 of his 28 points in the fourth quarter and Jerome Moiso added 10 in the final period as the New Orleans Hornets pulled away for a 99-85 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers in Game 3. The Hornets cut the 76ers' lead in the best-of-seven series to two games to one.

After missing Game 2 with a bruised knee, Davis looked a step slow for most of the contest, missing 10 straight shots during one stretch. But he was almost unstoppable when it counted, making six of 10 in the final 12 minutes.

The Hornets played without leading scorer Jamal Mashburn, who is sidelined with a dislocated finger. P.J.Brown and Jamaal Magloire combined for 35 points to pick up the slack, but neither scored in the fourth as Moiso took over.

In Milwaukee, Toni Kukoc and Michael Redd hit crucial three-pointers late in overtime as the Bucks survived a shocking collapse in the fourth quarter to hold off the New Jersey Nets, 119-114. The Bucks and Nets are now deadlocked at 2-2.

Milwaukee held a 99-85 lead with 6:33 remaining in regulation. But the Bucks went scoreless for more than five minutes and produced just one point for the remainder of the fourth period.

While the Nets erased the deficit with a 14-0 run, they did not take full advantage, missing eight of 12 free throws in the final 3:50 of regulation.

There will be a full day of action Saturday with Dallas trying to become the first team to reach the second round when it takes on Portland.

The three-time defending champion Los Angeles Lakers face a critical moment when they host Minnesota -- the Timberwolves owning a 2-1 lead. Boston will be at home against Indiana, Orlando hosts Detroit and San Antonio will be at Phoenix. Boston, Orlando and San Antonio all own 2-1 advantages.


Roddick to meet Agassi

HOUSTON, April 27 (UPI) -- Second seed Andy Roddick moved within a win of "threepeating" at the U.S. Men's Clay Court Championship Saturday.

To achieve that feat, however, he will have to knock off the new world No. 1.

Roddick defeated unseeded Olivier Mutis of France, 4-6, 6-1, 6-2, to set up an all-American final with top-seeded Andre Agassi, who bounced Jurgen Melzer of Austria, 6-4, 6-1, Saturday night.

Only two other men in the history of the tournament have claimed the title three or more times in a row. The last to do it was Bobby Riggs from 1936-38. Bill Tilden accomplished the feat from 1922-27.

Mutis had the only service break in first set, which occurred in the ninth game, but the unheralded Austrian was unable to build off it.

Roddick regrouped after the first set and won the next two without losing his serve.

Agassi's victory allowed him to take over the No. 1 spot in the world rankings from Lleyton Hewitt of Australia, who held the honor for 75 weeks.

Agassi, who will turn 33 on Tuesday, last occupied the top spot from September 1999 to September 2000. He is the oldest man to achieve the feat since the ATP went to computer rankings in 1973.


Couples leads with one round to play

HUMBLE, Texas, April 27 (UPI) -- Fred Couples birdied the 18th hole Saturday to grab a one-shot lead over Mark Calcavecchia after three rounds of the Houston Open.

It has been five years since Couples won The Memorial for the last of his 14 PGA Tour victories.

Couples made a 10-foot putt to finish a 5-under-par 67 and earn sole possession of the lead at Redstone Golf Club. He had a 54-hole total of 16-under 200. He holed a bunker shot for birdie at the first before dropping a stroke at the third and two on the seventh. But he played the last 10 holes in 6-under.

Calcavecchia is in position to snap a victory drought of his own, having gone without a title since his record-setting performance in Phoenix two years ago.

Couples and Calcavecchia were not alone. Stuart Appleby of Australia was two strokes off the lead at 14-under 202 with Trevor Immelman of South Africa in fourth at 203 after shot the low round of the day with a 65.

The tour could have a shootout for the second straight week with four players at 204 and another six, including John Daly, defending champion Vijay Singh of Fiji and former U.S Amateur champion Hank Kuehne, at 205.


Giles gives Braves another win

ATLANTA, April 27 (UPI) -- Marcus Giles hit his fourth home run of the season in the seventh inning to break a tie Saturday night and give Atlanta a 3-2 win over Milwaukee.

The homer off reliever Valerio de los Santos (0-2) handed the Brewers their fourth loss in five games.

Giles, who hit .230 in a part-time role last season, is batting .347 with 12 RBI.

Trailing, 2-1, the Braves tied the game in the sixth on Vinny Castilla's RBI single to right field.

To that point, Atlanta had struggled against Milwaukee starter Wayne Franklin, who allowed two runs and five hits in 5 2/3 innings. Franklin walked four without a strikeout in his best outing of the season.

Former Brewer Ray King (2-0) pitched a perfect top of the seventh got the win. Roberto Hernandez pitched the eighth before turning it over to John Smoltz, who has not allowed a run in 12 2/3 innings this season, for his ninth save in as many chances.

Other National League results: Montreal 3, New York 2 in 10 innings; Cincinnati 7, San Diego 6 in 10 innings; Colorado 8, Chicago 5; Florida 5, St. Louis 3; Philadelphia 10, San Francisco 2; Los Angeles 4, Pittsburgh 3. Arizona's game at New York was rained out and the teams will play a double header Sunday.


Yankees claim extra-inning victory

ARLINGTON, Texas, April 27 (UPI) -- Alfonso Soriano snapped a tie with an RBI double in the 10th Saturday night, giving the New York Yankees a 7-5 decision over Texas.

Soriano also produced his league-leading ninth home run in the second.

With two outs and runners on first and second, Ugueth Urbina (0-1) jumped ahead of Soriano. But the second baseman slapped a 1-2 pitch past diving third baseman Hank Blalock, scoring Jorge Posada, who walked to start the 10th.

Esteban Yan replaced Urbina and uncorked a wild pitch on his first pitch, giving the Yankees an insurance run.

Chris Hammond (1-0) tossed a scoreless ninth to earn his first win for the Yankees. Juan Acevedo pitched a perfect 10th for his fifth save and second in as many nights.

Alex Rodriguez, who tied the game with a solo homer in the sixth, looked at three strikes for the final out.

Other American League results: Kansas City 9, Toronto 6; Oakland 6, Cleveland 3; Tampa Bay 10, Baltimore 7; Chicago 7, Minnesota 4.

© 2003 United Press International, Inc. All Rights Reserved. Any reproduction, republication, redistribution and/or modification of any UPI content is expressly prohibited without UPI's prior written consent.
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