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Feb. 22, 2013 at 11:00 PM   |   0 comments

Watson leads list of match play winners

MARANA, Ariz., Feb. 22 (UPI) -- Masters winner Bubba Watson survived a missed 2-foot putt on the 18th hole Friday to reach the third round of the WGC Accenture Match Play Championship.

Matt Kuchar, Steve Stricker, Webb Simpson and defending champion Hunter Mahan also moved on in a tournament that has lost its top four seeds over the opening two rounds.

Rory McIlroy and Tiger Woods, the top two seeds, were eliminated in the opening round of match play and the next two seeds -- Luke Donald and Louis Oosthuizen -- were knocked out Friday.

After a 2-inch snowfall threw the tournament off schedule Wednesday, tournament officials plan to play the third round and the quarterfinals on Saturday. The semifinals and championship match will be take place Sunday.

Watson, the long-hitting left-hander who defeated Oosthuizen in a playoff to win the Masters last year, needed four extra holes to defeat Jim Furyk and set up a third-round meeting with Jason Day.

Watson had a 1-up lead heading to the 18th hole, where he hit a spectacular approach shot that finished two feet from the cup. Furyk answered by putting his second shot to within five feet and he made the birdie putt. That forced Watson to hole his putt to win the match, but he missed it and they went into a sudden death playoff.

Day also had to work overtime to defeat PGA Tour rookie Russell Henley in 19 holes. Henley made a 12-foot birdie putt at the 18th hole to force overtime, but Day birdied the first extra hole.

Stricker advanced with a 2-and-1 win over Nick Watney, Kuchar took out Sergio Garcia 2-and-1, Simpson was a 1-up winner over Peter Hanson and Mahan rolled over Richard Sterne 4-and-3.

In the third round Stricker will face Scott Piercy, Kuchar will play Nicolas Colsaerts, Simpson will tackle Gonzalo Fernandez-Castano and Mahan will be challenged by Martin Kaymer.

Piercy pulled off the biggest surprise in the second round by winning four of the first five holes and eventually drubbing Donald 7-and-6. Oosthuizen was eliminated by Robert Garrigus 3-and-2.

Ian Poulter, winner of this tournament in 2010, downed Bo Van Pelt 3-and-1 and will next meet Tim Clark.

Of the 16 players remaining, seven are from the United States, seven are from Europe, one is from Australia and one is from South Africa.


Pacers roll to another one-sided victory

INDIANAPOLIS, Feb. 22 (UPI) -- David West ignited a strong shooting effort Friday that kept Indiana rolling with a 114-82 decision over Detroit.

It was the eighth victory in 10 games for the Pacers, who have won their last three by a combined 90 points. Indiana now has the second-best record in the Eastern Conference behind Miami.

West scored 18 points while both David Hill and Orlando Johnson had 15. The Pacers hit 56 percent of their field goal tries and went 10-of-14 from 3-point range.

Indiana opened a 34-17 lead after one period and never let the Pistons back in the game.

Will Bynum scored 17 points for the Pistons, who went a mere 3-of-19 from beyond the arc.


St. Louis captures battle for A-10 lead

ST. LOUIS, Feb. 22 (UPI) -- Mike McCall led a St. Louis comeback Friday that brought the Billikens a 65-61 win over No. 15 Butler in a battle for the Atlantic-10 Conference lead.

St. Louis trailed by nine late in the first half, rallied to move in front for good early in the second period and then held on down the stretch for the critical road victory.

Although they do not have a spot in the national rankings, St. Louis now leads the A-10 with a 10-2 record and is 21-5 overall.

Butler trailed by three with 26 seconds left when Roosevelt Jones went to the foul line. He made only 1-of-2 to cut the deficit to two and McCall then hit two free throws to account for the final score.

A turnover charged to Butler's Rotnei Clarke moments later sealed the St. Louis win.

McCall scored 18 points and Dwyane Evans had 17 for the Billikens, who turned the ball over just four times on their opponent's court.

Kellen Dunham had 14 points for Butler (22-6, 9-4 A-10).


Penguins first in the East to a dozen wins

PITTSBURGH, Feb. 22 (UPI) -- Third-period goals by Matt Niskanen and Dustin Jeffrey Friday lifted Pittsburgh to a 3-1 decision over Florida.

The Panthers have lost in each of their last eight trips to Pittsburgh.

Each team produced a goal in the second period, but Niskanen put the Penguins in front for good on a slap shot 7:49 into the third.

The winning goal came against Jacob Markstrom, recently called up from the American Hockey League and playing in his ninth NHL game.

The win went to Marc-Andre Fleury, who made 22 saves. It was the 12th victory of the season for the Penguins, most in the Eastern Conference. Florida has lost six out of seven.

Florida's only goal came on a tip-in by Mike Weaver 8:25 into the second period.

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