Duke protects No. 1 ranking
LAHAINA, Hawaii, Nov. 22 (UPI) -- Top-ranked Duke brought Ball State back to reality Wednesday night, recording an 83-71 victory over the Cardinals to become the first team to win the Maui Invitational three times.
The Blue Devils (3-0), who survived a scare against Seton Hall in the first round, also captured this tournament in 1992 and 1997.
Ball State (2-1) reached the championship game with upsets of No. 3 Kansas and No. 4 UCLA, marking the first time the Cardinals defeated top-five opponents in consecutive games.
Ball State appeared ready to make a run at another upset, opening a 27-18 lead midway through the first half. But the defending national champions asserted themselves and surged to a 49-39 halftime advantage.
Duke broke it open early in the second half, stretching its lead to 22 points before the Cardinals made it respectable.
In the Preseason NIT, Darius Songaila's follow dunk with 1.7 seconds left Wednesday night gave Wake Forest a 62-61 victory over No. 21 Fresno State in the semifinals. Wake Forest will meet 18th-ranked Syracuse in Friday night's championship game after Kueth Duany scored a career-high 24 points to lead the Orangemen past No. 11 Michigan State, 69-58.
In other contests involving top 10 teams, No. 3 Kansas rallied past Seton Hall, 80-62; No. 4 UCLA defeated South Carolina, 89-77; No. 8 Iowa nipped No. 9 Missouri, 78-77; and No. 10 Virginia battered Howard, 115-66.
Spurs win sixth straight
SAN ANTONIO, Nov. 22 (UPI) -- Tim Duncan scored 30 points and grabbed 13 rebounds Wednesday night as the San Antonio Spurs won their sixth straight game, 110-93 over the Seattle SuperSonics.
The Spurs (8-2) shot 54 percent to improved to 6-0 at the Alamodome this season. They had not win six in a row since capturing nine straight from March 1-16, 2001.
San Antonio has not lost since dropping a contest to Sacramento on Nov. 4.
Duncan scored 16 points with six rebounds in the first quarter as the Spurs opened a 40-20 lead. With the game tied 2-2, San Antonio embarked on an 18-2 run and never led by less than double digits thereafter.
Other NBA results: Atlanta 92, Boston 85; Dallas 89, Charlotte 78; Cleveland 101, Memphis 94; Philadelphia 94, Detroit 89; Orlando 117, Minnesota 106; Milwaukee 96, Chicago 92; Los Angeles Lakers 89, Denver 68; Phoenix 96, New York 72; New Jersey 90, Utah 89 in overtime; Sacramento 95, Portland 83.
Islanders outslug Avalanche
UNIONDALE, N.Y., Nov. 22 (UPI) -- Mariusz Czerkawski collected a goal and an assist and Alexei Yashin scored with 4:16 remaining Wednesday night as the New York Islanders opened a seven-game homestand with a 5-4 victory over the Colorado Avalanche before a sellout crowd at the Nassau Coliseum.
Yashin got the game-winner when he took a backhanded pass from defenseman Marko Kiprusoff in the slot and redirected it into a vacated net.
The Islanders returned from a 1-3-1 road trip and improved to 5-1-1-1 at home.
Joe Sakic collected two goals and an assist for the Avalanche, who completed a 1-2-0 trip through the New York metropolitan area.
Other NHL results: Detroit 1, Columbus 0 in overtime; Washington 3, tampa Bay 2; Buffalo 4, Toronto 2; Florida 6, Anaheim 0; Vancouver 4, Pittsburgh 1; Nashville 4, Chicago 3; Dallas 4, Carolina 4; Minnesota 2, San Jose 0.
Lions host Packers in Thanksgiving doubleheader
PONTIAC, Mich., Nov. 22 (UPI) -- The NFL's lone remaining winless team at 0-9, the Detroit Lions have won their last four Thanksgiving games and six of the last seven.
But Brett Favre and the Green Bay Packers will be out to end that streak and keep the Lions winless today.
In the second half of the Thanksgiving doubleheader, the Denver Broncos (5-5) will play in Dallas (2-7).
Detroit coach Marty Mornhinweg could not have envisioned entering the traditional holiday game with a winless record. But Favre could probably think of better ways to spend Thanksgiving than at the Silverdome, where the Packers (6-3) have lost four straight and seven of their last eight visits.
A three-time MVP, Favre has been intercepted 20 times in those eight games.
Green Bay is one game behind first-place Chicago (7-2) in the NFC Central.
This will be the 16th Thanksgiving game between the NFC Central rivals, the most in NFL history. From 1951-63, the Lions and Packers met on Thanksgiving 13 straight times.
Woods wins Grand Slam
KAUAI, Hawaii, Nov. 22 (UPI) -- Tiger Woods fired a 7-under-par 65 Wednesday to capture his fourth straight PGA Grand Slam of Golf title and $400,000 with a three-shot victory over David Toms at the Poipu Bay Golf Club.
Woods finished the unofficial 36-hole event, which gathers the winners of the four major championships, at 12-under par 132. He opened with a 67 Tuesday and began the second round one stroke behind U.S. Open winner Retief Goosen of South Africa.
Woods, who also will play the Skins Game this weekend in California, captured five titles in 2001 along with another money title and his third straight Player of the Year award.
Toms qualified for the event with a thrilling win at the PGA Championship in Atlanta, where he parred the 72nd hole for a one-shot triumph over Phil Mickelson. He won two other events and was third on the money list with nearly $3.8 million.
Goosen settled for a 1-under 71 Wednesday and finished third, five shots behind Woods. The other player in the field was David Duval, who captured his elusive first major at the British Open but never was a factor here. He finished 16 shots behind Woods at 4-over 148.
Lamar Odom's suspension ends
LOS ANGELES, Nov. 22 (UPI) -- The NBA announced Wednesday that the suspension handed Los Angeles Clippers forward Lamar Odom for marijuana use is over.
A Clippers spokesman then said team would also remove its suspension, clearing the way for Odom's return to the court. He missed eight games and will return tonight against the New Jersey Nets.
On Nov. 5, Odom was suspended for the second time in eight months for violation of the anti-drug policy of the NBA and the Players Association. The suspension was for a minimum of five games.
The program prevents the NBA or union from publicly disclosing information regarding the testing or treatment of any player in the program. However, Odom admitted marijuana use in a news conference.
After Odom had missed one game, the Clippers placed him on the team suspended list.
The Clippers have gone 5-3 in his absence, playing just once on the road.
Odom, 22, was suspended five games last March for violating the terms of the program. A third violation could result in much stiffer punishment, including dismissal.
World Cup skiing makes emotional return
COPPER MOUNTAIN, Colo., Nov. 22 (UPI) -- Norway's Andrine Flemmen claimed her second career giant slalom win Wednesday as the World Cup ski circuit staged its first race since the death of Regine Cavagnoud of France.
Tied with Switzerland's Sonja Nef after the first run, Flemmen turned in a near perfect second trip down the Main Vein course to finish with a combined time of 2 minutes, 23.81 seconds and her second career win.
Canada's Allison Forsyth, still looking for her first career win, settled for her fourth runner-up finish at 2:24.48. Nef was third in 2:24.50.
Kirsten Clark posted the top American finish, crossing ninth in 2:25.27.
It was an emotional day for many for those who work on the World Cup. A moment of silence was observed before the start of the race while most skiers wore black armbands in memory of Cavagnoud, who died in a downhill training accident three weeks ago.
Flemmen's win was tinged with sadness as she became the first skier to stand atop the podium at Copper Mountain since Cavagnoud won here two years ago.
"It's just so hard," said Flemmen, the giant slalom silver medalist at the 1999 world championships in nearby Vail. "I don't know what to say. Two years ago she won here. It is very tough right now."
There was little celebrating in the finish area as several skiers cried openly at the end of the race.
Carole Montillet, the top French finisher in sixth place, broke down as she crossed the finish line, sobbing on the shoulder of Austria's Micheala Dorfmeister.
Eddie Robinson placed on injured list
CHICAGO, Nov. 22 (UPI) -- Chicago Bulls swingman Eddie Robinson, who has battled a toe injury through the season's opening month, again was placed on the injured list Wednesday.
Robinson is sidelined with an injured left great toe, which he broke at the end of the exhibition season. He missed the first five games of the season.
In three contests, the 6-9 Robinson averaged 13.7 points, 5.3 rebounds and 2.3 assists.
The 25-year-old Robinson spent his first two seasons with the Charlotte Hornets and averaged 7.0 and 7.4 points after he signed with the team as an undrafted free agent.
Robinson was Chicago's prize free agent signing this past offseason, receiving an offer sheet of $32 million over five years. The Hornets had the opportunity to match the offer but did not.
However, he broke his toe in the final preseason game and was placed on the injured list.
To take Robinson's place on the roster, the Bulls activated guard A.J. Guyton, who had been out with a sprained right knee.
Geiger announces retirement
PHILADELPHIA, Nov. 22 (UPI) -- Philadelphia 76ers center Matt Geiger, whose availability and effectiveness have been severely limited by chronic knee problems, announced his retirement Wednesday.
Geiger's announcement came after he was waived by the 76ers. He was in the fourth year of a six-year, $48 million contract and had been on the injured list since Nov. 9 with degenerative arthritis in both knees.
"Matt is no longer able to effectively play professional basketball because of his ongoing knee problems," 76ers team physician Dr. Jack McPhilemy said.
The 7-1 Geiger had missed large chunks of the last two seasons and appeared on his way to another injury-plagued campaign. He played just four games this season.
Geiger, 31, missed the first 17 games of the 1999-2000 season after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his left knee. He had surgery on both knees last season, when he played just 35 games.
San Diego to finance baseball park
SAN DIEGO, Nov. 22 (UPI) -- By a near-unanimous vote, the San Diego City Council Wednesday approved permanent financing and bond issuance of more than $200 million for the downtown ballpark and redevelopment project that was endorsed by voters three years ago.
Suspended for nearly 14 months, construction is expected to resume before Christmas and should be completed by Opening Day 2004.
"We are back in business," San Diego Padres president Bob Vizas said.
Barring unexpected problems with the city's bond sale, Vizas said proceeds should be available by mid-December. The team must contribute $146.1 million of the estimated cost of over $449 million.
The construction team will be remobilized immediately, according to Vizas, while development partners continue to focus on financing hotels and commercial and residential projects that they are obligated to be built in the surrounding district.
Wednesday's 8-1 vote, which was delayed by a series of lawsuits, approved a $205.9 million contribution from the city of San Diego.
Conditional bowl bid goes to Washington St.
PULLMAN, Wash, Nov. 22 (UPI) -- No. 16 Washington State, which finished its regular season with a 9-2 record, has accepted a conditional invitation to the Sun Bowl.
The Cougars will face a Big Ten Conference opponent in El Paso, Texas on Dec. 31 if they are not chosen for a Bowl Championship Series game or the Holiday Bowl.
Washington State is headed to just the eighth bowl in school history and first since the 1998 Rose Bowl, which it lost to Michigan State.
Washington State and the Sun Bowl cannot sign an agreement until the Cougars are released from the BCS. They are currently ranked 14th in the BCS standings and would need to finish in the top 12 to be considered.
Although Washington State's season is over, the Cougars could move higher in the BCS standings if several teams above them lose over the next two weeks. But their BCS hopes likely ended with last week's 26-14 loss to Washington.
The Cougars, whose other loss was to Oregon, could gain a share of the Pac-10 Conference title if the Beavers lose to Oregon State next week. But Oregon holds the tiebreaker edge and will play in the Fiesta Bowl if it is not involved in the national championship game.