Redskins cannot solve Cowboys
LANDOVER, Md., Dec. 3 (UPI) -- The magic the Washington Redskins had possessed in their five previous games ran out Sunday when they faced their old nemesis. The Chicago Bears, however, apparently have a lot of magic left.
Chicago was one of the rich that got richer in the NFL Sunday, joining apparently playoff-bound Miami, Pittsburgh, Baltimore, St. Louis and San Francisco as a winner on the 12th weekend of the season.
The playoff hopes of the Redskins, however, took a hit when they suffered yet another loss to the Dallas Cowboys.
Washington had won five games in a row, Dallas had lost four straight and the Cowboys had a rookie starting quarterback who had missed the last six games with a hamstring pull.
But Emmitt Smith scored his first touchdown of the season Quincy Carter threw the first touchdown pass of his career, a 64-yarder to Raghib Ismail in the fourth quarter, to carry the Cowboys past the Redskins, 20-14.
Dallas defeated Washington for the ninth straight time.
As a byproduct of the result, division-leading Philadelphia opened a two-game lead in the NFC East. Washington fell to 5-6 and Dallas climbed to 3-8. Half of Dallas coach Dave Campo's eight wins in his two seasons as head of the Cowboys have come against the Redskins.
In Chicago, the Detroit Lions had an opportunity to send the game into overtime, but Jason Hanson missed his third field goal attempt of the day wide to the right. That left the Bears with a 13-10 victory over the winless Lions.
It was the latest in a series of fortunate happenings for the Bears, who at 9-2 are out front in the NFC Central.
Miami opened a one-game lead over the New York Jets in the AFC East by downing Denver, 21-20. All of the Dolphins' points came in the final quarter. Pittsburgh remained 1 1/2 games ahead of Baltimore by holding off Minnesota, 21-16. Baltimore kept pace with a 39-27 decision over the turnover-prone Indianapolis Colts.
Both San Francisco and St. Louis improved to 9-2 to stay tied atop the NFC West. St. Louis cruised past Atlanta, 35-6, ending the Falcons' three-game winning streak; and San Francisco blasted Buffalo, 35-0.
In other results Sunday, Tampa Bay won in overtime over Cincinnati, 16-13; Tennessee downed Cleveland, 31-15; New Orleans rallied past Carolina, 27-23; New England stayed hot with a 17-16 decision over the New York Jets; Seattle defeated San Diego in overtime, 13-10; and Arizona won a 34-31, overtime thriller against Oakland.
Oakland, however, remained two games in front in the AFC West.
Notre Dame fires Bob Davie
SOUTH BEND, Ind., Dec. 3 (UPI) -- Notre Dame football coach Bob Davie, unable to field a team that could live up to the school's storied tradition, was fired Sunday.
Athletic director Kevin White made the announcement, one day after Notre Dame finished a 5-6 season with a victory over Purdue.
The win was not enough to save Davie's job. He finished his career at the school with a 35-25 record in five seasons, posting the third-worst winning percentage in the program's history.
White made the final decision Sunday morning after speaking with Rev. Edward Malloy, the school's president. White said the two discussed the situation late last week.
A half hour after White made his announcement, Davie appeared at his own news conference.
"This is a unique place, I think more unique than any other place in the country," said Davie, who went 0-3 in bowl games and produced just one All-American. "And it has been a tremendous, tremendous experience."
Duke wins conference opener
DURHAM, N.C., Dec. 3 (UPI) -- Carlos Boozer totaled 23 points and 11 rebounds Sunday night as top-ranked Duke used a swarming defense to defeat inexperienced Clemson, 96-80, in the Atlantic Coast Conference opener for both schools.
Jason Williams had 19 points and five assists for the Blue Devils (6-0, 1-0 ACC), who extended the nation's longest winning streak to 16 games and claimed their 12th straight victory in the series.
Clemson (5-2, 0-1) hung close behind underclassmen Chris Hobbs, Edward Scott and Chey Christie, but had its winning streak snapped at three games and remained winless at Cameron Indoor Stadium since 1994-95.
Hobbs scored 25 points for the Tigers, who ignored Duke's raucous home crowd to stay within 46-41 at halftime.
But the Blue Devils opened the second half with a 12-3 run.
In other action involving top 10 teams, No. 4 Maryland rallied past Princeton, 61-53; No. 6 Florida defeated Tulane, 81-65; and Syracuse mopped up on Albany, 91-65.
Grizzlies surprise 76ers
PHILADELPHIA, Dec. 2 (UPI) -- Pau Gasol collected 20 points and 10 rebounds and fellow-rookie Shane Battier added 12 points Sunday night as the Memphis Grizzlies won in Philadelphia for the first time in franchise history, 93-87.
The Grizzlies acquired both Gasol and Battier on draft day and have made them the cornerstones of the rebuilding process in the team's new city. Both have moved into the starting lineup and are averaging in double figures.
Gasol made four free throws in the final 24 seconds as Memphis put together wins for the first time this season. Battier had a pair of three-pointers during a fourth-quarter surge and even took a turn defending 76ers superstar Allen Iverson.
Brevin Knight scored nine of his 13 points in the final period for the Grizzlies, who had lost 10 straight meetings with the Sixers winning the first on Jan. 5, 1996 in Vancouver.
Iverson had 30 points and 10 assists but was just one of nine from the field in the fourth quarter as Philadelphia (8-8) lost for the third time in four games.
Other NBA results: Boston 85, Toronto 69; Los Angeles Clippers 103, Indiana 72; Dallas 120, Sacramento 114 in overtime; Seattle 97, Milwaukee 83.
Richter records second straight blanking
NEW YORK, Dec. 2 (UPI) -- Mike Richter made 20 saves for his second straight shutout and Brian Leetch scored the game's only goal Sunday as the New York Rangers blanked the Tampa Bay Lightning, 1-0, for their third consecutive win.
Richter ended a personal 143-game shutout drought Thursday with a 5-0 win over Carolina. His last shutout before that came on Feb. 26, 1999 in a 3-0 victory over Phoenix.
The last time the Rangers recorded consecutive shutouts was Oct. 27-30, 1998, when Richter battled Dominik Hasek and Buffalo to a scoreless tie before whitewashing Carolina, 1-0.
Leetch ended the goaltending duel between Richter and Nikolai Khabibulin at 7:03 of the third period. As a brief Rangers' power play expired, Leetch took a pass from Mike York and fired a slap shot from the blue line past a screened Khabibulin.
Khabibulin made 26 saves and fell a goal shy of his fifth shutout of the season.
The Lightning were blanked for the second straight game and suffered their 10th one-goal loss.
Other NHL results: Washington 4, Carolina 3 in overtime; Minnesota 4, St. Louis 4; Anaheim 4, Nashville 2; Dallas 4, Vancouver 2.
Panthers reportedly make coaching change
SUNRISE, Fla., Dec. 3 (UPI) -- Off to another miserable start, the Florida Panthers have called a news conference for today, reportedly to announce they have changed their head coache and general manager.
Reports from Canada Sunday said the Panthers had dismissed coach Duane Sutter and general manager Bill Torrey and replaced them with Mike Keenan and assistant general manager Chuck Fletcher.
The club is off to a 6-15-2-3 start and just one point better than the lowest total in the NHL.
The Panthers have been beset by injuries this season, losing Pavel Bure to a concussion last month and younger brother Valeri to a knee injury in October.
France wins Davis Cup
MELBOURNE, Australia, Dec. 3 (UPI) -- France took on the No. 1 player in the world, grass courts and a boisterous crowd Sunday en route to its ninth Davis Cup championship.
Nicolas Escude posted a 7-6 (7-3), 6-7 (5-7), 6-3, 6-3 victory over Australia's Wayne Arthurs in the decisive fifth match to lift underdog France to its third Davis Cup triumph since World War II.
France is the first nation to capture the Davis Cup by winning all of its ties on the road since the United States did it in 1972. It kept Australia from becoming the first country to rally from a two matches to one deficit and claim the title.
Arthurs was playing in place of Patrick Rafter, who withdrew with an arm injury. Playing his final professional tennis event before retiring, Rafter evened the tie at one match apiece Friday, but a decision to use him and Hewitt in the doubles backfired for Australian captain John Fitzgerald. They lost that match and Rafter was unable play in Sunday's reverse singles.
Perez set to join PGA Tour
WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., Dec. 3 (UPI) -- Pat Perez continued the most impressive week of his career Sunday by firing a 7-under 65 that gave him a two-shot lead with one round to play in the six-day PGA Tour Qualifying Tournament.
Perez, who played the 2001 season on the Buy.com Tour, reached 27-under 333 for five rounds over the two courses of the Bear Lakes Country Club that are being used for the pressure-packed event.
The top 35 and ties among the 167 players who began the week will earn full playing rights on the PGA Tour next year. After five rounds, the cutoff point for earning a tour card was 15-under 345.
Kenneth Staton all but wrapped up a spot among the top 35 by shooting a 9-under 63 Sunday that left him in second place, two shots behind Perez. Tour veteran Tommy Armour III was alone in third at 338 after a 67 while Pete Jordan, Bob Burns and Canadian Ian Leggatt shared fourth at 339.
Among those at 340, tied for seventh place and in excellent shape going into the last round, was Gary Nicklaus. The son of golfing legend Jack Nicklaus, who has walked every step of the way with his son this week, Gary Nicklaus birdied the final hole for a 67 Saturday.
Smoltz stays with Braves
ATLANTA, Dec. 3 (UPI) -- After being wooed by a number of teams, most notably both World Series participants, 34-year-old righthander John Smoltz agreed to a three-year contract Sunday to remain with the Atlanta Braves.
The deal, which has a club option for 2005 and is worth a reported $30 million, keeps Smoltz with the only team for which he has pitched at the major league level. Despite a series of arm injuries over the past four years, Smoltz was among the most sought after players on the free agent market because of his ability to start or close.
After 12 productive years as a starter, Smoltz became the Braves' closer last season and converted 10 of 11 save chances. He added two saves in the postseason and seems suited for the role -- provided his surgically repaired arm can hold up.
Report: Russell faces suspension
NEW YORK, Dec. 3 (UPI) -- After being suspended for the first four games for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy, Oakland Raiders defensive tackle Darrell Russell may have to sit out the rest of the year.
CBS Sports reported Sunday that Russell faces a one-year suspension after testing positive for the drug Ecstasy.
The NFL has not confirmed the report.
CBS Sports also reported that Russell will receive a hearing Thursday. His status for Sunday's game against the Arizona Cardinals is uncertain.
The league began testing this season for Ecstasy, a mood-altering drug.
A two-time Pro Bowler, Russell, 25, returned to action on Oct. 14 and insisted he never failed a drug test. But Russell was suspended in August after the NFL determined he failed to comply with its drug-testing policy.
Indiana reaches soccer quarterfinals
BLOOMINGTON, Ind., Dec. 3 (UPI) -- Fourth-seeded Indiana, making a bid for its fifth straight trip to the College Cup, recorded a 3-0 victory over Rutgers Sunday to advance to the Elite Eight of the NCAA men's soccer tournament.
Fairleigh Dickinson, North Carolina and Clemson also won to finish out the third round and set up next weekend's quarterfnials.
The shutout was Indiana's 15th of the season. The Hoosier defense has not allowed a goal in the last 563:16 of play and has given up only six goals in 20 games this season.
Fairleigh Dickinson advanced with a 1-0 victory over Seton Hall; North Carolina scored in overtime to down American, 1-0; and Clemson went double overtime before downing Alabama-Birmingham, 3-2.
Oguchi Onyewu scored the game-tying goal for Clemson and then scored the game-winner. Clemson rallied from a two-goal deficit.
Clemson and Indiana will meet in the quarterfinals next weekend while North Carolina will play Fairleigh Dickinson, Stanford will play St. Louis and No. 1 and unbeaten SMU will face St. John's.
The national semifinals and finals will be played Dec. 14-16 in Columbus, Ohio.