Knight returns to tournament action
KANSAS CITY, March 8 (UPI) -- Texas Tech Coach Bob Knight won in his return to tournament action Thursday, but he did not stay around to discuss the victory.
During Tech's 80-71 victory over Texas A&M in the opening round of the Big 12 Conference tournament, one of Knight's good friends collapsed at courtside. Bob Hammel, former sports editor of the Bloomington Herald-Times and the co-author of Knight's autobiography, collapsed as he sat in the press section.
He was diagnosed as having a diabetic reaction and was taken to a local hospital for treatment and observation. The game was delayed for several minutes and when it was over, Knight headed to the hospital to check on his friend. It was Knight's first post-season game since he returned to coaching -- one year after being dismissed by Indiana University.
The busiest day of conference tournament action around the country featured an impressive showing by Iowa, which struggled during the Big Ten regular season but which downed Purdue, 87-72.
Among the other surprises were South Carolina's 69-67 decision over Mississippi in the Southeastern Cofnerence and LaSalle's 72-66 win over Temple in the Atlantic 10.
In addition, Arkansas' controversial season came to an end with a 68-61 loss to Tennessee in the SEC's opening round. The Razorbacks have been distracted over the past few weeks by the events that led to the departure of Coach Nolan Richardson.
Mavericks add to Toronto's woes
DALLAS, March 8 (UPI) -- The Dallas Mavericks got big games from their, "Big Three," Thursday night in handing the Toronto Raptors their 13th straight loss, 122-103.
Toronto is mired in its longest slide since a 13-game free fall from March 20-April 12, 1998. It went on to finish 16-66 that season, the worst record in franchise history.
This team will not be that bad, but for the last month has looked brutal. Rarely do the Raptors -- predicted by some to reach the NBA Finals -- show any extended stretches of grit or toughness. Toronto 29-34) is two games behind Charlotte for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
Coach Lenny Wilkens tried to shake things up by starting forward Jerome Williams in place of Morris Peterson. Williams provided some interior muscle, but the Raptors resorted to shooting jump shots in the second half, a foolish strategy against the potent Mavericks.
Superstar Vince Carter, still hampered by a calf injury, scored 19 points to lead seven players in double figures. But nine of those points came after Dallas had opened a 22-point lead early in the fourth quarter.
Other NBA results: Detroit 95, Washington 92; Memphis 122, Indiana 111; San Antonio 99, Houston 97; Denver 104, New York 93; Seattle 92, Charlotte 89 in overtime
Kings welcome back Andy Murray
NASHVILLE, March 8 (UPI) -- The Los Angeles Kings squandered a two-goal lead in the third period Thursday night before downing the Nashville Predators, 3-2.
The contest marked the return of Coach Andy Murray, who missed the Kings' last five games following an automobile accident Feb. 15. Los Angeles was 2-1-1-1 in his absence.
Sparked by the return of their coach, the Kings built a 2-0 lead entering the third period on a pair of power-play goals by Ziggy Palffy.
But Cliff Ronning and Tom Fitzgerald tallied in the opening 10 minutes of the third, pulling the Predators even.
Deadmarsh, however, was able to register the winner. Working along the right goal line, Jason Allison centered a pass to Deadmarsh just above the crease, from where he banged the puck past goaltender Mike Dunham for his 23rd goal.
Allison helped set up all three goals for Los Angeles, which improved to 3
1 against the Predators this season.
Other NHL results: Buffalo 5, New York Islanders 0; California 4, Philadelphia 2; Carolian 3, Pittsburgh 1; Minnesota 3, St. Louis 0; Chicago 5, New York Rangers 1; San Jose 5, Ottawa 2.
Faxon leads rain-marred Honda Classic
CORAL SPRINGS, Fla., March 8 (UPI) -- Brad Faxon took advantage of an early tee time Thursday to shoot a 7-under 65 that gave him the lead in the Honda Classic before heavy rain forced a suspension of the opening round.
Regarded as one of the best putters in the world, Faxon made two 30-footers and four others from at least 10 feet en route to the clubhouse lead.
"I putted great," said Faxon, who has eight wins in 18-plus years on tour. "I had a good feeling around the greens. I saw the lines. But that's when I putt my best, when it's easy.
"I know there's no explanation for that or nothing to satisfy anybody that will sell a book, but I don't really worry about that."
After Faxon finished with four birdies in five holes, some two inches of rain fell on the TPC at Heron Bay, preventing 40 players from teeing off.
Only 31 golfers completed the opening round. The rest will return to the course early today. Second-round tee times were pushed back five hours, meaning 36 holes will not be completed until Saturday.
Padres extend GM's contract
PEORIA, Ariz., March 8 (UPI) -- The San Diego Padres, who have not had a winning season since reaching the World Series in 1998, Thursday extended the contract of General Manager Kevin Towers through 2007.
Financial terms of the deal were not released, but it contains an option for 2008.
Towers played for the Padres and served as a coach and scout before becoming general manager in 1995. He has made several key deals during his tenure, acquiring pitcher Kevin Brown, third baseman Phil Nevin and first baseman Ryan Klesko.
Browns sign Ryan Tucker
CLEVELAND, March 8 (UPI) -- The Cleveland Browns made their second acquisition in as many days, agreeing to a four-year contract with tackle Ryan Tucker Thursday.
Terms of the deal were not released.
The 6-5, 305-pound Tucker has spent all five his NFL seasons with the St. Louis Rams. He started 31 of the last 32 games at right tackle and was a member of the first offense in NFL history to post three straight 500-point seasons.
He started every game last season except an Oct. 21 contest against the New York Jets, when he saw limited action due to a broken hand.
In other free-agent signings Thursday, Buffalo came to terms with linebacker London Fletcher, Pittsburgh signed tight end Mark Bruener and the Dallas Cowboys signed Pro Bowl offensive lineman Larry Allen.
Galarraga returns to Montreal
MONTREAL, March 8 (UPI) -- Veteran first baseman Andres Galarraga is going back where it all started after signing a one-year contract Thursday with the Montreal Expos.
Galarraga, 40, broke into the majors with the Expos in 1985 and spent seven years in Montreal. He split last season between Texas and San Francisco, hitting .264 with 17 home runs and 69 RBI in 121 games.
After one year with St. Louis, Galarraga resurrected his career in the rarified air of Denver, hitting .370 with the Colorado Rockies in 1993 to win the National League batting title. Three years later, he led the NL with 47 home runs and 150 RBI.
Galarraga moved on to the Atlanta Braves and had 44 homers and 121 RBI in 1998. After missing the entire 1999 season while battling lymphoma, he made an emotional return in 2000 and hit .302 with 28 homers and 100 RBI.
The native of Venezuela has a .289 career batting average with 377 homers and 1,341 RBI in 2,036 games.
Canadiens lose goaltender
MONTREAL, March 8 (UPI) -- Montreal Canadiens goaltender Jeff Hackett will be out indefinitely after dislocating his left shoulder for the second time this season in Wednesday's 5-3 win over the Boston Bruins.
Hackett, who missed 20 games earlier this season with the same injury, suffered the dislocation during a pileup with 11 1/2 minutes left in the game.
Jose Theodore's backup, Hackett was forced to leave the game. He was placed on injured reserve on Thursday and replaced by Mathieu Garon, who was recalled from Quebec of the American Hockey League.
Hackett was playing for the first time since January 17. Overall this season, the veteran has appeared in only 15 games, going 5-5-2 with a 3.18 goals-against average and .904 save percentage.