Knight makes early exit
CHICAGO, March 16 (UPI) -- The return to the NCAA Tournament for Bob Knight turned out to be a brief one Friday night, but the Pacific-10 Conference will apparently be around for quite a while.
Knight, who sat out a year following his dismissal as coach of the Indiana Hoosiers, brought Texas Tech to the tournament in his first year with the Red Raiders. Their stay, however, lasted just long enough for the 10th-seeded Southern Illinois Salukis to beat them in a first-round game Friday night, 76-68.
That setback in Chicago was one of just two games won by the lower-seeded team on the second day of the tournament. The other surprise winner was Southern Illinois' fellow-Missouri Valley Conference member Creighton.
The Bluejays shocked Florida, 83-82 in double overtime, on a three-point shot just before the buzzer by Terrell Taylor.
Among the favorites winning Friday were California (82-75 over Pennsylvania) and UCLA (80-58 over Mississippi), which meant that at the end of the first round of the tournament, the Pacific-10 had a 5-1 record. It is the only conference to put five teams into the second round with the Golden Bears and Bruins being joined by Oregon, Arizona and Stanford.
The only conferences to have more than one team in the tournament and get all of its teams through to the second round were the Atlantic Coast (4-0) and the Missouri Valley (2-0).
Although there were few shockers, there were the usual number of close calls.
During the afternoon action, Xavier trailed by 10 points late in the first half before rallying to beat Hawaii, 70-58; California had a difficult time with Pennsylvania before pulling out an 82-75 victory and North Carolina State had to come from behind to defeat Michigan State, 69-58.
And at night, Mississippi State had to rally to beat McNeese St., 70-58; Georgia was made to sweat before downing Murray State, 85-68; and Texas let a big lead all but get away before defeating Boston College, 70-57.
North Carolina State won the ACC's third game to start the day, a 69-58 victory over Michigan State, after which Connecticut earned a second-round contest with the Wolfpack by fighting off Hampton, 78-67.
Xavier will meet Oklahoma in the second round after the Sooners defeated Illinois-Chicago, 71-63. California's second-round opponent will be Pittsburgh, which overcame Central Connecticut, 71-54. And Illinois advanced to meet Creighton thanks to a 93-64 crushing of San Diego State.
During Friday night's evening action, No. 1 seed Cincinati had little difficulty while Maryland, another No. 1, was unable to completely crush Siena. The Terrapins settled for an 85-70 win.
Cincinnati, the top seed in the West, blasted Boston University, 90-52, to set up a second-round matchup with UCLA. And Maryland goes into the second round against Wisconsin. The Badgers disposed of St. John's, 80-70.
Southern Illinois' second-round game will be against Georgia and Mississippi State will meet Texas.
In the tournament's most entertaining game to date, Florida held an 82-80 lead with 29 seconds left in the second overtime and owned the ball. But the Gators were unable to inbound the ball in time and was whistled for a five-second call.
The Bluejays set up for a last shot and Gators guard Justin Hamilton nearly forced a turnover when he stripped Ismael Caro. But the ball went out of bounds to Creighton with 4.5 seconds left.
With star player Kyle Korver having fouled out, Creighton went right to Taylor. The Missouri Valley Conference's Sixth Man of the Year dribbled twice and then hit his eighth three-pointer of the game over Florida's Brett Nelson.
Indiana hands Wolves another loss
MINNEAPOLIS, March 16 (UPI) -- Rookie guard Jamaal Tinsley produced a triple-double Friday night to carry the Indiana Pacers to a 98-85 win over the Minnesota Timberwolves, who suffered their season-worst sixth straight setback.
Minnesota's skid is its longest since an eight-game slide in December 1999. Before the streak, the Timberwolves (40-25) were contending for the Midwest Division title and one of the top seeds in the West. They are now just a half game in front of Portland for sixth place.
The normally sharpshooting Wolves shot just 37 percent from the field, including four of 20 from three-point range. They scored a mere nine points in the third quarter, when the Pacers pulled away.
Tinsley had 11 points, 10 rebounds and 10 assists for his second triple-double of the season. He capped surges in the second and third quarters with three-point plays.
Other NBA results: orlando 124, Denver 102; New Jersey 97, Miami 78; Atlanta 104, Phoenix 89; Boston 103, Memphis 97; Utah 100, Detroit 97; Washington 103, Seattle 98; Los Angeles Lakers 98, Los Angeles Clippers 92.
Coyotes win sixth in a row
NASHVILLE, March 16 (UPI) -- Sean Burke made 40 saves in his return from the flu and Ladislav Nagy scored the decisive goal 3:37 into the third period Friday night as the Phoenix Coyotes extended their season-high winning streak to six games with a 3-2 victory over the Nashville Predators.
Backed by Burke and one of the most balanced offenses in the league, the unspectacular Coyotes have at least one point in each of their last 10 games, going 8-1
1 since a 4-3 loss to Edmonton on Feb. 10.
Phoenix, which has lost its best two players the past year, is tied for fifth in the Western Conference, just three points behind the San Jose Sharks for first place in the Pacific Division.
The Coyotes have won all three meetings this season with the Predators, who have lost three straight games and are winless in their last five (0-4-1).
Other NHL results: Florida 5, Buffalo 2; San Jose 5, Washington 4; Chicago 1, Anaheim 1.
Tarkanian announces retirement
FRESNO, Calif., March 16 (UPI) -- Towel-chewing Fresno State basketball coach Jerry Tarkanian, who won an NCAA championship with Nevada-Las Vegas in 1990, made his retirement official Friday.
Tarkanian, his attorney and Fresno State president John Welty met Thursday and worked out the details of his retirement. Tarkanian will remain with Fresno State, serving as a senior development consultant to the Save Mart Center, the future home of the Bulldogs.
Tarkanian retired with a 778-202 career record and a .794 winning percentage after a 19-15 season. He entered the season fourth in victories among active coaches and tops in winning percentage (.802).
His 778 victories are the seventh most at the Division I level.
Woods leads by four
ORLANDO, Fla., March 16 (UPI) -- Tiger Woods built a four-shot lead Friday at the Bay Hill Invitational, shooting a 7-under-par 65 to move closer to his third straight title at the event.
Woods began the day in a five-way tie for the lead, but birdied four of his first seven holes and three straight on the back nine en route to a two-round total of 12-under 132.
Scott McCarron was alone in second at 136 and will play with Woods in the final pairing Saturday. Red-hot Ernie Els of South Africa and Angel Cabrera of Argentina were tied for third at 7-under 137. Els has won his last two starts - one in the United States and one in the United Arab Emirates.
Woods is trying to become the first player to win the tournament hosted by legend Arnold Palmer in three straight seasons. He already has accomplished the feat in two other PGA Tour events.
Dunn signs with Falcons
ATLANTA, March 16 (UPI) -- After playing five years with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Warrick Dunn signed a six-year contract Friday with the Atlanta Falcons.
Terms were not disclosed, but Dunn will reportedly receive more than $25 million with a signing bonus of $6 million.
The addition of Dunn indicates the Falcons may release running back Jamal Anderson, who was exposed in the expansion draft and suffered a second torn ACL last season.
Dunn, 27, is coming off an injury-plagued season in which he rushed for a career-low 447 yards. He caught 68 passes.
Most NFL teams view the 5-8, 180-pound Dunn as a change-of-pace back rather than as a fulltime starter. But with Atlanta, he has apparently been promised a feature role.
The Falcons and Buccaneers are now in the same division -- the NFC South -- in the realigned NFL, giving Dunn two cracks against his former team next season.
Hewitt reaches semifinals
INDIAN WELLS, Calif., March 16 (UPI) -- Top seed Lleyton Hewitt of Australia reached his second straight semifinal at the Pacific Life Open Friday, defeating Thomas Enqvist of Sweden, 6-4, 6-4.
Todd Martin, meanwhile, upset second-seeded Yevgeny Kafelnikov of Russia, 7-6 (7-5), 6-3, and moved into his first ATP semifinal in almost 18 months.
Martin will face No. 9 Tim Henman of Britain, who posted a 6-3, 6-2 win over Gaston Gaudio of Argentina.
Hewitt, who became youngest player to finish the year at No. 1 in the history of the men's rankings, is trying to reach his first Indian Wells final. He lost to eventual champion Andre Agassi in the final four a year ago.
Taubensee suffers back injury
WINTER HAVEN, Fla., March 16 (UPI) -- Cleveland Indians catcher Ed Taubensee will miss at least two months due to a back injury, the team announced Friday.
Taubensee is expected to be sidelined 60-90 days due to two degenerative discs in his lower back.
According to the team, the Indians' lefthanded-hitting catcher will undergo an extensive rehabilitation program to strengthen the back region. He will begin the season on the disabled list.
Craven wins NASCAR pole
DARLINGTON, S.C., March 16 (UPI) -- Ricky Craven captured his second NASCAR pole of the season Friday, qualifying first for Sunday's Carolina Dodge Dealers 400 at Darlington Raceway.
Craven was one of only two drivers to top 170 miles per hour, racing his Ford Taurus around the 1.366-mile oval in 170.089. He became the first driver this season to repeat as a pole winner, claiming the sixth of his career in 185 starts overall.
Friday's top qualifying mark follows three consecutive top-10 starts for Craven, who is 12th in the Winston Cup points standings through four races.
Craven knocked rookie Ryan Newman off the pole, as did Jeff Gordon, who will start second in a Chevrolet Monte Carlo after a lap of 170.071 mph. Newman qualified third in a Ford at 169.895 mph, followed by Steve Park and rookie Jimmie Johnson, both in Chevrolets.
Gibbs joining Falcons as part owner
ATLANTA, March 16 (UPI) -- Joe Gibbs, who coached the Washington Redskins to three Super Bowl titles, is back in the NFL but in a different capacity.
New Atlanta Falcons owner Arthur Blank announced Friday that Gibbs has reached a preliminary agreement to become a minority owner of the NFL franchise.
The plan calls for Gibbs, John P. Imlay Jr. and John A. Williams to purchase a five percent stake of the team, worth approximately $27 million. The deal is subject to NFL approval.
During his 12 years as coach of the Redskins from 1981-92, Gibbs took them to four Super Bowls, winning three, and had a postseason record of 16-5. He retired in 1993 and turned his focus to Joe Gibbs Racing, based in Charlotte, N.C.