In Sports from United Press International
Boston advances in NBA Playoffs
BOSTON, May 4 (UPI) -- Paul Pierce scored 29 of his playoff career-high 46 points in the first half and decisively outdueled Allen Iverson Friday night as the Boston Celtics routed the Philadelphia 76ers, 120-87, in the fifth and final game of their NBA Eastern Conference first-round series.
Pierce led Boston to its first postseason series win since 1992 by making 10-of-13 shots in the first half. He fell one point short of Boston's franchise record for points in a half--a mark held by John Havlicek and Larry Bird. The Celtics swingman had 10 points in a 15-4 run in the second quarter that gave Boston the lead for good, 54-43, with 3:20 left in the half. He bookended the spurt with 3-pointers.
Iverson, the reigning league MVP, scored 20 of his 31 points in the first half but simply could not keep up with Pierce's torrid pace.
Boston will visit second-seeded Detroit on Sunday for Game One of their Eastern Conference semifinal series.
Carolina opens NHL semifinals with win
RALEIGH, N.C., May 4 (UPI) -- Ron Francis scored 3:49 into a scoreless third period and Kevin Weekes recorded his second consecutive shutout as the Carolina Hurricanes blanked the Montreal Canadiens, 2-0, Friday night in the opening game of their NHL Eastern Conference semifinal series.
After goaltender Jose Theodore robbed Sami Kapanen with a glove save along the ice, rookie Jaroslav Svoboda grabbed the rebound and had an open net to shoot at. But Svoboda's wrist shot rang off the left post and caromed into the corner. Svoboda retrieved the loose puck and found defenseman Niclas Wallin at the right point. With traffic in front, Wallin unleashed a shot that Francis, a two-time Stanley Cup winner with Pittsburgh, redirected between Theodore's legs for a 1-0 Hurricanes lead.
It was all Weekes needed as he stopped all 25 shots he faced to extend his shutout streak to 136 minutes, 30 seconds. The 27-year-old netminder has not allowed a goal since the 11:46 mark of Game Five of Carolina's conference quarterfinal series against New Jersey. Weekes blanked the Devils in Game Six to clinch the series.
Rookie Eric Cole scored with 2:18 remaining to seal the victory for the Hurricanes, who have not won three straight playoff games since 1986, when they captured four in a row as the Hartford Whalers.
Theodore turned away 36 shots for the Canadiens, who played without defenseman Patrice Brisebois and lost defenseman Sheldon Souray early in the contest. Brisebois sat out with back spasms while Souray suffered a left hand injury at 4:34 of the first period after being checked from behind by Carolina right wing Jeff O'Neill--who received a five-minute major and game misconduct.
Buddha out of Kentucky Derby
LOUISVILLE, Ky., May 4 (UPI) -- Buddha, the winner of the Wood Memorial and one of the favorites to claim the Kentucky Derby, will not run in the first jewel of the Triple Crown Saturday because of a foot injury.
Trainer H. James Bond announced Friday morning that the son of Unbridled's Song would not run at Churchill Downs. Buddha and Came Home were 5-1 co-second choices behind morning-line favorite Harlan's Holiday.
"The horse came out of his stall this morning right before 5 a.m. and he was off in his left front leg," said Bond, who has never had a horse in the Derby. "Our preliminary looks show more of a foot, possibly a bruised foot right now."
Owned by Gary and May West, Buddha is undefeated in three races this year and has won three of four lifetime starts with earnings of $489,600.
Jockey Pat Day, who was slated to ride Buddha, will be out of the Derby for the first time since 1983.
Quigley, Nelson share lead
Quigley and Nelson were at 7-under par through 13 and 14 holes, respectively, when rain forced each of the 78 players off the Greystone Golf and Country Club. The field will return Saturday morning to complete the first round before the second round gets under way.
The 55-year-old Quigley made his record 178th consecutive start for events he has been eligible, breaking the mark set by Mike McCullough, whose run ended at last year's SAS Championship. A six-time winner on the Senior Tour, Quigley began his streak at the BankBoston Classic in August 1997. It includes all six of his titles, 10 second-place finishes, 74 top-10s, 534 rounds, 39,552 strokes and more than $6.78 million in earnings.
Bruce Fleisher is third at 5-under through 12 holes, a stroke better than Lee Trevino, Bob Charles and Tom Jenkins, who completed 13, 10 and six holes, respectively. Forty players were under par, including defending champion Hale Irwin at 1-under through 12 holes. The 56-year-old has won twice this season and leads the money list with $951,000.
Ward Burton captures pole at Richmond
RICHMOND, Va., May 4 (UPI) -- Ward Burton established event and track qualifying records Friday while capturing the pole for Saturday night's NASCAR Pontiac Excitement 400 at Richmond International Raceway.
Burton rode his No. 22 Dodge around the ¾-mile oval at 127.389 miles per hour for his first pole in Richmond and the seventh of his career.
Ten drivers were faster than the previous track record, set by Jeff Gordon in 1999.
The Pontiac Excitement 400 is the 11th of 37 races on the Winston Cup circuit. The 300-mile race offers a $3.2 million purse.
Immelman has career-best 64
PARIS, May 4 (UPI) -- South African Trevor Immelman shot a career-low 8-under-par 64 on Friday to build a comfortable lead midway through the European Tour Novotel Perrier Open.
Immelman missed the course record by a stroke and his 12-under 132 is four shots better than defending champion Jose Maria Olazabal of Spain, local favorite Jean-Francois Remesy and Argentina's Eduardo Romero.
A 22-year-old product of the Challenge Tour, Immelman shot 65 on three previous occasions. The best of his eight birdies came at the 15th hole, where his 171-yard approach to the island green rested an inch from the hole.
Olazabal fired a 67 to remain in contention for his second straight title at Le Golf National. Third in the Order of Merit, Olazabal had seven birdies and two bogeys. Remesy shot a 69 to stay among the leaders while Romero jumped into contention with a 66.
Robbins opens two-shot lead
STOCKBRIDGE, Ga., May 4 (UPI) -- Kelly Robbins, seeking her first win in nearly three years, 8-under-par 64 Friday under threatening skies to open a two-shot lead over Laura Diaz and Hall of Famer Juli Inkster in the first round of the rain-soaked LPGA Chick-fil-A Charity Championship.
With Robbins safely in the clubhouse, the round was suspended at 6 p.m. EDT due to a forcecast that called for rain throughout the evening. Play also was delayed for 80 minutes earlier in the day.
Only 72 of the 143 players were able to complete 18 holes. The others will finish their rounds early Saturday morning, weather permitting. Jenny Rosales, Shani Waugh, Pat Hurst, Rachel Teske and Grace Park are in a five-way tie for fourth at 5-under.Another five players are at 4-under.
Among those still on the course was the LPGA Tour's "Big Three" of Annika Sorenstem, Korea's Se Ri Pak and Australia's Karrie Webb. Sorenstam, the defending champion, and Pak were at 2-under through 12 holes, while Webb was at 3-under after 10 holes.
This is the fifth straight event Sorenstam has entered as the defending champion, but she's only repeated once, claiming the Nabisco Championship--the first major of the season--a month ago. so far this season, Sorenstam has entered five LPGA Tour events, winning two of them and finishing runner-up at two others, including a playoff loss to Rachel Teske at the PING Banner Health.
Venus Williams reaches semifinals
MUNICH, Germany, May 4 (UPI) -- Having combined to win the title five times, top seed Venus Williams of the United States and eighth seed Arantxa Sanchez-Vicario of Spain were rewarded Friday for their efforts at the Betty Barclay Cup.
Williams rallied to beat Sanchez-Vicario, 3-6, 6-4, 6-1, and advanced to the quarterfinals at the claycourt event for the third time in four years. Saturday, Williams battles Switzerland's Martina Hingis, the third seed, who defeated Slovakia's Daniela Hantuchova, the sixth seed, 7-5, 6-4.
Also, No. 2 Kim Clijsters of Belgium encounters No. 5 Jelena Dokic of Yugoslavia.
Williams, the defending champion, posted her sixth victory in nine career meetings with Sanchez-Vicario and third in four claycourt matches. In their previous encounter on this surface, the Spaniard got past the American in the 2000 French Open quarterfinals.
When the current world No. 1 recorded her first Hamburg triumph in 1999, she cruised past Sanchez-Vicario in the semifinals. Williams must outduel another former champion to reach the Hamburg final. Hingis, a winner here in 1998 and 2000, is seeking her second title of the season.
Clijsters, who is seeking her seventh career title, reached the final four with a 6-4, 6-2 win over Barbara Schett of Austria. The Belgian No. 1 made her first semifinal since returning from a six-week absence due to an injured right arm.
Dokic edged another Belgian, No. 4 Justine Henin, 7-6 (7-3), 7-6 (7-3), to advanced to the Hamburg semifinals for the second consecutive year.
Dudley returning to Alabama
TUSCALOOSA, Al., May 4 (UPI) -- Erwin Dudley, the Southeastern Conference Player of the Year this past season, has decided to remain at the school for his senior campaign.
Dudley, the 6-8, 260 pound junior forward, announced his decision late Thursday.
That was good news to Alabama Coach Mark Gottfried, whose team won the 2002 SEC regular season championship, advanced to the league tournament championship game, went two rounds in the NCAA tournament, and won the second-most number of games in a single season in school history with its 27-8 record. That team will return four starters for next winter.
Dudley will go into his senior season ranking 17th all-time in scoring at Alabama with 1,346 career points. If he continues his current pace of at least 500 points a year, as he has done the last two seasons, he should finish among the top five all-time at Alabama, company that includes Reggie King (2,168), Eddie Phillips (1,937), Leon Douglas (1,909), Buck Johnson (1,869) and Jerry Harper (1,861). Dudley already ranks ninth all-time at Alabama in rebounding with 908 in 100 career games (9.1 rpg). His pace should place him among that all-time top five as well.
Earlier this week, the Crimson Tide lost junior guard Rod Grizzard, who decided to forego his senior season to enter this year's draft.