In Sports from United Press International

Oct. 31, 2002 at 11:53 PM
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Jordan helps give Boston historic loss

WASHINGTON, Nov. 1 (UPI) -- Michael Jordan, who had just eight points in Washington's season-opening loss, scored 21 points in 22 minutes Thursday night and Kwame Brown added 20 and a career-high six blocks as the Wizards crushed the Boston Celtics, 114-69.

It was the most lopsided loss in the Celtics' storied history. Their previous worst defeat was a 128-84 setback at Portland on Jan. 4, 1977.

Jerry Stackhouse registered 22 points, 10 assists and seven rebounds for the Wizards, who shot 52 percent and kept Boston under 30 percent.

Jordan made just four of 14 shots and missed a breakaway dunk in Washington's 74-68 loss to Toronto in opening the season. But he made eight of 15 Thursday night.

The Wizards trailed by seven points early but took the lead for good at 22-21 on a pair of free throws by Jordan in the final minute of the first quarter.

The Wizards extended the advantage to 58-40 at halftime and took their first 20-point lead at 76-56 with 2:40 to play in the third quarter when Brown blocked a shot, ran the length of the floor and made a baseline jumper.

Other NBA results: Atlanta 105, Utah 98.

Wild stays on top of NHL standings

ST. PAUL, Minn., Nov. 1 (UPI) -- The Minnesota Wild capped a spectacular month with a 2-1 victory over the San Jose Sharks Thursday night as Sergei Zholtok scored his second goal of the game with 10 seconds left in overtime.

It was the second straight overtime win for the the Wild, who closed October with the NHL's best record at 8-1-2-0. They did not record their eighth win last season until Nov. 21 in their 22nd game.

Zholtok scored with 12:03 left in the third period to force the extra session, then beat the clock to extend Minnesota's unbeaten streak to six games (5


Defenseman Brad Bombardir got off a weak wrist shot from above the left faceoff circle that hit a San Jose defender and deflected across the slot to a wide-open Zholtok. With goaltender Evgeni Nabokov scrambling to his left, Zholtok shot the other way and found room inside the far goalpost.

Dwayne Roloson stopped 19 shots and Bombardir set up both goals for the Wild, who are unbeaten in the last five meteings with the Sharks (3


Other NHL results: Anaheim 4, Boston 1; Philadelphia 6, Phoenix 2; Atlanta 3, Toronto 3; Chicago 2, Los Angeles 1 in overtime; Calgary 3, Buffalo 0.

Rams win in frosty weather

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., Nov. 1 (UPI) -- Despite freezing conditions, Cecil Sapp rushed for 132 yards and two touchdowns Thursday night as 24th-ranked Colorado State handed the Air Force Falcons their third straight defeat, 31-12.

It was the seventh 100-yard game this season for Sapp, the conference's leading rusher at 121.1 yards per contest.

After Sapp's second score gave the Rams a 14-6 lead three minutes into the second quarter, Rashaan Sanders scored on an eight-yard run 2 1/2 minutes before halftime to open a 15-point cushion.

The Falcons (6-3, 3-2 MWC) got within 21-12 with 46 seconds left in the half on a 13-yard pass from Chance Harridge to Adam Stecker. But the Rams (8-2, 4-0) stuffed a run on the two-point conversion.

On the second-half kickoff, Air Force backup quarterback Bryce Blew fumbled, Rams kicker Jeff Babcock scooped it up and scampered 28 yards for a touchdown.

Babcock kicked a 27-yard field goal on the first play of the fourth quarter to complete the scoring and seal the Rams' fourth straight victory.

Colorado State moved a half game ahead of San Diego State atop the league race. The Rams do not play again until Nov. 16, when they visit the Aztecs.

NFL to study increased minority hirings

NEW YORK, Nov. 1 (UPI) -- With the threat of a lawsuit looming, NFL Commissioner Paul Tagliabue announced Thursday he had appointed Pittsburgh Steelers owner Dan Rooney to head a committee designed to improve the league's hiring of blacks to coaching and front office posts.

The announcement was made after the second and final day of the NFL's fall meetings.

"This has been a very sensitive issue for me, dating to my days as a lawyer before I became NFL commissioner in 1989," Tagliabue said. "I believe we have put together a strong group of people in the committee that will help identify a worthy pool of candidates for coaching and front office jobs."

Two of the league's highest-ranking black executives -- Baltimore Ravens vice president of football operations Ozzie Newsome and Atlanta Falcons chief administrative officer Ray Anderson -- will serve on the committee with Indianapolis Colts president Bill Polian, general managers Rich McKay of Tampa Bay and Terry Bradway of the New York Jets and four owners, Arthur Blank of Atlanta, Jeffrey Lurie of Philadelphia, Pat Bowlen of Denver and Stan Kroenke of St. Louis.

The group will hold its first meeting within two weeks to outline hiring proposals.

The need for Tagliabue to form this committee may have been inspired by attorneys Johnnie Cochran and Cyrus Mehri, who recently proposed the "Fair Competition Resolution" and threatened to file suit against the NFL if more minorities are not hired as coaches and front office personnel.

Herman Edwards of the Jets and Tony Dungy of Indianapolis are the league's only black head coaches.

Singh, Lowery share lead

ATLANTA, Nov. 1 (UPI) -- Vijay Singh of Fiji and Steve Lowery earned a share of the first-round lead at the Tour Championship Thyursday while Tiger Woods posted an over-par score for the first time in 22 rounds on the PGA Tour.

Singh and Lowery carded 5-under-par 65s at East Lake Golf Club for a one-stroke lead over Charles Howell III. Fred Funk shot 3-under 67 and was followed by Jim Furyk, Shigeki Maruyama of Japan and Len Mattiace at 68.

The tournament is limited to the top 30 money winners on the tour, but only eight broke par, thanks to damp, windy conditions at the one-time home course of Bobby Jones.

Woods was tied for 15th after firing a 71, his first round over par since a career-worst 81 in the third round of the British Open. The No. 1 player in the world had nine straight rounds in the 60s.

Sabean stays, Baker still in question

SAN FRANCISCO, Nov. 1 (UPI) -- Brian Sabean will be back as general manager of the San Francisco Giants next season, but Dusty Baker's future as manager remained uncertain Thursday.

The Giants announced they have agreed to a new contract with Sabean, who built the team that came within a win of its first World Series title since 1954. Terms were not disclosed.

Sabean's biggest job in the offseason will be to settle the managerial position. After 10 years as Giants skipper, Baker is on the verge of free agency and is looking to become one of the highest-paid managers in the game.

Baker's contract does not expire until next week, so until then he cannot negotiate with another team unless the Giants give permission. High-profile jobs with Seattle and the Chicago Cubs are still available.

The Giants also announced they have exercised the option on setup man Tim Worrell's contract for 2003 while declining right fielder Reggie Sanders' mutual option. Third baseman David Bell turned down his option, becoming a free agent.

Times changed for NFL conference title games

NEW YORK, Nov. 1 (UPI) -- The NFL continued to move more of its postseason schedule into prime time Thursday, announcing that the conference championship games will begin at 3 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. EST.

The AFC and NFC championship games have traditionally kicked off at 12:30 p.m. and 4 p.m. EST. This season's games are scheduled for Sunday, Jan. 19.

Last year, the NFL for the first time moved playoff games into prime time with a wild card and divisional playoff game beginning at 8 p.m EST.

In addition, the Sunday wild card and divisional playoff games will start at 1 p.m. at 4:30 p.m. EST.

Agassi reaches quarterfinals

PARIS, Nov. 1 (UPI) -- Second seed Andre Agassi, trying to become the oldest player to finish the season as the world's top-ranked player, rallied Thursday to defeat No. 13 Thomas Johansson in the third round of the BNP Paribas Masters.

Agassi came from a set down to defeat the defending Australian Open champion from Sweden, 6-7 (2-7), 6-4, 6-3. The 32-year-old American is 43 points behind Australia's Lleyton Hewitt in the ATP champions race.

Agassi could become No. 1 if he outperforms Hewitt in this event. Both also can secure points in next month's season-ending Masters Cup in Shanghai.

Agassi, a winner of 15 Masters Series titles, will face 10th seed Carlos Moya of Spain in Friday's quarterfinals. Moya survived six match points before defeating defending champion Sebastien Grosjean of France, the seventh seed, 3-6, 7-6 (12-10), 6-1.

The only player to save more match points this season has been Marcelo Rios, who fought off seven in a first-round match in Sydney.

Hewitt, the top seed, kept pace Thursday by defeating No. 14 Yevgeny Kafelnikov of Russia, 6-2, 7-6 (7-3). Hewitt next faces eighth seed Roger Federer of Switzerland, who beat Germany's Tommy Haas, 6-2, 7-6 (7-2).

Third seed Marat Safin of Russia, who clinched one of the remaining spots in Shanghai on Wednesday, defeated Sjeng Shalken of the Netherlands, 7-6, 7-5.

Dawkins fined $50,000

NEW YORK, Nov. 1 (UPI) -- The NFL announced Thursday that Philadelphia Eagles safety Brian Dawkins had been fined $50,000 for themisuse of his helmet last Monday night in a hit on New York Giants wide receiver Ike Hilliard.

NFL Director of Football Operations Gene Washington issued the fine, saying

in a letter to Dawkins that on a pass play, "you unnecessarily struck your

opponent in the shoulder and chest area with the crown of your helmet."

Washington further said that Dawkins' improper use of the helmet to strike

a defenseless receiver is a clear and dangerous rules violation.

Darren Woodson of the Dallas Cowboys was fined $75,000 Wednesday for the same offense.

Arizona voted No. 1 by coaches

TUCSON, Ariz., Nov. 1 (UPI) -- Arizona was at the top of the list and defending national champion Maryland was ranked 15th Thursday in the preseason basketball coaches poll.

The Wildcats, who were 24-10 last season and are paced by forward Luke Walton and guard Jason Gardner, received 770 points and 27 first-place votes in a panel of 31 Division I coaches.

Kansas was ranked second with three first-place votes and 740 points. The Jayhawks lost forward Drew Gooden but are returning senior guard Kirk Hinrich and forward Nick Collison.

Rounding out the top five were Oklahoma, which received the remaining first-place vote, Pittsburgh and Texas.

Perennial power Duke lost three players to the NBA -- Jay Williams, Mike Dunleavy and Carlos Boozer -- but is ranked sixth. Behind the Blue Devils in the bottom half of the top 10 were Florida, Alabama, Oregon and Michigan State.

Xavier was 11th, followed by UCLA, Mississippi State and Connecticut. Defending champion Maryland was 15th after losing Juan Dixon, Chris Wilcox and Lonny Baxter to the NBA.

Georgia was 16th, followed by SEC rival Kentucky, Missouri, Marquette and Cincinnati, whose coach, Bob Huggins, is recovering from a recent heart attack.

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