In Sports from United Press International

Nov. 24, 2002 at 12:13 AM
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Buckeyes to play for national title

COLUMBUS, Ohio, Nov. 24 (UPI) -- Half of college football's national championship matchup was determined Saturday on a day when old rivals met across the country in what is annually the symbolic end to the regular season.

The official end to the regular season, however, is still two weeks away and it will be that long before Ohio State finds out just which team will stand between it and its first national title in 34 years. One thing the Buckeyes do know, however, is that it will not be Washington State -- which became the biggest victim of Rivalry Saturday.

The Buckeyes earned a shot at the title when Maurice Hall scored the only touchdown of the second half -- one that came on a three-yard run and gave Ohio State a 14-9 victory over Michigan.

Michigan chewed up the clock in the first half with three lengthy marches, but the Wolverines had to settle for field goals each time for a 9-7 lead at intermission.

The Wolverines clung to that lead late into the game, but Hall ran three yards for the winning score with 4:55 to play and Ohio State forced two turnovers down the stretch to ensure the outcome.

Ohio State finished its regular season at 13-0 and is assurred to be one of the top two teams in the Bowl Championship Series rankings at the end of the season. If the Miami Hurricanes can win their final two games, they will be the other participant in the Fiesta Bowl -- the game that will decide the national crown.

Miami, currently ranked No. 1 in the BCS ahead of Ohio State, travels to Syracuse next Saturday and then will host Virginia Tech in the season finale.

Washington State, meanwhile, had been hoping for a Miami stumble. But the Cougars were the ones who fell Saturday night, losing to Washington in triple overtime, 29-26. That will knock them out of the No. 3 spot in the BCS rankings and allow Oklahoma to move into that position.

The Sooners cruised past Texas Tech Saturday night, 60-15, to earn a spot in the Big 12 Conference title game against Colorado.

In addition to Ohio State clinching its 29th Big Ten title and earning a berth in the Fiesta Bowl, the Iowa Hawkeyes wrapped up a date in the Rose Bowl. Iowa had already ended its regular season.

In other action Saturday:

-- Florida State, despite suffering a 17-7 loss to North Carolina State, wrapped up the Atlantic Coast Conference title and the BCS bid that goes with it. The Seminoles clinched the league championship when Maryland fell to Virginia, 48-13.

-- Colorado State won the Mountain West Conference crown by defeating New Mexico, 22-14.

-- Penn State's Larry Johnson gained 279 yards and scored four touchdowns before halftime to become the ninth player in Division I-A history to rush for more than 2,000 yards in a season. that came in the Nittany Lions' 61-7 blasting of Michigan State.

Dallas win streak reaches 13

DALLAS, Nov. 24 (UPI) -- Dirk Nowitzki, Michael Finley and Steve Nash combined for 34 points in the fourth quarter Saturday night as the Dallas Mavericks made it 13 straight wins to start the season with a wild 115-105 victory over the Seattle SuperSonics.

Led by their dynamic trio, the Mavericks overcame a nine-point, fourth-quarter deficit and are two wins shy of the best start in league history, set by Washington in 1948 and matched by Houston in 1993.

Nowitzki led the way over the final 12 minutes, scoring 13 of his 29 points. Finley added 12 of his 29 in the fourth quarter, during which Nash collected nine of his 27.

Dallas outscored Seattle, 39-20, in the final period.

Gary Payton scored 20 points and Desmond Mason had 19 for Seattle, which has lost three in a row following a four-game winning streak.

Grizzlies win first of the season

MEMPHIS, Tenn., Nov. 24 (UPI) -- Earl Watson came up big down the stretch Saturday night as the Memphis Grizzlies became the final team in the NBA to win this season with an 85-74 victory over the Washington Wizards.

Off to an 0-13 start and winless in five games since Hubie Brown replaced Sidney Lowe as coach, the Grizzlies scored the game's final 11 points to finally shake some of their futility.

It was Brown's first win as coach since early in the 1986 season while with the New York Knicks.

Watson, who was just 7 years old the last time Brown won a game, made a three-pointer with 2:36 remaining to snap a 74-74 tie. He added four free throws in the final 28 seconds to seal it.

Michael Jordan scored 20 points to lead Washington, which fell apart down the stretch en route to its third straight loss.

Other NBA results: Boston 109, Atlanta 99; Detroit 106, Indiana 91; New Orleans 97, Cleveland 84; New Jersey 96, Minnesota 82; Denver 80, Phoenix 79; Utah 110, Chicago 90.

Andreychuk scores 600th goal

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J., Nov. 24 (UPI) -- Dave Andreychuk scored his 600th and 601st goals early in the third period Saturday night as the Tampa Bay Lightning avoided a third straight loss with a 3-1 victory over the New Jersey Devils.

Andreychuk became the 14th player in NHL history to reach the 600-goal mark when he carried down the right side and wristed a shot from low in the faceoff circle inside the far goalpost just 33 seconds into final period.

The Lightning captain was mobbed by his teammates, just eight nights after he tied the NHL record for power-play goals. His 500th goal also came in New Jersey on March 15, 1997 as a member of the Devils, for whom he scored 64 times from 1996-99.

Just 2:20 later, Andreychuk tipped Vincent Lecavalier's shot past Corey Schwab to tie Jari Kurri for 13th place on the all-time goal-scoring list.

Other NHL results: New York Islanders 3, New York Rangers 1; Minnesota 4, Nashville 2; Boston 4, Buffalo 1; Carolina 7, Montreal 3; Ottawa 5, Columbus 2; Toronto 6, Philadelphia 0; Washington 6, Atlanta 3; Pittsburgh 4, San Jose 1; Colorado 3, St. Louis 1; Calgary 3, Chicago 1.

Bucs-Packers showdown highlights NFL Sunday

TAMPA, Fla., Nov. 24 (UPI) -- Brett Favre and Warren Sapp renew acquintances Sunday while the Philadelphia Eagles begin to adjust to life without Donovan McNabb.

Favre and the Green Bay Packers (8-2) visit Sapp and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers (8-2) in a battle of two of the league's winningest teams.

The state of Florida will host another matchup of first-place teams when the Miami Dolphins (6-4) meet the San Diego Chargers (7-3).

Two more first-place teams face off in Week 12. On Sunday night, the Denver Broncos (7-3) meet the Indianapolis Colts (6-4) and on Monday night, the McNabb-less Eagles (7-3) play the San Francisco 49ers (7-3).

The Packers and Bucs may determine home-field advantage throughout the NFC playoffs since the former division rivals are tied for the best record in the NFL.

The Packers had a chance to clinch the NFC North last week, but Favre was intercepted three times in a 31-21 loss at Minnesota that snapped a seven-game winning streak.

Tampa Bay is off to the best start in franchise history and has a one-game lead over New Orleans (7-3) in the NFC South. The Buccaneers play at New Orleans next week.

But this Sunday, the focus will be on Favre and the Packers. The Bucs have allowed an NFL-low 11.9 points per game and lead the league with 21 interceptions.

The Saints and Atlanta Falcons (6-3-1), who are unbeaten in their last six games, are behind Tampa Bay in the NFC South and currently occupy the NFC wild card spots.

The Saints host the Cleveland Browns (5-5) and the Falcons visit the Carolina Panthers (3-7), who have a seven-game losing streak. Cleveland is a half game behind the first-place Pittsburgh Steelers in the AFC North.

Norv Turner pushed for the Chargers to switch from Doug Flutie to Drew Brees last season. Marty Schottenheimer is glad he made the move this year.

On Sunday, Turner will be on the other side as offensive coordinator of the Dolphins when the Chargers visit South Florida.

The Dolphins are in first place in the AFC East, one game ahead of the New England Patriots (5-5), Buffalo Bills (5-5) and New York Jets (5-5). San Diego is tied with Denver for first place in the AFC West, one game ahead of the Oakland Raiders (6-4), which plays the Arizona Cardinals (4-6), losers of four straight contests.

Brees threw for a career-high 336 yards and two touchdowns in San Diego's 20-17 overtime win over San Francisco last week. A first-round pick in 2001, Brees has quieted any possible quarterback controversy with his performance this season, throwing for 1,999 yards and 12 touchdowns.

Arizona opens with big win

TUCSON, Ariz., Nov. 24 (UPI) -- Freshman Hassan Adams scored 22 points and Rick Anderson added 14 Saturday and the top-ranked Arizona Wildcats poured it on for a 107-68 victory over No. 23 Western Kentucky in the season opener for both teams.

Arizona (1-0) placed six players in double figures as it never trailed after spotting Western Kentucky the game's first basket. The Wildcats responded with an 18-2 run for a 14-point cushion on Adams' dunk with 13:31 left in the first half.

Anderson, who did all his scoring in the first half, made two three-pointers and Luke Walton added another in an 18-0 run that opened up a 51-19 lead with 1:40 remaining. Adams had a basket to cap the burst.

Walton, Jason Gardner and Will Bynum all had 12 points and Channing Frye netted 10 for Arizona, which improved to 17-3 in openers under coach Lute Olson.

Western Kentucky (0-1) was led by David Boyden's 26 points. The Hilltoppers played without All-American center Chris Marcus, who is out with foot problems.

Elsewhere among the top 10, No. 3 Oklahoma won the Sooner Invitational with an 82-63 decision over Princeton; No. 4 fought off Duquesne, 82-67; No. 5 Texas downed Stephen F. Austin, 81-55; and No. 6 Duke crushed Army, 101-53. The day's biggest surprise saw No. 13 Mississippi State defeated by Louisiana-Lafayette, 79-76.

Teske takes lead over Sorenstam

WEST PALM BEACH, Fla., Nov. 24 (UPI) -- Playing alongside superstar Annika Sorenstam, Australian Rachel Teske birdied three of the final four holes Saturday to take a one-stroke lead after the third round of the season-ending ADT Championship.

Teske fired a 4-under-par 68 with seven birdies and three bogeys and was at 10-under 206 for the tournament.

That was good enough to stay a shot ahead of Sorenstam, who is seeking her 11th LPGA Tour win of the year, and defending champion Karrie Webb of Australia. Sorenstam eagled the 15th hole Saturday to salvage a round of 70 while Webb fired a 68 with five birdies and a bogey.

On Sunday, Webb will play in the final group with Teske.

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