In Sports from United Press International

Jan. 23, 2003 at 12:15 AM
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Super Bowl teams return to work

SAN DIEGO, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Oakland Raiders returned to work Wednesday with their first practice sessions of Super Bowl week.

Tampa Bay Coach Jon Gruden, in particular, was glad to see his team get into a routine after a quick cross-country trip that left the players trying to adjust.

"It's been a struggle for us," Gruden said at his Wednesday news conference. "Obviously, the nature of the trip was difficult. We didn't get home until three o'clock in the morning or so Sunday night. Monday, we had to brief our players, get organized to prepare them to travel.

"We worked Monday in our offices. Then we had a long flight out here yesterday morning and we worked late in the evening last night preparing the game plan."

That game plan was given the players Wednesday during their workout at the University of California-San Diego.

Surprises in top 10

BOULDER, Colo., Jan. 23 (UPI) -- A pair of long losing streaks came to an end in a pair of surprising results among college basketball's top 10 Wednesday night.

Colorado had lost 27 straight games to sixth-ranked Kansas, but downed the Jayhawks, 60-59. and in Raleigh, N.C., North Carolina State beat third-ranked Duke for the first time in 14 tries, 80-71. Duke has suffered consecutive losses for the first time in three seasons.

Stephane Pelle hit the go-ahead jumper with 25 seconds left and Colorado survived a wild finish to fight off Kansas. Colorado (12-5, 2-2 Big 12) posted its first win over Kansas since Feb. 20, 1991. The Buffaloes also ended an 11-game home skid in the series. Kansas saw its Big 12-record 23-game regular-season winning streak come to an end.

In Raleigh, Clifford Crawford scored 21 points and Marcus Melvin added 15 for North Carolina State. Duke (12-2, 3-2 ACC), which suffered its first loss of the season at Maryland on Saturday, had not lost back-to-back contests since beginning the 1999-2000 campaign with losses to Stanford and Connecticut.

The Blue Devils took a 17-7 lead but saw their advantage dwindle to 39-34 at the half. The Wolfpack (10-4, 3-1) went back and forth with the Blue Devils before taking the lead for good, 54-51, on a three-pointer by Levi Watkins with 8:20 remaining.

There were no such problems in Tucson Wednesday night as the top-ranked Arizona Wildcats downed Arizona State, 71-63. Also in the top 10, No. 5 Florida defeated Vanderbilt, 87-75; and No. 10 Kentucky was a 67-51 winner over Auburn.

Grizzlies shock Spurs

SAN ANTONIO, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- Pau Gasol collected 28 points and 17 rebounds Wednesday night as the Memphis Grizzlies defeated San Antonio, 98-93.

Memphis had lost its 21 previous meetings with the Spurs.

Jason Williams added 18 points and 10 assists and Lorenzen Wright 11 and 10 rebounds for Memphis, which had lost 10 straight in San Antonio and six of seven overall.

The Grizzlies had their lead cut to 94-93 on a tip-in by David Robinson with 26 seconds remaining. Gasol answered with two free throws four seconds later and, after Stephen Jackson missed a potential tying three-pointer from the right corner with 13 seconds left, Williams iced the game with a pair from the line with eight seconds to go.

Tim Duncan collected 30 points, 21 rebounds and five assists and Jackson scored 17 points for the Spurs, who limited the Grizzlies to 42 percent from the field but connected on just 37 percent.

The Spurs' winning streak against the Grizzlies had been their longest against any NBA opponent. San Antonio also had a nine-game home winning streak snapped.

Other NBA results: Milwaukee 106, Boston 97; Indiana 101, Toronto 98; Orlando 94, Chicago 91; Portland Portland 112, Atlanta 110 in double overtime; Philadelphia 92, Detroit 83; Miami 92, Phoenix 85; New York 97, Denver 88; Minnesota 96, Seattle 91; New Orleans 103, Washington 94; Los Angeles Clippers 96, Utah 89.

Modano sets club record

DALLAS, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- Mike Modano collected two assists in a record-setting effort Wednesday night to carry the Dallas Stars past Columbus, 4-2.

John Erskine scored his first NHL goal for the Stars as Dallas extended its unbeaten streak to 12 games.

Tied with Neal Broten for the franchise record with 593 assists, Modano set up Bill Guerin's 21st goal 2:18 into the second period to forge a 1-1 tie.

Already holding club marks for goals, game-winning goals, shorthanded tallies and points, Modano added an assist on Erskine's first goal in 36 NHL contests midway through the third to give the Stars a 4-2 cushion.

Improving to 9

3 in its last 12, Dallas also got tallies from rookie Niko Kapanen and Scott Young to improve its all-time mark against the Blue Jackets to 9-2-0. The Stars are one win or tie from tying the second-longest run in team history (10
3), set from March 13-April 7, 2001.

The record is a 15-game streak (12

3) from Dec. 6, 1998-Jan. 6, 1999.

Other NHL results: Tampa Bay 2, Montreal 2; Washington 5, Carolina 3; Ottawa 2, Florida 1; Edmonton 4, Detroit 3 in overtime.

Marlins sign Ivan Rodriguez

MIAMI, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- The Florida Marlins on Wednesday signed free agent catcher Ivan Rodriguez to a one-year contract worth $10 million.

Rodriguez, a 10-time Gold Glove winner who spent the first 12 years of his career with the Texas Rangers, missed nearly two months early last season with a herniated disc. He recovered to hit .314 with 19 homers and 60 RBI. It was his first season without a Gold Glove Award since 1991, his rookie year.

It became clear that the Rangers' considered the 10-time All-Star and his $10 million salary expendable when they acquired catcher Einar Diaz from the Cleveland Indians in December.

Marlins owner Jeffrey Loria felt he could not pass up the chance to go after a player of Rodriguez's caliber.

"When an opportunity of this magnitude presented itself, I felt this was the perfect time to provide a major boost to the Florida Marlins," Loria said. "Adding a future Hall-of-Famer to the team completes we believe is a very successful offseason."

In his 12 seasons with the Rangers, the 1999 Most Valuable Player award winner hit 215 homers, drove in 829 runs and batted .305 in 1,479 games.

DiMarco defends at Phoenix Open

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz., Jan. 23 (UPI) -- Chris DiMarco has a chance to do something that no golfer has done in nearly 30 years -- repeat as champion of the Phoenix Open.

His task will be made easier by the fact that Tiger Woods continues to nurse a knee injury and Ernie Els has chosen to compete in Singapore.

The $4 million event, which gets under way Thursday and attracts one of the most raucous crowds on tour, has not been kind on defending champions.

The 7,059-yard, par-71 TPC-Scottsdale layout lends itself to low scores but no champion has been able to take advantage since Johnny Miller accomplished the feat in 1974-75.

DiMarco could break through this week. His one-stroke victory here last year sparked him to an 11th-place finish on the money list. He has a win in each of the last three years and is coming off a third-place showing at last week's Sony Open.

And while Woods recuperates and Els tees off on the other side of the planet, the tour does get a shot in the arm with the return of world No. 3 Phil Mickelson. The 21-time champion fell a spot in the rankings after Els opened the year with back-to-back wins.

Brind'Amour out three months

RALEIGH, N.C., Jan. 23 (UPI) -- Carolina Hurricanes center Rod Brind'Amour will be sidelined three months after undergoing right hand surgery Wednesday.

Brind'Amour was placed on injured reserve Tuesday, one night after suffering the injury during a first-period faceoff against the St. Louis Blues.

The 32-year-old continued to play and scored a goal in the third period as the defending Eastern Conference champions were beaten, 5-3.

In his fourth season with Carolina, Brind'Amour leads the team in scoring with 13 goals and 23 assists in 48 games. But the Hurricanes have lost seven straight and are in fourth place in the Southeast Division with 42 points.

Last year, Brind'Amour helped fuel Carolina's upstart run to the Stanley Cup Finals, recording four goals and eight assists in 23 playoff games.

The veteran had missed just five games since being acquired from Philadelphia on Jan. 23, 2000.

Joe Sakic suffers broken foot

DENVER, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- Joe Sakic, the captain and second-leading goal scorer on the Colorado Avalanche, will miss up to a month with a broken foot.

Team officials said Wednesday that Sakic suffered the break in the second period of Monday's game with the Dallas Stars. The injury at first was not believed to be that serious. As recently as Tuesday, Colorado Coach Tony Granato thought his star center could be back in the lineup this week.

The 33-year-old Sakic reached the 500-goal plateau on Dec. 6 but has missed nearly the entire last month with a right ankle sprain.

Sakic has 19 goals and 22 assists in 37 games this season and 502 goals and 1,298 points in 1,053 contests in his 15-year career.

Draft eligible players announced

NEW YORK, Jan. 23 (UPI) -- The National Football League has announced the names of 45 players who have been granted eligibility for the 2003 NFL Draft.

The list includes three quarterbacks, 10 running backs, and seven wide receivers.

One of the running backs is Heisman Trophy candidate Willis McGahee of Miami, who might not be able to play next season.

McGahee suffered three torn ligaments in his left knee in the Hurricanes' 31-24 double-overtime loss to Ohio State on Jan. 3 in the Fiesta Bowl. He now is in rehab.

Doctors gave no timetable was given for McGahee's return to the gridiron, but they said the injury and rehabilitation process definitely will put a hold on his football future. The rehab program will be lengthy, and he could miss part or all of next season.

McGahee, a 6-1, 224-pound third-year sophomore, rushed for 1,686 yards and 27 touchdowns after beginning spring practice behind teammate Frank Gore on the depth chart.

He was a finalist for both the Heisman Trophy as the best player in the country and the Doak Walker Award as the nation's top running back.

Grossman was runnerup for the Heisman Trophy in 2001. In his three-year career as a Gator, the Bloomington, Ind., native competed 677-of-1,110 passes for 9,164 yards and 77 touchdowns with 36 interceptions. His pass efficiency rating was 147.25.

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