In Sports from United Press International

Feb. 5, 2003 at 11:58 PM
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Knight reaches 800-win milestone

LUBBOCK, Texas, Feb. 6 (UPI) -- Bobby Knight reached a special milestone Wednesday night and Jim Calhoun left his team to begin a personal battle.

Knight's Texas Tech Red Raiders, who have spent much of this season in the top 25, recorded a 75-49 victory over Nebraska that gave their coach his 800th career victory. Knight joined Dean Smith of North Carolina, Adolph Rupp of Kentucky, Clarence "Bighouse" Gaines of Winston-Salem State and Jim Phelan of Mount St. Mary's as the only male coaches to reach that plateau.

In the women's collegiate game, Tennessee's Pat Summitt and Texas' Jody Conradt also have reached the 800-win mark.

At the close of Wednesday night's game, Knight was engulfed by his players' celebration. They surrounded their coach and began jumping up and down as he all but disappeared in the middle of the festivities.

Things were much more somber among the players competing for Connecticut. Wednesday night's game at Virginia Tech was the first for the Huskies without Calhoun, who will undergo surgery Thursday for prostate cancer. George Blaney will serve as interim coach in Calhoun's absence and his first game was a disappointing one as Virginia tech stormed to a 95-74 victory.

The highest-ranked team in action Wednesday night was Louisville, which ran the nation's best winning streak to 16 games with a 77-71 decision over Cincinnati.

And in Durham, Dahntay Jones collected 23 points and 13 rebounds as the ninth-ranked Duke Blue Devils extended their home winning streak to 24 games with an 83-74 victory over North Carolina.

Hornets surprise Kings

NEW ORLEANS, Feb. 6 (UPI) -- Jamal Mashburn scored 26 points and David Wesley added 17 and nine assists Wednesday night as New Orleans surprised Sacramento, 108-84.

The Kings suffered a meltdown after recording a big win 24 hours earlier.

Mashburn, who is averaging 31.7 points in his last three games, went 10 of 17 from the field and made four three-pointers in helping New Orleans win its third straight home game.

The Hornets scored the last 11 points of the second quarter to take a 55-46 halftime cushion, then padded their lead in a lopsided third period.

Peja Stojakovic scored 20 points and Jim Jackson 19 for the Kings, whose exciting 110-109 triumph at league-leading Dallas on Tuesday has been its only win in the past four games.

Other NBA results: Boston 114, Seattle 74; Cleveland 105, Houston 102; Detroit 89, Los Angeles Clippers 80; Portland 101, Miami 87; New Jersey 111, Philadelphia 85; Utah 105, Memphis 84.

Stars rally for tie

DALLAS, Feb. 6 (UPI) -- Marty Turco stopped a blast by Al MacInnis with 17 seconds left in overtime Wednesday night to preserve a 2-2 tie for Dallas against St. Louis.

Turco made 22 saves as the Stars rallied from a two-goal deficit.

The Blues had a power play for the final 3:28 of overtime after Niko Kapanen received a double-minor for high-sticking rookie defenseman Barret Jackman. Turco stopped shots by Scott Mellanby and Eric Boguniecki, but his best save came in the final minute.

Four nights after winning the hardest shot competition at All-Star Weekend for the seventh time, MacInnis leaned into a one-timer at the top of the slot. But Turco caught it in his chest as the Stars moved to 12-1-4 in their last 17 games.

Turco is 10

3 since Dec. 29 and needs a win or tie in his next start to tie Don Beaupre for the longest unbeaten streak in franchise history. Beaupre won 14 straight decisions during the 1985-86 season.

Mike Modano started Dallas' comeback early in the second period, then picked up his 600th NHL assist on fellow All-Star Bill Guerin's tying tally with 90 seconds left in regulation.

Other NHL results: New Jersey 4, Washington 1; Ottawa 5, New York Rangers 3; Vancouver 4, Columbus 4; toronto 6, Florida 0; Minnesota 2, Chicago 1; Edmonton 2, Anaheim 1.

Court says James can play again

AKRON, Ohio, Feb. 6 (UPI) -- The high school basketball career of LeBron James is not over after all.

A judge ruled Wednesday that the Ohio State Athletic Association must restore James' eligibility after he serves a two-game suspension. The OHSAA ruled Friday that James has violated amateur bylaws when he accepted clothing with a value of about $850 as a gift from a store in the Cleveland area.

James appealed the decision on Tuesday and Summit County Common Pleas Judge James Williams ruled that the suspension will include a game that James missed for Akron's Saint Vincent-Saint Mary on Sunday. The school has until Thursday to tell the judge what other game James will miss.

"LeBron admitted his mistake, but he did not commit a crime," said Fred Nance, James' attorney. "He did not hurt anyone."

Williams granted a temporary restraining order allowing James to play and scheduled a hearing for Feb. 19, at which he will decide whether to grant a permanent injunction or go to trial.

OHSAA commissioner Clair Muscaro issued his ruling because rules forbid athletes from receiving any kind of apparel worth more than $100.

According to various reports, the merchandise was a pair of "throwback" jerseys. One was of Chicago Bears Hall of Famer Gale Sayers and the other of Washington Bullets center Wes Unseld.

St. Vincent-St. Mary has four regular season games remaining in its season, plus playoffs, and is slated to play in a game Saturday in New Jersey. James also is scheduled to play in the EA Sports Roundball Classic at the United Center in Chicago on March 31.

That event is run by Sonny Vaccaro, who also works for adidas, which is in a battle with fellow

sneaker and apparel giant Nike for James' services. There have been reports that James would receive $25 million for his first deal with an apparel company.

Winston prepared to leave NASCAR

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla., Feb. 6 (UPI) -- The marriage between NASCAR and tobacco giant R.J. Reynolds may be coming to an end.

R.J. Reynolds executives issued a statement Wednesday, saying it is time for NASCAR to pursue another title sponsor to replace Winston, which has been a supporter of stock car racing's top division since 1972.

The statement was issued by Ned Leary, RJR president of sports marketing enterprises.

"Winston and NASCAR have been partners for over 30 years," he said. "We signed a five-year contract for the NASCAR Winston Cup series sponsorship last July. Since that time, our business dynamics have changed dramatically.

"In our ongoing conversations with NASCAR, we have discussed the potential of their exploring a new series sponsor at some time in the future."

A sluggish economy resulted in a record fourth-quarter loss by RJR Nabisco. That, coupled with the recent tobacco settlement, led the Atlanta-based company to decide to conclude its highly successful NASCAR sponsorship at the end of the current contract.

Despite record television ratings under a new contract with FOX, NBC and TNT, RJR's decision could slow NASCAR's unprecedented growth. Cigarette companies have been prohibited from television advertising since 1971, so the series' title sponsor has been unable to establish a TV presence.

Mariucci rejects time off

DETROIT, Feb. 6 (UPI) -- Detroit Steve Mariucci said Wednesday that after thinking about taking some time off, he decided he would rather be working.

"It sounded good, taking a sabbatical," Mariucci said at his introductory news conference. "But I'm a football coach. I don't sit around. It's a fantastic opportunity."

Mariucci was fired by the San Francisco 49ers after putting together a 60-43 record in six seasons. His dismissal came three days after the 49ers suffered a 31-6 loss to eventual Super Bowl champion Tampa Bay in the divisional round of the playoffs.

The Lions fired Coach Marty Mornhinweg on Jan. 27 and Mariucci received a phone call from team president Matt Millen that made him change his mind about a rest period.

"I was strongly considering taking the year off," Mariucci said. "I've had plenty of stops. We've been around the block a bit.

"I seriously considered taking a little time off to be with my family, learn to fish, hunt and golf -- things I chose not to do when I chose football."

But Mariucci, a Michigan native, took a tour of Ford Field and the Lions' practice facility.

If Mariucci needed any additional prodding, it came from Michigan State basketball Coach Tom Izzo, who grew up with Mariucci in Iron Mountain, Mich. and is one of his closest friends. Izzo made the drive from East Lansing to discuss the opportunity.

Flyers trade McAllister to Alavanche

PHILADELPHIA, Feb. 6 (UPI) -- The Philadelphia Flyers, who snapped a four-game losing streak Tuesday night, made a pair of trades Wednesday.

Philadelphia sent seldom-used defenseman Chris McAllister to the Colorado Avalanche for a sixth-round pick in the June draft and then acquired left wing Todd Warriner from the Vancouver Canucks for future considerations.

McAllister, 27, was scoreless with 21 penalty minutes in 19 games for the Flyers this season. He was a healthy scratch Tuesday, when Philadelphia edged the New York Islanders, 2-1.

Despite being without left wing John LeClair since November, Philadelphia (28-14-8-2) is just five points behind New Jersey for the lead in the Atlanta Division. LeClair had surgery to

repair a torn labrum and is expected to be out until April.

McAllister also was scoreless with 12 penalty minutes in four games for the Philadelphia Phantoms, the Flyers' American Hockey League affiliate. He posted nine points and 258 penalty minutes in 121 regular season games for the Flyers over the last three seasons. He was acquired by the Flyers in a trade with Toronto on Sept. 26, 2000.

Gators make big haul

GAINESVILLE, Fla., Feb. 6 (UPI) -- The Florida Gators landed a standout quarterback on National Signing Day.

C.J. Leak, a star at Charlotte Independence High School in North Carolina, committed to the Gators on the first official day that high school football players can make binding commitments with schools. The signing period runs until April 1.

Leak threw for 5,193 yards, 64 touchdowns and had just 12 interceptions as a senior to lead Independence to a third straight North Carolina big-school title.

The job at quarterback is open at Florida after Rex Grossman decided last month to leave school early and apply for the NFL draft. One of the reasons Leak said he chose Florida is the chance to play as a true freshman.

Other top prospects who already have committed to the Gators include defensive tackle Jarvis Moss of Denton Ryan High School in Texas, cornerback Dee Webb of Ed White High School in Jacksonville, Fla., and Chad Jackson, a receiver from Hoover, Ala.

Another top quarterback prospect, Kyle Wright, also will head to the Sunshine State. The Monte Vista (Calif.) High School signal-caller will attend Miami, where the list of competitors includes University of Florida transfer brock Berlin.

Some scouting services rated Wright higher than Leak.

Weir tries for two in a row

PEBBLE BEACH, Calif., Feb. 6 (UPI) -- Phil Mickelson, David Duval and Vijay Singh are among the marquee names who will begin play Thursday at the Pebble Beach National Pro-Am.

Mickelson has finished in the top 10 in both of his starts this season. Duval missed the cut last week at the Bob Hope Classic in his season debut, thanks to a second-round 78, and went winless in 24 starts last season.

Singh won the Phoenix Open two weeks ago for his 12th PGA Tour win before skipping last week's event.

This week's field also includes Canadian lefthander Mike Weir, who won a duel with Jay Haas and Tim Herron last week at the Bob Hope Classic.

Matt Gogel is back to defend his title at a tournament in which he has experienced both an exhilarating victory and a bitter defeat.

In 2000, Gogel was a rookie on the PGA Tour when he held a four-shot lead in the final round. But Gogel stumbled to a 40 on the back nine and watched Tiger Woods rally from seven shots down with seven to play to win the tournament.

Last year it was Perez, then a PGA rookie, who took a four-shot lead into the final round only to endure a meltdown. Perez had a triple-bogey on the final hole while Gogel sank a 25-foot birdie putt for his first PGA Tour victory.

USOC president resigns

COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo., Feb. 6 (UPI) -- Marty Mankamyer has resigned as president of the United States Olympic Committee amid new allegations of conflict of interest.

Mankamyer stepped down after just six months on the job and was facing a no-confidence at a USOC board meeting scheduled for Saturday in Chicago.

The Denver Post reported Tuesday that she had demanded a commission on a piece of property sold through a real estate agent last year to Lloyd Ward, the committee's chief executive.

Several members of the USOC executive committee previously claimed that Mankamyer inflated ethics charges against Ward in an attempt to oust him. The controversy stemmed from allegations that Ward directed USOC staff to try to steer business toward his brother's company.

The departure of the 69-year-old Mankamyer comes a week after USOC officials were asked to appear before a Senate Commerce Committee in Washington to discuss the future of the organization.

Mankamyer's predecessor, Sandy Baldwin, left her post in April after she admitted lying about her academic credentials.

Serena reaches quarterfinals

PARIS, Feb. 6 (UPI) -- Serena Williams cruised to a straight-sets win in the second round Wednesday at the Open Gaz de France.

The world's No. 1 player and winner of four straight Grand Slam events, Williams registered a 6-0, 6-4 win over Switzerland's Myriam Casanova. It was her first match since capturing the Australian Open.

Williams, who received a bye in the first round, became only the fifth woman ever to hold all four major titles at once when she beat her older sister Venus in the final of the Australian Open.

She has won seven of the last nine tournaments she has entered, losing only to Chanda Rubin in the quarterfinals of Manhattan Beach and Kim Clijsters in the final of the season-ending championships in Los Angeles.

The 21-year-old American owns 20 singles crowns in her career, but her first came here in 1999. She also reached the final the following year. Venus Williams captured last year's event, but is not here to defend her crown.

Slovakian second seed Daniela Hantuchova, who also received a bye in the first round, defeated Slovenia's Maja Matevzic, 6-3, 6-3. Hantuchova reached the quarterfinals at the Australian Open and is seeking her second career title.

Spain's Magui Serna is the only other player in the quarterfinals thus far after getting past Stephanie Cohen Aloro, 7-6 (7-3), 6-7 (2-7), 6-3.

Miller tries for world title

ST. MORITZ, Switzerland, Feb. 6 (UPI) -- The World Alpine Skiing Championships resume Thursday with the men's combined.

American Bode Miller, if he can finish the competition, has a good chance of claiming the gold medal.

Miller has become one of the sport's leading figures as he battles Austrian Stephan Eberharter for the overall World Cup title and he will seek his first major championship Thursday.

His chief challengers will be Norwegians Kjetil Andre Aamodt and Lasse Kjus, long-time veterans of the World Cup and Olympic stages.

Aamodt won two gold medals at last year's Olympics and finished fifth last week in the men's super-G -- the first event contested at the two-week championships. Miller tied for second in that race behind Eberharter.

Miller is known for his aggressive style that usually has him either challenging for victory or skidding off the course. This year, however, he has been finishing with more consistency.

Only two of the 12 events have been run thus far and of the six medals awarded, three have gone to Austria and three to the United States. Americans Kirsten Clark and Jonna Mendes were a surprising second and third in the women's super-G on Monday.

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