In Sports from United Press International

Feb. 18, 2003 at 12:00 AM
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Maryland beats Wake Forest and snow

COLLEGE PARK, Md., Feb. 18 (UPI) -- No. 11 Wake Forest beat the snow but could not beat 13th-ranked Maryland with first place in the ACC on line.

Steve Blake scored 21 points and Drew Nicholas added 19 to lead the Terps Monday night to a 90-67 rout of the Demon Deacons.

Scheduled for Sunday night, the game was pushed back to Monday due to the snowstorm that blanketed the East Coast. Wake Forest arrived here Saturday, but officials postponed the game because of concerns about the safety of fans.

Despite nearly two feet of snow on the ground and a continued state of emergency in Maryland, the battle for first place still drew 14,222 to the Comcast Center, which hold 17,100.

Rangers Bure back from knee problems

OTTAWA, Feb. 18 (UPI) -- The New York Rangers got a key player back Monday night when right wing Pavel Bure returned after missing 31 games following arthroscopic knee surgery.

Bure was in the starting lineup against the Eastern Conference-leading Ottawa Senators, making his first appearance since Dec, 6.

After undergoing arthroscopic surgery in September, Bure collected 14 goals and seven assists in 27 games. But he injured his left knee on Dec. 6 and underwent surgery on both knees 10 days later. He was expected to miss a month.

Bure, 31, was acquired from the Florida Panthers prior to last season's trade deadline and scored 12 goals in 12 games with the Rangers. But he could not help them reach the postseason, extending their drought to five years.

New York is six points out of the final Eastern Conference playoff berth.

Bure's return comes three nights after the Rangers got back two-time Norris Trophy winner Brian Leetch and a week after New York re-acquired All-Star right wing Alexei Kovalev in an eight-player trade with the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Baltimore pitcher dies in hospital

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., Feb. 18 (UPI) -- Pitching prospect Steve Bechler of Baltimore, who collapsed Sunday at spring training, died Monday morning at North Ridge Medical Center in Fort Lauderdale.

Bechler, a righthander, collapsed on an auxiliary practice field behind the Orioles' spring training site.

Dr. William Goldiner, the Orioles' team physician, said Bechler died as the result of multi-organ failure due to heat stroke.

"The (hospital) staff there was aggressive and professional," Goldiner said. "He would rebound at times, invariably another organ would fail."

Jim Beattie, the team's Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations, confirmed early Monday morning that Bechler was still critically ill, but that he was unable to provide any further information. reported that Bechler's wife, Kiley, who is more than seven months pregnant, arrived in Fort Lauderdale late Sunday night after the team reached her on her cell phone. She had been driving cross country from Baltimore to their home in Oregon. Kiley, who had been driving with her stepfather, flew out of an airport in Salt Lake City.

On Sunday, Bechler had completed almost 60 percent of the team's running drills for the day and looked winded in between repetitions.

"That is not unusual, especially on a high-humidity day," said Baltimore Manager Mike Hargrove.

The initial diagnosis was heat exhaustion and dehydration, but his condition worsened and he was taken to the hospital while being given oxygen and intravenous fluids.

This, combined with the fact that Bechler looked ashen and was leaning up against the fences that surround the field, prompted Hargrove to have assistant trainer Brian Ebel check him out. After having Bechler sit down on the grass, a motorized cart drove him back to the trainer's room at the Orioles' clubhouse at 11:35 a.m. Bechler then was given a sports drink for energy, but that didn't help.

He was transported to the hospital by two fire rescue and paramedic personnel, and was wheeled was wheeled out of the clubhouse while being given oxygen and intravenous fluids.

Behler pitched a career-high 178 innings last season for Double-A Bowie, Triple-A Rochester, and the parent team. He was recalled from Rochester on Sept. 3, and made three relief appearances in Baltimore. He was charged with runs in every outing.

He made his major league debut on Sept. 6 against the Anaheim Angels, and gave up one run in two relief innings. The third-round draft choice in 1998 out of South Medford High School in Oregon spent most of last season at Rochester, where he was 6-11 with a 4.09 ERA. He was 35-48 with a 3.82 ERA in five minor league seasons.


Alinghi takes 3-0 lead in America's Cup

AUCKLAND, New Zealand, Feb. 18 (UPI) -- Alinghi gained a 3-0 lead in the America's Cup fomal.

The Swiss challenger took advantage of a wind shift on the first leg and a poor sail set by Team New Zealand starting the final leg to record a 23-second victory.

Alinghi, sailed by New Zealand's Russell Coutts, is two victories away in the best-of-nine series from sending sailing's biggest prize to Europe for the first time in the 151-year history of the event. No boat has come back from a 3-0 deficit to win the cup.

Under intense pressure from a nation full of sailing enthusiasts to record its first victory, Team New Zealand found its luck unchanged on the first windward leg of Tuesday's race.

With the boats on split tacks at the start and Alinghi on the right, the wind shifted in that direction. That allowed the Swiss yacht to build as much as a seven boat-length lead on the first trip to windward.

Alinghi rounded the first mark 28 seconds in front, but that advantage was reduced slowly until New Zealand trailed by only 15 seconds heading into the wind for the final time.

Alinghi increased its lead slightly as the boats made the final turn for home, but New Zealand still had a chance. The crew struggled to properly set the spinnaker, however, allowing Alinghi to jump four lengths in front and coast home.

New Zealand lost the first race when the boat took on water and suffered a series of mechanical failures. Alinghi then swept from behind on the final leg to win a thrilling seven-second victory in what has been hailed as one of the best America's Cup races.

The competition will have an off day Wednesday before Alinghi resumes its bid to record what would be a very unexpected triumph.

Arizona again No. 1 in coaches' poll

ARLINGTON, Va., Feb. 18 (UPI) -- Arizona strengthened its grip on No. 1 and Kansas moved up four spots to sixth in the latest coaches' basketball poll released Monday.

Arizona (20-2) regained the top spot from Florida last week and stayed there with easy wins over UCLA and Southern California. The Wildcats received 27 of the 31 first-place votes - four more than a week ago - and 773 points from the panel of Division I coaches.

Kansas (20-4) moved up in the polls this week after defeating Big 12 Conference rivals Baylor and Iowa State.

Kentucky (20-3) received the remaining two first-place votes and is second in the poll with 742 points. The Wildcats extended their winning streak to 14 games, the longest in the nation, with a 68-57 win over LSU on Saturday.

Louisville (19-2) had the longest current run in the nation before its 17-game winning streak was ended with a loss to Saint Louis, 59-58, on Wednesday. The Cardinals bounced back with a win over Marquette, 73-70, on Saturday and dropped only one spot - to third - in this week's poll.

Texas (17-4) moved up two spots to fourth this week with the help of a 67-61 win over Oklahoma, which fell one spot to fifth.

Florida (20-4) continued to fall, dropping to seventh after a 66-59 win over Tennessee. Duke (17-4), Pittsburgh (17-4) and Notre Dame (19-5) complete the top 10.

Wake Forest (17-3) rose six spots to 11th after a double-overtime win over Duke on Thursday night. Marquette (18-4) is 12th and is followed by Maryland (15-6), Xavier (18-4), Illinois (16-5), Oklahoma State (19-4), Syracuse (17-4), Creighton (22-3), Mississippi State (16-5) and California (18-4).

Stanford (19-6), Missouri (15-6), Purdue (16-6) are next in the poll while Connecticut (15-6) and Georgia (14-7) share the 24th spot.

Weather wreaks havoc on sports schedule

WASHINGTON, Feb. 18 (UPI) -- The massive snowstorm that hit the mid-Atlantic region this weekend has caused the postponement of a number of college basketball games for Monday.

Among them was the Big East contest at Landover, Md., between seventh-ranked Pittsburgh and struggling Georgetown, which broke a six-game losing streak with an 85-73 win at Virginia Tech Saturday.

That game was rescheduled for Tuesday at the MCI Center in Washington.

Two other games in the Big East also were postponed, Seton Hall and Villanova at East Rutherford, N.J., and Miami and Providence in Rhode Island.

A handful of other Division I schools postponed Monday games, including those in New York (Quinnipiac at Long Island, Central Connecticut State at Wagner); Baltimore (Hampton at Coppin State); West Long Branch, N.J. (Farleigh Dickinson at Monmouth); Akron, Ohio (Ohio University at Akron); Greensboro, N.C. (Tennessee State at UNC-Greensboro); and Lynchburg, Va. (Charleston Southern at Radford).

Elsewhere, the Presidents Day NBA matinee between the Wizards and Toronto Raptors in Washington was postponed early Sunday afternoon and rescheduled for March 4 at 7 p.m. EST.

It marked the first NBA postponement since January 2000, when Charlotte called off two games following the fatal car accident involving the Hornets' Bobby Phills.

Dallas Stars obtain Berenzweig for Sim

DALLAS, Feb. 18 (UPI) -- The league-leading Dallas Stars added defensive depth Monday by acquiring Bubba Berenzweig and a conditional draft pick from Nashville for right wing Jon Sim.

Berenzweig, 25, played four games with Nashville but spent most of the season in the American Hockey League with Milwaukee, where he had six goals and 11 assists in 48 games. Dallas assigned him to Utah of the AHL.

A native of Arlington Heights, Ill., Berenzweig played 26 games last season with the Predators, collecting three goals and seven assists. He was a college teammate of Stars goaltender Marty Turco, helping Michigan win NCAA championships in 1996 and 1998.

Also 25, Sim played 77 games over five seasons for the Stars, including four in 2002-03. As a rookie in 1998-99, he saw action in four playoff games as Dallas captured the Stanley Cup.

Sim was second in scoring on Utah this season with 16 goals and 31 assists in 42 games.

Maddux signs with Braves

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla., Feb. 18 (UPI) -- The Atlanta Braves Monday avoided an arbitration hearing with Greg Maddux by signing him to a one-year contract for $14.75 million.

Maddux, a four-time Cy Young Award winner, was seeking $16 million after making $13.1 million in 2002. The Braves had submitted an offer of $13.5 million, and a hearing was scheduled for Thursday.

Maddux, 36, is coming off a season in which he went 16-6 with a 2.62 ERA in 34 starts. In a somewhat surprising move, he elected in December to bypass free agency and accept arbitration, a move that enabled him to remain with the Braves in 2003.

"We're delighted this issue is resolved and that we can now focus on his stature as a pitcher and his production to our team," said Braves General Manager John Schuerholz. "We look forward to his contribution to our efforts to compete for a 12th straight division title."

Maddux has a 16-year career record of 273-152 with a 2.83 ERA. His 231 wins since the start of the 1991 season are the most in the majors.

He earned his 13th straight Gold Glove award last season, and will be a key cog in the Braves' revamped pitching staff which includes Mike Hampton, Roberto Hernandez, Russ Ortiz, Paul Byrd, and Ray King, but lost Mike Remlinger, Kevin Millwood, Tom Glavine, and Chris Hammond.

Corretja ousted, Schalken advances

ROTTERDAM, Netherlands, Feb. 18 (UPI) -- Finland's Jarkko Nieminen kept Alex Corretja winless in 2003, handing him a first-round defeat Monday at the ABN Amro World Tennis Tournament.

Nieminen ousted the seventh seed from Spain, 6-4, 6-0, at the $800,000 indoor event. The Finn also reached the second round last week at Marseille, losing to eventual champion Roger Federer, and appeared in the semifinals last month in Milan.

Corretja was playing just his second tournament of the year. He was a first-round loser last month at the Australian Open.

Eighth seed Sjeng Schalken, Holland's No. 1 player, opened with a 6-3, 6-3 victory over Belgian qualifier Christophe Rochus. A semifinalist at the U.S. Open last year, Schalken improved to just 3-3 this season.

Schalken's win prevented a meeting between the Rochus brothers after Olivier Rochus routed Austria's Stefan Koubek, 6-2, 6-1.

Also Monday, Max Mirnyi of Belarus outlasted Croatian qualifier Mario Ancic, 6-7 (5-7), 7-6 (7-5), 6-4, and Slovakia's Dominik Hrbaty defeated Romania's Adrian Voinea, 6-4, 6-2.

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