In Sports from United Press International

April 21, 2003 at 3:23 PM
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Cheruiyot of Kenya wins Boston Marathon

BOSTON, April 21 (UPI) -- Robert Cheruiyot of Kenya raced to his first victory Monday in the 107th Boston Marathon in an unofficial time of 2:10:110. Cheruiyot, 24, raced to the finish line in the Hopkinton-to-Boston run with a commanding lead over fellow countryman Benjamin Kimutai.

Meanwhile, Russian national record holder Svetlana Zakharova pulled away from the field to easily win the women's division.

Zakharova, 32, won her debut in the Hopkinton-to-Boston race in an unofficial time of 2:25:19.

Also, defending men's wheelchair champion Ernst Van Dyk of South Africa easily won his third consecutive Boston Marathon. Van Dyk, 29, was never seriously challenged in the 26-mile, 385-yard race from Hopkinton to Boston.

Christina Ripp of Illinois rolled to her first victory in the race in the women's wheelchair division.

Ripp, 22, second last year, pulled away from Californian Cheri Blauet heading down the final stretch to cross the finish line first.

Suns, Celtics look to seize 2-0 leads

SAN ANTONIO, April 21 (UPI) -- The Phoenix Suns and Boston Celtics can put themselves in enviable positions when their first-round series resume Monday night.

Phoenix is coming off a stunning win over the top-seeded Spurs in San Antonio in Game One of their Western Conference series, while Boston upset the third-seeded Pacers in Indianapolis in their Eastern Conference series opener.

Also playing a Game Two on Monday are Sacramento and Utah. The Kings posted a 96-90 triumph in Game One.

The Suns posted the most exciting win of the opening weekend when they edged the Spurs, 96-95, on a running three-pointer by Stephon Marbury off the glass at the buzzer in overtime on Saturday.

That dramatic shot followed a banked-in three point shot by rookie Amare Stoudemire that tied the game with 8.4 seconds left in regulation.

Marbury's heroics were made possible when Tim Duncan missed a free throw and David Robinson tapped the rebound out to the Suns point guard, who raced upcourt and nailed the shot. The win was the fourth in five games for Phoenix against San Antonio this season.

Also, the Spurs will be without center Kevin Willis, who was suspended for Game Two after elbowing the Suns' Scott Williams in the series opener.

The Celtics got their series with the Pacers off to a good start, posting a 103-100 triumph on Saturday. Paul Pierce helped the Celtics erase a 13-point deficit with 7 1/2 minutes left, scoring 21 of his 40 points in the fourth quarter.

Pierce also set a playoff record by making all 21 of his free-throw attempts.

Antoine Walker chipped in 22 points and eight rebounds, and Eric Williams 18 points for the Celtics, who split their four regular-season games with the Pacers.

Ron Artest, who guarded Pierce, scored 26 points before fouling out in the final minute, and Jermaine O'Neal added 24 points for the Pacers, who received just 11 points from their deeper bench.

In Sacramento, the Kings seized the lead in their series with the Jazz behind 27 points and 11 rebounds from Chris Webber, and a pair of clutch three-pointers by Peja Stojakovic in the final four minutes.

Karl Malone scored 25 points to pace the Jazz, but was outplayed by Webber for much of the contest. Greg Ostertag added 18 points and 11 rebounds for Utah.

Last season, the Kings beat the Jazz, 3-1, in their first-round series, but won by an average of less than four points.

All postseason series are best-of-seven.

Robinson out for Monday night; is honored

SAN ANTONIO, April 21 (UPI) -- San Antonio center David Robinson, in the twilight of his career, will not play against the Phoenix Suns Monday night in Game Two of their NBA playoff series.

Robinson has been sidelined with a medial meniscus tear in his left knee. He is listed as day-to-day with the injury.

The 7-1 Robinson, who is retiring at season's end, scored 18 points Saturday when eighth-seeded Phoenix surprised the Spurs, 96-95, in Game One.

Robinson, who has endured back problems all season, averaged a career-low 8.5 points and 7.9 rebounds in 64 games this season. San Antonio did go 60-22 this season, the best record in the NBA.

Malik Rose is expected to start at center in Robinson's place.

Robinson's absence leaves the Spurs shorthanded. Already, veteran backup Kevin Willis will sit out Monday's contest to serve a one-game suspension for committing a flagrant-2 foul by elbowing Phoenix center Scott Williams with 29.3 seconds left in the second quarter Saturday.

He also was named recipient of the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship award, presented annually by the Professional Basketball Writers Association.

The Kennedy Citizenship award is the oldest citizenship and community service award in the NBA and is named for the second commissioner of the NBA. The award honors an NBA player or coach for outstanding community service, and commitment to serve and give of his time outside the arena.

David Robinson already has donated $9 million of his own money to create the independent Carver Academy, serving primarily low-income African-American and Hispanic families in San Antonio. He also leads fundraising efforts for the school, and is Board Chairman of Carver, which is named for noted African-American George Washington Carver.

"The PBWA is proud to present David Robinson the J. Walter Kennedy Citizenship award for 2003," said PBWA President Sam Smith. "David is one of the most deserving winners we've ever had. He may be the best combination of citizen and athlete in the history of American professional sports. His feats on the basketball court undoubtedly will earn him inclusion in the Basketball Hall of Fame. His contributions off the basketball court may be even more significant and impressive. He is the ideal in what we seek in a professional athlete."

Past winners include ulius Erving, Joe Dumars, Bob Lanier, Dave Bing, Joe Dumars, Alex English, Steve Smith, Brian Grant, Dikembe Mutombo, and Alonzo Mourning.

Self to be named at Kansas

LAWRENCE, Kan., April 21 (UPI) -- Officials at Kansas University have scheduled a news conference for Monday afternoon, and are expected to introduce Bill Self as the men's basketball coach.

Self, 40, began his coaching career as an assistant under Larry Brown at Kansas in 1985-86. He will succeed Roy Williams, who resigned last week to return to North Carolina, his alma mater.

Self led the Fighting Illini to a 78-24 record in three seasons, sharing two Big Ten regular season titles and winning a conference tournament championship. Illinois advanced to the NCAA Tournament in each of those seasons, and reached the "Sweet 16" in 2002.

The Lawrence (Ks.) Journal-World reported Monday that Self met with the KU players Sunday night, and apparently, he made a mixed impression.

"The first thing I thought was, 'This guy looks terrible,'" sophomore forward Wayne Simien told the paper. "He had bags under his eyes. It looks like he's not slept. It shows he's working hard. He's cool. The first impression was real good. He said his bit and gave us a chance to ask questions. He will work hard for us."

The 6-9 Simien missed most of this past season with a shoulder separation.

The paper said Self told the Jayhawks' returning players that he will continue to play an up-tempo style.

"He said he will never take away from a player's game. He wants to run," sophomore guard Michael Lee told the paper. "He is a down-to-earth guy, a player's coach. He said, 'Never look at the bench when you make a mistake.'"

According to a report in the Chicago Sun Times on Sunday, Self was seen removing items from his office at Illinois on Saturday night, and sources also told the newspaper that Illinois Athletic Director Ron Guenther is "resigned to the fact that Self had made up his mind to leave."

"Any good coach will adapt to the type of players he has," sophomore guard Keith Langford said. "He will not take guys who have been successful running and play halfcourt."

Self coached at Oral Roberts for four years and Tulsa for three seasons before replacing Lon Kruger at Illinois in 2000. He has a career record of 207-105, and guided Tulsa to the "Elite Eight" of the NCAA Tournament in 1999-2000.

Garland named at Cleveland State

CLEVELAND, April 21 (UPI) -- Mike Garland has been named the successor to Rollie Massimino as the men's basketball coach at Cleveland State.

Garland spent the past seven years as an assistant under Tom Izzo at Michigan State, reportedly beat out former Clemson Coach Larry Shyatt, and becomes the seventh coach in Cleveland State history.

"I am extremely excited to have Mike Garland as our new head men's basketball coach," said Athletic Director Lee Reed. "His coaching skills, work ethic, and high level of success were well documented when I began my search, but it was his passion for teaching, his exceptional relationship-building skills, and his moral fiber that convinced me that he would be the perfect person to lead the CSU basketball program to the championship level that we all desire. Mike Garland is what Cleveland State University is all about: hard-working, resourceful, passionate, and committed to making Cleveland and Cleveland State a better place."

In his tenure with the Spartans, Garland helped coach MSU to six NCAA Tournaments, four Big Ten Championships, two Big Ten Tournament Championships, three Final Fours, and one National Championship. The Spartans started their run to the 2000 NCAA title with a pair of victories over the Vikings in Cleveland.

Included in his duties at MSU were scouting and game analysis, off-campus recruiting, and academics.

In addition, Garland was responsible for Michigan State's self-scouting and individual improvement. His instruction helped six Spartans to be selected in the last three NBA Drafts: Mateen Cleaves, Andre Hutson, Morris Peterson, Zach Randolph, Jason Richardson, and Marcus Taylor.

"I'm very excited because now I get to watch Mike Garland fulfill his dreams of being a Division I head coach," said Izzo. "He has the opportunity to build the Cleveland State program into one that will have the respect it deserves to have. He'll do a great job if he does any type of job like he's done here. Mike will bring great passion and toughness to the job. This is a great opportunity for Mike. I'm really happy for him, but I'm sad to see him go."

"There is a lot of work to be done," said Garland, 48. "I like to think hard work and Mike Garland go together. For sure, right away we've got to get some kids signed. I want kids to come in, give us an opportunity, take a chance on us. We're going to get you where you want to go."

According to the Cleveland Plain-Dealer, Garland wasted little time in bringing in his first assistant in Rick Albro, a 13-year head coach at Aquinas College in Grand Rapids, Mich.

Garland inherits a program that was 8-22 last season under the now-retired Massimino.

Nestor named at Elon College

ELON, N.C., April 21 (UPI) -- Long-time former Wake Forest assistant Ernie Nestor Monday was named the new men's basketball coach at Elon College.

He spent the last two winters as an assistant to Dave Odom at South Carolina, after being a member of Odom's staff at Wake Forest the previous eight seasons.

Nestor, 56, has been in college coaching since 1976, and will enter his 28th season when he directs the Phoenix this fall.

His total time at Wake Forest lasted 14 seasons over two separate terms (1979-1985, 1993-2001).

"We are excited to have Ernie Nestor as our head men's basketball coach," said Elon Athletic Director Dr. Alan White. "He is a very knowledgeable, experienced coach, which is what we felt we needed as we head into our new Southern Conference affiliation. Coach Nestor understands our university mission and possesses the personal values and character that make him a good fit for our program and our university. We look forward to our work together."

Prior to his second stint with Wake Forest, he served George Mason University as its head coach for five years (1988-1993), leading the Patriots to their first-ever NCAA Tournament berth in 1989. That squad won the Colonial Athletic Association title, and finished the year at 20-11. The 1990 squad also reached the 20-victory plateau.

"I am very excited for sure," said Nestor. "The challenge is great, and I am pleased to be coming to Elon. It's a great opportunity for me to be a part of this move to the Southern Conference, which is a very challenging league. We have to compete and excel, and plan our level of work to meet the challenge ahead. Those are the goals of college basketball."

Nestor inherits 10 returning lettermen, including three starters, from last season's 12-15 team, which finished 8-6 in the program's final Big South Conference schedule to snag a share of second place.

In men's basketball, Elon will be a member of the North Division of the Southern Conference along with Appalachian State, Chattanooga, East Tennessee State, UNC-Greensboro, and Western Carolina. The College of Charleston, The Citadel, Davidson, Furman, Georgia Southern, and Wofford occupy the South Division.

More surgery for Nen

SAN FRANCISCO, April 21 (UPI) -- Veteran closer Robb Nen of the San Francisco Giants has undergone further surgery on his pitching shoulder, and his expected return has been delayed.

A club spokesman indicates that Nen underwent an arthroscopic procedure on Friday. In the 25-minute process, he has inflamed and irritated tissue cleaned up by Dr. Lewis Yocum, who performed surgery on Nen's labrum in November 2002.

Team trainer Stan Conte said he is not sure when Nen will return.

"We don't have a timetable, and we're not going to give you one,'' Conte was quoted as saying. "I don't want to get Robb hung up on making or not making time. We're just going to move along like we have. It will take a couple of weeks for him to get going again, then we'll see where the shoulder is.''

Nen was placed on 15-day disabled list on March 30 because of a strain in the shoulder the day before. It was the first time he had tossed a baseball since the initial surgery.

"We decided to have Dr. Yocum put a scope in his shoulder and fix anything he sees," Conte told the San Francisco Chronicle prior to the procedure. "We think it is not going to be anything major. There is something going on in the back of his shoulder that we need to evaluate, and the only way we can do that is arthroscopy."

The veteran righthander said he feels like an outside since he has not contributed to the Giants' quick start.

"It is frustrating," Nen said. "It's exciting and I'm happy for them. It's a real team effort, but it's tough just to sit and watch."

Like Conte, Nen has no idea when he will be back.

"We had a timetable before and it didn't work," Nen said of his rehab efforts during spring training. "It just wasn't right and it needed to be fixed again. I'll take my time and whenever (trainer) Conte thinks it's right and I think it's right, we'll go from there."

The 6-5, 215-pounder was optimistic when asked about being able to pitch again this season.

"I hope so," he said. "We'll just play it by ear, get treatment, and see what happens."

Nen, 33, went 6-2 with a 2.20 ERA and 43 saves last season on the way to garnering All-Star honors for the fifth straight season. He ranks 11th all time with 314 saves, and has amassed 206 saves since joining the Giants in 1998.

He will travel will travel with the club on its upcoming eastern road trip to Pittsburgh and Philadelphia.

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