Sports briefs: Oct. 14

October 14, 2012 

NASCAR

Bowyer wins; Keselowski's points lead cut to seven

Clint Bowyer picked up his first win in the Chase for the Sprint Cup championship on a rough night for points leader Brad Keselowski. Keselowski dominated Saturday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway but ran out of gas with 58 laps remaining to blow his chance at the victory. He fell a lap down and finished 11th, and had his lead in the standings sliced in half.

Keselowski has a seven-point lead over five-time NASCAR champion Jimmie Johnson at the halfway point of the Chase.

Denny Hamlin finished second and is third in the Chase, 15 points back. Johnson finished third.

Everyone had to race with one eye on the gas gauge, and it worked out in Bowyer's favor for his third victory of the season.

Gordon might not report a concussion

Dale Earnhardt Jr. was praised by his competitors for having the guts to seek medical attention that led to him being sidelined Saturday night at Charlotte Motor Speedway. But, at least one driver wasn't sure he'd do the same with a championship on the line.

"Honestly, I hate to say this, but no, I wouldn't," four-time champion Jeff Gordon said. "If I have a shot at the championship, there's two races to go, my head is hurting, and I just came through a wreck, and I am feeling signs of it, but I'm still leading the points, or second in the points, I'm not going to say anything. I'm sorry.

"You know, that's the competitor in me, and probably many other guys. And, that's to a fault. That's not the way it should be. It's something that most of us, I think, would do. I think that's what gets a lot of us in trouble."

Earnhardt was diagnosed this week with two concussions sustained over a six-week span. He was first injured in an Aug. 29 crash during a tire test at Kansas, but he didn't seek an evaluation for what he knew was a concussion after he left the track. Then, he had a lingering headache following Sunday's 25-car accident at Talladega. Hendrick Motorsports tabbed Regan Smith to replace him in the No. 88 Chevrolet on Saturday night and next week at Kansas.

Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s replacement driver made an early exit Saturday night in the Sprint Cup race at Charlotte Motor Speedway. Regan Smith went to the garage with a blown engine early in the race. Smith was running well early having moved up from 26th to 10th before smoke began billowing from his car. He said he wasn't sure exactly what went wrong with the car. "It's disappointing and it's a shame," Smith said.


NBA

Nets win pre-season opener in overtime

Brook Lopez scored 19 points and the Brooklyn Nets made their debut with a 108-105 overtime victory over the Philadelphia 76ers in a pre-season game on Saturday night in Atlantic City, N.J.

The Nets had closed the book on New Jersey after spending 35 years in Piscataway, East Rutherford and the team's last home at the Prudential Center in Newark. Turns out, the franchise had one more game left in their old home state.

Only these Nets wore black uniforms with white stripes down the sides and "Brooklyn" emblazoned on the front.

Oh, they also had Joe Johnson and Deron Williams in the backcourt, a duo the Nets could have used in New Jersey. Johnson, acquired from Atlanta in the off-season, scored 13 points in his debut. Williams had 14 points.

Carmelo Anthony scored 23 points and Chris Copeland had 21 to help the New York Knicks beat the Boston Celtics 98-95 in overtime in an exhibition game. Rajon Rondo (UK) had nine points, seven rebounds and four assists, and Courtney Lee (WKU) had 11 points for Boston.

Alexey Shved made two three-pointers and scored 12 of his 15 points in the fourth quarter in the Minnesota Timberwolves' 82-75 exhibition victory over the Chicago Bulls. Nazr Mohammed (UK) had 10 points and six rebounds for Chicago.


Golf

Mallinger up 2 shots in Frys.com Open

John Mallinger remained in position for his first PGA Tour victory, shooting a 1-under 70 on Saturday in the Frys.com Open to take a two-stroke lead into the final round in San Martin, Calif.

The 33-year-old Mallinger had a 15-under 198 total at CordeValle after opening with a 66 and matching the course record with a 62 on Friday.

"I just didn't have it all. I didn't drive it as well as I did yesterday," Mallinger said. "I think I hit every fairway yesterday, and then today I just got off to a weird start. But I hung around there and made some birdies on the back nine that got me back into position. Still got lead, still got a good spot, and look forward to tomorrow."

He has finished second twice in his seven-year career on the tour, losing in a playoff to Bo Van Pelt in Milwaukee in 2009.

"I'm going to still stay aggressive and try to make as many birdies as possible," Mallinger said. "It's going to be a birdie day. I mean, it's supposed to be nice tomorrow."

Sweden's Jonas Blixt was second after a 66. He birdied five of the last eight holes.

"The front nine is a little harder," said Blixt, coming off a third-place finish last week in Las Vegas. "The back nine you can make a couple birdies. Hopefully, I can finish like I did today."

He had a simple game plan for Sunday.

"Make birdies," Blixt said.

Fred Funk took a one-stroke lead over Larry Mize in the Champions Tour's Greater Hickory Classic on Saturday in Conover, N.C., shooting his second straight bogey-free 6-under 66. The 56-year-old Funk has gone 42 holes without a bogey since the 13th hole Sunday in the final round of the SAS Championship in Cary, N.C.

"I really jump-started my round with a save on No. 2," Funk said. "I drove it into the bunker and had to wedge it out for par. Then I made a 30-footer (putt) on the next hole (for birdie), and that got me going."

■ Defending champion Na Yeon Choi posted a 3-under 68 to maintain a two-shot lead after the rain-interrupted third round of the LPGA Malaysia. Choi birdied the first hole before rain halted play for more than four hours.

"Actually, honestly, I don't like leading, that feeling. I like chasing better," Choi said. "But like today, I think I played too much safely. So tomorrow, I'm not going to think about my score, even two-shot lead. I just go out there with a general score and play my game. I want to play lower than any day."

Bernd Wiesberger birdied six of seven holes in one stretch, finishing with a 6-under 65 for a one-stroke lead after three rounds at the European Tour's Portugal Masters.


Horse racing

Boisterous, La Cloche win at Belmont

Boisterous and La Cloche won $150,000 turf stakes Saturday at Belmont Park. Boisterous scored a repeat win in the Knickerbocker, beating See Tobe by two lengths with Jose Lezcano up for Hall of Fame trainer Shug McGaughey. La Cloche, seventh at the top of the stretch, rallied to beat Embarr by 11/4 lengths in the Athenia for fillies and mares. Junior Alvarado was aboard for trainer Jimmy Toner.


The last word

NFL defensive end Osi Umenyiora, a two-time Pro Bowl selection and All-Pro pass rusher, has never embraced the added spotlight that comes with playing for the New York Giants:

"I won't lie to you. I've wished that I wasn't in such a big market, that I could have just gone about my business and played football and been in a small corner somewhere where nobody knows anything."

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