Sports briefs: Jan. 7

January 7, 2013 

NBA

Prince scores game-high 21, but Pistons lose in overtime

Kemba Walker had 20 points and seven assists, Ben Gordon scored 18 points and the Charlotte Bobcats beat the Detroit Pistons 108-101 in overtime Sunday night for just their second win in 21 games. Ramon Sessions added 15 points and Michael Kidd-Gilchrist had 11 points and eight rebounds.

Tayshaun Prince scored 21 points and grabbed seven rebounds to lead Detroit, which had a four-game winning streak snapped. Greg Monroe had 18 points, 14 rebounds and six assists and Brandon Knight had 12 points.

Walker's driving layup with 7.8 seconds left in regulation tied the score at 96-all, sending the game to overtime. Then, he and Tyrus Thomas had four points each for Charlotte in the extra period. Prince's jump hook with 2:02 left had given the Pistons a 96-94 lead.

LeBron James scored 24 points and the Miami Heat had an edge in rebounding for a change to beat the woeful Washington Wizards 99-71. The host Heat, beaten on the boards by a total of 38 rebounds over the previous three games, this time enjoyed a 50-39 advantage. Udonis Haslem led them with 12 rebounds.

Miami scored the game's final 21 points and held Washington scoreless over the last 7:07.

"The defense came alive," James said. "We understand that if we want to win, ultimately we have to defend."

James extended his streaks of scoring at least 20 points to 32 consecutive games this season, and 53 in a row including last year's playoff run.

The Wizards (4-28), last in the NBA in points and shooting, clanked a succession of open shots and hit 36 only percent. They lost their fifth game in a row and fell to 0-13 on the road against Eastern Conference teams.

Zach Randolph scored 21 points and Rudy Gay added 20 to lead the Memphis Grizzlies to a 92-81 victory at Phoenix Suns. Tony Allen scored 11 and Marc Gasol had 10 points and 12 rebounds for the Grizzlies, who have won three of their last five games.

■ The Cavaliers waived former University of Louisville standout Samardo Samuels, who made one start and played in 18 games this season for Cleveland. He averaged 3.2 points and 1.6 rebounds.


Horse racing

Stevens third in first race of comeback

Hall of Fame jockey Gary Stevens finished third in the first race of his comeback after a seven-year retirement. He was aboard Jebrica in the sixth race Sunday at Santa Anita Park in Arcadia, Calif. It was a $45,000 claiming race at a mile on the turf. They were running second late in the race before finishing a nose behind second-place Deacon Speakin'.

"I thought, 'Man, this is going to be a storybook comeback.' It wasn't meant to be, but it was close enough," he said. "That's the first time I've knuckled down on one in seven years, and it felt good."

Aaron Gryder rode the winner, Maybe Tuesday.

"Gary looked good and it was fun to have him back in the jocks' room," Gryder said.

It was Stevens' only mount on the card. Afterward, he hurried off to shower, change and get in the HRTV booth in time to analyze the featured Monrovia Stakes.

"It feels good to get the cobwebs out, and I feel good," said Stevens, who had battled knee pain for the last several years of his career.

Stevens announced last week that he was launching a comeback because he still has a passion for riding. The jockey, who turns 50 in March, plans to juggle his TV work with the horse racing channel and NBC Sports while riding. He said he will be selective in how many races he rides in.

Mizdirection beat Kindle by a nose to win the $150,000 Monrovia Stakes at Santa Anita for co-owner and sports talk host Jim Rome. Ridden by Hall of Famer Mike Smith, Mizdirection ran 6½ furlongs on the downhill turf course in 1:11.94 as the 4-5 favorite. The 5-year-old mare improved to 4-for-4 on the turf at the track where she beat the boys to win the Breeders' Cup Turf Sprint in November.


College football

SEC's Murray, Matthews staying in school

Georgia quarterback Aaron Murray said he is returning for his senior season. Murray announced on his Twitter account Sunday night he won't leave early to enter the NFL Draft.

"Blessed to be the QB for the Dawgs, not ready to leave just yet," Murray tweeted. He said he wanted to return to "help lead this team to a championship."

Murray, a fourth-year junior, already has graduated. He led Georgia to a 12-2 finish that included a loss to Alabama in the Southeastern Conference championship game and a win over Nebraska in the Capital One Bowl. Murray threw five touchdown passes in the bowl win.

■ Vanderbilt wide receiver Jordan Matthews will return for his senior season instead of entering the NFL Draft a year early. Joined by his parents and Vanderbilt Coach James Franklin on Sunday, Matthews said he thinks he can return and help the Commodores win their first Southeastern Conference championship.

He led the SEC this season with a school-record 1,323 yards receiving, which is also the fifth-most in league history. The 6-foot-3, 205-pounder had 94 receptions, the second-highest total in school and SEC history. Matthews, an all-SEC selection, has 150 career receptions for 2,290 yards and 16 touchdowns.

Dontae Wright, a former Lawrence County standout who played at Miami (Ohio) and was a graduate assistant at Kentucky from 2007 to 2009, was named defensive line coach and recruiting coordinator at Morehead State. Wright spent last season as an assistant at Centre.


Golf

PGA Tour opener delayed — again

Another attempt to start the PGA Tour season was blown away Sunday at Kapalua, Hawaii. Just more than an hour into the opening round of the Tournament of Champions, play was suspended when more 40 mph gusts came roaring down and left officials no choice but to wipe out yet another round.

The final blow came at the 12th hole. Scott Stallings had a tap-in and as he approached the ball to take his stance, it blew some 8 feet away. Rickie Fowler will hit the opening tee shot of the 2013 season on Monday — for the third time this week.


The last word

Golfer Ben Curtis on windy conditions at the PGA Tour's weather-delayed Tournament of Champions at Kapalua, Hawaii:

"It's crazy. That's the only way to describe it. I've never hit two greens in regulation at the start and walked away at 5 over. But hey. At least we had to try."

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