Sports briefs: Feb. 25

February 25, 2013 

UK Sports

Wildcats' Hillenbrand wins men's mile at SEC Indoors

Matt Hillenbrand executed a perfect race plan, surging into the lead in the final 20 meters of the men's mile to win the Southeastern Conference indoor championships on Sunday at Fayetteville, Ark.

Hillenbrand stayed close with the pacemakers for much of the race as the leaders started on a faster-than-expected pace.

The St. Xavier graduate waited till the bell lap to take a shot at the lead. With Arkansas' Patrick Rono coasting for home in the final 60 meters, Hillenbrand surged ahead on the outside.

"A few weeks back when we ran at Notre Dame I made a move too soon," Hillenbrand said. "My coaches told me I had to stay right there and make the last move."

Hillenbrand's time of 4:01.55 was a new personal-best, and seventh-best in school history.

Bradley Szypka continued his strong season with a personal-best shot put of 18.83 meters, good for a fourth-place finish.

Cally Macumber was fourth in the women's mile in 4:43.00.

■ The Kentucky's softball team's offense came up big in both games of a doubleheader at Spartanburg, S.C. The Cats (11-3) defeated Howard 14-0 in the first game before winning 12-8 against USC Upstate in 11 innings in the second game. It was Upstate's first loss of the season. Griffin Joiner (Christian County) led Kentucky, going 5-for-8 in both games with two doubles, one home run and six RBI. Joiner is batting .361 with 12 RBI this season.

■ Kentucky's rifle team finished second at the Great America Rifle Conference Championships at Oxford, Miss., shooting a 2,361 in air rifle on Sunday to give the team an aggregate score of 4,690. West Virginia won the title with a 4,705. Freshman Connor Davis (Shelby County) earned individual air rifle title, shooting a 701 to narrowly defeat West Virginia's Petra Zublasing (700.5).


Davis leads Hornets past Kings, Cousins

New Orleans Hornets fans received a glimpse of the future while enjoying the present on Sunday night. Anthony Davis and Eric Gordon, the franchise's marquee tandem, combined for 37 points to help the Hornets snap a three-game losing streak with a 110-95 victory over the visiting Sacramento Kings.

Davis had 20 points and eight rebounds, while Gordon had 17 points and a season-high eight assists.

"I had to be aggressive," said Davis, who was 9-for-14 from the field. "I was just being active, moving around. I had to stop settling for jump shots and start attacking the basket."

DeMarcus Cousins scored 16 points and grabbed 10 rebounds for the Kings, who lost their fifth consecutive game and eighth straight on the road. It was Cousins' 25th double-double of the season.

Davis, who sat out most of the final two quarters Friday against Dallas with a knee injury, scored 12 points in the first half in leading the Hornets to a 53-47 lead at the break. "Tonight you got a little taste of what (Davis) can do every night," teammate Ryan Anderson said. "He's learning, still learning as a player how he can be most effective. Tonight this is the way he can play."


Kuchar defeats Mahan in Match Play

Matt Kuchar finally put Hunter Mahan in a hole and then answered every challenge Sunday to win the Match Play Championship at Marana, Ariz. Mahan had gone 169 holes over 11 matches without trailing in this wild tournament until Kuchar won the fourth hole of their championship match with a par, and Mahan never caught up. Kuchar took advantage of a series of miscues to build a 4-up lead at the turn, and then held off a noble challenge by the defending champion. There was never a dull moment on the back nine. Only two holes were halved, and those were with birdies.

But for all the great shots, the match ended when Mahan went from a tough lie in the bunker to a bush in the desert, and it took him four shots to reach the 17th green. Kuchar wound up winning, 2 and 1, when Mahan removed the stocking cap he used to fight the cold desert air and conceded Kuchar a short birdie putt.

It was the first World Golf Championship title for Kuchar, and it follows a year in which he won The Players Championship. Kuchar became the second player in the last three years to win the Match Play Championship without ever playing the 18th hole.

"It seems like each hole there's so much momentum riding and so much pressure on every hole," Kuchar said. "To come out on top after six matches of playing the top 64 guys in the world, it's an incredible feeling."

Inbee Park took advantage of overnight leader Ariya Jutanugarn's triple bogey on the last hole Sunday to win the LPGA Thailand tournament by one shot. The 17-year-old Jutanugarn blew a two-stroke lead on the 18th when she first had to take a drop and then missed a three-foot putt to force a playoff.

"I just didn't' expect this kind of finish," said Park, adding that she sympathized with Jutanagarn. "If I was in Ariya's situation, I would be very, very nervous and I don't' think I would have handled the pressure until the last hole. I think she handled the pressure well today and this week. Just the last day, I just think it's going to happen. I think something like this happening is just experience under her belt. She's going to be a great player later on."


Indians take third straight against Reds

Daisuke Matsuzaka, nearly two years removed from Tommy John elbow surgery, pitched two hitless innings in blustery conditions and seven Cleveland pitchers combined on a one-hitter, leading an Indians split squad to a 3-0 win over the Cincinnati Reds on Sunday. With winds gusting to 30 mph, Matsuzaka got off to a shaky start in his debut, hitting Cincinnati's Ryan Hanigan with his first pitch before getting a double-play grounder on his second. He allowed a walk in his second inning, but otherwise looked solid during a 22-pitch outing.

"At least we got good pitching," Reds Manager Dusty Baker said, sighting strong outings by Sam LeCure, Manny Parra, Jose Arredondo and J.J. Hoover.

■ In his first at-bat of spring training, Yankees slugger Curtis Granderson broke his arm when he was hit by a pitch from Toronto's J.A. Happ on Sunday, and is expected to be out until the first week of May.

The last word

San Francisco Giants ace Matt Cain's right leg was hit by a line drive during his exhibition game Sunday. Cain said he's OK:

"Maybe I've just got to start using my glove more — or actually using my glove."

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