Sports briefs: Feb. 27

February 27, 2013 

College Basketball

Minnesota knocks off No. 1 IU

Trevor Mbakwe had 21 points and 12 rebounds to help host Minnesota take down No. 1 Indiana 77-73 on Tuesday night, the seventh time the top-ranked team in The Associated Press' poll has lost a game this season. Andre Hollins added 16 points for the Gophers (19-9, 7-8 Big Ten), who outrebounded Cody Zeller and the Hoosiers by a whopping 44-30 and solidified their slipping NCAA Tournament case with an emphatic performance against the Big Ten leaders. The fans rushed the court as the last seconds ticked off, the first time that's happened here in years.

Zeller was held to nine points with four turnovers for the Hoosiers (24-4, 12-3), who have held the No. 1 ranking for 10 of 17 polls this season including the last four. Victor Oladipo scored 16 points, but 14 of the 17 points by Jordan Hulls came before halftime.

Jordan McRae scored 27 points and host Tennessee boosted its NCAA Tournament hopes by beating No. 8 Florida 64-58 on Tuesday night, the Volunteers' sixth consecutive victory. Jarnell Stokes added eight points and 14 rebounds for Tennessee (17-10, 9-6 Southeastern Conference). Mike Rosario scored 16 points for Florida (22-5, 12-3).

Brad Redford hit a long three-pointer that put host Xavier back ahead after wasting a 13-point lead, and the Musketeers beat No. 19 Memphis 64-62, ending the Tigers' 18-game winning streak.

Adam Delph, a former Pleasure Ridge Park standout, had 21 points and four rebounds in Asbury's 74-62 loss to top-seeded Indiana Southeast in the finals of the Kentucky Intercollegiate Athletic Conference Tournament. Jake Simpson, another PRP graduate, led Indiana Southeast with 19 points and 10 rebounds.

C. Vivian Stringer became the fourth women's college basketball coach to reach 900 wins as Rutgers cruised past visiting South Florida 68-56. Stringer, a Hall of Famer in her 42nd season as head coach, joined Pat Summitt, Jody Conradt and Sylvia Hatchell.

■ Western Kentucky dismissed senior center Teeng Akol from the team. Akol started 16 of 27 games this season and averaged 6.7 points and 3.8 rebounds per contest.


High school basketball

Willis to play in Derby Festival Classic

University of Kentucky signee Derek Willis and University of Louisville signees Anton Gill and Akoy Agau headline the rosters announced Tuesday for the 40th annual Kentucky Derby Festival Basketball Classic. The game is scheduled for Friday, April 19, in Louisville's Freedom Hall.

Willis, from Bullitt East High School, is the first UK signee in the game since Stacey Poole in 2010.

Willis will play for the black team, opposite the two Louisville signees on the white squad. Four players committed to Indiana — Devin Davis, Luke Fischer, Stanford Robinson and Troy Williams — join Willis on the black team. The game also includes three McDonald's All-Americans in Jabari Bird (California), Jarell Martin (LSU) and Keith Frazier (undecided).


UK sports Spring football game adds ticketing, reserved seating, but it's still free event

The Kentucky football team's annual Blue-White Spring Game will be a reserved seating, ticketed event this year. The tickets still will be free, but with a small service charge on each ticket, UK Athletics announced Tuesday.

A special availability for season ticket holders will start at 9 a.m. Thursday. They will get an email this week explaining how to obtain up to eight reserved seats. UK students can get their free tickets (two per student ID) starting Thursday at the Joe Craft Center Ticket Office.

The general public can get their tickets starting on March 11 at 9 a.m. via TicketMaster by calling (800) 745-3000 or by going on www.TicketMaster.com. Tickets will still be available for free on the day of the game for walk-up traffic.

The Blue-White Game is Saturday, April 13, at 7 p.m.

■ Kentucky's softball team improved its national ranking for the third straight week. The Cats (11-3) are 17th in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll and 19th in the USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association rankings.


Major League Baseball

Bailey solid for inning in spring debut

Cincinnati Reds center fielder Shin-Soo Choo was 1-for-2 with a RBI in the third inning and Homer Bailey was effective in one inning in a 7-5 exhibition loss to the San Diego Padres. Bailey struck out one and walked one. Cincinnati left-hander Aroldis Chapman will make his spring debut on Thursday against Colorado.

Josh Hamilton went 0-for-3 in his Cactus League debut with the Los Angeles Angels, playing five innings in their 7-7 tie with an Arizona Diamondbacks split squad. Hamilton grounded out on the first pitch he faced and later flied out twice for the Angels.

■ Two-time Cy Young Award winner Tim Lincecum gave up three runs and failed to get through two innings in his first spring training start for the San Francisco Giants, an 8-8 tie with the Los Angeles Dodgers.


NBA

Heat need two overtimes to beat Kings

LeBron James had 40 points and 16 assists, Dwyane Wade scored 39 and the host Miami Heat pushed their winning streak to 12 games by outlasting the Sacramento Kings 141-129 in double overtime on Tuesday night. Miami's 12-game winning streak is the longest in the NBA and matches the second-longest in franchise history. Marcus Thornton scored 36 points for Sacramento, the most by any reserve in the NBA this season. DeMarcus Cousins finished with 24 points and 15 rebounds.


NASCAR Danica boosts Daytona's TV ratings

With Danica Patrick starting from the pole, the Daytona 500's television ratings were much higher than last year's. Sunday afternoon's race earned a 9.9 rating and 22 share on Fox, the network said Tuesday. That's up 24 percent from 2012, when rain pushed the event to a Monday night. It was the highest rating since 2008. Jimmie Johnson won the race while Patrick was eighth, the best finish by a woman at the Daytona 500.

■ NASCAR's All-Star race format has been changed again, but this time to discourage drivers from riding around at the back of the field. Charlotte Motor Speedway owner Bruton Smith has posted a $1 million bonus as incentive to a driver who wins all five race segments. The overall winner of the Sprint All-Star race gets a $1 million payout. The race will again be four 20-lap segments, followed by a 10-lap dash for the cash.


The last word

Golf instructor Butch Harmon first worked with Steve Elkington in the 1980s, and his roster of clients has grown enormously over the years. He coached Greg Norman and Tiger Woods during their rise to No. 1, along with four players in the World Golf Hall of Fame — Ernie Els, Phil Mickelson, Jose Maria Olazabal, Fred Couples. But when he worked with President Barack Obama at The Floridian recently, he was referred to only as Woods' former swing coach. Harmon wasn't happy about that:

"I haven't been with (Woods) for 10 years. It's irritating to be honest. I guess they were looking for a connection because the president was playing with Tiger. But people think Tiger made me successful. No one remembers I took Greg to No. 1 in the world, or all the work with Elkington, or Davis Love III. It's the press. Anything to sensationalize. And you're dealing with a White House press that doesn't know any of these names."

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