Sports briefs: March 26

March 26, 2013 

NBA

Wall scores career-high 47

John Wall scored a career-high 47 points and added eight assists, Emeka Okafor had 21 points and nine rebounds, and the undermanned Washington Wizards beat the Memphis Grizzlies, 107-94 Monday night. Wall shot 13-for-22 from the field and made a career-high 19 free throws on 24 attempts.

"I was just in a zone," Wall said. "I made my first couple of shots. I knew I was in a great rhythm — 10 points in the first quarter — I knew I had it going."

It was Washington's sixth straight home win, while Memphis dropped its fourth straight road game.

Miller 4-for-5 on threes, scores 16

Ryan Anderson scored 23 points, Brian Roberts doubled his career high with 18 assists and the short-handed New Orleans Hornets beat Denver 110-86 on Monday night, ending the Nuggets' 15-game win streak. New Orleans, playing without its starting backcourt of Eric Gordon and Greivis Vasquez, won its third in a row and was in control all the way.

Darius Miller started in Gordon's place and scored 16 points, including going 4-for-5 from three-point range. The former Mason County and University of Kentucky star also had three rebounds.

"We always talk about competing every single night, because you never know what can happen," Coach Monty Williams said. "Guys stepped up and had career nights."

Anthony Davis, in foul trouble early, added 14 points, six rebounds and two assists for the Hornets.

LeBron James finished with 24 points, 11 assists and nine rebounds, and the Miami Heat won their 27th straight game by running away in the final minutes to beat the Orlando Magic 108-94. The Heat are within six games of matching the 1971-72 Los Angeles Lakers for the longest winning streak in NBA history.

■ Former Bryan Station standout Shelvin Mack scored a season-high 10 points to go with four assists in the Atlanta Hawks' 100-94 loss to the Indiana Pacers.


NASCAR Hamlin has compression fracture in lower back after crash at Fontana

Denny Hamlin suffered a compression fracture in his lower spine during a last-lap crash while racing for the win against former teammate Joey Logano, and Joe Gibbs Racing gave no indication Monday how long its driver could be sidelined.

"I just want to go home," Hamlin tweeted from a hospital in Southern California. He later posted a photo of himself giving a thumbs-up and appeared to be wearing a back brace.

NASCAR does not race this weekend, but returns to action April 7 at Martinsville Speedway, where Hamlin, who is 10th in the Sprint Cup standings, is a four-time winner.

Hamlin was airlifted from the Fontana, Calif., track after a collision with Logano sent him nearly head-on into the inside wall in a place where Auto Club Speedway does not have energy-absorbing SAFER barriers. There are barriers on the inside of some of the walls, but portions of the track between Turns 1 and 2 and Turns 3 and 4 are not protected. Track spokesman David Talley said Monday the SAFER barriers are installed upon NASCAR's recommendation, and track officials will wait to see what, if anything, NASCAR recommends after Hamlin's accident.


UK Sports

Gymnastics in Morgantown regional

The nineteenth-ranked Kentucky gymnastics team earned a NCAA bid and will compete at the Morgantown, W.Va., regional on April 6. The Cats will be making their ninth-consecutive and 25th overall NCAA Regional appearance. Kentucky will join top-seeded Michigan, No. 2-seed Nebraska, No. 3-seed Illinois, as well as host West Virginia and North Carolina, seeded fifth and sixth, respectively.

"After a disappointing performance at the SEC Championships we are looking forward to our next opportunity to compete," Coach Tim Garrison said. "The Morgantown regional will be a tough competition, but the team will be ready."

■ Weather conditions prompted the Kentucky baseball team (18-5, 4-2 Southeastern Conference) to move its matchup with Marshall from Tuesday to 3 p.m. Wednesday at Cliff Hagan Stadium.


Baseball

Mariners hammer Reds, Bailey 16-0

Homer Bailey thought the numbers looked a lot worse than he pitched. Jesus Montero hit a grand slam, Michael Saunders homered among his three hits and the Seattle Mariners hammered Bailey in a 16-0 rout of the Cincinnati Reds in exhibition play. Saunders connected off Bailey, and Justin Smoak added two hits off the right-hander, driving in three runs. Montero's slam came off Wilken De La Rosa, one of two non-roster pitchers left in Reds camp.

Bailey was scheduled to pitch five innings but lasted only 3 1⁄3, allowing nine runs on nine hits and two walks. He struck out five. "It was their day, not mine," Bailey said.

Collin Cowgill was 2-for-2 with a home run and two RBI in the Mets' 7-4 victory against the Braves. The former Henry Clay and University of Kentucky star is batting .333 with four homers and eight RBI during spring training.

Virgil "Fire" Trucks, who threw two no-hitters for the Detroit Tigers in an otherwise dreadful 1952 season and was the last visiting pitcher to toss a complete-game no-hitter at Yankee Stadium, died. He was 95. The two-time All-Star died Saturday near Birmingham, Ala. He pitched in the major leagues from 1941-58, helping the Tigers beat the Chicago Cubs in the 1945 World Series.

Trucks is one of five pitchers to throw two no-hitters in a season, according to STATS. The others were Johnny Vander Meer (1938), Allie Reynolds (1951), Nolan Ryan (1973) and Roy Halladay (2010). One of Halladay's no-hitters came in the post-season. Trucks threw his in a year the Tigers lost 104 games. The right-hander went 5-19 with a 3.97 ERA that season, but he held Washington without a hit on May 15 and did the same to the Yankees in New York on Aug. 25.


Horse racing 13 colts nominated late to Triple Crown

Black Onyx and Undrafted, co-owned by Denver Broncos receiver Wes Welker, led the list of 13 late nominees for the Triple Crown series for 3-year-olds. Black Onyx won the Spiral Stakes at Turfway Park last weekend for trainer Kelly Breen. Undrafted finished third in the Swale Stakes at Gulfstream Park for Welker, who owns the colt trained by Wesley Ward. Among the other late nominees was Giant Finish, third in the Spiral for trainer Tony Dutrow; and Texas Heritage winner Departing and Gentilly Stakes winner Sunbean, both of whom are trained by Al Stall Jr.


Conference Realignment

Report: Sun Belt adding two schools

Georgia Southern and Appalachian State are leaving the Southern Conference for the Sun Belt Conference, a source told The Associated Press. The two schools will join the Sun Belt in every sport except football beginning in 2014. The football programs will join in 2015, making the transition from the FCS to the FBS.

An announcement is scheduled for later this week.

The moves will give the Sun Belt 10 football members in 2015. Arkansas State, Georgia State, Louisiana-Lafayette, Louisiana-Monroe, South Alabama, Texas State, Troy and Western Kentucky are the others. Arkansas-Little Rock and Texas-Arlington help make up the 12 teams participating in basketball.


The last word

Florida Gulf Coast, which advanced to the NCAA Tournament's round of 16, somehow lost twice to Lipscomb this season. Explained FGCU forward Eddie Murray:

"They're our Kryptonite."

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