Sports briefs: March 27

March 27, 2013 

NASCAR No penalties for wild finish;Hamlin out with back fracture

NASCAR chairman Brian France said Tuesday that the contact between Joey Logano and Denny Hamlin as they battled for the win at California over the weekend was just the kind of throwback racing he expects out of his drivers and the new Gen-6 car.

"I have said repeatedly, every minute, that contact, especially late in the race when you are going for a win, that's not only going to happen — that's expected," France said. "Both of them did exactly what I think you would do when you really, really want to win. Getting some contact, trying to race extra hard to win the race, that's what we're about."

Hamlin suffered a compressed fracture of the L1 vertebra in his lower back, and Joe Gibbs Racing said Tuesday night he'll be out a minimum of six weeks.

NASCAR said it won't penalize Tony Stewart for scuffling with Logano after the race, and series officials saw nothing to indicate Logano or Hamlin were trying to intentionally wreck each other as they raced for the win. In addition, NASCAR officials have given no thought to policing blocking, which is what Logano did to Stewart on the final restart to trigger the post-race confrontation.

"There are no conversations internally inside of NASCAR to look at blocking as a violation or a penalty as some other forms of motorsports do," Sprint Cup Series director John Darby said. "As good as the racing has been, as exciting as it's been, I don't know that we need to jump in the middle and screw it up."


Basketball Wiggins, Towns on Hoop Summit squad

Kentucky commitment Karl Towns and UK recruiting target Andrew Wiggins will join forces next month to take on three future Cats in the Nike Hoop Summit.

Towns and Wiggins were named to the Hoop Summit's World Select Team on Tuesday. Wiggins scored 20 points and led the World team to an 82-75 victory in last year's Hoop Summit. Towns is of Dominican descent and represented the Dominican Republic in last year's Olympic trials. Wiggins was born in Canada.

The U.S. team was announced in January and includes UK signees Andrew Harrison, Aaron Harrison and Julius Randle. Uncommitted 2013 recruit Aaron Gordon is also on the squad.

The game will be played at 7 p.m. April 20 at Portland, Ore.

■ Louisville Trinity guard Darryl Hicks committed to Boston College on Tuesday, Scout.com reported. "They offered him last fall. They've done a great job recruiting him," Trinity Coach Mike Szabo said. "He's excited about the challenge of playing at the highest level in the ACC on a young team that can compete in that league."


Golf

Holmes breaks ankle while rollerblading

Former University of Kentucky standout J.B. Holmes tweeted Tuesday that he broke his ankle recently while rollerblading.

"I would love to say that I was doing a 360 off a ramp and fell, but it was more of just rolling down the street slowly and fell awkwardly," Holmes posted.

GolfWeek.com reported that Holmes could miss eight to 10 weeks on the PGA Tour. He was rolling backward on the blades March 9 and hit a hole while waiting for his fiancee, Erica Kahldin, to catch up, Terry Reilly of Wasserman Media Group was quoted in a story on the website. "Just a freak little thing," Reilly said.

Ian Poulter birdied the first hole of a playoff to lift Albany past Lake Nona in the Tavistock Cup on Tuesday, ending Lake Nona's event winning streak at four in the team tournament at Lake Windermere, Fla. Poulter shot an even-par 72 at Isleworth, then teamed with Tiger Woods in the best-ball playoff against Lake Nona's Graeme McDowell and Henrik Stenson.


UK Sports Two gymnasts named to All-SEC squad

Kentucky's Kayla Hartley and Alexis Gross were named to the All-Southeastern Conference gymnastics team. They are the first Cats to earn All-SEC honors since Michelle Gales in 2005.

The duo produced some of the top performances at the first session of the SEC Championship. Gross, a sophomore, earned a 9.825 on uneven bars at the meet. Hartley, a junior, earned the second-highest score on both floor exercise and bars with a career-high 9.9 and a 9.8, respectively. Hartley has won five event titles this season.

■ The eighth-ranked Kentucky baseball team will face Marshall at 3 p.m. Wednesday at Cliff Hagan Stadium. Sophomore right-hander Chandler Shepherd (1-0, 3.10 ERA) will make his first start of the season.

■ Kentucky's softball game at Western Kentucky was canceled because of weather conditions. The Cats (23-8) will face Lipscomb at 7 p.m. Wednesday at Nashville.

UK moved up to No. 20 in the ESPN.com/USA Softball poll, while it stayed at No. 21 in the USA Today/National Fastpitch Coaches Association rankings.


College Basketball Troy hires WKU assistant Cunningham

Troy hired Phil Cunningham, an assistant at Sun Belt Conference rival Western Kentucky, as men's basketball coach. Cunningham replaces Don Maestri, who retired at the Sun Belt tournament after 31 seasons and 500 wins. Cunningham, who played at Taylor County High School, spent five years as an assistant under Lefty Driesell at James Madison and Georgia State and worked for 12 seasons at Mississippi State. He spent one season at Western Kentucky, which lost to No. 1 seed Kansas in the first round of the NCAA Tournament.

■ Buffalo hired former Duke star Bobby Hurley to take over as its men's basketball coach. Hurley just completed his first season as an associate coach at Rhode Island, working for his brother, Dan Hurley. He spent the previous two seasons as an assistant at Wagner.


Football

Te'o lowers his 40-yard time at pro day

Former Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o ended a trying three months by putting up a respectable 40-yard dash time Tuesday.

"I thought I did pretty good," Te'o said after his pro day workout in front of scouts from 27 of 32 NFL teams. "I'm very pleased with the way that I performed."

Some had expressed concern whether Te'o could be an every-down back in the NFL after he was timed at 4.82 seconds in the 40-yard dash at the combine in Indianapolis.

But he was timed at 4.69 seconds at Notre Dame's indoor practice facility, attributing the improvement to being more comfortable at home and around friends.

Te'o is hoping to be picked in the first round of next month's NFL Draft. He also bench-pressed 225 pounds 21 times and ran the 60-yard shuttle in 11.78 seconds while letting his other performances at the combine stand.

The Heisman Trophy runner-up had an off game in the BCS championship game against Alabama in January. He then came under scrutiny after it was revealed he fell in love online with a woman who didn't exist and then had the disappointing time at the combine.

His performance Tuesday came as a relief. "This is possibly the best day ever. It's a big, big burden off your shoulders," he said. "It feels like it's your birthday. I'm very glad that it's over."


The last word

Former Kentucky basketball star John Wall after scoring a career-high 47 points in the Washington Wizards' victory against the Memphis Grizzlies on Monday night:

"Hey man, I could have had 52 tonight. I missed five free throws."

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