Sports briefs: Nov. 19


Bucks above .500 after 117-113 victory against Knicks

Ersan Ilyasova had 20 points, and the rebuilding Milwaukee Bucks climbed above .500 for the first time in more than a year by fending off the New York Knicks for a 117-113 victory Tuesday night. Zaza Pachulia added season highs of 14 points and 13 rebounds for the Bucks, who improved to 6-5 on the year. It was the first time the team had a winning record since March 20, 2013, when it was 34-33.

Former Kentucky standout Brandon Knight had 14 points, nine assists and four rebounds for the Bucks.

New York cut a 26-point deficit to 115-113 with 7.9 seconds left on a dunk off a baseline move by Carmelo Anthony.

Jerryd Bayless responded with two free throws for Milwaukee. He went 5-for-6 at the line in the final 26 seconds.

Kobe Bryant scored 28 points and the Los Angeles Lakers won for only the second time this season, beating the host Atlanta Hawks 114-109. Bryant's biggest shot came with 1:11 remaining, when he backed in against Thabo Sefolosha and made a fadeaway jumper despite being fouled. Bryant slapped hands with a fan on the front row and completed the three-point play, giving the Lakers a 108-102 lead.

Alec Burks had 20 points and a career-high 14 rebounds, and Utah beat visiting Oklahoma City 98-81. Enes Kanter added 16 points and a season-high 15 boards for the Jazz, who enjoyed a 55-44 edge on the glass.

UK football recruitingThree-star defensive end picks Cats

A three-star defensive end with an impressive collection of scholarship offers committed to Kentucky on Tuesday night.

Tyrone Riley — an athletic 6-foot-6, 245-pound prospect from Savannah, Ga. — became UK's 17th commitment for the class of 2015. ranks Riley as the No. 23 weakside defensive end in the senior class.

Riley had reported scholarship offers from Mississippi, Mississippi State, Wisconsin, Missouri, N.C. State and several other programs. He visited Lexington in August. UK special teams coach Craig Naivar is Riley's primary recruiter.

Riley, who has played several defensive positions for his high school team, joins Kengera Daniel and Jason Strowbridge as the third defensive end in UK's recruiting class. The Wildcats will move up six spots to No. 22 nationally in the class rankings for 2015.

Horse racing

Mr. Z is favorite for Delta Downs Jackpot

Mr. Z is the 5-2 morning-line favorite for the $1 million Delta Downs Jackpot for 2-year-olds Saturday in Vinton, La.

A field of 12, including two also-eligible horses, was entered Tuesday for the 11⁄16-mile race.

Mr. Z is trained by D. Wayne Lukas and will be ridden by Paco Lopez. Mr. Z drew the No. 3 post. Golden Actor, trained by Ignacio Roncancio, is the 7-2 second choice. Conquest Tsunami, trained by Mark Casse, is the 4-1 third choice. Ocho Ocho Ocho, ridden by Mike Smith, is the 6-1 fourth choice.

Jockey Russell Baze and trainer Jerry Hollendorfer have Prime Engine, the 8-1 fifth choice.

The winner will earn $600,000 and 10 points toward a possible starting position in next year's Kentucky Derby.

■ Churchill Downs canceled training on Tuesday and live racing on Wednesday because of a blast of frigid weather that froze the main track. It's the first time racing has been canceled because of a frozen track since Nov. 13, 1986.

Temperatures plummeted into the teens with sub-zero wind chills. Track conditions are not expected to improve significantly and the decision was made to cancel Wednesday's 10-race card.

Churchill Downs president Kevin Flanery said maintenance crews will work on Wednesday to get the track in suitable condition for Thursday's scheduled program.

■ European star Commander Crowe is the 3-1 morning-line favorite for the $500,000 Open Trot, the final event of the $5.4 million Breeders Crown this weekend at the Meadowlands Racetrack in East Rutherford, N.J.

The Breeders Crown, harness racing's equivalent of the Breeders' Cup, consists of 12 championship races that determine divisional titles and Horse of the Year. This will be the first time the Crowns are raced at one track over two nights.

Four filly and mare championships will be contested Friday. The remaining races go the following night, with the Open Trot the marquee event of the evening.

The Open Trot attracted four former Breeders Crown winners: Arch Madness, Intimidate, Market Share and Maven.

The most intriguing horse is Commander Crowe, an 11-year-old gelding making only his second U.S. start. He was second in latest effort, the International Trot at Yonkers Raceway. He is 60-for-107 in his career, earning $4.8 million.

Also on Saturday: Nuncio, winner of the Yonkers Trot and the Kentucky Futurity at The Red Mile, is a slight 6-5 choice from post 3 over stablemate Father Patrick at 7-5 in the $500,000 Three-Year-Old Colt Trot.

High school football

State finals in Bowling Green through 2018

The Kentucky High School Athletic Association announced Tuesday that it is extending its agreements with Russell Athletic and Western Kentucky University to keep the state football finals in Bowling Green through 2018.

KHSAA commissioner Julian Tackett said WKU has an "ideally-sized" facility for the championships. Houchens Industries/L.T. Smith Stadium has a capacity of 22,113.

The finals have been in Bowling Green since 2009. Before that they were in Louisville for 30 years.

This year's six title games will be played Dec. 5-6.

Major League baseball

White Sox agree to 3-year deal with Duke

The Chicago White Sox boosted their bullpen Tuesday, reaching agreement with left-hander Zach Duke on a three-year, $15 million contract. The 31-year-old Duke will get $4.5 million next season, $5 million in 2016 and $5.5 million in 2017.

Duke flourished in his lone season with Milwaukee, going 5-1 with a 2.45 ERA in a career-high 74 appearances. He joins a bullpen that ranked 28th in the majors with a 4.38 ERA and a team that went 73-89 last season after losing 99 the previous year. But with Chris Sale leading the starting rotation and AL Rookie of the Year Jose Abreu in the middle of the lineup, the White Sox believe they can turn things around sooner than later.

■ Free agent catcher Russell Martin and the Toronto Blue Jays finalized a five-year, $82 million contract. A three-time All-Star, Martin hit .290 with 11 home runs and 67 RBI last season, while also helping the Pirates to a second straight playoff berth.

The last word

LeBron James on the Cleveland Cavaliers' matchup with the San Antonio Spurs on Wednesday night:

"If we're not mentally focused, they're going to embarrass us right off the jump, it's just that simple. It's the Patriots of the NBA. They come into your building and they want to embarrass you. They're going to execute at a high level and they're not going to beat themselves."