Other Sports

Sports briefs: Dec. 28

Horse racing

Former champion 2-year-old War Pass dies in Lexington

Champagne Stakes and Breeders' Cup Juvenile winner and 2007 2-year-old champion War Pass died on Friday at Lane's End Farm shortly after returning from Australia. Farm officials said the 5-year-old horse appeared to be fine when he was released out in his paddock after returning from Widden Stud in Australia. He was found dead several hours later. A preliminary necropsy proved inconclusive.

Raced by Robert LaPenta and trained by Nick Zito, War Pass won five of seven lifetime starts and earned $1,583,400. His career was cut short by a minor fracture in left foreleg. Although he made a full recovery, veterinarians said it was too dangerous for him to race again.

Jeranimo defeated two-time defending champion Proudinsky by 2½ lengths to win Monday's $150,000 San Gabriel Stakes at Santa Anita in Arcadia, Calif. Ridden by Rafael Bejarano, Jeranimo ran 11⁄8 miles on the turf in 1:47.20. The Usual Q.T. was another 2½ lengths back in third as the 7-10 favorite.

In the $100,000 California Breeders' Champion Stakes, California Nectar won the fillies division by 1½ lengths over Warren's Flyer, giving jockey Patrick Valenzuela his first stakes victory at Santa Anita in four years.

The 48-year-old rider's license had been suspended in California for much of that time following a substance abuse violation.

"It's great," Valenzuela said. "It's like being back home at Santa Anita. There's no greater feeling."

UK women's basketball

Snowden named SEC's player of week

Kentucky's Keyla Snowden, a Lexington Catholic graduate, was named the Southeastern Conference's player of the week after coming off the bench to score a career-high 28 points in 19 minutes against Arkansas-Pine Bluff last week. The 5-foot-7 junior guard nailed a career-high tying six three-pointers on 12 attempts.

Ex-Cat Whitaker named to Indiana's hall

Former Kentucky star Jodie Whitaker will be inducted into the Indiana Basketball Hall of Fame on April 30, 2011. Whitaker was the first female player in Indiana to score more than 2,000 career points. She was named the 1985 Indiana Miss Basketball after averaging 28.2 points and 7.5 rebounds as a senior at Austin High School. Whitaker scored 1,433 career points at Kentucky, finishing fifth on the school's all-time scoring list when she graduated.

College basketball

Gibbs' 21 leads Pitt past Connecticut

Ashton Gibbs scored 21 points as Pittsburgh's balance overcame Kemba Walker's one-man offense for No. 4 Connecticut, and the No. 6 Panthers easily won the Big East's first matchup of top-10 teams 78-63 on Monday night in Pittsburgh. Walker scored 31 points, but missed 17 of 27 shots as Pittsburgh repeatedly limited the Huskies to a single shot in a possession — often a bad one. The Huskies shot 31.7 percent, 19-for-60, and had only two scorers with more than five points until the closing minutes in the conference opener.

Jeff Brooks had a career-high 23 points and Talor Battle added 19 to help Penn State hold off Indiana 69-60 in Bloomington, Ind. Indiana has lost three straight and saw its nine-game home winning streak end. Brooks, who starred at Doss, also had eight rebounds and three blocked shots.

Malcolm White scored a season-high 16 points as LSU defeated Southern 62-41. White had his best scoring game of the season despite not being in the starting lineup for the first time. The only other player to score in double figures for the Tigers (8-5) was Ralston Turner, who finished with 15 points. Southern's top two scorers for the season — Lafayette graduate Blake Sanford and Julius Ingram — combined for only three points.

Leroy Nobles (Central) scored 17 points to help IUPUI get a 76-63 victory at Florida-Gulf Coast.

■ Florida's game against Fairfield was canceled because of a blizzard that slammed the Northeast with more than 2 feet of show. The Gators (9-3) had been scheduled to play Fairfield (8-3) on Tuesday night, but the Stags could not find a way to get to Gainesville. Fairfield, which has won seven consecutive games, is located in Fairfield, Conn. The game will not be made up.

NBA

Heat-Lakers draws best rating since '04

The highly anticipated first matchup between the new-look Heat and the defending-champion Lakers drew the highest television rating for an NBA regular-season game on ABC since 2004. Miami's 96-80 Christmas win earned a 6.4 fast national rating Saturday. That's up 45 percent over the game in the same window last year, also a matchup between Los Angeles and LeBron James, then with the Cavaliers. It's the best since a 7.3 for another Heat-Lakers meeting on Christmas six years earlier. ESPN said the Celtics-Magic game on ABC drew a 4.6, up 39 percent from the matchup between the same teams last season.

Dwight Howard had 19 points and 13 rebounds, and the Magic won their third straight 104-88 over the host Nets. Hedo Turkoglu scored 20 points as the Magic had six players in double figures.

D.J. Augustin scored 27 points, Stephen Jackson added 23 and the host Bobcats held on to beat the Pistons 105-100 to give interim coach Paul Silas a victory in his debut. Tayshaun Prince scored 17 points for the Pistons.

College baseball

Record-chasing hitter accused of rape

Garrett Wittels, the Florida International baseball player with a 56-game hitting streak, was charged with rape in the Bahamas, court officials in the islands' capital said. Wittels was accused of raping a 17-year-old teenage tourist on Dec. 20. The 20-year-old infielder ended last season with the second-longest hitting streak in NCAA Division I history, two behind the 58-game run by Oklahoma State's Robin Ventura in 1987. Two of Wittels' friends also face rape charges, officials said. Robert Rothschild, 21, of New York, was accused of raping two 17-year-old girls, while Jonathan Oberti, 21, also of New York, was charged with raping one. Magistrate Derence Rolle-Davis will begin a preliminary inquiry on April 18 to determine if there is enough evidence for the case to go to trial. By then, FIU's upcoming season will be more than half over.

Wittels' father told The Miami Herald that his son would be vindicated. "Anyone can accuse anyone of anything at any time," Michael Wittels told the Miami newspaper during a Monday morning phone interview. "He's not doing well, obviously. He's blown away. He's devastated that someone would accuse him of this."

Hockey

Wings' Cleary, Senators' Spezza sidelined

The Detroit Red Wings will be without forward Danny Cleary for at least a month after he broke his left ankle on a shot attempt by a teammate Sunday night in Minnesota. Cleary was injured in the third period against the Wild when a shot from Brad Stuart struck his ankle. Cleary scored his team-leading 16th goal earlier in the game.

■ Ottawa Senators center Jason Spezza is out indefinitely with a right shoulder injury.

The last word

Pennsylvania Gov. Ed Rendell was not a fan of the NFL citing weather conditions as a reason for postponing the Eagles' game against the Vikings until Tuesday night. Rendell told radio station 97.5 The Fanatic in Philadelphia (via ESPN.com's transcription):

"We've become a nation of wusses. The Chinese are kicking our butt in everything. If this was in China do you think the Chinese would have called off the game? People would have been marching down to the stadium, they would have walked and they would have been doing calculus on the way down."

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