Other Sports

Sports briefs: April 25

College golf

West Jessamine graduate Haas 2nd in Big East championship

Notre Dame freshman Ashley Armstrong defeated Louisville freshman Emily Haas on the third playoff hole to win the individual title at the Big East women's golf championship in Reunion, Fla.

Armstrong and Haas, who starred in high school at West Jessamine, finished the final round at 7-over par. Both bogeyed No. 18 in the first hole of the playoff and followed that up with pars. Armstrong birdied the 18th the third time around to earn the victory.

South Florida won the team title. Notre Dame was second, and the Cardinals were third.

Louisville freshman Katie Petrino shot a 71 (1-under par) in the final round. She was the only player to post a round under par. She finished fourth on the individual leader board.

NBA

World Peace gets 7-game suspension

Los Angeles Lakers forward Metta World Peace was suspended seven games by the NBA on Tuesday for elbowing James Harden, meaning he could miss at least six playoff games.

World Peace was ejected from Sunday's game against Oklahoma City for throwing an elbow that struck Harden in the back of the head, giving him a concussion.

World Peace will miss the season finale Thursday at Sacramento, then the next six games for which he is eligible. The playoffs open Saturday.

Commissioner David Stern alluded to the former Ron Artest's history of on-court altercations in announcing the penalty in a statement.

Artest got an 86-game ban in 2004 for jumping into the stands at the Palace of Auburn Hills, outside Detroit, to fight fans.

"The concussion suffered by James Harden demonstrates the danger posed by violent acts of this kind, particularly when they are directed at the head area," Stern said in a statement. "We remain committed to taking necessary measures to protect the safety of NBA players, including the imposition of appropriate penalties for players with a history of on-court altercations."

Kevin Durant scored 32 points, reserve Daequan Cook had all 19 of his points in the fourth quarter and the Oklahoma City Thunder beat the visiting Sacramento Kings 118-110 on Tuesday to win their first game since James Harden took an elbow to the head. Durant extended his lead in a tight NBA scoring race with the Los Angeles Lakers' Kobe Bryant despite sitting out the entire fourth quarter in a close game. Durant is averaging 27.97 points a game to Bryant's 27.86, with each having one game left.

Former Kentucky star DeMarcus Cousins, who was allowed to play only after his 13th technical foul was rescinded earlier in the day, led Sacramento with 32 points.

Joe Johnson scored 28 points, including a wild three-pointer in the final minute, and the Atlanta Hawks held on for a 109-102 victory at home over the Los Angeles Clippers on Tuesday night. The Clippers' Blake Griffin scored a season-high 36 points, while Chris Paul added 34. Johnson clinched it with a pair of threes, knocking down a desperation shot with 38 seconds remaining and the shot clock running down. He threw up a two-handed heave that somehow banked in.

college football

Smith introduced as new Arkansas coach

John L. Smith knows Arkansas, knows the expectations for a powerful program rocked by a scandal that cost Bobby Petrino his job. Smith pulled no punches Tuesday in declaring his intent to keep the Razorbacks in the thick in the Southeastern Conference and national championship races.

"Our expectations here are the same," Smith said at his introductory news conference. "Nothing is going to slow down. In fact, we're going to speed up. We're going to fight and we're going to battle. We're going to fight for a national title."

Smith, 63, who was an assistant for Arkansas the past three seasons under Petrino, is back after leaving the school in December to become the head coach at Weber State. He returns to a program that finished No. 5 last season and has even higher goals in the fall.

Arkansas Athletics Director Jeff Long surprised virtually everyone by announcing Monday that Smith would be back for the 2012 season under a 10-month, $875,000 deal. He replaces Petrino, who was fired April 10 for not disclosing his affair with a woman he hired as his assistant.

Smith has a 132-86 record in 18 seasons as a head coach, including stops at Michigan State, Louisville, Idaho and Utah State. His hiring will allow Long to take his time in finding a long-term solution for a head coach.

"This was the best decision for this team for the 2012 season," Long said.

Of course, Smith might want to stick around. He didn't rule out the possibility. Smith leaves his alma mater, Weber State, without coaching a game for the FCS school. It was a move Weber State Athletics Director Jerry Bovee called "problematic" and one Smith said wasn't made lightly.

"This is one of the toughest decisions in my life that I've ever had to make," Smith said.

NHL playoffs

Devils score in OT to force Game 7

Travis Zajac scored at 5:39 of overtime and the New Jersey Devils avoided elimination and sent the Eastern Conference first-round series to a seventh game with a 3-2 victory over the Florida visiting Panthers on Tuesday night.

Steve Bernier and Ilya Kovalchuk also scored, and Martin Brodeur made 14 saves for New Jersey, which squandered a two-goal lead and had fans dreading another first-round playoff exit until Zajac scored from the right hand circle.

The shot beat Scott Clemmensen to the lower corner.

Clemmensen was outstanding, stopping 39 shots in an emergency start for the injured Jose Theodore. Kris Versteeg and Sean Bergenheim scored for Florida, which was looking for its first series win since 1996.

The Devils outshot Florida 42-16.

Game 7 will be played in Sunrise, Fla., on Thursday.

Two other series in the conference also are headed to Game 7s. Washington will be at second-seeded Boston on Wednesday, and Ottawa will be at the top-seeded Rangers on Thursday.

College softball

Riley leads Cats past Morehead State

Senior pitcher Rachel Riley limited Morehead State to one run on three hits in the Kentucky softball team's 3-1 victory on Tuesday afternoon at the UK Softball Complex. Riley allowed three hits and one run while striking out seven batters. Alice O'Brien hit her first home run of the season in the second inning, and Emily Jolly added her fifth homer of the year in the sixth.

The last word

Masters winner Bubba Watson said a radio station called him about 40 times the morning after he won the Masters. The first job for Watson's agent, Jens Beck, was to change the cell phone number of Watson and his wife. And while the last two weeks have been mostly about family, it didn't take long to realize Watson gets to play the Masters the rest of his career, with a few extra privileges as the champion. Watson said:

"I think there's a new rule where I can take a guest, play Sunday before the Masters. My wife said that she will be glad to play Sunday before the Masters next year. That's when I realized that every year I get to take a guest. I'll have a bunch of new friends. My cell phone number will be changed many times."

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