Other Sports

Sports briefs: April 8

Horse racing

Velazquez, jockey for Verrazano and Orb, injured at Aqueduct

Jockey John Velazquez fractured a rib and chipped bone in his right wrist one day after winning the Wood Memorial aboard undefeated Verrazano.

Velazquez was removed from the track on a stretcher after he was dumped in the seventh race at Aqueduct on Sunday. His mount, Katie Malone, stumbled after running up the heels of a rival. She fell heavily, unseating Velazquez, but was able to regain her feet and was walked off the track.

Velazquez was taken to a hospital for what was thought to be a shoulder injury. The New York Racing Association updated his condition later, saying he would not be kept overnight.

The timing is bad for Velazquez, who is the regular rider of Verrazano and Florida Derby winner Orb, two of the leading contenders for the Kentucky Derby on May 4.

It was not immediately clear how much time, if any, Velazquez would miss as a result of the injuries.

"He'll follow up with his doctor this week and we'll know more," Tony Millan, Velazquez's valet, told BloodHorse.com. "The good news is that these appear to be relatively minor injuries."


NBA

Knicks edge Thunder for 12th straight win

Carmelo Anthony had 36 points and 12 rebounds, J.R. Smith hit a pair of shot-clock beaters in the final 2 minutes and the New York Knicks beat the host Oklahoma City Thunder 125-120 for their 12th straight win. Smith connected on a 23-foot jumper from the right wing as the 24-second clock expired to put New York up 117-113 with 1:30 to play, then swished a three-pointer with 56.8 seconds left that all but sealed New York's 50th win of the season.

Mike Conley scored 25 points, making the go-ahead basket with 30 seconds left and leading the Memphis Grizzlies to an 89-87 victory at Sacramento. DeMarcus Cousins had 22 points and nine rebounds for the Kings, who have dropped four straight.

"It came down to execution," the Kings' Chuck Hayes said of the close finish. "They got a block and Conley hit a floater. You can tell they are getting ready for the playoffs and they are in playoff form."

Brandon Knight scored 20 points to help the Detroit Pistons snap an 18-game losing streak against the Chicago Bulls with a 99-85 victory at home. Knight also had five assists.

John Wall led the Wizards with 16 points and 10 assists in a 107-96 loss at Boston. Washington fell to 7-31 on the road but is 23-20 overall since Wall returned from a shoulder injury.


NASCAR

Johnson gets his 8th win at Martinsville

Jimmie Johnson dominated at Martinsville Speedway again. He led a career-best 346 laps Sunday and pulled away on a restart with eight laps to go for his eighth career victory at the Virginia track.

"It was just a long, fought day," Johnson said. "Martinsville, it stays the same over the years and you just have to dig in and get your own rhythm. Fortunately, the fastest car won the race."

The victory moved Johnson into third place in career victories on the shortest track in the Sprint Cup Series, trailing only Richard Petty, who won here 15 times, and Darrell Waltrip, who won 11 times.

It also made team owner Rich Hendrick's organization the winningest team in Martinsville history with 20, breaking a tie it had with the Petty organization.

Danica Patrick, racing at Martinsville for the first time, overcame an early spin that put her a lap down, a long green-flag run that put her another lap down and a bumping and banging scenario that caused her to send Dale Earnhardt Jr. spinning and finished 12th in Sunday's race.


Golf

Laird shoots 63 to win PGA's Texas Open

Martin Laird tied the course record with a 9-under par 63 to hold off Rory McIlory to earn his first win in more than two years at the Texas Open in San Antonio. Laird began Sunday four shots behind leader Billy Horschel, but posted a bogey-free round to finish 14 under overall and earn the third win of his career, his first since the Arnold Palmer Invitational in 2011. The Scottish golfer entered the week having missed four of eight cuts this year. McIlroy, the world's No. 2, began the day at 6 under before posting a 66 to finish two shots back and finish second — his best finish of the year. Horschel shot a 1-under 71 to finish in a tie for third with Jim Furyk and Charley Hoffman.

Inbee Park doubled her lead to six strokes on the opening hole Sunday and ran away with the Kraft Nabisco Championship for her second major title. She made a 20-foot birdie putt on the par-4 first, while playing partner Lizette Salas had a double bogey for a three-stroke swing. Park closed with a 3-under 69 to finish at 15 under, four strokes ahead of So Yeon Ryu at Racho Mirage, Calif.


Etc.

Western Kentucky's Anyigbo arrested

Western Kentucky basketball and football player Kene Anyigbo was arrested at 1:45 a.m. Sunday. According to the Warren County Regional Jail online information system, Kenechukwu Udoke Anyigbo was charged with possession of marijuana, tampering with physical evidence and failure to illuminate head lamps.

"We are aware of the charges (brought against Anyigbo)," WKU Athletics Director Todd Stewart told the Daily News of Bowling Green. "We are gathering more information and are handling the matter internally as it relates to WKU athletics."

On Friday, Anyigbo participated with the football team for the first time, lining up at defensive end. A 6-5, 250-pound forward on the basketball team, Anyigbo averaged 8.9 minutes and 1.9 points.

■ Kentucky softball's Lauren Cumbess threw a complete game, allowing three runs, and was 2-for-4 with a home run and two RBI in a 4-3 victory at South Carolina. It was the sixth straight win in conference play for the Cats (27-10, 8-4 SEC).

■ The Lexington Legends earned their first win of the season on Sunday, 5-2 at Augusta. Michael Antonio's two-out, two-run double in the eighth inning broke a 2-2 tie and gave the Legends the lead for good. Antonio also had an RBI single. The Legends' home opener against Asheville starts at 7:05 p.m. Monday (Story, Page C3).

Novak Djokovic wasn't optimistic about his right ankle injury after lifting Serbia to an insurmountable 3-1 lead over the U.S. with a 7-5, 6-7 (4), 6-1, 6-0 win over Sam Querrey in a Davis Cup quarterfinal at Boise, Idaho. The world No. 1 twisted the ankle while hitting a forehand at 1-1, 30-40 on Querrey's serve in the third game of the match. "One hour, one hour and a half after the end of the match, all I can say is it doesn't look good. ... It's swollen, and when it's swollen it's definitely not a good first sign."

■ Andretti Autosport remained perfect on the year when defending IndyCar Series champion Ryan Hunter-Reay snapped Penske Racing's winning streak at Barber Motorsports Park in Birmingham, Ala. Penske drivers had swept every pole and all three races in IndyCar's previous visits to the Alabama road course. AJ Allmendinger ran seventh for most of his IndyCar debut but finished 20th after stalling his car during his final pit stop.


The last word

Brandon Knight earned more praise for his toughness after Saturday night's game against Minnesota. In the fourth quarter, he took two shots from Timberwolves center Nikola Pekovic on one possession, the second leaving him on the floor for a few minutes. Knight hopped up, got the ball and took it instantly to Pekovic. He gave Pekovic a slight push to let him know he wasn't backing down from the 7-footer. Coach Lawrence Frank said:

"You love that competitive spirit. And trust me, that's a big part of talent. When you have guys that innately that's what they do — they play hard and they compete — they usually get the most of what they have."

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