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IN BRIEF

BASKETBALL

NBA veteran center Ratliff returns to 76ers

Theo Ratliff returned to the Philadelphia 76ers on Wednesday, seven years after he was traded from the team during its run to the NBA Finals.

The 35-year-old center played 26 games for Minnesota and Detroit last season, and appeared in 12 of the Pistons’ 17 playoff games.

Ratliff has played for six teams during his 13 NBA seasons, including parts of four years with the Sixers from 1997 to 2001. In 705 career games, Ratliff has averaged 7.9 points, 6.1 rebounds and 2.6 blocks in 27 minutes.

Also: Donyell Marshall, a 14-year NBA veteran, was waived by the Oklahoma City franchise, which still hasn’t been renamed after its relocation last month.

Marshall, a forward, was acquired by the franchise from Cleveland in a three-team trade in February that sent Wally Szczerbiak and Ben Wallace to the Cavaliers.

The NCAA rejected Pittsburgh forward Mike Cook’s request for an extra year of eligibility. His senior season was cut short by a knee injury.

Cook played 11 games before injuring his knee Dec. 20 during overtime of a 65-64 win over Duke.

Under NCAA rules, an extra year of eligibility is possible if the athlete plays 30 percent or fewer of the team’s games. Cook played 11 of 32 games — or 34 percent.

Markieff Morris, an incoming freshman at Kansas, is facing a battery charge after allegedly firing a BB gun from his dorm window and striking a woman in the arm.

The 18-year-old, a member of coach Bill Self’s 2008 recruiting class along with his twin brother, Marcus, was ordered to appear in Lawrence Municipal Court on Sept. 10.

MISCELLANEOUS

Exber wins match play opener at U.S. Amateur

Brady Exber, a 52-year-old Southern Nevada Golf Hall of Famer, outlasted Pepperdine redshirt freshman Josh Anderson in 20 holes in the first round of match play of the U.S. Amateur in Pinehurst, N.C.

Exber was the oldest player remaining in the field, which was pared from 64 to 32. There will be two rounds today, with the winners advancing to Friday’s quarterfinals.

In other matches of note, Kevin Tway, the son of former PGA champion Bob Tway, defeated Philip Francis 2-up, and 2007 NCAA medalist Jamie Lovemark was eliminated 1-up by Matt Hill of North Carolina State.

Also: Pyro and Macho Again will lead a 12-horse field in the $1 million Travers Stakes at Saratoga Race Course in Saratoga Springs, N.Y., on Saturday.

Pyro, trained by Steve Asmussen and ridden by Shaun Bridgmohan, drew the No. 11 post and was made the 7-2 morning-line favorite. Pyro finished second to Macho Again in the Jim Dandy Stakes on July 27.

Macho Again, trained by Dallas Stewart, drew the No. 5 post and will be ridden by Julien Leparoux.

Iolana Akau homered in his first action since getting hit by a pitch in the elbow Friday, and Pikai Winchester homered twice as Waipahu, Hawaii, moved into the U.S. finals of the Little League World Series in Williamsport, Pa., with a 9-4 win over Mill Creek, Wash.

Japan clinched a berth in Saturday’s international finals after beating Curacao, 11-4.

Carlos Bocanegra scored on a header in the 69th minute, and the United States escaped from Guatemala with a chippy 1-0 victory in the Americans’ opener in the semifinal round of World Cup qualifying.

Unmarked about 3 yards from the goal, the U.S. captain headed in DaMarcus Beasley’s corner kick for his 10th goal in 59 international appearances.

In other qualifying, host Mexico won Sven-Goran Eriksson’s debut as coach, rallying to beat Honduras 2-1 as Pavel Pardo scored twice in the second half.

The Red Wings re-signed tough-guy right wing Aaron Downey to a one-year contract. Downey signed with Detroit last season, playing in 56 games.

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