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in brief


Lakers’ Jackson criticizes Stern
for ‘heavy-handed’ warning

Los Angeles Lakers coach Phil Jackson believes commissioner David Stern’s threat of harsher punishments for comments critical of NBA referees was a “heavy-handed” way to deal with what he called “gamesmanship” by coaches in the playoffs.

Stern issued a “make my day” warning to the league’s players and coaches while doling out a round of fines to players and coaches on the Orlando Magic and Boston Celtics on Thursday. Jackson has been fined $35,000 twice this month, most recently for commenting about the fouls called against players guarding Oklahoma City’s Kevin Durant, who led the NBA in free throws this season.

The Lakers lead their best-of-7 series against the Thunder 2-1 entering today’s Game 4 in Oklahoma City.

“When you start throwing one- and two-game suspensions in the threats, I think that means a lot to both ball clubs and to coaches,” Jackson said Friday. “It seems awful heavy-handed to me, but David is one, he isn’t shy about being heavy-handed.

“There’s a certain gamesmanship that goes on that obviously he feels cheapens the game.”

Also: Manu Ginobili said he will not play for his native Argentina this summer in the world championships in Turkey.

The San Antonio Spurs guard said he is skipping the tournament because his wife is scheduled to give birth to twins next month, and because he wants to stay healthy.

Virginia Tech assistant Bill Courtney was hired as Cornell’s coach, succeeding Steve Donahue at a school that did the Ivy League proud with its NCAA Tournament run.

It is the first head coaching job for Courtney, a 39-year-old well-traveled assistant.

Donahue took the Boston College coaching job two weeks ago after 10 seasons with the Big Red. He won three straight Ivy League titles and led Cornell to the round of 16 in the NCAA Tournament in March.

Kentucky forward Patrick Patterson, who could knock down a 3-pointer and lock down decidedly quicker players on defense, officially announced he will enter the NBA Draft.

The 6-foot-9-inch Patterson averaged 14.3 points and 7.4 rebounds last season as the Wildcats went 35-3 and tore through the Southeastern Conference on their way to both the regular season and conference tournament titles.

Though the university announced two weeks ago Patterson was leaving, he wavered, saying on April 10 that he was “50-50” about coming back.

Temple junior forward Lavoy Allen declared for the draft, although he has not hired an agent.

The 6-9 Allen became the first Temple player to average a double-double since Ollie Johnson in 1970-71, at 11.5 points and 10.7 rebounds.

Florida State’s 7-1 center, Solomon Alabi, declared for the draft.

Alabi, a junior, averaged 9.4 points, 5.4 rebounds and a school-record 2.1 blocked shots.


Harper hits three home runs, drives in 10 in CSN sweep

Bryce Harper clubbed three home runs and drove in 10 as second-ranked College of Southern Nevada swept Colorado Northwestern Community College 11-1 and 11-0 in a Scenic West Athletic Conference doubleheader at Morse Stadium in Henderson.

Harper had three homers and seven RBIs to back Coyotes winning pitcher Joe Robinson (8-1) in the first game and then added his third home run of the day — and 20th of the season — while driving in three runs in the nightcap.

Tomo Delp had two hits and drove in four runs for CSN (36-10 overall), which moved back into first in the SWAC with a 23-7 record. Don Roach (9-2) was the winning pitcher.

Also: The No. 11 UNLV men’s golf team shot rounds of 5-over-par 293 and 1-under 287 on Friday and is tied for fifth at the PING Cougar Classic at Provo, Utah.

The Rebels’ 36-hole total of 4-over 580 puts them in a tie with UNR, 11 shots off the lead.

The UNLV baseball team surrendered 13 runs over the final three innings to drop a 15-5 Mountain West Conference decision to eighth-ranked Texas Christian in Fort Worth, Texas.

Nolan Clark and Drew Beuerlein each had two hits for the Rebels (21-16, 5-5 MWC).

The UNLV softball team’s game against Utah in Salt Lake City was postponed due to wet conditions. The game will be made up as part of a Mountain West Conference doubleheader today at 10:30 a.m. MDT.

motor sports

Kurt Busch signs five-year deal
to remain with Penske Racing

Kurt Busch is staying put with Penske Racing.

Busch signed a contract extension to continue driving for Penske Racing in the same week the former Cup champion got a new sponsor. Busch said team owner Roger Penske held an option on 2011 that had already been picked up. But when Shell Oil Co. this week moved its sponsorship to Penske, the driver agreed to a new contract.

Busch said his new contract is a five-year deal.

“I definitely look to have my career end here at Penske Racing,” Busch said at Talladega (Ala.) Superspeedway. “Hopefully, that’s 10 to 15 years down the road.”

Also: Kevin Harvick said he’s unsure where he’ll drive next season, but has had ongoing conversations with team owner Richard Childress.

Harvick’s future with RCR may have taken a huge hit after Shell Oil Company’s decision to transfer its sponsorship from Harvick to Kurt Busch starting next season. Harvick said he “doesn’t particularly agree” with the way the transaction was handled. Speaking at Talladega, Harvick said he understands why certain business decisions are made.

He said he will likely stick with Chevrolet no matter where he lands next season.

Pocono Raceway in Long Pond, Pa., will have corporate sponsorship for its June Cup race for the first time since 1996.

Pocono’s June 6 race will be called the Gillette Fusion ProGlide 500 Presented by Target. Pocono’s June race had been called the Pocono 500 since 1997.


Oudin takes court first for U.S.
in star-depleted Fed Cup semis

Melanie Oudin will lead off for the United States in its Fed Cup semifinal against Russia.

The Americans’ No. 1 player faces Russia’s No. 2, Alla Kudryavtseva, in the first match of the best-of-5 series in Birmingham, Ala., today. Bethanie Mattek-Sands will play doubles and singles for the U.S. and opens against Elena Dementieva, ranked No. 6 in the world.

Mattek-Sands also is slated to team with Liezel Huber, the world’s No. 1 doubles player, on Sunday. Dementieva doesn’t normally play doubles but was inserted into the lineup in a move Huber suggested might be a fakeout.

Both teams are without some of their respective countries’ top players. U.S. stars Serena and Venus Williams bowed out with leg injuries.

Also: Seventh-ranked Andy Roddick withdrew from the Rome Masters citing personal reasons.


Ex-baseball manager Kennedy
helps subdue unruly passenger

Tampa Bay Rays broadcaster and former major league manager Kevin Kennedy was among a group of eight men that subdued a man that threatened to blow up an airplane.

A Delta Air Lines flight from Los Angeles to Florida was diverted to Albuquerque, N.M., after a passenger sprayed the first-class cabin with a water bottle, tried to open a cabin door and threatened to blow up the aircraft.

“When he started threatening bombs it was for real. I knew it was anyway,” Kennedy said. “We all kind of looked at him. The guy next to me, he was saying ‘Hey buddy, let’s calm down here.’ We tried to talk him down but it wasn’t happening. It was actually getting worse.”

Passengers on Delta flight 2148 to Tampa subdued Stanley Dwayne Sheffield, 46. He was taken into federal custody after the plane landed at 1:30 a.m. EDT Friday.

Also: The NCAA has approved 35 bowl games for the next four years, including two new ones: the Dallas Football Classic and the New Era Pinstripe Bowl in New York.

The first Pinstripe Bowl will be played at Yankee Stadium in the Bronx on Dec. 30. It will include the No. 3 team in the Big East and the No. 6 school in the Big 12, excluding Bowl Championship Series participants.

The first Dallas Football Classic at the Cotton Bowl is planned for New Year’s Day 2011, involving the seventh-ranked team from the Big 12 against the sixth-ranked team from the Big Ten.

Britain’s undefeated super middleweight WBC champion Carl Froch will defend his belt against Mikkel Kessler today in Herning, Denmark, in a contest which the Dane describes as the fight of his life.

Froch (26-0) is brimming with confidence that he can defeat the more experienced Kessler (42-2), who will be backed by a partisan crowd.

Del Mar will offer lower purses for 13 stakes races and reduce the value of its overnight stakes at the seaside track’s 71st summer meet July 21-Sept. 8.

The track says the purse reductions were the result of what it calls “the realities of the racing business both in California and across the country.”

Top-seeded UCLA (197.725 points) won its seventh title at the NCAA Women’s Gymnastics Championships in Gainesville, Fla. Oklahoma (197.25) finished second, followed by Alabama (197.225), Stanford (197.1), Florida (197) and Utah (196.225).

Bode Miller says what he hears from the U.S. Ski Team will play a big role as he decides whether to retire.

Miller is fresh off winning gold, silver and bronze at the Vancouver Olympics. He said Friday that he will not decide his future until the team’s preseason camp in August.

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