Update on the latest in sports:


Associated Press

Posted on February 25, 2012 at 3:00 PM


NL MVP speaks on vindication of alleged drug use

PHOENIX (AP) — One day after his 50-game suspension for a positive drug test was overturned by an arbitrator, Ryan Braun set out to repair his reputation.

The Milwaukee Brewers outfielder met the media Friday in Phoenix and said the system of testing for drugs by Major League Baseball failed him until the arbitrator stepped in. Braun and several people connected with the case say the sample he provided last Oct. 1 was not delivered to FedEx until Oct. 3. Baseball's drug agreement calls for samples to be delivered to FedEx on the same day they are collected.

The reigning National League MVP says his, "name has been dragged through the mud," but that, "at the end of the day, the truth prevailed. I'm the victim of a process that completely broke down."

Braun learned Oct. 19 his sample was positive for elevated testosterone, which he said was at a ratio that was the highest ever recorded in baseball's testing program.

Braun hit .332 with 33 homers and 111 RBIs last year. He is the first Major League Baseball player to have his suspension lifted by an arbitrator for a drug-related penalty.

Los Angeles Dodgers center fielder Matt Kemp applauds the decision that overturned Braun's 50-game suspension. Kemp says he was happy that he was found not guilty and that he knows Braun has been going through a lot.

However, Kemp still thinks he should have finished ahead of Braun in the MVP balloting after hitting .324 with league-highs of 39 home runs and 115 RBIs.

Meanwhile, the head of the World Anti-Doping Agency says the protocol breach that helped NL MVP Ryan Braun win his doping case would not have yielded the same result in a case that adhered to WADA (WAH'-duh) rules. David Howman says that in a case following WADA code, "the athlete would have to show that the departure from the rule caused the adverse finding. That is not the situation in this case." Howman added the "very experienced" director of the anti-doping lab in Montreal gave evidence that Braun's sample had not been compromised or tampered with.

Also in the majors, outfielder Grady Sizemore will likely miss the Cleveland Indians' season opener after straining his lower back while fielding ground balls during training camp this week. Indians trainer Lonnie Soloff said Sizemore will not do any baseball activities as he's monitored over the next few weeks and undergoes treatment. Sizemore has undergone five surgeries the past two years and played in only 210 games the last three seasons because of injuries.


Rangers lose, still seven up...Canucks take over West lead

UNDATED (AP) — The New York Rangers managed to maintain a seven-point lead in the NHL's Eastern Conference standings without winning Friday.

Matt Moulson scored once in regulation before providing the deciding shootout goal that gave the New York Islanders a 4-3 triumph over the Rangers. P.A. Parenteau (PAR'-ehn-toh) tallied twice while the Isles were building a 3-1 lead, but the Rangers eventually knotted the score on Derek Stepan's (STEP'-ahnz) power-play goal late in the second period.

John Taveras and Andrew MacDonald each had two assists as the Islanders climbed within six points of Florida in the battle for the final Eastern Conference playoff berth.

Marian Gaborik (GAB'-uh-rihk) had a goal and an assist for the Rangers, who climbed seven points ahead of Boston and eight points in front of New Jersey for the conference lead.

The Devils were 2-1 losers to the Vancouver Canucks, who leapfrogged over Detroit for the Western Conference lead. Mason Raymond notched the eventual game-winner and Cory Schneider turned back 30 shots as the Canucks improved to 9-1-1 in their last 11 games.

The Bruins were 2-1 losers to Buffalo in a shootout as Thomas Vanek and Derek Roy tallied after regulation. Ryan Miller turned back 35 shots and was perfect until Zdeno Chara (zuh-DAY'-noh CHAH'-rah) scored on a power play 3:36 into the third period.

The Stars claimed their 1,500th victory as Tom Wandell scored twice and Kari Lehtonen (LEH'-toh-ehn) stopped 28 shots to push Dallas over Minnesota 4-1. The Stars are two points ahead of Calgary, Colorad and Los Angeles in the battlre for the final Western Conference playoff berth.

Alex Ovechkin and Jason Chimera (chih-MAYR'-uh) scored 16 seconds apart in the second period to lead the Capitals past Montreal 4-1. The Canadiens had gone more than 260 minutes without a goal against the Caps since last March until Rene Bourque beat Michael Neuvirth (NOY'-vurth) early in the third period.

David Jones had two goals and set up another in Colorado's 5-0 shutout of Columbus. Gabirle Landeskog (LAN'-dehs-kahg) and Steve Downie each had a goal and assist to support Semyon Varlamov (SEHM'-yahn VAHR'-lah-nahv), who stopped 28 shots for his third shutout of the season.


Hemsky gets extension

UNDATED (AP) — It appears Ales (AL'-ehsh) Hemsky will not be dealt before Monday's NHL trade deadline. The Edmonton Oilers have signed the forward to a two-year, $10 million extension.

Hemsky could have been a free agent after this season, and also would have been a prime trade target before Monday's deadline if he remained unsigned.

Hemsky has 421 points in 536 NHL games, including 26 this season.

New Jersey became a bit more mobile on the blueline with the acquisition of Marek Zidlicky from Minnesota. The Wild receive defenseman Kurtis Foster, forwards Nick Palmieri and Stephane Veilleux, Washington's second-round choice in this year's draft and a conditional choice in 2013.


2012 list reduced

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Five-time NBA All-Star Reggie Miller and Don Nelson, the league's winningest coach, headline the list of 12 finalists for the 2012 class for the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame. Miller is joined on the list by three other first-time finalists, five-time NCAA Final Four coach Rick Pitino, former NBA coach Bill Fitch and two-time Olympic gold medalist Katrina McClain.

Previous finalists on the ballot again are Nelson, Maurice Cheeks, Bernard King, Dick Motta, Hank Nichols, Ralph Sampson, Jamaal Wilkes and the All-American Red Heads, known as the female version of the Harlem Globetrotters and the first women's professional basketball team.

The class of 2012 will be announced April 2 at the NCAA Final Four in New Orleans. A finalist needs 18 of 24 votes from the Honors Committee for election.


No games tonight

UNDATED (AP) — The NBA All-Star festivities got under way in Orlando on Friday with the Rising Stars Challenge. Cleveland rookie Kyrie Irving made the most of the showcase by draining eight three-pointers and scoring 34 points to lead Team Chuck over Team Shaq 146-133.

Indiana's Paul George finished with 23 points for Team Chuck while Tristan Thompson of the Cavaliers was high man for team Shaq with 20.

Knicks guard Jeremy Lin had just two points.

All-Star weekend continues Saturday with the skills competition, featuring the three-point shootout and the slam-dunk contest. The actual game is Sunday in Orlando.


NBA phenom may help Olympic team

ORLANDO, Fla. (AP) — Jeremy Lin could earn an invite to scrimmage against the U.S. Olympic basketball team this summer. USA Basketball chairman Jerry Colangelo (koh-LAN'-jeh-loh) mentioned the Knicks guard as a candidate for the select team of young players who will work against the Americans during their training camp in Las Vegas.

That said, he will not play for the Americans in London, even if he continues his superb play since becoming a starter. The U.S. already has a roster of 20 players, and Colangelo says "everyone has to pay their dues. No exceptions."


Bucks: Bogut won't need surgery on injured ankle

MILWAUKEE (AP) — The Milwaukee Bucks say center Andrew Bogut won't need surgery on his injured left ankle.

Bucks general manager John Hammond says doctors reviewed a CT scan performed on Bogut's ankle Tuesday and agreed his ankle is healing properly. He is still expected to miss 8-12 weeks.

Bogut fractured his ankle Jan. 25 against Houston.


Marquette wins

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. (AP) — Tenth-ranked Marquette managed to pull out its fifth straight victory Friday after four players were punished for breaking team rules.

Jae Crowder scored 26 points and the Golden Eagles stormed back from a 15-point deficit in the second half to beat West Virginia, 61-60 at Morgantown. Crowder and Darius Johnson-Odom led a 24-8 run in the second half after Johnson-Odom was ordered to sit out the first half due to an undisclosed violation of team rules.

Junior Cadougan and Vander Blue were also benched for the opening half following rules infractions. Todd Mayo was ordered to sit out the second half due to a similar violation.


Patrick wins Nationwide pole

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Danica Patrick has won the pole for the season-opening Nationwide Series race Daytona at Daytona, finishing just ahead of defending Daytona 500 winner Trevor Bayne. She is the first woman to secure the top qualifying spot in NASCAR's second-tier series since Shawna Robinson at Atlanta in March 1994. Patrick moved to NASCAR full time this season and is scheduled to drive 10 Sprint Cup races for Stewart-Haas Racing and run every Nationwide race for JR Motorsports.


Westwood reaches quarterfinals

MARANA, Ariz. (AP) — Americans Matt Kuchar (KOO'-chur), Hunter Mahan (MAY'-han) and Mark Wilson are among the quarterfinalists at the Match Play Championship in Arizona. Kuchar beat Germany's Martin Kaymer, Mahan ousted Steve Stricker and Wilson knocked out Dustin Johnson today, all by 4-and-3 scores. Lee Westwood, Martin Laird and Peter Hanson also advanced, as did Rory McIlroy and Bae Sang-moon.


Claxton leads south of the border

PLAYA DEL CARMEN, Mexico (AP) — Daniel Summerhays shot a 6-under 65 Friday and shares the lead with Will Claxton and England's Greg Owen through two rounds of the PGA's Mayakoba Golf Classic in Mexico.

All three are at minus-8 after 36 holes, one shot better than Chris Stroud.


3 stay tied for lead at HSBC Women's Champions

SINGAPORE (AP) — Americans Katie Futcher and Angela Stanford and South Korea's Jenny Shin shot 1-under 71s on Saturday to stay tied for the lead after three rounds of the $1.4 million HSBC Women's Champions.

Futcher led almost the entire day, jumping ahead with a birdie on the second hole. But a bogey on 18 — her second of the tournament — allowed Stanford and Shin to regain a share of the lead at 9-under 207.

World No. 1 Yani Tseng jumped up the leaderboard with a 5-under 67 and was three strokes off the lead at Tanah Merah Country Club.

China's Shanshan Feng shot a 69 and was two shots behind the leaders while South Koreans Jiyai Shin and Na Yeon Choi were tied with Tseng three shots back.


Women's World Cup downhill canceled in Bulgaria

BANSKO, Bulgaria (AP) — A women's World Cup downhill in Bulgaria has been canceled because of strong winds.

The decision to scrub the penultimate women's downhill of the season was made after the original start time was postponed three times due to winds gusting up to 80 mph.

The International Ski Federation did not immediately announce if the race would be made up at a later date.

In both training sessions on Thursday and Friday, Germany's Maria Hoefl-Riesch led overall World Cup leader Lindsey Vonn of the United States.

The super-G is still scheduled to be held Sunday.


Benjamin Raich wins World Cup super-G

CRANS-MONTANA, Switzerland (AP) — Austrian veteran Benjamin Raich (BEHN'-yah-meen RYK) got his first World Cup victory in more than two years Saturday, winning a super-G in Switzerland.

Adrien Theaux of France was runner-up, 0.24 seconds back, while pre-race favorite Didier Cuche (DIHD'-ee-ay KOOSH') trailed Raich by 0.36 for third.


Alcorn State fires football coach

LORMAN, Miss. (AP) — Alcorn State football coach Melvin Spears has been fired after just one season and a 2-8 record.

Spears was placed on administrative leave shortly after the season ended, but an official announcement wasn't made until Friday.

A university spokesperson says defensive line coach Todd McDaniel will serve as the interim coach.


NCAA punishes Radford, sanctions Brad Greenberg

UNDATED (AP) — The NCAA has placed Radford's athletic programs on probation for two years for rules violations in men's basketball and tennis and imposed heavy sanctions on former basketball coach Brad Greenberg for attempting to conceal violations.

The NCAA's Division I Committee on Infractions also issued a public reprimand and censure to Radford, took away two men's basketball scholarships over the next two seasons and forced the school to vacate four victories earned with an ineligible player during the 2010-11 season.