Tuesday, April 27, 2004

Sports digest



Soccer champ Arsenal eyes perfection

The Premier League title already belongs to Arsenal. Next up is a shot at a landmark: an entire season without a loss. With four games left, Arsenal is trying to become the first team in England's top division to complete an unbeaten season since Preston North End in the Football League's debut campaign in 1888-89. Arsenal has 24 wins and 10 ties. If Arsenal wins its remaining four games, it will set a Premier League record of 94 points, two better than Manchester United's total from a 22-club format in 1994.

Trial date could be set in Bryant case

Lakers star Kobe Bryant could miss Wednesday's Game 5 against the Houston Rockets in Los Angeles because of continuing court proceedings in Eagle, Colo. State District Judge Terry Ruckriegle has indicated he wants to wrap up the last pretrial disputes in Bryant's sexual assault case by Wednesday. The Lakers lead the series 3-1.

• Also Monday, interim coach John Carroll was dismissed by the Boston Celtics after taking over a team in turmoil and guiding it to the briefest of playoff appearances.

Pistons go up 3-1 over Bucks

The Detroit Pistons shot 56.9 percent Monday night and got 27 points from Richard Hamilton to take a 3-1 series lead with a 109-92 rout of the Milwaukee Bucks.

Neither team had shot better than 45 percent in the best-of-seven series that shifts to Auburn Hills, Mich., for Game 5 on Thursday night.

'Thorpedo' back in the 400

Australian swimmer Craig Stevens withdrew Monday from the 400-meter freestyle at the Athens Olympics, giving Ian Thorpe a chance to defend his title. Thorpe failed to qualify for the 400 at the Australian Olympic trials last month after falling into the pool before the start. The multiple world-record holder qualified for the 100 and 200 freestyle, but his best chance for a gold medal is the 400. Stevens qualified for the 400, placing second. Stevens said he now hopes he'll "get to see Ian swim that race in the final on Day 1 at the Olympic Games." He added there was no pressure from Thorpe to withdraw.

Golf

FLESCH TO DEFEND TITLE: Steve Flesch of Union, Ky., drained a dramatic 30-foot putt to defeat Bob Estes on the first hole of a sudden-death playoff and capture the 2003 HP Classic of New Orleans. It was the first victory of Flesch's five-year PGA Tour career. He will be defending his title this week.

Flesch ranks 32nd on the season money list with $782,634 in 13 events.

SINGH WINS: Vijay Singh shared the lead with John Huston in the rain-delayed Houston Open going into the last round Monday, but he pulled away with a 4-under 68 for his sixth straight win when leading after three rounds. Singh finished at 11-under 277 for a two-stroke victory over Scott Hoch. It was Singh's second victory in Houston, where he won two years ago.

Football

KENTUCKY: Baltimore Ravens draftee Derek Abney and four additional Wildcats will get the opportunity to earn a spot in the NFL following this weekend's draft and free-agent signings. Abney, the All-America wide receiver/kick returner, was selected in the seventh round.

Wide receiver Chris Bernard, defensive lineman Jeremy Caudill, and offensive lineman Antonio Hall signed with the Indianapolis Colts as free agents and quarterback Jared Lorenzen signed a free-agent pact with the New York Giants.

Pro basketball

CAVS AT UD ARENA: The Cleveland Cavaliers and LeBron James will play an Oct. 20 preseason game against the expansion Charlotte Bobcats at the University of Dayton Arena. The team said tickets will go on sale May 3. The Cavs have previously announced three preseason games: at home against New Jersey Oct. 18, at Columbus against Boston Oct. 18 and in Pittsburgh against Atlanta Oct. 28.

Elsewhere

MOTORSPORTS: Bruno Junqueira will return to the Indianapolis 500 with Newman/Haas Racing, the latest Champ Car team to cross over to the rival Indy Racing League. Junqueira, a former pole winner, will be coming back to the Speedway after a year's absence. The May 30 race will be the only IRL effort this season for Newman/Haas, which will continue to race full time in Champ Car with Junqueira and Sebastien Bourdais.

TENNIS: Seeded players James Blake and Andrei Pavel lost in the first round of the BMW Open in Munich.




REDS / BASEBALL
Casey, Dunn bring their bats
Kearns' forearm broken
Larson back with big club
Reds notebook: Lineup shakeup
Reds vs. Brewers series preview
April sours fall on Yankees
Mariners designate Jarvis and his $4.25M contract
Monday's other games

BENGALS / NFL
Bengals adding offensive linemen
Lewis putting together team with division foes in mind
Rams' Little charged with drunken driving

PREP SPORTS
Mason track star Sistrunk signs with Alabama
Prep sports results, schedules

FLYING PIG MARATHON
Looking forward to running for a home crowd
Flying Pig: Special section

KENTUCKY DERBY
Layoff could benefit Read the Footnotes
Kentucky Derby coverage from the Louisville Courier-Journal

MORE SPORTS HEADLINES
Admirals edge Ducks 4-3 in OT; square series
Sports digest
Sports today on TV, radio

THIS WEEK'S SPORTS POLL
Are you going to place a wager on the Kentucky Derby?