NCAA BASKETBALL: Penn State women win opener
STATE COLLEGE— Maggie Lucas scored 33 points and grabbed eight rebounds to help Penn State beat St. Francis 117-77 in a season opener Friday night.
The Nittany Lions shot 53.4 percent of the game, including a 21-for-37 effort in the second half.
With a 10-point lead midway through the first half, Penn State went on a 20-7 run to take a 49-26 lead late in the half. They closed the game on a 54-27 run, grabbing their biggest lead of 40 points.
Lucas shot 8-for-18 from the field and hit all 16 of her free throws. Ariel Edwards had 23 points and Dara Taylor had 14 for Penn State. Kaliyah Mitchell was the fourth Nittany Lion in double figures, scoring 11 points.
Alexa Hayward contributed 20 points and hit six 3-pointers for the Red Flash.
Top teams cruise to victories
UNDATED — Julius Randle scored 15 of his 23 points in the second half to lead five Kentucky players in double figures and help the top-ranked Wildcats and their highly touted freshman class beat UNC-Asheville 89-57 on Friday night.
Randle, a 6-foot-9 forward, grabbed 15 rebounds. Reserve sophomore forward Alex Poythress added 10 points and 13 rebounds. Reserve Marcus Lee added 17 points, James Young had 11 and Aaron Harrison 10 as Kentucky’s freshmen helped the Wildcats overcome a ragged start.
Kentucky shot 17 of 30 in the second half to finish 28 of 59 (47.5 percent).
In East Lansing, Mich., Gary Harris scored 15 of his 20 points in the first half and finished with a career-high 10 rebounds for No. 2 Michigan State in a 98-56 win over McNeese State. The Spartans’ next game is against No. 1 Kentucky.
In other top 25 games, it was No. 4 Duke 111, Davidson 77; No. 5 Kansas 80, Louisana-Monroe 63; No. 6 Arizona 73, Cal Poly 62; No. 7 Michigan 69, Mass.-Lowell 42; No. 8 Oklahoma St. 117, Mvsu 62; No. 8 Syracuse 82, Cornell 60; No. 10 Florida 77, North Florida 69; No. 12 North Carolina 84, Oakland 61; No. 14 VCU 96, Illinois St. 58; No. 17 Marquette 63, Southern 56; No. 18 UConn 78, Maryland 77; No. 19 Oregon 82. Georgetown 75; No. 20 Wisconsin 86, St. John’s 75; No. 21 Notre Dame 74, Miami (Ohio) 62; No. 22 UCLA 72, Drexel 67; No. 24 Virginia 61, James Madison 41; and No. 25 Baylor 72, Colorado 60
Martin to meet with investigator
DAVIE, Fla.— Miami Dolphins tackle Jonathan Martin will meet late next week in Los Angeles with the NFL’s special investigator to discuss allegations in the team’s harassment scandal, according to a person familiar with the situation.
The person confirmed the upcoming meeting to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the league and team haven’t announced the details of the investigation.
Meeting with Martin will be Ted Wells, a senior partner in a New York law firm with experience in sports cases. Wells was appointed Wednesday by NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell to investigate possible misconduct in the Dolphins’ workplace and prepare a report that will be made public.
Dolphins guard Richie Incognito was suspended in the wake of allegations by Martin, who is with his family in California to undergo counseling for emotional issues. Wells is investigating whether Incognito harassed or bullied Martin, and whether their teammates and the organization mishandled the matter.
Broncos’ Fox leaves hospital
ENGLEWOOD, Colo.— John Fox is out of the hospital, and the rest of the Denver Broncos are feeling better as well.
Interim coach Jack Del Rio said Fox was resting at his offseason home in Charlotte, where he’ll continue his recovery and begin cardio rehab soon.
Fox had his aortic value replaced at the Carolinas HealthCare System’s Sanger Heart & Vascular Institute in Charlotte on Monday, two days after becoming dizzy while playing golf during the Broncos’ bye. Fox had hoped to put off the procedure until the offseason, but his cardiologist and heart surgeon determined he could no longer push back the surgery after he fell ill over the weekend.
Bobcats coach has heart procedure
CHARLOTTE, N.C.— The Charlotte Bobcats said head coach Steve Clifford underwent a successful procedure to have two stents placed in his heart.
Bobcats president of basketball operations Rod Higgins said in a release that Clifford is “resting comfortably” in the hospital but it’s too early to know when he’ll return to work. Higgins said Clifford checked himself into the hospital Thursday night because he was suffering from chest pains.
Clifford, 52, joined the Bobcats this offseason after spending last year as an assistant coach with the Los Angeles Lakers.
Hall of Famer Patrick Ewing served as Charlotte’s acting head coach in the Bobcats’ 101-91 lagainst the New York Knicks — the team Ewing spent the first 15 years of his career with.
Johnson takes pole in desert
AVONDALE, Ariz.— Jimmie Johnson, his eyes squarely on a sixth NASCAR championship, set the tone for what could be yet another dominating weekend in the desert by winning the pole at Phoenix International Raceway.
He did it with a track record.
The five-time NASCAR champion turned a lap of 139.222 mph in his Hendrick Motorsports Chevrolet to break the mark of 138.766 set by Kyle Busch last November.
Matt Kenseth, who trails Johnson by seven points in the standings, will start 14th Sunday in his Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota.
• AVONDALE, Ariz.— Matt Crafton took all the drama out of the Truck Series championship with a solid finish at Phoenix International Raceway.
Crafton, who finished fifth, has a lead of 46 points over Ty Dillon and needs only to start next Friday night in the finale at Homestead to win the championship.
Erik Jones became the youngest winner in series history, racing to his first win on NASCAR’s national level, at 17 years and 4 months. He broke the mark set in September by Chase Elliott, who was five months older when he won in September in Bowmanville, Ontario.
It was Jones’ fifth start for Kyle Busch Motorsports, and he got his shot in the Toyota when he caught Busch’s eye by beating him last December in the Snowball Derby.
Panthers put head coach on ice
SUNRISE, Fla.— Here’s the status of the Florida Panthers these days: The owner is disappointed, the general manager is angry and the players are underachieving.
Add it up, and it meant the coach is fired.
Kevin Dineen — the only coach to win a division championship in Panthers’ history — was let go in a move general manager Dale Tallon called “the first of many changes” that are coming to a franchise that finished at the bottom of the NHL last season and is off to one of the worst starts in the league this year.
Peter Horachek was summoned from the team’s AHL affiliate in San Antonio to replace Dineen on an interim basis.