Thunder stuff short-handed Grizzlies
UNDATED (AP) — The Memphis Grizzlies had just nine players available when they took the court Thursday for the first time since trading leading scorer Rudy Gay to Toronto. The patchwork lineup didn't do very well against the NBA's second-best team as Oklahoma led by as many as 26 in the third quarter before cruising to a 106-89 win over the Grizzlies.
Kevin Durant scored a game-high 27 points in helping the Thunder improve to 35-11. Russell Westbrook added 21 points and nine assists when he wasn't lashing out at his teammates and head coach.
Westbrook was angered after being called for a five-second violation, gesturing to Durant and Thabo Sefolosha (TAH'-boh she-foh-LOH'-shah) that they need to get open better before hollering toward coach Scott Brooks. Memphis responded with a 10-0 run but couldn't overcome their 35% shooting.
Jerryd Bayless led the Grizzlies with 23 points and Zach Randolph grabbed 19 rebounds, but Randolph also missed his first 10 shots and finished with just nine points.
TOP-25 MEN'S BASKETBALL-SCHEDULE
Billikens bite Bulldogs
UNDATED (AP) — It was a tough night for the nation's ninth-ranked men's basketball team. Butler committed a season-high 23 turnovers and trailed by double digits for most of its 75-58 loss at Saint Louis.
Jordair Jett shot 8-for-12 and matched a career high with 19 points to help the Billikens post their biggest upset win since a one-point victory over Louisville nearly 10 years ago.
Dwyane Evans added 15 points and five rebounds as Saint Louis improved to 4-2 in the Atlantic 10.
Rotnei Clarke had 17 points for Butler but also had five turnovers as the Bulldogs fell to 17-4.
In other top-25 action, seventh-ranked Gonzaga jumped out to a 46-18 halftime lead and coasted to an 88-43 win over Loyola Marymount. Kelly Olynyk and Gary Bell Jr. each had 15 points as the Bulldogs improved to 20-2.
Nick Johnson scored five of his 15 points in the final two minutes as eighth-ranked Arizona beat Washington 57-53. The Wildcats beat the Huskies for the first time in four tries despite committing 17 turnovers, shooting 35 percent and missing 15 of their 18 three-point tries.
No. 13 Michigan State trailed by 10 at the break before opening the second half with a 14-0 run to beat Illinois 80-75. Keith Appling fueled the spurt and finished with 24 points and seven assists to help Michigan State prevent the Illini from becoming the first team with four wins over currently-ranked teams.
Perfect Sharks win in shootout...Sabres deal B's first regulation loss
UNDATED (AP) — The San Jose Sharks needed a shootout to keep their perfect record intact. Michael Handzus (HAND'-zoos) and Dan Boyle scored in the shootout as the Sharks beat Edmonton 3-2 to improve to 7-0. Logan Couture (koo-TYOOR') and Joe Pavelski scored unassisted goals 43 seconds apart in the second period, but the Oilers extended the game on goals by Sam Gagner (GAHN'-yay) and Taylor Hall.
The Buffalo Sabres have handed the Boston Bruins their first regulation loss of the season.
Thomas Vanek registered a hat trick and had two assists as the Sabres rallied from a two-goal deficit to rout the Bruins 7-4. Vanek opened the scoring 98 seconds into the game, then had a goal and an assist to tie it after Boston took a 3-1 lead in the second.
The B's regained the lead before Alexander Sulzer and Cody Hodgson scored four-26 apart early in the third period to put Buffalo ahead to stay.
Boston drops to 5-1-1, tying them with Ottawa for the NHL's Northeast Division lead.
In other NHL action, Brad Boyes scored a power-play goal at 2:01 of overtime to give the New York Islanders a 5-4 victory at New Jersey and a 3-1-1 mark on their five-game road trip. John Taveras scored twice before assisting on the game-winner as the Isles pulled even with the Devils for the Atlantic Division lead.
Tomas Vokoun (voh-KOON') picked up his 49th career shutout by turning back 28 shots in Pittsburgh's 3-0 win over the New York Rangers. Evgeni Malkin (ehv-GEH'-nee MAHL'-kihn) scored 84 seconds into the game and had an assist.
Barret Jackman, Patrik Berglund and Vladimir Tarasenko each scored in the opening 14 minutes of the St. Louis Blues' 4-1 win at Columbus. David Backes (BAK'-ehs) provided an empty-net goal and an assist as the Blues won their fourth in a row.
Sergei Kostitsyn (kohs-TEET'-sihn) scored in the eighth shootout round to give Nashville a 2-1 triumph at Los Angeles. Pekka Rinne (REE'-nay) turned back 23 shots and blanked the Kings in regulation after Dustin Brown tallied 13 minutes into the opening period.
Third-period goals by Nikolei Kulemin (KOO'-leh-mihn) and Matt Frattin (FRAT'-ihn) lifted Toronto past Washington 3-2. Frattin has notched a pair of game-winners while scoring four goals and six points in four games since being recalled from the AHL last week.
Florida scored four times over the final 8:40 to pull out a 6-3 win against Winnipeg. The Jets led 3-2 until Peter Mueller and Alex Kovalev scored 77 power-play goals 77 seconds apart to highlight the Panthers' five-goal third period.
Paul Stastny (STAS'-nee) and P.A. Parenteau (PAR'-ehn-toh) each scored twice as Colorado doubled up Calgary 6-3. The game was tied 3-3 with less than three minutes left until Stastny scored twice during a 1:29 span.
Surgery for Spezza
OTTAWA (AP) — Ottawa Senators forward Jason Spezza (SPET'-suh) will have back surgery on a herniated disc tomorrow. He has two goals and three assists in five games this season. He had 34 goals and 50 assists in 80 games last season.
Lefty goes low
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. (AP) — Phil Mickelson came within a fraction of an inch of becoming the sixth player in PGA Tour history to shoot a 59 at a sanctioned event. Instead, he had to settle for an 11-under-par 60 that gives him the clubhouse lead in the first-round of the Phoenix Open.
Mickelson needed to sink a 25-foot birdie attempt on his last hole to tie the PGA record, and the putt appeared on target until the final quarter-inch, when the ball caught the lip of the right edge of the cup and lipped out. He matched the tournament record he already shared with Grant Waite and Mark Calcavecchia (kal-kah-VEK'-ee-uh).
Mickelson was four strokes ahead of Jeff Maggert, Padraig Harrington, Brandt Snedeker, Ted Potter Jr. and Ryan Palmer when play was suspended due to darkness.
Al Geiberger (GY'-bur-gur), Chip Beck, David Duval, Paul Goydos and Stuart Appleby remain the only PGA players to shoot 59s.
Earlier in the day Vijay Singh (VEE'-jay SING) withdrew from the event, citing a back injury.
That came after Singh admitted earlier in the week that he had used deer-antler spray, a product mentioned in a Sports Illustrated article about Ray Lewis of the Baltimore Ravens. The article said that Lewis sought help from a company which says its deer-antler spray and pills contain a naturally occurring banned product connected to human growth hormone. Singh said he had no idea that it contained any banned substances.
In other golf news:
DUBAI, United Arab Emirates (AP) — Mark O'Meara doesn't think Vijay Singh would ever try to cheat but still believes the Fijian should be suspended "for a couple of months" by the PGA Tour for admitting he used a deer-antler spray that contains a banned substance.
WELLINGTON, New Zealand (AP) — Former British Open winner Bob Charles of New Zealand says he used and promoted a banned deer-antler spray for more than 20 years and is surprised to learn it contains a substance that violates golf's doping protocols.
The 1963 Open winner was a spokesman for the deer-antler product and used it daily over two decades.
MLB-HOT STOVE LEAGUE
Big money deal for Prado
UNDATED (AP) — The Arizona Diamondbacks have agreed to a $40 million, four-year contract with Martin Prado (mahr-TEEN' PRAH'-doh) just a week after acquiring the former All-Star infielder in a trade that sent Justin Upton to Atlanta. Prado had been headed to arbitration and could have become a free agent after this season.
Prado made the All-Star team as the Braves' second baseman in 2010 but is slated to play at third base for the Diamondbacks.
The 29-year-old infielder, who will play for Venezuela in this year's World Baseball Classic, is a career .295 hitter.
In other baseball news:
— The Pittsburgh Pirates agreed to terms on 2013 contracts with second baseman Neil Walker and right-handed pitcher James McDonald on Thursday, avoiding arbitration. Walker hit .280 with 14 home runs and 69 RBIs in 129 games last season but missed significant time due to a back injury. McDonald went 12-8 with a 4.21 ERA in 2012 but struggled for most of the second half.
— The Cincinnati Reds have avoided salary arbitration with outfielder Chris Heisey (HY'-see) and right-hander Alfredo Simon (see-MOHN') by working out one-year contracts with both players. Heisey will make $1,325,000 and Simon will earn $890,000. Heisey batted .265 with seven homers and 31 RBIs in 120 games for the Reds last season, while Simon went 3-2 with a 2.66 ERA in 36 relief appearances.
— The New York Yankees have signed outfielders Matt Diaz, Juan Rivera and Thomas Neal, infielder Dan Johnson and catcher Bobby Wilson to minor league contracts with invitations to spring training. Agreements with Rivera and Diaz were previously reported. The Yankees will be Bobby Wilson's third team this offseason.
— The Cleveland Indians have signed free agent pitcher Matt Capps to a minor-league contract that includes a non-roster invitation to spring training camp. The 29-year Capps has pitched for Minnesota and Washington out of the bullpen.
— The New York Mets have signed right-hander LaTroy Hawkins to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training. The 40-year-old went 2-3 with one save and a 3.64 ERA last season in 48 games for the Los Angeles Angels.
— Omar Vizquel (vihz-KEHL') has been hired by the Los Angeles Angels as a roving infield instructor. The 45-year-old played for Toronto as a reserve infielder last season, finishing up his 24-year major league career with 2,877 hits. The three-time All-Star won 11 Gold Gloves.
Driver to call it quits
GREEN BAY, Wis. (AP) — The Green Bay Packers say veteran receiver Donald Driver is retiring. A formal announcement is planned next week for the team's all-time leading receiver. Driver finishes as the Packers all-time leader in yards receiving, 10,137 yards, and catches, 743. He is third behind Don Hutson and Sterling Sharpe with 61 touchdown receptions.
Driver turns 38 on Saturday.
Report: RB Foster considering heart procedure
HOUSTON (AP) — Houston Texans running back Arian Foster says he's considering a heart procedure to address a condition that forced him out of a game.
Foster told the NFL Network's Alex Flanagan on Thursday that he will "likely undergo" a heart ablation in about a month. An ablation involves the use of a catheter to correct structural problems that can lead to an abnormal heartbeat, according to the Mayo Clinic's official Web site.
The 26-year-old Foster left in the third quarter of Houston's 23-6 loss to Minnesota on Dec. 23 with an irregular heartbeat. Coach Gary Kubiak said after the game that Foster had also experienced the problem in a practice.
Foster rushed for 1,424 yards and 15 touchdowns in 2012.
COLLEGE FOOTBALL-KANSAS STATE
New deal for coach Snyder
MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Kansas State football coach Bill Snyder has signed a new five-year deal that includes an increase in compensation to $14.75 million over the life of the contract. Snyder's new deal, which includes an automatic rollover provision, increases his salary to $2.75 million for the 2013 season with annual increases of $100,000.
The 73-year-old led the Wildcats to an 11-2 record, their second Big 12 championship and a berth in the Fiesta Bowl this past season. He was voted AP's Big 12 coach of the year.
Isner tops U.S. team
JACKSONVILLE, Fla. (AP) — Team captain Jim Courier says that John Isner (IHZ'-nur) will play the No. 1 singles spot for the U.S. team against Brazil in the first round of Davis Cup World Group matches.
Isner has not played competitively since withdrawing from his opening-round match at the APIA International Sydney three weeks ago with a knee injury.
Sam Querrey (KWEER'-ee) will play the No. 2 position while Mike and Bob Bryan will be the doubles team.
The three-day event begins Friday at the Jacksonville Veterans Memorial Arena.
X Games star dies
DENVER (AP) — Caleb Moore, a freestyle snowmobile rider who was hurt in a crash at the Winter X Games in Colorado, died Thursday morning. He was 25. Moore was attempting a backflip last Thursday in the freestyle event when the skis on his 450-pound snowmobile caught the lip of the landing area, sending him flying over the handlebars. Moore landed face first into the snow with his snowmobile rolling over him.