Sports Briefs

Irving on roster for Rising Stars

NEW YORK – Kyrie Irving, the MVP of last year’s Rising Stars Challenge, will return to the game featuring top rookies and second-year players.

The Cleveland All-Star was one of 18 players chosen Wednesday for the Feb. 15 game in Houston. Charles Barkley and Shaquille O’Neal will again serve as general managers and draft teams during TNT’s pregame show Feb. 7.

Rookie stars Damian Lillard of Portland and Anthony Davis of New Orleans, the No. 1 pick in the draft, also were selected.

Irving, voted an Eastern Conference reserve by the conference’s head coaches, scored 34 points last year in Orlando to lead Team Chuck over Team Shaq, 146-133. Cavaliers teammates Dion Waiters, Tristan Thompson and Tyler Zeller also were picked.

McDonald out 2 games for hit

NEW YORK – The NHL on Wednesday suspended New York Islanders forward Colin McDonald for two games after a boarding incident involving Pittsburgh Penguins defenseman Ben Lovejoy on Tuesday.

In the Islanders’ 4-1 win at the Consol Energy Center, McDonald was issued a boarding penalty and a game misconduct for his hit on Lovejoy at the 18:54 mark of the second period. The penalty was served by Keith Aucoin.

Under the terms of the new collective bargaining agreement, McDonald will lose $7,567.56 in salary. The funds will be sent to the Players’ Emergency Assistance Fund.

Phelps signs deal with Ping

Michael Phelps is getting serious about his golf game.

The 18-time Olympic swimming champion has signed on with Ping to provide his clubs, starting with an appearance in Wednesday’s pro-am for the Waste Management Phoenix Open. He’s paired with Masters champion Bubba Watson.

Phelps has been working with coach Hank Haney for an eight-episode series on the Golf Channel that begins Feb. 25. He’s not sure how far golf can take him but says, “You can’t put limits on anything.”

Marshall releases 2013 schedule

HUNTINGTON – Marshall’s 2013 football schedule includes four opponents that played in bowls last season.

Marshall released the schedule Wednesday. The Thundering Herd open the season at home Aug. 31 against Miami, Ohio, with another home game a week later against Gardner-Webb of the Championship Subdivision Big South Conference.

After playing at Ohio on Sept. 14, Marshall has another road game Sept. 21 at Virginia Tech.

Other home games are against Conference USA newcomer Texas-San Antonio on Oct. 5, Southern Miss on Nov. 2, Alabama-Birmingham on Nov. 9, and East Carolina on Nov. 30.

Sports Briefs

A-Rod to endure PED investigation

NEW YORK – Alex Rodriguez was ensnared in a doping investigation once again Tuesday.

An alternative weekly newspaper in Miami reports baseball’s highest-paid star was among a half-dozen players listed in records of a Florida clinic the paper said sold performance-enhancing drugs.

The Miami New Times reports the three-time AL MVP bought human growth hormone and other performance-enhancing substances during 2009-12 from Biogenesis of America, a now-closed anti-aging clinic in Coral Cables, Fla., near Rodriguez’s offseason home.

The newspaper said it obtained records detailing purchases by Rodriguez, 2012 All-Star game MVP Melky Cabrera, 2005 AL Cy Young Award winner Bartolo Colon and 2011 AL championship series MVP Nelson Cruz.

Snowmobiler in critical condition

GRAND JUNCTION, Colo. – Snowmobile rider Caleb Moore remains in critical condition after a crash at the Winter X Games in Aspen.

The 25-year-old was performing a flip Thursday when he clipped the top of a jump and went over the handlebars. The snowmobile rolled over him, but he walked off the course with help and went to a hospital with a concussion.

While there, he developed bleeding around his heart and was flown to Grand Junction for surgery Friday. His family said Sunday that Moore then had a secondary complication involving his brain. They didn’t provide details.

Roles stay same without Rondo

WALTHAM, Mass.- Boston Celtics coach Doc Rivers says he’s not expecting his team to play point guard by committee.

The Celtics are trying to figure out how to replace point guard Rajon Rondo, who tore his ACL and will miss the rest of the season. Rivers says different players will bring the ball up, but little else will change.

Celtics players say they’re going to have to be more active now that the ball isn’t in Rondo’s hands most of the time.

Vautier joins Schmidt’s team

INDIANPOLIS, Ind.- Indy Lights champion Tristan Vautier is stepping up to the IndyCar Series with Schmidt Peterson Motorsports.

The signing announced Tuesday makes Sam Schmidt’s organization a two-car IndyCar Series team. Vautier will team with Simon Pagenaud, last year’s IndyCar rookie of the year.

Vautier won his debut race in Indy Lights last season en route to the championship, and did the same in the Star Mazda Series in 2011.

Clarke will play despite accident

DUBAI, United Arab Emirates – The manager of Darren Clarke says the 2011 British Open champion will play as scheduled in India next week, despite being injured in a minor car accident.

Andrew Chandler says Clarke suffered a stiff neck and “just needed to rest this week.” Clarke was a passenger in the car involved in the accident last week. Chandler didn’t provide other details.

Clarke will be one of 24 players taking part in next week’s inaugural Pearl Golf Premier League.

Sports Briefs

Staff and wire reports

OUE men win third straight

ST. CLAIRSVILLE – The OUE men won their third straight Sunday, as they defeated Wright State Lake, 85-70.

Trailing 36-32 at halftime, the Panthers (15-3 overall, 9-3 ORRC) outscored the visitors 53-34 during the second half.

Leading the way was Devin Ward with 25 points. He was followed by teammate Jordan Barbina who fired in 20 points and collected seven rebounds. Nick Schuetz inched closer to the 1,000-point plateau scoring 12, while NaKwuan Phillips recorded his first double double (12 points, 10 rebounds). D’Aundrea Anderson led the way for the Panthers with 13 rebounds and Matt Burke added eight points.

OUE women cruise to victory

ST. CLAIRSVILLE-The OUE women cruised to a 69-55 victory against Wright State Lake on Sunday behind 15 points, six rebounds and four steals from former Shadyside standout Kelsey Holloway.

Monroe Central’s Alex Kuhn added 13 points and four assists for the Panthers (15-5 overall, 10-2 ORRC), while Beallsville’s Julie Bilyeu added 11 points and seven rebounds. Shadyside’s Sarah Neavin finished with 10 points and six assists for the Panthers. Wright State Lake fell to 13-8 with the loss.

Former Miami U. coach dies

CORAL GABLES, Fla. – Ron Fraser, the coach who was called “the wizard of college baseball” and turned Miami into one of the game’s powerhouse programs, has died.

Fraser’s family spokesman, Tony Segreto, says he died Sunday morning. Fraser had been battling Alzheimer’s disease for many years.

Fraser led Miami to the 1982 and 1985 national titles.

Sports Briefs

ND’s Wood opts for NFL Draft

SOUTH BEND, Ind. – Notre Dame running back Cierre Wood announced Monday he is entering the NFL Draft, deciding against returning for a final year of eligibility.

The 6-foot, 215-pound senior, who did not play as a freshman, was second on the team this past season with 742 yards rushing on 114 carries, including 2 yards on four carries in a 42-14 loss to Alabama in the BCS title game. He sat out the first two games of the season after being suspended by coach Brian Kelly for violating team rules.

He rushed for 2,447 yards on 450 carries in three seasons as the Irish, finishing seventh on Notre Dame’s all-time list. His 5.4 yards per carry is the most for any Irish back with that many carries. His best season was in 2011, when he led the Irish with 1,102 yards rushing on 217 carries.

Belcher drunk at time of shooting

KANSAS CITY, Mo. – Kansas City Chiefs linebacker Jovan Belcher had a blood-alcohol level more than twice the legal limit when he shot his girlfriend nine times and then killed himself in front of his coach and general manager, an autopsy released Monday showed.

The Jackson County Medical Examiner report on Belcher, 25, raised new questions about whether police should have done more before the Dec. 1 murder-suicide. Officers found Belcher sleeping in his idling car about five hours earlier, but let him go inside a nearby apartment to sleep it off.

At the time of the autopsy, Belcher’s BAC was 0.17, more than twice the limit of 0.08 percent for Missouri drivers, and it was likely higher when he shot girlfriend Kasandra Perkins, 22, at the couple’s Kansas City home.

Browns to sell naming rights

The Cleveland Browns are close to selling naming rights for their stadium to an energy company based in Akron, Ohio, a person familiar with the negotiations told The Associated Press on Monday.

The deal with FirstEnergy Corp. could be announced as early as Tuesday, said the person who spoke on condition of anonymity because the team and the company haven’t discussed it publicly.

The Plain Dealer first reported the negotiations with FirstEnergy, which is a sponsor for numerous professional sports teams, including Cleveland’s Browns, Indians and Cavaliers.

The deal could bring millions to new owner Jimmy Haslam, who bought the Browns from Lerner for around $1 billion last October. When he acquired the team, Haslam said he was open to selling naming rights.

Bulls shut down Hawks in rout

CHICAGO ) – Carlos Boozer scored 20 points, Luol Deng added 18 and the Chicago Bulls held Atlanta to a franchise-low 20 points in the first half of a 97-58 victory over the Hawks on Monday night.

Reserve forward Mike Scott scored nine points to lead Atlanta as none of the starters reached double figures. Josh Smith and Kyle Korver had nine points each.

The Bulls held the Hawks to just five points in the second quarter and led 48-20 at the break. Ivan Johnson had a basket for the Hawks with 2:54 left in the first quarter, and Atlanta did not score again until Al Horford’s tip with 5:15 left in the second.

Sports Briefs

Wizards Wall cleared to play

WASHINGTON – The Washington Wizards say point guard John Wall has received “full medical clearance” and will make his season debut tonight against the Atlanta Hawks.

The former No. 1 overall pick has been sidelined since being diagnosed with a stress injury to his left kneecap in September.

Coach Randy Wittman said he’ll have to keep an eye on Wall’s conditioning during the next few games.

Without Wall, the Wizards are 5-28 – the worst record in the NBA.

Creighton beats Missouri State

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. – Doug McDermott scored a season-high 39 points, including all 18 for Creighton in the first 7:12 of the second half, and the 13th-ranked Bluejays beat Missouri State 74-52 on Friday night.

McDermott, the reigning Missouri Valley Conference Player of the Year, was perfect on his first 10 field goal attempts in the second half as he led the Bluejays to their 10th consecutive win.

Creighton (16-1, 5-0) led 32-27 after a sluggish first half in which Missouri State (5-12, 3-2) deliberately ran a slow, half-court offense and then took advantage when the Bluejays left an opening.

Backstrom ready to go for Caps

ARLINGTON, Va. – Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom says he doesn’t have a concussion and is ready for the start of the truncated NHL season.

The team’s top center missed 40 games with a concussion last season, and there was concern he had suffered another one last month when he took a hit while playing in Russia during the lockout.

The Capitals plan to open training camp Sunday, once the players have approved the new collective bargaining agreement.

Radwanska wins second WTA title

SYDNEY – Agnieszka Radwanska claimed back-to-back WTA titles by dispatching Dominika Cibulkova of Slovakia 6-0, 6-0 in the Sydney International final Friday.

A week after winning in Auckland, the Pole reinforced her billing as the top-seeded player in Sydney when she claimed her 12th career WTA title and her ninth straight match to start the 2013 season.

Radwanska faces Australian qualifier Bojana Bobusic in the opening round of the Australian Open next week.

Earnhardt Jr. causes big wreck

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. – Dale Earnhardt Jr. started a 12-car accident at Daytona International Speedway that essentially shut down a three-day test session.

Two of Earnhardt’s Hendrick Motorsports teammates, Jeff Gordon and Kasey Kahne, also were involved. So were defending Sprint Cup champ Brad Keselowski, new teammate Joey Logano and Kyle Busch.

OSU has room for improvement

COLUMBUS, Ohio – After getting a close-up look of the national championship game as a TV analyst, Ohio State coach Urban Meyer did not rush back and tell his own players how close they are to competing with the likes of top-ranked Alabama.

Not even close.

Meyer, who is enthused so far about his upcoming recruiting class, added that he would demand his veteran players make substantial improvement – particularly on the defensive line, at linebacker and wide receiver.

Sports Briefs

Wire reports

WLU’s Harris earns honor

PRINCETON – After leading the unbeaten and No. 1-ranked West Liberty to two more victories, Cedric Harris has been honored as the WVIAC Player of the Week.

A 6-foot junior guard from Zanesville, Harris helped the nation’s highest-scoring team stretch their streak of 100-point games to eight with a 120-61 rout of Davis and Elkins on Thursday followed by a 101-92 victory against Pitt-Johnstown on Saturday.

The first team All-WVIAC standout turned in one of the best performances of his career in Saturday’s victory against the upset-minded Mountain Cats. Harris poured in a career-high 32 points and keyed West Liberty’s high-pressure defense with a career-high eight steals while handing out four assists and grabbing five rebounds in 36 minutes of action.

Amayo leaves team at Marshall

HUNTINGTON – It was announced on Monday that freshman guard Kelvin Amayo has decided to leave the Marshall men’s basketball team.

From Newark, N.J., Amayo had been on the Marshall campus since January of 2012, but as a non-qualifier was not allowed to practice until Dec. 20. He made his collegiate debut at Kentucky on Dec. 22 and also played against Delaware State and at Ohio. Amayo averaged 2.7 points and 9.3 minutes of play over those three games.

“I want to thank Marshall University for giving me a chance,” Amayo said. “I just wanted to be closer to home.”

Berkman, Texas complete deal

ARLINGTON, Texas – The Texas Rangers have completed a $10 million, one-year deal for six-time All-Star Lance Berkman to be their designated hitter.

The deal that includes a vesting option for 2014 was finalized Monday after Berkman passed a physical.

Berkman, who turns 37 next month, was limited to 32 games in St. Louis last year, when he had surgery twice on his right knee.

The switch-hitter provides the potential big bat for the middle of the lineup the Rangers were seeking after losing Josh Hamilton and catcher Mike Napoli in free agency and trading Michael Young to Philadelphia.

Berkman is a .296 career hitter with 360 home runs and 1,200 RBIs in 1,806 regular-season games, all but 214 with Houston from 1999-2010.

Polian hired

at Nevada

RENO, Nev. – Nevada athletic officials reached an agreement with Texas A&M assistant Brian Polian to become the Wolf Pack’s next football coach under a five-year deal that will pay him $475,000 in annual base pay plus incentives if it is formally approved this week by the state Board of Regents, school officials said Monday.

Polian, 38, the Aggies’ tight ends coach and special teams coordinator, also has coached at Stanford, Notre Dame, Central Florida and Buffalo. He said in a joint statement with the university that he is looking forward to the “incredible opportunity” to replace Chris Ault, who recently announced his retirement after 28 seasons at Nevada.

Nevada made its eighth consecutive trip to a bowl game this past season, it’s first in the Mountain West Conference, losing to Arizona 49-48 in the New Mexico Bowl.

Sports Briefs

Staff and wire reports

Lady Toppers welcome recruit

WEST LIBERTY -Ohio native Lindsey Fenwick has joined the West Liberty University women’s basketball program as a transfer from the United States Military Academy at West Point, N.Y.

Fenwick, a 5-10 guard from Springfield, Ohio, will practice with Coach Lynn Ullom’s Lady Hilltoppers for the rest of the current season before beginning her West Liberty career as a redshirt freshman in the second half of the 2013-14 campaign.

Coming off a stellar high school career, Fenwick was part of an eight-woman recruiting class at Army this fall. She practiced with the Black Knights during the preseason but decided to leave West Point in search of a transfer before Army’s season opener.

Lewis to retire after playoffs

OWINGS MILLS, Md. – The Baltimore Ravens say Ray Lewis will retire after the playoffs.

The star linebacker told the team “This will be my last ride.” He has been out since Oct. 14 with a triceps injury, but expects to play Sunday in the wild-card round against Indianapolis.

The 37-year-old Lewis says “It is time for me to create a new legacy” after 17 NFL seasons.

Lewis was the AP Defensive Player of the Year in 2000, when Baltimore won the Super Bowl title, and in 2003.

Union responds to latest offer

NEW YORK – The NHL players’ association has delivered its latest counteroffer to the league as the two sides try to resolve the lockout.

Commissioner Gary Bettman said Monday that the league had told the union a deal needs to be in place by Jan. 11 so a 48-game season can begin eight days later. All games through Jan. 14 have been canceled, claiming more than 50 percent of the original schedule.

Starters named for ECHL All-Stars

PRINCETON, N.J. – The ECHL has announced the starting lineup for the ECHL All-Stars for the 2013 ECHL All-Star Game presented by University of Colorado Health. The remainder of the ECHL All-Star Team will be announced Thursday.

The 2013 ECHL All-Star Week, presented by CCM, begins on Tuesday, Jan. 22 with the ECHL All-Star Skills Competition, presented by OtterBox, and continues with the ECHL All-Star Game on Wednesday, Jan. 23. Both events begin at 7:05 p.m. MT at the Budweiser Events Center in Loveland, Colo.

The starters are: G – Philipp Grubauer, Reading; D – Denny Urban, Reading; D – Nathan Deck, Stockton; F – Casey Pierro-Zabotel, Gwinnett; F – Justin Dowling, Idaho; and F – C.J. Stretch, Ontario.

U.S. routs Czechs in world juniors

UFA, Russia – The United States beat the Czech Republic 7-0 to reach the semifinals of the world junior ice hockey championship. on Wednesday.

The Americans will play Canada at Ufa Arena on Thursday.