Thursday’s Sports in Brief


DURHAM, N.C. (AP) Mike Krzyzewski is returning this weekend to coach his Duke Blue Devils.

The Hall of Fame coach announced on his weekly radio show that he will make his return Saturday against Pittsburgh after back surgery kept him out for four weeks.

His return falls in line with the four-week timeline the school projected when his leave of absence was announced on Jan. 2.

Krzyzewski revealed on the SiriusXM radio show that he’s been attending parts of Duke’s practices for the past week and a half, slipping into the locker room to watch on closed-circuit television when fatigue would set in. He says his assistants would visit his house after every practice to discuss and evaluate what happened on the court.

PROVO, Utah (AP) – Nigel Williams-Goss scored 33 points and No. 1 Gonzaga remains the lone undefeated team in the country after an 85-75 victory over BYU.

The Bulldogs (23-0, 11-0 West Coast Conference) now have the longest winning streak in school history with 23 straight. They entered the night with the No. 12 scoring offense in the nation and looked like it.

Gonzaga took a 42-26 lead after dominating the first half. The Bulldogs used a 20-4 stretch early to put BYU in a deep hole.

T.J. Haws did the heavy lifting during the BYU rally, as the Cougars (16-8, 7-4) got within six at one point, and finished with 26 points.

PITTSBURGH (AP) – Former Seton Hall star Herb Pope Jr. pleaded guilty before a federal judge to robbing a bank last year.

Pope, who is 6-foot-9, stood a full head taller than his defense attorney, Stephen Misko. Pope wore red jail scrubs, orange rubber clogs and leg irons as he pleaded guilty to charges of bank robbery, armed bank robbery and brandishing a firearm during a violent crime for the Feb. 16 heist at Sewickley Savings Bank.

Because he pleaded guilty to brandishing a gun during the heist – which netted slightly more than $3,500 – Pope faces at least seven years in prison tacked onto whatever sentence U.S. District Judge Cathy Bissoon gives him for the robbery charges. Misko said he expects that to be about 2+ years, meaning Pope would face nearly 10 years in prison, and perhaps more, when he’s sentenced May 19.

CHARLESTON, S.C. (AP) – The College of Charleston’s women’s team is being forced to give up two wins after using the wrong size basketballs in games against William & Mary and UNC-Wilmington.

The Colonial Athletic Association wanted to make the Cougars forfeit the games, but the NCAA told the conference the statistics would count, but Charleston would lose the victories for seeding purposes in the conference tournament.

Charleston athletic director Matt Roberts says it was a mistake and the school agrees with losing the wins.

The Cougars are now 1-8 in the CAA. They beat William & Mary 70-60 on Jan. 6 and UNC-Wilmington 76-37 on Jan. 8 before having to give up the victories.

OWENSBORO, Ky. (AP) – Bobby Watson, a key player on Kentucky’s 1951 NCAA championship team who also coached Owensboro High School to two state titles, has died. He was 86.

Glenn Funeral Home and Crematory director Glenn Taylor said Watson died Tuesday but did not specify a cause.

Watson was a Wildcats walk-on in 1949 and earned a scholarship under coach Adolph Rupp. The guard averaged 10.4 points a game during the 1951-52 season to help Kentucky win its third championship. He was an All-Southeastern Conference first team selection in 1951 and `52 and eventually became Kentucky’s fifth 1,000-point scorer.

The Air Force veteran also played for the NBA’s Milwaukee Hawks in 1954-55 before becoming Owensboro’s coach three years later. Watson guided the school to state titles in 1972 and 1980 and 18 district and 14 regional championships.


SAN ANTONIO (AP) – Gregg Popovich tied the NBA record for the most career wins with a single franchise, earning his 1,127th in the San Antonio Spurs’ 102-86 victory over the Philadelphia 76ers on Thursday night.

Popovich matched Jerry Sloan of Utah for the league mark as San Antonio had 15 steals and forced 23 turnovers, both season highs, in winning its 12th straight at home over Philadelphia and 11th straight overall against the 76ers.

Kawhi Leonard scored 19 points and Dewayne Dedmon had 13 points and 10 rebounds for his second double-double for the Spurs.

EL SEGUNDO, Calif. (AP) – Magic Johnson returned to the Los Angeles Lakers as an adviser to owner Jeanie Buss, possibly signaling a change in the power structure of the 16-time NBA champion franchise.

Johnson, one of the most beloved players in franchise history, will assist Buss ”in all areas of basketball and business,” according to the team’s news release. Buss’ brother, Jim, currently runs the Lakers’ basketball operations with general manager Mitch Kupchak, but Los Angeles is in the midst of its fourth consecutive terrible season during the longest playoff drought in franchise history.

The Lakers say Johnson will report directly to Jeanie Buss, who has stayed out of basketball operations during her four years running the franchise following the death of her father.

WASHINGTON, D.C. (AP) – The Washington Mystics acquired Elena Delle Donne from the Chicago Sky for Stefanie Dolson, Kahleah Copper and the No. 2 pick in this year’s draft.

The 2015 WNBA MVP is arguably the biggest name to ever be traded in the 21-year history of the league. The move gets Delle Donne closer to her Delaware home.

Delle Donne averaged 21.5 points and seven rebounds a game last season for the Sky, helping them reach the playoffs. She missed the postseason after thumb surgery. The 6-foot-5 forward continues to deal with the lingering effects of Lyme disease that she has battled since 2008. It forced her to leave China less than 48 hours after she arrived there earlier this month to play in the country’s professional basketball league.


HOUSTON (AP) – The NFL players’ union will be making a push for improved equipment and for more consistent compliance with the concussion protocol.

At their annual Super Bowl news conference, the NFL Players Association also insisted there will be no extension of the 10-year labor agreement signed in 2011. But the union would be open to a renegotiation before that deal expires.

Bengals offensive tackle Eric Winston, the union president, said he believes there’s a ”need to up research and what sort of equipment we can look at.” Winston also noted that the NFLPA has to ”work with the teams because there has to be better adherence to the concussion protocol.”

Executive Director DeMaurice Smith said that ”no one is going to slip an addendum that is going to extend this (CBA) another few years.”

GRETNA, La. (AP) – The Louisiana man accused of killing former NFL running back Joe McKnight during a road rage dispute was indicted on a charge that carries a mandatory life sentence — a stiffer charge than the one he originally faced.

As a result of the second-degree murder indictment, Judge June Darensburg increased Ronald Gasser’s bond from $500,000 to $750,000, Jefferson Parish District Attorney Paul Connick Jr. said in the news release.

The 55-year-old Terrytown man’s attorneys, Gerry Archer and Matthew Goetz, did not immediately respond to an email requesting comment.

Jefferson Parish Sheriff Newell Normand said he was pleased that the panel increased the charge from the manslaughter charge on which Gasser was arrested. Prosecutors interviewed police investigators and could review more than 160 interviews about the case, he said.


WACO, Texas (AP) – A new court filing detailed allegations that former Baylor University football coach Art Briles ignored sexual assaults by players, failed to alert university officials or discipline athletes and allowed them to continue playing.

The filing is in response to a lawsuit against Baylor and several officials including interim President David Garland by former assistant athletic director Colin Shillinglaw, who said he was falsely accused of mishandling several incidents.

It said that in one case a masseuse asked the team to discipline a player who reportedly exposed himself in 2013. The court filing said Briles texted an assistant coach: ”What kind of discipline… She a stripper?”

Briles did not remove defensive lineman Tevin Elliott from the team or notify university officials even though two women accused Elliott of rape in separate incidents in 2012, the court filings noted.

There were several reports of gang rapes involving football players during Briles’ tenure.


ST. PETERSBURG, Russia (AP) – Venus Williams lost her first match since the Australian Open in just 55 minutes as she was beaten 6-3, 6-1 by Kristina Mladenovic in the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy.

Seeded fourth, Williams showed none of the spark which took her to Saturday’s Australian Open final, failing to record a single winner in the opening set compared to 15 for her French opponent.

Mladenovic broke the tired-looking Williams in the first game of the second set and swiftly wrapped up the second round win. She received a bye in the first round.


In the final days of negotiations, the biggest thing standing in the way of the St. Louis Cardinals signing pitcher Carlos Martinez to a long-term extension was a few hundred miles of ocean.

”It’s not easy to get in touch at sea,” general manager John Mozeliak explained.

But once Martinez had wrapped up the team’s annual Caribbean cruise over the weekend, the two sides were able to put the finishing touches on a record-breaking deal. During a news conference Thursday, the Cardinals announced their five-year pact with the talented young right-hander that includes a pair of club options that could keep him in St. Louis through the 2023 season.

The contract is worth $51 million, and includes a $4.5 million bonus and salary this season and $11.5 million each of the next four years, a person familiar with the deal told The Associated Press. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the terms were not disclosed.

The options are for $17 million in 2022 and $18 million the following year with a $500,000 buyout, potentially taking the total value of the contract to $85.5 million.