Friday’s Sports In Brief

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Urban Meyer defended himself Friday, admitting he was not forthright with reporters when questioned about 2015 allegations of domestic violence against one of his assistant coaches, but also insisting he handled the situation properly at the time.

The assistant Meyer fired, Zach Smith, also spoke up, denying he abused his wife, backing his former boss and placing Ohio State’s athletic director into the middle of the picture.

Two days after Ohio State sidelined Meyer and opened an investigation into what its superstar coach knew and did about accusations of abuse made against Smith by his ex-wife, two central figures in this college football drama answered some questions — and left much to be explained.

The crisis at one of the most storied programs in college football history comes as the school is reeling from a sexual abuse scandal involving a now-dead sports doctor, Richard Strauss.

PRO FOOTBALL

CANTON, Ohio (AP) — Joining the most exclusive club in football truly hit home for the Pro Football Hall of Fame’s class of 2018.

Well, maybe not for the one guy missing, but certainly for Ray Lewis, Randy Moss, Brian Urlacher, Brian Dawkins, Robert Brazile, Jerry Kramer and Bobby Beathard.

While Terrell Owens was in Chattanooga planning his own ceremony, the other seven men who will be inducted into the football shrine Saturday night attended the Gold Jacket Luncheon in Canton. Their takeaway was tinged with awe.

The luncheon isn’t at all about food and drink. It’s about a kinship, a fraternity of the very best at what they did as athletes. So when the likes of Joe Greene, Dick Butkus and Willie Lanier told their stories to the three linebackers in this year’s class, Lewis, Urlacher and Brazile were spellbound.

CHATTANOOGA, Tenn. (AP) — Leave it to Terrell Owens to choose to become the first person to celebrate being inducted into the Pro Football Hall of Fame somewhere other than at the Canton, Ohio, shrine.

The receiver who provided so many exhilarating and exasperating moments during one of the NFL’s most prolific careers is about 600 miles away from Canton this weekend. Hours before the other inductees are honored, Owens will give his own acceptance speech at Chattanooga, where he played college football and basketball and ran track.

Owens announced on Twitter in June that, while “incredibly appreciative,” he wouldn’t attend the induction ceremony. Owens never shared his reasons for staying away. Less than a month later, Owens again used social media to say he’d hold his own induction ceremony in Chattanooga.

MONTREAL (AP) — Johnny Manziel threw an interception — and made a tackle — on his second play in the Canadian Football League. It didn’t get much better after that, with four of his six first-half series ending in interceptions.

Seeing regular-season action for first time since December 2015 with the NFL’s Cleveland Browns, the quarterback known as Johnny Football fizzled in a hurry in the Montreal Alouettes’ 50-11 loss to the Hamilton Tiger-Cats on Friday night.

The former Texas A&M star had another pass intercepted on his third series. Manziel led Montreal to a field goal on his fourth drive, then threw his third interception early in the second quarter. The fourth interception came with 2:22 left in the half that ended with the Tiger-Cats up 38-3.

Manziel finished 11 of 20 for 104 yards. He played three series in the third quarter — all ending in punts — before giving way to back up Vernon Adams in the fourth.

BASEBALL

ATHLETICS 1, TIGERS 0, 13 innings

OAKLAND, Calif. (AP) — Ramon Laureano singled home the winning run with two outs in the bottom of the 13th inning for his first major league hit in his big league debut, sending the Oakland to a 1-0 victory over the Detroit Tigers.

Laureano finally ended the game that went 3 hours, 32 minutes with a clean hit to right against Buck Farmer.

Jose Iglesias hit a two-out single in the top of the 13th against Emilio Pagan and stole second. When catcher Jonathan Lucroy’s throw went into center, Iglesias tried for third and was got thrown out — a play that was upheld on replay review when the Tigers challenged.

Neither starter gave up a hit until the sixth inning. Oakland’s Brett Anderson retired his first 16 batters in order before Iglesias doubled with one out in the sixth. Detroit’s Blaine Hardy gave up Jed Lowrie’s infield single to begin the seventh inning for the A’s first hit.

GOLF

AKRON, Ohio (AP) — Another day of soft conditions at Firestone wasn’t enough for Tiger Woods, Rory McIlroy or anyone else to catch a trio of leaders going into the weekend at the Bridgestone Invitational.

PGA champion Justin Thomas (64) and the English duo of Tommy Fleetwood (63) and Ian Poulter (67) set the pace to share the lead at 11-under 129, with no indication Firestone is going to get much tougher.

McIlroy hit a tee shot from the 17th tee that landed closer to the 16th fairway. He hit into a bunker and holed out for the start of a birdie-birdie finish and a 67 that left him three behind.

Woods stuffed a tee shot to 2 feet on the 12th hole to get within four shots, and then played the last six holes in 1 over for a 68. He was five behind.

LYTHAM ST. ANNES, England (AP) — Pornanong Phatlum of Thailand is standing out at the Women’s British Open for more than just her pink golf ball.

The 97th-ranked player has yet to drop a shot in two straight rounds of 5-under 67 that gave her a one-stroke lead heading into the weekend at the year’s fourth major.

While first-round leader Minjee Lee and Mamiko Higa encountered problems down the stretch at a rainy Royal Lytham to give up two-shot leads, Pornanong played a steady hand and put her pink ball in all the right places — explicitly, out of the many bunkers that define the course.

The 28-year-old Thai missed a 10-foot putt for birdie in front of the clubhouse on the 18th green but that didn’t get her down. She was 10 under par overall.

Only six players were inside five shots of Pornanong.

RENO, Nev. (AP) — Aaron Baddeley took advantage of Ollie Schniederjans‘ late double bogey to take the lead in the Barracuda Championship, the PGA Tour’s only modified Stableford scoring event.

Baddeley had six birdies in a bogey-free round in shifting wind conditions at Montreux Golf and Country Club, scoring 12 points under the format that awards eight points for albatross, five for eagle, two for birdie and zero for par, and subtracts a point for bogey and three for double bogey or worse.

Baddeley had a 26-point total for a one-point lead over Schniederjans, who led after the first roundd but fell back with the double bogey in the tricky wind on the par-3 seventh — his 16th hole of the day.

Sam Saunders, Andrew Putnam and John Merrick were tied for third with 23 points.

WNBA

After traveling for over 25 hours to get to Washington, the Las Vegas Aces players decided not to play a game against the Mystics.

The decision to cancel the game was made about 1 1/2 hours before the tip, and the Aces players issued a statement through their union.

Las Vegas had an adventure getting to Washington with travel woes causing the team to arrive in D.C. at 3 p.m. They were scheduled to take off from Las Vegas on Thursday afternoon, but their flight was delayed more than eight hours before being canceled. The team scrambled to get on overnight flights that got the players to Dallas on Friday morning where they could connect to Washington.

The Aces then had to split their team up into groups to get on different flights in Texas with the last set of players boarding a flight that gets into Washington around 3 p.m.