Wednesday Sports in Brief
PHOENIX (AP) — Devin Booker became the youngest player in NBA history with consecutive 50-point games, but his latest scoring binge was wasted once again by the last-place Phoenix Suns in a 124-121 loss to the Washington Wizards on Wednesday night.
The 22-year-old Booker finished with 50 points and 10 rebounds as the Suns, with the worst record in the Western Conference at 17-59, dropped their fifth straight. Booker scored 59 points in a 125-92 loss Monday night at Utah.
It was the first time a Phoenix player reached 50 in back-to-back games. Tom Chambers had been the only member of the Suns to score even 40 in successive games.
MINNEAPOLIS (AP) — Cleveland Indians star shortstop Francisco Lindor’s recovery from a strained right calf muscle has been set back by another injury: a sprained left ankle.
Manager Terry Francona said Wednesday in Minnesota, where the Indians will start the season, that Lindor was hurt running the bases in a minor league intrasquad game at the team’s spring training home in Arizona.
According to the team, an MRI test on Lindor’s ankle found a mild to moderate acute sprain. The three-time All-Star was previously ruled out for the opener because of the calf strain he suffered in early February. Because the timetable for that injury had not yet been finalized by the team’s medical staff, Lindor’s return from the ankle sprain was still being determined.
TUSCALOOSA, Ala. (AP) — Alabama has hired Nate Oats, who led Buffalo to three NCAA Tournaments in four seasons, as its new men’s basketball coach.
Crimson Tide athletic director Greg Byrne announced the hiring Wednesday, three days after parting ways with Avery Johnson.
Oats was the Mid-American Conference coach of the year each of the past two seasons.
He went 96-43 with the Bulls and won three MAC Tournament championships.
KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (AP) — Tennessee has fired women’s basketball coach Holly Warlick after a season in which the Lady Vols barely kept their NCAA Tournament streak alive and then promptly lost in the opening round.
Athletic director Phillip Fulmer announced the decision Wednesday afternoon.
Although Warlick won 72 percent of her games after taking over for Pat Summitt in 2012, the Lady Vols couldn’t approach the heights they’d reached under her predecessor.
Warlick had a 172-67 record over seven seasons. Tennessee made it to regional finals in three of her first four years but hasn’t advanced beyond the second round any of the last three seasons.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Washington State has hired Kyle Smith as its new men’s basketball coach following the disappointing tenure of Ernie Kent.
A person with knowledge of the hiring said Wednesday that Smith was given a six-year deal. The person spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because the hiring had not been formally announced.
The 49-year-old Smith comes to Washington State after a successful three-year run as the head coach at San Francisco. Smith also was a head coach at Columbia for six seasons and has strong West Coast ties with his time as an assistant at Saint Mary’s for nearly a decade.
— By AP Sports Writer Josh Dubow.
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The University of San Francisco is promoting associate coach Todd Golden to head coach after Kyle Smith leaves for Washington State.
A person familiar with the hiring said Wednesday that Golden will take over the Dons for his first college head coach job. He will receive a five-year contract. The person spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal hadn’t been announced.
Golden started his coaching career at Columbia in 2013-14 before working for two years at Auburn. He has spent the past three seasons at USF.
Golden also played in the WCC for Saint Mary’s.
— By AP Sports Writer Janie McCauley.
Otzelberger spent the past three seasons at South Dakota State, going 70-33 while leading the Jackrabbits to the NCAA Tournament twice. South Dakota State won the Summit League regular-season title this season, but ended up in the NIT after losing in the conference tournament.
ATLANTA (AP) — Georgia State has promoted assistant Travis Williams to interim head coach of the men’s basketball team.
Athletic director Charlie Cobb says Williams will guide the program during the search for a successor to Ron Hunter, who announced Sunday he was leaving the Panthers after eight seasons to take over at Tulane.
Williams is a former Georgia State player who served on Lefty Driesell’s staff from 1999-2003 and returned to his alma before this past season to work under Hunter. The Panthers won the Sun Belt Conference regular-season and tournament titles to earn their second straight NCAA Tournament appearance. They were eliminated by Houston in the opening round.
American Athletic Conference Commissioner Mike Aresco says the league’s new media rights deal with ESPN gives the AAC a platform similar to having its own branded network.
The American and ESPN announced Wednesday a 12-year agreement that runs through the 2031-32 school year.
Financial terms were not disclosed, but previous media reports put the total value of the deal at $1 billion, paying each school about $7 million per year. AAC and ESPN’s previous six-year deal, which expires in 2020, allowed the league to distribute about $2 million per year to the school.
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. (AP) — A memorial gate leading to the student section entrance of Purdue University’s football stadium will be built to honor Tyler Trent, the school’s superfan and cancer activist who died in January.
University President Mitch Daniels announced plans Wednesday for the permanent memorial at Ross-Ade Stadium for Trent, who died on Jan. 1 at age 20 following a battle with bone cancer. The Tyler Trent Memorial Gate will be erected before the start of the fall football season.
Trent became a social media star with his positive attitude and determination to live every day to the fullest.
HOUSTON (AP) — Christian Pulisic has a strained right quadriceps and returned to Germany for treatment, the U.S. Soccer Federation said Wednesday.
The 20-year-old midfielder scored in the fourth minute of Tuesday night’s 1-1 exhibition tie against Ecuador, then left late in the first half because of the injury.
The USSF said Pulisic had an MRI after the game and was traveling to Borussia Dortmund, which will establish a timetable for his return.
MIAMI (AP) — Steven Holcomb is now a winner of two silver bobsled medals for the U.S. at the 2014 Sochi Olympics, a determination that has been made more than five years after those games ended and nearly two years after his death.
The International Olympic Committee’s executive board voted Wednesday to formally reallocate the medals from the Sochi Games in bobsledding and vacate the golds that Russian pilot Alexander Zubkov won in both the two- and four-man events. That means Holcomb, who crossed the line third in both of those races, now is a two-time silver winner in addition to the four-man gold he won at Vancouver in 2010.
With Zubkov’s sled now out, the silver in four-man goes to Holcomb and his team of Steve Langton, Curt Tomasevicz and Chris Fogt. The silver in two-man goes to Holcomb and Langton.
HALLANDALE BEACH, Fla. (AP) — Hidden Scroll has been installed as the 5-2 morning-line favorite for the Florida Derby on Saturday at Gulfstream Park.
Hidden Scroll landed the inside post in an 11-horse field for the $1 million race, one of the major preps leading up to the Kentucky Derby. It’ll only be the third career start for Hidden Scroll, who is trained by Bill Mott and will be ridden Saturday by Javier Castellano.
Code of Honor, the Fountain of Youth winner, is the 3-1 second choice. Bourbon War is the 7-2 third choice.
NEW ORLEANS (AP) — A court on Wednesday rejected an appeal by the man convicted of killing former Saints football star Will Smith during a traffic altercation, rejecting claims that Cardell Hayes acted in self-defense.
Hayes is serving a 25-year sentence for manslaughter in the shooting death of Smith and attempted manslaughter in the wounding of Smith’s wife. The shooting happened in April 2016 as Smith and his wife and friends were driving through a New Orleans neighborhood after leaving a sushi restaurant.
Hayes insisted at trial that he fired after a drunk, angry Smith retrieved a gun from his car and fired first, but he was convicted in a 10-2 decision. His lawyer argued on appeal that Hayes acted in self-defense and that evidence that surfaced after the trial lent credibility to his assertion.
BRIGHAM CITY, Utah (AP) — A former Utah State University football player convicted of sexually assaulting six women was sentenced Wednesday to 26 years to life in prison during a hearing in which the judge called his actions “horrendous” and told his victims he believed them.
Torrey Green, 25, was accused by six women of being sexually assaulted while on dates with him between 2013-2015, and jurors convicted him in January of crimes that included raping five women and sexual battery of a sixth.
Utah district judge Brian Cannell said during the sentencing in the northern Utah city of Brigham City that he was disappointed that Green never showed remorse, The Salt Lake Tribune reported.