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Wednesday, March 24, 2004

College basketball

There's no debate when it comes to Emeka Okafor and Jameer Nelson. They're unanimous All-Americans.

The stars at Connecticut and Saint Joseph's led The Associated Press men's college basketball All-America team Tuesday, the first time since 1985 more than one player was chosen by every voter.

Okafor, a 6-foot-10 junior center, and Nelson, a 5-11 senior guard, earned a perfect 360 points by being picked on all 72 first-team ballots by the same media panel that votes on the weekly poll.

Each member selected three All-America teams, with players receiving points on a 5-3-1 basis.

Lawrence Roberts of Mississippi State was third with 308 points, while Josh Childress of Stanford had 235, and Ryan Gomes of Providence completed the first team with 208.

HOUSTON - Tom Penders was hired Tuesday to coach at Houston, the once-powerful program that hasn't won an NCAA tournament game in 20 years.

Penders agreed to a five-year contract, but terms weren't finalized. Penders, a coach at Texas for 10 years, replaces Ray McCallum, who was reassigned March 8 after going 44-72 in four seasons.

Penders, 58, is best known for resuscitating Texas after his arrival in 1988 following successful stints at Tufts, Columbia, Fordham and Rhode Island. He led Texas to a 208-110 record and eight NCAA tournaments, including a regional final in 1990.

NEW YORK - The ratings for the first round of the NCAA women's tournament were up more than 50 percent from last year.

The ratings on two ESPN networks increased from 0.3 last season to 0.7 this year, up 133 percent. The ratings for the six games shown on ESPN2 doubled from 0.2 to 0.4. The games on ESPN2 at 9 p.m. Sunday appeared in more than 650,000 households, making it that networks most-viewed first-round telecast.

ATLANTA - St. Joseph's Jameer Nelson and Connecticut's Diana Taurasi were selected Tuesday as the 2004 Naismith college basketball players of the year.

Taurasi won for the second consecutive year.

Pro football

DAVIE, Fla. - Long snapper and tight end Ed Perry signed a one-year contract with the Miami Dolphins on Tuesday.

Perry missed all of last season after tearing ligaments in his left knee during the Dolphins' preseason opener. The Dolphins signed long snappers Jeff Grau and Sean McDermott as replacements last season but both struggled and were released.

Boxing

NEW YORK - Roy Jones Jr. has a new job to keep himself busy between fights.

Jones will replace George Foreman as the expert boxing commentator on HBO, agreeing to a multiyear contract with the network.

The 35-year-old Jones, who fights Antonio Tarver on May 15, will begin his duties on an April 10 card featuring welterweights Cory Spinks and Zab Judah and heavyweight Wladimir Klitschko.

Jones will sit ringside for HBO's World Championship Boxing series and the network's pay-per-view fights, assuming he is not fighting in them.

College football

TUSCALOOSA, Ala. - Former Alabama coach Mike Price is suing the university's president over actions that led to his dismissal following a visit to a strip club.

The suit, filed Monday in state circuit court in Tuscaloosa, accuses president Robert Witt of fraud and misrepresentation and asks for a jury to decide on a monetary award, said Price's attorney, Stephen Heninger.

GAINESVILLE, Fla. - Miami's top football recruit turned himself in to police Tuesday on a felony charge of illegally setting off fire extinguishers and was released on $5,000 bond, his lawyer said.

Willie Williams, a high school All-American linebacker, was in custody for several hours before bonding out on the charge from a January recruiting visit to Florida, attorney Paul Cohen told The Associated Press.

Rugby

BUCHAREST, Romania - Members of Romania's national rugby team tested positive for a substance that causes drowsiness and might have been impaired during a match against Russia.

Romanian players said they felt sleepy during Saturday's 33-24 loss in a European Cup match, and asked to be tested.

Doctors discovered traces of phenothiazine, a substance that causes sleepiness, in the urine of 12 players a day after the loss, Romanian Rugby Federation spokesman Radu Constantin said Tuesday.

Pro basketball

INDIANAPOLIS - Jermaine O'Neal has a bone bruise on his left knee and will not play game in the Indiana Pacers' game against Dallas on Wednesday.

An MRI exam performed Tuesday revealed only a bruise and no structural damage. No timetable has been set for his return.

Rodeo

TACOMA, Wash. - Justin McBride rode three bulls for 266 points to dominate the Professional Bull Riders Tacoma Classic this past weekend.

McBride, of Elk City, Okla., was nine points better than runner-up Mike Lee, of Alvord, Texas.

McBride earned a total of $40,532, which included the $10,000 Ford Truck Moment of Truth bonus. It is his fourth Built Ford Tough Series event win of the season.

The real big winner was Brazilian cowboy Ednei Caminhas. The 2002 PBR world champion won the first round and then covered the bull, Smokin Smurf for 90 points to win the $65,000 Mossy Oak Shoot Out bonus.

Lee was second in Tacoma with 257 points for $12,923.

The PBR comes to Billings April 3-4 for the NILE Bullriders Invitational at MetraPark Arena.

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