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Sports digest

Monday, March 21, 2005


• TORONTO - LeBron James never played better. It still wasn't enough.

James became the youngest player to score 50 points in an NBA game, but his franchise-record 56 weren't enough to prevent the Toronto Raptors from beating the Cleveland Cavaliers 105-98 Sunday.

"I probably played the best game of my life but it means nothing when it comes with a loss," James said.

He easily surpassed his previous career best of 43 points, set Nov. 24 against Detroit. However, he committed a key turnover with 16 seconds left and missed a pair of 3-point attempts in the final 14 seconds.

James finished 18-for-36 from the field and 14-for-15 from the line. He also had six 3s, 10 rebounds and five assists. But Toronto's bench did in the Cavaliers, outscoring Cleveland's reserves 34-1.

At 20 years, 80 days old, James eclipsed Rick Barry as the youngest player to score 50 points. Barry was 21 years, 261 days old when he scored 57 for San Francisco against the New York Knicks, according to the Elias Sports Bureau.

• LOS ANGELES - Seattle star Ray Allen left the SuperSonics' game against the Los Angeles Lakers late in the first quarter Sunday night because of a sprained right ankle. Allen, an All-Star averaging 23.9 points, had six points, three assists and one rebound when he came out for good with 2:12 remaining in the opening period. There was no immediate word as to the severity of the injury.

n AUBURN HILLS, Mich. - San Antonio star Tim Duncan crumpled to the floor with a sprained right ankle in the opening minutes Sunday against the Detroit Pistons.

The Spurs said X-rays were negative and Duncan is day to day, but coach Gregg Popovich indicated he doesn't expect Duncan to return soon.

Before he left the arena, Duncan said he didn't know how serious the injury was. He missed two games earlier this month with a sprained right ankle.

"It's the same ankle that he sprained a couple weeks ago, but this was much worse," Popovich said after Detroit's 110-101 victory. "It's going to be a while."


• WYOMING, Mich. - Liz Johnson made bowling history Sunday afternoon, but still was disappointed.

Johnson, 30, of Cheektowaga, N.Y., became the first woman to advance to the championship match of a Professional Bowlers Association tour event, but she lost by 27 pins to Tommy Jones of Mauldin, S.C., in the final of the PBA Banquet Open at Spectrum Lanes.

Johnson spent eight seasons on the Professional Women's Bowling Association tour, winning 11 events including the 1996 U.S. Open as a rookie and earning more than $500,000. She made bowling history Thursday when she became the first woman to advance to the round of 32 in a PBA Tour event.

Then she won two matches Friday, over the No. 2 player in the world, Chris Barnes, and No. 15-seeded Mike DeVaney, to advance to the quarterfinals. And she won a match Saturday afternoon, defeating Richard Wolfe 4-3 in their best-of-seven contest.

On Sunday afternoon, Johnson edged Wes Malott of Round Rock, Texas, by seven pins to advance to the final against Jones, who had defeated Steve Jaros in the other semifinal.

A split and subsequent open frame in the third cost Johnson in her bid to become the first woman to win a PBA Tour event. She fell to Jones 219-192.


• SUPERSTITION MOUNTAIN, Ariz. - Annika Sorenstam won her fourth straight LPGA Tour start, making up four strokes in the last three holes and then beating Lorena Ochoa on the first hole of a playoff in the Safeway International.

The victory - the 58th of Sorenstam's LPGA career - was her second in two events this year and sixth in her last eight tournaments. The four-time LPGA player of the year and scoring record-setter won her season debut in Mexico City two weeks ago.

Sorenstam finished with a 2-under 70 to match Ochoa (74) at 11-under 277. Juli Inkster (72) and Soo-Yun Kang (76) tied for third at 8 under.

• NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. - Former California amateur star Mark Johnson won in just his 14th start on the Champions Tour, shooting a 1-under 70 for a four-stroke victory in the Toshiba Senior Classic.

The 50-year-old Johnson, the qualifying tournament winner known as the "Beer Man" because he drove a Budweiser truck for 18 years before turning pro, had a 13-under 200 total on the Newport Beach Country Club course.

Johnson, who earned $247,500, eagled the par-5 15th and 18th holes in an up-and-down final round that included two birdies, three bogeys and a double bogey. He began the day with a three-stroke lead over Keith Fergus after shooting a 63 on Saturday.

Fergus (71) and Wayne Levi (70) tied for second at 9 under, and first-round leader Gil Morgan (70), Don Pooley (65) and John Bland (69) followed at 8 under.

• SANYA, China - England's Paul Casey made a 20-foot birdie putt on the second hole of a playoff with Ryder Cup teammate Paul McGinley of Ireland to win the TCL Classic.

Casey, a four-time winner on the European tour, closed with a 6-under 66 and McGinley had a course-record 63 to finish regulation at 22-under 266.

Thailand's Chawalit Plaphol (67), South Korea's Kang Wook-soon (65) and Denmark's Thomas Bjorn (66) tied for third at 21 under. Scotland's Colin Montgomerie (68) finished sixth at 20 under. He needed a top-two finish to move into the top 50 in the world ranking and earn a spot in The Players Championship.


Hockey East champion Boston College received the top overall seed Sunday in the 16-team NCAA hockey tournament, while Western Collegiate Hockey Association powers Denver, Colorado College and Minnesota took the three other top seeds.

Boston College, a 3-1 winner over New Hampshire on Saturday night in the Hockey East final, will open against Mercyhurst Friday in the East Regional in Worcester, Mass. In the other East game, second-seeded North Dakota will face Boston University.

Defending champion Denver, a 1-0 winner over Colorado College in the WCHA final, will face Bemidji State Saturday in the Northeast Regional in Amherst, Mass. Second-seeded New Hampshire will play Harvard in the other Northeast game.

In the Midwest Regional in Grand Rapids, Mich., top-seeded Colorado College will open against Colgate Friday, and second-seeded Michigan will face Wisconsin.

Minnesota, the 2003 champion, will open against Maine in the West Regional Saturday at Mariucci Arena in Minneapolis, the Gophers' home rink. In the other West game, second-seeded Cornell will face Ohio State.

The regional winners will advance to The Frozen Four April 7 and 9 in Columbus, Ohio.


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