COLLEGE BASKETBALL SCHEDULE
UNDATED (AP) — Michigan State struggled early in its first game as a top-ranked men's basketball team for the first time in 13 years. The Spartans found themselves tied against Portland with 12:26 remaining until Travis Trice drained a three-pointer to spark an 82-67 win over the Pilots.
Trice followed his tiebreaking three with a steal and a layup seconds later before the Spartans grabbed their first double-digit lead of the night midway through the second half.
Keith Appling finished with 25 points and Adreian Payne added 19 for Michigan State.
Also in top-25 action:
— Jabari Parker had 21 points and 10 rebounds as sixth-ranked Duke beat UNC Asheville 91-55 in the opening round of the NIT Season Tip-Off. Rodney Hood had 15 of his 18 points in the first half for the Blue Devils.
— Ninth-ranked Syracuse barely beat St. Francis of Brooklyn 56-50 as Jerami Grant scored 13 points and led a late rally. Grant hit the tying bucket with 1:43 remaining and set up a go-ahead basket in the final minute to help the Orange improve to 4-0.
— Casey Prather had 10 points and nine rebounds as No. 16 Florida knocked off Southern 67-53. The Gators finished the game without point guard Kasey Hill, who sprained his left ankle in the second half.
New number one
NEW YORK (AP) — Michigan State picked up 51 of 65 first-place votes to land atop The Associated Press men's basketball poll. The Spartans earned the top spot by beating then-top-ranked Kentucky last week 78-74 in Chicago in the earliest matchup of the top two teams in the country.
Kansas moved from No. 5 to No. 2, receiving seven first-place votes following its win over Duke. Louisville stayed third and got the other seven first-place votes. Kentucky dropped to fourth and was followed by Arizona, Duke, Oklahoma State, Ohio State, Syracuse and VCU.
Blazers stretch streak
NEW YORK (AP) — The Portland Trail Blazers have stretched their winning streak to seven games by outlasting the short-handed Brooklyn Nets.
LaMarcus Aldridge scored 27 points and Wesley Matthews added 24 as the Blazers downed the Nets 108-98. Damian Lillard had 19 points for Portland, which allowed 40 points in the first quarter before the Nets went cold.
Garnett and Paul Pierce were back in the starting lineup after missing Saturday's loss to the Clippers in Los Angeles with injuries, though Brook Lopez and Deron Williams continued to rest sprained left ankles.
Suspensions to Walden, Goldson...Broncos lose Moore...Dolphin inquiry begins
UNDATED (AP) — Indianapolis Colts linebacker Erik Walden and Buccaneers safety Dashon Goldson won't have to prepare for this week's NFL games.
The league has given each player a one-game suspension for wrongdoing during their team's last game. Walden pulled off the helmet of Titans tight end Delanie Walker, then slammed his own helmet into Walker's head during Indianapolis' game against Tennessee on Thursday. Goldson was penalized for unnecessary roughness for his hit on a defenseless receiver on Sunday, his third such violation.
Also in the NFL:
— The Miami Dolphins underwent interrogation Monday by an NFL special investigator. New York attorney Ted Wells began interviewing players regarding the harassment case involving tackle Jonathan Martin and suspended guard Richie Incognito. Wells' visit was expected to last at least two or three days, ensuring further distractions for a team trying to keep its season from derailing.
— Green Bay Packers coach Mike McCarthy said Scott Tolzien (tohl-ZEEN') will remain the starting quarterback as Aaron Rodgers continues to recover from a broken collarbone. Tolzien completed 24 of 34 passes for 339 yards, but threw three interceptions in the Packers' 27-13 loss to the New York Giants Sunday in his first NFL start.
— Broncos safety Rahim Moore is out indefinitely after undergoing emergency surgery for a condition known as lateral compartment syndrome that can cost patients a limb or even their life. Moore left last night's 27-17 win over Kansas City in the first half after being unable to accelerate on Jamaal Charles' 35-yard run. During the night, Moore called the team's athletic trainer because he was still experiencing pain and swelling and was told to see a doctor.
— Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome was back in his office on Monday after undergoing a series of tests at a Chicago hospital. Newsome became too ill to take the team's flight home following Sunday's overtime loss to the Bears. Coach Jim Harbaugh said Newsome's illness wasn't anything serious.
— An unruly football fan who survived a fall from the top deck of Ralph Wilson Stadium onto a man below has been banned from the stadium and could face charges, according to officials. Video from yesterday's game between the Buffalo Bills and New York Jets shows the fan sliding down the 300 level railing in a seated position before flipping backward and plummeting about 30 feet to the 200 level. He and the man he landed on were treated inside the stadium before being taken to a hospital, where they were treated and released, authorities said.
— Former NFL linebacker Thomas Howard has died following a high-speed car crash on an Oakland, California, freeway Monday morning. Howard played eight years in the NFL after being drafted by the Oakland Raiders in the second round out of Texas-El Paso in 2006. He was most recently with Atlanta before getting released last week.
Hudson, Giants reach deal
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — Tim Hudson will be pitching in the Bay Area once again.
The San Francisco Giants have worked out a two-year, $23 million contract with Hudson, who was 8-7 with a 3.97 ERA in 21 starts for Atlanta this year. He needed season-ending surgery after breaking his right ankle in a first-base collision with Mets outfielder Eric Young on July 24.
Hudson made his major league debut with the Athletics in 1999 and went 92-39 in six seasons with Oakland.
Ruiz possible deal
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Two people familiar with the negotiations tell the Associated Press that Carlos Ruiz and the Phillies have agreed to a $26 million, three-year contract that will keep the former All-Star catcher in Philadelphia.
The people spoke on condition of anonymity because the deal hasn't been officially announced. The contract also includes a club option for 2017.
The 34-year-old hit .268 in 92 games last year after serving a 25-game suspension for using a banned amphetamine.
A-Rod continues battle
UNDATED (AP) — Alex Rodriguez was back at Major League Baseball's office for the resumption of the grievance hearing to overturn his 211-game suspension.
It was unclear whether the New York Yankees third baseman would testify. MLB has been expected to assert that Rodriguez should not be allowed to testify at his grievance if he first refused to answer baseball's questions at the investigatory interview.
He had been scheduled for an investigatory interview with MLB on Friday, but the session was postponed when Rodriguez's side said he was ill with flu-like systems and could not travel from California.
Rodriguez was suspended for 211 games by MLB on Aug. 5 for alleged violations of the sport's drug agreement and labor contract, and the players' association filed a grievance to overturn the penalty.
Meanwhile, Boca Raton, Florida, police say they have reopened an investigation into the theft of documents related to baseball's inquiry of Rodriguez. An officer said the investigation was reopened several weeks ago based on new information stemming from Rodriguez's lawsuit against Major League Baseball. The documents were stolen in March from the car of Porter Fischer, who took them from Biogenesis, the Miami clinic where he worked and which allegedly provided drugs to Rodriguez and other players.
Meyer not crazy about current BCS format...Mizzou's Franklin ready
UNDATED (AP) — Ohio State head football coach Urban Meyer says The Bowl Championship Series "is a flawed system." Meyer's unbeaten Buckeyes are currently ranked third in the BCS standings behind Alabama and Florida State, boxed out of the national title game should things remain the same for the rest of the season.
Meyer says that while there was a time the championship series served a purpose, he welcomes changes coming next season with the four team playoff.
Ohio State (10-0, 6-0 Big Ten) has won a nation's best 22 games in a row but is ranked a distant No. 3 in the latest BCS rankings, far behind top dogs Alabama and Florida State and barely ahead of Baylor.
In other college football news:
— Missouri coach Gary Pinkel says quarterback James Franklin will lead the eighth-ranked Tigers at Ole Miss this weekend after missing four starts with a sprained throwing shoulder. Franklin had been enjoying a career season through five games and positioned his team for a win at Georgia on Oct. 12 before he was hurt.
— Utah QB Travis Wilson will miss the rest of the season after the team discovered a preexisting medical condition during a concussion diagnosis last week. Wilson suffered a concussion in a 20-19 loss to Arizona State a week earlier. Utes coach Kyle Whittingham says an initial concussion scan turned up evidence of a preexisting head trauma and a follow-up angiogram confirmed it. It is not known if the condition will cut short Wilson's career.
— The athletic director at Washington State says the school has extended the contract of football coach Mike Leach for two years, ensuring he'll be at the helm through the 2018 season. Leach has led WSU to a 5-5 record in his second season as the Cougars prepare for Saturday's game against Utah in Pullman.
— The University of North Dakota has fired head football coach Chris Mussman after a 3-8 season, including a 2-6 record in the Big Sky Conference. Mussman coached six seasons with UND and had an overall record of 31-34, which included the school's transition to Division I.
Canes lose in Ward's return
UNDATED (AP) — Cam Ward returned to the Carolina Hurricanes net tonight after missing 10 straight games with a leg injury. Ward finished with 27 saves, but the Canes were no match for Boston in a 4-1 loss to the Bruins.
Ward surrendered two goals on Boston's first four shots as Reilly Smith and Carl Soderberg each had a goal and an assist. The B's also helped themselves by killing four Carolina power plays, running their streak of successful penalty kills to 32 since allowing goals in five straight.
Also on ice:
— Pittsburgh won for only the second time in six games by scoring three times in the third period of a 3-1 triumph over Anaheim. Brian Gibbons scored the go-ahead goal on his first NHL shot, Brandon Sutter netted the eventual game-winner 62 seconds later and Sidney Crosby added the insurance goal with 12:04 left.
Judge not ready to dismiss all defendants in lawsuit against Armstrong
WASHINGTON (AP) — A federal judge says he probably won't dismiss all of the defendants from a False Claims Act lawsuit against cyclist Lance Armstrong and others.
Judge Robert L. Wilkins made the comment at the end of a nearly three-hour hearing on the Justice Department's lawsuit, which also named Armstrong's former team director and team management company as defendants.
The Justice Department this year joined a whistle-blower lawsuit filed by former Armstrong teammate Floyd Landis.
BOSTON MARATHON-SECIAL INVITATION
BOSTON (AP) — The Boston Marathon is sending out a special invitation for next year's race for those "personally and profoundly impacted" by the bombings at the finish line.
The Boston Athletic Association says as many as a few hundred entries have been reserved for those who have a "special connection to the events of April 15."
Those wishing to enter under the new provision need to submit a 250-word essay at the B.A.A. website.