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National Sports Briefs

Associated Press
WASHINGTON ó Louisiana State University’s football team took a wild route to the national championship ó losing twice in triple overtime, taking lots of fourth-down risks, grabbing a spot in the title game only when other teams lost late in the year. It was a season in which no school was on top for long.
Until the end.
“LSU was number one on the day it counted,” President Bush said Monday in a White House ceremony honoring the team. “That’s why they’re here.”
LSU clobbered Ohio State 38-24 to win it all in January. The players, standing on a riser behind Bush and along both staircases of the South Portico, smiled as Bush cracked one-liners and recapped their dramatic season.
The president described the team’s coach, Les Miles, as a risk-taker and a strong leader. He also ribbed him for not wearing his customary LSU hat, calling the sight rare and memorable.
As he usually does in sports ceremonies, Bush made a point of saying the team has off-the-field duties, too.
“When you leave here, I hope you leave here knowing that you’ve got a special responsibility, not only to represent your school on the football field, but to help make America a better place,” he said.
LSU had last won the college football championship in 2003, a year in which the school divided the title with the University of Southern California.
“This year, there is no split,” Bush said, drawing applause from the LSU-friendly crowd of invited guests.
MORE COLLEGE
COLUMBIA, S.C. ó South Carolina coach Steve Spurrier says his starting quarterback candidates were about even at the Gamecocks’ second scrimmage of the spring.
The numbers Monday agree. Sophomore Chris Smelley went 14-of-19 for 143 yards and junior Tommy Beecher of Concord was 13-of-19 for 142 yards. Beecher had the only interception.
After the scrimmage, Spurrier said if he had to play right now, he would probably rotate quarterbacks.
BASEBALL
NEWPORT BEACH, Calif. ó Scott Spiezio pleaded guilty Monday to misdemeanor drunken driving and hit-and-run charges stemming from a December car crash in Orange County.
Spiezio was ordered to serve three years probation, undergo a three-month alcohol program, attend two Alcoholics Anonymous meetings and complete 80 hours of community service.
Spiezio was cut by the St. Louis Cardinals in February after a warrant was issued for his arrest. The 35-year-old Spiezio agreed March 31 to a minor league contract with the Atlanta Braves.
– SAN DIEGO ó One day after limiting the Los Angeles Dodgers to two hits in a complete-game victory, San Diego Padres ace Jake Peavy denied that he had used an illegal foreign substance on his right hand to do so.
Dodgers fan sites raised questions regarding images seen on the nationally televised telecast that showed Peavy offering a post-game handshake with a dark substance on his thumb, index and middle fingers. Peavy explained before Sunday’s 3-2 Dodgers win that it was dirt and rosin.
“That’s funny to me,” Peavy said. “I mean, come on. How could you throw a baseball if that was anything but (dirt and rosin)? That makes me laugh, honestly.
NHL LOTTERY
TORONTO ó The Tampa Bay Lightning landed the No. 1 pick in the NHL’s draft lottery Monday night.
The Lightning had the best chance (48.8 percent) of winning the top pick after earning 71 points (31-42-9) in the regular season.
Tampa Bay became only the fourth team in 14 lotteries to have the fewest points and win the lottery.

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