National Sports Briefs

Published 12:00 am Friday, November 14, 2008

Associated Press
HOMESTEAD, Fla. ó Carl Edwards got the jump on Jimmie Johnson in Friday’s qualifying for the NASCAR Sprint Cup finale at Homestead-Miami Speedway.
Edwards, facing a daunting 141-point deficit heading into Sunday’s Ford 400, qualified fourth, trailing only first-time pole winner David Reutimann, rookie Scott Speed and Matt Kenseth. Johnson, who needs only to finish 36th or better on Sunday to wrap up his third straight Cup title, will start a disappointing 30th.
WINSTON-SALEM ó Freshman Al-Farouq Aminu had 21 points and 10 rebounds to help Wake Forest cruise to the win in its season opener.
James Johnson had 18 points and 10 rebounds and Jeff Teague added 14 points for the Demon Deacons. They led by 31 points before the Eagles made their second field goal.
UConn 81, WCU 55
STORRS, Conn. ó Hasheem Thabeet had 23 points and 17 rebounds to lead No. 2 Connecticut to a season-opening 81-55 win over Western Carolina on Friday night.
The 7-foot-3 junior, who towered at least 7 inches over any defender for the Catamounts, also blocked five shots.
No. 5 Pittsburgh 86, Fairleigh Dickinson 63PITTSBURGH ó DeJuan Blair was overpowering inside with 17 points and 13 rebounds in slightly more than a half and Pittsburgh got a big lift from point guard Levance Fields’ return from a broken foot.
No. 19 Florida 80, Toledo 58
GAINESVILLE, Fla. ó Dan Werner scored 19 points for Florida, and Nick Calathes added 16 points and seven assists.
Charlotte 77, UNC-Greensboro 59
CHARLOTTE ó Lamont Mack recorded his first career double-double to lead Charlotte to a 77-59 win over UNC-Greensboro. Mack scored 18 points and 10 rebounds in the season opener for both schools.
VMI 111, Kentucky 103
LEXINGTON, Ky.ó Billy Gillispie didn’t mention Gardner-Webb, but his postgame assessment was verbatim from the last time his Kentucky team was shocked like this.
“They whipped us,” Gillispie said of the Wildcats’ 111-103 upset to Virginia Military Institute.
– CHAPEL HILL ó North Carolina coach Roy Williams said Friday that senior Bobby Frasor might miss today’s opener against Penn, another key injury for a team that will likely be without reigning national player of the year Tyler Hansbrough and top defender Marcus Ginyard.
Frasor sprained his left ankle Monday and missed two days of practice.
CHARLOTTE ó Carolina Panthers center Ryan Kalil is doubtful for Sunday’s game against Detroit because of a lingering right ankle injury.
– ENGLEWOOD, Colo. ó Big-hitting safety John Lynchhas decided to retire. The 37-year-old was a nine-time Pro Bowler for Denver and Tampa Bay, finishing with 1,277 tackles, 100 pass breakups and 26 interceptions in 224 regular-season games.