National Sports Briefs
ORLANDO, Fla. ó Martin Laird loves when he can smash a driver, and that carried him a long way Friday at Bay Hill.
Laird reached three of the par 5s in two shots, converted one of them into an eagle and wound up with a 7-under 65 for a one-shot lead over K.J. Choi and Spencer Levin in the Arnold Palmer Invitational.
It wasn’t just the par 5s. Even without any wind in the afternoon, Laird hit driver on the 384-yard fifth hole to set up a simple pitch and another birdie. He closed his round with a 321-yard tee shot on the ninth and a 12-foot birdie.
Tiger Woods is still in the game, too.
Woods raised his arm on the ninth green as his 20-foot birdie putt rolled in for a 4-under 68, leaving him six shots behind going into the weekend. Considering how so much of his year has gone, this would be considered progress for the six-time winner at Bay Hill.
COLUMBIA, S.C. ó South Carolina’s top football recruit Jadeveon Clowney was detained and handcuffed briefly by Columbia police early Friday morning because authorities say he fit the description of burglar.
Clowney was questioned and released.
To demonstrate ó and downplay ó what happened to Clowney, Gamecocks coach Steve Spurrier was detained and handcuffed briefly by Police Chief Randy Scott while talking to the media after practice Friday afternoon.
Clowney was stopped at 2 a.m. Friday morning, but Scott stressed that the 18-year-old South Pointe High senior did nothing wrong. The chief did say Clowney was wrongly allowed into a bar in the Five Points district near campus; Scott said he was told the person who let Clowney inside had been fired.
Clowney spoke to WIS-TV in Columbia about the incident.
“They put the cuffs on us, searched us and said ‘we must have the wrong guys,'” he said.
VERNON, Conn. ó The man who fatally stabbed University of Connecticut football player Jasper Howard during an on-campus fight in 2009 tearfully apologized to Howard’s family Friday as he was sentenced to 18 years in prison.
John Lomax III, dressed in an orange prison jumpsuit with his hands and feet shackled, sobbed loudly as he told Howard’s family that he regretted what he did.
BLACKSBURG, Va. ó Blacksburg police say a Virginia Tech football player is facing child abuse charges in connection with injuries to his infant child.
The Roanoke Times reports that 20-year-old Xavier Boyce and girlfriend Olivia Hutchins were arrested Wednesday on charges related to cruelty and injuries to the girl. Boyce is a redshirt sophomore split end.
Police say they believe the child was injured Jan. 31 at the couple’s home, but didn’t say in what way the child was hurt.
CLEVELAND ó A Cleveland Browns fan sued the National Football league and its teams over the player lockout, claiming it violated his contract to buy tickets through his personal seat license.
Ken Lanci, a self-made millionaire who ran unsuccessfully last year for the top county government job in Cleveland, filed the lawsuit Thursday in Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court.
“It’s a fight between billionaires and millionaires,” Lanci said Friday in a phone interview. “There isn’t any sympathy for multi-millionaires. It’s just not going to happen. And somebody has to stand up and say, ëEnough’s enough.í î
EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. ó Eli Manning is a daddy.
A friend of the family says the New York Giants quarterback’s wife gave birth to a daughter on Monday.
BRISTOL, Conn. ó Bill Parcells is no longer affiliated with the Miami Dolphins and will tape a draft special for ESPN.
Dolphins spokesman Harvey Greene said Thursday “he’s not associated with the team anymore in any official capacity.”
KEY BISCAYNE, Fla. ó An angry Andy Murray screamed at the sky. He shook his head and muttered a bad word. Nothing could shake Murray from his post-Australian Open slump. The three-time Grand Slam runner-up lost Friday in his opening match at the Sony Ericsson Open to American qualifier Alex Bogomolov Jr., 6-1, 7-5.
American women went 4-7 in the tournament, with none winning more than one match and none reaching the final 32. Serena and Venus Williams, who have eight Key Biscayne titles between them, missed the event for health reasons.
NEW ORLEANSó Hornets leading scorer David West has a torn left knee ligament and is out for the season, a development that dims New Orleans’ playoff prospects.
TAMPA, Fla. ó Erik Cole scored two goals to help Carolina beat Tampa Bay 4-3 on Friday night.
Cole put the Hurricanes up 2-1 with a power-play goal at 8:23 of the second period and added an unassisted backhander 6:50 into the third. Eric Staal scored for the first time in eight games to give Carolina a 4-1 lead. Jeff Skinner added a goal for Carolina.
Penguins 1, Devils 0
PITTSBURGHó James Neal scored in the third round of a shootout and the Pittsburgh Penguins beat the New Jersey Devils in a game dominated by goalies Marc-Andre Fleury and Martin Brodeur.
Fleury made 21 saves for his third shutout of the season and 19th of his career. He also stopped Brian Rolston, Ilya Kovalchuk and Patrik Elias in the shootout.
Canucks 3, Thrashers 1
ATLANTA ó Roberto Luongo stopped 30 shots and Vancouver set franchise records for road wins and points in a season, beating Atlanta.
Senators 2, Capitals 0
OTTAWA ó Craig Anderson made 31 saves for his second shutout, Colin Greening and Erik Condra scored in Ottawa’s victory over Washington.