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Sports briefs for Tuesday, April 22, 2014

By Staff and Wire Reports, Special to the BDN

Pine Hill GC to open Friday

Pine Hill Golf Course in Brewer will open Friday at 8 a.m. with carts available. The driving range opened on April 21.

Pujols belts 500th home run

WASHINGTON — Los Angeles Angels first baseman Albert Pujols hit the 500th homer of his career on Tuesday night in the fifth inning of a game against the Washington Nationals.

Pujols lined a 1-2 pitch from Washington right-hander Taylor Jordan over the wall in center to give the Angels a 6-2 lead in the top of the fifth in Nationals Park.

Pujols’ teammates came out of the third base dugout to meet him at home plate and he received a nice round of applause from the home crowd at Nationals Park. Pujols became the 26th player to hit 500 in his career and the first since Gary Sheffield in 2009.

NBC, ESPN in NFL playoff fray

NBC will televise an NFL Divisional Playoff game for each of the next eight seasons as part of a nine-year extension with the NFL which begins this season and ESPN, which signed an eight-year extension through 2021, will televise its first wild-card playoff game in January.

NBC will broadcast three 2014 postseason games, including Super Bowl XLIX from Arizona on Sunday, Feb. 1, 2015, a divisional playoff game Jan. 10 or 11, and a wild-card game Jan. 3 or 4.

ESPN will air its first NFL playoff game in the company’s 35-year history as part of wild-card weekend in January 2015.

The NFL and ESPN reached a new eight-year extension in 2011 for Monday Night Football and broad studio, multimedia and international rights. The agreement began this spring and extends through the 2021 NFL season, providing the NFL with an option for one wild-card game in the 2015 postseason.

Popovich named Coach of Year

Gregg Popovich of the San Antonio Spurs was voted NBA Coach of the Year, becoming the third three-time winner of the award, the National Basketball Association announced on Tuesday.

Popovich’s Spurs posted the NBA’s best record at 62-20 to secure homecourt advantage through the postseason as he claimed the coaching honor for the second time in three seasons and joined Don Nelson and Pat Riley as a three-time recipient.

After steering the Spurs to a 15th successive season with 50 or more wins, Popovich totaled 380 points, including 59 first-place votes, from a panel of 124 sportswriters from the United States and Canada.

Phoenix Suns first-year coach Jeff Hornacek was second in the voting with 339 points, including 37 first-place votes, followed by Tom Thibodeau of the Chicago Bulls, who tallied 159 points.

Player arrested for rape, kidnapping

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — A University of New Mexico football player has been arrested on suspicion of raping and kidnapping a fellow student, officials said on Tuesday.

Crusoe Gongbay, 20, surrendered to university police on Monday and faces two counts of second-degree criminal sexual penetration and one count of kidnapping. He is being held on $50,000 bond, Lieutenant Tim Stump of the university police said.

Head Football Coach Bob Davies suspended Gongbay, a 5-foot-11-inch, 205-pound running back from Rockville, Md.

“Due to the obvious serious nature of these charges, he has been suspended indefinitely from the team,” Davies said in a statement.

In the New Mexico case, a female student contacted a dorm official on April 13, who reported a rape to campus police. She was given a medical examination at an off-campus facility.

Randle declares for NBA Draft

Kentucky freshman Julius Randle announced Tuesday he will leave after one season to enter the NBA Draft.

The 6-foot-9, 250-pound All-American power forward is projected to be a top-five pick in the June 26 draft.

“Growing up, I dreamed about playing in the NBA,” Randle said. “I came here (Kentucky) to win a national championship, I came here to mature. We came one game short.”

Randle, a native of Dallas, Texas, helped lead Kentucky to its 16th Final Four and 12th NCAA title game appearance.

Randle averaged 15.0 points and 10.4 rebounds and was voted to The Associated Press’ All-America second team.

Randle is the Wildcats’ 12th one-and-done player in five years under coach John Calipari. Teammate James Young became the 11th last week.

Sunday is the deadline for underclassmen to enter the NBA Draft.


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