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Arizona names interim coach

October 25, 2008|staff and wire reports

Russ Pennell was as surprised as anyone to be selected Friday as the interim replacement for retired Arizona coach Lute Olson.

"Obviously, when I woke up this morning, I didn't expect to be sitting in front of you," Pennell told reporters at a news conference.

The announcement came as a shock because the 47-year-old Pennell has ties to Arizona's archrival, Arizona State. He was an assistant to former Arizona State coach Rob Evans from 1998-2006 and served last season as a Sun Devils radio analyst.

Arizona Athletic Director Jim Livengood turned to Pennell, who has never been a college head coach, after Mike Dunlap, Olson's top assistant, told him he wanted to remain on the staff as an assistant, along with former Wildcat Reggie Geary.

PRO BASKETBALL

Authorities called to Isiah Thomas' home

Authorities were called to the home of former New York Knicks coach Isiah Thomas, where police said a 47-year-old man was taken to the hospital and treated for an accidental overdose of sleeping pills early Friday morning.

Police would not identify the man, except to give his age. But reached on his cellphone the 47-year-old Thomas told the New York Post he had not been treated for a sleeping pill overdose, and that it was his 17-year-old daughter Lauren who had a medical issue but not an overdose.

Rockets' Alston cleared in DUI case

Houston Rockets guard Rafer Alston was found not guilty on a drunken-driving charge. A Harris County jury cleared the point guard of the misdemeanor that stemmed from his arrest in August, court spokesman Fred King said in an e-mail to the Associated Press.

GOLF

Oberholser keeps lead in Scottsdale

Arron Oberholser is making the most of his home-field advantage. He estimates he has played the Raptor Course at Grayhawk Golf Club in Scottsdale, Ariz., 75 times, and his last two rounds were among his best. Oberholser shot a six-under-par 64 for an 11-under 129 total and a one-stroke in the Frys.com Open, the fifth of seven stops on the PGA Tour's Fall Series.

Laura Diaz shot a nine-under 63 to take a three-stroke lead after the first round of the Grand China Air in Haikou, the LPGA Tour's first tournament in China. . . . England's Mark James birdied the first six holes on the back nine and shot an eight-under 63 -- the best round of his Champions Tour career -- to take a one-stroke lead over Dan Forsman in the AT&T Championship at San Antonio. . . . Seve Ballesteros underwent a third operation for a cancerous brain tumor, a 6 1/2 -hour procedure that went "better than expected."

ETC.

Johnson earns pole because of rain

Rain washed out Sprint Cup qualifying for the third consecutive week, forcing NASCAR to set the field for Sunday's race on points at Atlanta Motor Speedway in Hampton, Ga.

It gave Jimmie Johnson the top starting spot, and put the 11 drivers chasing him for the title right on his bumper. Greg Biffle, who trails Johnson by 149 points with four races to go, will start second.

Top-seeded Andy Roddick fell to Robin Soderling, 7-6 (5), 7-6 (5), in the Lyon Grand Prix quarterfinals in France. . . . Roger Federer moved a step closer to a third consecutive Swiss Indoors title when he beat Simone Bolelli, 6-2, 6-3, in the quarterfinals of his hometown tournament in Basel. . . . Andy Murray advanced to his fifth straight ATP semifinal by beating Janko Tipsarevic, 7-6 (5), 7-5, at the St. Petersburg Open in Russia. . . . Top-seeded Ana Ivanovic beat Flavia Pennetta, 6-4, 6-4, to reach the semifinals in the Generali Ladies semifinals at Linz, Austria.

Jim Murray, the late Pulitizer-prize-winning sports columnist for The Times, will be one of five individuals inducted into the Southern California Golf Assn. Hall of Fame on Wednesday. Course architect George C. Thomas Jr., longtime instructor Eddie Merrins, amateur champion Bruce McCormick and course designer and initial SCGA president Charles Maud will also be inducted. All but Merrins are being honored posthumously.

Kristina Larsen scored two goals to lead the UCLA women's soccer team to a 2-1 victory over USC in front of 7,804 at the Coliseum.

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