Digest for 01-10-14


STATE

First Oaklawn Morning Line available online

Friday marks the start of the 110th season of live racing at Oaklawn Park in Hot Springs.

Post time is 1:30 p.m. Thursdays, Fridays and Sundays and 1 p.m. Saturdays through April 12. For Saturday, corned beef sandwiches will be on sale for 50 cents and soft drinks for 10 cents.

Local handicapper Charlie Cooper has made his picks for Friday’s races. Visit the sports section at www.pbcommercial.com to see his Oaklawn Morning Line, which includes his odds and comments on his top favorites.

Cooper’s Oaklawn Morning Line will appear regularly in The Commercial, but is not available in this issue due to space limitations.

UA women fall to Florida

GAINESVILLE, Fla. — Arkansas freshmen Jessica Jackson and McKenzie Adams each finished with a career-high 23 points, but the rest of the Razorbacks only combined to score six points in a 59-52 loss to Florida on Thursday night.

The Razorbacks (14-2, 1-2 in Southeastern Conference) and Gators (13-3, 3-0) were tied 24-24 at halftime thanks to a 17-9 Arkansas run, but Jackson and Adams couldn’t carry the load for an entire 40 minutes.

Jackson scored 19 of her points in the second half, while Adams did most of her damage — 15 points — before halftime.

Arkansas held high-scoring Florida, which came in averaging 81.1 points per game, to a season-low 59 points.

Jaterra Bonds led the Gators wil 15 points, while January Miller and Christin Mercer each finished with 13.

A-State’s Anderson names coordinators

JONESBORO — New Arkansas State football coach Blake Anderson has named offensive and defensive coordinators over the past two days.

Anderson announced Thursday that Joe Cauthen will take over the defense after spending the past three seasons at Middle Tennessee State. Cauthen, an 18-year college coaching veteran, helped the Blue Raiders rank fifth in the nation with 33 turnovers gained (15 interceptions and 18 fumble recoveries) and 17th in red-zone defense.

Cauthen’s hiring comes a day after Walt Bell was named assistant head coach and offensive coordinator and Glen Elarbee co-offensive coordinator and offensive line coach.

Bell worked with Anderson at Southern Mississippi and North Carolina the past four years. He was tight ends coach and recruiting coordinator for the Tar Heels, who set more than 35 school records on offense.

Elarbee was offensive line coach at Houston this past season. The 8-5 Cougars’ O-line allowed the unit to average 420.7 yards of total offense and rank 38th nationally with 33.2 points per game.

NATIONAL

Jay Gruden hired as Redskins’ coach

ASHBURN, Va. — The Washington Redskins officially introduced Jay Gruden as their newest head coach on Thursday.

Gruden replaces Mike Shanahan, who was fired a day after the Redskins completed a disastrous 3-13 season with eight straight losses.

Washington was 24-40 under Shanahan with a surprise NFC East title in 2012.

Gruden has been the offensive coordinator for the Cincinnati Bengals the past three seasons. The Bengals reached the playoffs each of those three years and were eliminated last Sunday by San Diego after winning the AFC North title.

Auburn’s Mason declares for NFL Draft

AUBURN, Ala. — Auburn running back Tre Mason announced Thursday that he has decided to forgo his senior season to enter the NFL Draft.

Mason has rushed for more than a 1,000 yards each of the last two years, recording 1,816 yards this season to set the school’s single-season mark previous held by Bo Jackson (1,786 yards in 1983). He also scored a team-record 23 rushing touchdowns and had 2,374 all-purpose yards.

A finalist for the Heisman Trophy, Mason is the second Auburn player to announce he’s leaving early for the NFL. Offensive tackle Greg Robinson made the announcement on Tuesday.

Seahawks WR Harvin will play against Saints

RENTON, Wash. — Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Percy Harvin will play in Saturday’s NFC divisional playoff game against the New Orleans Saints after missing most of the season following hip surgery.

“He’s back and ready to go,” Seattle coach Pete Carroll said on Thursday. “We’re anxious to add him to the mix.”

The Seahawks acquired Harvin from the Minnesota Vikings in an offseason trade. He elected to undergo arthroscopic surgery in August, and has played in just one game since.

Harvin caught one pass for 17 yards and had a 58-yard kickoff return in a Week 11 win over the Vikings. But Harvin suffered a setback after the game with swelling and stiffness in his hip. He didn’t practice again until last week.

Tim Murray named Sabres GM

BUFFALO — The Buffalo Sabres named Tim Murray general manager on Thursday.

Murray takes over for Darcy Regier, who was fired in November along with head coach Ron Rolston after a 4-15-1 start. Owner Terry Pegula brought in Pat LaFontaine at the time to serve as president of hockey operations.

Murray is the first full-time hire for LaFontaine, who named Ted Nolan interim head coach in November. Since then, the Sabres are 8-11-3 and 12-26-4 overall entering Thursday’s action.

Murray had been the assistant general manager with the Ottawa Senators since July 2007. Prior to that, he was the assistant director of player personnel for the New York Rangers for two years when he was responsible for scouting the amateur ranks and evaluating potential free agents.

Stewart on track for return in February at Daytona

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. — Tony Stewart said he’s ready to resume his driving duties next month at Daytona International Speedway after a leg injury sidelined him for the final 15 Sprint Cup Series races of the 2013 season.

Stewart, a three-time Cup champion, suffered a broken right leg in an accident during a sprint car race last August in Oskaloosa, Iowa. He underwent three surgeries, with his most recent one on Oct. 7.

During a press conference on Thursday, Stewart said he expects to be cleared to drive on Feb. 14, the day before the Sprint Unlimited pre-season race at Daytona. The season-opening Daytona 500 is scheduled for Feb. 23.

Anthony guides Knicks past Heat

NEW YORK — Carmelo Anthony had 29 points, eight rebounds and five assists as the New York Knicks defeated the Miami Heat 102-92 on Thursday night.

Returning from a six-game absence due to a groin injury, Raymond Felton tallied 13 points, 14 assists and five rebounds for New York, which has won three straight and four of its last five tilts.

LeBron James netted 32 points to go with six assists and five rebounds for the Heat, who had won five of their last six coming in.

— Staff and wire reports