Digest for 12-28-13


LOCAL

UAPB-Auburn moved to 8 p.m. Monday

AUBURN, Ala. — Monday’s men’s basketball game between Arkansas-Pine Bluff and Auburn has been pushed back one hour at 8 p.m. to accommodate Comcast/Charter Sports Southeast’s broadcast of the game.

The game will be played at Auburn Arena and will be the second half of a SEC doubleheader, following Marshall at South Carolina.

REGIONAL

Grizzlies’ Randolph fined for criticizing refs

NEW YORK — The NBA fined Memphis Grizzlies forward Zach Randolph $25,000 for publicly criticizing the officiating following his team’s recent loss to the Houston Rockets.

Randolph told reporters after Memphis’ 100-92 defeat on Thursday that the Rockets — and Houston guard James Harden in particular — were receiving favorable calls from the referees throughout the contest. Harden went to the foul line 25 times during the game, with the Rockets shooting 40 free throws to Memphis’ 20.

Westbrook out until after All-Star break

OKLAHOMA CITY — The Oklahoma City Thunder are about to again face life without Russell Westbrook for an extended period, with the team announcing Friday that the All-Star point guard has undergone a third surgery on his right knee in eight months.

Westbrook had an arthroscopic procedure performed on the knee Friday and is expected to be sidelined until after the All-Star break.

The three-time All-Star tore the meniscus in the same knee while colliding with Houston guard Patrick Beverly during Game 2 of the Thunder’s Western Conference quarterfinals series with the Rockets back in April. Westbrook was expected to be back in time for the start of training camp, but suffered a setback in October when a loose stitch caused the knee to swell up and require another surgery.

Westbrook only missed the Thunder’s first two regular-season games before returning to action on Nov. 3 and has been productive in 25 outings since coming back, averaging 21.3 points, 7.0 assists and 6.0 rebounds while playing 32.9 minutes per game.

Rangers sign Choo to seven-year deal

ARLINGTON, Texas — Shin-Soo Choo, one of the most sought- after free agents this offseason, has found a suitor in the Texas Rangers.

Choo and the Rangers agreed on a seven-year contract Friday, whose $130-million price tag was previously reported by CBSSports.com.

Choo is coming off a season that saw him post a career-high .423 on-base percentage in 154 games for the Reds, whose $14.1 million qualifying offer was rejected by the outfielder.

NATIONAL

Cato leads Marshall over Maryland in Military Bowl

Annapolis, Md. — Rakeem Cato threw for 337 yards and three touchdown passes, including two to Gator Hoskins, to lead Marshall to a 31-20 Military Bowl victory over Maryland in the Terrapins’ final game as an ACC member.

Cato completed 28-of-44 attempts and Hoskins finished with 104 yards on six receptions to help the Thundering Herd bounce back from a disappointing loss to Rice in the Conference USA Championship Game.

Marshall (10-4) scored 14 unanswered points in the fourth quarter to rally from a 20-17 deficit, with Essray Taliaferro’s 7-yard run putting the Thundering Herd on top with 12:05 left.

C.J. Brown went 14-of-24 for 197 yards with two touchdowns and one interception for Maryland (7-6), which will end its 61-year association with the ACC for the Big Ten in the 2014-15 academic year.

Hunt’s late TD run lifts Syracuse over Minnesota

HOUSTON — Terrel Hunt’s 12-yard touchdown run late in the fourth quarter — his second of the game — propelled Syracuse to a 21-17 victory over Minnesota in the Texas Bowl.

Hunt passed for 188 yards on 19-of-29 efficiency and rushed for 74 yards on 15 carries for the Orange (7-6).

Jerome Smith added 74 yards and a score on 16 rushes, while Brisly Estime led the receiving corps with 47 yards on five catches but posted a long punt return which led to the winning TD.

Mitch Leidner finished 11-of-22 for 205 yards and a pair of touchdowns for the Gophers (8-5). Philip Nelson got the star but was pulled early after completing just two of his seven attempts for 18 yards.

Drew Wolitarsky and Maxx Williams each posted a TD grab, while David Cobb racked up 91 yards on 18 carries in defeat.

— Staff and wire reports