Sports Digest: Maine Celtics improve to 5-0 with comeback win over Capital City

BASKETBALL

Luka Samanic hit the go-ahead field goal with 40 seconds left, and the undefeated Maine Celtics rallied Thursday night for a 105-103 win over the Capital City Go-Go in a G League game at the Portland Expo.

JD Davison, Samanic, and Mfiondu Kabengele scored 3-pointers during a 15-2 Maine (5-0) run that turned a 96-87 deficit into a 102-98 lead. Capital City (4-2) regained the lead to 103-102 on a three-pointer by Johnny Davis, but Samanic answered with a short throw.

Davison hit 1 of 2 free throws and Kabengele missed two with a chance to clinch the win, but the Celtics forced a turnover on Capital City’s final possession.

Samanic led Maine with 24 points and 16 rebounds. Kabengele had 21 points, 13 rebounds and seven blocks, and Davison finished with 20 points.

NBA: X-rays on LaMelo Ball’s left ankle were negative, but the Charlotte Hornets All-Star point guard has already been ruled out of Friday night’s game against the Cleveland Cavaliers.

Coach Steve Clifford said it’s too soon to know how long Ball will miss after spraining his ankle for the second time in a 125-113 loss to the Indiana Pacers on Wednesday night.

GOLF

LPGA: Lydia Ko began her quest for the biggest prize in women’s golf history by hitting a tree and bogeying a par 5. The rest of her opening round in the CME Group Tour Championship couldn’t have gone better.

Ko answered with eight birdies, including four straight late in the round that lifted her to a 7-under 65 and a one-stroke lead in the season finale of the LPGA Tour in Naples, Florida with a cash of $2 million on the line.

Thailand’s Danielle Kang and Pajaree Anannarukarn were 66, Scotland’s Gemma Dryburgh and South Korea’s Hyo Joo Kim were at 67, and the group at 68 included Nelly Korda and Brooke Henderson.

PGA: Cole Hammer shot an 8-under 64 to take the lead after one round of the RSM Classic in St. Simons Island, Georgia.

Hammer, who graduated from Texas in May, shared the low mark with another Longhorn alum, Beau Hossler, whose 6-under 64 made it to Seaside Field, who played about two harder strokes to pass than the Plantation field.

TENNIS

ATP: Taylor Fritz advanced to the final four of the ATP Finals by defeating Felix Auger-Aliassime 7-6(4), 6-7(5), 6-2 at the year-end tournament in Turin, Italy.

The American will face five-time champion Novak Djokovic in the semifinals.

• Compensation of players on the ATP Tour and lower-tier ATP Challenger Tour to rise to a record $217.9 million in 2023, thanks to a $37.5 million increase that represents the largest jump in a single season for the men’s tennis circuit.

On-site prize money will rise by $18.6 million for the ATP Tour, boosted by the growth of Masters 1000 tournaments in Madrid, Rome and Shanghai from eight-day events to 12 days. The Masters 1000 in Canada and Cincinnati will both extend to 12 days in 2025.

The ATP is also increasing its 2023 bonus pools to $21.3 million, an 85% increase from 2022.

WIMBLEDON: Wimbledon is relaxing its requirement for all-white clothing to allow players to wear colored shorts to be more comfortable during menstruation.

Wimbledon’s strict all-white dress policy for players is one of the best-known features of the grass-court Grand Slam tournament, but the All England Club said it had decided to update the rules after discussions “with the WTA, apparel manufacturers and medical teams on how to best support women and girls competing at championships.”

The new rules state that women can now “wear plain, medium/dark colored shorts, provided they are no longer than the shorts or skirt.”

SOCCER

WORLD CUP: Sadio Mane will miss the World Cup with a leg injury, the Senegalese football federation has said.

Mane was injured in a German league match between Bayern Munich and Werder Bremen on 8 November.

• Jacqui Oatley will become the first female play-by-play commentator for US World Cup telecasts, directing one of five Fox TV teams for the tournament in Qatar which opens on Sunday.

Pien Meulensteen, Vicki Sparks and Robyn Cowen are among the broadcasters of BBC matches in Great Britain.

“A lot of people are going to have negative comments about women and female commentators and that’s because that’s just how they think. They’re not prepared to hear anything different,” said Meulensteen, the 25-year-old daughter of former Fulham manager and current Australia assistant coach Rene Meulensteen.

“I have loved football since I was a child. I grew up in a football home, my father works in football. My two brothers play football and we all talk about the same thing, so why not get a woman talking about it?” said Pien Meulensteen. “And I also hope that in time we will be accepted. a woman making the comment”. It should be a normal thing for women to talk about football, as much as men”.

Oatley, 47, worked at the 2018 World Cup for the UK’s ITV as a studio presenter and sideline reporter. She and Meulensteen became regulars on the world feed of the Premier League, heard across the US on NBC networks.

FIFA: FIFA President Gianni Infantino has another four years at the helm of football’s governing body after no candidate came forward to challenge him.

FIFA said the 52-year-old Swiss lawyer was the only person in the race when the deadline expired overnight, exactly four months before election day on March 16 in Kigali, Rwanda.

Infantino won a five-man race in 2016 to replace Sepp Blatter, and was re-elected unopposed in 2019. He is now poised to remain in office beyond the 2026 World Cup in the United States, Canada and Mexico.

MOTOR RACING

INDYCAR: Stefan Wilson will attempt to make his fifth Indianapolis 500 next year in a combined entry fielded by Dreyer & Reinbold Racing and Cusick Motorsports.

The British driver will drive car no. 24 powered by Chevrolet. Dreyer & Reinbold, which fielded two cars in last year’s 500, still have plans for a second entry.

FORMULA ONE: Formula 1 champion Max Verstappen says he has resolved a conflict involving Red Bull team-mate Sergio Perez and is ready to help him at the final race of the season in Abu Dhabi.

Verstappen also struck out at what he said were unfair media reports and hurtful messages aimed at his family on social media.

On Sunday, he turned down a team order to push Perez through for sixth at the Brazilian Grand Prix and said his reasons “will remain between the team and me.”

“It was about something that happened earlier in the season and I already explained that (at the previous race in) Mexico and the team understood and agreed,” he said.

“I hadn’t been told anything about a potential swap” of positions ahead in Brazil, he said. “I think they should have already known my answer from what had been said the week before.”

Since then, Red Bull has held talks to clear things up between the drivers, Verstappen said.


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