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Sports

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Briefs

Pat Knight fired after 6 wins in 2 seasons

Knight

– Lamar fired coach Pat Knight, son of Hall of Fame coach Bob Knight, with the Cardinals having won just six games the past two seasons.

Athletic director Jason Henderson announced the move Sunday. Lamar is 3-22 and 2-11 in the Southland Conference this season.

Knight was 29-62 overall during his three seasons with Lamar. He guided the Cardinals to the NCAA tournament and a 23-12 record in his first season, closing the regular season with six straight victories and winning the Southland tournament title. The strong finish came after Knight called out his players in postgame rant reminiscent of his famous father, the former Indiana and Texas Tech coach.

Lamar is 6-50 the past two seasons. Former assistant Tic Price will serve as the interim coach.

AUTO RACING

NASCAR gives nod to 2 teenagers

NASCAR has approved a pair of high-profile 18-year-old drivers for speedway racing. The sanctioning body gave the nod to Chase Elliott and Dylan Kwasniewski after their runs in the ARCA race. Elliott finished ninth in the season opener at Daytona International Speedway, five spots ahead of pole-sitter Kwasniewski. Both were running and on the lead lap at the end of the 80-lap race. The youngsters were required to drive the ARCA race at Daytona to gain speedway clearance. Elliott is the son of semi-retired NASCAR star Bill Elliott. Kwasniewski won the K&N Pro Series West in 2012 and won the K&N Pro Series East last year.

BASEBALL

Around the majors

All-Star closer Craig Kimbrel and Atlanta avoided salary arbitration by agreeing to a $42 million, four-year contract. … A.J. Burnett and Philadelphia completed a contract that guarantees the pitcher $15 million for 2014 and $22.5 million over two seasons. …

Boston pitcher Ryan Dempster plans to take this season off for physical reasons, a decision that will cost him $13.25 million in salary. … A wrist injury now behind him, Josh Reddick and Oakland avoided salary arbitration by agreeing to a $2.7 million, one-year contract. …

Tim Hudson, who suffered a severe ankle injury last season pitching for Atlanta, took his first official turn on the bullpen mound with San Francisco. …

Four months after having left knee surgery, All-Star third baseman Manny Machado reported to Baltimore’s spring training camp and took batting practice and fielded grounders.

GOLF

Iconic Augusta tree falls victim to ice

The Eisenhower Tree, so much a part of Augusta National that not even a sitting U.S. president could have it taken down, was removed from the 17th hole this weekend because of damage from an ice storm, the club said. The loblolly pine, which sat about 210 yards off the left of the 17th fairway, was among the most famous trees in golf. It forced players to aim away from the tree or try to shape the ball from right-to-left to avoid it. And it infuriated former President and club member Dwight D. Eisenhower that he proposed in 1956 when he was beginning his second term that the tree be cut down. Clifford Roberts, the club chairman and co-founder, overruled the president and the pine has been known since as the Eisenhower Tree.

GYMNASTICS

Junior meet set at Northrop

SET-10 Gymnastics is hosting the Walk of Fame Classic meet Saturday and Sunday at Northrop High School. The meet will feature USAG Junior Olympic level gymnasts from Indiana, Ohio and Michigan. The competition runs 8 a.m. to 10 p.m. each day and admission is $5 for adults, $3 for students.

TENNIS

Czech ends ATP victory drought

In Rotterdam, Netherlands, Tomas Berdych has won his first ATP tournament title since October 2012, beating Marin Cilic of Croatia 6-4, 6-2 in the ABN Amro final. The third-seeded Czech survived a 10-minute service game in the first set where Cilic had three chances to break. Berdych remained calm and held serve, then broke Cilic in the following game as the Croat hit a return into the net. In the second set Berdych’s serve was increasingly strong, prompting Cilic to throw his racket into the air in frustration after one lost point. Cilic came into the match having won a tournament last week in Zagreb.

Spaniard defends Copa Claro title

In Buenos Aires, David Ferrer of Spain won his third straight Copa Claro title, defeating Fabio Fognini 6-4, 6-3 on outdoor clay in the Argentine capital. It was the 21st ATP singles title for the top-seeded Ferrer. Second-seeded Fognini was playing his fifth consecutive clay-court final since the French Open. The Italian won the final a week ago in Chile for his third tour singles title.

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