Pacers suffer overtime loss
In Florence, S.C., USC Aiken blew a halftime lead and ended up losing to Francis Marion 86-82 in overtime on Wednesday night in Peach Belt Conference action.
The Pacers led 37-30 at halftime, but the Patriots threw the game into overtime when Warren Specht hit a 3-point shot at buzzer.
In the overtime, Francis Marion scored the first seven points to pull away.
The Patriots’ Detrek Browning had 36 points, including six in overtime.
Doniel Dean had 22 points to lead USC Aiken (10-8, 7-7).
In the women’s game, USC Aiken couldn’t stop the Patriots’ 1-2 punch of Khai Chandler and Shaunice Fulmore and lost a 68-56 decision.
Chandler and Fulmore combined for 50 of the Patriots’ 68 points, with Chandler checking in with 26 and Fulmore adding 24.
Kyrie’ Chandler led the Pacers with 18 points, and Melyk Taouil added 16 points. Star Toomey had 10 points and 15 rebounds. The Lady Pacers are now 5-15, 2-12 PBC.
Gamble dies at 68 in Alabama
Oscar Gamble, an outfielder who hit 200 home runs over 17 major league seasons and was famous during his playing days for an Afro that spilled out of his helmet, died Wednesday of a rare tumor of the jaw. He was 68.
His second wife, Lovell Woods Gamble, said he was diagnosed with a benign tumor, ameloblastoma, about nine years ago. It became ameloblastic carcinoma in 2016 and he had the first of several operations that August. Gamble, who lived in Montgomery, Ala., entered UAB Hospital in Birmingham on Jan. 22 and died there early Wednesday. His wife said he never chewed tobacco.
A left-handed hitter known for the crouch in his batting stance, Gamble had a .265 batting average and 666 RBI while playing for seven big league teams.
Mookie Betts beat the Boston Red Sox in the first salary arbitration case of the year. The All-Star outfielder will get a raise from $950,000 to $10.5 million instead of the team’s $7.5 million.
Arbitrators Daniel Brent, Mark Burstein and Phillip LaPorte made the decision Wednesday, a day after hearing arguments.
The 25-year-old hit .264 with 24 homers and 102 RBI last year, when he made his second straight AL All-Star team. He batted .318 with 31 homers and 113 RBI in 2016.
His gap was the largest among the 27 players who swapped figures with their teams on Jan. 12. Just two of them reached agreements, leaving the rest headed toward hearings, which are scheduled through Feb. 16.
Teams won eight of 15 decisions last winter.
Fisher to return with Predators
Mike Fisher insists he never thought of returning to the NHL and that watching players come out of retirement always bugged him.
Fisher can add his name to that list.
He and the Nashville Predators announced Wednesday that the veteran center is coming out of retirement for his 18th NHL season as they try to win the Stanley Cup.
Fisher started skating Wednesday and will spend the next few weeks working himself into shape to rejoin the team.
Fisher has not signed a contract yet, and general manager David Poile said they will sign Fisher officially at some point before the Feb. 26 trade deadline for the stretch run in what he called one of his better moves.
Kvitova wins Russian opener
In St. Petersburg, Russia, Petra Kvitova advanced to the second round of the St. Petersburg Ladies Trophy, and Caroline Garcia was eliminated.
Kvitova, playing as a wild-card entry, beat Elena Vesnina 6-2, 6-0. The two-time Wimbledon champion will next play Irina-Camelia Begu.
Kvitova landed just 51 percent of her first serves, but was strong on the second serve as Vesnina failed to make an impact.
Garcia, ranked seventh in the world, lost to Russian qualifier Elena Rybakina 4-6, 7-6 (6), 7-6 (5).