Originally created 01/13/04

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Basketball

Pacers junior gets conference honor

USC Aiken's Curt Triplin has been chosen as the Peach Belt Conference Player of the Week.

Triplin averaged 18.3 points and 11 rebounds and 33 minutes in the Pacers' past three games. He connected on almost 60 percent of his shots from the field and 81.3 percent of his free throws.

Triplin is the first Pacers player to receive the award since Clint Keown was honored for the week of Jan. 14, 2002. He is the 13th men's player to be given the award.

Auto racing

Cope to drive for Arnold in 2004

The courtship has developed into a beefed-up working relationship between veteran NASCAR driver Derrike Cope and Don Arnold, owner of the North Carolina-based Arnold Motorsports team.

Cope revealed to his Web site race fans last week - and Arnold confirmed Friday - that the two will be partners for the 2004 Nextel Cup Series.

While the team has yet to officially register with NASCAR for the upcoming season, Arnold, of Naples, Fla., said he will shelve the No. 79 and put the No. 50 on the side of his still-unsponsored Dodge.

The team will conduct its first test session of the new year today, Wednesday and Thursday at Daytona International Speedway.

Boxing

Fighter says he was paid to lose

In New York, a former boxer was offered $5,000 by members of promoter Bob Arum's Top Rank company to throw a fight in 1995, the Daily News reported Monday.

Mitchell Rose told the newspaper that two men from Top Rank came to his Brooklyn home a few weeks before his Dec. 15, 1995, fight against Eric "Butterbean" Esch and said they'd give him $5,000 to lose the bout.

"They said, 'We have some money for you, a substantial amount of money,"' Rose said. "They wanted me to take a dive. They didn't want me to beat Butterbean."

Rose, now 34 and retired, was 1-6-1 at the time and said he declined the offer. He later sent Butterbean to his first professional loss by stopping him 48 seconds into the second round of the fight at Madison Square Garden.

Rose fought just twice - both losses - after the win, and claims he was blackballed because he refused the bribe.

Rose's allegations come on the heels of FBI agents seizing computers and financial records from the Las Vegas offices of Top Rank last Tuesday.

Tennis

Clijsters hopes to play in Australia

Kim Clijsters plans to play in the Australian Open, even though her injured left ankle might eventually require sur-gery.

Clijsters, seeded second for the year's first Grand Slam tournament, injured the ankle at last week's Hopman Cup and spent the next few days on crutches.

The Belgian was encour-aged after a light run Sunday, and she hoped to get a match in at this week's Adidas Inter-national tuneup event. She said playing this week would determine her playing status at the Australian Open, which starts Monday.

  • In Sydney, Australia, Greg Rusedski won his first match since acknowledging a failed steroid test, beating Argentina's Juan Ignacio Chela 7-6 (1), 7-6 (5) in the first round of the Adidas International.
  • Rusedski tested positive for nandrolone in Indianapolis last July and faces a hearing next month in Montreal. He maintains that he's innocent and that the steroid must have been contained in supplements he'd been given by ATP trainers.

  • In Auckland, New Zealand, top-seeded Guillermo Coria of Argentina beat Nicholas Kiefer 7-6 (4), 6-3 to advance to the second round of the Heineken Open
  • Coria, ranked No. 5 in the world, made just 11 unforced errors en route to beating the unseeded German.