University of Alabama

Alabama football places two on Lott watch list

Alabama linebacker Rolando McClain and nose guard Terrence Cody and Georgia linebacker Rennie Curran and defensive tackle Jeff Owens have been named to the Lott Trophy watch list for next season.

The award is given to the nation’s top defensive impact player, taking into account both athletic performance and character. The four were among 42 players included on the list on Tuesday.

The award is named after Hall of Famer Ronnie Lott.

Alabama linebacker DeMeco Ryans won the Lott Trophy in 2005.

COLLEGE SOFTBALL

Cougars split doubleheader

Milledgeville, Ga. — Kristi Bullard and Christie Thompson led the Columbus State softball team to a 3-1 win over Georgia College in Game 1 of a Peach Belt Conference doubleheader on Tuesday.

Georgia College came back to win Game 2, 7-3.

Bullard (13-12) earned the win, going five innings, allowing five hits and one run.

Thompson went 3-for-4 with two RBI doubles. April Jowers, Brittany Leverett and Amanda Wheeless had two hits apiece.

In the second game, Leverett hit her seventh homer of the season in the fourth.

CSU wraps up conference play with a home doubleheader against Augusta State on Friday at 1 p.m.

NFL

Vick to return to Kansas prison

RICHMOND, Va. — Michael Vick will head back to a Kansas prison after a judge rejected an effort Tuesday to keep the suspended NFL star in Virginia to work on a new bankruptcy plan.

U.S. Bankruptcy Judge Frank J. Santoro denied a motion Tuesday to require Vick to attend an April 28 status hearing on his case in Newport News. Vick’s lawyers had hoped such an order would prompt U.S. marshals to leave him at the Western Tidewater Regional Jail in southeastern Virginia until then.

Vick remained in the Suffolk jail late Tuesday afternoon, and it was unclear when he will be returning to the federal penitentiary in Leavenworth, Kan.

Agent: DT Stroud signs extension

BUFFALO, N.Y. — Marcus Stroud’s fresh start in Buffalo is paying off as the veteran defensive tackle was rewarded with a two-year contract extension potentially worth $16.5 million.

Stroud’s agent, Drew Rosenhaus, told The Associated Press on Tuesday that his client has signed an extension that includes $12 million in guaranteed money.

The Bills did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

COLLEGE FOOTBALL

Volunteers dismiss Demetrice Morley

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. — After spending a year away from Tennessee for academic problems under the Volunteers’ previous coaching staff, defensive back Demetrice Morley has been dismissed from the squad for a second time.

Coach Lane Kiffin wouldn’t say Tuesday specifically why Morley wouldn’t return for the 2009 season, but the rising senior had missed a number of practices, meetings and workouts in the past few months.

COLLEGE BASKETBALL

Georgia guard Puleo to transfer

ATHENS, Ga. — Georgia guard Angela Puleo has decided to transfer.

Coach Andy Landers announced Puleo’s plans Tuesday.

The guard from Maryville, Tenn., averaged 8.2 points per game as a freshman and 7.4 points as a sophomore. She started 60 games and was one of Georgia’s top 3-point shooters.

Pastner introduced as Memphis coach

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — If youthful energy, unwavering confidence and a great big grin can help Memphis stay in the top ranks of college basketball, Tigers fans will be happy with their new head coach.

“I’m excited. I’m energized. I’m pumped up. I’m jacked,” Josh Pastner said Tuesday at a news conference to introduce him as John Calipari’s successor. “I’m ready to rock ‘n’ roll.”

Calipari left Memphis last week for Kentucky, casting a gloom over a program he built into a national contender over nine seasons. The search for a successor, which started to drag on longer than many Tigers fans expected, did little to lift their spirits.

Then late Monday, the university announced it had settled on Pastner, a 31-year-old assistant to Calipari who is regarded as a top recruiter.

OU’s Griffin heads to NBA draft

NORMAN, Okla. — Blake Griffin announced Tuesday that he will give up his final two years of eligibility and head to the NBA after a sophomore season in which he was honored as college basketball’s top player. It was a choice coach Jeff Capel called a “no-brainer,” with Griffin establishing himself as a likely candidate to be the No. 1 overall pick in the draft this June.

CYCLING

Armstrong says he acted properly

AUSTIN, Texas — Lance Armstrong is defending himself against suggestions he misbehaved during a recent drug test in France.

The cycling great, hoping to win an eighth Tour de France title in July, said in a statement Tuesday he did not try to evade a March 17 test in which, blood, urine and hair samples were collected and were ultimately found to be drug free.

At question is a 20-minute delay when Armstrong says the tester agreed to let him shower while his assistants checked the tester’s credentials.

HOCKEY

Caps skate past Thrashers 4-2

ATLANTA — Tomas Fleischmann had a goal and an assist and the Washington Capitals beat the Atlanta Thrashers 4-2 Tuesday night to strengthen their hold on second place in the Eastern Conference.

From staff and wire reports

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