The Kickoff


Sports Digest

December 27, 2004

Vanderbilt running back slain

Vanderbilt running back Kwane Doster was shot to death early yesterday in Tampa, Fla., when someone fired at the parked car he was in, police said.

Doster, 21, of Tampa, died at Tampa General Hospital after being shot near the Ybor City nightlife district, police spokesman Joe Durkin said.

Detectives were trying to find the killer and determine a motive.

Doster and two friends had stopped their car while "cruising around" when another car pulled up beside them, Durkin said. Several shots were fired at Doster's car, and one hit him in the chest while he was sitting behind the driver. No one else was hurt.

"I don't believe any words were exchanged," Durkin said, adding that investigators didn't know if Doster was the intended target. Police believe three people were in the other car.

"Kwane's death is a terrible and tragic loss to our Vanderbilt family," Vanderbilt coach Bobby Johnson said. "Everyone who knew Kwane, from his fellow players and students, his coaches and their families, and even fans, have suffered a personal loss today."

The junior running back ran for 427 yards and one touchdown this season for the Commodores (2-9). He became the first Vanderbilt player named the Southeastern Conference's Freshman of the Year after a school-record 798 yards rushing in 2002. For his career, Doster had 1,621 yards rushing, 256 yards receiving and seven touchdowns.

Pro basketball O'Neal-Bryant game draws 8.0 TV rating

Shaquille O'Neal vs. Kobe Bryant drew the highest TV rating in six years for a regular-season NBA game. The overnight rating for the Miami Heat's 104-102 overtime victory over the Los Angeles Lakers on ABC on Christmas Day was 8.0. That was the highest since February 1998, when Michael Jordan led the Chicago Bulls against the Lakers on NBC. The rating is the percentage of all homes with TVs, whether or not they are in use.

Nuggets: Forward Carmelo Anthony (Towson Catholic) missed his fourth straight game because of a sprained left ankle against the Mavericks, and he might not play until the end of the week. Anthony, Denver's leading scorer at 21.4 points per game, hasn't played since stepping on Shaquille O'Neal's foot in a game against the Heat on Dec. 17. Anthony went through non-contact drills with the team Friday, but Nuggets coach Jeff Bzdelik said he wasn't ready to go against Dallas and would be doubtful tonight at Golden State.

Warriors: Guard Derek Fisher was activated from the injured list after he missed seven games because of a sprained right knee. To make room for Fisher, Golden State placed guard Luis Flores on the injured list with a strained right hamstring. Fisher has averaged 9.6 points and 4.1 assists in 17 games. The Warriors signed him as a free agent last summer.

Knicks: Guard Jamal Crawford was placed on the injured list because of a toe injury on his right foot. New York also activated guard Jamison Brewer before its 91-82 victory over the Bobcats. Crawford was hurt Wednesday against the Celtics at the start of the third quarter. This kind of turf toe injury typically takes three to six weeks to heal. Crawford, who will miss a minimum of five games, said he will try to work out in two weeks.


Switzerland, Sweden win in world juniors

Kevin Romy scored twice and Michael Tobler made 19 saves to help Switzerland defeat Belarus, 5-0, in its opening game of the world junior championship in Grand Forks, N.D. It was the tournament opener for Switzerland, which plays 1-0 United States today. Linus Persson and Johannes Salmonsson scored two goals each as Sweden opened the tournament with a 6-0 win over Germany in Thief River Falls, Minn.

College football Auburn's Tuberville interested in LSU

If LSU officials choose to contact Tommy Tuberville about replacing Nick Saban, the Auburn coach is willing to listen. A person with knowledge of the process told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution that Tuberville's agent, Jimmy Sexton, has been given permission to talk to LSU if the school is interested. Saban, also Sexton's client, announced Saturday that he will leave LSU for the NFL's Miami Dolphins after coaching the Tigers against Iowa in the Capital One Bowl in Orlando on Saturday.

Miami: Linebacker Willie Williams and defensive back Rashaun Jones escaped injury when Williams lost control of his vehicle while driving to join the Hurricanes for bowl preparations in Atlanta. The crash happened about two hours south of Atlanta, and Williams and Jones eventually reached the team hotel, athletic department spokesman Mark Pray said. "They were somewhere in Georgia, there was ice on the roads and Willie started hydroplaning," Pray said.

Baseball Beltran impressed with Steinbrenner

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