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Morning Headlines for March 24, 2011

Texas Tech Football begins their last Spirng Practice today at 4 p.m. The spring game is Saturday at 1 p.m. from Jones AT&T Stadium.

The Billy Gillispie era at Texas Tech has begun. Tech introduced its new basketball coach Wednesday, and Gillispie says it feels like he has come home. The 51-year-old Abilene native is 140-85 in seven seasons as a Division I coach, and he previously led UTEP and Texas A&M to remarkable turnarounds. Gillispie replaces the fired Pat Knight. Gillispie and Tech have agreed to a five-year contract. He returns to coaching after being fired at Kentucky in 2009 after the Wildcats missed the NCAA tournament for the first time in 17 years.

LCU Women’s Basketball has a pair of All-Americans as Jordan Hampton of Canyon and Emily Atkins of Crandall, TX earned NAIA Honorable Mention Honors.
LCU Softball and Oklahoma Baptist University split a doubleheader Wednesday with LCU winning Game 1 11-1, but then committed a program-high seven errors to lose the second game 6-2.

The Denver Nuggets beat the San Antonio Spurs last night 115-112. Manu Ginobili led the Spurs with 20 points in their first game without injured All-Star Tim Duncan. The Nuggets used an 11-0 run in the fourth quarter to earn the comeback victory.

Chuck Hayes got his first career triple-double as the Houston Rockets beat the Golden State Warriors 131-112 last night. Hayes finished the game with 13 points, 14 rebounds and 11 assists. The Rockets have now won five games in a row.

Former Dallas Mavericks star Mark Aguirre has been hospitalized after collapsing at a gym in Plano. Ex-Mavs general manager Frank Zaccanelli told the Dallas Morning News that Aguirre apparently blacked out while on a treadmill. Aguirre holds a franchise record for points scored a single season with 2,330.

The NCAA has notified Houston Baptist that the school has completed the certification process, a major step in the school’s efforts to gain full membership. Houston Baptist, an NAIA member from 1991-2007, is aiming to earn Division I status by the 2011-12 academic year. KRIV-TV of Houston first reported the certification. The NCAA would not immediately confirm that certification had been granted.
Houston Baptist applied to become a provisional NCAA member in March 2007.

Russell Branyan hit a grand slam and drove in five runs as the Arizona Diamondbacks rallied past the Texas Rangers 9-8 Wednesday.
Branyan’s grand slam off Rangers left-handed specialist Arthur Rhodes in the sixth completed Arizona’s rally from a seven-run deficit. Branyan added the go-ahead single in the ninth off Alexi Ogando.
What it means for Branyan’s future remains to be seen. The veteran first baseman can opt out of his contract on Friday if he hasn’t been assured a spot on the Diamondbacks’ opening 25-man roster.
Arizona starter Daniel Hudson allowed seven runs — one earned— and eight hits with two walks in 2 2-3 innings. His error on a sacrifice bunt attempt helped prolong what turned into a seven-run third inning.

Hunter Pence homered for the first time this spring and had three hits before leaving in the fifth inning with a cut that required stitches, and the Houston Astros beat the Pittsburgh Pirates 10-6 Wednesday. Pence got four stitches to close a cut on his left shin. He expects to play Thursday. Pence is hitting .385 and is third on the team with eight RBIs. Against left-hander Brian Burres, he hit a run-scoring double in the first inning and a solo homer in the third. Astros shortstop Angel Sanchez went 1 for 2 with a walk and scored two runs in his first game since March 15. He was out with lower back pain.
Burres worked five innings and gave up six runs on 10 hits.
Andrew McCutchen hit a two-run homer for the Pirates.

Mike Anderson is returning to Arkansas to become the school’s basketball coach.
Anderson leaves Missouri after five seasons to return to the school where he was an assistant to Nolan Richardson for 17 seasons. Anderson was 111-57 in five seasons at Missouri, including an appearance in the Elite Eight in 2009. The Tigers were 23-11 this season, losing to Cincinnati in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Longtime Michigan State assistant Mark Montgomery is the new head basketball coach at Northern Illinois. He succeeds Ricardo Patton, who had a 35-83 mark over four seasons.

Louisiana Tech has fired men’s basketball coach Kerry Rupp after a last-place finish in the Western Athletic Conference this season. Rupp had a 57-69 record, including 20-42 in the WAC, over four seasons.

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