Sports at a glance

Pitt men take care of the Rock

PITTSBURGH — The Pitt Panthers men’s basketball team closed out exhibition play Saturday with a 71-59 win over Slippery Rock at the Petersen Events Center.

Junior newcomer Jared Wilson-Frame led the Panthers with a game-high 24 points, while freshmen Shamiel Stevenson (16) and Marcus Carr (12) also finished in double figures.

“I would have to say that that was very much what I expected in terms of a jittery, shaky beginning,” Pitt coach coach Kevin Stallings said. “There were four guys on the court who are playing their first Division I college basketball game. I thought our defense dug in after Shamiel’s (Stevenson) dunk in the first half. Even when we went in bad stretches on offense, our defense just kept playing, which is really encouraging to see.”

Micah Till paced Slippery Rock with 15 points, including 13 in the second half.

The Panthers open the season this Friday at Navy.

Isner upset in Paris semis

PARIS — Unknown qualifier Filip Krajinovic reached the Paris Masters final after upsetting John Isner 6-4, 6-7 (2), 7-6 (5) on Saturday.

Isner was also playing for a berth in the elite eight-man ATP Finals, and that ended, too. Krajinovic will play for his first career title against American Jack Sock, who comfortably beat Julien Benneteau of France 7-5, 6-2. Sock has never won a Masters title and can qualify for the season-ending ATP Finals in London if he does so here.

Krajinovic is the lowest-ranked in a Masters final since 2003, when 191st-ranked Andrei Pavel made it in Paris.

The 77th-ranked Krajinovic had won only 17 matches in his whole career — thwarted by injuries — before this tournament.

Driver’s death an accident

NORTH BRANFORD, Conn. — Officials have ruled the deaths of NASCAR driver Ted Christopher and an 81-year-old pilot in a Connecticut plane crash an accident.

The medical examiner’s office said Thursday the September deaths of 59-year-old Christopher and the plane’s pilot, Charles Dundas, were caused by blunt trauma. A toxicology report was turned over to the Federal Aviation Administration.

Dundas and Christopher were the only two aboard the plane when it crashed in North Branford, right outside of New Haven. A report from the National Transportation Safety Board says the two had been flying together for over 10 years.

Christopher had 131 wins during his career.

KHL: Maybe no Olympics

MOSCOW — The Kontinental Hockey League may withdraw its players from the Pyeongchang Olympics in protest at doping investigations into Russian athletes, the league president suggested on Saturday.

The Moscow-based KHL, widely considered the strongest league outside the NHL, contains leading Russians but also many players who could represent the United States, Canada, and various European nations.

KHL president Dmitry Chernyshenko referenced the NHL’s absence from Pyeongchang this February after failing to reach a deal with the IOC, and said “the KHL is ready to respond accordingly.”

From Mirror, wire reports

IOC commissions “suspend athletes without a basis of real facts confirming doping,” Chernyshenko said. A Russian gold medalist in cross-country skiing was stripped of his title by an IOC panel on Wednesday using evidence of Russian doping cover-ups and tampering with sample bottles.

Chernyshenko previously headed Russia’s organizing committee for the Sochi Olympics, where Russia has since been accused of operating a state-sponsored program of drug use and cover-ups.

Russians were being unfairly targeted by the IOC, Chernyshenko said. He referred to a recent speech by Russian President Vladimir Putin in which Putin accused the U.S. of lobbying the IOC for Russia’s exclusion from the Pyeongchang Olympics or trying to force IOC officials to make Russians compete under a neutral flag.

A KHL pullout from the Olympics would leave Russia with very few players to choose from — if Russia was still allowed or willing to take part in the Olympic ice hockey tournament.

For the U.S. and Canada, it would mean a greater reliance on junior or college players, or those scattered across smaller European leagues. Countries like Finland and Sweden could benefit — they’d lose some KHL-based players, but would be in a comparatively stronger position because of the depth in their national leagues.

The KHL contains clubs across seven countries from Finland to China, but the vast majority are in Russia. Many teams are funded by Russian state companies, regional governments or businessmen close to Putin.

Copyright 2017 The Associated Press.

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