Friday’s Sports In Brief

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COLLEGE BASKETBALL

A wild brawl following a contentious game between Utah Valley and New Mexico State highlighted the risks when fans and players collide.

The Western Athletic Conference on Friday suspended New Mexico State junior guard K.C. Ross-Miller for two games and senior forward Renaldo Dixon for one for violating the league’s sportsmanship policy following its review of the melee Thursday night in Orem, Utah.

Ross-Miller hurled the ball at Utah Valley’s Holton Hunsaker seconds after the Wolverines’ 66-61 victory over the Aggies. The ball hit Hunsaker - the son of Utah Valley coach Dick Hunsaker - in the leg. Some of the fans who stormed the court following the victory got caught up in the chaos and punches were thrown.

While the brawl was touched off by Ross-Miller’s actions, it sparked renewed debate about player and fan interactions, and the dangers posed when fans rush the court. It was one of several incidents involving fans and players or coaches in recent months.

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PRO FOOTBALL

LOS ANGELES (AP) - Former NFL All-Pro safety Darren Sharper surrendered to Los Angeles police after being named in a warrant involving a rape case in New Orleans.

Sharper, 38, also is under investigation in sexual assault cases in Florida, Nevada and Arizona and has pleaded not guilty to rape charges in Los Angeles.

In a bail motion filed in the California case, Los Angeles County Investigator John Maccharella described a pattern in which the former football star met women at clubs or parties and lured them to a hotel room, where they were allegedly drugged and raped.

Lawyers for Sharper, who played in the NFL from 1997 to 2010 primarily with the Green Bay Packers, have said they would prove that any sexual contact Sharper engaged in was consensual.

NEW ORLEANS (AP) - The New Orleans Saints placed their franchise tag on Jimmy Graham in order to protect the club’s rights to its star tight end through next season.

The move means Graham, barring a holdout, will almost certainly play for New Orleans next season for no less than the tight end franchise tag of $7.04 million.

It is also possible, under the NFL’s collective bargaining agreement, that Graham could be tagged as a receiver because of how often he lined up split wide from the line. That would carry a tag of $12.3 million.

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (AP) - The Panthers used the franchise tag on Greg Hardy, preventing the outspoken defensive end from hitting the free agent market.

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