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SPORTS TODAY

WAKE ADVANCES IN PRESEASON NIT

Wake Forest alternated between thrilling and ragged in its debut as the nation's second-ranked team Monday.

Fortunately the Demon Deacons had Chris Paul to get them through it.

Paul scored 25 points and six assists to lift the Demon Deacons past George Washington, 97-76, in the Preseason NIT.

Justin Gray had 18 points and seven steals and Vytas Danelious added 17 points for the Demon Deacons (1-0), who advanced to a second-round home game Thursday against Virginia Commonwealth, which beat American, 82-76, in overtime Monday.

T.J. Thompson scored 16 points and hit five three-pointers to lead George Washington (0-1).

Elsewhere in the Preseason NIT, Dion Harris scored 14 of his 16 points in the second half, and Michigan rallied from an early deficit to beat Binghamton, 59-46.

Also, Steve Burtt scored 19 points and Iona used a 15-0 run in the second half to rally past Northern Arizona, 77-67, in the first round of the Guardians Classic in Omaha, Neb.

BASKETBALL POLLS VIRTUALLY UNCHANGED

The first poll of the men's college basketball regular season sure looks a lot like the preseason Top 25.

Syracuse and Illinois switched places at Nos. 5 and 6 Monday, the only movement from the previous rankings.

Only three ranked teams played since the preseason Top 25 was released. Syracuse, Mississippi State and Memphis all swept their opening two games in the Coaches vs. Cancer Classic.

Kansas stayed in the No. 1 spot and was again followed by three Atlantic Coast Conference teams -- Wake Forest, Georgia Tech and North Carolina.

In the women's poll, Tennessee, which hasn't played yet, received 22 first-place votes and maintained its lead over No. 2 Texas, which beat Penn State, 84-69, Monday. LSU remained in third. Complete polls are on Page D6.

STATE COMMISSION SUSPENDS HOLYFIELD

Evander Holyfield doesn't play for a team, but the former heavyweight champion has been benched by the New York State Athletic Commission following his terrible performance against Larry Donald at Madison Square Garden Saturday night.

Ron Stevens, NYSAC chairman, said Holyfield has been placed on an indefinite medical suspension based on his poor performance. That means the 42-year-old Holyfield will have to be cleared by Dr. Barry Jordan of the New York commission before he can get into the ring anywhere else in the U.S. All the other state commissions will honor New York's suspension.

Holyfield, reached at his home in Atlanta, said he doesn't agree with the suspension and plans to continue boxing. He said he and his representative will fight the ban. He said the NYSAC was perpetuating a "conspiracy" to get him out of boxing.

"Why do they want to usher me out? What have I done to this game that they don't want me in it anymore?" Holyfield said. "Do you really care about a person so much that you want to protect him from himself? Ain't that much love in the world to go against a person's will."

Holyfield lost a unanimous 12-round decision to Donald in a match where he won just one round on two of the judges' scorecards and two on the other's. According to CompuBox punch statistics, Holyfield landed just 78 punches, an average of 6.5 punches per round, over the course of the match. He blamed his bad performance on back spasms.

FEDERER PICKS UP WHERE HE LEFT OFF

Roger Federer still looks unbeatable on the court.

Showing no signs of a torn thigh muscle that sidelined him for three weeks, Federer returned to action with a 6-1, 7-6 (4) victory over Gaston Gaudio of Argentina in the first round of the ATP Masters Cup championships in Houston.

Two-time Masters Cup winner Lleyton Hewitt of Australia was leading Carlos Moya of Spain 5-4 in the first set and 30-0 in the 10th game when the match was suspended because of rain. The players will pick up today where they left off. The start was delayed more than 3 1/2 hours.

Meanwhile, Yevgeny Kafelnikov, once ranked No. 1 in the world, says he's given up tennis to become a professional poker player. The 30-year-old Russian hasn't played since losing in the second round of the St. Petersburg Open in October 2003.

ANGRY FANS TRASH CFL KICKER'S HOUSE

Angry fans trashed the house of a Canadian Football League kicker in Regina, Saskatchewan after he missed a short field goal in overtime of a playoff game.

Saskatchewan's Paul McCallum missed an 18-yard attempt and the Roughriders lost the CFL West final to the British Columbia Lions, 27-25, on Sunday in Vancouver.

Within hours, eggs were thrown at his home and manure dumped on his lawn.

"We're taking it very seriously," Regina police spokeswoman Elizabeth Popowich said Monday. "I think everyone is really dismayed by this sort of event."

Popowich said police received the first call saying McCallum's house had been pelted with eggs about an hour after the game. While his wife was out cleaning up the mess, a second vehicle pulled up in a neighbor's driveway and dumped the manure.

McCallum missed two field goals during the game.

"I didn't do my job," he said. "I pulled it."

OLYMPIC HOPEFULS FOR '12 SUBMIT BIDS

The five cities looking to host the 2012 Summer Games submitted bids to the International Olympic Committee, entering the final stage of a long process in hopes of landing one of the biggest prizes in sports.

Paris, the front-runner to win next year's vote, turned in documents, as did London, Madrid, New York and Moscow. Each book totals more than 550 pages, allowing the IOC to evaluate venues, security, transportation, hotels and financing.

The IOC evaluation commission travels to the candidate cities early next year, and will give its recommendations to the 100-plus IOC members a month before they vote by secret ballot in Singapore on July 6.

British bookmaker Ladbrokes on Monday installed Paris as the 1-2 favorite to win the bid.

Compiled from News and wire service reports.

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