VU GRAD HOWARD SIGNS WITH PACERS: Former Valparaiso men’s basketball player Ron Howard signed a free agent contract with the Pacers on Tuesday.
The 2006 Valparaiso graduate has spent the last six seasons with the Fort Wayne Mad Ants of the NBA Development League. Howard experienced his best professional season in 2012-13, averaging 19.1 points and 4.7 assists after making a position switch to point guard.
Howard has previously played with the New York Knicks in the NBA Summer League and has had several stints with the Milwaukee Bucks in the offseason, including a trip to China in 2008.
Howard was honored with the 2013 NBA D-League Jason Collier Sportsmanship Award. The award honors the player who best represents the ideals of character and conduct on and off the court. Current Valparaiso assistant coach Roger Powell won the same award in 2008. – Paul Oren
MYSTICS CLINCH PLAYOFF SPOT WITH WIN OVER FEVER: Kia Vaughn had 15 points and six rebounds to lead the Washington Mystics to a 69-67 victory over the Fever on Tuesday to clinch a spot in the playoffs on Tuesday.
Briann January had 16 points and Shavonte Zellous added 14 points and six rebounds for the Fever (15-17), who could have clinched a No. 3 seed in the playoffs with a win.
CASTILLO HOMERS TWICE AS CUBS ROUT REDS: Welington Castillo drove in three runs with two home runs; Donnie Murphy added a two-run shot, and even pitcher Edwin Jackson smacked one as the Cubs rolled to a 9-1 victory over the suddenly punchless Cincinnati Reds on Tuesday night.
Jackson hit his second career home run in the seventh inning on his way to his first win in seven starts since July 31. The Reds — who went into the game third in the NL Central, two games behind first-place St. Louis — saw their streak of consecutive scoreless innings reach 15 since a walkoff win over Los Angeles on Sunday. Then Zack Cozart and pinch-hitter Corky Miller hit consecutive doubles with one out in the seventh.
Jackson (8-15) allowed nine hits and one run with four strikeouts in seven innings.
The Cubs earned consecutive wins over Cincinnati for the first time since 2011.
U.S. CLINCHES WORLD CUP BERTH: The United States clinched its seventh straight World Cup appearance, beating Mexico 2-0 Tuesday night on second-half goals by Eddie Johnson and Landon Donovan before a raucous red-white-and-blue-clad crowd that stood and chanted from start to finish.
After withstanding Mexican pressure for the first 20 minutes, the U.S. settled in the match and got the breakthrough in the 49th minute when Johnson outjumped defender Diego Reyes to meet Donovan's corner kick 8 yards out and head the ball past frozen goalkeeper Jesus Corona.
With Mexican shifting to an offense-minded 3-4-3 formation, the U.S. scored in the 78th following a throw in when Mix Diskerud threaded the ball across the middle. Clint Dempsey got the slightest of touches as he slid into the goalmouth, and Donovan poked the ball in from 2 yards.
The U.S. (5-2-1) moved into first place in the North and Central American and Caribbean finals with 16 points, one ahead of Costa Rica (4-1-3), which was held to a 1-1 tie at last-place Jamaica and also clinched.
PUC GOALKEEPER EARNS HONOR: Purdue Calumet freshman Jeremy Marquez was named the Chicagoland Collegiate Athletic Conference Defensive Player of the Week after posting a 2-0-1 record last week.
Marquez held his opponents to two goals in more than 300 minutes last week, including his first collegiate shutout, a 7-0 win over Grace Bible.
VU, WEBB BREAK RECORDS: Valparaiso broke its 54-hole team record for score in relation to par, and freshman Peter Webb did the same individually as the Crusaders finished play Tuesday in the Golfweek Program Challenge at True Blue Golf Club in Myrtle Beach, S.C.
VU closed out the three-day event with a 301 for a total of 879. The 15-over-par score bested the existing school mark by four shots and tied Valpo for ninth, 23 shots behind champion Akron.
Webb carded a 76 to conclude the tourney at 5-under-par 211, two strokes better than the school record and good enough to tie for third.
KLECKNER BREAKS VU MARK: Valparaiso senior Michelle Kleckner set a program scoring record for a 54-hole tournament as the Crusaders wrapped up play Tuesday in the Golfweek Program Challenge at the Caledonia Golf & Fish Club in Pawley’s Island, S.C.
Kleckner's second straight round of 74 gave her a three-day score of 225, tying her for 21st place. Her total bested the existing Valpo mark by three strokes and tied the record for score in relation to par at 12-over. Valpo shot for a cumulative score of 971, which put them 11th out of the 12 teams. The total is the program's third-best all-time in a 54-hole event. Campbell earned the title by shooting an 862.
REDBIRDS TRYOUTS SATURDAY: The 2014 Lansing Redbirds travel baseball program will hold tryouts for its 13-and-under and 14U travel teams from 10 a.m. to noon Saturday at the Lansing Old Timers Sports Complex, located at 16700 Chicago Ave. in Lansing.
The program serves players who reside in Lansing as well as those from other Illinois and Indiana communities. All participants should dress in appropriate baseball apparel, bring any necessary personal equipment and arrive 30 minutes early for check-in. For details, call (708) 828-1663.
Around the horn
Longtime favorite Thomas Bach was elected president of the International Olympic Committee on Tuesday, keeping the powerful sports body in European hands. ... Detroit star Ndamukong Suh has been fined $100,000 by the NFL for his illegal low block in the season-opening victory over the Minnesota Vikings last weekend. It's believed to be the largest fine for an NFL player for an on-field violation, although suspensions without pay can result in bigger financial hits.